Sunday, January 31, 2016

Step back, peak week, and early taper

Posted by Rachel

It has been a while since I updated on my training, and now we're only 2 weeks away from LA! Here's a general recap:

Three weeks ago (aka the week after crime week)

The week after crime week was as step back week, which was much needed. It ended with an awesome girls weekend in Carmel. The main event was Saturday all-day wine drinking, but I actually survived a 12.7 mile run on rolling hills on Sunday. Barely.

Two weeks ago (aka peak week)

Two weeks ago was peak week where I ran my highest mileage ever - 55.2. I hit most of my key workouts (track, tempo, long run) and felt really strong. I can't think of much to say about this other than I hope I feel during the race like I did during my 22 miler this week!

This past week (aka early "taper")

I personally think a 3-week taper is too long for me, especially given the proximity to my last step back week, so I still did a fairly high weekly mileage (for me) of 45. The only thing I cut was my long run - I planned to do 18 but ended it at 16.2 instead. I ran up into the hills which was really challenging me, and I figured it's best to not overdo it 2 weeks out. Today was an easy 6 miler but my quads were a little sore from the (down)hills. I know the hills I did yesterday are much bigger than anything I'll face on the course in LA anyway though. Today during my easy run I brought my camera and decided to have some fun.

So lucky to have so much water to run near!

Now it's actual taper time - I know from past tapers that I do best when I dial down the intensity a little (but not too much) but don't take too many days off either. On a non-training related note, Travers and I made plans to cheer for the marathon Olympic trials the day before the race, so that should be really fun to watch our nation's best distance runners up close!
LA, here we come!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Crime during training

Posted by Rachel

That title was one of the themes of this week. The other was fatigue. Last week, I ended the week with an awesome 20-miler where the last 10 miles were 10 sec faster than my GMP. As a result, I felt pretty tired this week. I focused on trying to balance the benefits of running on tired legs without overdoing it and getting injured or overtrained. In order to address the title, I'll go through my week with accompanying stories.

Monday (1/4)
The gym parking lot was packed, probably due getting back into the routine post holiday and New Year resolutions. Somehow though, I was the ONLY person in the pool. I was ok with that, and I did not encounter any criminal activity.

This was a track workout (7.7 miles total). I started out strong but got tired REAL quick. Again no crime, but I did eat my first Chipotle burrito of 2016. We stayed away for a while because of the e coli thing, but there were no issues.

I was running around nice and easy (6.7 miles total) because my legs were so dead and was on the sidewalk along the lake. All of a sudden I heard brakes squealing and I looked up and saw a car rear-end another car stopped at a red light, pretty hard (NOT just a tap). I noticed the driver of the car looking over his shoulder and it occurred to me that he was going to make a run for it, which he did. I looked at the license plate number and recited it to myself the whole run home. When I got home I called the cops and reported the license plate, but unfortunately could not describe the driver (who could describe a person sitting in the dark 20 ft away?). I read an article that less than 2% of hit-and-runs in this city are caught, which sucks. How can there be so many assholes?

I was running 10 miles, and abandoned tempo in favor of running every 3rd mile at ~7:40 pace (GMP - 15 sec) and the rest easy because my legs were so tired. At one point, I noticed a lot of cops on the other side of the lake but didn't think a whole lot of it. A couple of miles later, while I was running in the darkest part of the lake, I found myself with a police helicoper + search lights directly over my head. I heard instructions coming from the helicopter, including "Surrender! The dogs will find you! Residents, stay inside your home!" No wonder there were way less people around than usual! I got a little bit nervous and ran quickly back to the main road, where a cop stopped me. I thought I was going to get in trouble so I told him (all out of breath from running faster) "I'm not near my home!" He asked where I lived then pointed which way I should go to get there, at which point I took the well-lit main road instead of dark lakeside path. My splits for those miles are comically significantly faster than the rest of my run. If you don't believe this happened, you can check this out. At the time, I didn't know what offense the criminal had committed which made it a little bit scarier than it sounds right now.

Masters swim practice. My coach said "You looked tired from your very first stroke." That about sums up that workout.

20 miles in Golden Gate Park with Chen to practice rolling hills. Fortunately, I did not witness any crimes nor did I run into a crime scene. Also, I had a blast running with Chen and eating takeout Thai food afterward (3 entrees between the 2 of us, of course).

Easy run of 6 miles. Again I saw nothing related to any crime, so hopefully that short streak is over.

Next week I'm taking a step-back week to try to balance out some of the fatigue I was feeling this week. I'm feeling good with 5 weeks left, so hopefully the rest of training goes better than this week!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Holiday training recap

Posted by Rachel

As I found during Thanksgiving, I was reminded this week that it's a lot easier to train for a marathon when you only have to go to work for 3 days (go figure). Maybe my next marathon will be after I'm retired. Actually, scratch that, I'll be happy if I can walk and be active when I'm retirement age, no need for marathons.

Christmas week
Even though I had a lot of free time, Christmas was a step-back week for me after 2 weeks of hard training. Unfortunately, I don't burn as many calories during a step-back week which led to me gaining 2 pounds. The only kind of interesting run that happened during the step-back week was a 12 mile trail run in Bakersfield with Travers. It was basically a constant 200-250 ft climb/mile for half of the run, then downhill the other half. I'm not much of a trail runner, but this was actually a great opportunity to practice downhill running (one of my weaknesses). The views were pretty neat, even though it was a bit chilly. And as an added bonus, I managed to not trip on any rocks and fall flat on my face!

Wind Wolves Preserve - near the I-5 Grapevine I think, but you know my sense of direction

To overcompensate, I then enjoyed prime rib and cheesecake.

New Year week
With the luxury of step-back week over, this past week was a tough one. I had a couple fun workouts to share:
Tuesday/track - dice workout
This is one of my favorites that our running club always does at the track workout closest to Jan 1. We roll two dice and multiply the sum by 100, and that's our interval. I had two training buddies doing this workout with me and we took turns rolling. After 7 rolls we had managed 9, 6, 9, 6, 7, 9, and 6. We noticed that 5200 m of speedwork was a little bit lower than recommended by the coach, so we literally decided to roll the dice and let fate take its course. And then this guy Jim rolled a 10.. ugh. The odds were not in our favor and that last 1000 was pretty miserable, but then everyone from track went to the brewery which kind of made up for it. It was interesting to talk more to people that I run with weekly; most of them have interesting jobs (although not ones where I could be hired), but we had never talked about anything other than running. 
Saturday/long run-
Today I completed what I consider the hardest long run of the training cycle. I got it from the Asics sub- 3:30 plan. The run was a 20 mile long run, with 10 miles at 9:00/mile or easy pace, and 10 miles at 8:00/mile or marathon pace. I was actually very nervous for this run and I was worried that if I felt like death it would be indicative that I'm not ready for sub-3:30, but the run ended up going really well. The last 10 miles I managed to average 7:45 and not feel too awful doing it. Success!

This picture is actually from yesterday and not from my run, but I ran on the Bay trail so it's a close enough representation

Weekly miles - If I manage to do my slow 6 tomorrow, I'll break 50 miles for the week for the first time since 2012.
Trying to not be fat
I got the cookbook "Plenty More" for Christmas, which is a follow-up to the cookbook "Plenty" that we also have, that contains all vegetarian recipes. My target was to make a lot of salads and lose those annoying 2 pounds, but I think I somehow ended up overeating again (verdict to be determined at the gym Monday because I don't own a scale). Probably because there was so much chocolate around the house. Or because I'm still drinking too much. Anyway, the Plenty books are worth checking out- here is a snapshot from my journey de salad this week:

Salad A

Salad B

6 weeks until LA!