Tag Archives: gear

How do you listen to your body if you don’t know what you’re listening for?!!?

hmm. looks like maybe I actually am getting a little wiser in my old age. maybe. Oh, and brace yourselves, I may actually discuss pace. A very little bit. What?!?! But I never; I know!

First off, I turned 30 last week. About 8 days ago. In addition to an adventuresome beach camping trip, I got some pretty sweet toys: the ultimate direction Jenny hydration pack, a pair of brooks transcend, and in an absolute bit of the universe looking out for me, a GARMIN 910 XT!

The Garmin, I’ve been eyeing it for a long time, maybe about a year. But $400 is just too much, sorry. Especially when I already have a perfectly functional, albeit pretty old, 305. But then, as I was heading home to kick off birthday weekend, a post popped up on my run club’s facebook saying one of our sponsors was offering “an amazing one time only deal” on pretty much all of the Gamin Forerunner family– email Barry for details. And I thought, no way it will be a big enough discount for me to actually get one. But I will email him, and if it comes back under $XXX, then, you know what, it’s my birthday!

$5 less than my max. A price so low they are not legally allowed to publish it per their sales agreements. So now I have a lovely new 910XT, with optional foot pod and heart rate monitor.

Which brings me to the title of this post…

I used the Garmin at the gym last night. Turns out their treadmills are even more inaccurately calibrated than one would expect.

The last few weeks, as I’ve moved into a new phase of knee-hab, I’ve been amazed at how much cardiovascular fitness I seemed to have lost.

Well! Turns out, I’d been running paces that were about 30-60 sec faster per mile than I thought they were!!!

See, Nike+ and my Jawbone UP24 consistently gave me credit for longer distances and faster paces than the treadmill. But they also generally overshot the paces from the Forerunner 305 on outdoor runs by at least a little bit, and for better or worse I put the most stock in the Garmin info.  I just assumed that the treadmill was on par with Garmin, and Nike and Jawbone were a little generous to cater to the mass fitness consumer base — sort of like vanity sizing at some clothing stores. I mean not so generous as to be useless. But still, a little generous.

NOPE. I did two treadmill runs last night, with a little break in between. The first was about 20 minutes to get a feel for different functions on the 910, and see if the heart rate monitor and foot pod were connected and working.  Then I did about 30 minutes of what would be my intervals for an easy recovery run.  I set the treadmill to what I thought was a 10 minute mile.  NOPE.

For 31 minutes, which should have been a pretty easy 3.0 miles I was doing a bit from kneehab where, similar to speed work, I’d run easy for 4 minutes, and even easier for 1 minute. This is sort of like Galloway’s approach to rehab, and also keeps things adapted to the start/stop dynamics of speedwork as I work my way back up to a knee that can go so fast. Averaging the paces for the splits 31 minutes should have been about 2.9 miles.

The treadmill said 2.75, the Garmin said 3.12, Nike said 3.24, and UP24 said 3.26.  Now, based on this, maybe I would still normally be inclined to err towards the distance from the treadmill. But for better or for worse, in heat and cold, direct sunlight or rain, with hangovers, or lack of sleep or pms or whatever, I have been able to consistently comfortably run  10 min per mile pace, atleast so far as cardiovascular fitness goes. For a 10 minute per mile pace, cardiovascularly, I should be in the 125-140 BPM zone, even on a very rough day. My average BPM for this 30 minutes was 167.

167!!! and my cadence was right at 92, with a low of 88 and a high of 96. This, my friends, is not 10 minute  mile data.

No wonder I felt like I was running faster than a 10 minute mile — I WAS!

And I was not supposed to be! not yet, at least.

And my thought today when I was discussing it with a friend was you know, see, we just need to listen to our bodies.

But how do you do that if you don’t know what to listen for? If I wasn’t already familiar with how I normally respond to different circumstances, how would  I know to suspect that the treadmill’s 6.0 mph was probably closer to 6.3-6.6?

uh, yeah. 30 sec per mile is a pretty significant difference at any skill level.  And I wasn’t supposed to be moving back into the 9s until, well, today.

But it’s good to know my cardiovascular fitness had not deteriorated nearly as much as I thought it had.

And you know, also good that my cadence was pretty spot on. I’d been concerned about that, too.

I was starting to give up on the idea that LA Marathon would be anything more than a fun run, but now, maybe there is still hope for coming in pretty close to a PR, or at least a CR.  Don’t worry, I remain realistic.

But we shall see.

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oh boy.

I just programmed my race plan for the AFC half into my Garmin, and f if I did not just also completely lose my appetite!!!

I haven’t run a race with a time goal since the full in SD about 10 weeks ago. And this one is a bit of a doozy.

It’s aggressive. Ok, very aggressive. But totally doable. Totally.

100% doable.  Looking at my training logs, this is entirely within the realm of possibility. Add in the fact that I’ve been on my very best behavior since Santa Barbara, and it becomes a probable outcome.  It will require a significant effort. But it is very much possible. Very much possible.

And when it happens, I know I will feel genuine disbelief.

But it will happen.  Like LA and OC before it, I will make my target at AFC.

see you on the other side……(of the weekend, not the afterlife!!!)

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All’s Quiet on the Western Front…

Hello there! What’s happening?

Not a lot. I’ve been on my very best behavior so there’s not much to write about!

Montecito-Summerland Half Marathon was fun, surprising finish time given the net elevation gain, and that it was my first long run off the treadmill since San Francisco. Spot-on Portland Marathon pace, actually. In fact, miles 8, 9, & 13 were my fastest miles, so it would seem I effectively distributed my effort across the up- and down-hills.

It’s summer, it’s So-Cal. Very sunny. Hot & Sunny. Humid, like 80-95% with cloudless direct-sun-light skies. And I’ll be candid – I spend too, too much money on skin care products to risk the kind of sun damage that cloudless direct sunlight can cause. Even when taking every precaution, things happen. Sun screen sweats off, or gets wiped off inadvertently, or the visor shifts, and BOOM massive sun damage that takes months or years to undo.

So I’ve been indoors. A lot of treadmill with some elliptical for variety. Netflix. Strength training. Yoga.  Fortunately (sort of) it’s often extremely warm and humid in the gym, so I’m still getting practice acclimating for the high-heat, high-humidity August and September races.

I keep setting my alarm to run in the mornings, before the marine layer burns off, but then I hit snooze and wind up running at 9 or 10pm (yes, nighttime) instead.

I got a crockpot, FUN! And I’ve learned to make stew, ALSO FUN!

The Jaybird Bluetooth Headphones stopped working again, so I will be exchanging them again, for a 4th pair — not so fun.

I may or may not register for the Bulldog Ultra on August 25, a very hilly, moderately technical 50k. WE SHALL SEE……

So that’s what’s happening! YAY SUMMER!!!!!!

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RIP JayBird Bluetooth Headphones!!!

Yep, apparently I’m a headphone serial killer.

Meh, here’s the secret… I wasn’t the hugest fan of these headphones anyway. At least, not as a marathoner. The battery doesn’t last long enough for my pre-during-and-post-race preferences, and the bluetooth connection drains my phone battery, too.

But recently I had come around to using them at the gym for shorter workouts. I got really used to not having to worry about where the chords were. And then, the left earbud went out.

I bought these in January, but only used them, maybe, 15 or so times for a total of 15-18 hours of actual usage — to make a generous estimate. Not a great shelf life for a product meant to withstand heavy sweat and athletic activity, and priced at over $100.  To compare, my Bose SEi earbuds made it about 350 miles, plus some significant bike and travel time, all within 88 days, so some pretty heavy usage, before spontaneously crapping out just within Target’s 90 day return window. But hey, Bose is Bose for a reason.

But also hey! Best Buy is Best Buy for a reason, too, eh? In January they price matched Amazon, so I paid less than sticker price and spent the $15 I saved on the extended warranty.  So six months later, and without a receipt, I was able to return the dead earbuds for an even exchange or store credit. And it gets better!

I had the freedom sprint 3s, which are discontinued to make way for the recently released freedom sprint 4s! And again, Amazon had them new, in stock, for 20% less than Best Buy! So again, Best Buy price matched, and for an out of pocket cost of $5.62 I got the dead headphones replaced with an upgrade and another extended warranty.  Oh, America!

So here’s hoping version 4 lasts longer than version 3, or atleast until version 5 comes out so I can trade up without incurring actual out of pocket costs 😛

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SF Marathon !!! :D

Beautiful and Hilly ❤

SF Marathon weekend was a blast! A true exercise in endurance, but a total blast. Basically, I left for work on Friday, was back at work Monday, and somewhere in between I drove to San Francisco, ran the marathon, and drove back. Only now am I starting to catch up on the sleep.

The big take away: Whatever I was doing for the two weeks in between San Diego and San Francisco worked.

My first half splits for SF and SD were nearly identical.  The first half of SD is essentially downhill followed by flat. The first half of SF is three cat 5 hills plus many smaller hills in between. And I did them in, no joke, times that were within seconds of each other. This is a dramatic result.

For the full, my travel buddy set an aggressive stretch goal for me which, until mile 24, I was on pace to make.  At mile 24 the calf started to have sensations, not anything near what occurred in mile 8 of SD, but just enough to get my attention, so I did some mental math and decided to slow down and try to match my LA finish time for some symmetry with my LA/SF Challenge results, and to eliminate even the remote possibility of injury.

You’ll recall that my original goal was to just finish before the cutoff by implementing some sort of walk 1/run 1 plan. Miss Elizabeth (my pit crew/road trip buddy) set a goal of me PRing by 14 minutes in SF. Just FYI, the time difference between those goals is 2-2 1/2 hours, depending on my start wave. So her goal for me was only slightly more aggressive than my own, haha. Because she’s crazy like me (though probably the most non-running of all my non-running friends), and also the best cheerleader ever.

Really though, based on how I felt over the week leading up, I thought a good stretch goal might be to match the SD time, then a B goal of match LA’s time, since they weren’t too far apart.  And all with the knowledge that this 15 day period was the most aggressive running streak in my lifetime (two fulls and a half) so really, the day truly was still a success as long as I finished before the cut off.

So I went out easy, and just ran what was comfortable, while trying to stick to the splits programmed into the Garmin from SD. I slowed sometimes to look at the scenery, because man, this was a really beautiful course. I also slowed some on the uphills, as a carry over from SD and the calf issues.  All and all, it was a very enjoyable little run.  I think all the driving took more out of me than the race itself!

What did I do between SD and SFEpsom salt soaks, daily, before bed and before the morning shower. KT Tape, even just at work or around the house. Two deep tissue sports massages focusing on the calves, hips, it bands, one the Friday after SD and one the Tuesday before SF. Yoga. Short 30-40 minute sessions on stationary bikes and elliptical, also a few very easy, slower-than-marathon pace road miles and a couple of faster one mile sessions on the treadmill. Valley Crest Half Marathon at an easy pace, with no time goals, on the Sunday in between. Lots of water, lean meat, potatoes, lettuce, and coffee.  Pizza, salad, and a beer for “carbo loading” Saturday.

Next Up: Portland Marathon, October 6, with the monthly half marathons in between. I’m looking at Summerland in Santa Barbara (Miss Elizabeth lives there) for July and America’s Finest City in San Diego for August.  September is still up in the air, hopefully a trail or beach race.

But first, I am resting, legit, for two weeks. A friend asked what I was up to this weekend, my response? “Not running!” We’ll see how long that lasts… 😉

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RIP Bose SEi Earbuds :(

This morning’s 7 mile run was to be Part 1 of an Epic Double (more on that later). Sadly, the run was cancelled at mile 0.05 due to the sudden death of my beloved Bose Sport SEi Earbuds.

These earbuds were so freaking comfy, and excellent sound quality. A very nice green color (also available in orange), they came with three sizes of earbud cover and an adaptable, adjustable length cord with a small removable clip. Short was perfect for the iPhone in an armband, and long was perfect for the iPad on a treadmill.

What happened? They were fine Tuesday evening, but this morning they were static-y and the volume up button on the headphones would not work. Volume down was fine, and pause was sporadic.

After some troubleshooting I accepted that I would need to replace them and headed home while there was still time to stop at Target on the way to work. And then, a thought! Had it been less than 90 days?

I found the receipt, and yes, it had been only 88 days since I purchased the headphones! From Target, instead of Best Buy, thank goodness… Target’s hours and location are just way more convenient for me.

So done and done, the exchange has been made and everything is order for Part 2 of the Epic Double, which, really, will now just be a mid-length tempo since Part 1 didn’t happen. But such is life!

Oh, and to be clear, none of this should be taken to mean that the headphones, admittedly a little pricey ($149), were of substandard quality. NO, not at all. I checked my logs, and those headphones were with me without any problems whatsoever for just under 350 miles, which is a longer life span than most of my shoes, and certainly more satisfactory use than I got from my jaybird bluetooth headphones.

I did spring for the $17 two year insurance/warranty plan this time, though, just in case…

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LA Marathon Race Recap

LA Marathon = Super Fun


Cliff’s Notes Version: PR’d by 41:21. Legit chip time to chip time comparison, none of this but garmin said or nike + said or the bathroom lines were so long or if only I hadn’t stopped to tie my shoe or whatever. Although, there was a bit of a beer break around mile 22, but we’ll get to that later.

Portland 2012 chip time vs. LA 2013 chip time, 41:21 differential.  Made it square in the middle of my target finish range. Amazing what happens when you actually train, huh? And yes, I’m already strategizing  re: knocking off another 20 minutes at Rock N Roll San Diego in June, but we’ll get to that later, too.

LA Marathon Weekend: A Novella Length Memoir (Hence the Cliff’s Notes Lead In)

To begin, Friday morning at work, we got Ex Parte Notice for Monday morning. Usually, Friday ex parte notices involve a lot of weekend work. They are also often frivolous and meant to give the other side a hard time; this was one of those, with very real potential for derailing much of my Marathon St. Patty’s Weekend plans.

FACT: If you intentionally plan anything mentally or physically taxing that involves the mandatory participation of others for the morning after a major drinking holiday, you are an asshole.

Somehow (I’d like to say because I’m good at what I do, but I think it has more to do with my paralegal being awesome) we managed to wrap up all the EPA prep work except client signatures by 3 p.m. Friday, and the Weekend Work Crisis was averted.

So, with crisis averted, events leading up to the race!!!

4:00 p.m. Friday: Emergency tune up shoulder work with emergency back-up massage therapist. (Yes, I have a massage therapist and emergency back up massage therapist. They know about each other, and I refer lots of people to both of them. They are both fantastically skilled at what they do.)

7:00 p.m. Friday: work event, Fresh Brothers pizza and smart water.

10:00 p.m. Friday: attempt final 5k training run from the training plan, the lights shut off at the track half way through the first lap. Finish first lap and go home.

11:00 p.m. Friday: home yoga, hang with spouse, sleep.

8:00 a.m. Saturday: Starbucks iced latte with whole milk and toasted chocolate Croissant.

9:00 a.m. Saturday: EXPO!!! and First Marathon Miracle: I found a meter in my preferred parking block that already had an hour on it, I added a dollar for two more hours so that when I left there’d be some time for the next person too.

9:30 a.m. Saturday: Walk away from the Garmin booth before I impulse buy a new Garmin. Visit race booths to scope the medals for the races I’ve already registered for, and scope discounts for other races I’m considering. Buy three pouches of honey stinger gummies for $1 each. Collect coupons for other products.

10:30 a.m. Saturday: To the Valley!! My fantastic friend who is in the business of nail wraps is giving me a blinged out St. Patty’s themed manicure because she is awesome.

11:00 a.m. Saturday: Pick up from Starbucks and Panera for pre-mani snack. Another Latte and some tomato soup with baguette for me, avocado blt for my friend.

2:00 p.m. Saturday: Second Marathon Miracle! As we’re walking to my car after the marathon mani, a random woman who looks like she was having a yard sale walks up to my friend and I. “You look like you are going shopping. I made this reusable shopping bag, and I would like to give it to you because you look like you would use it.” The bag was green and black, with glitter ribbon trimming the inside hem. I had just been thinking how I wished I had a St. Patty’s themed tote for my after-race stuff. And low and behold, random woman on the street gives me a very nice one.

4:00 p.m. Saturday: Home Again!! Nothing makes  you ready to get out of the car and run a marathon like driving from the valley to LAX on a saturday afternoon.

5:00 p.m. Saturday: Snack Time (Kettle chips and sour cream ranch dip) and Organization Time. Third Marathon Miracle!!!! I pull out my bib during Organization Time, and discover that I am actually on the 5:30 a.m. shuttle!! Due to some gliches with the registration website, I was under the impression that I was stuck in the 4:00 am group.  I registered for the race opening day and signed up for the latest Santa Monica shuttle, to have it just in case, but when I logged in last week to confirm, not only did it show me as having no shuttle reservation, the latest available was 4:00 a.m. But whatever, mercury retrograde and all that, so I made contingency plans and moved on. But, halle-freaking-lujah, man, I’m in the 5:30 group.

6:30 p.m. Saturday: My amazing spouse makes mashed potatoes from scratch and cooks a perfectly medium well filet with red wine butter sauce.

7:00 p.m. Saturday: My amazing spouse fixes my iTunes and gets my playlist onto the iPhone for me, because sometimes I’m useless. Him: Your playlist only has eight songs? Me: The first one is a four hour audiobook. Him: That sounds terrible. Me: It’s a comedy and I’ve already read it. Him: I will teach you how to use Spotify, because that still sounds terrible.

8:00 p.m. Saturday: Nap time!

11:30 p.m. Saturday: My amazing spouse brings me Subway.

12:20 a.m. Sunday: Nap time!

4:30 a.m. Sunday: ALARM CLOCK!!! Apply temporary tatoos and sunblock, dress, eat the rest of my Subway.

5:00 a.m. Sunday: Amazing still awake insomniac spouse: Isn’t your shuttle at 5:30? Me: yes. Him: Do you want me to drive you? It’s already 5:00. Me: I don’t know now I’m nervous!!! Him: I will drop you off, but that means I may fall asleep after and miss the finish. Me: Ok.

5:30 a.m. Sunday: Amazing spouse gets me to the Shuttle and I’m on my way to Dodger Stadium!!!

The Race

After arriving at Dodger Stadium, I happy to see that the general admission corral situation is not as hectic as I feared. I stand in the portopotty line for about 20 minutes, then go sit on the ground in my corral of choice for awhile, and then with about 45 minutes left get back in the portopotty line. I finish at the P.O.Ps at 7:24, and head back to the corral for the 7:28 start. Luckily, my chosen corral is convenient to the P.O.Ps and I merge back in with the masses just as the national anthem begins and we all start shifting forward.

The Elite Men start, and then “I love LA” plays on a loop as everyone else makes it across the start. I cry a little, because that damn song and marathon starts always make me f-ing tear up. And then we’re off!

During my last 20 miler, I met a lovely lady who had done the new course several times and told me she always walks up the first little hill out of dodger stadium because the course is so congested at the start anyway, and that hill is short but super steep. Having walked in and out of Dodger stadium several times, I decided to follow her advice. After that short steep uphill, there is a short steep downhill to Sunset anyway, so the pace averaged itself out.

Once out of the Stadium, the crowd opened up enough to be comfortable. In fact, I think the crowding was instrumental in preventing me from going out too fast.

Down Sunset, past my apartment from second year law school, around and through china town over to Hill St and the courthouses, up the street between my preferred court parking lot and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, at which point I remembered I had Court on Monday. Also, this is the second”big” hill. I decided that I run up and down this hill in dress shoes often enough that I had nothing to prove, and chose to walk briskly up to the Music Hall and conserve my resources for later in the race.

Over and out of downtown through some of Silverlake, the lake itself was under construction so not as pretty as it could have been. Back around and down to Sunset, through Los Feliz and into Hollywood (oh, I’m to Mary and Beau’s already? that was fast!) Past 3L/Bar Exam apartment and into WeHo (Oh, I’m to Hollywood and Fairfax already, that was fast!) and boom, half way done!

Beverly Hills took us on Little Santa Monica, Doheney, Rodeo and Burton, past the my hair person’s salon.  Then through westwood into the VA, at which point I’m starting to lag. But, on pace for the low end of my target range, so no biggie.

Then, I realized I was almost out of water. I had started with my .5 liter hydrapak, and also about eight honey stinger gummies. About every seven miles I’d eat one gummy, and after mile eight or so I had a sip of water every half mile. This schedule worked really well for my stomach, but also caused me to drink more than usual and there I was, after being self sufficient for most of the race, mentally evaluating the remaining course resources.

And then, magically, somwhere around the VA, I saw it. Not oranges or bananas or gatorade or any other sugary icky stuff.

BEER. Pure delicious carby-watery goodness.  Right there. About a mile back I had mentally evaluated my pace and overall state of wellbeing, and determined that barring an epic unexpected emergency I would be finishing well within my target range. So I slowed and allowed myself to transition into an extended walk break for three ounces of beer, shouting an, “Oh thank god, you are wonderful” to the person with the beer tray as I passed. After letting the beer settle, I sipped the last of my water to dilute it out a little in the tummy, and got back to business. About five miles to go.

Out of the VA and into Brentwood. My old training route for LA 2009 from when I worked for a Brentwood attorney right after passing the bar. Chugging along until the audiobook ended just before mile 24.

And then, right on cue: my other seven songs.  It is a scientific fact that I cannot sit still while “Time Warp” is playing, so despite myself and whatever my legs or arms or lungs may have been feeling in the seconds before, I was sprinting. For the last 2.2 miles, after 24 miles of this situation, I was fucking sprinting. I may also have been lipsyncing, possibly singing out loud, and certainly at times doing truncated versions of the arm portion of the choreography.

Past my friends at the Meals on Wheels Charity Team cheer station around 25.5, and the finish in sight. Slowed for a minute to get ready for the finish line, then the last quarter mile or so at the original target pace, crossing the line with 10 minutes to spare. Even my gun time was under my target finish time!


(Oh, and amazing spouse did in fact make it to the finish to meet me.)

On to lunch, a shower and a St. Patty’s party!

What I Learned

Training works. I am capable of making a race plan and sticking to it. I still love marathons.

I am super excited to take a few days off, and then start training again for San Diego on June 2.

I went to my normal massage therapist Monday night, and goodness I love her. You know what she said? “I can tell from the state of your muscles that you trained for this, and you must’ve had good form too.”

I think that sums it up. I was very responsible this time around, and I was able to have fun and get the results I wanted without injury or stress.

So…. next up San Diego!

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