Mayday Mayday

I haven’t had much to write about the past couple of days.  Monday and Tuesday I took a break and rested.  I looked and felt so beat.  Yesterday I went for a light 2 mile run without my watch because I was still sore and didn’t even want to know what pace I was running.

Now it’s already May! And with the Coronado Bridge Run in 2 weeks from Sunday and the SD Rock ‘n Roll in about 4, I decided to set some new goals:

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Nutrition: Read Paleo for Athletes (just started this), eat paleo and try out some new recipes.  My recovery time from this past half marathon has been really poor, either because 1. the course was hard, 2. I fell off my paleo grind, or 3. the course was really hard.  Either way, Paleo for Athletes is shedding light on how paleo works to maximize athletic performance and increase recovery rates.
Workouts: Incorporate more early morning workouts into my schedule.  I’d like to get into the habit of going to sleep early, waking up early, doing yoga or body pump before work then running after work.
Running: Have more structured running workouts.  I feel like lately when I run I have a semi-determined length, but no determined pace.  I mainly just run according to how I’m feeling.  I would like to feel like I’m running more effectively.

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So I pulled out the book Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss.  This book has good running plans if you’re looking to run only 3 times a week.  Workout 1 is a track/speed workout, workout 2 is a tempo run, and workout 3 is a long run.  I attempted to use this program last year, for all of about 3-4 weeks. I kind of burned myself out because I attempted to do the speed workouts faster than prescribed.  This is exactly what you’re not supposed to do.  The plans start 12-18 weeks out (depending on the length your race).  I figured I can start next week at 15 weeks out and prepare for the America’s Finest City half marathon (I should probably sign up for this first).  I think this program could be beneficial, I just need to give it a full chance.  I feel like this time I’ll have a more practical approach, do exactly what it says and just test it out.  There’s no harm in that when my half marathons have consistently been between 1:44 and 1:47.  I’d just like to see a positive (or in terms of time, negative) difference.

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La Jolla Half Marathon

Today I finished my third time at the La Jolla half, and my 7th half marathon.  With a recap of my goals, I ran a 1:47:26, my worst time so far, but 9 seconds.  But really, who am I to care that much.  As far as I’m concerned, I pushed myself as hard as I could today.  And I’m just as proud.

I arrived at the Del Mar Fairgrounds around 6am and had no trouble parking.  Then, I met up with Morgan and we shot the shit (literally) and talked about it.  It was nice to wait around with someone, as to not think about the race and to kill some nerves.   At 7:30am, we were off.

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The first 2 miles just seemed to be getting out and around the racetrack (splits: 7:51, 7:48).  Mile 3-4 were all familiar, traversing through Del Mar.  However, I thought I remembered the course previously running up 15th Street and through the Village (would’ve seen my office then!).  Instead, it ran through residential and up on 4th Street.  A miniature prelude to the hill (splits: 7:58, 8:35).  Then a slight downhill grade on the bridge that pedestrians have been prohibited on for quite some time (construction work, only cars allowed. split: 7:33).  Then, the hill.  Let me take that back.  The mountain.  This is literally a mountain.  People go hiking here!  I pushed myself to run the whole thing, with a walk at the top at the water station (split: 9:47).  I only took water about 3 times today, and just decided to walk through them.  It refreshed my legs, and also made sure I didn’t choke on the water. I still haven’t mastered running and drinking.  Once the hill flattened out, I was pretty fatigued and couldn’t push anything faster than a 9:11 mile.

Back on Torrey Pines, miles 8-10, my mindset switched back and forth from “this is tough” to “I feel like I’m in a dream!”  This race seemed to be relatively quick, as in, the miles just seemed to pass by, and I didn’t have to dwell on how many more were left.  I think this has to do with the fact that I’ve run many parts of the course throughout the past couple of years, just in my every day life (splits: 7:59, 7:48, 8:20).

Once mile 11 hit, I knew I would have the option to pick it up and make up some time.  I think I pretty much killed my legs, trying to control my stride while simultaneously just trying to let my body go (split: 6:43).

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By mile 12, at Spindrift/Princess St. I was tired (split: 8:10).  I pushed myself to get up this last hill.  Once back on Torrey Pines, I knew I just had to make it to Prospect, and then the finish would be all downhill.  I kicked it into action and gave it all I had for the last quarter mile (final split: 8:40).

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Post-race I gimped around while we spent 30-45 minutes trying to locate the car.  Then I enjoyed a delicious meal at Solace where I didn’t just go yesterday  I went after my last race.  I do love me some cheddar biscuits, and a good-ass burger!

After everything I recovered with a soak in the hot tub, some peaceful laps in the pool, and a refreshing Big Gulp.  Fountain soda diet Dr. Pepper will be my demise!

Race Day Essentials

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Tomorrow’s the big day, the La Jolla Half Marathon.  So here’s what’s packed in my new Urban Oasis Lululemon bag:
– Nuun, Watermelon flavor
-Key Lime Larabar
-Banana and Pecan Nut Butter
-Garmin 610 Forerunner
-Nike Running Capri
-Nike Daybreaker Running Hat
-Lululemon Run: Silver Lining Tank
-Lululemon Ultimate Padded Run Sock
-Nike TR Fit 2 Shoes
-LJ Half Bib
-Ipod Shuffle

Here’s what’s on my playlist:
I’m Not Your Hero – Tegan and Sara
Just Give Me A Reason – P!NK Feat. Nate Ruess
Pour It Up – Rihanna
Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
Get Lucky – Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell
The Way – Ariana Grande Feat. Mac Miller
Heart Attack – Demi Lovato
Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Feat. Ray Dalton
Drinking From The Bottle – Calvin Harris Feat. Tinie Tempah
I Need Your Love – Calvin Harris Feat. Ellie Goulding
As Your Friend – Afrojack Feat. Chris Brown
Get Up (Rattle) – Bing Players Feat. Far East Movement
#thatpower – Will.I.Am Feat. Justin Bieber
Calling (Losing My Mind) _ Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso
Bounce – Calvin Harris Feat. Kelis
Poppin’ Off – Watch The Duck
Love Me – Lil Wayne Feat. Drake & Future
Fuckin’ Problem – A$AP Rocky Feat. Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar
What About Us – The Saturdays Feat. Sean Paul
Play Hard – David Guetta Feat. Ne-Yo and Akon
White Noise – Disclosure Feat. AlunaGeorge
Next To Me – Emeli Sande Feat. Kendrick Lamar

With my computer dying, I tried to do my best to pair each song to what mile I might be on – assuming an 8 minute per mile pace.  I started with the slower songs first and worked my way up, to ensure that I don’t start off too fast.  I also made sure I had a good song around mile 6 for the hill, and enjoyable music for the finish.

AND!  To announce the winner of the Body Love Apparel Giveaway. #13 – Asha from Letters To Chace by Following Daily Cup Of Asheejojo.  Please email me at dailycup.asheejojo at gmail.com!

How Smurfs Recover

photoYesterday I got stuck at the Apple store, and ended up being too late to join in the #BostonStrong run at Movin’ Shoes Encinitas.  Instead, I ran 4 miles by myself, suffering from slight shin splints.  So last night and today, I resorted to recovering via PRO Compression Socks!  To bed. To work.  But I swear I pulled down my pants, and I swear I’m not just a Smurf!

I just finished reading Why You Should Taper Before A Marathon and came across a few good tips for building confidence the week before a race.    These include setting goals – amazing, ideal, and livable – that will make you feel accomplished, no matter what, when you cross that finish line.  I usually don’t set specific goals ahead of time.  I usually, like most people, just want to PR.  But when the race begins and I realize I might not do as unrealistically well as I want, I start the battle in my brain.  So instead, I think I’ll try jotting some realistic goals out now to free my mind.

Set multiple time goals, separated by 5 to 15 minutes so you don’t feel like you leave empty-handed:

  1. Fantastic – new PR, below a 1:44
  2. Really good – new course PR, below a 1:46
  3. I can live with that – 1:48 to 1:52 (preferably not the latter, but who knows).

Set general goals (i.e. not walking, finishing strong, or simply enjoying yourself):

  1. Staying confident throughout the race
  2. Not completely dying after the hill
  3. Finishing strong with a sprint

Visualize the race and what you want to accomplish in each part:

  1. Start – start off comfortable and strong.
  2. Halfway point – pick up speed slightly, or maintain pace.
  3. Mile 12-12.75 – pick it up as much as I can.
  4. Mile 12.75-13.1 – give it all I’ve got.  The last incline of the course with a downhill finish.

How do you set your race goals?

Don’t forget to enter the Body Love Apparel Giveaway!

It’s Taper Time

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This week begins my taper for the La Jolla half marathon.  I don’t really know what to expect for this race.  This will be my third time running the course, and my goal is just to beat my best course time (1:46:36).  This is a difficult course, with a 440 ft increase in elevation at mile 6.  But this has been my first time really focusing on hills, and running the Torrey Pines State Reserve several times prior.

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“The Hill” (source)

The importance of tapering is to let your body and muscles rest and recover, and to let them receive all of the benefits built up over training.

For my last race, the Carlsbad half, my taper week looked like this:
Sun – 4 mi
Mon – 6 mi
Tues – 3 mi
Wed – Stretching, foam rolling, balancing
Thurs – 2 mi, hot yoga
Fri & Sat – Rest
Sun – Race day
I ended up running a PR after a 1 year hiatus from running any races.

My main goals this week are:
1. Make sure I am well rested = early bedtime/8 hours of sleep each night leading up.
2. Take it easy = easy mileage/not the time to ramp up training.
3. Recover = stretch, foam roll, wear compression socks.
4. Eat well = don’t eat anything new/don’t eat too much or too little.

I’m still trying to figure out what to eat on race day.  I have been inconsistent in what I eat before my long training runs, mainly just fruit and nuts, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to sustain myself on that for a race.  And more importantly, I’m still trying to figure out where I want to eat my post-race meal, because I love the gratification that comes with that!

What this week looks like:
Sun – 6 mi
Mon – 4 mi Movin’ Shoes run for Boston
Tues – Stretching, foam rolling
Wed – 3 mi run, PM hot yoga
Thurs – AM hot yoga
Fri – Walk/rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Race day

How do you taper?

Training: Day Eighteen

I feel like lately I’ve been running only when I either feel like it, or can fit it in, trying to hit a quota of at least 20 miles/week.  However, I don’t feel like I’m really benefitting or having any meaningful workouts.  After reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running I felt like I should be building up my training months a head of time, to taper off the month before.  But then again, I have to remind myself, I’m not, even in the slightest, a pro-athlete.  My goals, as of today, are to:

1. Still run at least 20 miles per week.
2. Get inserts for my Nike TR Free Fit shoes.  My lunarglides feel to clunky and heavy now, but I feel like I’m doing myself a disservice by pounding out miles with no cushioning.
3. Set a schedule; run at least 1 long run, 1 hill run, and 1 tempo run a week.
4. Allow for recovery before and after long runs.
5. Remember– running is supposed to be fun!

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Today I ran 3 miles of the half-marathon course I’ll run in about a month.  I measured and tackled the most difficult part of the race– 0.6 miles of straight mountain-climbing.  After 3 miles, I turned around and finished with a 6 mile run at an 8:35/mile pace.  Towards mile 3 my calves started to get heavy (something that usually only plagues me during races–when it’s too late).  I think part of the problem is I am mixing too many different techniques–none of which I’ve mastered.

On another note: I accidentally ingested evaporated cane sugar!! x_x dun dun dun.  After reading 3 seemingly Whole30 approved pasta sauces, I pick up the fourth that just so happened to be not.  I’ll excuse my mistake because I have been extra cautious in reading labels, it was organic, and evaporated cane juice is supposedly a “natural” sugar.

New Shoes

Born to Run brought to light the idea of “jogging” and the shoes created to accompany this culture.  Cushioned shoes, pronation, orthotics were all developed in the 70s with the first Nike shoes (the soles of which were first created from a waffle maker!).  One analogy that resonated with me was that even if you put an egg in an oven mitt and hit it with a hammer, the egg will still crack.  When running, your foot is ultimately trying to find stability, but with extra cushioning it has to work harder.  Even with all of that cushioning, it is still suffering impact.

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After reviewing my race pics, I realized, I am definitely a heel striker (and I make the cutest faces).  And the thick, chunky heel of my lunarglide+4 (reviewed by runningwarehouse.com as a shoe for heel strikers) just reinforced this.  Born to Run made me think; How we run naturally without shoes; how you used to run as a kid, barefoot, through the grass, light and free; how the Tarahumara can run in huaraches with soles made of tire scraps.  How Barefoot Ted started running barefoot in an attempt to alleviate pain.

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Regardless of how I ran my past race, I already knew I would treat myself to a new pair of shoes.  I eagerly ordered a pair of lunareclipse+2, craving the new bright lavender color (a shoe I previously had in black).  However, when I received them, I had already started questioning their cushioning.  So I ended up returning them.

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Instead, I opted for a pair of Nike Free TR Fit 2 for a couple of reasons.  1. I could wear these for training and BODYPUMP (flat-soled shoes are good for weight-lifting, providing even distribution of weight) and 2. I could slowly transition into minimalist shoes since even when I ran with Nike Free’s I always added inserts.

These fit like gloves and I literally wanted to sleep in them the first night I got them (they were brand-spanking new and clean!).  However, when I first tried running in them, I had to run significantly slower.  And I was even being propelled by the treadmill!  Gradually I have started to work on my form.  Taking smaller strides, focusing on a light strike.  I almost envision my legs propelling in place like the Road Runner!  Someday I just want to run mentally detached from my legs.  I want to run miles (maybe just 26.2 someday) and not feel any pain!  This just means…TIME TO READ ANOTHER ULTRA-MARATHONER BOOK!