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.