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.

My First Race

Yesterday’s race brings back memories from my first ever half marathon, which just so happened to be the La Jolla half.  I probably did everything wrong, but ended up with my best La Jolla time.  How? It’s become even more of a mystery to me.

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1. Didn’t buy a bib when I started training.  I planned to do this with a couple of friends.  But they kept debating whether or not they wanted to do it.  I was committed, and had started a 10-week training plan (from Marathon Rookie).  By week 6, after I had finished my first ever 10 mile run, I decided to sign up.  But to my dismay, the race was sold out.  This was the most crushing thing ever.  Luckily, I was able to buy a bib from a friend’s friend.  I don’t know if transferring bibs was in effect (I didn’t do this), but I essentially ran my first half marathon as not myself.

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2. Wore inappropriate clothing.  Cotton race t-shirt, basketball shorts…yep.  I don’t even think I wore a watch.

3. Didn’t know the course.  Only the day before when my parents were down did we drive the course route (I was limited in mobility. Keep in mind I still didn’t have a car  down here at this point).  I knew there was a hill at mile 6, but I assumed it was the slight and continuous incline of Torrey Pines Road.  Only during the race when I saw everyone go into the Reserve did I realize, “Oh shit, we’re running into the mountain?!”

4. Experimenting with a vegetarian diet.  My most regretful moment was probably going out to eat afterwards at a burger joint, only to eat a veggie burger (which was sub-par).

At this point in my running “career,” I was just trying to get back into shape after a lapse in running, priorities, and judgement.  I went, what I, myself, deem “crazy,” for one quarter.  I started going out too much and drinking too much.  After this short period, I just felt disgusting.  I thought, what better way to get back into shape than to commit myself to run 13.1 miles.  So ensued the journey of running half marathons, and the re-focus on living a healthy lifestyle.

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!

On The Road, On-The-Go

Ok, so I went a little gung-ho crazy at Trader Joe’s yesterday, stocking up on some healthy/paleo snacks for my trip to New Orleans this upcoming weekend to week.  Of course I won’t be able to go and not have a beignet or two, but I just wanted to make sure  that I had some healthy alternatives to reach for either on the plane or during the conference.  And you know what they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!  Below are some whole ingredient products that don’t need refrigeration and should withstand some heat and movement.snacks_0

1. Apples and nut butter – I love a big, crisp and juicy apple.  Pairing this with a variety of different nut butters prevents this snack from getting dull.
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2. LARABAR – With minimal ingredients (primarily composed of a date and nut mixture), these have been my go-to energy bars since starting the Whole30.  This is a good alternative for something sweet with options like Apple Pie and Chocolate Coconut Chew!
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3. Nuts – Just good ol’ dry roasted, unsalted macadamia and hazelnuts.  These have quickly become a new addiction.

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4. Unsulfured and unsweetened dried fruit – Apple rings, pineapple rings, and dried cherries with no sulfur dioxide and no added sugar.  I love throwing these with some nuts for a homemade trail-mix of sorts.snacks_4

5. Roasted Plantain Chips – I haven’t had these before, but the only ingredients were plantains, sunflower oil, salt – they sound pretty safe.snack_5

How do you eat healthy on the road and on-the-go?

Turf Over Surf

Yesterday I did my last 10+ mile run before the La Jolla Half on April 28th.  Next weekend I’ll be in NOLA for a Main Street conference, so I’ll only be able to get in an 8-miler the morning we leave.  Then the next weekend I’ll probably start my taper.

photo(Checking out our route for Sunday.  We saw a woman rollerblading with a small dog strapped to her front in some type of fanny-pack apparatus. ??? I’ve seen dogs in strollers, but that was a new one.)

For my long runs, I usually run through several coastal cities, and that’s how I mentally gauge it.  “Ok, I made it through Del Mar…next, Solana Beach, etc.”  This was a new run for me, and I knew it was going to be mentally difficult.  I coerced my mom to ride 12 miles on her bike, while I ran.  We went 1 mile through town (Coronado) to make it to the Silver Strand.  Then the next 5 miles out were flat and straight.  There’s nothing really out there, no big change of scenery.  I knew I just had to make it 6 miles and everything would be easy coming back.  It helped I found a good playlist on 8tracks with new songs that I ended up liking.

I set the initial pace around 8:30 and slowly inched my way up as the miles increased.  The whole time I just tried to keep a pace below 9:30.  At 5.75 miles I pushed myself to pass a boy (whose running reminded my mom of my brother) and sprinted the last quarter mile before I hit 6.  My fastest point at that time was around a 6:30.

I finally felt like I had a good long run, and it was kind of nice to have my mom following my pace.  At the end, I told her to go ahead because I wanted to push myself to catch up.   I sprinted mile 11-12 for a final mile pace of 7:30.  My overall run was a 8:46/mile, much better than my 10 mile runs have been going.

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Post-run and after leaving my mom’s, I made the trek to Costco with my boyfriend, again, on a Sunday afternoon.  Not the best idea when you’ve got large families foraging over free samples.  At least this daunting task resulted in a juicy and flavorful surf and turf dinner a la ribeye and scallops that I DIDN’T HAVE TO COOK!  Woot, woot.  Looks like the turf beats the surf.

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Anybody know any good running routes in New Orleans?
Where’s your favorite place to do a long run?

I’m Not Your Hero: Day Twenty-One

Favorite running song right now:

The other day at Sprouts I picked up some Minneola tangerines, with the assumption that this was just another name for the Sumo tangerine.  With the same little nob at the top, I didn’t think there could really be more than one varietal.  After eating one, I started to think twice.  The Minneola had a thinner peel, and was a little bit harder to peel.  So I did some googling…  Minneolas are a cross between a tangerine and a pomelo (type of grapefruit).  These have a topknot (where their name “honeybell” comes from) reminiscent of the Sumo tangerines I picked up from Whole Foods not too long ago.  So what’s the difference?  Sumo Tangerines are a mix between tangerines and California navel oranges.  And their name comes from their topknot which resembles a sumo wrestlers.

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Post-work I ran back and forth along the coast and coaster tracks until I hit 4 miles – 31:43, about a 7:55/mile.  Mile 1: 7:53, Mile 2: 7:44, Mile 3: 7:59, Mile 4: 8:01.  Listening to my favorite song (above) and second favorite, Mirrors by JT.  After running, I didn’t have much else to do, so I decided to go to HPF 75 min.

Thennnn, I went to the usual Whole Foods where I finally found coconut butter in a jar!  16 ounces of pure creamy, sweetness.  This is my absolute favorite!  I love it on japanese yams, with a little salt and pepper to contrast the sweetness.  It’s also good with regular yams, and now I even like to use it on my omelette as my fat instead of avocado.  When I read that people liked to eat it out of the jar, I didn’t understand.  I wouldn’t go as far as to eat it out of the jar, but I definitely love it.

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.