Thursday, January 7, 2016

Life Lately: Jan 2016

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.

Christmas Cat!

My parents came down on the 16th and stayed with us for about two weeks. We're renting a townhouse, and I can't tell you the difference it makes when we have guests. It was really pleasant to have my parents (and sister for six days) because we all had enough space that we weren't crammed in.

I closed a deal on December 24th, so I had barely any work the rest of December, and I was able to really take it easy between Christmas and New Years. The end of the year can be hectic, so having that week off after the craziness of the previous couple weeks was wonderful.

Unfortunately, running has not been so great. I've had "traveling" aches and pains that mean I can't really run more than three miles right now. I mean, I could, but it wouldn't be smart, and why hurt myself just to run an extra couple of miles right now?

The beautiful sunset run that led to that photo also led to a day or two of weird achey pain on the left side of my left thigh.

Sam, my physical therapist, thinks that a lot of this is in reaction to general post-marathon tightness combined with some long hours I pulled in the weeks following the marathon (i.e. a ton of sitting), along with tweaks in form that are happening as I work to activate my glutes more. I'm focusing on strength training that activates the glutes, core work and stabilization work. It's not the most "fun", but it will pay off in the long run.

Thankfully, though, none of these aches and pains have extended to hiking, so while my parents were visiting we did plenty of that. Nothing too strenuous since my mom is unfortunately dealing with some foot and hamstring issues (we're on the injured struggle bus together), but enough to get some gorgeous views.

We hiked around Palos Verdes a bit:

Hiked a couple miles up Black Star Canyon (and I am coming back to run this gorgeous trail when I am 100%):

Did some hiking on the San Juan Trail and checked out the views from the Main Divide Truck Trail:

And hit up the Harding Truck Trail when my cousin, Julia, came down from LA for brunch and a hike:

My parents left on the 29th, so Sourabh and I had a quiet New Years Eve at home. It consisted of a home-cooked meal, Mean Girls, and working on my selfie skills with Mason.

Very productive NYE.
On New Years, we dropped by Ochoa's Chorizo, which, as the name might have given away, makes chorizo. Like, good chorizo. Really good. We bought several different kinds and experimented with different recipes over the weekend. Highly recommend picking some up if you're ever in the SoCal area.

We also tried out a new sunset-viewing spot, above Corona del Mar. Two thumbs up.

The next day, I drove up to LA to hike the Hollywood sign trail with my cousin. It was a pretty packed trail, but that didn't make it less enjoyable, and thankfully it was pretty clear so we got some great views:

I've also embraced the down time to read several books, something I totally failed at in 2015. I'm hoping to make 2016 the year of the glorious return to reading. It's just so much more rewarding than scrolling through social media. Since December 28th, I've read:

  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Kaling and Tina Fey are my favorite celebrity authors, with apologies to Amy Poehler -- also they're the only three I've read...)
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (largely set 15 years prior to and then 15 years after an apocalyptic pandemic -- the writing was fantastic and the story kept me up past midnight to finish it. It was nominated for a National Book Award and won a science fiction award, deservedly, I think.)
  • This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz (he is such a wonderful writer, I enjoyed this book even though I didn't really like the main character that connects the short stories together.)
  • After Dark by Haruki Murakami (my first Murakami book, but definitely not my last. Like with Station Eleven, I stayed up late tearing through this book.)
So, clearly I'm on a good run with reading. Hoping that even when work picks back up I can continue to read at least a few books each month. 

Tomorrow we fly to Peru and Bolivia, and I am so excited! It's the rainy season so the weather might not be ideal, but exploring a new place is always fun regardless of weather. I'll post plenty of pictures once I get back, and then I'll start detailing some of the strength and physical therapy work that I'm doing.

Friday, December 11, 2015

California International Marathon 2015 Race Recap

Hi there, I'm Jen, and I supposedly have a running blog. Not that you would know it from the lack of posting over the past month-plus.

Hopefully you follow me on Instagram and have seen some pretty sunsets/race pics.

Every weekend, I'd plan to post on Sundays, and then with long runs, errands and food prepping, I'd figure I would just carve out a little time at work on Monday or Tuesday. But the past couple months were quite busy at work, and with the addition of going to physical therapy a few times a week and fitting in workouts, posting just totally fell to the wayside. It feels silly to apologize for not posting, but at the same time, I hate stopping something partway through, which is how I left my training logs.

So I solemnly swear I will enter my training logs from the last weeks of training. It's more for myself than for readers, but also because I was able to manage the hamstring issues I mentioned and training with the assistance of Coach Jess and Sam(antha) at Pro Sports Physical Therapy, so perhaps it will be helpful to someone out there.

So, moving on... I ran the California International Marathon this past Sunday!

It was a rough race for me. My original A+ goal for this marathon was to go sub-4. I knew things would need to align for that to happen, but I thought it might be achievable. Once my hamstring started acting up and I couldn't run below a 10 minute mile without pain, my goal was put on the back burner and I just wanted to know I'd be able to run the marathon.

As I wrote, Coach Jess and my physical therapist, Sam, were AMAZING. I'd pass on to Sam what Jess wanted me to do, Sam would give her blessing or suggest tweaks, and we worked around the hamstring issues. After two weeks of working with Sam, I could run 9:xx miles again. After four weeks, with two weeks to go till the marathon, I had an incredibly strong tempo run on Thanksgiving that had me running a 7:45ish mile with no pain, and a strong marathon paced 10 mile run.

Post-strong tempo run on Thanksgiving. I've never seen the tide so high at Back Bay!
In some ways I'm a bit bummed I had these strong workouts, because they made me think maybe my sub-4 goal could be achievable after all. Jess said she thought that if the stars aligned aligned and I had a perfect day, I might be able to go sub-4 -- that I was capable of it, but given everything, that it wasn't necessarily a likely outcome, basically -- but she was very confident that I would PR no matter what the conditions were. Instead of an A+ goal, a sub-4 became an A+++ goal (a 110%, if you will).

As we got closer and closer to race day, the rainy forecast solidified, and I started getting nervous. During all 18 weeks of training, it had only really rained once on a run, and it was a warm, refreshing rain that only lasted for three of the seven miles. Race day was going to be high 40s, low 50s and potentially somewhat heavy rain. Jess and I discussed what I would wear if it rained, and I packed a bunch of different options.

I don't know if it was the forecast or general race nerves, but I was incredibly anxious about the race all week and had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. I kept getting into bed at 9 or 9:30 p.m. and then tossing and turning until 11 p.m. Worse, Bea, one of my cats, kept meowing and demanding to be pet multiple times a night, meaning my sleep wasn't very restful. (And yes, I could have put her outside our bedroom, but then she would scratch at the door and meow, which would also wake me up.)

[Note: I wrote most of this while waiting for furniture this morning. We thought Bea had escaped and I spent 30 minutes frantically searching for her until finding her cozily tucked behind the laundry machine. I think she hid there to remind me how much I love her and to tell me to stop bitching about her being cuddly.]

So unfortunately I was a bit sleep deprived when Sourabh and I left work early on Thursday and drove up to Sacramento. It's a six to seven hour drive depending on traffic, but we made good time and only hit a couple slowdowns in LA.

Caught a gorgeous sunset on the drive up.
We spent Thursday and Friday nights with our friends, Leah and Bjoern. Leah is doing a clerkship in Sacramento and they're renting a house, so it was a great place to stay as a base of operations. Sourabh and I were able to work remotely on Friday and then we ran pre-race errands and grabbed food with them Saturday.

I just think this picture of Mason patiently awaiting some of Bjoern's waffle is hilarious.

It was so nice to have friends to hang out with all weekend -- it definitely helped assuage race nerves a bit, and it made the weekend a fun visit with a marathon thrown in. Sourabh also had some urgent work that had to be done, so I suggested he stay back and work while Leah and Bjoern joined me at the expo.

Expo buddies!
Saturday night, I crashed at the Sheraton near the finish line / bus pick-up. Highly recommend the hotel for those looking to run CIM. It's close to everything and, for its location on a big race weekend, was quite affordable (~$150). Sourabh suggested I stay at the hotel by myself so I didn't have to worry about our dog, who we brought with us, and I loved that idea.

After we cooked dinner at Leah and Bjoern's house Saturday evening (swordfish steak and brown rice, AKA carbs and protein), I got to get ready for the race by myself in the hotel room, watch an episode of Jane the Virgin (only a few episodes in, but I'm really enjoying it as a watch-while-doing-chores/cooking-type show).

Race morning dawned bright dark and early at 4:00 a.m. when I woke up, stretched, ate about 2/3 of a plain bagel with peanut butter and a banana and a few sips of coffee, then headed down to the bus stop to wait for the shuttle buses. I met a woman named Christina who became my bus buddy. We had to wait in line for about 45 minutes and then it was a 30 minute bus ride, so it was really nice to spend the time chatting with someone instead of being nervous.

After using the portapotties (which took 20 minutes to get into because of the lines -- I thought CIM had a million portapotties, but maybe I missed them?), I jogged to the start line and did my dynamic stretches.

And then we were off! It had gradually lightened, but since it was cloudy, it was still fairly dark when we started. Right around then is when the rain started as well. For about the first 30 minutes or so, it was coming down pretty heavily, before it tapered off and then just drizzled on and off for another 30 minutes or so.

I actually didn't mind the rain so much, but I did mind my rain jacket later on when it warmed up, and was especially not a fan of the chafing I ended up with on my left armpit and right heel. The pain became noticeable around the halfway mark, and the armpit especially grew more painful as time went on.

As the rain tapered off around mile 3-4, I also started upping the pace. Jess's race plan had me warming up for the first three miles, running comfortably up-tempo till mile 13, harder up-tempo for the next seven, hanging on to the best pace I could from miles 20-22, then trying to run as hard as I could from miles 22-24.

Around mile four was also where I first saw my awesome cheer squad. The night before, we'd made a race plan where Sourabh, Leah and Bjoern would drive along the course cheering. The plan was for them to see me roughly every four miles. They'd hand me my half-water half-gatorade bottles, and the idea was I'd take a new full one every time so that if I missed them once, it wouldn't matter because I'd have just gotten a full bottle (I knew I'd go through a full one roughly every 8-10 miles).

The plan in action -- Sourabh handing me my second bottle around mile 4. Leah is an excellent race photog!
This plan would have worked out brilliantly if they hadn't had such great signs. They switched signs a few times, and the second time I saw them, at mile 8ish, they had new signs that cracked me up.

Obviously I stuck my tongue out at Sourabh's sign, but I can't deny it's a good one.
They were also not on the side of the street I expected, so I just started laughing at the signs and forgot to cross over and grab my bottle. Oops! Totally my fault, but I figured I'd see them at mile 12. Only that didn't work out, because due to traffic, they weren't able to get to mile 12. I knew I wouldn't be seeing them till mile 17, so I decided to just take my third Gu sooner than planned (original plan was one every six miles, so I'd had one at 6 -- that I'd dropped so I'd only gotten about half of it -- and one at 12).

I tried not to let this get to me, and I think I did a pretty good job. I generally think my mental game was strong for the whole race. Sure, I occasionally had negative thoughts, but I would just tell myself what Jess had told me in our pre-race call: "don't spiral". If I had a negative thought, like "oof 15 more miles?" I would just tell my mind to shut up and stop spiraling. And it worked, I think!

More excellent signs! Bjoern is taking piloting classes, so he taught me some of the pilot alphabet -- the sign says RUN JEN -- and Leah's sign refers to Bjoern pushing Sourabh off a paddle board last summer.

If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned the course to this point, that's because it was pretty nondescript. You run on a few different roads through suburban areas, mainly, that grow denser as you get closer to downtown Sacramento. I do have to applaud the people who came out to cheer, though, especially given the dreary conditions. Some were clearly cheering for friends and family, but a lot of them just seemed like residents who wanted to cheer on the runners. There isn't a strong presence the whole way, but I would say you couldn't go more than a half mile without seeing someone cheering, which was cool.

I hit the halfway mark under 2:00, which meant that if I continued running strong, I could actually run sub-4. I didn't let myself get excited, though, because I knew the second half of the marathon is a beast and you can't take anything for granted, especially when my hamstring wasn't feeling 100% (it didn't hurt, but it also didn't feel great).

As if to prove that marathons are unpredictable beasts, around mile 15 I started having abdominal pain. It started with my abdominal muscles tightening up -- they felt like a big ball of knots. As the miles progressed, the pain started getting worse and worse, and my pace started slipping in response to the pain.

By mile 19, the pain had increased to stabbing sensations in my abdomen. It was getting harder and harder to breathe because my abdomen hurt so much when I breathed in. I had started being passed a lot as my pace slowed, which was demoralizing, but I refused to stop running. I revised any race goals I'd previously had and decided I was going sub-4:10. When I passed Sourabh, Leah and Bjoern around mile 19, I made a face to try to let them know I was in pain, and in mile 22 when I saw them, I didn't even take my fuel bottle because I was too scared drinking would make the pain worse.

Mile 24 was definitely the worst mile. The pain was so bad that I was breathing through gritted teeth.  I'd slowed by so much, I feared I wouldn't be able to finish under 4:10 (and at that point was in no way capable of doing simple race math). So I kept pushing as hard as I could. I didn't realize it, but I must have been running bent over since my back was incredibly sore for a few days, which my physical therapist thinks was due to me being hunched over from pain while I ran. The abdominal pain continued when I stretched my ab muscles for a few days post-race, so Sam thinks it was some kind of muscle issue, potentially a spasm?

As we got close to the capitol building in Sacramento (and therefore the finish line), I started pushing myself despite the pain. I was close to 4:10 and I had decided it was sub-4:10 or bust. Or, I mean, I'd still finish. But I was going under 4:10. I wanted a 10 minute PR.

I ran that last portion as hard as I could, crossing the finish line in 4:09:37.

Splits courtesy of my Garmin:

        Split        Time
1 09:12.1
2 09:13.5
3 09:07.9
4 09:05.8
5 09:03.3
6 09:06.7
7 08:56.3
8 09:06.0
9 09:07.8
10 08:42.4
11 08:42.8
12 09:07.2
13 09:14.9
14 09:08.4
15 09:15.0
16 09:25.6
17 09:27.0
18 09:34.5
19 09:43.7
20 10:07.6
21 10:05.5
22 10:13.7
23 10:11.1
24 10:24.9
25 10:00.9
26 09:52.2
.5 04:21.9

Exhausted but SO happy to be done!

I have such mixed emotions about this race. I logged a 10 minute 40 second PR from my first marathon at Chicago in 2013. However, I had a crazy positive split due to the abdominal pain, which means instead of being happy at a big PR, I'm kind of bummed I wasn't able to run a faster race.

After talking to Jess this past week, though, I felt a lot better. She said she was so proud of how I pushed through the pain, and that I had proved a lot about my mental capability. I'd been wondering if my positive split meant I was weak, while Jess said the fact that I refused to walk and still pushed myself was evidence of my mental strength.

Walking would not have helped the chafing stop, though -- check out the blood on my white tank top. So hardcore. Only I will take not being hardcore if it means not chafing, thanks.

When you aim for a big goal, there's more room to come up short, and I knew that going into this marathon. I hate reading race recaps that are a litany of excuses, so I'll be honest and say even if the abdominal pain hadn't occurred, I'm not sure I was ready for sub-4 given the hamstring issues I'd had. I just wasn't able to do the tough workouts both Jess and I would have liked that give you mental strength when that normal marathon pain starts. I had a lot of mental strength when it came to the distance, but I think not being able to give training 100% in what should have been peak weeks probably would have held me back. I think I'd probably have run a 4:03-4:05.

Another shot of my awesome crew. Really grateful for their support.
That said, I'm really excited to start training again. I loved training for this race. I had an awesome run buddy in Kristina, who wasn't even training for a marathon yet would run 15 miles with me. And I'm eager to continue the gains I've made. Around mile 20 I vowed that I would never run a marathon again. However, after downing some horchata and nachos at a local Mexican restaurant a few hours post-race (I couldn't even drink water immediately after I finished, let alone eat my favorite food), I started looking up spring marathons. This might be a sign of addiction, but oh well.

Delicious post-race nachos. Sadly I could only get through about a third of them since I don't have much of an appetite after races, but I had willing companions who helped out. Bless them.
What also triggered that change of heart was that I looked at my splits, and I realized I'd been running a really strong race until I started feeling the abdominal pain in mile 15.

I ran the race semi-blind, i.e. total time only displayed. I thought I was running slower than I was after mile 13 (I actually thought I'd slowed to 11's  or even 12's in the 20's -- it felt like I was running through mud). Looking back and realizing that I'd had such a strong race till that point was motivating. In the future, I think I'll let my watch click the mile paces so I have an external check on what I'm feeling. It's something I'll play around with before I run a marathon again.

Right now, I'm targeting a spring half marathon and a fall marathon. Currently thinking the Mountains to Beach Half up in Ojai/Ventura in May and the Portland Marathon in October. The goal will be to finally fix the structural issues that have led to so many hamstring problems so that I can have strong, healthy training cycles, which my physical therapist says is totally possible (thank goodness I am not just a broken human).

However, I took all of this past week off. Recovery is important, after all, and I was exhausted.

Me, basically, only less cute.
This weekend will be my first run -- extremely easy -- and I'll be focusing on running exclusively when I feel like it for the next month. Sourabh and I booked a January trip to Peru and Bolivia (!) after we found out he passed the bar exam (!!!) so we'll be doing some hiking in order to prepare for the high elevation.

So anyway! Here is to a 2016 full of strong training and even stronger racing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

CIM Training Logs: Weeks 11-13

Ack, I have been totally negligent in updating the blog with my training logs each week. Which is a shame because training has generally been going quite well! Work has been really busy, though, which is not ideal for blogging. (It is ideal for hitting my billable hours target to make bonus, however.) 

Also, I've had some nagging hamstring sh-t that I am NOT happy about. I'm seeing a physical therapist today to get it checked out. Wish me luck!

I spent the past weekend at a resort north of San Diego in Del Mar with Sourabh. He was supposed to be in Philadelphia for two weeks at a trial, but the case settled the night before he was set to fly out. After two months of pretty much non-stop work (he'd worked through every weekend and was routinely getting to the office between 6-7 a.m.), he suggested a relaxing weekend. I'd worked for most of the previous weekend as well, so I was down for a weekend of doing nothing. 

It ended up being mostly a lazy Friday night and Saturday since we opted to leave early Sunday so I could run on trails I knew were relatively flat, per Coach Jess's request for my hamstring. It was so nice to relax, though, and spend some quality time together.

The grounds were gorgeous, so it was a great place to relax. We didn't budge from the resort the whole time, other than walking Mason on some of the trails surrounding the gardens.

Thankfully, after a stressful few weeks for him, Mason was able to really relax and get some rest. He works so hard, you guys.

CIM Training Log: Week 11

Monday: Off. 30 minutes restorative yoga and triggerpoint work.

Tuesday: AM 45 minute SoulCycle class + PM strength 

Great class with the same instructor from the previous Saturday. Sad he doesn't normally do weekday mornings!

Hit my complex's gym in the evening for strength. 

3x15: (1) "Arnolds", (2) weighted split squat jumps, (3) flys, (4) single leg deadlifts, (5) weighted hip lifts

1 min: plank x 2 + side plank each side

Wednesday: AM 60 minute trail run at Bommer Ridge + strides.

The temperature was in the mid 70s, real feel low 80s, with 90% humidity (YES 90% DEAR LORD MAKE IT STOP). Thankfully there was a bit of a cool breeze up where I was running, but I still sweat ALL of the sweat.
I also took ALL of the pictures. I couldn't not stop and snap some pictures, it was just an incredibly gorgeous sunrise. 

55:02 total time, 5.62 distance, ~540 ft elevation gain, 9:48 avg pace, 149 avg HR. It's a hilly route, but I really didn't feel like I was pushing past an effort level 5, which was the assigned effort level. Given the hills, though, it's hard to keep a low HR on the trails.

6x20 second strides on flat sidewalk at the end: 6:24 avg pace, .32 miles for 5.94 total miles.

Felt really good despite the humidity. Hadn't run on this trail in a few weeks and it was SO gorgeous. Definitely my favorite running route in Orange County.

Thursday: AM tempo run at Back Bay (8 miles total).

Sigh. Mid-70s and 88% humidity. I was just... so over the humidity, and I'm sure that affected my mental game. Also, there were a ton of gnats. When I got home I realized I had dead gnats all over my arms, in my sports bra, on my forehead... drowned from my sweat. I know, you're really attracted to me right now. 


So, this wasn't the best run. I was an idiot and wore a too-tight sports bra, and I felt like I couldn't fully inhale in the later miles. I'm sure the humidity didn't help that. Anyway, I ran by effort until the second to last tempo mile when I felt like looking at the time might help me push.

2 mile w/u very easy

Split/HR: (1) 8:41 / 153; (2) 8:19 / 162, (3) 8:37 / 164, (4) 8:30 / 165, (5) 8:19 / 169

1 mile c/d very easy

I was not happy with the run. But at least the effort level was there, based on HR? 

Friday: AM strength workout.

3x15: (1) bicep curls, (2) tricep extensions, (3) fire hydrant hip lifts (each side), (4) lat pulldowns, (5) seated rows, (6) hamstring curls

2x15: (1) russian twists (each side), (2) supermans

Saturday: 4 miles easy around neighborhood + strides.

Temperature was roughly 75 degrees, feels like 79 degrees, overcast, 65% humidity.

40:13 for 4 miles, 10:03 avg, 136 avg HR, ~280 ft. elev. gain.

4x20sec strides, avg pace 5:47 -- felt like I could fly on these.

Caught the sunset from Inspiration Point in Corona del Mar that night.
Sunday: 16 miles easy at Back Bay.

I ran the hilly part of Back Bay as an out and back then did the normal 10 mile loop. I ran a bit later in the day to avoid the highest humidity, and it helped, I think. Fueled with a Picky Bar and coffee beforehand, 16 oz gatorade, about 32 oz water and one gel at the 8 mile mark. Temps ranged from 74 to 76 degrees and 65% humidity. Not horrendous, but I felt pretty hot and was drenched in sweat by the end.

2:42:14 total time, 10:08 avg pace, 145 avg HR, ~640 elev. gain (approx. 2 loops of Central Park)

Splits: (1) 10:22, (2) 10:29, (3) 10:14, (4) 10:06, (5) 10:12, (6) 10:24, [took quick break to refill my bottle at my car and check my work email at this point] (7) 10:16, (8) 10:30, (9) 10:19, (10) 10:17, (11) 10:17, (12) 9:57, (13) 9:52, (14) 9:42, (15) 9:41, (16) 9:37

I definitely went a bit above the assigned effort level 5 in the last mile or two -- I felt pretty good and I was also hot and kind of just wanted to finish.

Total Mileage = ~ 34 miles

CIM Training Log: Week 12

Monday: Off. Stretching, foam rolling, triggerpoint work.

Tuesday: AM 45 minute SoulCycle class.

Derpy cat photo interlude. Bea is so offended that I took her picture in that compromising position.

Wednesday: PM tempo run at Back Bay (6 miles total).

I woke up at 5am and felt absolutely awful. My stomach felt upset (going to guess the 10 p.m. dinner the night before was the culprit ), I had slept poorly, and the last thing I wanted to do was run. If it had been easy miles I would have done it, but I had a feeling that it might be a terrible tempo run which would negate the whole point of redoing the previous week's tempo to get my headspace in a better place. So I opted to go back to sleep and run after work. 

I had to cut the run a bit short because it was Sourabh and my anniversary and we were going out to dinner (and I hadn't been able to get out of work as early as I'd hoped), but I had SUCH a good run. It felt like a breakthrough in terms of focusing on effort. I didn't look at my splits at all, I only looked at the heart rate and distance, and as long as my HR confirmed that I was keeping a steady effort, I ignored it. AND I RAN AWESOME CONSISTENT SPLITS!!! This run felt like SUCH a triumph because I didn't let numbers or my brain get to me.

Temps were 74-72 degrees, 70-80% humidity (blechhh) in the PM. Ran at Back Bay so basically no real hills.

1.5 mile w/u

Splits: (1) 8:19, (2) 8:12, (3) 8:15, (4) 7:59 (HR in mid to low 160s till last mile when it was high 160s to low 170s)

1/2 mile c/d

I felt like I could have kept up the effort level of miles 1-3 for another mile before I sped up, too, so it was a really encouraging run.

It was a low key anniversary dinner to celebrate seven years together, but I was just happy to have some time with Sourabh given how much he'd been working. I feel really lucky to have found such an incredible partner. 

Thursday: PM six miles easy + strength.

I recently got a headlamp and I LOVE IT. It meant that after a later dinner (due to Sourabh working and me fitting in the tempo run), I could sleep in a bit Thursday morning and get close to 8 hours of sleep, get to work early (because I had a ton to take care of), and not worry about what time I left in the evening. I live in an area with lots of sidewalks, well-traveled residential roads, with few intersections, and having the head lamp makes me feel a lot safer (in addition to reflective clothing, of course).

Temps were in the low 70s, 60-80% humidity.

6 miles, 1:02:22 total time, 10:24 avg pace, 128 avg HR, 350 ft elevation gain (loop of CP)

4x20sec strides, .22 miles, 6:13 avg pace

Strength/Core - 3x15:
(1) Lateral walk w/ band (each way)
(2) Clamshells w/ band (each leg)
(3) Hip lifts w/ band
(4) Fire hydrants (each leg)
(5) Pike-ups
(6) Side plank leg lifts (each side)

Finished w/ 1 min. plank

Friday: Off.

Had some foot pain in the ball of my right foot so I rolled it, and pushed weight-based strength to Saturday to be safe.

Saturday: AM 4 miles easy around my neighborhood + PM strength.

Foot pain had disappeared by this run, but I got a massage that evening to be safe. I worked most of the day from home, other than fitting in the workouts, grabbing a quick lunch at a new poke bowl place (it's like Chipotle but with poke!), and the evening massage.

Temps were mid 70s, feels like 80, 60% humidity. 4 miles in 40:03, 10:01 avg pace, 190 ft elev gain, avg HR of 140 (felt very hot). Felt pretty good on the run -- thoroughly decent.

Did strength work in the evening focused on upper body - 3x15:

(1) lat pull downs
(2) seated rows
(3) chest presses
(4) bicep curls
(5) fire hydrants
(6) donkey kickbacks

2 x 15 reps of Russian twists (each side) and 1 minute planks.

Sunday: Long run (18 miles, fast finish) at Back Bay.

Woke up to an email saying I needed to come in to the office as soon as I finished my long run and would likely need to pull two all-nighters. More than being depressed at the prospect of working , I was actually just thankful that I work with someone who understood how important it was to me to get my marathon training in. 

Caught the tail-end of a firey sunrise at the beginning of my run.

Weather was so much nicer than previous long runs -- high 60s to mid 70s, but overcast and not too humid (50-60%).

3:01:28 total time, 10:05 average pace, 139 average HR, ~650 ft elevation gain.

I ran four miles out along the hilly portion of Back Bay, four miles back, then met up with Kristina to do the 10 mile full loop. The plan was 16 miles easy, 2 miles at tempo pace. 

Splits: (1) 10:33. (2) 10:31, (3) 10:08, (4) 10:24. (5) 10:25, (6) 10:21, (7) 10:18, (8) 10:14, (9) 10:15, (10) 10:09, (11) 10:05, (12) 10:16, (13) 10:07, (14) 9:55, (15) 10:09, (16) 10:09, (17) 8:53, (18) 8:33

At the end of the run, Kristina asked me how I felt. As I told her, "surprisingly good!" My hamstring didn't bother me on this run at all, which was great. 

One thing that's been neat is how little the distance/length of marathon long runs has gotten to me over the course of training. I really just put my head down and get the miles done. I don't obsess over the fact that I have to run 18 miles, even when I'm running by myself. 

Total Mileage = 34 miles

CIM Training Log: Week 13

Monday: Off. Stretching, foam rolling, etc. etc.

Tuesday: Off. Stretched more, and decided to push strength to Wednesday due to my hamstring feeling off.

Wednesday: AM six miles easy at Bommer Ridge + PM strength.

Kept it very easy given the hamstring wonkiness. Mostly felt fine, a few times it felt a bit weird, but never painful. 

Was in the mid 60s, cool breeze, 75% humidity. 6 miles, 1:04:17 total time, 10:42 avg. pace, ~600 ft elev gain, 140 avg HR.

PM Strength - 3x15: (1) single leg deadlift (went lighter on weight; wanted to stretch/strengthen hamstring without burdening it too much), (2) tricep dips, (3) squats (again, lighter on weight), (4) shoulder presses

2x15 overhead med ball oblique tilts (each side) + 1 minute plank

Thursday: Off. 

Work was exceedingly hectic, and I needed to be in early, so I pushed the planned mile repeats to the next day. I didn't want to run them in the evening with a headlamp because Back Bay would be pretty dark and I like to listen to music for speedwork, so I pushed the repeats to the next day knowing I'd be working from home and would be more flexible.

Friday: AM 3x1600m repeats with 90 seconds rest in between at Back Bay. 

Closed the deal that had kept me so busy for ten days, then headed to Back Bay to get this workout in.

Low 80s and 10% HUMIDITY. Yes, the insane humidity of the past couple months has broken. It was AMAZING. Actually, with the 10-15mph wind, when I turned around and ran into the wind, my mouth and throat were insanely dry and I couldn't really swallow. But I ended the run not even that sweaty. AMAZING. Still, it was quite hot.

2 mile warm up (low 10s)

Splits (pace/HR): (1) 7:29/171, (2) 7:39/171, (3) 7:47/177

1 mile cool down (mid 10s)

154 avg HR for the whole workout, 191 max

I had no clue what my pace was and focused on effort level the whole time. I'm bummed with the positive splitting, but happy that my heart rate indicates my effort level stayed hard. Also, I had a 10-15 mph headwind in the second and third repeats, which definitely might have played a part. At any rate, Jess is always more concerned with effort level than actual times, so she said she was content with this.

Sourabh and I had hoped to head to the resort we were going to stay at around noon, but random work kept coming in, so even though I was working from home we weren't able to leave until 3 p.m. Still, we got a weekend away, so I have absolutely no complaints!

Saturday: 40 minutes on elliptical + strength.

40 minutes on the elliptical at the hotel gym. Not sure of my heart rate, but I worked up a good sweat. The hotel had wifi, so I watched 30 Rock episodes on my phone while I pedaled away. Really not an elliptical fan, but Coach Jess didn't want me running the day after speedwork (which I knew was smart).

3x15: (1) lat pull downs, (2) flys, (3) bridges w/ Pilates ring b/t legs, (4) lateral walk w/ band, (5) hamstring press w/band. 

2x15: (1) single leg bicycles on BOSU, (2) single leg toe taps on BOSU

Sunday: 20 mile long run at Back Bay / San Diego Creek Trail.

Since the route I found that seemed relatively flat was a 30 minute drive, Sourabh suggested we just drive back really early (since we were gaining an extra hour of sleep due to the time change). He was planning on watching football most of the day anyway, so I agreed, and off we went. 

I ran a loop of Back Bay and then an out and back on the San Diego Creek Trail (paved bike path) for about six miles, and finished with just under four miles on the flat part of Back Bay.

It ranged from mid 60s (feels like high 60s) to high 70s (feels like low 80s) with a 10 mph headwind near the end. I appreciated the breeze, though!

20 miles, 3:24:10 total time, 10:12 avg pace, 139 avg HR, ~450 elev gain over whole route.

Splits: (1) 10:30, (2) 10:26, (3) 10:13, (4) 10:07, (5) 10:29, (6) 10:17, (7) 10:11, (8) 10:04, (9) 10:12, (10) 10:06, (11) 9:51, (12) 9:55, (13) 10:05, (14) 10:15, (15) 9:56, (16) 9:54, (17) 10:10, (18) 10:08, (19) 10:05, (20) 9:50

Of note: my average HR in the first 10 miles, which was relatively shaded and not so hot, was 134, and my average HR in the second 10 miles was 144, when I felt a lot hotter.

I ate half a plain bagel with peanut butter and sliced bananas + coffee w/ 2% milk on the drive back to our place, then had a Gu at mile 7 and mile 13.5. I've had some minor side stitches on previous long runs. Jess wanted to see if Gatorade was the cause, so I drank plain water and had about 2.5 handhelds. Still had a bit of an issue -- nothing I couldn't breathe through -- but it was a bit better, however I also really focused on hydrating on Saturday. I'm great when I'm at work, but sometimes forget on weekends. We'll reintroduce Gatorade this coming week and I'll keep the focus on hydrating on Saturday, and we'll see how it goes.

My hamstring did not feel good, but it didn't feel painful. It just felt off and achey -- not good, not bad -- mediocre. It always improved after I would stop to stretch it, so I stretched it out several times over the course of the run. I mainly felt it in my high hamstring as opposed to the center of the hamstring where my past injuries have been. It's frustrating because I've focused strength and stretching on my glutes/hamstrings/hips, but I wonder if there's just only so much I can do given that I sit so much of every day.

Other than the hamstring, I felt really good during the run, if a bit achey. My feet hurt a bit, but just in that "I ran 20 miles" kind of way. Mentally I felt great -- I just kept plugging away at the mileage and my pace remained pretty consistent with a slight negative split.

Total Mileage = 32 miles