Week in Review: 6/19/18

This week's stats:

  • 85 Miles
  • 3 Days in CLT
  • 13M with 4M tempo @ 543/544/537/535 + 8 x 45s hills with 3:00 jog
  • 13M with 3x2M @ 534/537 (2:16), 527/531 (2:16), 525/528 (4:00), 4 x 200m in 34/35
  • 17M with 2M warmup, 8M @ 650-620, 4M @ 6603/555/601/540, 2M CD
  • 2 Doubles / 0 Days off
  • 2 Lift days / 2 rock climbing days

Traveling to Charlotte in the middle of the summer won't stop me from getting in my miles! Hopefully I won't jinx myself for gleefully proclaiming this on my blog.  Even if it was hot and humid in CLT, I still logged 30 miles with my Charlotte Running Club friends over the course of 48 hours.  Despite the time change, I fell asleep at 10PM every night so I could magically get 8 hours of sleep every night while I was there. 

Billy was my trusty workout companion on Tuesday and we headed for the Dilworth Speed Loop for a 4 mile tempo.  After running sub-540 for the last 2 miles (with the assistance of a nice downhill to Freedom Park), we headed to East Blvd to do some hill repeats.  I felt like absolute death on the hill repeats and cut it short to 45 seconds instead of 60s.  

After two days of planning sessions with all of our teams at the Convention Center, I was more than ready to head home Wednesday night.  Gary, Pam and I headed to the airport and enjoyed some mexican together before boarding the plane to wait out a lightning delay.

Of course, after sitting on the plane for 7+ hours on Wednesday night, my run on Thursday was brutal and I slogged along, begging my legs to just move a little.  Yet, somehow my legs bounced back rather quickly on Friday morning and I was able to run a great 3x2 mile workout at Stanford.  It might have even been a workout PR for average time, but I'm not quite sure.  Shrug.

On Sunday, Natalie, Jay and JOB met up to do a 13 mile loop through Los Altos Hills.  It wasn't too terrible of a climb initially, but my legs were begging for mercy early on.  Jay and I hung about 4 strides back from Natalie and JOB, who seemed to be feeling great.  With some high mileage on our tired legs, Jay and I continued pushing.  Once we hit the steepest climb, and after a slight detour trying to figure out the route, we all were back together again in a pack before we started the marathon pace portion.  Natalie took off and I hung back, not wanting to destroy my quads too terribly on the downhills.  By the time we hit downtown Los Altos, it was flat again, and the running gods forced Natalie to stop at a light, which allowed me to make up those 3 seconds she had on me.  For the rest of the run, we pushed each other to run a 540 last mile which was totally fun!  

Overall, this was a great week. It's a lot easier to get in the work if you're doing it with friends, that's for sure!


Week in Review: 6/11/18

This week's stats:

  • 80 Miles
  • 11M in AM with 5M uphill in 627/647/727/623/618 and then 3M cool down in 630 + 10KM in PM with 10x200m @ 34-35 with Peter and Trevor
  • 12M MLR
  • 16M with 1M warmup, 5M in 645-650 7M of 3 min on/off for average of 611/619/627/605/611/601/623, 3M at 610/600/550
  • 2 doubles / 0 days off
  • 1 day in Redding to look at puppies

It's hard to believe that I'm 4 weeks into a new training program; time certainly has flown by.  But, after having 5 hard efforts in ~10 days, my body very acutely feels the effects of the legit training.  The best example to illustrate how beat up my body feels was my run today, where I shuffled my way through a 4 miler at an average of 830 pace.  I couldn't go any faster, unless I gave my body 4 more miles to warmup.  If I've learned anything about running competitively over the age of 30, it's that sometimes your body feels like the Tinman from Wizard of Oz, and you need a lil grease to get the body moving again.  


I definitely don't care if I have an easy run or three every week.  If my body needs it, I take it. So after a couple of strength building workouts on hills, I headed to the Los Gatos Creek Trail on Saturday to get some company on a mixed pace long run.  Joining up with probably the most well organized running club in the Bay, Max, Ibet, Jeff and I met with the BURN running group.  With the lure of a professional grade photographer, this club convinced 50+ people to show up at 630AM in the morning for a long run.  Insane, and AWESOME. It was fun to run with Jay's buddies and to have some much needed company for the run.  

Overall, I'm really pleased with how my fitness seems to be progressing. I'm hoping my body continues to handle the stressors of running at such an increased intensity.  So long as I focus on the weight lifting, I trust that I'll make it to Wharf to Wharf ready to race.

Across the Bay 12KM Race Recap

This week's stats:

  • 81 Miles with 2 days of doubles
  • 12M with 40 minutes of 1 min on/off with splits of 615/604/600/551/552/556/601 for 6.7M + 4 x 200m Hill Sprints
  • 12M MLR
  • 10M with 10 x short hill sprints
  • 10M with 4 x 200m, 2M @ 540/533, 1M slow, 4x200m, 1M cool down
  • 12KM Race:  1st overall, 43:11 with splits of 521/633/546/512/538/548/545/550 for 13M Total

What a big week.  Without any work travel, it's time to put in (running) work.  I was able to hit my highest mileage in who knows how long, while also competing in a race on Sunday.  While I felt really good about my minuters workout on Monday with Jay, I went into Thursday's workout feeling tired and emotionally zapped.  Last week was a pretty big week in terms of quality, and I felt the effects of that on my legs this week.  So, by Thursday, I wasn't fully in to the workout, but wanted to still try it out with Job.  I was supposed to do a 4 mile tempo progressing from 540-532, but I ended it after 2 miles and figured that I'll try again another time.  After all, I'm still 17 weeks out from the Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon, so now isn't the time to push my body to the well.  From an emotional standpoint, it's really difficult to keep up with a full-time job, 2 workouts during the week, plus a long run on the weekend. I feel like I'm constantly texting friends to see if they want to play pacemaker for me.  It's like there's no downtime from planning; right after I finish one workout, I'm already on to the next one, planning it out with my other friends who work full time.  For me, I've learned that what's most manageable is doing 2 workouts every other week.  This way I'll still be able to get in more sustained efforts, but also get a break every other week when I can just focus on one hard workout during that time.

 Spoiler alert: I won.

Spoiler alert: I won.

Fortunately, the lackluster performance on Thursday morning didn't deter me from going into the Across the Bay 12KM with the intention to win.  I figured the race wouldn't be too competitive since most people were racing at Portland, or moving on to other target races in the summer.  I was right about the competition - or so I thought until about mile 2.  On Sunday morning, Peter drove Max, Michael and I up to Vista Point at Golden Gate Bridge, where we ran off to warmup to the start line together.  Peter eventually made his way back to the finish line at Fort Mason.  

At the start of the race, the familiar faces from Wolfpack, Aggies and Impala track clubs all made their way to the front of the line.  I didn't see any familiar faces from the SacTown 10 miler, or Bay to Breakers.  My prospect of winning looked good. The gun went off, and I took off with Michael, and situated myself behind some other men.  The first mile was downhill flat, and I tried not to go too crazy since a huge uphill climb to the bridge would greet us in mile 2.  During mile 2, I ran back and forth on the switchbacks up to the bridge.  I passed a few guys, and a few passed me.  After I peaked the crest of the hill, no one else would pass me for the rest of the race. 

In the middle of the bridge, I heard what was definitely female breathing behind me.  I glanced to my right, and sure enough, a woman was giving me a run for my money.  Crap, I thought.  I'm going to have to push harder on this part.  It was still slightly uphill and I didn't feel like going faster yet, so I let her take the lead for a bit, until a slight downhill began.  At that point, I decided I had no reason not to push harder now, and picked up the pace.  During that time, I passed one guy and for the remainder of the race, would be staring at the back of the singlet of a man about 30-40 meters ahed of me.  

Mile 3 was almost all downhill, as we snaked our way down along the water, to Chrissy Field.  The next 3 miles can be summarized the same: I was running scared, unsure of where the woman was behind me.  I listened for people cheering, and deduced that she probably was pretty far back from me, but I still couldn't be 100% certain.  These miles were flat, along the bay, overlooking Alcatraz Island.  The sun was shining directly into my eyes and I tried to focus on the man in front of me because my legs were starting to feel pretty tired. By mile 7, I had caught the guy in front of me, but on the steep 400m climb, he passed me right back.  On the downhill into the finish, I wasn't able to catch him, and lost motivation to kick it in any harder.  I was pretty tired.

 Max, Caitlin and Michael at the end of the race

Max, Caitlin and Michael at the end of the race

I got to break the finish line tape, which is a first for me in a California race.  Even though I won the 2016 Pride Run and the 2016 San Francisco Half, they didn't have tape at the finish lines.  So, it was pretty special to win!  My goal for this year is to win the PA USATF Long Distance Grand Prix, and this win helps secure my #1 position.  

At the end of the race, Max, Michael and I very slowly cooled down before the awards and then walked to a cute neighborhood brunch spot.  All in all, everyone was pleased with their performance!


Week in Review: 5/28/18

This week's stats:

  • 72 miles with 2 doubles
  • 10M with 45 minutes of 30s on / 2:30 off for splits of 631/626/626/629/646/625
  • 12M MLR
  • 9M with 45 min of 45s on / 2:15 off for splits of 634/628/634/633/635/628/630
  • 12M MLR with 4M @ 635-645, 4 miles of 1 min on/off in 613 ave, 4M tempo in 613/611/603/556
 Just a lil bike ride on Memorial Day!

Just a lil bike ride on Memorial Day!

Sometimes the universe just aligns itself so that you have a regular training buddy.  That's definitely what happened this week.  Tania is injured with a mystery hip issue, and that means that Job is eager to run with me.  I'm totally cool knowing that I'm his #2 priority.  I'm never gonna complain about company on a run!  This week was my first week back to "real" training since the Vancouver Half.  I started out with two fartlek variation workouts, all based on effort, without looking at the watch to check paces.  I had Jay help out for one, and Job for another.  It was a win-win situation for all as each of us are targeting races in early October.  

Even though it was quite warm on a workout day and on the long run day, I still came away feeling really happy with my effort this week.  I'm definitely starting to get excited for the summer of training!  The week was nice because of the Memorial Day holiday, which allowed me to get in a bike ride with Peter on Arastadero!

Week in Review: 5/21/18

This week's stats:

  • 65 Miles with 0 days off
  • 12M MLR
  • 14M Hilly Los Altos Hills run @ 6:51 pace


After running Bay to Breakers, this week was just about coming back and enjoying running with friends.  I ran with Natalie, Victoria, Jonah, Jenna, Shal, Tom, Nick, Jay, Ben, Peter, and Jeff this week!  Incredible! I welcomed a long holiday weekend, because Peter and I have spent so many weekends either traveling or hosting guests that it was time for us to just live at the seat of our pants.  We decided last minute to go to Sonoma to check out a few wineries.  The weather was a little on the hot side, but we had a blast checking out the scenery with Alex.  

Bay to Breakers 12KM Race Recap

This week's stats:

  • 55 Miles with 0 days off
  • 2 Lift Sessions with Lyndsay @ Evolution Trainers with Pete
  • 10M with mini tempo with Jenna
  • Bay to Breakers 12KM Race:  12th OA, 4th Bay Area, 44:29 with splits of 533, 12:27, 617, 602, 544, 545, 2:41
  • 3 days with my mom
 Matching fur!

Matching fur!

So, I took 7 days off last week and this week I raced a 12KM across the city of San Francisco.  But neither of things are as important as the fact that I GOT MY CAT CICERO BACK!!!!!  It.  Is.  Official.  I am a cat mom again!  After 28 months, Cicero is a finally a resident of California. 

While I fretted over whether or not Cicero would disappear during the moments he'd have to go through the security machine at the airport, my brother flawlessly escorted my cat through the airport with ease, and safely secured him below the seat in front of him.  After several reassuring texts, my mom, brother and cat were in the air, flying from St. Louis to San Jose.  

 Seriously, how CUTE is my mama???

Seriously, how CUTE is my mama???


We spent most of the weekend doing normal things, such as making vegan treats in my dehydrator with mom, going on a mini-hike at Rancho San Antonio, making dinner together and watching Westworld.  My mom even got to watch me race, which she hopefully has enjoyed for the last 22 years.    We didn't hang much in the city, most likely because I had a race on Sunday, but I hope that next time we can do more things in nature!  

So - about Bay to Breakers.  Boy, it was rough.  Honestly, coming out of the Vancouver Half, I wasn't in the right mind space to race again.  I felt pretty burnt out...most likely because I had been running strong since December's Club XC Champs.  I needed a break.  And so I took that break, and did not run for a week after Vancouver.  I would have taken even more days off, but I've spent so much money on making a new place my home that I wanted to take a stab at getting some $$ from the local bay area Bay to Breakers prize purse.  So, with that, I decided to start running after 7 days off, mostly so my legs weren't in shock when I raced up the 1000M climb on Hayes Street. 

While last year's race went pretty well, this year was the opposite.  It was windy.  There was a lot more competition.  Ultimately, I ran 40 seconds slower than last year.  Two or three women just blasted me on the final 3 miles of the course, which is where I really excelled last year.  My legs felt completely zapped after peaking at the top of Golden Gate Park, and I barely could find it within me to push as hard as I did last year on the downhill stretch from mile 5 to the finish line.  

To complicate matters, with about 300 meters to go, I felt like my heart couldn't keep up with the effort level I was sustaining.  The only natural thing to do was the slow down, which I did for about 10 meters.  I seriously thought I might not be able to finish the race.  I wasn't sure if it was a heart attack, so I just did what felt like the most natural thing - slow down.  After slowing down, it felt more normal, but the odd sensation came back again, so I slowed again.  Ultimately, my heart started to feel normal again and I obviously finished the race.  But, I should probably get that checked out.  As I write this (4 weeks later), I still have not seen a cardiologist.  

Regardless, I ended up 4th place Bay Area resident, which was good enough for $250.  With my goal achieved, I could rest easy and spend the rest of Sunday hanging with my family!

Week in Review: 5/7/18

This week's stats:

  • 0 miles
  • 2 Lift Sessions
  • 4 days in CLT

I didn't run this week.  Instead, I traveled to Charlotte for work.  I surprised Aaron for his 45th birthday.  And I melted in the NC heat.  It was time for a much needed break, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second!

Vancouver Race Recap

This week's stats:

  • 58 miles
  • 10M with 1M @ 542, 2x800m @ 240/238 with 2:00 jog, 1M @ 536, 2 x 400m @ 80/76
  • Half Marathon Race in 1:17:55, 4th place, with splits of
    • 5KM: 17:58 (547 pace)
    • 10KM: 18:41 (36:39) 601 pace
    • 15KM: 18:41 (55:20) 601 pace
    • 21.1KM: 22:35 (1:17:55) which is 18:30 5KM pace / 557 pace

It is very unlike me to not do research about a race and its course before I sign up.  I made an assumption, based on the fast times two of my friends posted at Vancouver, that the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon would be flat and fast.  Boy, was I SO very wrong!  I even convinced two other women - Jenna and Emilee - to do the race as well, with the misled expectation of getting a PR.  Face palm.

The course can best be summarized with a text from Jenna afterwards:  "Did you see that on Garmin, the course had 890 feet elevation gain."

So, there's that.  Here's how the course unfolded:  first there was a a very steep downhill for the first 2 miles.  Then there was a steep uphill for 600 meter around 6KM.  Then about every 1-2KM there was a hill that would pop up and just zap my legs of energy.  But, regardless of the hills that made me have splits so slow that I thought for certain the markers MUST be off, the course was beautiful and I left wanting to move to Vancouver.  

The elite coordinator, Lynn, is an Olympic Bronze Medalist in the 3,000M from the famed 1984 race with Zola Budd and Mary Decker.  Lynn did an incredible job putting on a fantastic event and making sure the elites didn't have to worry about the small things.  

At the start of the race, I figured my best case scenario would be to get fourth place, given that there was a Canadian national champion (Tasha Wodak), an African and one other who had much better PRs than me.  My goal was to come in fourth then.  I went out in the first 4KM trying to pace myself on the downhill, knowing there would be at least some small climbs later in the race. 

By 5KM, the top 3 women were so far in front that I knew I just had to maintain my position to reach my goal.  After 6KM, I was running with a pack of men and there were not any women around.  We climbed up another big hill back in downtown Vancouver before making our way to Stanley Park.  Here, I ran with two guys side-by-side, until they would drop me on a longer uphill.  I would eventually catch back up to them on a downhill, but it was rough for me mentally on the hills.  With 5KM to go, I was seriously doubting why I thought this course would be fast, but I knew that didn't matter at the current moment, so I focused instead on staying with the dudes around me.

With one final turn, we rounded in for a loooong 1000m climb up to the finish line.  It was absolutely brutal.  Crossing the finish line, I walked over to Peter immediately and said  "I'm definitely not doing Bay to Breakers."    I feel like this is a good indicator of how crushed I felt coming out of this race.  As I waited for Jenna, Erin and Emilee to finish, I reflected on my thoughts about the race and what's next.  I realized that this was my slowest half time in years.  All in all, with training for a track season for the first time in a decade, moving and consistently training since January, my body was ready for a break.   I decided to take at least a week off and go from there. 

Overall, it was a blast exploring Vancouver both during the race and after.  It's such a beautiful city with incredible food, super nice people and spectacular views!  I definitely learned my lesson to do better research next time before I convince athletes I coach to do a race for a PR!

Week in Review: 4/23/18

This week's stats:

  • 70 Miles
  • 14M with 3 x 2 mile with Jenna via 546/543 (2:06), 548/547 (2:06), 554/547, 1M jog, 800m in 2:44
  • 12M MLR
  • 14M with 5M via 607/605/602/559/547
 Hauling all my belongings a half mile to my new house!

Hauling all my belongings a half mile to my new house!

With just 7 days until the Vancouver Half, it was time to focus on just getting in the workouts while also packing up my stuff and moving into a new place!  Even though I only moved a half mile from my old Stierlin Road house, it still is a lot of work to pack up, haul it over and then unpack.  But, ever since I moved from North Carolina, I realized that there is lot of stuff you just don't actually need, so I was able to fit everything but my bed into my car!  Then Jason strapped my mattress onto the roof of his Ford Explorer and - viola! - all my stuff was in the new place!  Also, since Stierlin was furnished with all the kitchen needs, I realized there were all sorts of little things - such as dishes, glasses, scissors, etc - that I needed to buy.  So, after several trips to the store and lots of help from friends, we finally moved in to our own place. We even had time to be social and head up to Oakland for Athena's birthday party.  Even more impressive, we were able to have the house in good enough shape to host my sister on Sunday night!  I'm definitely glad the move is done before I head to Vancouver.  

Week in Review: 4/16/18

This week's stats:

  • 76 Miles
  • 12M with 5 x 2KM with last 400m fast via 706.5 (mile in 543.6) 1:36 jog, 706.0 (mile in 545.8) 1:43 jog, 707.3 (mile in 548.1) 2:02 jog, 659.6 (mile in 541.4) 2:00 jog, 656.9 (mile in 535.8)
  • 12M MLR
  • 18M with Jenna with 12M @ 645-620
  • 2 days in Dallas for Erica Launch party


Stanford Invite 10,000M Race Recap

This week's stats:

  • 41 Miles
  • 2 days off
  • 10.7M with 3 x (1000m, 300m jog, 400m, 300m jog), 2 x 200m with splits of  314, 1:44, 74.5, 1:48 | 316, 1:54, 73.6, 1:56 | 3:15, 1:51. 72.8, 3:09 | 35.0, 34.3
  • 10KM Race for Lifetime PR:  34:18 for 14th place in Section 2 

It is never too late to run faster than you did when you were in college at the ripe, young age of 22.  Exactly 10 years after my last 10,000m race on the track - which, by the way, was an absolutely craptastic run in 36:18, the slowest of my college career - I ran a PR.  To make things even more mindblowing, I ran this PR on the SAME track that I had last raced on - at Stanford!  

 Photo courtesy Tom Tayeri

Photo courtesy Tom Tayeri

Needless to say, it was a pretty special night out there to run on what I now consider my home track.  While I did have lots of fun, it's not safe to say that the race itself wasn't ridiculously hard - it was VERY, VERY difficult.  In many ways, I would equate running a track 10K after a 10-year hiatus to be the mental equivalent of running a marathon.  With a lap count of 25, it's just 1 marker shy of a marathon marker.  It's easy to fall asleep when there are 8 to go.  It doesn't matter that it's a lap to go instead of a mile to go.  The monotony of the landscape also played a huge role; in a marathon, at least I have the advantage of surveying unique views the entire time.   

So, what exactly happened? 

 Check out my gash!

Check out my gash!

First, I got spiked 10 minutes before the race.  Not exactly what I would have preferred to have happen right before my first 10KM in a bazillion years.  In the waiting area, I started walking forward just as another competitor did a leg swing backwards.  Her spike sliced open a gash on my upper right thigh.  I jetted off to go pee, and as I pulled up my pants, blood streaked my entire quad.  I headed to the trainer to get wrapped up to stop the bleeding.

By the time we were allowed on the track for strides, I knew immediately I would not be able to keep the gauze on my leg.  It would cause way too much discomfort and likely a very bad case of chafing.  So, I ripped off the gauze and adhesive and strode over to the start line, just as the girl who spiked me, came up and apologized.  She was a sweetheart and I assured her I was fine.

As for the actual race, I went out PERFECTLY through 1 mile.  I was settled in right behind Amy.  We could do this together.  I was in it to stay with her.  We were right on pace to go sub 33:45, hitting 79-81 through 10 laps. 

At some point, I got dropped by the lead pack.  Then I got dropped by the chase pack. 

And then I almost dropped out. 


Not kidding, before I had gotten through the 2 mile mark, I was debating if I should head off the track.  I had a huge mental lapse in the middle of the race.  Even though I came through 5K right under 17:00, which meant I still had a realistic shot of breaking 34:00, I wasn't able to stay mentally IN it.  I didn't want to hurt and I didn't want to use my mind to convince myself otherwise.  Not surprisingly, the wheels soon came off and I ran at least 6 laps at 84 or 85s.   However, with about 8 laps to go, a woman passed me and I decided that I owed it to everyone else here watching me to try a little bit harder.   I did not want to disappoint all my friends who were there to cheer me on, and I didn't want to misrepresent the Strava Track Club, who owed Stanford a huge THANK YOU for allowing us to compete in their meet. So, I latched on to the girl and she pulled me through to the finish line. 

Even though it wasn't necessarily the prettiest of races, a PR is a PR.  Next spring, I'd love to just do the same workouts as all the other Strava Track Club girls and let Dena figure out my track schedule and give it one more shot at racing hard on the track. It could be fun to take down more of collegiate track PRs before I hang up my track spikes for good.

Ultimately, I owe a huge thank you to Dena Evans for advocating for me and other athletes to earn an entry to the Stanford Invite. I'm grateful to my huge cheering crew that knew when to yell my splits and when not to.  And I'm grateful to Tom for taking some awesome photos of my first track meet in forever!

Week in Review: 3/19/18

This week's stats:

  • 65 miles
  • 12.6M with 4 x mile repeats via 524/527/523/538 with 2-230 jog
  • 12.3M with 2x2.5M via 600/546/235 (3:00 jog) 549/543/235
  • 10M MLR
  • 2 lift days
  • 48 hours in CLT

Turns out that traveling while trying to train is still pretty hard.  But, not impossible.  Since I was in Charlotte from Monday to Wednesday this week, I pushed my workout to Friday.  This proved to be smart because Strava was doing a very similar workout (2 x 2 miles), and I tacked on with Victoria for warmup and the first 800m of the hard part.  It was pretty fun running the last half mile at a fast pace and it left me with the confidence I need going in to the first 10,000m I've done on the track in a decade.  


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


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:

  • 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!