Week in Review: 3/12/18

This week's stats:

  • 71 miles
  • 13M with 4x(3x600m) @ 1:52-1:53 (74s per lap), 60-70s rest b/w reps, lap between sets
  • 10M MLR
  • 14M with 4 mile tempo in 22:30 via538/538/534/533
  • 11.4M MLR

There are some workouts where you just really, really surprise yourself, and you run faster times than you ever thought were possible. 

Reminder:  I am 32 years old. 

 Don't be fooled.  Ayla blasted past all of us on the final set. :-)

Don't be fooled.  Ayla blasted past all of us on the final set. :-)

I ran times on Tuesday night at the Stanford track that might be as fast as I ran 11 years ago, back when I was representing Wake Forest.  I didn't double check in my college training log because sometimes not knowing makes it seem even sweeter.  

The workout with Strava Track Club on Tuesday was pretty special, not because I hit fast times for me, but because of the synergy on the track.  We had 6 women and 2 men running the same pace for the first three sets.  EIGHT PEOPLE running together, alternating leads to pace the whole crew, pushing each other to achieve dreams together.  Running track might be an individual sport, but having tough training partners sure does make it feel like a team sometimes. 

Even if we all separated a little during the fourth set, when the speedsters Ayla and Maya sped up, we each played a role in pushing the other, or at least making the effort feel a little bit easier.  

Tuesday's success was followed just three days later with another solid 4 mile tempo, where I think that I PR'ed for fastest 4 mile time.  Having Justin as a pacer helped tremendously, even though this was practically his marathon pace.  Looking forward to putting this newfound speed and fitness to the test!

Week in Review: 3/5/18

This week's stats:

  • 75 Miles
  • 12M with 3 x 2000m in 7:02, 6:45, 6:40 (with laps @ 85/80), 800m in 2:40
  • 12M MLR
  • 12M with 2.13M tempo in 541/540/:44, 3 x (3x300) w/ 100 jog within set and 500m jog b/t sets. Paces were 53-54s
  • 2 climbing sessions
  • 2 lift sessions

Sometimes your workout doesn't go the way you want it to, and it's bad.  Other times it goes off plan, but it's completely good.  

Both of these things happened to me this week.  For the 2K repeats on the track, it was complete hell.  This was definitely the sort of workout where I needed a slew of people to pull me along.  It just so happened that most of my buddies, including myself, had an off day, so we were all mostly solo.  This made it very tough for me to actually get faster on every lap, as I was supposed to, so I cut the workout short.  

For my secondary workout on Saturday, I was supposed to run 3 sets of 3 x 300m.  I ran into the Strava Track Club girls, who were doing a 4 mile tempo.  I decided to do 2 miles of the tempo before doing the 300m repeats.  Ironically enough, running 540 pace for 2 miles warmed me up for the 300s so they felt pretty great.  It was nice to end the week on a positive note.  I've definitely realized that discovering my speed after years of marathon training hasn't been nearly as bad as I had anticipated.  

Week in Review: 2/26/18

This week's stats:

  • 72 Miles
  • 11.5M with 4 x mile @ 553, 552, 547, 537 and then 4 x 400m @ 76/77 all with 60-90s jog rest
  • 10M race in 57:55, 1st place, $250
  • 11M MLR
  • 2 days in Tucson

It's always a blast to reconnect with the woman that I have run the last two Olympic Trials Marathons with!  Meagan and I got together in Tucson and got to do a little workout together with the beautiful backdrop of mountains in the distance.  While there was entire fiasco leading up to the part where we actually started the workout - including but not limited to:  driving to a park and then learning the school track wasn't open to the public until after our warmup was completed, being told that there was a public park with a track just fifteen minutes away, to driving to the park and discovering no such track existed, and then ultimately doing the workout, with a minor interruption from an old man berating us for our "aggressive behavior."  Yeah, it was a whirlwind of a workout!  But it was fun, and we did it!  

The rest of the time in Tucson was spent talking over glasses of wine and going to be at 830PM.  I can't make this stuff up.

On Thursday, I arrived back in the bay and on Friday, turned right back around to head up north to Redding for the NorCal 10 Miler, a Pacific USATF Grand Prix race.  Jenna and I packed our bags, hopped in her car and made the 4-hour trek north without any major delays.  It was a big trip for Jenna because it was the first time she spent a night away from Ollie, her six-month old bundle of love.  She coped just fine and did the typical things any new mom would do, like go to bed at 9PM. :-)

Race day came with clouds looming threatening above, but no rain fell on us during the race.  I was surprised by the small size of the race at the start line, but knew that it would be pretty competitive since a bunch of Bay Area clubs had brought up teams to compete.  

Jenna and I situated ourselves near the front of the line, as did another girl that I did not know.  We set off, and I tucked in behind the girl and hoped I could latch onto her to do most of the work.  After about a mile, my main competitor eased off the pace, and we settled into a rhythm running either side by side, or with me situated comfortable behind her shoulder.  She kept checking her watch and, by mile 3, her breathing was pretty labored. I knew then that I could probably beat her. 

Around mile 4, we hit some uphills, and I unintentionally dropped the girl and a guy we had been running.  I didn't want to leave that soon in the race, but it felt natural, so I continued to push.  Terry had instructed me to tempo the first 5 miles and race the last 5 miles.  So, I knew that I needed to negative split to just prove that I did indeed race the last half.  

There weren't many people for me to pick off in the latter half of the race, but there were enough guys for me to have someone to focus on until 9.5M, when I passed a guy and then there was no one to look up to from there.  Fortunately, I was so far into the race at that point that it didn't really matter.  

Overall, I was really pleased with this race. Just in 2014, I ran 57:14 at Army Ten Miler and today I was just 40 seconds off that time.  Considering I'm not very far into my spring training, it's pretty damn good!

I was really proud of Jenna too because it was her first race back post baby and she absolutely crushed it - running 1:01:49.

 Doing post-workout strides with Meagan

Doing post-workout strides with Meagan

Week in Review: 2/19/18

This week's stats:

  • 80 Miles
  • 11M MLR 
  • 12M with 8x1000m via 319-321 with 2-230 rest
  • 10M with 13 x 200m via 34-35 with 60-75s jog rest
  • 15.3M long run easy 
  • 5 days in CLT

This week was exceptionally humid in Charlotte, and I didn't have company on my 1000m repeat workout that was very, very difficult.  I somehow managed to hit the times and persevere against my own negativity.  Even wearing my clunky training shoes (I mean really, who packs TWO pairs of running shoes on a work trip? Definitely not me), I hit the times and felt pretty good doing so.  After a long work week in CLT, I finally made it back to Cali, where I got to do a workout with Peter for the very first time!  He did the even numbered reps with me, which helped immensely!  Then on Sunday, I connected a whole group of speedy women to run long together!  It was a good week!

 

Week in Review: 2/12/18

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This week's stats:

  • 72 Miles
  • 12M with 5 x mile via 541 (77), 547 (67), 537 (68), 541 (86), 533 for 1600m
  • 10M with 3x(400-300-200-100) with 400s @ 72-73, 300s @ 52-23, 200s @ 33-35, 100s @ 17-15 with 80s rest within sets, 3:00 rest between sets
  • 12.5M MLR with Michelle and Liz
  • 2 days at Wake Forest

I'm familiar with mile repeats.  There's a certain level of comfort that comes along with a workout that you've done regularly for the past decade as a post-collegiate runner.

But, tell me to run 100 meters all out?  Now, THAT is foreign.

In fact, the feeling of running 100 meters all out, as I did on Thursday this week, felt so foreign that I didn't even feel like I had control of my legs during the 15 seconds.  It felt as though my legs and arms were just flailing all around, with my neck stiffly upright, as I barreled down the  final straightaway to the finish line at Stanford's Cobb track.  Did I imagine that I was finishing a 5K race in the Stanford Invite? Damn right I did.  

While I'm on that topic.  I really, really want to run the Stanford Invite this year.  After seeing so many of my teammates make huge comebacks - like Allie Kieffer at NYC Marathon and Michelle Sikes at the indoor 3,000M - I decided to finally push aside various excuses  and to race on the track once and for all, this season.  I am ready to tackle new challenges, like breaking my track PRs from college and I'm confident I can do it.  Now, it's really hard to get into the Stanford Invite IF you have a recent mark.  It's probably damn near impossible to get into Stanford Invite if you don't have a track mark in, well, TEN YEARS.  Yeah, that's how long it's been since I ran a 5K, or 10K for that matter, on the oval.  That's where I hope that Dena is able to work her magic, and convince the track gate-keepers that I deserve to toe that starting line.  And if it doesn't work out, there is always the UCSF track race the same weekend.

After the unfamiliar track workout, I headed back to Wake Forest, where Michelle was getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. It was nice to not have any major long runs to worry about and to focus on my friends instead!

 

Week in Review: 2/5/18

This week's stats:

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  • 73 Miles
  • 12M with 10 x 800m alternating pace/rest via 240.3 (76), 236.3 (96), 243.7 (46), 235.0 (90), 245.3 (46), 233.5 (1:42), 241.2 (52), 232.0 (89), 244.4 (47), 234.0
  • 12M MLR
  • 17M LR with 8M progression in 628/624/619/614/614/608/605/553
  • 2 days in Big Sur
  • 2 weight lifting session
  • 1 rock climbing session

Last week, I did both my workouts faster than Terry prescribed.  This week, I continued with the theme of being way too fast, starting first with my 800m repeats at the Strava Track Club practice.  I did two repeats while the girls continued doing warmup things, and immediately was too fast out of the gate.  Terry said to run 2:45-2:47 for the slower repeats; I ran 2:40.  It felt pretty controlled, so I just went with it.   I forgot that this wasn't a marathon pace workout, and that I was about to be jumping on the track with some very speedy 5K runners. 

Ayla and Natalie joined on my number 3 repeat and we alternated leads. I took #3 and #4 and then we rotated from there. On number 6, Natalie or Ayla led and I felt like my legs might fall off. I wasn't looking at splits so I just knew roughly we were under 2:40....not that we were below 2:35.  I saw that later.  After that one though, I could tell I needed to run the "slower" repeat actually slower than 240, and we did...kind of. 

Then after number 8 I REALLY needed to go slower otherwise I felt like I would have to walk in to the finish on the 10th interval. I was really beginning to feel the lactate build up and my form felt all wacky. Ayla totally dusted me on numbers 8,9,10 and I felt like I was going really slow but I was not...I ran 2:34 via 76/78. Also, all of our splits were pretty even, except for that 10th one.  It wasn't that I saw slowing down as much as Ayla was getting much faster than me!

I can't remember the last time I ran this fast for 800m repeats. So, yeah, I was really pumped about that workout.

The rest of the week focused on easy running until a Saturday long run, where a group of us gathered again for a solid long run effort.  I felt pretty tired and didn't do 9-10 miles of tempo, and instead cut it down to the shorter option. Feeling good about my fitness still!

Week in Review: 1/29/18

This week's stats:

  • 70 Miles
  • 13M with 10M alternating paces via 627/557/624/557/618/553/615/546/626/552
  • 10M with 16 x 200m @ 35-36 with 200m jog in ~60s
  • 14.2M MLR with Tania and Job

All things considered, I'm in wayyyy better shape than I would have guessed.  This cycle, my goals are different, soI'm doing workouts that I don't normally do. Instead of trying to run a fast marathon, I'm trying to run a fast 5K or 10K on the track.  That means that I actually need to get out on the track and get these old wheels spinning.  

Just one week back from Costa Rica, and I crushed a ten mile wave tempo with Jay.  I was surprised at how easy it felt.  I hope that I can do this workout again in a few months and try for 610/540.  

The track workout on Friday was lots of fun.  Terry told me to go out slower - like 39, but I kept consistently hitting 35/36 so I just decided to stick with it.  It's been absolutely beautiful out, so that plays a big role in these times for me.  Even though I'm only two weeks into training for a track race, I feel pretty confident with these first steps!

Week in Review: 1/22/18

This week's stats:

  • 54 Miles
  • 14M progression tempo 645--> 555
  • 1 Rock climbing day
  • 1 weight lifting day

I am so behind on my blog that I don't even really remember what happened this week, except that I suffered from depression upon returning from my Costa Rican vacation.  Oh, wait, did I just admit that?  

It was rough transitioning back to the reality of working full-time, but California was nice enough to greet me with a seemingly endless summer and temps roughly the same as the balmy Costa Rican province.  

In an effort to run with Strava Track Club more, I decided to help out Natalie for her progression tempo on Saturday.  We ended up with quite a big group - Shal, Justin, Tom, Danielle - and I was able to dip below 6:00.  Coming back from vacation, I was really pleased that this effort felt so comfortable!

Week in Review: Pura Vida!

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This week's stats:

  • 38 miles
  • 1 day off
  • 10M "long run"

I'm on vacation.  No time to be online.  So instead, I'll post this picture of Kaitlin Goodman and me.  We ran past each other on the beach, wearing the EXACT same rabbit shorts!

It was a pleasant surprise to see a familiar face, and a fellow STC and rabbit ambassador.  We were both bummed that we hadn't run into each other earlier on our respective vacations; she was running in the evenings while I was running in the mornings.  

 

Week in Review: Happy New Year!

This week's stats:

  • 58 miles
  • 16.2M Long run on hills @ 700 average
  • 5 days in Plano, Texas
  • 1 day off
  • 7 runs

Sooo...Not much to report here except that it WAS SO COLD IN TEXAS I THOUGHT IT WASNT SUPPOSED TO BE COLD THERE AND OMG I DONT HAVE THE RIGHT KIND OF CLOTHING FOR SUB-20.

But seriously, I don't own a single pair of long socks.  I only own hidden Balega socks and don't even own a single pair of boots that doesn't have a heel, and I refuse to wear heels because they're so bad for your feet.  So, I was THAT person who was wearing socks with canvas loafers into the office.  Trend setter over here.  

Work is really hectic right now, so I'll take it as a win that I even walked out of the hotel lobby with laced up running shoes.  Especially considering the two-hour time difference from Tejas to Cali plus the sub-20 degrees, I'll take it!  Out of the 4 mornings in Plano, I ran on 3 of them and even managed some strides on Friday!  

Even if my mileage during the work days was low, I made up for it on Saturday when I did a long run with Ben, Oscar and Tom through the Los Altos hills.  If there's ever a point in my life where I don't feel like doing hard efforts during the week, I still would like to put in the hard weekend long run.  There is something so satisfying about completing a long run with friends.  

After just a few short days in sunny California, I'm off again on Monday to head back to Texas.  This time, however, it's going to be much warmer. Phew.

Week in Review: 12/25/17

This week's stats:

  • 69 miles
  • 12M with 8KM in 30:10 via 1KM off/on: 350/327/405/329/427/320/410/319
  • 16M LR with miles 11 - 15 at 630-620 pace
  • 4 days in LA with my sister

Considering that I hopped on an airplane on Christmas day and spent 4 glorious days in the smog of LA, I'm really pleased with how this week went.  I spent tons of time with my sister, got in lots of vitamin D, biked to the beach, and opened up presents from my mom from Vitacost. 

Our family decided a couple years ago that it was too hectic to do gifts anymore for the whole family.  So, we stopped gift giving and opted instead for a family trip together at least once a year.  After all, gift giving was always more stressful than fun, especially for my brothers who never seemed to remember it was a holiday until Christmas Eve, when not only are the stores closed, but the deadline for Amazon 2-day shipping has passed.  This plan, of course, never applies to my mom.  She always breaks the rule and gets us gifts.  Of course, my heart melts that she does this.  And she's really mastered her skills.  This year she sent Vanessa and I a box full of goodies ranging from Bragg's Organic Seasoning, zuma soap bars (my favorite!), organic protein powder, macadamia nuts, chocolate covered almonds, coconut milk, a tea steeper, an insulated water bottle, and other various treats she could find all from vitacost.  

All of this being said, I spent my time in LA basically just eating all the treats she got us.  And it was fantastic!

By the time I got back to the bay area, it was time for me to focus my mind, finish the 1000-piece puzzle Jonah and I had started, and prepare for two trips to Texas.

Week in Review: 12/18/17

This week's stats:

  • 71M
  • 10M with 2M in 605/535, 4:00 jog, 2 x (3-2-1) with 90s jog rest, 4 x 45s strides
  • 12M MLR Birthday Run!
  • 8.4M with 4M tempo via 548/538/545/534
  • 14M Steady state in 6:21 average

The theme for this week - besides the obvious one of HOLIDAZE - was playing pacemaker!  On Wednesday, I paced Meagan and Jonah through a mini workout to get our legs moving.  Then on Saturday, I decided to help pace Ayla for a 25 minute tempo she had on tap.  Not having a plan is kinda fun because I can just jump in a do whatever I want. There's absolutely no pressure and since doing a workout is better than not doing one at all, I always win.  

I celebrated my 32nd birthday with a group of 10 people at Baylands for a 90 minute run, with a later pickup point to maximize the attendance and spread the love.  Overall, it was a very relaxing birthday, with very little fanfare, but lots of love.  Just the way I like it, except maybe next year I'll be in a very warm place. 

It was tons of fun doing a Christmas Eve long run with a group of EIGHT guys ranging in age from 16 to 62.  Yes, you read that right.  Basically, I run with some pretty badass dudes and I couldn't be prouder of them all!

Week in Review: Dec 11, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 66 miles
  • 10M, while running hard up any uphills 
  • 11.3M MLR 
  • 16M with 7M @ 619/620/619/613/611/606/600
  • 1 lift session
  • 0 days off
  • 3 days in Carbondale, Illinois

I spent the first three days of the week in Southern Illinois, working remotely from my childhood home. It's always nostalgic to run on the roads where I first discovered my passion for running.  It's also quite...backcountry, er, rustic.   I went out for a run on Monday morning, feeling energized and motivated to hit up a trail near a secluded lake.  Even though the grass path is always mowed, the only time of year that you can actually enjoy it is in the winter.  This is because all the baby seed ticks die (or hide?) and there's no longer any risk of running through a nest of baby ticks and having hundreds of microscopic ticks crawling through your shoe and up your ankle.  Needless to say, I was pumped! Coming off a fun race at Club XC champs, I wanted more of the grass (a luxury item in California), and headed for the trail.

About 600 meters into the woods, near the tree that my family perched on for countless photos, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. My heart skipped a beat because it looked like the shape of a person, and I really didn't want to look.  I couldn't resist, and turned my head and saw a hunter with a bow and arrow, sitting on a deer stand.  His head was down in such a way that I thought he might be dead (of course he was not) and he did not stir when I bounded past.  Of course, I picked up the pace.  As I sped down the long, straight downhill, I had grotesque images of me being shot in the back with an arrow.  Okay, yes, it's a bit dramatic, but I really was concerned, and I just wasn't comfortable being near a deadly weapon.  I also was worried that maybe other hunters were out there and that they would shoot at a deer, miss, and hit me instead.

I did learn an important lesson on this run though.  Up until this run, I always got annoyed when my mom or dad asked me which route I planned to take.  I wanted my "heart to just decide" once I hit the end of the driveway and then make a decision of where to go.  Let's be real, I'm way too much of a planner to not actually have an idea of where I want to go on that run before I lace up my shoes.  And so, I learned that I need to answer my parents' questions, or Peter's questions when they ask me where I'm running.  Because I don't know what could happen on a run, and they're the people in the world who care the most about me.  They deserve to have at least some clue as to where to start looking for me if I don't come back within a reasonable time from a run.  Long story short, I'm sorry for being an asshole, mom and dad!  I promise I'll always tell you the route I'm planning on taking before I leave your house!

End of PSA. I promise.

Despite the winter chill, and the end of the farming season, my dad left a row of winter carrots in the ground so that he and I could dig them up together! It was so fun and, not to mention, incredibly rewarding since the carrots are seriously the best I've ever had. So sweet and crisp.  After pulling the carrots out of the ground, I pushed the wheelbarrow to the outdoor sink and washed all the mud off of them so we could make some pretty sweet organic carrot juice!  

After a nice trip home, I finished out the week with my trusty partner in crime, Jenna, and my other partner in crime, Jonah, who is finally back after taking a break.  Saturday's long run was special because it was the first time Jenna and I had run side-by-side for a workout in almost a year!  It was so great.  While I love all my guys, it's always really fun to pack it up with some strong women, and I was just so proud of Jenna for running so freaking fast just 3 months after having Ollie.  It will certainly be exciting to watch her train next year!

Week in Review: Dec 4, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 45 miles
  • 10M with 2 x (3min-2min-1min) with 90s rest b/w reps, 2min between sets, 3 x 60s strides
  • 4 days in CLT
  • 3 days in Kentucky / Ohio
  • 6K XC race in 20:54

Nothing like hitting up five states in one week! I kicked off Monday with a run and then a flight to Charlotte for a work trip.  Two states? Check!  Then Thursday, I flew to Kentucky for the Club XC Champs in Lexington.  Three states? Check!  Then Saturday, I drove to Cincinnati to see my nephew Eli.  Four states?  Check!  And finally on Sunday, I drove back to Illinois with my parents so that I could have some time with them before the holidays. Phew.  Five states! Check!  

Writing it all out makes it seem more exhausting than it really was.  Fortunately, I stayed in each place for 2 nights or more, which made it seem less chaotic.  It was so interesting heading back to Charlotte, because no one runs in uptown anymore!  Back when I used to live the queen city, it was an absolute guarantee there would be a group running from the YMCA every day.  Now, more and more folks moved out to the burbs, so it kind of felt like a ghost town.  Yet, I still was able to get some people out to run with me and was grateful for their company!

Then I headed to Kentucky, which is outlined in more detail here, and prepared for the USATF Club Cross Country Championships with the Strava Track Club.  The race went great and I had an absolute blast. I miss cross country a lot and have now vowed to do a cross country season in the bay area so I can experience the awesome ruggedness of cross country again!  

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The highlight of this week was seeing my nephew for the first time in over a year!  He's grown so much, loves getting raspberries on his belly and playing with dad (my brother!).  Eli brings so much joy to our lives and I do need to see him more often than every year.  We went to a fancy outdoor mall on Saturday night and they had all sorts of fun Christmas decorations, like a giant tree with a nativity in the middle of it and an outdoor train set that Eli circled about 27 times to watch it go "choo-choo".  

After our sleepover with Eli, my family packed up and headed home, where I was spoiled with organic veggies, homemade lip balm and snuggles from my cat, Cicero. Life is good!! 

Race Recap: 2017 USATF Club XC Champs

Goals:

  • Goal A:  Top 5 on Strava Track Club team
  • Goal B:  Place better than I did in 2010 (60th)
  • Goal C:  Run faster than i did in 2010 (21:19)

Actual:

  • 20:54 | 42nd overall | 4th Strava Track Club finisher | results here
  • Strava Track Club - 4th Place Overall Team!
  • Achieved all 3 goals
  • Splits:  526, 546, 527, 546 pace last .72M

I'm about 99.99% sure that yesterday in Kentucky I ran a 6k cross country lifetime PR by less than one second. 

So, I'm pretty happy about this performance. 

To be honest, I didn't really even know what sort of goals to set for this race.   I only just finished Chicago Marathon 8 weeks ago, and I've been running lower mileage in the mid-50s.  After other marathons in the past, I felt pretty crappy for at least 3 months.  But this time around was different; I felt pretty speedy.  For this reason, I didn't even sit down to write my goals out until the night before the race.  Not really having any idea of what kind of shape I was in, I started by looking at my results from the 2010 Club XC Champs and decided I had to run better than that.  Then, I asked myself why it was so important for me to come to Kentucky.  And the answer was that I wanted to run alongside some very talented, speedy and smart women that make up the Strava Track Club.  I also wanted to represent Strava Track Club and rabbit, my small way to express the gratitude for all that they do for us to make trips, like this one to Kentucky, possible.  

And so to Kentucky I went!  But first I had to work four days in Charlotte, NC for all-day planning sessions and some team dinners.  By the way, packing for both work and a race in freezing temps is an especially difficult task if trying to fit it all into a duffle, but I did it…with the help of caribiners!  Without any complications on Thursday I landed in horse country and checked in to the Residence Inn.  Somehow I won the room lottery and got a massive 2BD/2BA split-level apartment that would put any average apartment in the Bay Area to shame.  

 Strack Track Club Men & Women

Strack Track Club Men & Women

The rest of the team was massively delayed at SFO and my roomie and all-around Stanford stud, Rebecca Mehra, arrived in our shared abode after I'd gone to bed.  On Friday, with Dena as our fearless leader, the men's and women's teams, all bundled up in layers of winter rabbit gear, headed to the course for a quick shakeout and course preview.  With temps in the mid-20s and a wind chill at 19 degrees, even those of us who used to live in the midwest (me!) were not used to the biting wind.  We didn't mess around too much at the course since it was freezing, so after strides and drills, we had a team lunch at Whole Foods, of course.

I spent the rest of the day hanging with Victoria and doing some work on my laptop.  Before I knew it, it was time to go to dinner, so that we could get a table at a local Italian joint that didn't take reservations.  While Dena dipped out to go to the technical meeting, the rest of the team split up into groups of 6 each in a booth and carbo-loaded our way to a (hopefully) good race.  The highlights of the pre-race activities were getting to know the girls better and also the team meeting in the room that Rebecca and I shared.  Full of positive vibes, Dena passed out our bibs and shared some anecdotes from past races, as well as the best team placement STC had ever placed at Club XC. 

After the men left, the ladies asked Dena to stay for some extra words of wisdom.  After telling us some of the more realistic team goals to consider, with the added disclaimer that it always depends on how the day goes, someone asked if we could all go around and share the goals we have for the race.  It was something so simple, yet so powerful; I wish we had done this more often in college!  I learned what place everyone was hoping to get and from there was able to craft a better race plan, which was mainly to keep Rebecca and Tori within a reasonable distance.  Throughout all of this, I was feeling so incredibly proud of these women, who had trained hard the entire fall together and who obviously all respected one another.  I felt like there was an electric buzz in the room; it was as if everyone knew that we could be a top five team, if we worked together and encouraged each other.  I felt pretty energized…or should I say synergized.  :-)

With such a late race start time (11:45), it meant that Rebecca and I didn't even have to set an alarm.  I woke up around the same time that Rebecca got back from a shakeout and we made our morning race breakfast together with Victoria, while covering some pretty awesome conversation topics. 

 Just hanging in our sweet mini van pre-race

Just hanging in our sweet mini van pre-race

The ladies all piled into the minivan and made it to the course with an extra 30 minutes to spare before warmup. Of course Victoria would have a pre-race playlist for us to rock out to in the car….so great!  After a team warmup and strides, we had to corral all 8 of the ladies together into a tiny tent to do a uniform check.  Not surprisingly, trying to find 8 women before a race is pretty hard since everyone has a different routine.  But, in record time, all of us showed off our uniforms and got cleared.  I swear that we all didn't shed our clothes until there were just 2 minutes left in the race.  It was just that cold.  Without any time to really think about how cold I was, the gun went off. 

We were perfectly situated on the far left of the starting line, which meant that our team didn't really have to cut in at all for the first turn.  It also meant that 200+ women descended upon us after 300 meters.  I watched as 5 of the STC darted out ahead of me and just told myself to keep my pace controlled.  I came through the 1 mile mark around 5:26 (perfect!), and by that time the crowd had thinned out. 

I saw Tori and Rebecca coming back towards me and eventually passed them, urging them to come with me.  I was really hoping they'd latch on so we could work together.  After the first 3K loop, I knew that I could use the downhill and flat to keep the pace honest before the hills on the back half.  I stayed alert so that I could hear what place I was in, and around 3 miles heard someone shout 45th place to someone near me.  Keeping my eyes up, I laid my eyes on each girl in front of me and tried to dig deep to pass them decisively. The final 1000 meters were particularly rough because of a long uphill, and I found out later that Rebecca found a second gear to pick it back up to stay as close to me as possible!  On the long uphill towards the finish, only one girl passed me in the final 200 meters, and she passed me FAST.  I basically walked through the finish line, which I'm not exactly proud of, but I will make sure I don't do that next time I race.  Rebecca ended up finishing right behind me; she ran so great, especially coming back and hanging tough!  The difference in time between our first and fifth runners was just 11 seconds.  Insane! 

 Women's Team 4th Place Finish

Women's Team 4th Place Finish

Strava Track Club Women's Finishers:

  • Natalie     |  31st   |  20:45
  • Ayla         |  37th   |  20:50
  • Maya        |  40th  |  20:52
  • Caitlin      |  42nd  |  20:54
  • Rebecca   |  43rd  |  20:55
  • Tori           |  62nd  |  21:10
  • Steph        |  79th  |  21:32
  • Victoria     | 107th  |  22:03

After bundling back up, Rebecca and I cooled down a little bit on the course so we could cheer for the men's team in the early parts of their race.  After battling cold wind on the course, we opted to cool down in a parking lot with some of the other girls.  At this point, I was able to connect with my dad and together we cheered for the men's team as they finished.  Ultimately, both the men's and women's team achieved best team place ever in club history, and Kris won the women's masters race, while our honorary member Neville won the men's masters race.  

I'm so glad I ran this race and am excited to come back next year!  I also experienced firsthand just how much these girls can push me.  I know that if I train more regularly with them, they'll help me get faster and help me break down barriers I never would have considered approaching!  #squadgoals #teamworkmakesthedreamwork

Week in Review: Nov 27, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 60 miles
  • 10M via 2 x (5min-3min-1min) with 90s rest, 4 x 40s fast
  • 90min MLR
  • 14M easy long run
  • 0 days off
  • 1 Surprise Birthday Party
  • CIM spectating, lots of PRs

Week in Review: Nov 20, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 57 miles
  • 10M with 2M @ 552/559
  • 9M with 5K Race in 17:13 with splits of 524/538/536/33
  • 13M MLR
  • 3 days in Kauai
  • 3 days with family in CA
  • 0 days off

So I was in Kauai for 6 days and then I flew back on Wednesday night and ran a 5K race the next morning.  I mean, how could I not resist?  I haven't run a 5k in freaking forever, so might as well bust the rust off now, before Club XCs in just a few weeks!  The was actually incredibly fun, even if I felt sleep deprived a tad jet-lagged.  In a crit style 4-loop course, I was able to watch all the really fast women take off while I hung on for dear life with Jenn Rhines.  She finished much stronger than me, but we basically battled it out on the streets of San Jose for the first 3.5 loops of the course, before she eventually pulled away.  

Had a blast cooling down with the STC ladies and meeting some of them for the very first time!  Afterwards, I drove to the SJC airport to pick up my parents before making our vegan Thanksgiving feast.  Had a great weekend with my parents and sister visiting and got lots of farmers market time with them.  

 the Strava Track Club ladies kicked off Thanksgiving together at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot!  I was the last place person for the team - YEAH!!

the Strava Track Club ladies kicked off Thanksgiving together at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot!  I was the last place person for the team - YEAH!!

Week in Review: Nov 13, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 53 miles
  • 11M with mile @ 540 (2:27 rest), 2 x 800M @ 2:41 (2:16 rest), 2:38 (2:25 rest), mile @ 5:28 (3:12 rest), 4 x 400m @ 77-78 with 2:15 rest
  • 12M MLR
  • 9M with 3 x mile of 30s on/off with 400m jog rest between
  • 1 Day off
  • 4 Days in Kauai

I'm behind on my blog and am feeling lazy.  Here are some pictures from the first half of our Kauai trip - a much needed break from work!  Peter and I did part of a workout together in Princeville on Friday morning, which was really nice.  Then we did the things you're supposed to do on vacation, like sleep in, exercise, hike and eat yummy organic food!

 

Week in Review: Nov 6, 2017

This week's stats:

  • 49 miles
  • 10M with 6 x (3min on / 2 min off)
  • 12.4M Medium Long Run
  • 14.6M with 6 x (30s hard / 2:30 easy), 1M easy, 3M tempo 557/553/543
  • 1 day off
  • Weekend in Portland!

I approached this week with a bit of caution.  Going into the second week of workouts since Chicago Marathon, I still had some doubts about whether or not I had allowed my body enough time to recover, or if doing workouts so soon was a good idea.  After all, the marathon puts a lot of stress not only on your body, but also on your mind and soul.  However, after last week, I really started to feel like my legs were getting back to normal and trusted that perhaps the 12 days off had really helped me recover faster than I normally do.  In order to put my mind at ease, I decided to look back at what I've done the last 5 weeks post-Chicago:

  • Week 1:  Off, rock climbing 2x/week
  • Week 2:  11M, 2 short runs, climbing 3x + lifting 2x
  • Week 3:  44M, all easy + lifting & climbing 2x
  • Week 4:  53M, 1 moderate workout + lifting 2x
  • Week 5 (this week):  50M, 2 moderate workouts + lifting 2x

After looking at the raw numbers, I felt more confident in my plan to move forward with workouts, with the main caveat that I absolutely *must* listen to my body and hold back more than I normally would if I were later in a training cycle.  I don't want to get a case of overtraining syndrome, and I trust that this approach will help prevent that from happening. 

This week was a bit chaotic because I started the week off in Plano, where my hours are long and the schedule nonstop, and ended the week in Portland, where I ate lots of good food and ran very little.  It was the perfect combination!  While in Plano, I mustered the motivation to step out into the cold and wind, and battled the elements (and myself) for a fartlek around the Frito Lay employee path.  I didn't have the right watch on, so I wasn't 100% sure of my pace, but I'm guessing it was around 5:30 pace.  It certainly didn't feel easy, but coming off jetlag, I was really happy with it. 

As soon as I arrived back in California, Jenna and I immediately got back into our routine of running miles while chatting away.  We got in 90 minutes together on Thursday, and then another 15 or so on Friday, while helping Max and Howard with their marathon workout.  It was great to have some company for the 30 second pickups during the run, and then I took off for a 3 mile tempo purely on feel.  I didn't look at the paces, and just hoped I was running decently fast.  I was pretty excited to see my splits after the run.  I was really expecting that it would be much harder to run sub-6:00 pace for a tempo at this point.

With a holiday on Friday, I flew to Portland with Howard, Athena and Peter.  While the weather certainly wasn't anything to write home about, the vibe in Portland always steals my heart and I feel compelled  pack my stuff into my car and move to the Northwest.  I just love the economic diversity, food truck scene and complete acceptance to be "green."