Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

I was very excited to start this week of training because it would be my first 50 mile week in a few weeks (it's been a while since I have felt good enough to run that much).  Last week I finally felt strong enough to train hard and was looking forward to the two quality workouts I had this week.

The first two workouts were done on the treadmill, mostly because Miami has been having a heat wave for the last few months and the last few weeks have suffered from heat indexes in the 100s all day long, so I knew running outside every day was dangerous.  Unfortunately, the treadmill gait made my knee swell a bit so I moved my rest day to Wednesday to rest for my first quality workout of the week, the Thursday MLR (Medium Long Run for the non-runners).  This was to be 10 miles with the middle 6 progressive (each mile faster than the last).  I ran before I start working (I work from home on Thursdays) and even then, the heat index was above 90F.  But fortunately, the sun was covered in some tiny clouds so it did not feel that bad.  I was surprised to hit great paces during the run, some that included Marathon Pace (MP) minus 20 seconds.

The rest of the week went by without much issue with the knee.  I could still feel it a bit swollen, and I felt the IT Band was a bit sore, but between the two Pilates sessions this week and the easy runs, the knee was great on Sunday, where I was to do 16 miles with the last 6 @ MP.  90% of the run successful, but I only did 5 @ MP for the following.  By Mile 10, the heat index was already at 93F, so I went to the TM to start my MP miles.  Unfortunately, the TM started making some weird sounds that caught the attention of my husband so he sent me outside to run until he fixed it.  I went out in that hellish, sunny, shadeless, humid, weather and hammered 5 miles at MP (by heart rate) and I hit great paces.  But, by the time I got back home for more water (man, it was hot), my husband said the TM was fixed and I hopped on it for the last mile.  Except my legs did not want to move fast anymore. So, I just cooled down and let it go.

Overall, last week was great.  This week I have a cutback week which includes running the Disneyland Half Marathon with my husband for fun.  It's a good way to recover from the tough week my coach gave me and to prepare for the one that is coming next.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

This week I felt more like my old self.  I am still behind on the paces but getting there.  All my runs felt great, even through the horrible heat and humidity that has been here for what seems like forever.  The weather is still hideous and it makes me think Summer is never going to end but some days show me that the 90s (rather than the 100s) are just a day or two away. Or so I hope!

The heat and humidity on Monday left me a bit disappointed and I was expecting treadmill runs every day (Monday being one of them), but fortunately it rained most afternoons which lowered the heat indexes from 100-107F every day to something in the 90s (and way more manageable).  So, I was able to run every run outside except for Monday's.

This week was also my second straight week doing at least 4 days of cross training.  The two private Pilates sessions I am taking a week are a given, but the other two days I wanted to add were done and with great success.  I used to leave cross training on the wayside when the miles keep increasing, so I hope I am successful this time around in keeping all four days for as long as I can.  The only bad news is that I have had no time to ride my bike in the last two weeks (due to the rain).  But the rains will be gone soon and I cannot wait to ride my bike at least once a week, if not more.

I got new shoes this week!  I have not tried them but I am looking forward to running in the new Hoka Huakas and the new Saucony Ride 7s.  This will be a great week to take them out for a spin.  Will write a review some time this week.

The total miles for this week was 46mpw and not only were they strong miles, but also faster than last week.  Little by little I am getting back to where I want to be post surgery.

Which reminds me this week was my sixth month post surgery.  It is very nice not to be running in pain all the time.  Score!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 1

Sorry I have not posted in a while.  Things kind of spiral out of control since my last post.  Where should I begin?

After my last half marathon with hubby (Michelob Ultra 13.1 Chicago), I went back to marathon training in earnest for the San Francisco Marathon.  Initially, training went well and I was able to keep my mileage at 55mpw.  But since Summer has been here in full earnest for months, the temperatures were brutal and the humidity as well, so I had to make do with the LRs being partly on the TM.  But I still hit a 20 miler and a 19 miler.  Then, close to three weeks prior to the race, work went crazy.  I had to lower down my miles substantially and I thought, good, tapering at last, ha.  Up to the week of the race, I felt fine (tired, but fine), then, I got sick the Monday of the race.  Exhaustion, headache, joint paint, maybe a fever.  But I was so busy at work, I could only take Monday afternoon off.  So, I was unable to rest as much as I needed.  I felt fine by Wednesday (or so I thought), but woke up on Thursday feeling again like a truck had run over me, twice!  But, on we went to San Francisco only to DNF at Mile 18 with fever, joint pain and a headache.  I slept the whole weekend at the hotel.  It took me another week of feeling better.

After the marathon, I realized that, with work being as stressful and full of hours, make me experience something similar to overtraining, but the stressor being real life stressors.  One author calls this "overliving" (Loren Cordain & Joel Friel, The Paleo Diet for Athletes).  I was stressed to the max which made me vulnerable to what I ended up getting, some sort of flu.  We all deal with this at certain points in our running lives, but sometimes there is nothing more you can do but affect and reduce training because it's the only voluntary stressor you can give.

So, on I go to start training for Chicago two weeks after the San Francisco debacle.  I was fine with DNFing San Francisco, as I know it was the right thing to do, but I have not been this ill for years.  And I don't want to have that happen ever again, LOL.

Coach Walter gave me another great program to train for Chicago.  With 11 weeks and me not feeling my best, we could not push as hard as we did for Chicago last year.  I also asked for less miles than I would normally do to concentrate on Pilates (which I have been doing for months and love it) and some more cross training, which I have neglected for years.  So, the plan is not super high in miles and not as aggressive as my prior one but it is definitely the one I need and can handle right now.  Walter knows me too well.  :-)

Week 1 consisted of all easy runs.  This time, I make sure to adjust for weather and to take it easy, as I felt I was still healing from that flu I had.  The temps this week were brutal and the paces were slower due to it.  But I felt myself enjoying running again; something that was lacking from my life the last three weeks.  And I completed the week without issue.  I actually ran a bit more to accommodate running with hubby on two short days.

The total mileage for this week was 35mpw; finished 36 miles, with three runs partially or fully on the treadmill due to our heat indexes being above 100F even at early times during the day.  Very happy to be back on track.

As to what time to attempt at Chicago, I don't think I have a fucking idea.  I'll see how I feel later and closer to the race.  Not sure if I can even PR this year; I feel slow this year, slower than ever, ever since the surgery.  Work has been very demanding, which necessitated me to reduce my miles for this training session.  That does not mean I won't give my all during training, as I always do.  And Chicago is still ten weeks away, so who knows.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Michelob Ultra 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon RR



Why: Hubby is doing one half marathon a month to get higher on the Half Fanatics level and I don't have a marathon until July, so why not?

How:  We had tons of fun and even though hubby was dealing with a groin issue after Mile 10, he finished his third fastest half marathon (out of six) and did pretty well.

We had tons of fun.  I FEd with as many people as I could (sorry, Runny_Babbit, Jerry, you are going to be on my next trip to Chicago, fo shizzle - if that's how it's said).

So, here is the RR, in pics:

I arrived in Chicago at 11:30am while hubby was coming twelve hours later due to work.  LRB, who was in town for business, picked me up at the airport and after many years of friendship, we met in person.  Here is him on our way to meet Mary for lunch (marymay611):


We met Mary at my hotel, checked in and went to the Navy Pier for lunch:


Fooled around town for a bit:



And later said our goodbyes.   I met my coach and RobinCD for coffee (forgot to take a picture), went back to the hotel, had dinner, and napped because hubby's flight was delayed .  We only had 4 hours of sleep before the race.

We took the 5:30am shuttle to the start, met my coach (NACN from the RWOL forums) who was pacing the 1:45 group:


Got ready to start and took some "selfies":


I love that hat!

The temps were great.  June and it was in the low 60s.  Sunny on the way back but very nice.  We made good time until hubby's groin started feeling sore so we slowed down to prevent anything bad (he has suffered from this since he was a teenager so whenever his bouts get too bad, we slow down).

Around Mile 12.5, we saw Dave Mari (who we see on every race and I'm surprised that he always remembers me and my name):


We finished enough for his third fastest half marathon.  We enjoyed the free beer (well, what can you do, it's beer):


And enjoyed Chicago until it was time to leave.  I love this picture because it shows why we really do this.  Meeting people, having fun, what more can we ask for?


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Surfer's Path Marathon RR

I waited a long time to write the RR because I have been waiting for the official pictures, WHICH ARE STILL MISSING!  So, bear with me.

This weekend, I ran the Surfer's Path Marathon as my first post-surgery marathon.  Hubby did the Capitola Half Marathon, which was the same race notwithstanding the different name.

This race takes place in Santa Cruz, California, along the city of Santa Cruz and the Village of Capitola and passes through what is known as the Surfer's Path.  It is where Jay Moriarity is from, the surfer whose life is shown on the big screen in the movie Chasing Mavericks.

Initially, I signed up for the half marathon together with my husband, assuming I would not be ready to run a marathon by May.  My husband asked me three times: are you sure you don't want to sign up for the marathon?  And I said, no, I won't be ready.  Fast forward to a month and a half ago after a 16 miler, when I thought, hey, I think I am ready.  Slow, but ready!  So, I accidentally emailed the RD and asked whether they could switch me to the full and he stupidly did. 

My training has been somewhere between regular training and recovery from surgery.  As you know, I had a hysterectomy on Valentine's Day (so romantic) and it went well.  It resolved some issues I have been dealing for the last 7 years and the only thing I can say about it now is WHY DID I WAIT THIS LONG?  Technically, activity could be resumed by Week 2, but the surgeon wanted me to do no running for 4 weeks because of the amount of running I do.  So, of course, I biked during the second week and by Week 3 I was running.  The surgeon was happy with my recovery (as am I).

Week 1 back to running, I ran 7.50 miles.  Week 2, 22.  Then 33, 44, and back in the 50s.  As "training" for this race, I did three weeks in the 50s, one in the 60s, one 14 miler, one 16 miler, and one 18 miler.  They all felt slow but great.  I wouldn't call this training but it went great than anything I have done since Chicago.  So, I knew I could finish it.  Tentatively, I planned on running it at the same paces I ran my 16 and 18 miler, with a goal of 5 hours.  I felt it was doable.

Then, I lost my voice.  I have been having issues with my asthma medication leaving my vocal chords damaged.  I sorta need my voice for work.  A lot.  So, I consulted with the doctor and asked for new meds.  She gave me Advair and Dulera to try.  I started with Advair two weeks before the marathon.  MISTAKE.

The weekend prior to the race, I ran a 5K in Coconut Grove and saw RobinCD (who was down here for business) and a RWOL forumite from the marathoner forums.  I was planning on doing some speedwork during the 5K yet, when the time came, I could barely breathe and ran one of the worst 5Ks in my entire racing career.  That night, I ran 10 with my husband and he noticed that I was wheezing.  Yeap, the breathing was low.  The Advair was not enough.  Yet, it was too late to change it so close to the race so I endure it and the breathing got better.  Or so I thought.

Because of work, we couldn't fly out until Saturday morning.  Arrived in San Francisco at 9:30am and drove to Santa Cruz, did the expo and sightsee.  Found a nice Italian restaurant within 1/2 mile from the hotel and walked there and back and had a nice dinner.  We went to bed at 11am PST.  Up at 6am and ready to go.

Some pics:

Me and hubby before the race:



Met athenaofamerica, from the RWOL Marathoners forum, who smoked her race with a big PR:


And off we went.  I started first and my husband stayed behind to fix his shin brace.  The race was not flat but not super hilly and I did good time.  During the first half turnaround, my husband passed me (da fuck?)  That pace was too fast for him but he looked to be having a good race.  Don't worry, ladies, I chicked him at the big hill and he remained 1/2 mile away throughout the rest of his race.

I passed by the finish line in 2:28ish so still around the time I wanted.  I knew hubby was going to run a sub-2:30 and at least a 5-10 minute PR because I saw him approaching the finish while I continued on to the North and the other half.  By then, the temps had gone from mid 50s to the 60s and by the end it was in the 70s.  Nice weather when it's been in the 90s in the Miami, but sunny!  I got a nice tan from it.

After the half marathon point, we ran North towards the Surfer's Path.  We ran by the sea, which was very nice.  I saw a lot of surfer's in the water waiting for waves (this reminds me of the time I lived in Honolulu).  And then, Mile 18 came in.  The "path" was a dirt path.  Dirt = Dust.  I am allergic to dust.  It was very windy.  The girl in front of me kept raising the dirt up and the wind kept hitting me with in the face.  I started choking.  This went on and on from Miles 18 to Mile 22, making me slow down a lot since I could not breathe.  I went from 11mm to 13-14mm but at least I never got an asthma or anaphylactic attack, woot!  Yet, my lungs were tired.

At mile 22 we ran back to the finish line (at the beach) and as soon as the dust left, my lungs started recovering and by Mile 23 I was passing people like there was no tomorrow.  I actually went back to the 11mm I was running during the first 18 miles.  I passed the last hill and I saw some dude taking my picture.  It was my husband.  I tried to tell him to find my albuterol before I finished but I realized I had no voice.  Here is me.  I look annoyed, LOL.


I finished in 5:16, 16 minutes slower than I wanted.  But considering I was choking for a good chunk of the race, I think the time was alright.  I also trained for only 7 weeks and did little to no speedwork so the time reflects my current ability post surgery and a point to work on.

Oh, here is the husband basking in his new PR:


Apparently, he has found the art of the selfie.

And here is me at the finish.  Windy?  I think not!


Now I am taking some days off to get my lungs back to 100% (which for me is 60% breathing capacity) before I start training for San Francisco.  I am back on the old asthma med and have already increased breathing by 5%.   Good!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

RnR Country Music Half Marathon

Coming back from my Valentine's Day surgery has been great, much to my surprise.  By Week 4 I was running the PR Marathon with hubby, by Week 7, I had done 16 miles of a LR.  Overall, the comeback has been great and I am back at 50-60mpw range without pain (which was the point of the whole surgery, yo).

Therefore, when my husband embarked into this madness that I don't know where he got it from , of doing a HM per month to earn more moons on the Half Fanatics, I thought it would be a great change for me to have fun and build my base until my first post-surgery marathon in July (San Francisco).

Then, I accidentally contacted the RD of my May HM and asked to be switched to the full, so I have a marathon in three weeks. 

Going back to this race, I decided to run it with hubby and even put my goal time as 2:30 to be in the same corral as him.  OK, every say awwwww.  Being that this race is on Saturday, da fuck?, we had to fly out of Miami on Thursday and be ready to race on Saturday.  We shall not be doing Saturday races after June, trust me.  It just wrecks our schedules too much.

Anyway, I woke up in Nashville at 6am and went out to run.  We stayed in the West End area and I asked the concierge for a nice route to run (thinking I would just go up and down the hill for 6-7 miles if there was not).  The guy told me Centennial Park was across the street.  Hmmm, I have heard that name before, I wonder what's in it.  So, off I went to Centennial park and during my first mile I notice this wonderful building that looked just like the only place we had a must see during our trip, the Parthenon.  Hmmm, it was the Parthenon.  I am so smart!   I ran the one mile loop at that park for 6 miles in nice weather (cold for me) 60s and no humidity whatsoever.  I went back to the hotel, got ready and we went out for breakfast and then the expo.

The expo was great.  Very organized, got out of my bib pickup in 5 minutes and went shopping.  I got 9 headbands on my trip and my husband miraculously did not come out with Hokas.  After lunch, we went to see the Parthenon right across the street from our hotel.   Some pics:




After resting a bit, we went out to dinner at a nice local Italian restaurant.  It was delicious.  Everything about Nashville was great.  We had no complaints.  We bought the shuttle tickets at the expo, so we were set for race day and went to bed at 11pm.

I woke up before 5am and got ready, woke up husband and he got ready.  The shuttle left from the Marriott, a 0.10 walk from out hotel, by 5:30am.  We barely made it.  Why did I marry someone who is always late, even made me late for our own wedding? 

We were at the start by 5:45am, hit the potties and met the Half Fanatics for a group picture.  Maniacs were nowhere to be found so I got my picture taken with my Fanatics and we headed to our corral.  Pics from the corral (it was still 47F):



We ditched the gloves and arm warmers just before the start and we started at around 7:32am, which I think was too late for the weather that came on after 8am.

The race is hilly.  Not as hilly as I thought (think San Francisco and Puerto Rico), but hilly nonetheless, so my job was to keep hubby going without going out too fast.  Unfortunately, we both had to hit the potties at mile 2 and spent 3 minutes there which cost him a PR but he was not looking for a PR and he was OK with that.  We had lots of uphills, some downhills but not enough of them, going back to Vanderbilt University and back into downtown, whereby we ran close to the Capitol, split with the marathoners at Mile 11ish and headed back to finish.  Hubby struggled during the last mile, especially since it was all uphill but still he came in 3 minutes off his PR.  That he will PR on his next race, I have no doubt.  But I will be busy trying to run a marathon while he is done in half the time. 

So, on to our next trip in 3 weeks!  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Road To Recovery Continues

This week has been great.  First, I had my six week post-surgery appointment and the doctor cleared me up for everything else, weights, kickboxing, LIFE.  I am back to where I was pre-surgery, all healed and not only that, pain free.  This week was a special week of sorts, not only because I was cleared but it was the first week of higher mileage since January.  I would dare to say, for the whole 2014.

I did run one 50mpw in 2014, in January, the week of the Disney Marathon but I never felt the way I feel today after running 44 miles this week.  I am running slower than pre-surgery, yes, but I don't have that mechanical impediment nor my abs hurt after 1 hour of running.

My next marathon is 17 weeks away.  2014 might not be a year for PRs and I understand and can live with that.  But it WILL be a year of no pain, easy runs, and enjoyment.  Something that has been lacking from my life since October.

Bring it on!