Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Los Angeles Marathon Training Recap, Week 3

Sigh. Two steps forward, one step back. I ran two great marathons towards the end of a last year including lots of high-mileage weeks. Long story short:My body needs more recovery time. The good news is that my physical therapist cleared me to run and that I have a coach designing a conservative training cycle for the Los Angeles Marathon. Instead of running six times a week, I'm only running 3 times a week and cross-training for the rest. Instead of doing my speed workout on the track, streets or treadmill, I'm doing them on the spin bike or elliptical. 

I'm currently reading Mastering the Marathon, a book I received as a gift 3-4 years ago, but has been sitting in my book pile since then. Looking for a book to read, I flipped through it.  It's the perfect book for me right now because it's all about using cross-training in conjunction with running to train for the marathon. The premise is that the typical marathon training plan has you run 6 times a week. Three of these runs are your easy, aerobic building runs. If you don't have the time or your body can't handle running 6 times a week, you can exchange these 3 runs for cross-training instead. The other three runs are speed work, marathon pace runs (tempo) and long runs. Of these three, speed work is the least important and can also be done with cross-training. Long runs can be combo running/cross-training.

The author writes that you can run a good marathon with only 1 1/2 training runs a week! I know this is true(for me) because for my first marathon, I only ran once a week (Sunday long runs),filled all the rest of the days with spin classes and other aerobic activities, and finished with a decent time (4:25).

Now, mentally, I have to wrap my head around this plan and follow it! I keep reminding myself of the bigger picture: Chicago Marathon in the fall.


  • Monday: Cycle class +weight lifting (upper-body).
  • Tuesday: Speed work on the bike, 15 min warm-up; 3x7mins hard; 2x3mins harder; 10 minutes cool-down. Physical Therapy in the afternoon. My PT recognized the problem right away, my right side alignment it off. I was cleared to run and given new PT homework to be done every other day.
  • Wednesday: Cycle class + weight lifting (lower body). I PR'd my squat weight! After work, I went to the gym and ran easy for 3.5miles on the treadmill.
  • Thursday: Physical therapy homework
  • Friday: 30 minutes tabata (all bodyweight), 4.2 mile easy run, Pilates, TRX class
  • Saturday: 1 hour cycle class + physical therapy homework
  • Sunday: 45 minute run at the Santa Monica Pier with the Los Angeles area Oiselle Volée. I was also supposed to cycle or cross-train for an hour. That didn't happen. 
Week 3 Miles: 12.9 miles
2017 Miles: 38 miles

See the training link up on Eat Pray Run DC HERE.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Los Angeles Marathon Training Recap, Week 2

As of this writing, I'm on the edge of riding the injury train again. In the past, I would power through pain and get my runs in. This led to missing races and not being able to run and once able to run, building up my base again.

My big goal for the year is to run 3:48 at the Chicago Marathon in October. That's what I have my sight set on and that is what is guiding my decisions and reacting more on the conservative side. All my other races and runs are to help me become stronger, fitter and a better racer. I want to slowly build my base to 60 miles per week.

My goal for the LA Marathon, which is to run a strong race, has not changed. I believe I will be back to running by the end of this week. Coach Becki has provided me with cross-training work outs and alternatives to running.


  • Monday: Cycle class + glute exercises as a warm-up to weight-lifing. Squats, deadlifts and box jumps. Today marked 1-year of heavy lifting! This has all helped my running economy, power and strength. In the evening, I went to the gym with Paul and walked steep hills on the treadmill while he did his workout.
  • Tuesday: Workout Tuesday. The planned workout was a 2 mile warm-up + drills and strides; 4 x800m with 2 minute recovery + 1 x 1-mile; 1 mile cool-down. Dani joined me for the workout. We ran the 2 mile warm-up outside and then went into the gym to do the work-out on the treadmill. I hit the prescribed paces for the four 800's, but by the time I got to the 1x1-mile I had to work up to the prescribed pace (8:00/mi) so overall it was a little slow (8:16/mi). Coach Becki said that was great because it was within the range.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles easy run + drills and strides before weight-lifting. Shoulder press + chest press. My right leg at my old 2015 injury site started to bug me more. Earlier in the week it was 'just' twinges. 
  • Thursday: 30 minutes easy treadmill miles (3.5 miles) + yoga class.
  • Friday: 30 minute tabata class + 30 minutes easy run and drills/strides. At this point in the week, my right leg was bothering me enough that I decided not to run the rest of the week.
  • Saturday: The plan was to do a speed workout (5x1000m) and then do a long run on Sunday. This ended up being a rest day with no activity other than rolling and stretching.
  • Sunday: Plan was to run for 1hr40min. Instead I cross-trained on the elliptical, bike and steep hill walking on treadmill for an hour total.
Week 2 miles: 19.6 miles
2017 miles: 25 miles

I have appointments with my physical therapist and with my chiropractor for ART and I hope by this time next week I'm back to running! If not, I have my eyes set on my bigger goal and will make sure I do everything to NOT sabotage it.

See the training link up on Eat Pray Run DC HERE.





Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Los Angeles Marathon Training Recap, Week 1

In a couple months, I will join thousands other runners at Dodger Stadium for the Los Angeles Marathon. It will be my 6th race at that distance and my 3rd time running the full LA Marathon (<--read about my last time at this dance). Each week I will recap my training for it--the highs and lows. Although I've run a few marathons, this is my first time with a coach

  • Monday: Easy 3 miles to start the week and plan to warm-up for weight-lifting. Squats, deadlifts and box jumps--my favorite day! Jasyoga video: Booty Lock Mitigation (making pre-hab a priority this year, with rolling and/or yoga every day).
  • Tuesday: Workout Run. Easy 2 miles warm-up, followed by drills & 4X100 meter strides (adding drills and strides as prescribed by Coach Becki make me feel hardcore. Hee!). 4 x 2 minutes at 10k pace: 7:49,7:48, 7:42, 7:44. Easy 2 mile cool-down. Glute exercises for 20 minutes in the PM. 
  • Wednesday: Easy 4 miles warm-up for weight-lifting. Shoulder press, chest press and pull-ups. 
  • Thursday: Tempo Run. 2 mile warm-up, 3 miles at tempo (8:33,8:23,8:18), 2 mile cool-down. Jasyoga video: Hip Mobility Maintenance. 
  • Friday: 30 minutes tabata class, 1 hour Pilates, 1 hour TRX class. No running.
  • Saturday: Long Run. I moved my long run from Sunday because we went to a NYE party on Saturday and I did not want to run long on Sunday. Coach Becki said to run for 90 minutes and report back my distance and pace. I ended up running 10.1 miles at an average 8:54/mile--a bit too fast for a long run. I pushed myself because it was raining. And I was hungry. I earned my breakfast burrito. :)
  • Sunday: 30 minutes easy run (3.4 miles). We joined a gym (on Jan 1!) near our house. It's 1/2 mile jog or if you jaywalk, only a 1/4 mile from our front door. We went back in the evening to workout, so I tested out the treadmills and ran 2.1 bonus miles. 
Week 1 Miles: 35.6 miles
2017 Miles: 5.5 miles

(Not mentioned: my friend and training partner, Dani joins me when she can  and I spend 10-20 minutes before each run activating my glutes)

I joined Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC's Training Recap Link-up. Have fun reading other training journeys. :) 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2017 race schedule + goals

Crossing the CIM Finish Line
I've been enjoying my break from training as I recover from CIM and look forward to a better 2017. Next week I start training for the Los Angeles Marathon and also start working with Becki Spellman. I've hired Coach Bekki to help me become a stronger runner and racer in 2017. I'm very excited to see what's in store for me. 


2017 Race Schedule

Other races planned but not yet officially registered:

  • March 5 - Run through Redlands 5k
  • September 9 - Great North Run 5k (Newcastle, England-will run if don't get in half-marathon and may also run if I do get in)
  • September 10 - Great North Run 1/2 Marathon (ballot entry opens Feb 2017)
My race schedule for the first half the year is set. I may add some smaller races in February or May for fun. The second half of 2017 needs some work.

The Great North Run is the world's largest 1/2 marathon and it's a lottery entry. If I don't get in, I will need to plan another 1/2 marathon as a tune-up race for the Chicago Marathon. If that's the case, I may race the Santa Rosa 1/2 marathon (August 27) again but it all depends on our England travel schedule. I would like to race a total of four 1/2 marathons in 2017 and need to find one for November or December. Any suggestions? 

There has been some chatter about me possibly running my first 50k trail race in August. I haven't made up my mind one way or the other, but I did say I won't make a decision until after I run the LA Marathon in March. Because, really, what's 5 more miles??


My 2016 goals. 50% accomplished.
As Shalane Flanagan says, if you accomplish all 
your goals you're not reaching high enough

2017 Goals

  • Run the Chicago Marathon in 3:48. My big "A" goal for 2017. This will take a lot of work on my end (mentally, physically, emotionally). I will have to get ugly, messy and give 100% on the race course. I've never done that. Especially not for a marathon. All my other races during the year are to help me practice and fine-tune my racing skills.
  • Run a 1:45 half-marathon. A carry over from 2015 and 2016. I only truly raced one 1/2 marathon in 2016 and I want 4 opportunities to try this year. A "B" goal is to PR in the half (sub 1:47:38). 
  • Continue to build strength through weight-lifting and core work. This is what has helped me become a stronger runner in 2016. This is what helps my body handle increasing mileage. 
  • Continue to prehab regularly with rolling, stretching and Jasyoga. Add-in frequent massage and ART. This, in addition to glute work and activation, got me to the CIM start line ready to race. Since CIM, I've been rolling and stretching every day--even on days I don't run. I can't believe how good my legs feel.
  • Sleep more. Once I'm back to marathon training, I'm setting a sleep alarm to make sure I'm in bed and asleep by 9:30 pm every night. If left to my own devices, I stay up way too late for the time I need to wake up in the morning.
That's all for now. I do have some smaller general goals, like fine-tune my race day nutrition strategy, but those will progress along with my main goals. 

UPDATE (12/28/17): My word for 2017 just came to me this morning: GRIT
Digging in and embracing adversity as a motivator in pursuit of my goals. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016: Getting Ugly for the Burritos

Idaho Bird Camp: June 2016
You've got to love running. It's ugly, messy, hard as f*ck sometimes....and at the same time one of the most empowering, connecting and worthwhile pursuits I have undertaken. I started 2016 barely able to run, coming back from injury and having to rebuild my base. 2016 ended up becoming the best year of my running life (started running seriously in 2010, occasional runner before then).

Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC is hosting a Year of Running link up and I thought, well why not? So 

Eat Pray Run DC Year of Running 2016




  • Best race experience: I raced 13 times this year (lucky 13!). I liked them all for different reasons. Every race is a learning experience, which is why I like to race. Anyway, my best race experience was the St. George Marathon. It is an awesome race. The course is beautiful and breathtaking. The support and logistics are great. And it's a Saturday marathon which means I didn't have to travel back home right after the race. Of course, though, the reason it tops my list is because it is my marathon PR, I finally ran a sub-4 hour marathon AND I qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon. Crossing that finish line in that time was the hardest thing I have ever done in my running career and therefore my best race experience of 2016
  • Best run: My best run of 2016 was also one of my first runs of 2016. It was my longest run (6.4 miles) after two months of barely running and coming back from injury. We were in Manchester, England and it was my last run in England before flying home the next day. I ran round-trip from our hotel in City Centre to Old Trafford (home of Manchester United), where we were going later that day to watch United beat Swansea City. Watching Premier League soccer in England is an awesome experience and if you have the opportunity, you should definitely do it. It was fun running through the streets of Manchester before the city woke up, getting to the stadium as my goal and then running back to the hotel.
  • Best new piece of running gear: I do love my Garmin 235 with a wrist based heart rate monitor.  Not new...but I'm going to have to pick my GLUTES. Since late 2015, I've worked on activating, using and powering my push off with my glutes. With the help of regular physical therapy and my own determination, I've become a stronger runner.
  • Best running advice you've received this year: The night before a marathon eat a big dessert. Trisha Drobeck, Oiselle Haute Volée, told us this piece of advice at Idaho Bird Camp. She says it guarantees a great race. It worked for St. George!
  • Most inspirational runner: I will have to agree with Courtney, Kate Grace. She came back from injury and rocked the Olympic Trials coming in 1st place at the 800m finals (never podiuming before this). She is down to earth and she's superfan!
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: This one was easy. Crossing the finish line at St. George knowing I not only earned a huge PR, but also qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon. I don't think I every smiled so big or full crossing a marathon finish line.
  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Although the race didn't go as planned, I would repeat CIM in a heartbeat because I want to do better. The race logistics, organization and crowd support were amazing. It was the first race I've run with a large Oiselle Cowbell Corner and running in Sacramento is fun. I love running there. 
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words: Boston QUALIFIER!


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Holy crap marathon, I hate and love you so much" CIM Recap

Thanks Sheena for these pictures!
Marathons suck. They hurt. I hate marathons. I don't know why I keep registering for them. I love marathons. I love them for the challenge, I love them for the sense of accomplishment and for the community and spectacle.  And I DO know why I keep registering for them: I want to get better. I want to learn from my mistakes.

And, boy, did I make mistakes with CIM. My first mistake was not sticking with my plan to make CIM my one-and-only fall marathon. It has been my goal race for 2016 when I had to defer last year and build up my strength this year. I got distracted by another marathon. I joined others from one of my local running groups to form a team to register for the St. George Marathon. I interrupted my training for CIM to taper for St. George, run it and then recover from it. This left maybe 4 weeks to get marathon ready for CIM. 

At 23.6 miles, Oiselle Cowbell Corner was amazing!!

My second mistake happened in the 2nd mile of CIM. My plan for the race was to stick with the 3:53 pace group until 20 mile or so. When the race started, it was crowded around the pace leaders and at times almost dangerous as people were running into each other. Around 2 miles, I decided to go slightly in front of the pace group to get some space. In retrospect, I should have slowed down and gone behind the pace group. Lesson learned. 


The first half of CIM is all rolling hills and rolling hills are my strength because it is all I train on. I spent the whole first half telling myself to slow down. It felt super easy and actually, it was the easiest 13.1 miles I have ever run. My splits for the first half are pretty even. The next few miles I slowed down, but not too much. It wasn't until mile 18 (that seems to be my nemesis mile mark!) that my wheels fell off and the marathon became a sufferfest. Oiselle Cowbell Corner was at 23.6 miles and knowing that kept me moving forward. Finish time-- 3:57:03

After beating myself up over my mistakes, I came to the realization that prior to this year I was unable or capable of running a sub-4 hour marathon and I did that twice! One of which was a 2018 Boston Marathon qualifying time!

Now it's time to rest and recover; to start prepping for the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon training cycle which starts December 26...


My title quote comes from a tweet by Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, pro runner for Oiselle, making her return to 26.2 after 3 years and 2 babies. She ran a strong race, coming in second and only a couple minutes off her PR!



Monday, November 28, 2016

CIM Race Week

My overall goal for CIM is to run a strong and consistent race. In order to do that, I need to reign in my speed in the early part of the race so I can avoid the marathon death march at the end of the race. Pacing is not my strong point (and why I've hired a coach for 2017). My plan is to tuck in with the 3:53 (~8:53/mi) pace group leaders and let them do the thinking for at least the first half, if not more. I don't want to run faster than 8:35 (unless it is the last couple miles-- and if that's the case, at the end of the marathon, it will be an early Christmas miracle). I want to stay in the 8:45-9:00/mi pace range for 90% of the race. 


  • 'A' Goal -->Finish 3:50 or faster
  • 'B' Goal -->PR (sub 3:52:14)
  • 'C' Goal -->Finish strong and have fun
I feel as if I will still be chasing my 'A' goal next year--never felt fully recovered from St. George 26.2--and that's okay. Part of me is hoping for race magic to kick in and for miracles to happen. The realist in me knows I already drank from that well for St. George, but as the great Kara Goucher says, Always believe.

In addition to the race, I'm super excited that Oiselle Volée will have large presence. Twenty-seven of us are racing and a bunch more will be at mile 22 for cowbell corner. There will be other team activities, such as shakeout runs, Friday night dinner and post-race brunch.