2019 Boston Marathon Race Recap


  • Goal A: Run smart (go out controlled) and have fun

  • Goal B: Run 6:10 - 6:15 pace overall, but erring on the faster side


  • 2:40:29 via 1:20:46 / 1:19:43

  • 27th OA Female / 16th American Female

  • Passed 23 women in the Elite Women’s Start; was not passed by any women

  • Tied for my second fastest time ever, from CIM 2013

Hard to believe that Boston is over.  With such a roller coaster of emotions in the weeks leading up to the race, it feels like I’m repeating the same emotional cycle now - happiness to run well, sadness that the euphoria of the race is over and relief that I did it.  

My little tale of the Boston Marathon didn’t begin at the start line in Hopkinton, but rather, back in February, on the opposite coast in California, when Rachel connected me with Wayne to request an elite entry.  After receiving confirmation that I was indeed in, I was pumped to have the opportunity to train with my friends and to attack my first Boston cycle with a 9-week training plan.  I was going to crank out hill repeats, have a training camp in Laguna Beach and run harder than I’ve ever run before.  But, of course it didn’t happen like that; instead, those expectations came crashing back down to reality.  I had the rockiest and most turbulent training cycle ever.  Just take a look at my weekly mileage from February 4th until race week:

  • 77.5 (all is good)

  • 46 (Glute issue; missed midweek workout + LR)

  • 45 (Stomach bug; missed LR)

  • 86 

  • 88

  • 34 (Fever / Flu)

  • 88

  • 83

  • 61 (taper)

  • 38 (race week)

The truth is that when I was caught up in a short-lived moment of faithlessness, I almost forgot about all the hard work that was done to even get here in the first place — the cumulative muscle fatigue built up over the last 8 years just from being a marathoner.  I could have given up on Boston, but instead I reminded myself of how consistent I'd been over the years and also of the more recent mileage I’d logged over the holidays.  In this Boston training cycle, those four weeks at 80+ miles were clear indicators that my legs hadn’t forgotten.  This belief in my own past helped me trust that I could still have a respectable race, despite having not one, but three (!!), hiccups along the way.  In so many ways, this cycle made me tougher mentally than any other I had ever done because I had to constantly reset my expectations, get comfortable with unplanned days off, and trust - or, more accurately, *believe*,  that less can be better.  

And that mental toughness helped me so much on race day.  Those speed bumps, combined with my overall positive outlook, ensured that I got to the start line undertrained, with rested legs, and a calm confidence that I had decent enough fitness.  This race wasn’t about hitting a fast time, but I did have a very clear goal to prove that I can be smart and strong on a course like Boston. And I actually had the belief that I could do that, if executed properly.  

So race day morning finally arrived and it was time for me to put my training to the test. The 9:32AM start was rather uneventful as there was no count down and I was a little caught off guard by the gun.  I opted for no warmup because I knew it would force me to go out slower in the first few miles, and it paid off.  The rest of my race was broken in three parts:  (1) Let them go:  running controlled and relaxed with Lauren, (2) Enjoy it all:  partnering with Ladia to soak in the full excitement of Wellesley, and (3) Blast-off: charging up the hills and attacking the last 5 miles.  

Part 1: Miles 1-8-ish

Photo by Kevin Morris. You can see that at the start, I was 7th to last.

Photo by Kevin Morris. You can see that at the start, I was 7th to last.

I attached myself to Lauren’s side, who would become my hero for the first part of the race.  The downhills in the first mile are legit.  I understood why so many people get carried away and go way too fast, because it’s almost easier physically to let gravity take hold than to keep it slow.  It took a lot of energy to hold back and to stay controlled at my goal pace of 6:10.  

Lauren and I were mostly alone for the first 3-4 miles, until a few other girls attached on behind us.  I asked them what they were trying to run and offered some encouraging words. I was fine to lead as I wanted to control my own race.  We clicked off 607-612 through these miles, coming in right around 6:10 average for the total time on the clock.  I was a bit worried that some of my splits might be too fast, but it felt relaxed and I made sure to ease it up if one split were too quick.  

Mile 5, smiling for Peter

Mile 5, smiling for Peter

It was really special to run with Lauren, especially after we had run together at Chicago 2016, where we both PRed.  Since Lauren is from Hopkinton, so many people were cheering for her, and I just pretended like my name was Lauren too.  As always, I was so grateful for her calm presence as we coasted on the downhills out of Hopkinton. 

My perma-smile began probably around mile 5 in downtown Framingham because of the sheer number of superfans in this tiny town and also because Peter surprised me; as soon as I saw him, I waved with both my hands like I was in a parade.  For the rest of the race, I couldn’t help but soak up the energy from the crowd and pay my thanks with an ear-to-ear grin.  And little did I know that the fun was just beginning.

Part 2:  Miles 8-15

If the first part of the race was about keeping my ego in check, the second part was about trusting the race plan and making the middle miles feel as relaxed as possible…and having fun while doing it. 
Around maybe mile 8/9, I broke away from my pack to grab a water cup, and, in doing so, simultaneously and inadvertently dropped the group and caught up to another girl named Ladia.  After about a mile running alongside someone, it’s a little awkward to run next to them without knowing their name, so we exchanged names and pieces of info:  it was our first Boston and we both hailed from the Midwest!  

Ladia and I running together, and smiling wide!

Ladia and I running together, and smiling wide!

If Ladia and I hadn’t connected, each of us would have most definitely run the majority of the Boston Marathon completely alone.  Instead, we worked together as our individual goals merged to one:  have fun and race tough.  Together, we weaved to either side of the street to find the shortest tangent.   Together, we grabbed water and offered it to the other.  Together, we gave high fives to hundreds of people in Wellesley.  Together, we just simply ran. Together, we made a memory that would last a lifetime.  And in doing so, we formed a connection that felt like we’d shared hundreds of miles before this day.

The high fives at Wellesley were incredible. With Ladia on board, we didn’t even need to verbally acknowledge it; rather, our bodies naturally gravitated towards the energy force of cheering fans.  We arranged ourselves in single file and put our hands out, welcoming what felt like an energy transfer from outrageously exuberant fans.   I swear I made eye contact with at least 50 people as I slapped their hands, feeling emotionally moved that they took time out of their Monday - a work day - to cheer for me and tens of thousands of others.  In the past, giving high fives would have completely embarrassed me…these were actions that I normally would scoff at, saying it "wastes your energy.”  But, this was my first Boston, and it was totally worth it.  And, I wasn’t embarrassed.  

Part 3: Miles 15-Finish

I entered the most challenging sections of the course around mile 16 alongside Ladia and felt like a total rockstar.  The third part of the course was probably the closest I’ll ever come to feeling like a Marvel superhero with special powers.   

Ladia and I were together through one of the first small hills, but shortly thereafter, I realized she was no longer with me.  My race was just getting started and with each uphill, I felt like I drew more and more energy from the crowd and the challenge of a climb.  At this point, I started passing friends and teammates over the years.  I urged each of them to come with me, hoping that I’d find a buddy to just roll with.  It didn’t happen. I just kept smiling and charging ahead.  While I checked my splits every mile in the first two parts of the race, at this point, there was no need.  I didn’t need a machine to tell me I was having a good race; I could just feel it.  I also could feel the crowd, quite literally. I ran as close to the fence as I could when there wasn’t a tangent so that I could soak in the fans’ energy; I gathered strength from their encouragement and presence.  I raised my hands up to get the crowd to erupt in cheers.  I continued to smile, and people would say “Wow, she’s having FUN!”  This was by far the most exhilarating part of the course.  

One, two, three, four hills were over.  Heartbreak was coming.  In the miles leading up to this point, I decided to create a new frame of mind so that Heartbreak Hill wouldn’t be so demoralizing.  The name itself, Heartbreak, insinuates that the hill will break your entire race, zapping so much energy from your legs that you don’t have anything left to charge down the final descent in the last 5 miles.  I decided I’d conquer that freaking hill just like I did in my own life, post-divorce, which was by far the biggest heartbreak I'd ever experienced.  After the life I’d envisioned shattered into tiny pieces, along with my marriage, I made a choice to pick myself up and accept my new life storyline.  And newfound happiness came.  Just as I didn’t let that define me, Heartbreak Hiil was not going to define this race.  Not today.  

Whizzing by at mile 25. Photo by Peter :)

Whizzing by at mile 25. Photo by Peter :)

And, guess what?  That little story I created helped me so much. I crested the hill, shook out my arms, and blasted the next five miles.

Around mile 23, the elite men passed me and another wave of energy transferred to me as the men sprinted past.   I knew that, barring any disasters, at least two American men would break 2:10.  I eventually caught up to Rachel and Dot, urging them to come with me. I yearned for Rachel to latch on so that we could finish together, maybe even hold hands, but Rachel told me later that I was out of her sight after a few minutes. 

I stopped smiling as much after 24.5 miles. My legs were reaching their breaking point and I could tell the fatigue was beginning to set in. When I passed the 25 mile marker, I glanced at my overall time to see if I could break some time-barrier. I saw 2:33:xx and thought there was a small chance I could break 2:40 if I really hauled it in. But, that sounded like I was asking for too much out of what already felt like a pretty darn perfect race, so I opted to just keep the pace the same.  As I rounded the turn to Boylston, the magic of Boston was in full effect, and the cheers were deafening.  I ran through the finish line because, quite honestly, I didn’t really know where it was.  I thanked all the volunteers. Gave high fives, hugs.  I was escorted to the elite tent, and it still felt like a dream.

Eventually, as more of the women started pouring in to the tent, reality began to set in. Had I really just had FUN on those uphills?  I’d surpassed all of my expectations for this race and was surrounded by all of my friends while doing it.  How incredible!  As always, there was a roller coaster of emotions in the tent, highs and lows as each of us began to process what we’d accomplished and how the results stacked up to our expectations coming in.  It was special to share this moment in the tent with Rachel, Carly, Ladia, Lauren, Amanda, Veronica, Shal and Terry.

As always, I was so grateful to have Terry guide me through my first Boston.  He’s arguably the most knowledgeable and insightful person about the course and has coached several of my friends to PR here.  His emails prepared me so well for the hills and made me feel like they weren't this ominous section to be feared, but instead a mere obstacle to be conquered. 

Post race tent with Rachel and Shal

Post race tent with Rachel and Shal

And, of course, the elation of all of those people who tracked me from near and far, who called or texted me after the race.  I didn’t feel like it was just my success, it was a shared accomplishment with all of those who took time to support and encourage me.  Those who believed in me, when maybe I didn’t believe in myself.  

Overall, this was the most perfect marathon I could ask for, and then for it to happen at Boston mades it even more special.  I need to be realistic though; the next time I do Boston, it will be very unlikely to have a similar result, and I will still need to find my composure when my legs turn wobbly.  Just like I entered this race with respect for the course, I can’t let this single race make me forget about the course that can trick you into going out too fast, shred your quads and destroy your confidence.

04.08.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

It’s officially race week! The focus for this week was to maintain a calm confidence in my race plan and to not look too much into what would likely be highly varied weather forecast. I had to ignore text messages from Tom, who kept whining about how terrible the weather inevitably would be. We still had over five days until race day, and I didn’t need to pack yet. I joked that I don’t check the weather because Terry usually just emails me to tell me what to do.

The workout on Wednesday went without any alarm bells, and I just checked the box for getting something in. My legs felt good and like they were ready to just roll, but I also felt a slight twinge in my left glute. The next day I decided to take the day off and I’m really glad I did that.

With a bunch of stuff coming together this week in other aspects of my life - such as beginning the testing phase for two of my main features at work, and also rushing to get all the documentation necessary to secure a pre-approval for a mortgage - it was easy to stay occupied but hard to de-compress.

Since our house is on the market, our landlord asked if he could host an open house while we were in Boston. This was totally fine, but it meant that we needed to make sure our house was super clean and that both Endy and Cicero had a place to stay for the weekend away. On Friday, I dropped Cicero off at a friend’s house and took Endy to Peter’s sister house before packing my bags and heading to SFO with Peter. Needless to say, there was a lot of administrative junk I had to handle before leaving and I was very glad to board the airplane to finally have a little escape from it all.

With a slightly delayed takeoff, we landed in Boston around 2AM. We took an uber to Lexington, MA, where Sam had offered to host us, even though he wouldn’t arrive until the next day from Frankfurt. On Saturday, we slept in forever, and I headed to Boston to do a shakeout with Shal along the Charles while Peter drove to Dartmouth to see his sister Tessa.

It was nice to be in Boston so I could see Shal, Rachel and Tom, but I was glad to head back to the burbs after Sam landed. The hustle and bustle in the elite host hotel is always a little overwhelming and I was grateful to see Sam, where everything seemed a bit more disconnected from the main event. We got dinner out and spent the evening catching up on his porch on a beautiful spring evening in Massachusetts. By 9PM, we were both in bed.

For as great as my night of sleep was on Friday night, Saturday was the exact opposite. I tossed and turned all night and eventually woke up in a pool of my own sweat on Sunday morning. I begrudgingly got out of bed, ate my bland meal of cornflakes and an english muffin and got ready to run.

For the entire weekend, I had been focusing on eating a high carb, low fiber diet so that I can hopefully avoid having a code brown situation occur on race day tomorrow. My sister, who is a dietician, sent me the types of foods that were “safe” for me to eat: carrots, peas, white rice, white bread, oatmeal, cornflake, eggs…I was so sick of these foods by Sunday, but I continued with purpose on this nutrition plan.

Sam and I headed out for my final shakeout run while Peter slept in. It was great to have Sam’s company on the bike as he distracted me and told me all sorts of stories. After some quick strides, I got ready to go and Sam drove me into the city to make it to the elite technical meeting on time.

While I spent the rest of the day hanging in the hotel, Peter and Sam went to go clay shooting. I was glad that Peter could have some fun instead of just be bored in a hotel room.

Dinner was potatoes, white rice, spinach and avocado / cucumber sushi at Whole Foods with Peter, Sean, Rachel and her parents. It was a great, low key way to get the foods I wanted without stressing about making a later reservation that Tom had booked.

By 930PM, Peter and I went to bed, and he passed out immediately while I tossed and turned, thinking about the day that was to come!

In the photos below, you can see what it was like while I was packing with the furchildren nearby, how adorable my mom looked when she ran Boston in 2000, my race bib, the elite technical meeting presentation and my friend Sam who drove me around Boston!

04.01.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:


It’s officially taper time! And Jenna is back from a 2.5 week trip to Europe! It was great to kick off the week with a workout on the track with her, even if it felt super hard. The workout on paper doesn’t look too bad - alternating 400s at 78-80 and 95-100. But, it’s super hard because the average paces come out fairly close to what your race pace could be in an 8KM. I was surprised to struggle to hit 80s on the fast ones. The rest if very quick and I think just the last two weeks of training caught up with me.

On Saturday, Jenna, Rachel and I did a little progression together, which felt super easy to me. This also explains why the paces were so hot, I think both Jenna and i were itching to go faster in the early parts of the tempo. Once we got down towards 600 pace, it did feel much more comfortable and easier to maintain a more even pace.

Can’t believe that we’ve got just 8 more days until Boston! I’m ready and excited!

03.25.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 83 miles

  • 16M with 4 x 2.5M via 557-603 for first two miles, 247-252 for last .5M

  • 12M MLR

  • 20M with 6M warmup, 13M tempo via @ 604, 604, 557, 603, 610, 600, 603, 559, 554, 600, 555, 550, 547, 1M cool down

  • 3 days in Texas

  • 8 runs, 0 days off

  • 2 lift sessions

Two weeks ago, I was panicking that Boston was in less than 5 weeks. Now, as I write this, Boston is just 15 days away, and I feel ready. Not as ready as I had planned for, but as ready as I can be given the hiccups experienced earlier in February. The few data points that I have to gauge my fitness level indicate that I’m fit enough to be able to finish a decent marathon. This week was especially a huge confidence boost, mostly because I did a hard midweek workout before flying to Dallas for a jampacked work trip. I even found the motivation to complete a 90 minute medium long run by myself in Plano!

The 2.5M repeats on Tuesday were tough as hell. My legs felt fatigued from the 24 miler on Saturday and my ability to pick up the pace faster than 540 seemed very limited. Ideally, I would have taken an extra rest day and completed the workout on Wednesday, but I didn’t want to even attempt this workout in Plano because I know I just wouldn’t have done it. So, Jay and I met up and did 3 loops of the service road Google Loop. Jay pulled me along, as this was just one of those day’s where it was a struggle to put one foot in front of the other. I needed Jay’s company to just keep my head in the game and to prevent me from stopping on the side of the road. After that, I packed up and boarded a flight to Texas.

After having a lot of fun with my BOA Team Erica co-workers, I landed back in SJC on Friday night, excited to be home. I spent Saturday coordinating to get everyone together to do our final big long run before Boston. The plan was to meet Sunday at 8AM at Baylands with Shal, Rachel, Max, Imran, Dale and Tom and to grab bottles from the hood of my car to practice race day fueling. After 6 miles, Rachel and I took off to complete our tempo, and it felt so relaxed for me. Of course it felt relaxed in the beginning, and Rachel asked if I wanted to relax the pace a little, but every time that I thought I “relaxed” the pace, we ran the same: sub-6:00. So, I decided to take a risk and trust that I’d be able to maintain the effort towards the final miles. At mile 5, Rachel and I both grabbed our bottles of Maurten and I took some chews at mile 5 and 9. After we hit the 11 mile split, I knew that we were in the clear to run faster if we’d like, so Rachel and I both naturally picked up the pace. It felt a bit more labored towards the end, but not like I was running half marathon pace. It just felt natural. It was so great to have Rachel’s company for this run. I didn’t want to slow her down and we just felt so even together that it made the run feel not just comfortable, but also enjoyable! Everyone came away with pretty great runs so there was a certain buzz in the parking lot after we finished and posed for our picture.

So, yeah, after this week, the data is telling me that I am pretty fit and that I can run strong at Boston. It’s okay to take a different road than I normally would leading into a marathon and I just have to trust that it was the right route!

The entire Boston Marathon crew post Baylands long run!

The entire Boston Marathon crew post Baylands long run!

03.18.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 88 miles

  • 12M MLR

  • 15M with 9M Wave Tempo in 6:03 average via 557/615 / 558/615 / 552/613 / 550/617/ 550

  • 24.2M time on feet run in 2:54:29, with 21-23 splits of 630-601-600

  • 8 runs, 0 days off

  • 2 lift sessions

People, there is hope for Boston! After losing most of last week’s training due to the flu, it marked the third week total in a 9-week marathon cycle where I missed a key long run. But, after a solid 9 mile wave tempo on Thursday, followed closely by a super fun time-on-feet / carb depletion long run on Saturday, I am hopeful that I will be fit enough to merit my position in the Elite Women’s Start on April 15th.

On Thursday, I recruited Jay for company on my tempo. Even though he’s just over 2 weeks out from PRing at the Tokyo Marathon, he felt ready to help me out. I needed whatever I could get because I wasn’t quite sure how to workout would pan out, coming off of last week’s fever. The goal was to run 550-555 and 610-615. I decided that I could adjust the easy pace to 615-620 to just ensure I could complete the workout. This helped tremendously because it allowed me to relax more going into this and to trust that, with a few adjustments, I could complete this workout. The last couple miles certainly felt hard, but Jay and I did it!

Jay and Jeff have been super helpful this cycle!

Jay and Jeff have been super helpful this cycle!

Then, just two days later, I mapped out a course from my house, through the Los Altos Hills, to Stanford and back. The course mimicked Boston in some ways, except for the downhill start. But, for the first 4-12 miles, it was rolling, then flat through Stanford, with a nice downhill at the end. Jay and I start together, before JOB grabbed us 8 miles in so that he could finish the last 16 miles. I was super grateful that JOB decided to join me because I decided to drop the hammer on the last couple of miles because (1) I felt good and (2) it was downhill! It was pretty sunny and felt very hot towards the end, which I thought could be great practice for Boston, depending on the weather conditions. Overall, I was very pleased with this run because of just how freaking strong I felt. Additionally, I didn’t take any water or gels during the run and my body didn’t seem to react at all to the lack of calories. Afterwards, JOB and I grabbed some brunch together at Coupa to ensure we could re-coup our (my?) caloric losses.

All in all, I really feel like I’m moving in the right direction. Even though this cycle has been a rollercoaster ride of mileage fluctuations, I’ve somehow maintained my strength, which therefore has kept my own belief in myself and my abilities alive.

03.11.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 34 miles

  • 5 runs, 2 days off

  • Sick with fever on Tuesday and Wednesday

  • 2 days in Laguna Beach

After coming off such a great training last week, it was a huge bummer to go for a run on Tuesday morning and feel oddly weak. I asked Jenna if we could turn around sooner than I wanted, and struggled to get home. Once I was within 600 meters of my place, I stopped and walked. A couple of hours later, I still felt off, with flashes of hot, followed by cold. I took my temperature: 100.3 . My overall wellbeing declined quickly. I had very little appetite and couldn’t stay warm, but then would get too hot. The fever continued all the way into Wednesday night, and finally subsided on Thursday morning, but other symptoms of a cough, phlegm in the throat and overall pressure in the chest continued through the rest of the week.

While I took Wednesday off, I made the mistake of trying to run with friends on Thursday afternoon. I had to stop and walk a couple of times and went 7 miles, nearly double the distance that I should have. I was overly optimistic that the run would be fine since I didn’t have a fever anymore, but the fact was that I probably had the flu and my body was still recovering and trying to repair itself.

The biggest bummer about getting sick this week was that the Laguna Beach training camp was over the weekend. I was conflicted about going, mainly due to a fear of spreading my illness to my other friends also training for Boston. By Friday, things had cleared considerably and I decided to go. I also knew that everything I had envisioned for the weekend - such as just crushing hard long runs with Rachel - were no longer a reality, so I decided to make the most of it. Instead of trying to get in another short run on Sunday, I opted instead to borrow Juan’s bike so I could give fluids to the long run crew. I spent the morning zooming back and forth, passing bottles to Shal, Juan, Job, Tom and Rachel. And, you know what? I had a blast. I just knew that taking the day off from running was such a better idea than trying to run 4-8 miles that could probably set me back much more than a casual bike ride alongside my friends.

Shal, Caitlin and Rach

Shal, Caitlin and Rach

While the weekend wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned, I was so grateful to be at such a beautiful home with my Boston running buddies and to be in such awesome weather down in SoCal. I even got to see my sister at Tom’s beach!

All in all, this week was definitely another blip on the road to Boston. However, I do believe that by making (mostly) the right choices while I was sick, I’ll hopefully be able to have strong training next week! Here’s to hoping!

Grateful for Tom and his generosity in letting us have a training camp in Laguna Beach!

Grateful for Tom and his generosity in letting us have a training camp in Laguna Beach!

03.04.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

This marks the second week of mileage just over 85 miles. After 2 weeks complicated by some setbacks, it’s surprisingly felt pretty easy for me to hit 85 miles, which isn’t typically the case for me. I normally feel like 75 miles a week is my sweet spot, but so far, 85 has felt pretty easy to achieve.

For the first time this cycle, I had a midweek workout that actually felt like a grind. During the other 4-5 workouts I’ve done, they’ve felt pretty comfortable. But in the two-mile repeats at Stanford on Wednesday, my legs were heavy. It took every ounce of positive self-talk to convince myself to finish that entire workout. After all, I had put in a ton of quality and quantity last week, with back to back hard runs on Saturday (10M marathon pace tempo) and Sunday (moderate 22 miles). However, by the time today’s long run rolled around, my legs felt pretty accustomed to the higher mileage and higher quality. I finally feel like I’m starting to get my marathon legs back under me, and am slowly building that muscle memory for a marathon.

The crew at the starting point in San Mateo

The crew at the starting point in San Mateo

Speaking of today’s long run, we absolutely crushed it. Not just from a pacing standpoint, but also from a logistics standpoint. We were able to get 9 people to show up for a point to point long run that required most of us to shuttle ourselves 22 miles away and then to uber back to cars parked at the starting point. We ran from San Mateo Crystal Springs Reservoir to Stanford Track. We had the whole group through 9 miles, then Rachel, Max, Tom and I continued with our steady state.

By mile 12, we had dropped Max and so three of us continued to coast down Alpine Road before reaching Stanford. Once we hit Stanford, Rachel and I were running stride for stride, and I was trying to make the last few miles feel as relaxed as possible. Even though I knew the pace must be hot, I wanted it to feel easy. My legs could feel the fatigue in them, but it didn’t feel hard, except for when I ran up a small hill.

By some small miracle, Rachel and I chose a route that would make so we ended 22 miles right in front of my car. Talk about perfection! It was a great long run and I was really happy with how the pace progressed!

immediately after the run, I chugged four bottles of various beverages including Maurten, Nuun, Tea, and Reishi Protein. I’m still thirsty as I type this now…

The whole crew at Stanford, where we finished! With a guest appearance from Endy!

The whole crew at Stanford, where we finished! With a guest appearance from Endy!

02.25.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

After coming off a stomach bug, I honestly had no freaking idea what this week would look like. I didn’t know if I’d be able to get in a decent workout. By all accounts, this week went 100x better than I could have ever guessed. After testing the waters with easy runs on both Monday and Tuesday this week, Jenna and I met up on Wednesday to attempt my first workout in a week. Unsure of how the stomach virus would affect me, we scaled back the paces for the workout and decided to run 6:00 pace for 2KM, with 400m jog rest. Long story short, we absolutely crushed it. We consistently ran 553-557 pace, even with 2-3 reps into some very nasty headwinds.

Then, just three days later, Jenna and I met up again for my first attempt at a long marathon pace tempo since like fall of 2017. We absolutely crushed that. With a light rain the entire time, we averaged 608 pace, with our fastest mile in the very end.

In case we hadn’t had enough, twenty four hours later, we ran 21 miles at Canada Road with Tom, Max, Jeannette and Mara. The pace actually was pretty good considering we had a hard effort the day before. After about 7 miles, all of our splits were sub-700 on a hilly route.

Outside of running, I had two legit lifting sessions and have been really consistent not just about lifting, but also completing my prehab exercises to strengthen my left glute medius. Additionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to get soft tissue work from Jenna and acupuncture from SMI in Palo Alto.

The last two weeks might not have been ideal, but it certainly doesn’t seem like my fitness was affected by the missed miles. Onward and upward!!!

02.18.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 45 miles

  • 1 day off, 2 days basically off due to stomach bug

  • 13.7 miles with 2 x (1000m @ 335-340, 45s jog, 1000m @ 327-330, 1:40 jog)

  • 1 lift day

  • 2 chiro sessions ( Graston / Shockwave)

  • 1 PT session

Right when I finally felt like my leg was getting better and that I’d be able to FINALLY do a long run, I got a stomach bug. So, my mileage was effectively the same as what it was last week. It’s been a rough marathon cycle, full of two back-to-back setbacks.

I kicked off the week finally feeling pretty normal. I woke up earlier each day to get in my glute activation and low back mobility drills before my runs. The runs were going well. I felt improvement in my leg and was confident enough to even try a workout on Wednesday. The workout went great; I hit the time Terry had prescribed before he knew I’d miss a week due to my a tight glute the week before. I came away feeling confident and that there was still hope to do well at Boston, or at least to run alongside my friends on race day.

But then Thursday came around. I tried to eat lunch, and felt nauseous trying to eat the same food I’d devoured the night before. I shrugged it off. The rest of the day, my stomach started churning. I was able to eat a protein bar, but that was it. By the time evening rolled around, I couldn’t sleep and I finally was woken up by the main symptoms of a stomach bug. This continued into Friday. I did not run. I did not eat. Barely moved more than from the bed to the couch and back. Since Peter was in China for work, I asked Jenna to get me some pedialyte and sourdough bread at the store. By Friday night, I’d munched on some saltines and tried a slice of bread. I was running very low on energy.

On Saturday, I tried running with Rachel at 9AM. That was basically a disaster. From the first few steps, I could tell my body just wasn’t quite right. I felt lightheaded and it was difficult to breathe and talk. I stopped at 3.5 miles and walked the rest of the way to my car, downed some Pedialyte and tea, and felt sorry for myself.

I rarely get sick. But when I do, it takes practically everything out of me. After the failed run, I began reaching out to other runner friends who have gotten a stomach bug in the middle of marathon training. Their shared main advice? Don’t try to overdo it. If you try to run through it, it will set you back even further. Oh, and drink as much nuun, gatorade, pedialyte or homemade electrolyte drinks as you possibly can. After hearing all that, I realized that I needed to treat this as though I just ran a marathon in hot conditions. Shoot, I was fueling like I’d just done a hot marathon; I’ve had more sugary and salty drinks in the last 3 days than I have in the last 3 years. I’m doing all of this in an effort to speed up the recovery process so that when I do finally run, my body isn’t as wrecked.

So for today, Sunday, I was supposed to complete a time on feet long run of 2:40-2:50 in duration. I had coordinated for a bunch of friends to start at my house, do a loop through the rolling Los Altos Hills and then hit up the flat Baylands Trail. I knew I couldn’t try to do a long run. So, I didn’t. I ran 2.5 miles and then called it a day. I’m hoping tomorrow I can at least muster 6-8 miles and then build back from there. As I write this, I’m feeling better in that for the first time in 72 hours, my stomach is NOT churning.

This certainly isn’t the training plan I’d envisioned for my first Boston. I could decide to bag it and do Grandma’s. But I don’t want to. I committed to Boston and I’m still excited to toe the line. Assuming my leg is finally better and I don’t get hit with anymore random sicknesses, I plan on going to Boston and running this damn race. Wish me luck, I need all that I can get right now.

02.11.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 46 Miles

  • 12M MLR

  • 2 days off for glute / TFL

  • 13M “LR”

  • 2 massages, 2 PT sessions, 1 chiro session for graston

  • 2 lift sessions

With less than 9 weeks until the Boston Marathon, this wasn’t exactly the best way to kick off my second week of marathon training. After coming off such a high from last week, it seemed to all come crumbling down this week.

After last Sunday’s easy 20 miler, my glute was really tight. On Monday, I was able to run 8 slower miles with Jenna. On Tuesday, 12 miles. But I tried to do some strides after that Tuesday MLR, and it was ugly. It felt like my hamstring was going to rip off from my glute. It was definitely not right. I decided to take a couple days off, hit it hard with PT and soft tissue work.

The assessment from Jamie at Agile Physical Therapy was that I was much stronger than over a year ago when I last seen year. It was relieving to hear that all the hard work in the weight room has paid off at least in some small way. The only thing she found is that I’m weaker in my left glute med than my right. So we’re focusing on the some single leg marches, single leg squats with the swiss ball to make sure my knee doesn’t cave in, anti-rotation abs, and holding a side lying leg raise for 3 minutes on my left and 2 minutes on my right. There’s really just 4-6 exercises I have to add to already versatile training program, but I’ve been diligently doing them every day.

After two days off, I decided on Friday to do a four mile run…then on Saturday 8 miles, and on Sunday 13 miles. I would put my leg at 90% after these runs, although it’s still not exactly 100% healed. I am confident it will get there. The only thing that’s tough to do with my leg is to run faster. I can do everything else, every move in the weight room, lateral jumps with a hold at the end, everything! It’s so weird.

Really hoping that by next week I can put together a solid week,

02.04.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 78 Miles

Well the first week of marathon training officially kicked off this week! And boy was it fun! I have the privilege to be receiving just a plan from my old coach, Terry, for this cycle. Considering he was the BAA coach for the longest time, I feel like I couldn’t ask for someone else who knows how to train someone for their first ever Boston. When he sent me my plan for the entire cycle last weekend, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. It was so fun analyzing the workouts and seeing it all plot out over the next 10 weeks. As a quick overview of what’s ahead:

  1. Three total workouts that are a combo of uphill / downhill specific to prepare my quads for the fatigue of the initial downhill portions.

  2. Moderate paced medium long runs on hilly terrain

  3. Several long runs on hilly terrain with marathon pace effort in the middle

I’m really excited to execute this plan! But, first, I must stay healthy.

This week started out perfectly, with a mentally exhausting 8 x mile repeats workout. Fortunately, Jenna and I were able to work out together, even though she’s on single mommy duty this week. And boy did Jenna crush this workout! I’m really excited to see what she ends up doing for a spring marathon because she’s really fit. I was really pumped about how well this workout went, and how fast the paces were, including the rest.

Then, just two days later, I cranked out a moderately hilly medium long run on a route that JOB created through the streets of Los Altos. Liza met us en route and I was able to finish the last two downhill miles in 545 and 550 respectively.

Three days later, I coordinated for a giant group to meet up at Baylands for a variety of workouts (12-20 miles easy or 10 miles easy + 8 miles tempo). I had 20 miles easy and felt pretty good the entire time, except in the last 2 miles, when I began to feel low on energy and was itching for the run to just be over. My left hip, glute, hamstring and achilles started to bother me in the final mile too, which worried me enough that I foam rolled at home. Hoping some treatment like ART and massage will work some magic over the next couple of weeks.


1.28.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 3 days off (Mon - Wed)

  • rest of days easy

  • 3 lift days

  • 2 abs sessions

I kicked off this week with a mini break. I figured it’d be best to take some days off before I start training specifically for the Boston Marathon. So, I took three days off, slept in a lot, spent more time with the doggo and lifted a bunch! I wanted to use this week to get used to the routine of lifting 2-3 times and doing ancillary exercises on the non-lift days. I achieved that goal for this week and hope that I can find the motivation to sustain through the rest of the marathon cycle.

On Sunday, while most of my training partners ran at the Kaiser Half in SF, Jenna, Gene and I ran in pouring rain around the Portola Loop. Ready to kick off the marathon cycle tomorrow!

1.21.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 71 miles with 1 double

  • 10.5M with 3x~2400m via alternating ~220m/200m at 55-57/35-36 with 400m jog

  • 12M MLR with Natalie

  • 10.5M with 2x3M as part of race: 1st 3M @ 17:30, and the 2nd 3.1M @ 1815

  • 13M MLR with Jenna and Victoria

  • 2 Lift days

Hey - it’s my first full week at home in 2019! It was so nice to have a 3-day weekend to kick off the week. I had time to actually get in 2 lift sessions + some additional ab work throughout the week. It’s crazy to see how much more I can get done when staying put.

On Tuesday, Marissa and I crushed another speed work session together, but I added on an extra set to get some more distance in my legs. We had a workout of 3 x 1.5M in lane 4 (so actually a little more than 1.5 miles), where we ran the first half at a moderate pace and the last 200m @ faster. We ran really quick on the 200s - like 35s and 36s! It didn’t feel too hard until the last set and then I regretted doing a third set. It’s hard to believe that at some point a few years ago, I did this same type of workout, but continuously for 8KM!

The weekend was kicked off with a diabetes race that Tom had invited us to in an effort to support his awesome son John. Rachel, Jenna, Natalie, Tom and I all ran the race together and then got some brunch afterwards! Rachel is training for a 30KM race in Japan in mid-February so I added on another 3M segment with her along the bay trail. The workout didn’t feel nearly as easy as I would have liked, but I’ve got 10 weeks to get into shape for Boston.

At the early start of next week, I’m taking 3 days off to just feel a little rejuvenated before hopping in to marathon specific training.

1.14.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 67 miles with one day off and one double

  • 10.5M with 4 x mile via 1200m ~79-82, last 400m @ 75-76, 400m jog… with overall splits of 522, 517, 515, ??

  • 91 min MLR

  • 18M long run with 11M easy, 4M @ 606/637/607/639, 2M easy, 1M @ 558, 1M @ 624

  • 1 Lift Day

  • 3 days in LA

I kicked off this week local, which meant that I could join the Strava team for the workout! Marissa is a perfect fit for me and we are able to both push each other on the track. This week’s workout was really fun - basically mile repeats with the last 400m fast. Marissa and I were really able to unleash some speed that, quite frankly, I had no idea could be there at this point. We ran lots of 76/75s splits for the last 400, which was a ton of fun. I was really glad that I did this workout, even if it was so late in the evening and dark out.

After a really slow Medium long run the following day, I flew to LA in the evening to celebrate my sister’s birthday. It’s the 4th year in a row that I’ve been there for her birthday and I’d like to keep the tradition alive. I landed in orange county and we drove straight up to LA to get ready to go out to see a DJ my sister wanted to hear. Long story short, we were out until 3AM and I didn’t get to sleep until 330AM. Even though my sister is 8 years older than me, she can outlast me at any nightlife event, hands down. Fortunately, we spent all of Thursday recovering at the Korean Spa.

After returning on Saturday, I had already organized a giant crew for a long run on Sunday at Canada Road. We had about 8-9 people, and more women than men, which was a first!

Our long run crew: Teresa, Liza, me, Tom, Emily, Max, Jenna & Teresa’s hubby

Our long run crew: Teresa, Liza, me, Tom, Emily, Max, Jenna & Teresa’s hubby

1.7.19 Week in Review

This week’s stats:

  • 67 Miles

  • 11M with 8x800m repeats via (800m @ 241-241, 45s jog, 800m@ 238, 90s jog)

  • 12M MLR

  • 16.8 with Jenna & Shal via: 2 EZ, 2 @ 627/615, 6 EZ, 6 @ 600-555, .8M EZ

  • 3 days in CLT

  • 1 Lift Session

With about 14 weeks left until Boston, the plan is to hop in long run workouts with friends and to do the Strava Track Club workouts on Tuesdays. I’m keeping the mileage in the 60-70 mile range. Hopefully this will ensure that I peak at the perfect time…during the Boston Marathon!

I spent the first 3 days of the week traveling to and working from Charlotte, NC. With the help of Billy and Paula, I did 800m repeats on the track. Even though the times weren’t as fast as other times I’ve done this workout, I felt really encouraged by the results. I’m fitter and faster than I expected to be at this point in my training, which is exactly one week in. :-)

After a long flight back to SFO on Wednesday night, I jumped right back into the swing of things by doing a 90 minute medium long run (MLR) with Jenna. By Saturday, Jenna and I were back at it again with Shal, helping her with a workout that she had tap, which aligned nicely with what Jenna and I wanted to do as well.

12.31.18 Week in Review

This week's stats:

Can’t believe that it’s 2019.  Also can’t believe that I stopped blogging halfway through 2018.  I pay for this url; there’s no excuse not to update the blog. Honestly, I got lazy. I got a puppy.  I traveled to South Africa. I got low iron. I took time off. It was a whirlwind, but I had time I could have set aside to write about my running.  Whenever I don’t do make time for something, I think to myself: Get it together; you studied for your masters while working full-time so you can ALWAYS make time for anything you’re passionate about.  

And now I’m making time to write and I want to be consistent about it.  This year is exciting because I’m going to run my second ever marathon major - the Boston Marathon!  After consulting several runners and coaches I deeply respect, I decided to do Boston over Grandmas. If I don’t do it this year, who knows how long it will take me to get to the start line in Hopkinton.  

Most people start training for Boston on January 1.  I think that’s a recipe for disaster - specifically: peaking in March and burning out by the time April rolls around.  To prevent that from happening, in January I’m reducing my mileage a tad, hopping into some speedier stuff with the Strava Track Club while still doing hard long runs of 14-16 miles with my training partners.   I’ll take a mini down week with about 3 days off before kicking off my short 10-week marathon cycle on February 4th. This approach will help me mentally distance myself from thinking about Boston by hopping in workouts with the sole purpose to pace my teammates and to have fun.  

I started the pacing duties this week, first with Shal on Wednesday in a wave tempo, on Saturday with Marissa for 2 mile repeats and again on Sunday with Shal and Rachel for a long run.  Not having a real plan makes it less formal, more fun and seemingly effortless. I’m really looking forward to the next 3 weeks of January!

Week in Review: 8/20/18

This week's stats:

On Monday, I headed into a windowless LapCorp office to get my blood drawn.  After four vials were taken, I had to wait six more days to get the results back from Athlete Blood Test.  I've been tracking my ferritin levels since 2001, with my lowest ferritin level of 4.  In those 17 years, I've never received such a comprehensive blood report like the one from ABT.  Not only did ABT provide a summary of the critical steps to be taken immediately, they also provided tables with recommended/ideal ranges for both normal people as well as athletes.    The two main takeaways were:

  1. I do have low ferritin - value of 10, ideal is about 30-35 for me.  Once I dip below 20, I usually feel like crap.  
  2. I likely have over-training syndrome based on the training tolerance panel, including low total testosterone, low DHEA-S, and low free testosterone 

I do have a couple of explanations for why this happened.  For complete transparency, it's entirely my fault because of two main reasons. First, I stopped taking iron supplements over a year ago because I was doing a great job of getting my iron through plant-based sources such as spinach, kale, hemp, quinoa, apricots and other dried fruits.  But, in the last 8 weeks, I've been busy at work from 9AM-2PM leading calls, which means that I wasn't eating until 2:30PM...leading us to the second reason:  I was under-eating.  Therefore, I wasn't getting the nutrients that aid in recovery and the calories that could help me get my energy levels back up.   I'm sure that's why my ferritin levels dropped.  To combat this, I've ordered meals through Thistle so that I have healthy, plant-based meals ready to go for those days when I'm too busy to make my own food.  I plan to do this for at least the next 3-6 weeks.  Additionally, I'm reducing the quality that I'm doing for the next two weeks to see how I do.

One thing that's really tough about having low ferritin / OTS is managing the mental aspect.  It's easier to cave in on a workout now that I know I have a reason.  I usually don't like to get my blood tested until after a race because it generally messes with my head.  

Regardless, I feel like I have a solid plan of action and am confident that I can still race strong at the Rock n Roll San Jose Half.  


Week in Review: 8/13/18

This week's stats:

  • 54 miles DOWN WEEK
  • 5 x 2KM at 84-80 per lap with 400m jog
  • 14M with 4M @ 604, 1M jog, 4.75M @ 545-540
  • 0 doubles
  • 1 lift day
  • 1 day off

Without any answers about my seemingly precipitous decline of performance last week, I continued soldiering on this week with workouts, but all other runs only 6-7 miles.  After communicating with Brad, we decided to keep this a down week, reduce the long run, and let myself recover.  For the first workout of the week, I headed to the track again with my trusty partners of Jay, Yu and JOB to run 2KM repeats.  After feeling like crap on the first interval, I decided to modify the splits a little bit and went out at 84 and gradually increased the pace on each one. I was grateful to have a full rest of 3 minutes because, if my suspicions about low ferritin were true, a longer rest would ensure I could complete the workout at least.  The whole time, my breathing felt completely out of whack, so I told the guys that I would sit back and let them do all the work.  While I completed the entire workout and felt happy about that, the execution of the workout wasn't necessarily what I wanted.  I still was left scratching my head as to why the effort for a slower pace than what I've done in previous weeks suddenly felt soooo much harder. I just felt like I was not recovering and that I was weak.   

For the second workout, it was a daunting 8M simulation tempo at goal half marathon pace.  Brad called though and said to just get an effort in at a hard pace.  The bad news is that the first 4 miles of our course are slightly uphill, so I felt like complete doo doo, with labored breathing on the first part.  I slowed down and jogged for a mile until Leon, Yu and Jay turned around and then picked the pace back up with them on the downhill portion.  The good news is that I felt like a million bucks on the downhill. After Yu dropped the pace, I continued pushing until Leon and Jay both dropped off.  With Yu out of sight, I was left to my own devices as I pressed forward to get as close to 540 as possible.  

At the time, I was a little upset about my performance for the simulation, but now looking back, I'm actually pretty damn happy about how this went.  There's a very high chance that I'm low on iron, and, by giving myself a break, I was able to still complete practically a 2 x4M workout.  I'm fit; my breathing just doesn't make me feel fit.

The good news is that I ordered a blood test for Monday and will hopefully have answers soon to explain my lethargy and overall doo-dooness.