Trying to Be Patient/Flexible (plus a race discount code!)

I wish I could say that I was 100% over my head cold, but alas, I’m not. Every time I feel like I’m getting better, I wake up feeling super lethargic and congested again. I’ve had a sinus headache for the past 2 days. Whomp whomp.

As a result, I’ve only managed to run about 15 miles in the past 2 weeks.

On one hand, I said I wanted to take a break from training after Summer Breeze.

On the other hand, I would like to maintain some semblance of base training going into CIM training.

On the other other hand, training while sick and run-down is pretty counterproductive.

On the other other other hand, not running is driving me a little stir-crazy. (And making my pants a bit snug, to be honest.)

These are the things I keep telling myself:

  • Try to be patient. I need to let myself get better.
  • My fitness will still be here when I’m back to 100%. Or if not, it won’t take long for me to get back.
  • Try to be flexible. Short, very slow runs and easy aerobic training at the gym are still beneficial. Something is better than nothing. And too much exertion could make this cold last longer.
  • I still have 15 weeks until CIM. Plenty of time!
  • It could be worse. I could have a running-related injury instead of something that will pass eventually (if a bit slowly for my taste).

So, a question for you all: what do you tell yourself when you’re dealing with a lingering illness that’s interfering with your running?

***

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Race discount code! The organizers of the inaugural Hip Hop Run reached out to me to see if I could help promote their race. It’s a 5k and 10K on Saturday, September 24th in San Jose that benefits two charities: Make-a-Wish and Loaves & Fishes. There’s also a “5K challenge” race, but I couldn’t find any information about it. After the race, there’s a hip hop concert at the finish line that sounds pretty fun.

From their website: “All race options include entry to the event, musical festival, race shirt, custom race medal, and event swag bag. Spectator pass will grant entry into San Jose Municipal Stadium where the main stage performers will be.”

You can get 10% off registration with code jensrunningblog.

 

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Summer Breeze Training Recap

Aren’t summer colds the worst? I guess at least the timing is good, as I’m supposed to be recovering from Saturday’s half marathon and also taking a little break from running before training for CIM resumes. And even better, it gives me a chance to reflect and recap my training for Summer Breeze. I suspect that this is going to be quite boring for most people. However, some have asked me about my training, so I thought I’d review it for my sake and theirs. I’m also going to write up my thoughts about the book, You (Only Faster).

First, some basic stats:

  • Number of weeks: 10
  • Average weekly mileage before training: ~20
  • Average weekly mileage during training: 26.3
  • Highest weekly mileage: ~33.5 (2x)
  • Longest run: 16 miles (1x)
  • Fast finish long runs: 3 (2 x 14 mi, 1 x 11 mi)
  • Average runs/week: 4
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My training plan

I got the training plan from Greg McMillan’s You (Only Faster). What I liked about the book is that McMillan expects you to tweak the training plans to fit your personal strengths and preferences. The plans are also pretty challenging. On more than one occasion, I shortened the number of intervals or total mileage because I didn’t have time (I don’t run fast enough to run 8-9 miles before work) or because I knew I wasn’t fit enough to run 18 miles without feeling destroyed for the next 2-3 days. So, I’d say that I only completed 70% of the prescribed workouts – which is still passing, right?πŸ˜‰

The one really tricky part about the training plan is that McMillan wants you to go through them ahead of time and alter the workouts according to your “training type” – which he breaks down into 3 major categories: endurance monster, speedster, or combo. He also wants you know how well you respond to various workouts, which requires a lot of previous experience with intervals, tempo runs, steady state runs, etc.

Since I’ve only been running for about 4 years, and have only done workouts sporadically, I decided to wing it. I took it week by week, which helped me stay tuned into my body and how I was feeling. Also, because I was bordering on burning out, it gave me the flexibility to change things up without feeling like a total failure. Even as I changed things around, I maintained some perspective on which runs were the key workouts and which ones were malleable. I also considered the training effect of each workout – and thought about which ones would give me the most confidence. For instance, in Week 8, I swapped out 6 x 1 mile repeats for 2 x 3 mile, knowing that I would feel more confident with a race pace workout than something faster. Another example was during race week, when the plan called for 5-6 x 1000 m. I prefer a sharp taper, so I decided to change the workout to 4 x 800, which was perfect. It was just enough speed to make me feel fresh and fast without wearing me out. I should note that I started ignoring the target training paces from McMillan very early on – I just couldn’t keep up and it was making me depressed.

So at this point, you might wonder, “Why even bother using a plan when it sounds like you just made things up as you went along?” TouchΓ©! I have to say that a training plan did provide a few important things, such as periodization of workouts and long runs, incentive to do things like fast finish long runs, and providing workout variety. Regarding the last point – when I was training for the Oakland 5K, I would repeat workouts in 2 week increments. While useful as benchmarks, that got really boring by the time I got to 10K training. It was nice to mix things up!

As I mentioned in the race recap, this was the first time I’ve followed a longer training plan (> 6 weeks) for a half marathon… so it’s definitely possible that simply committing to the training (and coming off 5K and 10K PRs) set me up for a half marathon PR. The factors that I think helped tremendously were the long runs. I completed 4 runs longer than 13.1 miles and did 3 fast finish long runs. Moreover, the fast finish long runs were done on the race course, essentially acting as a dress rehearsal.

For CIM training, I think I will use another training plan from You (Only Faster). Hopefully, it will be just as successful!πŸ™‚

 

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Race Recap: Summer Breeze Half Marathon

Twitter version: Cool, overcast & windy (i.e., perfect conditions). Executed race strategy as planned, resulting in almost 2 minute PR (1:56:58)! WOOT!

If you want the long version, keep reading…

So, some of you might accuse me of sandbagging when I was doing race predictions, unsure about how I would do at the Summer Breeze Half Marathon. And some of you would be right. I didn’t purposely sandbag it, but I just wasn’t feeling all that confident going into race day. More discussion on that below, but first – the recap!

Pre-race:
July had been a somewhat stressful and eventful month – both at work and in my personal life. I decided to take Friday off to sleep-in and relax. It was a great idea, as I woke up Saturday well-rested and ready to race, with a healthy dose of race nerves. I ate my usual race morning breakfast (English muffin with PB&J and coffee), got dressed, and headed to San Leandro Marina with plenty of time to park and pick up my bib.

The morning was overcast and cool. I was cold in just my RaceRaves singlet and shorts, so I kept my jacket on until halfway through my warm-up. After the pre-race bathroom stop, I ran into Jane, who decided to run the half despite recovering from an Achilles injury. I haven’t seen her in almost a year, so it was great to catch up. Plus, this was our “anniversary race” (we met via Twitter following the 2013 Summer Breeze 10k, where we both placed in our age group). She knew I was going for a PR (faster than 1:58:51), so she passed on the advice from Race Director Jasmine that there was a substantial headwind on the back portion (of the out and back). The cyclist who marked the course said it took her 20 minutes to go out and 30 to come back (the entire half marathon course). Yikes! However, I didn’t let it freak me out too much, as I’ve run this same exact course almost every weekend for the past 3 months. I’m pretty used to the headwind heading back, and I’ve practiced fast finishes on the last 3 miles.

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My excited-but-nervous super awkward face. (Photo credit: Brazen Racing)

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Pre-race selfie with Jane!

We lined up next to the 2:00 pacer, Vin, who had paced the 1:40 group at the San Francisco 1st Half Marathon last weekend. Clearly, Vin is a speedy guy. He said he was planning on doing 9:09/mile even pace – headwind or no. I spotted Margot, who was running the 5K, very briefly before the race and we exchanged hurried hellos. After a nice rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the countdown began and we were off!

The Race
Miles 0-3 (to Aid Station #2)

This is one of Brazen Racing’s biggest and most popular races. Over 380 people finished the half marathon. Most of the course is on the Bay Trail, which is pretty narrow in parts. The first mile was quite congested, and even though most runners lined up with/behind the appropriate pace group, there were a few outliers, as usual. I spent the first mile chasing Vin as he wove through the crowd. We started off at an easy 9:30 pace and finished the first mile at 8:3x, averaging 9:02 (maybe faster, because I started my watch with the gun and not with chip time).

I stayed relaxed and kept running with the 2:00 group, even though I sensed we were running a lot faster than 9:09/mile. The crowd had thinned out substantially by this point, so I spent less energy weaving around people. (Mile 2 @ 8:51)

Vin must’ve realized at the 2nd mile marker that he was going too fast, because he suddenly slowed down substantially. I decided to keep going at the same effort level, so I passed the pace group and caught up with Jane. We ran together for maybe two minutes before I left her as well. Since I wasn’t carrying water, my strategy was to take my gels 1/2 mile before each aid station. At 2.5 miles, I took out my Salted Caramel Gu and downed it before getting some water to wash it down at second aid station (at 2.9 miles). (Mile 3 @ 9:00)

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Trying my best to stay ahead of Vin, the 2:00 pacer (who ended up finishing in 1:58). (Photo credit: Brazen Racing)

Miles 3-6.55 (to AS #3)
I continued my plan to stay relaxed and not push too hard too early. I reminded myself to maintain good form and relax my neck, shoulders, and arms whenever possible. For the next several miles, I ran alongside a guy in a red shirt, who had also split off from the 2:00 pace group. We exchanged some pleasantries and I took it as a good sign that I was still able to make short statements without wheezing/shortness of breath. (Mile 4 @ 8:56, Mile 5 @ 9:04).

As I approached the turn-around, I started seeing the leaders heading back and cheered for them. I was excited to see that a woman was leading the race – woot! go, girl! – chased closely by two men. I yelled out a lot of, “Good job!”s during these miles, feeding off the positive karma. (Mile 6 @ 9:00)

I sucked down my second Gu as I go to the third aid station – I was halfway done! I noted my split shortly after the turnaround: 58:58. If I kept this up, I’d PR by a minute. That was a nice confidence boost, as I felt pretty decent — but don’t we all at mile 6.55 of a half marathon?

Miles 6.55-10 (to AS #4)
I continued to spread good cheer, though I reserved it for the women mostly (sorry, guys). This kept me focused on other people for another mile or so. (Mile 7 @ 8:51)

My pace started to drag a little bit after the cheering section ended, so I began to think of each mile as a mile repeat. I would give myself a little break at the beginning, and ramp up the effort until the end of the mile. This worked out pretty well and kept me engaged. I also started marking people ahead and trying to catch up to them. The headwind was getting more noticeable, so I drafted behind a guy in blue for half of a mile. (Mile 8 @ 8:57, Mile 9 @ 9:02)

Mile 10 ended up being my slowest mile. I think psychologically, I was coming down from the high after the turnaround, but not yet at the “5K to go” mark. Not to mention that I was getting tired! (Mile 10 @ 9:11)

mile 10-2

Eyes on the prize

Mile 10-Finish
Even though I wanted to really turn up the pace for the last 3 miles, I felt like I was dragging. Then, all of a sudden, a mantra from Sally McRae’s recent Running on Om podcast came into my head: “Stronger Every Mile.” I altered it slightly to “Stronger Every Step.” This sounds hokey, but I honestly felt energy “flowing” into my legs. I thought about all of the training I had done and that yes, my legs *are* strong and I can do this! (Mile 11 @ 9:01)

Because I’m so familiar with this course, I knew that I should take advantage of the last two miles on asphalt. After running almost 8 miles on gravel, I should be flying. Plus, I had practiced fast finishes on this very same part of the course. Unfortunately, the headwind had other plans for me. When I was in the more sheltered part of the trail, I was going along at an 8:4x pace. As soon as I went out towards the Bay, I hit some strong headwind. Then, another mantra/notion from Running on Om popped into my head. In a recent podcast, Lauren Fleshman talked about PRs and how they’re so cool because they represent the fastest that you’ve ever run in your whole entire life. I know that sounds obvious, but it struck a chord with me. And with less than two miles to go, I was NOT about to give up this fight! Eminem’s Lose Yourself also came into my head, and its lyrics were especially poignant at that juncture:

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

I did some math (so hard this late in the race!) and knew that if I kept pushing, I could come in around 1:57. I had set myself up for a PR, the conditions were almost perfect (minus the headwind) so I decided that I better seize this opportunity and try as hard as I could. (Mile 12 @ 8:55)

Coming in to the last mile, I oscillated between various mantras and motivational songs in my head and also on catching the runners ahead. I saw there was an ambulance with its lights flashing about 1/2 mile from the finish – not sure what that was about, but I hope that person is OK. I started breathing really hard as I made the final turns to the finish line. A woman I had passed in the last mile passed me back up, as did another guy, but I didn’t care – I crossed the finish line in 1:57:xx! (Mile 13 @ 8:55, 0.05 @ 8:08/mile)

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Another PR in the RaceRaves singlet!

My Garmin read 1:57:08 for 13.05 miles, but that was gun time. I recall that my Garmin came up short at the 2013 Summer Breeze 10K as well. I’m counting it, regardless of what my Garmin says! The official chip time was 1:56:58, meaning I had taken almost 2 minutes off my previous PR (Kaiser 2014) and ran my 2nd sub-2 hour half marathon! Also, I managed to run a negative split by almost a minute, despite the headwind. WOOT!

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Happy half marathon finishers!

Post-race analysis:
I’m really happy with the result and the PR, obviously, but I’m even more proud that I finished strong – something that I’ve really struggled with in the past. I took advantage of great race day conditions on a foundation of solid training to pull it all together. I’m not sure I would change a single thing about my race execution.

Back to the pre-race lack of confidence: I think this was due to the fact that I’ve never trained so hard for a half marathon, and I had never felt so slow or fatigued during half marathon training before. I felt that I had built endurance over the past 10 weeks but lost a lot of speed from 5K and 10K training, so I wasn’t sure I would be able to sustain a PR pace for 13.1 miles. I believe that the volume did help me in the end, as did the fast finish long runs. I’ll probably write another post about my half marathon training in the next week. Stay tuned!

Official stats:
Time: 1:56:58 (8:55/mile)
13/38 AG, 31/184 F, 131/381 overall

**

About the race:

  • Organizers: Brazen Racing
  • Cost: ~$65 (I skipped the race shirt to save $5)
  • Course: Starts at the San Leandro Marina Park and goes south towards the San Mateo Bridge on the Bay Trail. Paved bike path for 5 miles (beginning and end), and the rest is gravel. Flat as a pancake – I think the total elevation change was 6 feet.
  • Parking: Plentiful and free, but the closest lots fill up fast. Allow yourself 10 minutes to walk from parking to the start line.
  • Aid stations: 5 with water and Ultima electrolyte drink. I didn’t see any food, but I didn’t look either.
  • Bathrooms: Two real bathrooms (with multiple stalls) in the park. There were clusters of 2-3 porta potties along the course as well.
  • Swag: I’m not usually into medals, but I love this one – it had a whale on it. Lots of food afterwards, but seemingly less than in the past. It was too cold for It’s It ice cream sandwiches! Only in SF. There were lots of free race photos posted on their website.
  • Misc.: We jokingly started calling the race “Summer Freeze” because it was so chilly! We really lucked out with the weather, because the next day was sunny and warm by 9am.

 

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Summer Breeze Half Week 9 – Plus Race Preview

Welcome to training recap week 9 (of 10) for the Summer Breeze Half Marathon. I can’t believe tomorrow is August 1st! July has flown by so quickly, but I’m looking forward to race day on Saturday and then taking a short break. After taking a couple of weeks from training (I’ll still run, but only when I want to and for as long as I want to), I’m planning on mixing it up a bit with trail runs and new long run routes. I’ve been running the same places almost all year – no wonder I’m in a rut! I also want to plan some social runs and maybe add a couple of trail races into the mix.

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Week 9 of training went well! I completed 4 runs totaling almost 25 miles. These included a fartlek run (10 x 1 min on/1 min off), 6 miles at steady state, a short recovery run, and a 11 mile fast finish long run, with the last 3 miles at 9:15, 8:45, and 8:45. SO much better than 2 weeks ago! The steady state run and the FFLR together helped boost my confidence going into race week.

Race Preview:

The Summer Breeze course is almost completely flat, but the biggest obstacle is gravel, and lots of it. Luckily, most of it has been crushed by bikes, pedestrians, and runners so that it’s very fine, but still, it’s not going to be as fast as paved asphalt. It’s an out-and-back course along the San Francisco Bay – quite scenic, but since I’ve been running this trail almost weekly since moving to Hayward 2 years ago, I’m a little sick of it. The other possible “obstacle” will be weather. When I ran the 10K 3 years ago, it was cool and foggy.Β  Recently, we’ve had a bit of a heatwave (relatively speaking) but I’m hoping for Karl the Fog to make an appearance on Saturday. Today’s long run started off overcast, then the sun came out for the last few miles, which I can deal with.

This is one of Brazen Racing’s biggest races and there will be pace groups. I plan on lining up behind the 2:00 hour pacer and warming up with the group until I feel strong enough to pass (maybe I should say, “if and when” I feel strong enough to pass). I was thinking it might be nice to hang with the pace group for a while, just so I can turn my brain off and not worry too much about pacing. Not to mention, if it’s windy, then I can use the group to block the wind.πŸ™‚ My general strategy will be to start conservatively, run with the 2:00 pace group for a while, settle into a rhythm, and pick up the pace in the last 3 miles.

I don’t have a specific time goal in mind. A PR would be anything faster than 1:58:51, which I think is possible. I think I can run a sub-2:00 (only my 2nd ever), if the weather cooperates. So, we shall see!

Looking back at previous half marathons and their respective training cycles, I think I have the following advantages:

  • Three 14-milers (2 of them FFLRs) and one 16-miler — the most >13 mile long runs I’ve done leading up to any half marathon?
  • Steady training over the past 7 months plus 10 weeks of half marathon specific training (might be the longest I’ve ever dedicated to HM training)
  • Nice progression in overall paces for all runs, from easy runs to workouts
  • Weekly practice on the race course and visualizing the finish – especially during FFLRs and progression runs

However, I think there are a few weaknesses too:

  • Lack of hill/trail running — this has always been one of my hidden strengths, but I’ve been so focused on speed this year that I’ve neglected trails.
  • My left hamstring, though better, is still a bit wonky.
  • Mentally, I’m not as “in it” as I have been in the past for a goal race. It’s only just hit me in the last couple of days that I haven’t been as committed to nutrition, sleep, and developing mental strength as I did leading up to the Oakland 5K and Danville 10K earlier this year. It’s time to get my head in the game!
  • I have a feeling that it’s going to hurt, and I’m not looking forward to it. Part of this is good, as it’s helping me prepare myself to suffer, but another part of it is based on anxiety and fear. I need to overcome those negative feelings.

This week is all about short workouts and resting the legs a little bit before the race. Mentally, it will be about getting into the right headspace. Wish me luck!

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Summer Breeze Half Weeks 7 & 8

Hey! Look, an actual running post. Welcome to a recap of weeks 7 and 8 of Summer Breeze Half Marathon training. Out of a 10-week training cycle, I guess these are considered peak weeks, so it’s good that they were fairly solid.

Week 7 (33.4 miles):

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Due to social obligations, I decided to switch my usual Tues/Thurs runs to Wed/Fri. I had few big runs this week, including:

  • an 80 minute run on Wednesday — these longer midweek runs always tire me out, but I do think they really help build endurance
  • a 5-mile tempo on Friday — slower average pace than I’d like, but I was happy/relieved that I got it done
  • Crissy Field parkrun on Saturday (with a 2.5 mile warm-up) — met up with Layla and Angela to wish bt bon voyage before she left for her 1-year sabbatical. {Insert jealous-yet-happy-and-excited-for-a-friend emoji here.}
  • a 14-mile fast finish long run (FFLR) on Sunday — the least successful of the bunch
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The Golden Gate Bridge playing peek-a-boo at Crissy Field parkrun

The highlights of week 7 were that I did all of my runs, and I even ran some decent (for me) paces during parkrun without shortness of breath. The low-lights included skipping strength workouts and not being able to execute the FFLR. I think I had done too many medium to medium-hard miles on Friday and Saturday (for me, that gray zone is between 9:15-9:45/mile) that by the time I hit the “fast finish” portion of my run on Sunday, the fastest I could get my legs going was between 9:38-9:45. Whomp whomp. I think there is definitely something to be said for keeping easy runs easy and hard runs hard.

On the bright side, my overall pace for the FFLR was 5 seconds/mile faster than 2 weeks before, and almost 50 seconds/mile faster than 4 weeks before. (To be fair, the 14-miler from 4 weeks previous was not a FFLR.)

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Dueling bloggers?

Week 8 (27.5 miles):

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A run-down of the runs (har har):

  • Shortened easy run on Tuesday. I decided to call it a day after my 2nd bathroom stop.
  • 2 x 3 mile on Thursday. My plan called for 6 x 1 mile with 800 m recovery, but at this point in my training cycle, I felt like I needed to boost race pace confidence rather than speed. I was also anxious about doing mile repeats, which are always so painful. I definitely made the right call. I ran 8 miles averaging 9:19/mile, which included the extra slow warm-up and cool-down miles. Plus, I ran in the heat of the midday sun AND the last mile was a sizable uphill. Oh, and I got my first ever side-five from a fellow runner! She was really good about signaling the side-five as she approached, lifting up her arm and giving me a nod, silently saying, “Yes, we’re doing this!” I really ought to do this more often, as it totally made my day.
  • 120 min long run on Saturday. The sun came out a lot earlier than I expected, so I intended to take this one easy. I surprised myself by gradually picking up the pace and finishing with an average pace of 10:18/mile. Just for reference, most of my long runs this training cycle have been in the 10:30-11:00/mile range.
  • Easy recovery on the treadmill. It’s been really hot this weekend, so I decided to sleep in and do my recovery run at the gym. Even with a totally addictive TV show (UnReal) to keep me entertained, I was so over the treadmill after 30 minutes. But I kept going until the show was finished – about 45 minutes. Yay for TV and free gym wifi.

Week 8 highlights included the 2 x 3 mile run and the surprise progression long run. Low-lights were the easy runs that just felt off/like filler and zero strength workouts for the 2nd week in a row. However, I’m trying to focus on the positive vibes from the 2 solid runs this week. I think they’re just what I needed to feel like I finally getting in decent half marathon shape. And just in time too — the race is less than 2 weeks away!

In general though, I’ve noticed that I’m constantly feeling tired and low on motivation…which seems like a red flag for overtraining/burn out. That makes sense, considering how I’ve jumped from training cycle to training cycle this year without many breaks in between. I’m contemplating a longer recovery period after Summer Breeze, in an effort to get back some mojo before I start training for CIM. On the other hand, I could also step back and reassess my goals for CIM — i.e., not train for a time goal, but just take it one week at a time. To be honest, even for Summer Breeze, I’ve already decided that PR’ing won’t be my number one goal. Part of this is because I don’t feel as fit – both mentally and physically – as I would like to be. The other part is that I’m realizing (yet again) that so many things are out of my control, like the weather, how I feel on race day, etc. The one thing I can try to control is my attitude. I know how hard it’s going to be to push for 2 hours. Not giving up in those last miles will be the toughest challenge.

Anyway! Here are some fun pics from this weekend. Enjoy!

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As part of the KonMari method, I decided to get rid of a bunch of my race medals (that do not #sparkjoy) and finally put up the ones that do – namely, my marathon and 50K medals. I’m thankful for a husband who’s super handy and can put these things up for me in 5 minutes.πŸ™‚

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My new favorite tank top.

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Posted in Training

Turning Things Around & An Announcement

I’m happy to report that week 6 of Summer Breeze Half Marathon training has gone well. I think that complaining about how poorly everything was going (in my last post) really worked!πŸ˜‰ This week, I managed to do a fast finish run on Tuesday, 2 x 2 mile intervals on Thursday, and 16 miles yesterday to total ~28 miles for the week. I was supposed to do a recovery run today, but I think I’ll go on a recovery hike with the Gypsy Runner instead.

Speaking of the Gypsy Runner, I have some very exciting non-running news for you all: we got married at the county courthouse this past Thursday! We originally planned to have a private ceremony, but we were lucky to have my friend MK there as our witness and photographer. Yay!

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Introducing: Mr. & Mrs. Gypsy Runner

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Posted in random, Training

5 weeks down, 5 weeks to go

Sorry I’ve been an absentee blogger. The truth is that I haven’t felt super inspired to write anything for a while, but I know that the longer I take a break from blogging, the harder it’ll be to get back on that writing horse. So, here I am!

It’s been 5 weeks since the Danville 10K, and I’ve got 5 more weeks until my goal half marathon: Brazen Racing’s Summer Breeze on 8/6. To spare you the gory details, I’ll try to recap each week with the basic stats and 1-2 sentences:

  • Week of 5/30: 17.25 miles. Recovery week from Danville. I ended the week with a quarter mile “run”. My left hamstring was bugging again.😦
  • Week of 6/6: 25.7 miles. All easy to baby the hamstring.
  • Week of 6/13: 33.6 miles. One workout, which was super tough (3 x 2000 m), and my longest run in 4 months (14 miles) – though I had to walk/run the last 4 miles.
  • Week of 6/20: 25.9 miles. Traveled to Maryland to visit family and friends. Holy humidity! I ran the Fletcher’s Cove parkrun as my tempo run (perhaps I’ll recap this later).
  • Week of 6/27: 25.9 miles. Busted travel plans meant squeezing all of my runs over 3 days. I finally had a decent long run (14 miles) with the last 3 miles at progressively faster paces (10:03, 9:28, 8:52).

I’ve been following a half marathon training plan from You (Only Faster) by Greg McMillan. What attracted me to the book was the idea that you take McMillan’s generic plan and purposely tweak it to suit your own needs. McMillan takes you through how he would alter the training plan depending on whether you’re an “endurance monster”, “speedster”, or combination runner. He also wants you to consider things like recovery time and adaptation periods (i.e., how fast it takes you to build speed and endurance). I selected the half marathon plan that has 4-5 days of running per week. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow McMillan’s advice to sit down in advance and plot out everything, but if I use his marathon training plan for CIM, I will definitely do that. For the time being, I’m kinda taking one workout at a time.

Because my hamstring has been acting up, I’ve been doing 1-2 sessions of strengthening and core exercises a week. It’s not much, but it’s better than zero sessions. ;)Β  After a long absence, I’ve also gotten back to foam rolling. It turns out that my hamstring feels better after rolling out my ITB. Strange, but true.

I know I still have more than a month to train, but I’m not feeling super optimistic about Summer Breeze. I feel like this past week was the first week of this training cycle that I finally felt OK, but even then, all of my easy runs have been super slow. I hope it’s just my body adjusting to the increase in volume and that the speed will come along eventually after I do a few more sessions. On the brightside, regardless of what happens at Summer Breeze, I know that all of the aerobic base I’m laying down now will pay dividends for CIM. Oh, plus I just signed up for another half marathon! I’m running the Healdsburg Half with Cathryn and Jess in celebration of my 40th (!!) birthday. So, if I don’t PR at Summer Breeze, there’s another opportunity in October.

I’ll end with some photos from the last 5 weeks. Happy 4th of July everyone!

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On the Bay Trail near Palo Alto airport

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Running is always more fun with friends!

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Warming up before the Fletcher’s Cove parkrun

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Long run along the C&O canal towpath – humid but pretty!

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It was so lush and green on the East Coast

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My niece and I about to chow down at a sushi buffet. I ate non-stop while I was in Maryland!

 

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10/9/16 - Healdsburg Half
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