Tag Archives: running club

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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Portland, Long Beach, and ….. what?!?!

Registered for my first maniac double. yep, yep.

But we’ll get to that, let’s get caught up first. Lots to update and “memorialize in writing” before things get even busier!

Portland Marathon!!!!

Was a blast. Remember, how I set no goals at all and was just going to “enjoy the experience”? Yeah, that went really well. No sarcasm.

Highlights: cruised through the first half spot on my “easy” half marathon pace.  Parts of this course are really f-ing tedious on the mind, at least for me, and about mile 14 I was like, you know, I’m good. No time goals right? Let’s take a walk break and call some people.

yes. I’ll repeat that. Let’s take a walk break and call some people.

This was followed by a little conversation with myself wherein the royal “we” assessed whether we would really be ok with it if this walk break turned into an “i don’t want to run anymore at all” situation. How would I feel if this walk break (and i’m not talking 30 seconds or three minutes, i’m talking like, a full mile) turned in to an incredibly lack luster finish time? could I live with that?

YES. I’m here for fun, dammit.

So, I decided to try to call BFF in Texas…. but the freaking app I’m using (iSmoothRun, love it, it exports to EVERYTHING and let’s you program insanely specific and complicated workouts) would not allow me to make a phone call without pausing the run. Touche, iSmoothRun. You win.

Portland, btw, was my first marathon as an official maniac. So I was wearing my pink Maniacs singlet, and met a TON of maniacs. Since I could not make phone calls, my revised race plan became, if you see a maniac, shadow them until you can’t anymore.

I maintained this race plan for the rest of the race, to great success. I wound up having nice little chats with three Maniacs, and it was a total blast. At mile 26.0, a far-higher-ranking Maniac came up behind me and said, “come on maniac, you got this, let’s sprint!” and we did, and that instance alone took about 3 minutes off my finish time.

Final result: Second fastest marathon ever (missed a PR by 7 minutes and 3 seconds) and I (felt like I) wasn’t even really trying. Also, beat last year’s Portland time by 51 minutes and 16 seconds. Very satisfactory results for my “embrace the experience” approach. Actually, pretty satisfactory results generally.

That’s not to say Portland was easy, it was not. Mentally taxing, and apparently a little more physically taxing than I realized, since I was actually sore and stiff the next day. I’ve gotten my recovery rituals pretty refined, so I haven’t had this degree of soreness or stiffness after a long run in a while. I guess, much like I was apparently “moving forward” faster than I thought I was, I was also working a little harder than I thought I was!!!

Which brings us to…..


The 2007 Long Beach Half Marathon was my very first running endeavor ever. Before this, I had run, at most, three miles at a time, pretty slowly, and only a few times. I had signed up for my first LA Marathon, and all the books said try a half to practice race day logistics. So I did, and like many, I’ve been hooked since.

2013 Long Beach Half was 3 of 3 in Beach Cities Challenge. I was not excited to do this the week after Portland, but that’s just how things played out. I accepted that this could be a very long walk, and set the Garmin for an easy recovery session of run 4 minutes, walk 30 seconds, with no assigned paces. I had the loose goal in my head of beating my 2007 time by 30 minutes, because that is a nice round number. In the end, I beat the old time by 29 minutes and 11 seconds.

Effectively, I ran on autopilot in both Portland and Long Beach, to some very enjoyable and satisfactory results. I feel like I’ve found that magic balance between aiming for specific paces and splits, while still enjoying myself. I’m really interested to see how things go in Seattle, which is about six weeks out at this point. I genuinely took the week after Long Beach off, some light indoor stuff, 3 easy miles at the track Wednesday, and no run, long or otherwise, over this past weekend. Easing back into it this week with some indoor and outdoor workouts, as well as a 14 mile LA Marathon training run on Saturday with LA Leggers.

Which brings me to what I DID do this weekend……

or, in the two weeks since Portland. You Ready?

I registered for my first Maniac Double!!!

2 marathons in 48 hours. I wanted to find an ultra that coincided with my birthday in February, but the logistics just weren’t working out. Then, I discovered two sets of (relatively) local double marathon weekends, one actually on my birthday, and one two weeks earlier.

After some recon, I settled on the earlier one.  San Diego Trail Marathon on January 18, and Carlsbad Marathon on January 19.  The logistics were just too perfect to pass up. Some points of note: the start/finish area of the two races are 26.5 miles apart (marathon magic number!); and the races are exactly seven weeks after Seattle and seven weeks before LA. Carlsbad is only a 90 minute drive from home, and there are about three really excellent hotel options within .5 miles of the expo/start/finish area. I could go on, but this post is already super long.  No, wait, one more: the Monday after is a Court holiday, so no one can give me Ex Parte Notice for a hearing on the day after Carlsbad!

The trail race is ridiculously flat. WAAAAAAAAAAAY flat, with one mega-hill at the start and finish of an out and back course. Not a lot of shade though. Carlsbad has gentle rolling hills throughout, and one mega hill from about mile 5 to mile 8, but is mostly scenic oceanfront views.  The moral of this story: totally doable.

Whew! So it’s been a busy two weeks! Next!

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officially commited, a certified member of the asylum(s)!

wOOt wOOt!!! iT’S oFFiCiaL

So in all the hustle and nerves of work and training and calves and recovery and destination races and what not, I totally missed the fact that my 2013 race schedule thus far has qualified me for both Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics!

SO, emails sent and statistics confirmed, I am now officially………



hee hee hee.

see you out there!

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Calf Updates!

I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the awesomeness of my Massage Therapist, because, I mean, I try not to curse too much on here, but f— ok — DAMN, WOMAN.

In the midst of last week’s SD postmortems, my massage place called and said Massage Therapist wanted to let me know that if I wanted my usual 90 instead of the 60 on Friday (which the front desk had told me was her only availability between SD and SF) she could rearrange her lunch break. Because she is awesome, of course.

So Friday night, the least relaxing but possibly most productive massage session I have had in recent memory. We got deep into the calf muscles — all of them — and after a follow up epsom soak and Saturday off completely, I went ahead with the Valley Crest Trail Half.

For Valley Crest, I taped the left calf, wore the green compression sleeves, and ran in the new orange trail shoes.  I am pleased to report that I had no calf issues of significance, only the normal I just did 13 miles with 1700 ft elevation gain kind.  To be fair, I was fun-running it, just going by feel and not pushing anything, but under the circumstances, I think it was appropriate to be conservative.

Afterwards, I felt like I could have gone longer or run again in the afternoon, also a good sign.  So Monday I took the new treadmill shoes over to the gym.  Normally I would do 7-8 miles on Monday, but again, to be conservative, I split the run and did 4 miles Monday night and 3 miles Tuesday morning.  Again, no calf issues.  Normal muscle fatigue, but no issues of significance.

Given the indisputable effects of Friday’s session, I called my massage place to see if, by chance, Massage Therapist had any cancellations for her Tuesday or Wednesday. She did not, but a woman she has recommended to me as a back up had an hour opening.  So 60 minutes with, we’ll call her B,  45 of which were deep muscle sports massage on the calves and hamstrings.  Again, DAMN WOMAN.  And I don’t use that phrase lightly when it comes to massage. I am a deep tissue girl with a wide variety of massage treated issues. When I say damn, I mean damn in the are you drilling my tooth without a numbing agent kind of way.

Shit has been cleared out. The legs have been equalized and neutralized. I am now taping both calves on days with lots of walking, as a precaution. Fourish road miles early Thursday morning, and then nothing (ok, maybe some yoga) until Sunday.

And then, if things go as I hope, I know two ladies who will be receiving some kind of awesome gift cards, because, really, without them, my calves would not be what they are today.

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And so much has already happened this week… Boston, of course. Chino Hills Trail Half. All kinds of lawmaking going on, side/pet projects picking up momentum, and I have a new running partner. All in the span of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday! My goodness!

Today, I’ll break my Boston silence (I haven’t talked about Boston anywhere, not online or in person, really), and save the rest for another day.

My initial reaction… it’s hard for me to admit or put this in writing, but it’s true, I was not shocked. I found out via a breaking news update push notification from the Huffington Post app about 15 minutes after the explosions, and my initial reaction was, “Of course some asshole bombed the Boston Marathon.” I mean really, with the events of the last 15-20 years in this country, was anybody really so surprised? I know that may come off cold or jaded, but stay with me.

My second response was the realization that I actually knew many people who were at activities related to the event, some immediate friends and, if you go out to the second degree of Kevin Bacon, about 35 people to specifically wonder and worry about.  But through social media, I found out about the majority of them pretty quickly and went on to reading online media coverage.

My third thought, and these first three were all pretty rapid fire, but this one stuck in my mind over the course of the afternoon, and remains even now, was can you imagine?

It’s the Boston Marathon, a goal some people work for years to achieve. Can you imagine, all the BQ attempts, all the training, the excitement, and the race, and approaching the finish, and then BOOM!!! A bomb, and the next thing you know, you’re at the ER getting a foot amputated.  You are a runner, a marathoner, at the finish of a pinnacle achievement and a doctor is cutting off your foot.

Cutting off your foot because some asshole wanted to rain on the parade. Quite literally — shrapnel, ball bearings, and nails rained down on the parade of runners and spectators.

Now, I don’t know that this specific story happened to anyone, I think the image manifested itself from reading in the initial reports of doctors performing amputations on runners still wearing their race bibs. But this is the train of thought that kept cycling through my mind the rest of the day. When I imagine that happening, to anyone, even my worst enemy… there are no words.

My final thought, as the live updates slowed and the reactions started showing up in social media, was this:

If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target.

And I’m glad to see that this seems to be the general consensus of the running community. In fact, when I logged on to my running club’s forum yesterday afternoon, someone else had already posted that exact thought.

Marathoners don’t quit. We may slow down, but we don’t quit. In the face of bad weather, injury, illness, fatigue, even bombings, once we cross the start, we just keep going until we get to the finish.

This person(s), whoever they are, is just that. An asshole, a bully. And since when do marathoners let assholes, bullies, or even the well-intentioned-but-doubtful-friend-who-cares (“are you sure running that far is healthy…”), get in the way of their goals?

They don’t.

So you know what I did Monday night after work?

I went to the running store to shop for trail running shoes, because I have at least 4 more marathons to train for and 8 more halfs to run this year.

And maybe, by the end of it, I’ll have a BQ 😉

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Run Like the Wind Half Marathon Recap

Last week was the big 2-0, the last really long run before LA; this week, the assigned long run was 13 miles at marathon pace, and my social calendar was pretty full. I had BFFLYLAS show up last minute from DFW for an LA weekend escape, and yoga buddy bro who I haven’t seen since November demanded we stop flaking on each other for brunch and actually get together, as well as multiple friends birthdays at various dinner/drink establishments over the last seven days.  And I’ll admit, none of this is particularly conducive to adhering to my Pre Marathon Lock Down philosophies.

So how do I make sure I fit in the 13 miles, and that they are 13 quality miles with all the taper time long run marathon plan test drive components?

Google! I found a very small, semi-casual race taking place incorporating parts of the route I was actually planning to run anyway: Run Like the Wind Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10 miler hosted by Rocket Racing Productions. Only a $33 dollar registration fee to boot.

But still, it started at 6:30 am, which means waking up at 5:30 a.m., which is a pretty big commitment. And running this long run as a race made me a little nervous. What if I didn’t have the anti-ego will power to start slow and maintain an even marathon pace or pushed myself to hard trying for a better Half Marathon Race PR and hurt myself before LA? What if I showed up and hit the wall half way through and was debilitatingly disappointed with my performance going into LA Marathon?

A few weeks ago I wanted to compare the course and swag for the La Jolla Half, SD Safari Park Half, and the OC Half. In my google results, I came across the blog Run Like  A Coyote. Through that blog, I discovered a national, online running club called Run It Fast. After a little more time exploring the blog and the Run It Fast website, I joined. They have the best camaraderie vibe I’ve found in a runners group so far – and I’ve been trying to find a running club for a while – very nice, supportive, and fun people. So when I couldn’t decide what to do, I asked the group via the face book page.

Of course they said do it! But those who responded also gave great input supporting my initial instincts as to why I should do it, so I did!

And guess what? Not only do I have a new Half Marathon Race PR (by about 5 min), but I also satisfactorily executed my LA Marathon Race Plan test drive!

For the reasons listed here I don’t normally post my paces or list my actual PRs on social media or the blog.  But if you go back to the very beginning of this blog, you can find the LA Marathon Target Finish Time my training plan has me training for. A very fast time, a time that seemed pretty ridiculously unrealistic when I started in November, almost a full hour faster than my personal target finish time, so yeah. In my world, a very fast time.

Today, I comfortably completed the Half Marathon at exactly the target MP for the training plan. The difference between my slowest mile and my fastest mile was about 45 seconds, with a nearly even first half/second half split, and Mile 13, the final mile, was my fastest mile. I finished within seconds of one half of the target LA marathon finish time, and felt like I could keep going. Not like, oh that was a great half marathon, but now I need to vomit and have someone carry me to the car, no. Like, oh, gee, that was nice, but we’re done now? Really?


Do you know what this means? This means that even in the worst case scenario — if I get sick, or injured, or hit the wall early, or otherwise have to revamp the race plan mid-marathon — even if I have to walk up to one half of the marathon, I can still finish within my target LA Marathon finish time. I could slow my pace by 2-3 minutes and still finish within my target finish time.

So I will repeat, with gusto, WTF.

The Race

The race itself was simple and fun. Looked like about 75 people, doing various combinations of three loops marked out on the bike path and sidewalks with chalk. The start was in Santa Monica, incidentally about two blocks from my home yoga studio. For the Half Marathon, the first loop went down the beach along the Venice Boardwalk to where the sidewalk for the boardwalk dead ends just past Washington, and back to start. The second loop went from the start up a combination of the bike path and ocean front walk to Will Rogers, with the turn around just past Temescal Canyon. Started on time, with one of the organizers giving an overview of the course and a few instructions before a countdown. They used a Garmin to time everyone and wrote down an “official” time as you came up to the aide station/registration table at the end. All of the participants were really considerate of and friendly to each other. Overall, a really enjoyable experience. I think I will do other races hosted by this company.

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