(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday/Tuesday

Last time I left off, I admitted that running doesn’t seem to be a big priority in my life right now.

I can’t say that conditions have improved drastically since Friday.

For example, we did treadmill miles yesterday since the Giants game took up Aaron’s evening (we don’t want to talk about it), and I literally put it off until 9:30 (I like to be in bed by 10).  I ran 1 mile and hopped off to “grab some water (aka plop on the couch)” but Aaron ordered me back into the exercise room to finish out the last 2.

We DID however get our 9 mile long run in while we were in Phoenix.

I love Phoenix (well, Scottsdale at least).  One of the biggest reasons is because it was about 58-60 degrees out (PERFECT running weather), and everyone was bundled up like they were expecting a snow storm!

We did our run along The Green Belt which is a stretch of beautifully landscaped grass.  It was a great trail, utilized by a lot of people.  However, it was entirely concrete which is noticeably hard on the legs.  And I got a mosquito bite.

Photo by Jason Franz via blogs.phoenixnewstimes.com

I also have this weird quirk where I judge my speed improvement by how fast I can run 7 miles.  I try to get my 7 mile split in as close to under 1 hour as possible.  The last two long runs it has been between 1:0:30 and 1:0:52.  This time I was able to get down to 59:18, so I consider improvement to have been made!

Overall, this was a great long run.  I finished in 1:17:23 for about an 8:33 pace.  Most of my miles were pretty close to that 8:30.  I don’t usually start packing gels or worrying about water until I get into the 11 mile range, so 9 miles was fine without any of that, but we were pretty thirsty afterwards.

We’d forgotten our Nuun (ALSO just found out a few days ago that it is pronounced NOON.  We’ve been saying it very wrong) and the Whole Foods we went to didn’t have any, so we settled for some weird substitute.


1) I ran with my compression socks for the 9 miler, and I had no calf tightness/annoyance.  I’ve been having this calf annoyance since even BEFORE the marathon two months ago but for the first time since then, I had no calf issues during or after.  I think this means I’m going to have to buy another pair.

2) I’m training faster than I ever have.  Typically I use speed work for fastness and run the rest of the runs at a really comfortable recovery pace.  But even yesterday on the treadmill I averaged about 8:03 per mile for 3 miles.  I pushed myself a bit, but it wasn’t uncomfortable.  For our fartlek (hehe) run last Friday morning, I kept a good pace in between sprints (usually I go unnecessarily slow in between).  I don’t know if this will help or not come race day since it is a different approach than I’ve ever taken, but I am a bit excited that I’m a faster overall runner if not a faster overall racer.

3) The thought of cross-training doesn’t seem to make me any more likely to get myself moving.  I’ve been wanting to incorporate more swim/spinning/yoga/weight lifting into my routine and I haven’t.

4) I need to do more upper back exercises like rows.  I did these all through marathon training and I didn’t have any of the shoulder tightness that I normally have for the race.  It’s back.

5) I kind of wish I hadn’t said I was doing this tri on Saturday.  Getting to the gym to learn to swim isn’t going to be easy this week with lots of evening commitments, I haven’t been on a spin bike in weeks, and I still don’t have a swimsuit.  I know I need to do it otherwise it’ll keep getting pushed back, but I’m not at all confident going in.  I’ve never felt more unprepared for anything in my life.

So, in sum, still not 100% into this training, but getting faster and finally (after 2 months) feeling completely recovered from the marathon!

Also, just one last push to enter the Sunglasses Shop Sunglasses giveaway! I’ve actually been wearing my North Beach shades a lot recently and I like them more everyday! I’ll announce the winner tomorrow morning!


(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday

I have definitely had to change my way of thinking now that I’m back in half marathon land.

While training for a full, I was able to “take it easy” for the first few repetitions of intervals to save energy and take miles slower because there were so many more to go. But in half training, every rep has to be maxed out and warm-up miles become warm up mile.

Our Friday speed workout was hill repeats on the treadmill.   We put the incline on “10” (I’m not sure if this means 10% or 10 feet or just level 10 or what).  When Aaron said that we only had to run 20 seconds on the incline at a time, I had feelings of happiness.  Considering we were running up quarter-mile hills just a few months ago, this seemed rather lenient.

But I have only two months to reach my lofty goals, and I’m not even close to being ready. So, each 20 second hill must be pushed to the max. With each rep I increased speed to the point that I had to put every ounce of effort I had toward not get launched backward, and the exact moment the 20 seconds were up, I HAD to grab onto the nice little handle thingies or risk falling down.

It sucked obviously.  I felt sick afterwards.  But I know that I pushed it as hard as I could.  I was able to hold 10.3 mph for 20 seconds (I tried 10.4 but couldn’t keep up), and there was no way I could go faster.  It felt great to know that I put that level of effort into a workout.  I celebrated with some Costco pizza for dinner.  I feel only a bit awkward admitting that we go to Costco for dinner sometimes.

We did our 7 mile long run #2 on Saturday.  In order for me to confidentially go into this half, I will want my last long run to be at an 8:15 average at an easy pace (in other words, I shouldn’t be “racing” my long run).  Saturday’s pace was an 8:40 average and I definitely pushed it on a few of those miles. It is nice to obsess over those long run paces slightly more guilt free now that endurance isn’t as much of a factor.

I still have a lot of speed to program into these little legs, but I did do yoga (check!), strength training (check!), and cross training (check!).  I need to work on my core, but for the most part sticking to my goals.

In other related news, Aaron and I had a discussion this weekend about what our “events” are, or rather, which race distance is our strongest. I knew the moment I crossed the finish line for my first half marathon that I enjoyed 13.1 far more than 3.1.  Even though I’m more open to running marathons now that I’m not training for one (and I can walk again), the half marathon distance is my favorite.  I have no interest in running really strong 5-K’s, and for some reason I can’t ever get my act together for 10-K’s.  But I feel like I’m in my element in halves.

It was also at this point in our conversation that we decided to look up the weights of Olympic runners.  Aaron, who is a pretty trim dude, is not really thin enough to be a strong distance runner.  Ryan Hall is about the same height as Aaron, but  is about 30 pounds lighter. Let me just say I’m really ok with Aaron not weighing 30 pounds less.


I’m particurly excited this Monday morning because of this gloriously short week, even though it will be a test of our ambitions. With so much Thanksgiving Cheer (and, you know BLACK FRIDAY), will we keep to a consistent workout schedule, or lay in a happy food coma?  Will I remember to eat veggies, or will pumpkin pie be my best effort?  At least, thanks to our green shake breakfast, I’m finally back down to my pre-marathon weight.  I can see that all going out the window this weekend!

Apparently this says that I have to run a marathon to burn off  Thanksgiving. 


What’s your favorite distance race?

Have a wonderful Monday!

Training Tuesday Week 2

*NOTE: I’m not sure why my half marathon training needs to continue since obviously the world is ending.  Earthquakes: not just for Californians.

ANYWAY: Saturday kicked off Week 2 of our half marathon training plan.  The first week was kind of rough, especially because it is still a little hot to be working out outside in the afternoons…and I’ve been kind of lazy ever since getting back from Jamaica, so my cardiovascular fitness level isn’t where it was pre beach vacation.  But,  after a week of training, I’m starting to feel a little less wheezy, and I think I’m going a little faster.  I also ran the farthest I’ve ever gone on Sunday…7.06 miles!  I celebrated with a piece of blueberry pie a la mode for lunch.

Here’s the  Aaron Approved training plan for this week.

SATURDAY: 4 mile run (up 1 mile from last week)

SUNDAY: 1 hour and 10 minute run (we got in 7.06 miles)…(up 10 minutes from last week)

MONDAY: Easy 3 mile run, full body strength training

TUESDAY: 1.5 mile warm-up run followed by hill intervals (sprint up the hill, jog down, 8 sets), 1.5 mile cool-down run (the hill should be  about a quarter-mile long)

WEDNESDAY: Easy 3 mile run, full body strength training

THURSDAY: 35 minute tempo run: 15 minutes jogging pace, 15 minutes at a 10-k pace, 5 minutes jogging pace

FRIDAY: free day (yoga, pilates, walking)/ or make-up day for any missed runs.

Also on hiatus since Jamaica is a good diet plan.  Since last week, we’ve started eating healthier again, and I’ve noticed a definite difference when running.  Eating a huge Frontier burrito the night before a long run creates an unpleasant situation.  Healthy food the night before does not. So, as much as I really don’t like eating fish (and trust me, I really don’t like eating fish), I gave in and eat it at least once a week.  Mai Mai from Trader Joe’s is actually not completely terrible.   Added bonus…fish is one of the healthiest things you can eat.


Another part of running (biking/walking/etc.) in Albuquerque is the crazy amount of goat heads that make their way into our house.  Goat heads are these evil little buggers that grow on weeds.  They are like little clusters of  tiny, painful needles. When it rains, as it did finally last week, these weeds pop up everywhere, especially on dirt running trails, and the little goat heads stick to the bottom of our running shoes.  Stepping on one is not the most fun thing you’ll ever do.  Strangely enough, I’ve never heard of goat heads existing anywhere else in the country.  We’re just lucky, I guess. 

All of the little brown things stuck to my shoe are goat heads


Happy Tuesday! (a.k.a. The Day The Earth Didn’t Stand Still).