Happy Labor Day! Get ready for the longest training recap ever!
Tues: Set out to do a tempo run, but my legs and my lungs refused to cooperate after the first mile. So, I scrapped the original plan and went with HM pace. 0.3 mile warm up + 3 miles (9:09, 9:27, 9:29) + 0.2 miles cool down. It wasn’t until later, when I was updating my training calendar, that I realized that I was supposed to do 6 miles instead of 3. D’oh!! Oh well… it is what it is. In the evening, I did the P90X Ab Ripper workout.
Stats: 3.5 miles @ 9:35/mile + 15 min Ab Ripper
Wed: Due to scheduling conflicts, I had to switch my running and cross-training days. After an uncooperative Tuesday run, I was afraid of what my legs would have (or not have) in store for me for a longer, more hilly run on Wednesday. Also, I was nervous about back-to-back runs, since I usually like to have a rest or cross-training day in between. Anyway, the one thing I was looking forward to was exploring a new running route. KH recommended running up Trestle Glen Road instead of Mandana Blvd since it was more gradual and less traveled. It was very lovely indeed, and very gradual except for the last little stretch before Park Blvd. Unfortunately, Park Blvd was not as nice to run on, with a lot of lights and traffic. Despite that and my slow-ish pace, this was the best and strongest I’ve felt in a long time.
Stats: 6.75 miles @ 10:42/mile (~370 feet elevation gain)
Thurs: Spin class at the YMCA. Out of the 3 classes I’ve been to, I liked this instructor the best. She mixed it up between endurance and hills and constantly reminded us about proper form. On the downside, her choice of music was the worst of the three. But, as long as the workout is good, I don’t mind sort of crappy music for 50 minutes. I followed up the class with yoga (by myself) and stretching.
Stats: 75 min (10 min warm-up + 50 min spin class + 15 min yoga/stretching)
Fri: Rest. Much needed! Friday night, the Gypsy Runner and I met up with friends for dinner at T-Rex, a barbecue joint in Berkeley. With my long run planned for the next morning, I knew I needed to prioritize pre-run nutrition over my desire to indulge in food and drinks. Massive amounts of meat did not seem like the best fuel… and I can only imagine the kind of stomach cramps induced by too much vinegar-based bbq sauce…*shudder*. Anyway, so after A LOT of inner turmoil (and some quiet whining to the Gypsy Runner), I ordered deviled eggs and shrimp lettuce wraps even though the fried chicken and baby back ribs sounded way more appetizing. I did allow myself one beer, but also drank 2-3 glasses of water. This was the first time where I’ve been in such turmoil about pre-run nutrition. I’m realizing that sometimes making the right decision can be tough. I know what you’re thinking — “First world problems, Jen.”
Sat: (I have a bad feeling that this is going to be long-winded. I’m thinking about writing separate posts for my runs 14 miles or longer. Thoughts?)
I planned to do my 12 mile run as an out-and-back along the Bay Trail, between Emeryville Marina and Berkeley/Albany. Thanks to some very helpful tips on parking and whatnot from AW and Laura, this run went very smoothly. The weather was extremely cooperative: overcast and in the mid-50’s for the whole run. It didn’t seem very windy either, so I thought I had lucked out and avoided the dreaded San Francisco Bay headwind. Alas, I was hit with a slight headwind at the turnaround, after which I ran ~30-45 seconds slower per mile.
This week’s long run was a world apart from last week, and I think a lot of it had to do with mental attitude. First, I woke up ready to go and attack this run. Second, I had a nutrition/hydration plan in place: take sips of Cytomax every mile and eat 1 Clif Blok every 3 miles. I also decided to take a short walk break while I was eating the Clif Bloks. Third, the weather was ideal, which ALWAYS helps. Forth, I saw a bunch of runners who appeared to be doing their long runs too — I believe there was a TNT training run that morning. Seeing others also running 10+ miles made me feel a sense of camaraderie. Fifth, I was listening to a great episode of This American Life. Love that show! Sixth, I can’t believe how scenic and peaceful this trail is, given that it’s right next to the freeway. It was pretty easy for me to tune out the traffic and just concentrate on the vegetation and the water. Well, except for when I got to the sketchy area north of Golden Gate Fields, but overall it was very nice.
I ended my run by going past my favorite dim sum restaurant, Hong Kong East Ocean. It was bittersweet to finish on a strong pace while passing the restaurant’s large Bay-front windows, with tables of diners stuffing their faces with shrimp dumplings in plain sight. Next time I plan a long run here, I’ll be sure to get people to meet me for a post-run dim sum meal! My right hip was a little tight immediately afterwards, but overall I felt great. Also, my new socks are working out very well, at least in terms of blister prevention; not sure yet about soreness prevention.
Stats: 12 miles @10:50/mile (1st 6 miles @10:35, 2nd 6 miles @11:05. Hello headwind!)
Sun: Started off the day with P90X stretching. I would’ve gone for a swim, but the pool is closed for renovations for 3 weeks. In the meantime, I’ll have to go to the Downtown Berkeley YMCA if I want to swim. Boo hoo. Anyway, I thought some light yoga and stretching would be good for the morning after my long run.
Since the Gypsy Runner and I had to go to San Jose for a family event, we decided to kill two birds with one stone by checking out Joseph Grant Park, the site of the Brazen Trail Hog race, which we’re both considering. Neither of us (or any of the Gypsy Runner’s relatives, who live 12 miles away) had heard of this place, even though it’s the largest park in Santa Clara County. We got there about an hour before sunset, which was really pushing it. The Gypsy Runner wanted to check out the 10K course (which is actually more like 6.4 miles), but since I had just run 12 miles on Saturday, I opted to jog the 5K (3.3 mile) course instead. Unfortunately, we got lost for about 10 minutes trying to find the start of the trail. When we finally got to the correct trail, we ran together for about 0.3 miles before parting ways. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, given the late hour and our unfamiliarity with the park. Fortunately for me, I didn’t get lost. The course was mostly flat terrain mixed in with gentle hills on wide fire roads. I was a little spooked at being out there alone and by the rustling sounds in the brush. At one point, I came across a flock of wild turkeys! They were cute and harmless, but I still gave them a wide berth, just to be safe. The conditions were pleasant, but I can only imagine how hot it gets by mid-morning since a majority of the trails were very exposed. All in all, a great run, especially considering that I had just run 12 miles the day before and was a little sore.
I finished my run and waited at the trailhead for the Gypsy Runner. I expected him to finish shortly after I did, given that he’s much faster than me. After 5 minutes of waiting, I rationalized that he did have a 400+ foot climb to contend with, so it was bound to take him longer than expected. I began to get a little nervous as 10 minutes passed and I watched the sunset over the horizon. Still no Gypsy Runner. I knew he didn’t have a flash light or a phone on him (even though the phone would be useless because there was no cell phone coverage up there). Finally, after about 15 minutes, he emerged out of the brush. Indeed, he did get lost, but somehow managed to find an alternate route back. We both decided that what we did was extremely stupid (going out so late, separately, and without food, water, or lights — although I did have a flashlight app on my iPhone) and vowed never to do that again.
Stats: 50 minutes P90X stretching
4.1 miles @ 11:56/mile, 384 feet elevation gain (5K stats: 3.3 miles @ 11:08/mile)
WEEKLY TOTAL: Target 24 miles/ Actual 26.3 miles + 140 min cross training
How I feel about it: Great. Very pleased with the mileage, a successful long run, and 2 sets of back-to-back runs. A.