Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I'm depressed. I'm sad. I feel silly and embarrassed. There are a lot of hard struggles out there in the world and my struggle isn't one of them. I made a hard decision for myself, which was to finally stop ignoring my thigh pain/issue and back off running this week. I'm taking it day-by-day to see how it feels. 

I've had a nagging pain in my right thigh since September 15th. It bugs me at the beginning of my runs but once I get in the groove and hit my stride, it doesn't bother me. It reminded me of a similar pain in my left leg earlier this year that resolved on its own. I thought it would follow a similar path. It hasn't. 

I ran 20 miles on Sunday with a fairly good pace and felt great. Monday, my rest day,  I woke up in pain.  All day Monday, while downing Motrin, I debated continuing my training plan (stubborn) vs to stop for awhile (smart). I talked to my husband. I finally decided, telling him "This is really hard for me to do and it's a hard decision for me to make, but I'm not going run my scheduled run tomorrow and maybe {see, I can't commit...it's hard} the rest of the week and I need your support on this."

I have an appointment with my primary care doctor on October 30th (the earliest they can see me). I'm now debating whether I should go to urgent care to start the diagnostic process (referral to an orthopedist, MRI etc). Google is not a friend (femur stress fracture??). I can't single leg hop on it and I definitely favor it. But the chair/fulcrum test is negative (no pain). Internet, MD. 

I keep reminding myself of the big picture--I will run stronger if I allow my body to heal. I would rather run strong and healthy in the future than continue on a mediocre path. Now, more than ever, the mantra that I've printed on my RoadID--I WANT IT MORE THAN I FEAR IT--means more to me now because the decision to back off training was very scary for me to make. 

Because of my great base and fitness level, I can miss up to 10 days of training without it impacting my marathon goal (per my book/training plan). My leg feels better today and instead of running, I am indoor cycling (no weight bearing).

*Sigh* You want to know what sucks about this? I was feeling strong and confident about my training and my abilities. Maybe even a little cocky. 

I'll get it back. I'll get that feeling back. I've come back from worse. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

{week 9} Progress NOT Perfection

The Lab Rats - night training run
My mantra used to be Perseverance not perfection. I'm awesome at persevering. I consistently show up and do the work. I really don't need to work on perseverance. As I stated in a previous post (Fully Baked), I need to work on pushing myself outside my comfort zone and persevering is simply not a big enough goal for me. 

Paul coaches a new U13 club soccer team. The boys play with their heart and learn from mistakes and have consistently become better with each game. This past Saturday, the boys played against the #1 team in the league and although it would be nice to say they came from behind and won, that didn't happen. They lost. But they played very well and as I was talking to one of the soccer moms I told her Progress not perfection {who knows where these thoughts come from; sometimes genius thoughts spontaneously appear in my mind} and she really liked that. I told my husband later and he really liked it and is now using it.

I've embraced Progress not perfection (since way back this past Saturday) as my new mantra. I tend to beat myself up mentally when I don't hit goal paces or a workout doesn't go as planned. I still finish it (see above) but I don't necessarily allow myself the euphoria of a job well done. 

I'm great at looking at what went wrong and learning from my mistakes (which is awesome) but I don't give myself credit for what went right--the mistakes I didn't make, the progress I've made. Three years ago, I was re-learning to run and celebrated the joy of running 2 miles straight. I'm now training for my second marathon of 2015. That, my friends, is progress. 

Week 9 (9 Weeks until CIM)--at the halfway point!

Goal Mileage: 48 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training
Tuesday: Recovery run - 6 miles Rest
Wednesday: Medium-long run - 14 miles Rest
Thursday: Recovery run - 6 miles
Friday: Rest or cross-training Recovery run - 6 miles
Saturday: Recovery run + speed - 6 miles with 6 x 100m strides
Sunday: Marathon-pace run: 16 miles with 12 miles at marathon race pace

Monday, September 21, 2015

{week 8} Making it through a tough week

Up until this past week, I've had a good string of training runs and weeks. I suppose I was due a not-so-good one. I never expected it to be the week after a recovery week. I thought because I was training in San Diego and my route was relatively flat (I usually train with hills), my planned tempo while challenging would not be impossible. 

Feeling minor twinges in my right quad, I started my run along the San Diego Bay on a warm and humid Tuesday morning. I felt off right from the start, but you know what they say: never trust your first mile. My first 2 warm-up miles felt tough. Tougher than they should: my heart rate was high (much higher than normal) and my right leg felt "off". I continued on and sped up to my tempo speed. Yeah, not so good. I ran 3 miles at tempo and decided that was enough. I finished my run with a 2 mile cool-down, but had to keep stopping because my heart rate was high. 

After the day's meetings were finished, I hopped on the hotel treadmill to finish my tempo work: 1/2 mile warm-up--2 miles at tempo--1/2 mile cool-down. I don't know if this is right or appropriate, but I wanted to finish my aborted run. I know missing ONE or even not completing ONE run will not affect my training. In my head, I should have known this is my body telling me I need more rest and recovery

Especially true in light of Wednesday's recovery run: 4 miles along the relatively flat San Diego Bay. It was drizzling a bit, but not warm like the day before. On my recovery runs, I like to keep my heart rate below 143 bpm. This was not happening. Again, my heart rate was higher than expected. I ran the 4 miles at a slow recovery pace, but my average heart rate was 152 bpm. Clearly I needed more rest. Right? Back home, I ran my scheduled 11 mile regular run on Thursday morning. Again, it felt harder than it should. 

I took Friday off completely (no cross-training) and decided not to drive out to Los Angeles on Saturday for a Oiselle VolĂ©e meet-up (too much driving hurts my legs--it's a 3 hour round trip) and we were going to Orange County (2 hour round trip) for a birthday party later that day. 

Weekends get overbooked with different activities and before I know it, Monday happens and I haven't rested properly. I think I was tired from travel, dehydrated, still recovering from the weekend before and the HEAT. 

Bad runs happen. Unfortunately, they brought out my self-doubt thoughts that cycle through my mind: Am I good enough? Can I even do this? Why am I doing this? and all of the other discouraging and depressing thoughts that plague my mind. I started to fear doing my planned weekend runs...

....Saturday morning I ran my 18-mile long run. After the first couple miles, my right quad didn't bother me. I kept an eye on my heart rate. It stayed within my normal run range. It was a great run! I was able to get in my run zone and the miles melted away. Up until the last two miles, which were a struggle. Reflecting back on my run, I realized I did not have any water since mile 12 and it was HOT. A simple solution to make my next run better. 

In summary: my tough week has reminded me to (1)recover like a champ; (2) dust myself off and learn from my mistakes but don't dwell on them; (3) ask for help; and (4) re-focus on mental toughness training

Week 8 (10 weeks until CIM)

Goal Mileage: 54 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (tabata)
Tuesday: Recovery run + speed - 7 miles with 6 x 100m strides
Wednesday: Medium-long run - 12 miles
Thursday: Rest or cross-training
Friday: Lactate threshold run - 10 miles with 6 miles at tempo, speed play on treadmill (am) + 3 miles recovery run (pm)
Saturday: Recovery run - 5 miles
Sunday: Long run - 20 miles

Monday, September 14, 2015

{week 7} Pushing the threshold

Time to enter the next phase of my 18-week training plan. Last week capped my endurance building phase. The focus of the next 5 weeks is to increase my lactate threshold while continuing to build my endurance. 

Based on past running and training, my lactate threshold heart rate is 174 bpm and my current lactate threshold pace is 8:05 min /mile. The  focus of my training for the next few weeks will be to raise my threshold so I can run stronger and faster at a more comfortable heart rate. Out, out lactate!

This week I have a tempo run on Tuesday. Kinda nervous about that because I'm travelling to San Diego for work and will be down there for the run. Not nervous about the tempo, more nervous about running fast in the dark in a place I'm not too familiar with. Less nervous because I have run on the Embarcadero before, just not fast.  On schedule for Sunday, is my longest run thus far in this training cycle. 

Vasona Lake: Sometimes you've got to stop to take a picture

Week 7 (11 weeks until CIM)

Goal Mileage: 50 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (tabata)
Tuesday: 10 miles with 5 miles at tempo 7 miles with 3 miles at tempo and 3 miles with 2 miles at tempo(lactate threshold run) - San Diego
Wednesday: 4 miles recovery run - San Diego
Thursday: 11 miles medium-long run
Friday: Rest or cross-training :)
Saturday: 7 miles with 8 x 100m strides (PM) 18 mile long run
Sunday: 18 mile long run 7 miles recovery run

Total miles: 50.1 miles

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

{week 6} Recovery happens

Senior prom...hmm, yeah.
I'm on my final week of the first mesocycle (endurance) of my fall 18-week training cycle. This week is also marked as a recovery week which means less miles. And the timing could not be more perfect because my high school reunion is Saturday and my scheduled weekend long run is only 12 miles. Um, there might be there will be some other type of recovery going on that weekend. Especially since I purposely booked our hotel room within walking distance of swirls. 

Senior prom

Since starting this plan, I've come to appreciate recovery and truly understand its importance in building speed, power and strength. I've discovered that recovery runs (when run at the proper pace/intensity) are helpful to shake legs out from previous workouts and to get ready for the next day's workout. Now, running at the proper recovery pace/intensity is a bit tricky {for me}. I have to set an alarm on my Garmin to make sure my heart rate stays below 143 bpm. It is very tempting to run faster and I've pushed myself with hills or speed too many times. 

Celebrating my 15th birthday with a weekend in Santa Cruz

Last week, I ran a proper recovery run with an avg pace of 10:15/mile (goal pace range = 9:50 to 10:36/mile) Right pace; right heart rate. That night I felt great. Legs refreshed and I felt ready to tackle the next day's run, which was a 10 mile general aerobic run

My goal pace range for this type of run is 8:45 to 9:43/mile. I set a goal to run my 10 miles with an avg pace of less than 9:00/mile and with refreshed legs I was able to run it at an 8:50/mile average with no problem. Of course, later in the week for my second scheduled recovery run on Saturday, Paul and I hit the trails with the soccer boys for hill sprints (him) and 5 miles (me and Nani). It's tough impossible keeping my heart rate down on trails, so my goal was to go as slow as needed and to not push myself. The next day I had my 16-miler with last 10 at goal marathon pace (~8:35/mile) and I was able to run those 10 miles at an average 8:31/mile. I did alright. 

Week 6 (12 weeks to CIM)

Goal Mileage: 37 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (TRX class)
Tuesday: 8 miles with 10 x 100m strides
Wednesday: 5 miles recovery run
Thursday: 8 miles general aerobic run
Friday: 4 miles recovery run (travel to San Jose)
Saturday: 12 miles medium-long run (Night=reunion)
Sunday: Rest or cross-training (travel home)