Yesterday’s Santa to the Sea Half Marathon closed out my 7th week of running including my first 50-mile week in a very long time. These past weeks have been very trying and roller coaster-like. It was interesting to see my fitness level upon my return, which was much better than I had anticipated and I was elated, but then my mental fitness seemed to suffer more and more as the weeks progressed.
Archive for the ‘Workouts’ Category
Hooray, I am running again! Four weeks of running with once a small hiccup and I am elated. Wow, I was out for 12 weeks and that felt like forever. Any day that I am unable to run truly feels like too long. My first week back I was shocked to see how all the aqua running and spinning kept me fit. Of course I knew it would help to some extent but you know how you sometimes can’t really tell if something really works but you have to assume? Like when your foot hurts and you decide to buy new running shoes and when you test them out, your foot doesn’t don’t hurt anymore? Obviously you think the shoes did the trick but did you consider that you had taken a small break or did you count the numerous times you iced? Well, I make those kind of assumptions all the time but with this recent experience, I finally have proof, no doubt in my mind.
By the end of my first week back I already had upset my coach. She sent my workouts and for my long run on Sunday, she wasn’t specific about my pace – she simply said, “9 miles 7:30 or faster”. Well, to me it was an opportunity to see what I could do without getting in trouble. During that run I kept peeking at my pace and thinking there must be a mistake, there is now way I just ran a 6:36 sixth mile. By the end of the run, I had averaged a 6:56 pace and couldn’t have been happier. Well, that was until my coach found out! Coach was very upset, acknowledging that she wasn’t very specific but happy to see where my current fitness level is. Since then, I get numerous text messages from her telling me to be patient so I don’t get injured again. You got it coach!
I am hoping my progress reports will continue to be good – cross training will continue to be a part of my program (for life) and I will be spending the next few days planning my 2012 race schedule.
So after returning from Yosemite, I thought I would try running again, assuming my foot would let me. The first week 10/03-10/9 went really good. I ran four times that week without pain. Then this past week we added a few more runs/miles that really proved I was getting better. On Monday I was supposed to run 5 miles at 8:00 pace but I was so focused on my foot that I ended up running a little too fast, around 7:30 pace. Coach wasn’t too happy about that but I felt a little better knowing that all this cross training did help keep me in shape considering that was a pretty easy run. I did promise that I would pay more attention moving forward. Besides running, I was also able to get some aquarunning intervals in too, which I am starting to long for (what the heck is wrong with me?).
I also discovered something really interesting last week too, my foot pain went away but the tightness in my calf was still there and by the second run that week, I felt it move up to my hamstring and lower back on the same side. I am hoping that this is the reason I was having pain in the first place because to me, it seems a lot more manageable. I tried to get on the foam roller a little more often and definitely need to incorporate some massages into my schedule. I have to admit though, this whole running life is very expensive, from gear, gym/pool fees, physical therapy, supplements and now maybe massages? Somethings have to suffer and I just don’t know which things to cut first.
Anyway, I hope I have a post next week discussing further running progress — my fingers are crossed!
Another solid week of training down in the books and really enjoying the variety of workouts, especially the swimming. This week ended with a weekend hiking trip in Yosemite that had me and my friends scaling up and down Half Dome, unbelievably beautiful and scary at the same time. Being in a place like that really clears your head and mind of frivolous concerns of city life and allows you to regroup and reset priorities. I get so excited every time I recall this trip but the details will have to be on a different post later.
Here is what my training looked like for the week:
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – Spin (1 hour with 5×4:00 standing climbs, 2 min. recovery)
Wednesday – Swim (1 hour with 250 yd kick board and 600 yd aquarunning)
Thursday – Elliptical/Weights (1 hour elliptical plus full body weights)
Friday – Swim (1 hour 20 min. aquarunning with 4×6:00 repeats and 3 min recovery)
Saturday – Hike (Upper Yosemite Falls – ~9 miles from Curry Village)
Sunday – Half Dome (~19 miles from Curry Village)
Ending the weekend with all this crazy hiking, I felt exhausted yet refreshed at the same time because I didn’t experience any foot issues. I hope this is a major sign of my recovery. Running starts on Monday, but at a reasonable comeback rate. Hooray!
Today got to Woollett Aquatics Center and found out they had an event going on so had to go to Northwood instead. This Aquarunning session was soooo tough. 20:00 warm-up followed by 3×9:00 (hard) repeats with 4:00 recovery. This will look like cake tomorrow when I have to run in pool for 1:45:00! Ahh…the benefits of being injured – NOT!
It seems like the summer came and went while I was still blinking. Well, technically it is still summer but we are already in August and the time is flying by! I guess running-wise summer was dedicated to speed training and mastering the 5K, a race I have managed to avoid for nearly a decade.
I started training with my coach in early February after running a balls-out (see race post here) 1:26 half at Surf City. At that point she was living in Vegas and our training was more virtual — phone, emails and text messages. She knew my only goal was to run sub-3 (2:59:59) and after several discussions and a few workouts under my belt, we decided we would get me through LA Marathon (only 6 weeks away) and then focus on that goal. Before long I found myself injured the week of the marathon by either freak massage accident or some other weird and unexplained anomaly. My training went on hold for 8 weeks before we started training again, this time she had moved to Los Angeles to train with our group and we started at a much slower and easier rate to ensure my injury stayed away!
As soon as we had established a base and felt safe that I had recovered, my coach met me at the track to see what I could do. I dreaded this day and I was not surprised that this track workout would kick my butt. It was tough, at least for me: 1600 (5:48), 1200 (5:48p), 800 (5:24p) and 400 (:78s). Coach ran directly in front of me and I just had to shadow her and not pay attention to my watch. The first 1600 felt great and I was excited upon hearing my split the next two were torturous because my coach got out ahead of me, really far, and since I was instructed to not look at my watch, I had assumed that I was hitting the wall only to find out that I was on pace and she had just darted ahead. After the 1200, I just hunched over and I swear to this day that my eyes wanted to roll and stick to the back of my head. By then I knew the hard part was over and I just had to get in the last shorter repeats.
As dreadful as that day was, it was also a new chapter in my running “life” or whatever you want to call it because I discovered that I always had the potential to run faster but never really challenged myself in a way to see how fast I could go because I was a marathon runner — marathoners don’t have speed right? In my own training programs (Hal Higdon modified), I did nearly every run at my marathon pace 7:30 and during track my mile splits were mid 6:00’s and I thought that was borderline too fast. (Just writing that last line makes me cringe to think of all the mistakes I was making trying to train myself.) It was also great for my coach to see this so she could give me workouts that would help me improve and reach more realistic goals, one of which would be breaking 18:00 during the summer since we had some time before marathon training would begin.
Soon enough our small group of 4-5 runners were meeting every week for track and long runs. I found these run to be invaluable because we were able to push together (or me rather, me chase) and of course bond. Everything seems a little easier with very inspiring and motivating people around you.
We started training in early May and I ran one 5K per month from June to August running a 19:11 (Magic Shoe ), 16:59 (Every Child Matters – short course and very disappointing), 18:32 (Northgate Downtown Anaheim), 18:04 (City of Cypress) and finally 18:18 (Pride of the Valley).
I was devastated when I caught a severe cold just a few days before Pride of the Valley because this was the last 5K coach was going to let me run this year and also because this is a FAST PR course — I should have no problem breaking 18:00! As I always say, you can never predict what will happen in a marathon but now I firmly believe that rings true for most competitions with so many factors leading up to the race and of course during. I crossed that last 5K finish line a little disappointed at first but then I realized I was so happy to say that I am really an 18-something minute 5K runner — sick or not! My day got so much better that evening when I received a few text messages from coach: You still ran well. If you weren’t sick you would have gotten a PR no doubt, to be able to do what you did today, I am proud of you. You and I will run a 5K together so you can go under 18. I was so excited — one more chance! Hooray, there is still hope! :D
The past week has been dreadfully long and pretty painful for more reasons than I will elaborate publicly. Doing everything in my power to dig deep and not slumber into that bat cave that I currently long for.
Running-wise, another solid week! Five weeks in and I am feeling very strong mentally and physically. I am also taking note of the change of my energy while 5K training (compared to mary training). So much more energy, so much more time on my hands – can’t complain, gotta enjoy it while I can. Had a few good runs in this week – most notably track (see workout here), the Every Child Matters 5K (see workout here) and today’s long run (see workout here). Just keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that they will continue to get better all the while avoiding injuries.
I ran that 5K yesterday and really, it wasn’t 5K, it was about 2.85 miles, nearly a quarter mile short! I found that rather disappointing because I am so eager to see where I will land at the finish line so I can determine a really 5K goal moving forward. I crossed the line at 16:59, first female and rather pissed off. I was really annoyed when on camera I was asked to say my name, finishing place and time because I wanted to throw that “but” in there right after saying, “Hi, my name is Tracy Bowling, I was the first female finisher with a time of 16:59.” Kind of felt like I was lying…oh well, not my fault. I know it is safe to say I would have ran low 18′s and that pushes my goal to break 18:00 this year. This is much easier than a mary just simply due to statistics – I can race a 5K every weekend and get lots of practice and experience without taking a major toll on my body. I guess we will just have to keep plugging away at it, I say “we” because my coach is 100% in to help make all my running goals realistic.
Not much else to say…I am typing from bed while I procrastinate packing my bags for NYC tonight. All work I am afraid, and a little play that will surely equal one nice run in Central Park. Oh, I can’t forget hitting up all my favorite bead stores and restaurants!! I seriously LOVE New York.
PS – RIP Remy. He must have been visiting because I had never met him or any other rat for that matter at my place before. Apparently he had such a wild fiesta while I was away, gorging on my Tostitos chips, that he decided to stay permanently. He only lasted two days here before the exterminator caught him. Gross right? Well I only tell you so you won’t ever ask to stay at my place when you have a marathon in my area… JK
First of all, I can’t even believe I can focus long enough to put this post up. I just applied a clay mask and my face is literally pulsating and it is not even completely dry! If you want to try an amazing facial mask, you have to try this — at least for the experience: Aztec Secret’s Indian Healing Clay. My friend Chris told me about it and I told my BF’s sisters about it and we all love it. I picked it up from Whole Foods (I told you this store takes all my money!) for like $6-7 bucks plus $3 for the apple cider vinegar that you need to mix in with powder. I neglect my face a little too often, opting to spend $100 on new running shoes rather than getting a facial. This mask kind of makes me feel better about buying the shoes and only paying $7 for this facial.
ANYWAY, today I had a great track workout with my coach. We did a ladder-type workout and it was THE hardest run in a long time. Coach decided to come to my workout to critique my form and to see what I can do. She actually ran with me – I had to stay on her shoulder, right behind her. As I mentioned before, my arms feel like lead and today was no exception. The first 1600 felt good – 5:40 splits. All the others were hard but I hit my marks. I get so frustrated when I do these kind of workouts where I am on the verge of missing my marks. These shorter distances make me experience a pain like I have not ever felt – it is not easy for me to want to get back out there on the track or in a 5K but I know that I have to do it if I want to get faster. (Stop being a puss Trace!) Coach was glad she was able to run with me – she said I am faster than she thought and she is no longer going to take it easy on me. I know I will have my work cut out for me. Glad this workout is over and a little excited to think I am heading towards a full recovery.
A few exciting things came my way today: I registered for the SF half marathon in July and I got some new running shoes! I am excited about SF since last year I had to cancel my participation because of my stress fracture. This year I have a lot of friends running either the full or half and we love getting together for these types of events so it should be a blast. I have no idea what my timed goal should be – how fast can I prep for a mary? It is only 10 weeks away and I hear it is NOT a course for a PR …I guess I should talk to coach.
I also headed to Runnergy during my lunch break to pick up another pair of shoes. I did just buy a pair of Saucony Grid Flex this past weekend but I bought them with the intention to race in or wear to the track. I still needed a pair of trainers badly because I don’t like the Mizuno Wave Riders (14) at all. I absolutely fell in love with the 13s and when they came out with a new model, I gladly swooped up a pair. Unfortunately they didn’t grow on me and I have never experience so many blisters and feet issues. I scoured the internet, checked local running stores and even had Runnergy call Mizuno direct to find the 13s – and there aren’t any size 9′s anywhere in this country. I thought this might be a good opportunity to try out a different type of shoe with similar features but maybe lighten the shoe up a bit and go with something a little less heavy and bulky. Up until the Wave Riders, I was mistakenly wearing shoes with too much stability when I needed a more neutral shoe. I have been wanting to try the KSWISS – they have some nice shoes and I tried on the Blade Light (I think) and the Adidas Adizero Boston 2s before deciding to go with Adidas. I not only liked the obnoxious color, I loved how light they were. I was able to test them out today during my track workout and loved them. I am hoping to wear them during my normal training runs and then find a good pair of flats for the track. After that I won’t buy anymore shoes for a while (although I still want KSWISS). I totally got hooked up too – Jeff (the owner) gave me a pretty good discount and I love that I can totally ransack the place when trying on a million pairs of shoes all the while feeling comfortable telling him that the color of my shoe is almost important as it’s technical features.
Anyway, I have to get this mask off my face…my pores can’t possibly shrink anymore and I am tired of smelling vinegar. You should still try it out though…
I am all about counting when it comes to my training – I count the months, weeks, days, miles…everything! Every time I trained for a mary or any other special occasion, I have always counted: Week 1 of 18, Day 23 of 60 for example. I don’t really want to do that anymore because when it gets to the wire, well, I haven’t had much luck making it to that final day. :) But it’s me and I can’t help it! …And it does help. Kinda keeps me on track and focused. Well, I am at it again and I guess it is safe to say this is my THIRD week back officially!
Week two by far has been the most challenging, ending the week with 46 miles and falling short during my tempo run. I was so frustrated that day – how is it that right before my marathon I ran the last 4 miles of a 22-mile run at 6:40 pace but I could not run 4 miles at 7:00 pace? Fortunately my long run ending that week was a 10-miler and I hit my targets perfectly — I had to focus, but I did it. YES
Week 3 (last week) was a bit easier – only 36 miles but I had a track workout on Tuesday and finished the week with a 12-miler, averaging around 7:28 per mile. Nothing this week (including my track/tempo) was as challenging as my long run. That run was hard because I ran near my home and I get bored running the same loops year after year, not to mention I was alone. Cardio-wise, it was a little tough and I had to work to make up for my slow starting miles. I finished the workout beaming with excitement and ready to really focus on something in the near future. IT’S ABOUT TIME.
Right now I am really excited to run with my coach and four of her other athletes this weekend for the Magic Shoe 5K. We are registering as a team and hopefully we can win as an all Female team. I will most definitely be the weakest link but I don’t care – I am gonna push through just like I did at Surf City in February. It’s only the start of my speed-like runs and I know I will get better as I get more speed runs in. I have no idea what I will run a 5K in – 20 minutes? IDK! Don’t quote me on this!
I have also been very conscious with my diet. I love food. I love anything that is thick and bread-y — like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, double-singles animal style with chopped chiles, maple donuts, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc. I am NOT letting myself over-indulge at this point. I do eat them, just not as often. I noticed a slight change in my tummy and butt (I do the daily butt-squeeze-in-the-mirror-test), specifically cellulite and although I ALWAYS have it, it was really, really dimply and I didn’t like it — especially with bikini season coming up! It’s been a few weeks and I notice there aren’t as many dimples so I am OK with what is there, it is what it is and I do like my butt and wouldn’t want it any other way! ;)
At my last doctor’s visit, my coach told me to get my ph levels checked – TOTAL FAIL! I have since then purchased litmus paper (arriving on Thursday via my boyfriend) and daily testing will be in effect. Having said this, I try to eat many more fruits and veggies and I don’t forget to take my minerals. And as always, I have a new obsession (actually two) — Green SuperFood Powder (specifically the Lemon Lime flavor) from Amazing Grass that I drink once daily. I have been trying the individual packets, testing all the brands and flavors and this one I can actually stir in with 8oz of water and not heave. Before I found this one, I would stir the powder in with only a little water and down it like a shot (minus the lime and salt).
Also, I am happy that I FINALLY found the Perfect Foods Bar! I remember when I spectated at the San Diego RnR marathon last year (11 months ago!), I ate all my friend’s sample bars. They were sooooo good – I don’t even know how to explain it but the peanut flavored bars literally fell apart in my mouth. My friend said I could get them at Whole Foods and I made it my mission to get some. Sadly enough I didn’t really pay attention to the brand because I thought I would find them easily and only a week ago I found them! I never looked in the cold raw food section of the market and that is where they were the whole time! I only found them when I noticed this woman dump two whole cases into her cart. As she left the aisle I hurried over to see what I was missing – gold mine! Anyway, these bars a soooooo good – did I already say that? Well, I bought my own bars and have been eating one everyday although I fight myself not to have two per day as they are kind of high in calories. They just taste like peanut butter blended with honey…
I found both of these things at Whole Foods. Typically I try to stay away from this store because I want to buy everything — from Toms shoes, to organic skin care items, to vitamins and of course really unique food items. I decided that even though I get half the food for twice the price (compared to Trader Joes), I am only going to shop here. Doesn’t make sense to you but I justified it like this: When I go to Trader Joes, I buy random stuff that gets tossed in the trash week after week. Shopping at Whole Foods puts me on a budget and I make sure to get what I really want and need. Plus, I always love their stuff!
Anyway, all this talk about the grocery store is getting me hungry, I have to eat! And one last thing, don’t act like you don’t do the butt-squeeze-in-the-mirror-test…
Yep, the first one in who knows how long. Hopefully I will be able to eliminate some of the long overdue items from my task list including laundry, budgeting, cooking, organizing and even listing some items for sale on Craigslist (Twilight Series books – anyone?) I also want to read some more books on my Kindle — I am in the middle of two: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and 50 Self-Help Classics (think Deepak Chopra, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.). Complete opposites, I know but I love them both!
Tonight (Friday) started pretty good, I took a little nap after work before heading out the door for a 7 mile run. The runs are getting easier but I am a little annoyed that I am not in the same shape that I was when I got injured. I am making progress though and that is all that matters. Also excited to get a run in with my coach and a friend from LARR on Sunday. I think we are going to get in 12 miles at Griffith Park and hopefully I can hang with them. Coach said we are going to run MY pace – we shall see about that!
Alright, I am out for the night. Going to open my $4.95 cent wine that I picked up from World Market. They had this sale – $4.95 regularly $14.95 . Sounded pretty darn good…now I have to find out.
I am so happy to say that this is my third week running – hooray! I still can’t believe it. The setback really felt like it took forever! My first week back was pretty laid back, mostly test runs and by that Sunday, coach let me race the 9 mile run at Big Sur. It was more like a training run – nothing fast to brag about (Click here for a quick recap). Last week was my second real week back and I got in around 46 miles, pilates and one spin class. This week I feel much stronger than last and I was exhausting myself just worrying about how much fitness I lost in six weeks. Right now I am just trying to focus on staying healthy and I am not really talking marathons at this point.
I spoke to my coach today and she told me to start thinking of some goals and (short) races so we can get me on track. I have been very curious how quickly I can run a 5k because right before my injury while training for a marathon, I would have bet that I could run around 18:00 because I was consistently running good tempo and hard track workouts. Now anything in the 19:00 range seems scary. I know that these short races will also help me improve in the mary so I am willing to do them even though they are way more painful than 26.2.
Besides running, I haven’t been up to much — well except stockpiling new gear. I have a problem, I know. But I am really excited about the two newest purchases which include Oakley sunglasses and little 6oz bottle that I can add to my favorite running belt (click here for my marathon must-haves). I have wanted running glasses forever but I am not a fan of anything masculine on me. As it is, when I am deep in training, I kind of get a complex that I look like a boy. Note: I ALWAYS wear earrings, pink and I never race without my Mac Fluidline eyeliner! Say what you want but I love being a woman… Anyway, I have already wore them in a few of my runs and they are awesome. LOVE them. Problem is that I found out I can buy different colored lenses to switch things up a bit and I really shouldn’t buy anything else. The belt bottles are really cool because they are small and I don’t like to carry things when I run. Last time I ran with my coach, she wouldn’t let me run with my huge bottle because she said it would mess up my running form and she carried for me (after first pouring out some liquid so it wouldn’t be too heavy). Thanks coach! I never liked fuel belts because they look really dorky (sorry, they do) and they bounce around a lot. I think when I add the bottle or two to it, it will look exactly like one but I don’t care anymore. As long as it works – right?
Anyway, as always, THANK YOU for all the kind words of encouragement!!!!
The countdown begins. It seems like that timer has been ticking in my head for quite some time and it is exhausting. I keep trying to analyze why I am such a freakazoid about this race and no matter what excuse I find I guess it is just because I expect a lot from me. I wouldn’t try for a 3:00:00 marathon in 2011 if I didn’t think I had it in me, I am just nervous. The biggest reason that I feel anxious about it unlike last year when I was doing the 12/12 is because I didn’t have any pressure and if I had a bad race, I could try again the next month. If I learned anything, I don’t want to run just any marathon anymore, they need to be pretty darn important to put my life and body on that schedule. Besides doing LA and Boston in March and April, I won’t get near another until November (more to come about this later) but will instead work on my speed and try to get some quicker PRs in 10ks and 5ks. I have yet to discuss this part with my coach but I am sure she will agree since she didn’t even want me to run Boston so close after LA. Boston was a go this year no matter what anyone said. I want this experience and I don’t know where I will want to be in 2012.
Today my coach and I more or less finalized my race day plans. I say more or less because I have THE plan (Plan A) and then I have Plan B and C. She was adamant about having other plans ready because she said you can’t every really predict race conditions. My goal for 2011 is to break 3:00:00 but I don’t really know when and where it will happen. In the reality of things, it is a big leap to jump from 3:16:16 to 2:59:59 so I have to be ready to do it or do it later this year. Right now I also don’t think taking 8 seconds off 7:00 miles will be hard but that again is not really that easy when you start doing the math. With that said, I have been waiting to hear the verdict of what my racing plans will be and now I know. Plan A for the first half of the race will include 7:00 splits and try to make my move from there, picking it up gradually. Gradually. This pace for the entire distance will put me at 3:03:00 so any amount of seconds per mile will get that time down even further. Plan B and C I don’t even want to get into and I am not trying to think about them because I don’t want to immediately jump into another plan in the race when and if I start feeling bad. I am afraid that when the going gets tough I might tell myself it is OK to go there because in a way they are part of the plan. Must not go there unless I absolutely need to. I will be doing my typical track workout warm-up which includes a two mile jog, specific drills and 6×100 strides to get my heart rate up. I will also have my training partner run with me for the first half so I don’t have to think about my times or splits, I will just have to decide what to do once I am at the half. Additionally, knowing the dreadful course, especially at the beginning I asked what happens if 7:00 seems to fast? Basically it is up to me to slow down a little knowing I have a lot of time to make it up but I don’t like the sound of making up too much time. I have enjoyed almost all my previous marys because I trained at MRP and didn’t think they were too hard. I hope I say that after Sunday. Let’s see.
I know going into the race anything can happen and you can bet that no matter what happens, I will be proud of myself. I can’t imagine anything worse than what happened at OC marathon last year and even that wasn’t so bad (pain and mental-wise). Like most of you have said, trust your training, think positive and just go with it. Thank you for all your advice, support and motivation – I owe you a big thank you!
As I mentioned earlier, my calf spasm went away – woot woot! Unfortunately after my run my foot hurt like a mofo! I needed a foot adjustment bad – you know that feeling where your foot needs to pop but it won’t? That kind of pain. I went to the chiropractor today and got adjusted. He immediately noticed my let was jammed and my left leg was having some major issues that he “fixed” by popping all kinds of stuff (neck, hip, feet). I also asked for Cold Laser Therapy which is just some red light that sends waves through the infected area and does something that I don’t entirely believe in. At this point, I am willing to believe it to get through the week and on the starting line with positive thoughts. Whatever works right?
I am also almost through a complete day of carb depleting and in my opinion it hasn’t been a big deal. Today I ate two hard-boiled eggs, banana, a slice of Muenster cheese and coconut water (breakfast), Beef/veggie stir-fry (lunch), Fage yogurt, almonds (snacks), salmon and squash (dinner). I am eating one apple, orange and yogurt a day for some sort of balance. I can also enjoy my Starbuck’s drink in the morning – thank goodness I asked about that instead of assuming I can’t have it! Happy Trace. I just spent $100 on some random food that will help me get to Thursday when I can finally have carbs (brown rice), yay! I am really loving that coconut water – it has more potassium than a banana and is a great electrolyte drink. I need to stay hydrated this week – super important. It is quite possible that I don’t have that starving feeling because I am actually hydrating. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow at the track when I have to run 3×1 mile at 5:50 pace…hahah
Speaking of money, I am spending way too much lately. I have gotten three massages in two weeks, got new shoes, spent over $100 on some running clothes that I may or may not wear on race day (not including the $150 I spent on the Boston gear), booked a hotel in my home town, spent $75 at the chiropractor and so much more on crap I can’t even list. Way to go Trace, good thing you work hard for your money! Oh, but don’t think I don’t have that extra $100 tucked in my pocket for an LA Marathon jacket – that is a must. When I am 80 years old wearing it, I will feel so cool!
Anyway, time to think positive, time to relax and time to believe in myself.
I sort of had a breakdown four weeks ago after my long run with TCLA (Track Club LA). We ran 21 miles of the LA Marathon course and although it was helpful to get reacquainted with the course, I instead felt like it discouraged me more than ever. I know that if I hadn’t made my commitment to help raise funds for the Concern Foundation, I would reconsider running it at all. Click here to read my post workout re-cap (or complaint). The actual run itself wasn’t that bad. I guess I was just so unsure of myself that everything around the race seemed that way.
That day was just the icing on the cake as one would say and I was a wreck. I guess I had been second-guessing all my training recently. I see the improvement and I won’t deny that, but I have basically been following a Hal Higdon program (which I love and strongly recommend) that I customized for myself in hopes of running a sub-3 marathon in 2011. Partly knowing that I was responsible for my stress fracture last year and also realizing that for the past 16 weeks running had been on the forefront of all my priorities (in front of work, social, etc.), I was afraid that I could cause another sidelining injury by making another rookie mistake. I also realized I should maximize the time that I was already putting in. That makes sense, right?
Week 5 treated me very well which could be from a combination of things including yoga, chiropractic visits and plenty of rest. Maybe too much rest – my mileage is still considerably low but I am blaming that on the early setting sun (think safety first). I will continue to add a few extra miles to my recovery days and try to wake up earlier to pull off longer runs during the week. Good luck to me. The pain I was experiencing previously is almost completely gone and this week there isn’t a pain to complain about. Let’s see how long that lasts.
The real highlight of my week was Sunday, the California International Marathon Relay. I had been anticipating this race for quite some time looking forward to meeting my partner Maryam G. whom I met on Dailymile last year. We both made commitments to run this race together but both experienced major injuries that kept us guessing if we would ever actually make it to the starting line. Fortunately, we were good to go on race day and removed any and all pressures to perform well, we just wanted to finish healthy.
My portion of the relay included Legs 1 and 2 totaling 13.5 miles. It was really nice showing up to the race with only about 1 minute before the gun went off and not stressing about it at all. My plan was to run quickly but not to the point of exhaustion. As the gun went off I found myself between the 3:10 and 3:15 pace groups. Since I didn’t care so much about running the race competitively, I didn’t care that I was completely boxed in and around mile 3, I felt pretty warm and decided to park myself in front of the 3:10 pace group and stay ahead the rest of the way. It was during the first two miles of the race that I realized we had perfect race conditions – cool temperatures unlike last year where the temperature was 22 degrees at the start with headwinds almost the entire way. Unfortunately my calves felt like they were on fire, very, very tight but I managed to finish without any problems. Immediately after my run, I jumped into my car and headed to mile 26 so I could cheer on my teammates other running friends as they headed into the finish. This was my favorite part of the day, to see the expressions of joy, happiness, exhaustion and fatigue on the faces of the runners as they gave their all to finish the race. I’ll admit I can be very tough physically but as soon as I take note in other’s emotion, it’s almost like it rolls off of them and into me. Almost immediately I experienced bouts of joy and tears, so much so that I missed my team and other friends as they passed by. I only managed to see one pass by, noting he had reached his goal of running under 3:15 – way to go Cameron!
Running a relay during the actual marathon race did have me feeling a little uneasy. I almost felt guilty since I was only running a little more than half while they would run the entire distance of the marathon. At times I felt bad when runners who were noticeably running the full (they didn’t have to wear a Lindsay Lohan type of apparatus around their ankle) pulled up next to me to run by my side. I worried they may pace with me, not realizing I was only running a portion and become discouraged knowing that. I was happy to finally reach the exchange point, I was mentally warped from all the hills I encountered during my legs – I hadn’t really noticed them last year when I ran the full. Seriously, I am either weak and need more hills or they were tough. Still can’t decide but I would say I am weak and need hill training so the next time I run there, I can call them small speed bumps.
Anyway, here is what happened this week:
WEEK 5 OF 20
Total Mileage: 26.54
Cross Training: Yoga
Monday – Recovery Run (4 mi)
Tuesday – Track (6 mi total including warm-up and cool-down), chiropractor
The workout: 1 x 2,000m, 1 x 1,600m, 1 x 1,200m
2,000m – 8:01 (6:24 pace)
1,600m – 6:11
1,200m – 4:17 (5:42 pace)
Wednesday – Recovery Run (3.14 mi), chiropractor
Thursday – Yoga
Friday – Rest day (0 mi)
Saturday – Travelling (0 mi)
Sunday – Long Run (13.46 mi)
California International Marathon Relay – 2010
1:35:49 (7:07 avg)
Garmin Stats: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/59008892
Weeks 3 and 4 were like day and night – I ended Week 3 a little concerned about a pain I was feeling in my butt/hip area (to be discussed in a later blog) while I ended Week 4 feeling very strong, confident and recharged for another tough week ahead.
As I have discussed previously, I am following one of Hal Higdon’s marathon training program which is an 18-week program. Technically this is the end of my fourth week of training but only the end of my second week of Hal’s training schedule. I needed a few weeks of light running before I got deep into training just coming back from an injury. I can really feel a difference with my strength and speed so early in my training compared to the final weeks of training right before I fractured my foot – I am much stronger and faster. Definitely don’t have my endurance back, 14 miles being my longest run so far. I would definitely say the running break (down time) really gave my body enough rest and ample time to recover. The funny thing is that even though I know this, I still fight myself on my recovery days. It doesn’t make any sense for me to know that they are important yet I feel guilty running so slowly.
Anyway, here is what happened this week:
WEEK 4 OF 20
Total Mileage: 34:26
Cross Training: None (no time!)
Garmin Statistics: click here
Monday – Recovery Run (3.14 mi)
Tuesday – Track (5.01 mi total including warm-up and cool-down).
The workout: 1 x 4,800m
19:34 (6:36, 6:38, 6:21)
Wednesday – No time to run! (0 mi)
Thursday – Tempo (6.2 mi)
Long Beach Turkey Trot
42:25 (6:50, 7:06, 7:10, 6:52, 6:51, 6:51 :43)
Friday – Rest day (0 mi)
Saturday – Pace Run (6 mi)
42:58 (7:09 avg)
Sunday – Long Run (14 mi)
1:51:09 (7:56 avg)
As I mentioned, it was a really good week, hard but good. No real issues with butt/hip this week. Next week I hope to add 2-3 more miles to my weekly total.
Week 2 started out without a hitch following a strong Sunday run until I pushed it too far during Yin Yoga on Wednesday. This mistake really put a damper on the rest of week’s training and carried all the way through Week 3. Not really sure what I did, but it is no secret that I am not flexible at all and maybe pulled/irritated my hip (or IT Band). I focused most of my energy on stretching, icing and taking care of this issue to prevent further injury.
Going into Week 3 I decided I would try Bikram, determined to work on my flexibility core, but quickly realized that Bikram would be great for me if I didn’t have another sport to consider. I loved the class and the difficulty but it was a little too strenuous for me (a runner). I also skipped Tuesday’s track workout, assuming it wouldn’t be the best idea to do a speed workout feeling tight and scared. By mid week I was a complete grouch – moody and emotional without really knowing why. I guess it could be the change in weather, the upcoming holiday blues or the fact that my period decided to show up again. My hip got progressively better and I began running again just making sure to take it easy and really listen to my body. The week ended with a long 11 mile run in the rain – just what I needed to stay sane.
I feel good going into Week4.
Happy to say that Week 1 ended on a high note, feeling healthy and on the right track. I will admit that I felt lazy and didn’t really want to put in the miles but after each run, I felt happy and could no longer remember why I was so lazy in the first place. For the most part, I had a tough week – mentally and physically exhausted and I now appreciate and understand the need for recovery runs. This week also ended a dreadfully long period (no, not the thing at the end of a sentence) – menstruating for 10+ days really made me weak and tired. Because of this, I started taking an iron supplement (Bifera) and Loestrin 24, a birth control pill that will allow me to have lighter shorter periods. Hopefully that will help. I also opted to not wear my new pair of running orthotics, they ruin me mentally and I prefer taping my feet which is just a preventative measure for PF and ITB.
Luckily I had two people running with me all week that helped push me every step of the way – thank you Chris and Dom for all the encouragement (and guilt trips).
Monday – Easy recovery run (3 mi)
Tuesday – Track (5 mi.) – 2 x 1600 (6:24, 6:14); 1 x 800 (3:06)
Wednesday – Recovery run (3 mi)
Thursday – Pilates (instead of tempo run – see Sat)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Tempo Run (6 miles – 20 min. easy, 10 min hard followed by cool down)
Sunday – Long run (9 mi)
Weight: 127.5 lbs
Following Tuesday’s track workout, I was feeling really sluggish on Wednesday and happy I only needed to get in a few miles before calling it a night. By Thursday I didn’t think I could make it through the day, (I swear it was my period) so I instead went to pilates – just the pick-me-up I needed. Saturday’s run reminded me to push through aggravation and less than ideal running conditions. Sunday simply told me I am a runner again, I CAN do this (it also helped watching Shalane finish the marathon – so inspiring and adorable).
I can’t believe this is already my fourth week back! It is also my last do-whatever-I-want-when-I-want-because-I-said-so and it was MUCH harder to push myself out the door than I expected. I am kind of surprised by this considering I was counting the months/weeks/days/hours/minutes until I would be at it again but then again I have had 5 months off from running!
For me it’s torturous coming back and starting all over from the beginning – and from the beginning I mean everything from getting more rest at night, re-adjusting my diet, low mileage, slow pace and getting used to my training program (Hal Higdon, my hero). The last three weeks I have managed to run around 15 miles a week without a problem. This week will be more like 20.
I am trying to mix it up this season so I can be more of a balanced runner by consistently incorporating pilates/yoga (yoga is tough for me since I can barely touch my toes without pulling something), light strength training, track and REST (somehow I will squeeze that one in)!
Next week will be Week 1 of Hal Higdon’s Advanced II training schedule – I used it for CIM and it was perfect. I don’t follow it religiously, especially since I have certain types of workouts on certain days (track is on Tuesday and pilates is on Thursday for example) and I’ll adjust it and modify it while following the basics.
Below is a snippet of the program. If you want more info, just click on the hyperlink above and you can actually get a detailed description of each workout by clicking on the week number.
Thanks to everyone for all the positive words of encouragement – below is the proof! XOXO
Last month I finally decided to try my foot with running again and it was disastrous. Yes, I was a little stir-crazy and I charged out the gates with 32 miles in the books by the end of week ONE (don’t even ask about the pace as you will surely call me stupid). That was a very short week let me tell you, because I could barely finish my last run that week due to a very familiar pain in the exact same spot I had incurred the fracture (notice I use the word ‘incurred’). Days following that last run I was limping and felt hopeless. I felt as everyday passed, my running goals were passing by and that really got me down. It’s no secret I like to exaggerate everything in life (including running goals) so I spewed out nonsense about not running for the rest of the year to make sure I was healthy. That spew out of my mouth quickly became something I wish I never said because I am not a doctor and if I could run sooner than that, I would want to. I ended up taking an additional month off, bringing me to today with 20 weeks off since my injury. Once I finally had enough guts to see my doctor, I had a good feeling everything would be OK. When I felt the pain last month I avoided seeing him because I was scared to find out what COULD be wrong – it was one thing for me to say I WANTED to take the rest of the year off, but to actually hear it from the doctor is another thing.
This past week of training was rather difficult for me – a great week now doubt, it just didn’t come easy. It followed a very short running week (totaling 11 miles – immediately following LA Marathon) and plenty of rest. It was time to increase my mileage while still not over-do it. The plan was to run between 35-39 miles, a track workout and to finally wear my orthotics so I can build up my mileage in them and ultimately be able to wear them during a marathon. I finished the week with 34.71 including the ever-dreaded track workout and even incorporated a 13.1 race into it. The orthotics are not yet my friends and have caused the pain from PF to return…
Workout Schedule: 03/29 -04/04
Monday – 6M
Tuesday – Track*:
1 x 1600m, 1 x 1200m, 1 x 800m, 1 x 1200m with 400m recovery jog. All intervals at slightly faster than 5K pace with 400m recovery jog.
Wednesday – 6M
Thursday – 6M race pace (7:15); light weights
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 6M
Sunday – 8M + mat pilates
*Track Club LA workout
11 days have already passed since Surf City — I can’t believe it! Time really flies, and before you know it, it will be my dreadful birthday, then Christmas – geez! Since my last race, I haven’t done much of anything physically; my knee still hurts and I’ve been very busy with so many other things including work, friends and of course preparing for LA Marathon (will post about this later). While I am actually enjoying my time off from running, I have sort of become a Worry Wart. That worries me (see, I told you) more than anything because once I get these negative thoughts in my head, it is so hard to get them out. I know my training and race performance will suffer simply because I might push myself physically harder to avoid feeling any sort of loss and also because I will start to doubt myself and what I am doing. It’s getting pretty exhausting, continually talking myself out of all this negativity BUT I am doing it!
Did I grab everything?
I have always considered myself a simple runner. The only things I ever needed for any run or race were a watch, sports bra, shorts that don’t climb and shoes. I wish I could say that was still the case but it isn’t, in fact I literally have to take time each day and prepare my running bag for the next scheduled workout: outfit, shoes, tape for my PF, Garmin watch/heart rate monitor (not to mention I have to charge this the night before), ipod, sunblock and recovery drink. (Sometimes the preparation actually takes longer than the run itself!) While I would love to reduce the amount of things I need, I don’t want to be without any of them, especially the watch and shoes.
Joining the Los Angeles Roadrunners (LARR) has been a great experience. I will never forget the first morning I got to the parking area which is at the Westminster Elementary School in Venice – hundreds of runners everywhere. Seriously. Tons of runners. All ages. All levels. I figured it was about time that I start running with a group of people – I was really tired of training alone and I needed the camaraderie and competitive push.
I joined late (officially started September 12th and I joined October 17th) – during the 10th week of my 18 week CIM training schedule but made sure to keep my focus on CIM until that race was over and then look towards LA Marathon later.
LARR is the official LA Marathon training program that meets for 27 weeks – every Saturday, our only group run and our longest run of that week. The great thing about this organization is that you never have to worry about running alone, there are over 20 pace groups and you are constantly reminded why we are so lucky to live in LA: views of the ocean from Santa Monica all the way to the Marina, beautiful weather, and home course advantage (we regularly run the last few miles of the race during this run).
The morning of my first group run I didn’t really know which group to run with – I was thinking Group 3 or 4 because I hadn’t yet run CIM and I was kind of scared that I would fall off during the run. At the last second I decided on Group 3 (8:30 pace). I thought this was a fun group but I kept running into the heels of the runners in front of me and knew I should be in Group 2 if I wasn’t such a wuss. Finally, a little persuasion from a close friend (the same friend who pushes himself so hard, he barfs), I joined Group 2. The difference between each group is 30 seconds. It may not seem like much, but it is a big deal when you get deep into your mileage towards the end of the season and right before the race. It was exciting to change groups not only for the challenge of working towards a faster marathon, but for the new friends I met (small group of us communicate regularly and share our workouts, goals and even look towards each other for motivation encouragement). I started consulting with a few friends about moving again *gasp* and they were all for it. It finally sunk in when I told my friend Janel R. that I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with their 7:25 pace (marathon goal pace 3:15). I would be the only woman and if I couldn’t hang, it would be obvious. She didn’t hesitate to remind me that I had given her similar advice when she decided to change groups. I couldn’t be a hypocrite, and I knew that if I didn’t at least try, I would never know what could have been. It was New Year’s Eve when I finally decided that I would do it no matter how scared I was. As soon as I got back home that morning, I called my friend Frank P. (also a Group 2 runner) and told him I was doing it. He was very supportive and we chatted about it for a while including our own separate goals (his also includes triathalons). The words were officially spoken and I had to do it. My last email about this decision was to Phil, our Group 2 pace leader letting him know that I wanted to do this and I wanted his opinion (blessing). He of course, was very positive and suggested that I try it out. He reminded me that LARR is the perfect place to try out different groups. The night before my first run with the group, I made sure to get plenty of rest, I prepared as if it were a marathon. Right before my run, I saw Frank and asked him to join me for this run and he did. (I think Group 1 was always his group, he just didn’t know it until after that run.) To date, I have only ran with this group twice – a 14 and 15-miler (the last two runs). The first five miles are kind of challenging but after that it just feels right. The funniest thing about this whole (stupid) group dilemma is that after my first run with this group, they decided to split the group into two – a 7:25 group and a 7:10 group (does that mean there is a Group 0?). This made perfect sense since there are some REALLY fast runners in the 7:25 group and I was wondering myself why they didn’t have a Group 0. Still, just when I thought I was getting there… Oh well, I will consider that my new challenge. JOKING. I wouldn’t call myself a Group 1 runner (yet)…it is too early (or too late in the season) to find out.
To say the least, I am happy with my decision, not really worried now about failing or falling off anymore because at the end of the day, I want to remind myself that I gave it all I had.
Splits from my last two Group 1 workouts (Garmin Forerunner 405):
Click here to visit the LA Roadrunners website.
I look back at 2009 with a feeling of growth — personally, spiritually, physically and professionally. I know that running has contributed significantly to all these areas, making me a better me to both myself and others.
It was when I decided to take my training up a notch, and not settle for that same boring loop at Balboa Park day after day, year after year, that I immediately accrued all kinds of plans and goals. Before I knew it, the year was over, I was happy and truly loving all the people in my life. I even managed to get in two half’s and ultimately, my only real running goal, California International Marathon (CIM).
All the hype surrounding that marathon – the training programs, new friends, PR’s…EVERYTHING, gave me the courage and motivation to push myself further to run 12 marathons in 2010. At that point, I couldn’t want it more and I knew I might regret verbally expressing that goal to others without thinking it through, but I didn’t care. I felt invincible. That’s what the marathon does to you (or to me), and I loved it, and now I need it.
So here I am. I know my goal is achievable — it won’t be a “run” in the park, I’ll have to race according to how I feel, avoid injuries and most importantly, I will have to keep my ego in check. Not the ego you may be thinking of, I am talking about the ego that tells me to run faster when I know I shouldn’t, or the ego that keeps reminding me that I shouldn’t do such a thing if it’s going to prevent me from going after a PR. I have to remember that at the end of the day, this is my goal, my race, the only one I am competing against is me.
2010 is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.
This morning’s run in Santa Monica with the LA Roadrunners was a little shorter than I expected. I am not 100% recovered from CIM, so I ran 12 of the 16 miles with Group 2 before catching up with Janel R. (see photo below) for a post-run ocean soak. I started feeling tightness around my right IT band around mile 9 (at my knee) so it was a good idea to come in early and ice my legs.
11.46 miles 1:35 8:17 pace
Wow. It feels light a lot of pressure has been taken off my chest since finishing CIM. Until yesterday, that was my only focus and I was a anxious trying to understand what it would be like, what would happen and so on. Now I can put the focus on LA and relax…a little.
I would have to first say thanks to all of you who gave me marathon tips — they really helped!
I went into the race confident; I was proud of my training and I really spent a lot of time preparing for the race. This preparation also included an understanding that anything can happen in a marathon no matter how you prepare. I wasn’t nervous like I normally would be in a competition, but I did think on occasion what it would be like when I got past mile 20 (since that was the longest distance I covered in training).
The night before I prepared all my gear for the morning so I could wake up early to actually enjoy my breakfast and stay focused instead of worrying about my lost socks or my Garmin being charged. When I went to get on the bus that took us to the course, I couldn’t find the bus ticket that I purchased the day before at the expo – I was so scared but luckily, they never checked. Race time was 7 and our bus arrive a little after six. It was FREEZING — I am talking 28 degrees with wind! There was only enough time for one port-a-potty break before it was show time. I downed one Gu and was off.
My original goal for this race was 3:40 and I knew that I could run faster since most of my long runs were just over 8:00 pace, but I knew a part of that thinking was my ego so I decided to start near the 3:35 pace group. I must mention that three months ago I had changed most of my PW’s for various personal accounts that included something to do with my really deep-down goal of 3:30. That reminder kept pulling at me…3:30, 3:30, it would be so nice if I could just run 3:30… After three miles I decided to change groups and ran near the 3:30 pace group. This pace was really comfortable and for the longest time the combined average pace was 8:01. I ran with them until mile 10. I decided then, that the race was starting to feel like a normal training day, so I threw off my sweatshirt picked it up. I knew that every time I picked it up, there was a chance I could hit the wall, but I wasn’t laboring at all — I was so relaxed, looking straight ahead and I kept saying, “please legs, be nice to Tracy.” After I left them, I didn’t think about my finishing time whatsoever, I just looked at my pace and tried to stay between 7:40 and 7:45. By mile 20 I decided that again I would pick it up and try to stay around 7:30 pace. I was waiting for my legs to get tired but luckily they never did. I just tried to catch any woman I saw in front of me and tried not to get passed by anyone. I was smiling (at least in my mind) when I made the last turn to the women’s side of the chute. I couldn’t wait to see my friends that had traveled so far to see me.
Let me make one thing clear — I know this was a fast course. Carlsbad, LA, Big Sur or any other race could be a totally different experience. For me, I am most excited that I didn’t hit the wall, cramp-up or injure myself. That was enough for me to feel accomplished.
Here is what I think helped me the most:
- Sticking with a program. Until RR (LA Roadrunners), I was following Hal Higdon’s Advanced II workouts. The point here is not which program I followed, it was that I followed them as much as I could, only adjusting where I felt necessary. This was something that reminded me that I was ready. I didn’t even think once about what I didn’t do in preparation, it was more about what I DID do. It kept the negative thoughts out of my head.
- Hydration/Fuel. I made sure to hydrate appropriately at most of the drink stations and used about four Gu’s (not too mention salty margarita Clif Shot Blocks).
- Training partners/Running groups. Every runner that I have encountered, especially RR, had had a wonderful impact on me. It really helps to be around positive influences.
- Mileage/pace tracking device. My Garmin Forerunner (405) is by far the best purchase I have made. Like a training schedule, it really helps you know where you are in training. Before this, I felt like I tried to convince myself that I ran X amount of miles in X amount of time. Deep down I knew I could be full sh_t because I couldn’t really track it.
- Race preparation. I tried to eliminate small things that could have big repercussions the day of the race – like preparing gear ahead of time, Gu, etc.
Oh, and I cannot forget my sweet friend Janel who ran the relay, not to mention Emory who drove from Los Angeles and Asi who drove from San Francisco to watch me run.