Monday, August 1, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

 Baby Girl likes the medal!

I successfully completed my first post-baby marathon, yay! I even scored a PR by over 3 minutes with my finish time of 3:45:47.

Yesterday's San Francisco Marathon was a blast! Yes, the course is very hilly, but it's San Francisco! Here are the highlights:
  • Expo: way too crowded. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
  • Start: It was early (I was in wave three, so, I started at 5:42 am). However, we stayed at a hotel near Union Square and getting to the start was very easy. There were plenty of porta-potties and an efficient bag drop system.
  • Early miles: For once, I didn't start too fast. I had to keep reigning myself in, but averaged my planned 8:30 pace for these miles.
  • The bridge: Running on the Golden Gate Bridge was awesome! I allowed my pace to get a little too fast at times, but it was too fun. We were lucky and the bridge wasn't fogged over. So, there were great views!
  • The Avenues: The uphill after the bridge is followed by a huge downhill. I definitely took the hill a little to fast and paid for it on the rollers of the Avenues.
  • The Park: It was great to feed off the energy from the 1st half finish. I was surprised how much the long, 'easy' hills in the park sapped my energy. Still, it was nice to be running in the green surroundings!
  • Haight St: This district is interesting just to walk through, so, it was good for some entertainment in these later miles. At one point, the officials re-routed traffic right behind me (the course alternates on some parallel roads). For about a mile, there was no one behind me. It felt weird... and a little like I was losing the race!
  • Final Miles: I do this every time; I lose the motivation to 'push' myself the last three miles or so. I settled into a slower, more comfortable pace and just cruised. Once I knew I was going to PR but not hit my 'A' goal of 3:40, I just kind of shrugged and rolled on in =)
  • The Finish: The best part of any race is the finish line. This one was even better because my husband and baby were there waiting for me! Somehow, my husband managed to be at the finish line on time and with a fed, awake, happy baby. That is an accomplishment to rival any marathon!
It's hard to believe that I'm at the end of the journey this blog was intended to get me through. I initially started this blog with the hope that it would help motivate me to continue running through my pregnancy and then get in shape afterwards and complete a marathon. Fortunately, it has done just that!

I'm going to step away from the blog a bit. I may still post a race report now and then. Perhaps I'll even be back to blog through a future pregnancy =)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

San Francisco Marathon Goals

Yikes, only three days until the San Francisco Marathon!

I'm really excited about this run for many reasons:
1) I'm finally back in shape post baby
2) It's been over two years since my last marathon
3) I have a shot at a decent run; my training went fairly well
4) It'll be a fun, downtown weekend with the family!

I've gone back and forth about my goals for the marathon. On one hand, I'd like to be aggressive with the race. On the other hand, it's difficult for me to determine a 'safe' aggressive approach, since it has been so long since my last marathon.  Here are the goals I settled on:

Time Goals:
A Goal: 3:40 - I know it's not really a BQ anymore, but I still have this number in the back of my head... it's hard to change that now!
B Goal: 3:48 - This would give me a PR
C Goal:  4:00 - or just finish, if something has gone wrong =)

Other Goals:
Pacing Plan: I want to negative split this thing. I've never done that in a marathon and, more importantly, the course almost demands it.
 Miles 1-6: 8:30 - 8:35 pace (I almost always start too fast)
 Miles 7-13: 8:20 - 8:25 pace
 Miles 14-20: 8:15 to 8:20 pace
 Miles 21-26: whatever I've got left =)

Overall Experience: Have Fun!!! Running marathons is a wonderful, awesome hobby and I'm so glad to be able to do it again. Also, San Francisco is a beautiful city and I'm really looking forward to enjoying the course!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lunch Time Running and Taper Madness

Lunch Time Running: This week I rediscovered something I used to love, lunch time running!

I used to do this a lot, but fell out of the routine in LA because I worked in a pretty industrial area and my building didn't have showers. At my new job, in the Berkeley Hills, I have both beautiful wilderness trails and showers at my disposal, yay!

I'm especially grateful for this right now because DH is out of town for two weeks. Thankfully, I can still get my short taper runs in while single-parenting baby girl. That brings me to...

Tapering: I don't think I've ever done this right. All my GOOGLE searching has left me more confused on what should be done for the marathon taper. My past tapers have been disastrous, since one of two scenarios always played out:

1) Injured myself during training and spent the taper doing almost no running to recover.
2) Didn't do enough running during training and used taper as an excuse to do even less.

Looking forward to the San Francisco Marathon in 10 days (yikes!) I realize I'm in pretty good shape (literally and figuratively). While I didn't accomplish as much as I planned in training, this is the strongest injury-free mileage base I've ever had before a marathon. So, I'm optimistic about having a good race.

I'm aiming to reduce mileage to 70%, 50% and then 30% of peak-week. I did a few tempo miles and some GMP miles last week and plan to do 5-6 GMP miles this weekend. Fingers crossed that this will get me to the starting line feeling rested and ready to go!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Week 15 - San Francisco Marathon Training

It's hard to believe the the bulk of training is now behind me and it's taper time. Like it or not, there isn't much more I can do to improve my fitness for the marathon. All I can do now is ruin it with too much or too little taper (I have yet to get this right!).

This was a lucky week for me. I made a very poor choice in my Wednesday run, but didn't hurt myself and was able to recover for a great weekend of running.

Looking back, I think I took on too much in the way of hills on Wednesday in search of some added stress relief. Moving two weeks before and then starting a new job the week of peak training probably wasn't ideal. I made it through, though, with some still-decent training. Now I just need to play it smart until I hit the starting line.

Week 15 Summary:

Total Mileage: 49.5
Average Pace: 9:19
Goals Achieved: 5 of 6 (No strength training - yeah, gave up on that a while ago)

Week 15 Details:

Monday: Happy 4th of July! We took a family BOB run to celebrate - 4 miles (probably 10 min pace), no Garmin and a Starbucks stop in the middle. It was awesome.

Tuesday: Rest Day and my first day at a new job!

Wednesday: 8:00 pm - 8.5 miles of nothing but hill (10:32 pace). I'm lucky I came out of this un-injured.

Thursday: 8:00 pm - 5 miles of damage control (8:54 pace).

Friday: Rest day - soreness from Wednesday's fiasco hit full-force.

Saturday: 1:45 pm - 10 GMP EASY miles easy (8:58 pace). Damage control continued today with an easier and shorter-than-planned run. My legs still felt like too-tight rubber bands.

Sunday: 7:45 am – 22 miles (9:00 pace). This was, perhaps, my best long-run ever. It was effortless and controlled. I ran easy miles when I needed and GMP miles when I wanted. They all felt good. Now, fingers are crossed hoping I'll be able to repeat the feeling in 3 weeks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fantastic Long Run

Thank you, running gods. After Wednesday's fiasco I was certain that I had either a) guaranteed injury or b) ruined my chance at a decent long run this weekend. Fortunately, I got very lucky and, with a little extra rest and shorter runs Thursday & Saturday, I was able to have a stellar long run today.

Ah, now that's pretty!

22 miles done with nice clean average of 9:00 pace. For the easy miles I targeted 9:15 to 9:30 pace and I threw in 4x2 miles at GMP (8:15 to 8:30 pace). I wanted my legs to get a taste at GMP LOE (level of effort, apologizes for the engineer-speak). So, I did the GMP stretches at miles 5-6, 11-12, 16-17 and finally 21-22. My legs felt great the whole time, thank goodness!

Now, if I can avoid messing up the taper (something I usually do), I should be able to have an enjoyable San Francisco Marathon in three weeks =)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Knowing vs. Understanding

Two weeks ago I discovered first hand just how hilly my little town is. So, when I planned tonight's run I had a rough idea of what I was getting myself into. I even checked some maps online that gave the rough grade of the roads. I knew about how high I was going and, thus, how far I was coming down. I knew, but I didn't understand.

Not the smartest thing I have ever done.
Thoughts along the route:
  1. No worries, you did this hill already. A little walking is okay, just get up there.
  2. Um, this is steep. There are even stairs for some sections. More walking. Well, up we go (slowly).
  3. Whew, done. Now for the good part.
  4. Not good, not good! OMG, this is actually too steep to run! If I fell, I'd roll for a mile before I could stop. This is a residential street; what are these people thinking living here?
  5. I should really carry my insurance card while running.
  6. Thank goodness, I'm alive.
  7. Ha, last week I thought this was a big hill.
8.5 miles later (10:18 pace, oy) I was just sooo relieved to be home. Now I'm relaxing with my second Clif Bar of the day (seriously, these are just fancy cookies). I hope I'll be able to walk tomorrow!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Catching Up: San Francisco Marathon Training Weeks 12-14

We are more or less settled in our new home in El Cerrito, CA. On Tuesday we return to the real world as our jobs start. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of moving/unpacking activity. I'm almost (almost) looking forward to getting into a more normal routine.

My favorite running-thing so far about my new city is all the wonderful water-front running I can do. Check out  today's 20-miler course:

Thumbs Up for Waterfront Running

Here's a quick catch-up on the last few weeks - with detail on this past week.

Week 12: This week was a complete bust - totally overcome by moving. I had two runs for a grand total of 7.5 miles. Oops.

Week 13: Our first week in the East Bay was a little more normal, from a running standpoint. I only got in 4 runs, but they were almost all quality miles and I had a nice 18.25 miler (9:30 pace) to cap off 35 miles for the week. I encountered a steep learning curve in my new city, literally, but enjoyed it all the same!

Week 14 Summary:

Total Mileage: 44.5
Average Pace: 8:58
Goals Achieved: 4 of 6 (No strength training or BOB run)

Week 14 Details:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 5:00 pm - 6 miles easy GMP (8:36 pace). It was pouring rain and cool all day (finally, some cooler weather!). What's a runner to do? Pull out the old running shoes and get out the door, of course! I had actually forgotten (while living in LA) how nice it can be to run in the rain! This was supposed to be an easy run, but I just couldn't help myself and let it go a little quicker.

Wednesday: Rest Day - celebrated my official offer letter for the new job =)

Thursday: 10:15 am- 10.5 miles (8:28 pace overall, 4 tempo miles at 7:26, 7:32, 7:46 and 7:39). I didn't really have a plan for this run besides not getting lost along the new route I had planned. So, when I was confident on where I was I there in a tempo mile here or there and slowed it down when I knew I had to look out for new turns =)

Friday: 8:00 am - 3 EASY miles (9:34 pace). Whew, I was tired. My legs felt like lead. So, I took each of the exercise-starved doggies for 1.5 miles and called it good. They were happy and I was relieved to be done!

Saturday: 8:00 pm - 5 miles easy (9:02 pace). I was still feeling wiped and it was majorly hot outside (isn't it supposed to be cooler up in San Fran?). So, I scrapped the original plan for 10 miles and took it easy.

Sunday: 7:00 am – 20 miles (9:14 pace). It was going to be another very hot day (what gives?) but when my alarm went of at 5:30 I just couldn't get out of bed; not because I wasn't awake - had been since 5 am - but because baby girl was cuddled up next to me sleeping so sweetly. I'm all for getting miles in early, but I'm not leaving that behind =) At 7 am she woke up and I bolted out the door (thanks hubby, for taking the busy shift!) because if I waited any longer I'd be melting. I over hydrated a bit (ahem, 4 bathroom stops) but otherwise felt great and was soooo glad to have the miles done.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Little Hill

Last week (Has it already been a week? Oy, better get back to running!) we moved to the East Bay, specifically, a little town called El Cerrito. El Cerrito means "little hill" or "knoll". Ahem, apparently we have different definitions of "little":

Guess how much of that first mile I actually ran. Yeah, almost none. (Note to self: running in a strange city without checking an elevation map is dumb).

There was a group of kids with a lemonade stand at the top of the hill. I only had my emergency $20 with me and they only had $5 change. $15 for lemonade? Yes please, thankyouverymuch. (Note to self: run with smaller bills).

Then I got lost and ended up back home after 8.5 miles instead of 10. After those hills, I wasn't about to run any more. I.was.done. (Note to self: running in a strange city without any map is really dumb).

Hills aside, I do enjoy the process of finding new runs in a new city. Let's hope I do my research a little better from now on. =)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 11 - San Francisco Marathon Training

I didn’t get in all the running I wanted to this week (and no strength training), but it was for a good cause; DH graduated with his PhD! My hubby is now a Dr. =)

Congrats, honey!

So, while running took a bit of a back-seat to graduation-related activities, I still was able to get the quality running in. Next week will be challenging also, because of our move. Hopefully, I still hit the most important stuff.

Week 11 Summary:

Total Mileage: 38.75
Average Pace: 8:48
Goals Achieved: 4 of 6 (No strength training and only 4 days of running)

Week 11 Details:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 11:00 am - 4 miles with the BOB (8:43 pace). Felt really good during this run.

Wednesday: 4:30 pm - 6.5 miles with 4 miles at tempo (7:38 avg), 1 mile recovery, and then 1 interval mile (7:01). I had felt a panic attack coming on all day and this run was just what I needed to push it back.

Thursday: Rest Day – Oops, I had three (unplanned) glasses of wine at a 4pm cocktail party – no running tonight.

Friday: Rest Day – graduation day, yay!

Saturday: 8:00 pm - 10 miles with 9 at GMP (8:22 pace for the GMP miles, 8:30 pace overall). Another solid run; things are going much better after my relative week of rest.

Sunday Monday: 8:45 am – 18.25 miles (9:20 pace) - Baby girl needed some extra loving Sunday night to navigate some teething pain. Fortunately, Grandma was still in town and could watch her Monday morning – so, I did my long run today. The first 9 miles were in perfect weather, but then the sun came out in full force. I backed off the pace a bit and ended up finishing feeling great with two strong last miles. All-in-all, a pretty successful week!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 10 - San Francisco Marathon Training

This week was definitely about quality over quantity. I should have planned a little better and front-loaded the week. I didn't, though, and with DH out of town Friday - Sunday I just couldn't get the miles in.

Baby girl and I did make it out for a few BOB runs. She enjoyed some of them more than others, and they were all short. By way of compensation for sitting in the BOB, we stopped by the park for swing rides. To her, that was the best part of the runs this week!

Week 10 Summary:

Total Mileage: 23
Average Pace: 8:52
Goals Achieved: 5 of 6 (No long run)

Week 10 Details:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: Rest day - unplanned, but needed. While I didn't develop any soreness, Sunday's 17 miler really tired me out!

Wednesday: 7:30 am - 6.5 miles with 3 at Tempo (8:34 overall pace, 7:44 for the tempo miles) - I still felt very tired and struggled to maintain a tempo pace. So, I listened to my body and backed off a bit.

Thursday: 7:30 pm - 6.5 miles, easy (8:42 pace) - I just ran how I felt.

Friday: 4:00 pm - strength training session with baby girl. followed by 3.5 miles with the BOB (10:00 pace) - I wore myself out lifting baby girl around =) She started to melt down in the stroller, so we went to the park.

Saturday: 8:00 am - 3 miles with the BOB at GMP (8:17 pace). This was a mom fail. I started the run too close to her nap time and she had a complete meltdown 1.5 miles into the run. I miss the days when she could sleep in the stroller! Well, there was nothing to do but run home ASAP =)

Sunday: 5:00 pm - 3.5 miles with the BOB (9:04 pace) - Baby girl enjoyed this run much better. The park near our house has been very crowded, so, we tried another one about 1.75 miles away. Huge success. It was a prettier park and it was almost empty. On the way back we passed our usual park and it was packed, as usual. We'll have to find some good parks again when we move in a few weeks!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Strength Training Baby Style

With DH out of town, I'm improvising my workouts a bit. Today, baby girl and I came up with our own mommy/baby strength training routine.

I've never worked out with sandbags, but I image sandbag workouts are similar to lugging a baby around. A squishy, moving weight is a lot harder to manage then a dumbbell. Baby weighs about 20 lbs right now. So, I was able to get a decent workout. Sine sandbags can't giggle at you, I'll bet the baby version is much more entertaining. Though, sandbags don't need nursing breaks =)

Here's our workout using some baby specific modifications to typical exercises. I did 2-3 sets of each.

Squats: (8 reps) Stand holding baby. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to starting position.

Press: (8 reps) Hold baby, under her arms, in front of your chest. Raise baby above your head until your arms are straight. Return to starting position.

Step-ups: (8 reps, each leg) Stand holding baby with one foot on chair. Raise yourself up to standing on the chair, on that foot. Lower back to starting position.

Push-Up*: (8 reps) Standard push-up.

Reverse Wood-Chop: (8 reps, each side) Stand holding baby, under her arms, with baby next to the outside of your left knee. Raise baby across your body and up, until you're holding baby as high as possible and to the right. Return baby to starting position.

Plank: (as long as possible) Hold the plank position (back straight, forearms and toes on the ground) while baby uses you as support for pulling up =)

Russian Twist: (8 reps, to each side) Sit with feet off the floor, back straight. Move baby from side to side while trying to keep your torso still.

Dips*: (8 reps) With your back to a chair, support yourself with arms straight, palms on the chair and heels, straight out, on the floor. Bend elbows to lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Raise yourself to the starting position.

* these exercises don't use the baby =)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tempo Run - kinda

This morning's tempo run didn't exactly go as planned. Granted, selecting a route with the first two miles on a gradual uphill wasn't the smartest move on my part. Still, I was tired tired tired and spent after 3 miles at the slow end of my tempo range (7:44 pace). Rather than exhaust myself trying to hit my planned 5 tempo miles, I cried uncle and cruised for the rest of the run.

To me, this indicates it's time for a step-back week. My mileage hasn't been high, but it still seems that the legs are ready for a bit of relative R&R. The timing is good, since DH is going out of town and a long long-run with the BOB wasn't really feasible anyway. I think I'll spend much of the week playing the "how long can the baby sit in the BOB happily" game. Speaking off... little miss is waking up so off I go =)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Week 9 - San Francisco Marathon Training

It's hard to believe that I'm already half way through this training cycle. I'm back on track, even though I still missed some goals this week. After some rough weeks, I'm enjoying my runs again and looking forward to the higher mileage weeks that are just around the corner. In three weeks we will have completed our move to the Bay Area and then I can start to scout out some interesting new runs.

Week 9 Summary:

Total Mileage: 40
Average Pace: 9:22
Goals Achieved: 4.5 of 6 (Only 4 days of running and 1 strength training session)

Week 9 Details:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: Lazy rest day. No excuses, I just didn't get myself out there.

Wednesday: 9:45 pm - 7.5 miles with 6 at GMP (8:38 overall pace, 8:25 for the GMP miles) - I felt really strong for this run. No surprise, after two rest days =)

Thursday: 10:00 am - strength training session. My plans for an evening run were sabotaged by DH, who didn't make it home from work until almost midnight. Darn.

Friday: 10:00 am - 8 miles (9:41 pace) - I set out with the goal of doing my long run for the week. After a few miles, however, I was doing an impression of the Wicked Witch of the West; "I'm melting". Pasadena, I love you, but I will not miss you're hot weather. Sooo, excited to be moving to the East Bay! Defeated, I turned around and headed home.

Saturday: 1:30 pm - 3 miles with the BOB followed by a track session of 4x800m. (9:10 overall pace, intervals at 3:23, 3:25, 3:28 & 3:22). This was our first BOB run as a family! I can't believe it took 8 months to successfully drag DH out there with me and baby girl, but we finally made it =)

Sunday: 8:45 pm - 17 miles (9:42 pace) - This run almost didn't happen, so, I'm just thank full I finally found the motivation to get it done. I got up at 6am like a good girl, had my Clif Bar and coffee and was all ready to head out the door; that's just when baby girl thought it was a good time to get up. After working most of the night on a project, DH was dead to the world and I couldn't get him to come watch the baby. So, I had a lovely morning playing with her instead. Unfortunately, the day was jam-packed, with fun activities. After a BBQ (and wine!) at a friend's place and dinner out with the fam, I thought the long run was history.

I tricked myself into leaving the house by saying "Oh, I'll just do 4 miles and then do my long run tomorrow." I didn't even take GU with me =) It was a beautiful night (thank goodness it really cools off at night) and I just kept adding on a few miles here, another mile there, and - voila! - 2.75 hours later I had my long run done!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 8 - San Francisco Marathon Training

While my week 8 training looked a lot like week 4, at least I'm somewhat back on track. After the last three 'down' weeks, I didn't want to over-do it. So, I took one extra rest day and kept the runs a little shorter then planned.

A risky thing I did this week was break one of my cardinal rules - long run shouldn't be 50% or more of the week's total mileage. Okay, so I didn't actually break this rule (15 mile long run to 30.75 total miles) but, I came pretty close. I know from past experience that this is the zone in which I tend to get injured. Next week, I'll try to keep a healthier balance.

Week 8 Summary:
Total Mileage: 30.75
Average Pace: 9:08
Goals Achieved: 4.5 of 6 (Only 4 days of running and 1 strength training session)

Week 8 Details:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 8:30 pm - 4.5 miles on treadmill with 3 at tempo pace (8:04 overall pace, 7:37 for tempo miles) - felt good after the run and followed it up with a strength training session.

Wednesday: Extra rest day.

Thursday: 9:15 pm - 7 miles with 5 at GMP (8:35 overall pace, 8:26 for the GMP miles) - 5 GMP miles solo and then 1 mile with each doggie =)

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: 5:00 pm - 4.5 miles with the BOB. Note to self: running with the BOB in windy conditions is much harder =)

Sunday: 11:15 am - 15 miles (9:31 pace) - I had some knee pain, on and off, the last few miles. Considering the previous 3 weeks' 'training', this shouldn't come as a surprise. All-in-all, this was a solid run.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week 6 and 7 - San Francisco Marathon Training - On the Mend

Every marathon training plan has its challenges. These last few weeks were, 'hopefully', the most challenging in this cycle. Unfortunately, that may not be the case since I still have to move and start new job before the SFM in July!

Week 5 and 6 (5 miles and 24 miles, respectively) were pretty much destroyed thanks to the great ear infection of 2011. Last week, week 7, I was finally feeling better but took it easy with 3 3-milers and one 7 mile run. I even got in a strength training workout! Two travel days (to a wedding, yay!) made getting the long run in almost impossible, though.

With 11 weeks to go, I'm looking forward instead of lamenting my poor training the last 3 weeks. Realistically, I of course need to adjust my training plan now that I'm so far off. There is still plenty of time to get in some quality preparation, though. Also, this Thursday is my last day of work and I'll have a few weeks at home (presumably, preparing to move) when I should be able to get some good runs in. Fingers crossed =)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week 5 - San Francisco Marathon "Training"

Every training cycle has weeks where it just doesn't work, for one reason or another. This week was like that for me - for several reasons. All I can do now is put this week behind me, do my best to forget and not dwell on it, and try again next week. As far as running is concerned, it can only get better from here =)

Week 5 Summary:

Total Mileage: 5
Average Pace: 10:01
Goals Achieved: 0 of 6 (it happens sometimes, see below)

Week 5 Details:

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: After a very stressful Mon/Tue at work, I was very wound up and very excited for my planned workout - intervals at the track followed by strength training. I jogged the 1 mile to the campus gym, smiled at the gym employee and said hello as a grabbed a towel and showed him my ID.

Employee (MBMOPT - middle-aged balding man on power trip): "That ID won't get you in - it doesn't have your picture on it."
Me: "Oh, you see I don't work on campus - so, I couldn't get to the ID office when they were open (4 hours a week, middle of the day) to get my picture taken. So, my husband got this one for me.
MBMOPT: "Still, can't let you in."
Me: "Here's my drivers license. See, it's actually my name on the ID." (I carry my drivers license to the gym for precisely this reason - gym employee on power trip).
MBMOPT: "Still, can't let you in."

At this point, I considered whether or not he might try to actually physically restrain me from running around the track. My stress level was so high, however, that I just couldn't deal with even testing it. Lest I start either a) crying in front of him or b) cursing at him in unbelievably poor language, I just walked away. I thought I may just go for a tempo run instead, but 0.25 miles later my stress level caught up with my body and I got
some terrible foot cramps. I limped home and spent the next few hours in the fetal position working out cramps. Wonderful workout.

Wednesday: Baby girl was sick so I stayed home with her. DH came home over lunch so I could get a run in (no time that evening, since we were leaving at 6pm to drive to San Francisco). The problem: at noon it was 85 degrees and sunny out. Have I mentioned I consider 65 degrees too warm to run? Anyway, I took it easy and managed 4 slow miles before I completely overheated.

I was so excited to be going to San Francisco! I packed the BOB, the Garmin, GU, fuel belt and planned out several routes I was going to run. Yay! This will be awesome...

Thursday: I woke up and noticed that my right ear felt like it needed to pop. I thought it was just from the drive over the hills the previous night. I went to my job interview (that went well, yay!) but felt worse when I came back - like I was hearing everything from under 3 feet of water. Then the pain started... and got worse and worse. Damn, definitely an ear infection. I've never had one as an adult - and I'm already crying for my baby the first time she gets one - they're that painful!
Friday - Sunday: Various states of discomfort due to ear infection - definitely not running. We ended up coming home a day early so we could drive at night again (worked wonderfully with the baby, she slept the whole way. What a doll!). I was so sad to unpack all of my clean, unused running clothes this morning. The trip, though, was a success overall. I believe I got a job and we found a place to live. As much as I like to focus on running, it clearly wasn't the most important thing last week =)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 4 - San Francisco Marathon Training

While I didn't get in all of the miles and strength training I wanted, it was still a pretty satisfying week. I felt pretty comfortable on all of my runs and was able to stay a little better rested this week. Next week will be busy, with a 4 day trip to San Francisco. I plan to take advantage of being up there and scope out some running routs for after our move!

Week 4 Summary:

Total Mileage: 33.2
Average Pace: 9:09
Goals Achieved: 5 of 6 (I didn't get the stremgth training in)

Week 4 Details:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 9:00 pm - 5 miles (9:06 pace) - 4 solo miles and then a 1 mile with the dogs.

Wednesday: 9:30 pm - 5 miles with 3 at tempo (9:04 overall pace, 7:45 pace for tempo miles)

Thursday:  9:00 pm - 4.2 miles (8:58 pace) - group run

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: 5:00 pm - 6 miles with 5 at GMP (4.5 miles with the BOB) (8:38 overall pace, 8:28 pace for GMP miles) - finally, a GMP run with the BOB that actually approximated my GMP =) Baby girl got fussy around 4.5 miles. So, I dropped her off with DH (thanks, hubby!) and finished up my run.

Sunday: 9:00 am - 13 miles; 8 as group run and then 5 solo (9:43 avg pace, 10:04 for the group miles, 9:13 for the solo miles) - felt good, finished with two strong miles.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Compression Socks - On the bandwagon

"Honey, I have a confession to make."

DH looked up at me warily from his books, "What is it?"

"Today, I spent $40 on a pair of socks."

He looked a bit confused. "Why would you do that?"

"Well, see, they help you recover - from running - and they're super cozy."

I knew it sounded like a lame reason. That is precisely why I haven't bought any until today. I mean, really, $40 for socks? Today was stressful at work and I had an unexpected break between meetings around lunch. So, to relish my brief zen time, I headed to the running store down the street and, surprise, walked out with a pair of compression socks.

While waiting for my gas tank to fill on the way home, I pulled them on in my car. Oh my, now that is nice. I was immediately grinning ear to ear. Why hasn't someone convinced me to try these before? Sure, I've seen all your blog posts on compression socks. Why, though, hasn't one of my running buddies taken me by the shoulders, shaken me violently and loudly asserted you must get these? They're that good =)

I don't plan to actually run in these bad boys, not yet, at least. I will, however, likely be wearing them whenever possible... including to bed tonight. Is it possible to wear compression socks too much? Probably. I'll do the requisite Google searching tomorrow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week 3 - San Francisco Marathon Training

Well, I didn't reach my goal of getting runs done in the morning during the week. I did, however, still manage to get in the miles and quality workouts I wanted. Best of all, this was a minor 'step-back' week. So, I feel well rested and ready to continue building mileage next week!

Week 3 Summary:
  • Total Mileage: 33
  • Average Pace: 9:16
  • Goals Achieved: 6 of 6 (yay, first week getting everything in!)
Week 3 Details:
  • Monday: Rest Day
  • Tuesday: 8:45 pm - 5 miles (9:03 pace) - 2 solo miles and then a 3 mile group run. 
  • Wednesday: Rest Day - unplanned. I started watching Gone With the Wind and, whoops, it was 11pm before I knew it.
  • Thursday: 
    • 4:45 pm - 6.5 miles GMP (goal marathon pace) run and BOB run (8:47 pace overall) - I left work a little early and took the BOB to get baby girl from day care. I didn't quite hit the pace I wanted, but I give myself points for pushing the stroller =) (note, I probably looked goofy running with an empty baby stroller for 3.25 miles!)
  • Friday: 10:30 am - 4.5 miles (8:35 pace) - Interval workout, 4x800 with 0.25 between. Intervals @ 3:31, 3:32, 3:27, 3:27. Happy to be back on the track.
  • Saturday: 8:30 am - 7 miles (10:17 pace) - group run
  • Sunday: 
    • 9:30 am - 10 miles (9:18 pace) - long run, finished with 1.5 miles at GMP (8:30) and felt great.
    • 3:45 pm - strength training session (I really need to get these in during the week)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Conquering the Oval

It has been 10 years since I stepped on a track, until this morning. Sure, I've done my share of interval workouts, but always on a treadmill or on the road (thank you, Garmin!)... never the track. Some hate the track, but not me. I love it. So why did I stay away so long? Shame, and fear.

You see, back in high school and my freshman year of college I was a sprinter - 400m. I loved that race, especially the mile relay, and the sport in general. Running track was something I had very little talent for, but really, really wanted to be good at. So, I worked very, very hard and made my university D1 track team as a walk on. I even made the travel team, and scored points in meets. I loved it.

And then, as has happened many times since, I came face-to-face with my own limitations. I was a physics major and the topic was really too difficult for me. At least, it was too difficult for me to do well in my studies and spend three hours a day running around a circle. I admire all student athletes who can make it all work. I couldn't. I wasn't on a scholarship and didn't go to college to run. So, halfway through the spring semester my freshman year I quit the team. For 19 year old me, it was my first big failure.

Since then I have stayed away from the track. I was ashamed that I hadn't been able to do it all - especially, while at school, when I ran into my old teammates. Also, I was afraid of the regret I'd feel if I did go back on the track - maybe, just maybe if I'd tried harder?

Today, however, felt like the day. I took the day off work, it was beautiful outside, and it was a little too hot to do the long run I had planned. So, I made my way to the beautiful red oval (I do live on a college campus) and tried it out. It was perfect. My 800m repeats came off beautifully and I felt completely at home; nostalgic, but not sad. I'm not entirely sure why it took me so long, but I'm happy to be back on the track =)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week 2 - San Francisco Marathon Training

Two things became clear this week:
  1. I need to get more miles in during the week. This weekend warrior business will likely get me injured.
  2. I need to get up early (yikes) and run in the morning, if number 1 is going to happen.
Week 2 Summary:
  • Total Mileage: 32.75
  • Average Pace: 9:06
  • Goals Achieved: 5 of 6 (no BOB run this week - sorry, baby girl)
Week 2 Details:
  • Monday: Rest Day - needed it, after the busy weekend.
  • Tuesday: 9:00 pm - 3 miles (9:25 pace) - group run. I learned that Mexican food and two glasses of wine is not a good pre-run meal (duh!).
  • Wednesday: Rest Day - unplanned, DH worked late and I went to bed at 9:30, before he was home.
  • Thursday: 
    • 4:45 am - 5 miles w/ 3 at tempo (8:37 pace overall, 7:47 tempo pace) - felt great
    • 8:00 pm - strength training session
    • 9:00 pm - 3 miles (8:38 pace) - group run, and finally tired!
  • Friday: 10:45 pm - 4.5 miles (9:40 pace) - just glad I got a run in.
  • Saturday: 9:00 am - 6 miles (8:44 pace) - marathon pace run. I was hoping for closer to 8:30 pace, but I ran with a friend and we talked the whole time. So, that ups the effort a bit.
  • Sunday: 
    • 9:00 am - 11 miles (9:19 pace) - 6 mile group run and then 5 solo. I finished up with two strong miles and felt really good.
    • 6:30 pm - strength training session

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Get out the door!

Yesterday was one of those low motivation days. I had a heavy workout day on Thursday, an early wake-up on Friday and then a very busy day at work. Things seemed to conspire against my run... but I finally got something in.
  • 5:30 pm: Had planned a BOB run, but baby girl was too tired from missing her afternoon nap at day care. All she could handle was to eat and go to sleep. =( No baby time for me that day. 
  • 6 pm: I was sitting in the living room - reading - waiting for DH to get home.
  • 8 pm: Hungry - where is that guy?
  • 8:45 pm: DH waltzes in w/ dinner (had gone out for drinks with coworkers)
  • 8:45-10:30 pm: eat, watch movie, digest
  • 10:45 pm: Getting ready to run - my only goal being to make it out the door and return in a better mood. I ask DH to clean the baby's bottles from the day while I'm gone.
  • 11 pm: 1 mile into run, consider turning around.
  • 11:30 pm: Back from 4.5 mile run - still in a poor mood, though.
  • 11:35 pm: Scowl at dirty baby bottles still on counter, ask DH to clean them while I shower.
  • 12:00 am: Get out of shower, scowl at dirty baby bottles still on counter. Dress, wash baby bottles.
  • 12:15 am: DH asks why I'm in a bad mood. I point to the now clean bottles, then the clock, kiss him good night and go to bed =)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week 1 - San Francisco Marathon Training

Well, for better or worse, my marathon training has finally begun! Again, my plan for the SFM is to use a 18-week training plan. While I laid out a detailed plan, I know I will have to be very flexible with the timing, content and duration of my runs, given the logistics of baby girl, my husband, etc..

For the next five weeks, many of my runs will be group runs I'm leading. I'm helping some undergraduates train for their first half marathon. My pace on these runs will be dictated by how the group is doing.

To help keep things on track, I have six general goals. For each week I'm going to try to achieve: 1) five days of running, 2) one interval or tempo run, 3) one pace run, 4) one long run, 5) two strength sessions, 6) one BOB run.

Week 1 Summary:
  • Total Mileage: 30.25
  • Average Pace: 9:19
  • Goals Achieved: 4 of 6 (didn't have an interval/tempo run and didn't get the strength training in)
Week 1 Details:
  • Monday: Rest Day - planned 3 miles, but fell asleep at 7:30 pm 
  • Tuesday:  5:00 am - 3.25 miles (9:09 pace) - woke up well rested, thanks to early bed time =)
  • Wednesday: 9:40 pm - 5 miles (9:00 pace) - planned to run earlier and do a tempo run, but the hubby worked late and the Garmin was dead, so, a relaxed 5 it was!
  • Thursday: 9:00 pm - 3 miles (9:20 pace) - group run
  • Friday: Rest Day
  • Saturday:
    • 8:30 am - 5 miles (9:45 pace) - group run
    • 3:45 pm - 4 miles (9:04 pace) - BOB run (since I was pushing the BOB, I'm counting this as my pace run also =)). I'm not a fan of double days (I don't run enough mileage to warrant them, and I realize I'm really just flirting with injury when I do them). However, the baby was fussy and hubby needed to work. So, I headed out with baby girl and came back with a baby ready to nap.
  • Sunday: 9:00 pm - 10 miles (9:25 pace) - 5 miles solo and then 5 miles group run.This was the way to do a 'long' run, company for the second half! When one of the students missed Saturday's run and asked if I could run on Sunday night, I decided to do my long run for the week this way. I'm glad I did =)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Getting Strong: Dial It In Phase - FAIL

Well, things couldn't keep up at such a great clip =)

While I was wonderfully consistent for the first two months of my getting strong challenge, following Rachel Cosgrove's training plan, this month was a big fat fail.

I exaggerate a bit. The first two weeks were moderately successful with two weight training workouts a week. My transition back to work full time took its toll, though. I was exhausted (falling asleep at 7:30 pm is not normal for an adult) and stressed with the schedule changes (not to mention being away from baby girl - who won't take bottles - for the first time). Then, hubby had a 10 day work trip - making the gym and, for the most part running, a no-go during that time. Ah well.

At least I didn't gain any weight this month! I'm sure I lost some strength, but that's okay. The question now is how to proceed. I'm ramping up my running - it's finally time for marathon training! - and don't want to overdo it in the strength training department.

So, while I hate to leave this challenge unfinished, I think I'm going to bypass Congrove's last stage (and the half-completed third stage). Instead, I'm going to bounce back and fourth between the stage 1 and stage 2 workouts, hopefully twice a week, to maintain strength while I run.

This first week has already had its challenges (fell asleep at 7:30 pm on Monday - again!) but I'm starting to find a rhythm. I still haven't quite figured out how to get to the gym (hubby has been working late) but that should take care of itself in the next week or so. In any case, I'm looking forward to my next fitness phase - training for the SFM!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gearing Up

Here I go... next week is the beginning of my 18 week training plan for the 2011 San Francisco Marathon!!!

I have been anticipating my next marathon training cycle for some time and for many reasons:
  • Fitness: I consider this the last step of getting back into shape post baby
  • Redemption: I have made a lot of training mistakes in the past (low mileage, too much taper, poor nutrition (try running a marathon while anemic!)). This time, I hope to get all these key components right.
  • Strength: Thanks to my focus on strength training the last few months, I feel like I have a solid fitness base to begin marathon training on.
  • Transition: We're moving to San Francisco in a few months. What better way to get excited about my new home?!
  • Gratitude: As always, I consider myself fortunate to be able to devote the extensive time, energy and money (all those extra calories aren't free!) required to marathon training. I love running and the stress release it gives me. Without my husband's support and patience (especially now, with baby girl) I would never be able to fit it in!
I have a rough (okay, very detailed) training plan laid out. However, I don't want to focus too much on the numbers. First, I don't have a good idea of what my target pace should be right now... so, I'll wait until a tune-up race (to be determined) in a few months to narrow that down. Second, I think, with baby girl and working full time again, I'll have to be a little more flexible then normal. Instead, here are the guidelines I'd like to follow:
  • Run at least five days a week - frequency, more then anything else, seems to affect my running the most.
  • At least one hard 'speed' session a week - either an interval workout or good tempo run
  • One medium 'pace' run a week - pace is still to be determined, but I'll start targeting around 8:30s
  • Long Runs - never miss them (one per week)
  • Two strength training sessions a week - these will be maintenance workouts
  • At least one BOB run a week - can't have too much time away from baby girl!
The details of my schedule, now that I'm back to work, are still being ironed out. It looks like I'll be doing most of my running after the baby goes to sleep at night, since I already get up around 5:30am, not including running time. It will be a busy training cycle, juggling work, baby and the move (oh, and squeezing in some time for the husband!). I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's a good running weekend when...

... you get a blister on your pinky from the way you're pushing the BOB stroller. Seriously, if you're going to get a blister from running, that's the one to get!

DH is out of town for 10 days. So, baby girl and I are getting in some quality BOB time again. It's been hit and miss since I started working, but the weekends are still good for a BOB run or two.

I've learned that, when running with the baby, it's best to be flexible with my daily running goals. Success is measured by making it out the door, period. Since her stamina for sitting in the stroller is a little unpredictable, I have started doing 2 mile loops around my neighborhood. That way, whenever she starts to get fussy, I'm usually never more then 5 minutes away from home. So, she doesn't have to stay in the stroller when she's unhappy and keeps a positive association with it. As long as she's happy, I keep running and get in however many miles I can!

Yesterday I almost didn't make it out the door. I even got the stroller out and then put it away - twice - because I wasn't quite feeling a run. At 5pm, however, she was fussy and I was tired of carrying/bouncing her. So, we finally headed out for a run.

Then, completely unexpectedly, I felt awesome! The miles clicked by super (by comparison) fast. Normally, my BOB miles hover near 10 minutes. Yesterday, Garmin happily reported 8:30 - 8:45 pace! I was cruising - pleased as punch. I even passed another runner; first time that's every happened with the BOB. Of course, one mile later, someone else passed me and the baby started to squirm. Oh well, two strides forward, one stride back =)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adjusting and Training Plan

Last week I returned to work (sigh) and I'm still attempting to settle into some sort of a schedule that allows me to get my workouts in.

I had a nice routine with baby girl; I did most of my walks (can't forget the doggies) and runs (hurray for the BOB) during the day with her and then my weight workouts at night, when DH was home. Now, I'm out the door by 6am (after feeding baby girl) to get to work by 7am, out the door at work by 4pm to pick up baby girl by 5:15pm, feed/play/bath/feed baby and then she (and I) are out by 7pm.

If I'm able to stay motivated, I run and/or lift weights after she's asleep. Nights like tonight, though, I fell asleep while doing her last nursing and woke up next to her at 7:45pm. Super cute... but not conducive to getting my workouts in! I still did the run, but skipped the weights I had planned. Ah well, I'm sure I'll settle into a routine eventually. Unfortunately, it will almost definitely include fewer workouts.

On a related topic, I really need to decide on a training plan for the San Francisco Marathon (July 31st, yay!). I'd like to use an 18 week plan, so training starts in two weeks! I'm having a hard time deciding on how much track/tempo/pace runs to include. On one hand, I'd love to go after a PR. On the other, that's a little crazy ambitious since I still consider myself on baby comeback. Any suggestions are welcome!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Getting Strong: Define Yourself Phase

A month ago I posted about my experience with the first weight lifting cycle in Rachel Cosgrove's Female Body Breakthrough.* I mostly continued the program for the second month. Here's how it went:

What I did:
 - Followed Cosgrove's weight lifting routines as closely as possible (exceptions noted below).
 - Did not miss a weight lifting workout (3 times a week).

What I did not do:
 - Follow all other Cosgrove advice. This includes:
  • Eat 5/6 small meals a day: this drove me nuts the first month. Eating 5-6 times wasn't the problem. The problem was making sure each 'meal' had the correct protein/vegetable balance. I let this go and was much less stressed about my eating.
  • No running. Yeah, there was no chance this would happen. Though, I did keep my running to 20 miles or so per week and my longest run was only 7.5 miles.
  • Metabolic circuits: I did the running I wanted, instead of these.
  • Exercise modifications:
    • Assisted Chin-Up: my gym doesn't have elastic bands for assisted chin-up, so, I just used the assisted chin-up machine.
    • Inverted Row: there aren't many squat racks at my gym... and lots of people who want to use them... so, rather then hold up a rack for this, I just used a row machine.
- I continued to lose weight the first two weeks and then stabilized at a pound or so under my pre-pregnancy weight. This is good and expected, since I'm clearly adding some lean mass to my frame in the process of these workouts.

 - My strength improved greatly; especially on the two exercises I found to be the most difficult: chin-up and single leg squat. The last set of assisted chin-ups I did had 18 fewer pounds of assistance then the first. I couldn't even do a set of single-leg squats at first (with a bench behind me, not full range of motion). The last workout, I cranked out three good sets with the bench.

 - I now fit into all of my pre-pregnancy 'skinny' clothes! This is, of course, my favorite result. I can even wear my favorite skin-tight, not-at-all-stretchy-fabric dress. Two months ago, I couldn't even pull that dress up over my bum, let alone zip it and have it look good!

So, I'm still enjoying the routines and will continue with the next set: Dial It In Phase. Again, I'm only going to follow the weight routines and not the rest of the program. We'll see how it goes =)

* I have no affiliation with Cosgrove and have not received anything for this review.

Monday, February 28, 2011

ABCs of Me

I'm such a joiner =) Not one to be left out of a blogging trend, here are my ABCs. Enjoy!

(A) Age: 29
(B) Bed Size: Queen
(C) Chore You Really Dislike: Vacuuming - I spend the rest of the day sneezing thanks to my dust allergy.
(D) Dogs? 2 retired racing greyhounds: Suka and Ezra
(E) Essential Start Your Day Item: Coffee - I gave it up while preggo but, sigh, I'm addicted again.
(F) Favorite Color: Forest green - though, I really prefer to be in a forest.
(G) Gold or Silver? Platinum or white gold - I'm too lazy to keep silver clean.
(H) Height: 5' 8"
(I) Instruments You Play: None
(J) Job Title: Systems Engineer
(K) Kids: Noelle, 5 months
(L) Live: Pasadena, CA - soon to be San Francisco (Berkeley, maybe?), CA
(M) Mom's Name: Cathy - though, she wishes it was Katherine.
(N) Nicknames: Linds
(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? My birth (1 month), broken arm (2 weeks), Noelle's birth (2 nights)
(P) Pet Peeve: Wasting time - specifically, other people wasting mine.
(Q) Quote from a Movie: "One Dollar!?!" - Trading Places
(R) Right or Left Handed? Right
(S) Siblings: 2, younger sister and younger brother
(T) Time You Wake Up? Right now, 7am with Noelle. Starting next week, 5am for work.
(U) Underwear: Thongs
(V) Vegetable You Dislike: None, they're all good.
(W) What Makes You Run Late: I am almost always punctual.
(X) X-Rays: Left arm, back, teeth.
(Y) Yummy Food You Make: Coffee crumb cake - okay, it's a mix from a box.
(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Cheetah

Sunday, February 27, 2011

'Long' Run FAIL

The hubby is out of town for the week, so little miss and I have been getting some quality time with the jogging stroller. She has really seemed to be enjoying it too. She even let me get in a six mile run last week, during her fussy evening hour, without so much as a peep! BOB should use that as a marketing line - the fussy-hour baby soother!

I was so encouraged by this that I thought I'd still try to meet my friends for our weekly long(er) run by the beach. Running on The Strand is one of my favorite things in LA (I realize how lame that makes me, given all the entertainment options LA has to offer). We drove down this morning and baby girl seemed to be in a good mood as we started. I had my fingers crossed for a good 6-7 mile run, at least.

Unfortunately, my timing was not perfect. Mom FAIL on my part. Twenty minutes into the run we hit baby's morning nap time. I was hoping that she'd just fall asleep in the stroller and I could run through her whole nap - but it was not meant to be. Instead, she was very upset/fussy - as she had a right to be, away from her comfy crib. So, I turned around and b-lined it back to the car, waving my friends on and wishing them luck.

Baby was quiet and semi-zoned out by the time we got back to the car, but still awake. Given the drive we still had to do to get home, I decided that was enough running for the day and called it quits at 4 miles. She happily snoozed on the way home, and fell back asleep in the crib shortly thereafter. All-in-all, not a complete waste. Four miles and some brief social interaction is better then nothing. Plus, baby got her first look at the ocean =)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Game Has Changed

The Boston Athletic Association announced a new registration process for 2012 (rolling admission based on qualifying time) and new qualifying standards for 2013 (5 min, 59 sec faster per age group). Rolling admission will remain in effect for 2013 also. New Boston Marathon Qualifying Standards

Boston was my very first marathon. I ran it as a charity entry in 2005. Like most first-timers, I toed the line over-trained and semi-injured. It was a very painful, wonderful, slow & exhilarating 26.2 miles... and I was hooked. I have long set my sights on running my (now old) qualifying standard of 3:40 (my last attempt came in at 3:48).

I'm not going to say too much about the new standards... I'm already snowed in by the flurry of blog chatter. I would, however, like to say this. Challenge raised - Challenge accepted!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love Yourself Valentine Challenge

Zoe over at runzoerun is hosting an awesome love yourself valentine challenge. She sent out 36 valentines w/ tiny skull tattoos to 36 of her readers (yay, I'm one). The idea is to take a photograph with the skull tattoo on the part of your body you're most proud of, and explain why. So, here's my pic:

I love my middle because it made my baby =)

I chose my tummy as my 'most proud of' body part, not because it looks the best, but because it has accomplished the most; it was able to make my beautiful baby girl. In the process, it expanded to huge proportions and then 'almost' back again, 4.5 months later. I'm impressed with, and grateful for, all that my tummy can do!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mom's First Race

First 'Race' Post Baby
This past Sunday I earned by Super Bowl game chow with the super fun Redondo Beach 10k. Above is me (on the left) chit-chatting with a friend as we make our way through this race.

If you live in the LA area, I highly recommend making it out for this one. You feel like you're at a marathon start line, with all of the energy and crowds that this race musters. Redondo Beach has their act down, too. With probably 10,000 plus participants, we were still able to walk up 30 minutes before the start, casually register, get our chips and shirts and have time for a port-o-potty stop. Talk about easy!

Perhaps the best part of this race, though, is the carbo-reload at the beer garden. Really, it wouldn't be a race without a beer garden. And, to top it off, the Packers won the Super Bowl! (I'm from WI). So, yay!

Monday, February 7, 2011

And the Next Marthon is....

I have finally been able to choose my next marathon, and it's the San Francisco Marathon on July 31, 2011!

We have been planning a move to an, until last week, undetermined location. So, I was unable to choose my 'marathon comeback' until family logistics were decided. Last week, the final location of our move was determined and I'm so so so excited that it's to a city I love, San Francisco!

I spent most of 2002 living in the Bay Area and have always wanted to get back there. At the time, I was a student taking time off from school for an extended internship. Now, I'll be there with my husband, baby and two dogs! This city is so beautiful and I can't wait to start re-discovering what I love most about it and finding new things to enjoy.

To that end, my very first action upon our final decision was to register for the SF Marathon, embracing the move in full. What a wonderful way this will be to see the different areas of the city, and motivate me to find plenty of new running routes for training once we get there! Also, at 25 weeks away, this race gives me ample time to finish up my strength building phase and then hit marathon training with full force.

Right now, I'm only logging about 20-25 miles a week, but the strength training is going wonderfully and I'm pretty much completely back in shape. I even hit my pre-pregnancy weight last week. So, let the adventure of the marathon come-back begin!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Getting Strong: Base Phase

About a month ago (3.5 months post baby) it became clear to me that those last 7 lbs and my long-lost muscle tone weren't going to take care of themselves... at least not with running alone. So, when Charlotte of Great Fitness Experiment wrote of her group's results weight training w/ Rachel Cosgrove's Female Body Breakthrough* routines, I decided to give it a go.

I got myself the PC Kindle version of Cosgrove's book (yikes, I've crossed into the forbidden e-book realm. Somewhere, a library quietly weeps) and had a look.
It's an actual book, too!

At first glance, the routines seemed very doable. More importantly, they are all full body workouts and only take about one hour (3x a week)... very manageable. Upon closer inspection, I realized that I would have trouble meeting all of her "unbreakable" rules. Here's a summary:
Cosgrove's Rules

Unbreakable Rule #1. You do not miss a weight-lifting workout (3 days a week). - I can handle this one.

Unbreakable Rule #2: You must drink a post-workout shake within 15 minutes of finishing your weight-lifting workout. - Not my favorite but, again, I can make this work. When I don't have time to make a protein shake right after getting home (hungry baby calls, etc) I found a pre-made protein shake at Trader Joe's that I like.

Other Suggestions
Rule #1: Lift as heavy as good form will allow. Okay by me, I liked lifting heavy back in my sprinting days. Though, I could do without the massive quads again, it was hard to find pants that fit! Fortunately, Cosgrove's routines call for enough repetitions that massive muscle building isn't in the cards.

Rule #2: Eat 5-6 small meals a day, each containing a fat and a protein. I tried this the last month, I really did. I even kept a detailed food journal of each meal. It The most difficult part was the 'eat breakfast withing 15 min of waking up'. With the demands of taking care of baby girl this was almost impossible and stressed me out. Also, I prefer to feel full after eating, and 5-6 smaller meals never got me there. So, while I'll stick to her recommended meal composition, I'm going back to fewer, larger meals this month.

Rule #3: Eat clean 90% of the time, a few 'cheat' meals are allowed. This one I like. Dietary guidelines with the flexibility to indulge guilt-free every so often.

Rule #4: No running (or other cardio)! Instead, she allows for some metabolic circuits on non-lifting days and 1 cardio workout in the final phases of her plan. There is NO WAY I could handle this one. I don't run simply to get fit; running is my therapy. I recognize, however, Cosgrove's point that too much cardio forces your body to want to conserve its fat stores as reserves; counterproductive to the goal of changing body composition. So, this last month, I reduced the frequency and duration of my runs - only going 3 times a week and only for 3 or 4 miles. However, I miss the semi-long runs, and will be re-introducing 6-10 mile runs this month.

Base Phase Results: I'm not big on before/after pictures and body measurements, they stress me out. However, I can report that after this first month I've lost about 5 lbs and more-or-less look to be back in my pre-pregnancy condition (4.5 months post baby). My middle isn't quite there yet, but my arms and legs look better then pre-pregnancy. More importantly, I feel great and am really enjoying her varied routines. The first time I did her warm up (it's goofy, but works!) I felt exhausted, and I had not even gotten to the workout! Now, I finished my last base phase routine feeling great and ready for more. We'll see what next month, the 'Define Yourself' phase brings.

* I have no affiliation with Cosgrove and have not received anything for this review.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lightening the Load

Hurray, baby girl now has enough head control to ride in the jogging stroller without the car seat. With the car seat gone, the stroller feels considerably lighter to push and is noticeably less top-heavy.

More importantly, she seemed to really like riding down there. She was wide awake for our 30 min run today and I didn't hear a sound from her. She just relaxed and took in the scenery. Running just got a lot more fun for both of us!

Riding Like a Big Girl

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Freeze Your Thorns of Virtual 5K Race Report

Happy After the Run

I have been relaxing and enjoying the holidays the last few weeks, only running once or twice per week and doing some cross training. Now, though, it's time to get back into the swing of things w/ running and what better way to kick it off then a virtual 5k, hosted by the Boring Runner?

DH is out of town so for the run today it was me and baby girl. We aren't exactly in the freezing temperatures here in LA - 58 deg. I figure this worked in favor of the baby, however, who wouldn't be warming up from the run.

With the jogging stroller I'm hardly a speed demon (I'm hardly a speed demon anyway!). We rolled in at 31:30 for the 5k. The best part of the 'race' was the little snoozer I had waiting for me when I arrived home.

My Race Buddy