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

Monday, October 12, 2015

CIM Training Log: Weeks 9-10

I was chatting on the phone with Coach Jess this afternoon (we do weekly check-in calls), and I mentioned that after seeing this week's training plan, I'd said to Sourabh, "marathon training is officially getting serious." Jess laughed, but she agreed that we are entering the tougher workouts and higher mileage phase of marathon training.

We've spent the past ten weeks building up a solid base, which culminated in yesterday's training run at the Long Beach Half Marathon. It wasn't a planned build up, but it worked out nicely to run the race as a progression run with a fast finish and see how it played out to gauge fitness. We're in the middle of a heat wave in Southern California, so it wasn't ideal conditions by any means, but it was a good fitness check nonetheless.

We're eight weeks out from CIM, and with a roughly two week taper, that means six weeks of nose-to-the-grindstone training. As I mentioned to Jess today, I'm going to focus on keeping my nutrition relatively "clean" (basically, limit the sugar and fried stuff, which tends to make an appearance on weekends) and try my hardest to get enough sleep.

I took the slow cooker out of the cupboard to make shredded chicken for the week (see previous paragraph re: clean eating), and Betty decided it was the perfect place for a nap.

So, how have the past two weeks looked?

CIM Training Log: Week 9

Monday: Off.

Did some hip and calf-stretching yoga poses and foam rolled in the morning before work.

Tuesday: Off.

I was down for the count with an infection. Thankfully antibiotics kicked in quickly so it was only one day.

Wednesday: PM 5 miles easy at Back Bay + strength workout.

I worked from home so could get to Back Bay before the sun set. Temps were in the low 80s/high 70s in the evening and it wasn't too humid. 

Ms. Bea has no time for my to-do list. The perils of working from home.

By the way, if you've seen me write a lot about the humidity during this training cycle and thought, "LOL humidity in a desert climate, is this lady crazy?" I would not blame you. Generally, Southern California has dry heat. The reason it's been so humid the past few months is the high ocean temperature. This isn't typical at all for SoCal, and it's meant there's much more moisture in the air, leading to much greater humidity than normal. If you're interested, I read this blog on California weather, which goes into all kinds of interesting scientific detail about what's going on with California weather right now.

Anyway, back to the run: 53:23 total time for 10:40 average pace, 132 average heart rate. Kept it nice and easy since I was just coming off sickness.

Ate dinner after running then hit the weights for a strength workout.

(1) plie squat
(2) weighted step-ups (16, 8 each side)
(3) chest press
(4) lat pulldown
(5) seated row

(1) Russian twists w/ 20 lb weight
(2) Overhead tilts w/ med ball

Thursday: Off.

This was a recovery week, so thankfully when my alarm didn't go off on Thursday (I'd set the wrong alarm and it vibrated instead of making noise), I could move things around easily and do the planned run on Friday.

Friday: AM 5 miles easy on UC Irvine trails.

5 miler on random trails around the UC Irvine campus. The trails were not on my map app so I didn't have an "official" elevation gain number, but I'd guess in the 350 range? Not too hot (68 degrees), but 85% humidity. Blech.

54:29 total time, 10:53 average pace, 136 average heart rate. Was happy with the low heart rate given the hills. When Coach Jess said to keep it easy all week, I kept it easy.

Saturday: SoulCycle class + strength workout.

Took a later SoulCycle class, so I was able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast on my front porch before it got too hot. Pumpkin overnight oats and coffee in a Starbucks mug before a SoulCycle class... feel free to roll your eyes at my basic-ness.

I now live about 10 minutes away from the OC SoulCycle. While I always preferred Flywheel to SoulCycle in NYC, I like the Newport Beach studio here. There seems to be less of a feeling of idolizing the instructors here, I think, and most of the class is focused on fun beats and less on the inspirational messaging. There's still some of that, but not enough to be offputting to me. (Obviously there are a ton of people who love the NYC SoulCycle style; it's just not for me.) Since we haven't yet purchased bicycles, and I ended my gym membership last month, I'll be taking a few more SoulCycle classes during this training cycle to get in cardio cross-training.

The class was "Britney vs Justin" themed, but I was totally underwhelmed by the playlist (why was "Toxic" the arm weights song!?!?). Most of the songs were also exercise/club remixes, and I'm sorry, but "Oops I Did It Again" does not need a club beat added to it. It is perfection by itself.

Followed the class up with a weights workout in my complex's gym.

(1) single leg dead lifts
(2) bicep curls
(3) hamstring curls
(4) tricep dips

2x 1 min plank + side-to-side obliques

Sunday: 70 minute "long" run around neighborhood and up Bommer Canyon on trails.

GLORIOUSLY cool cutback week long run. It was in the low to mid-60s and rained on and off. Felt heavenly after the baking hot past few weeks (and was the coolest day we had in the past two weeks, I think). I ran my normal neighborhood route, but tacked on two miles of trails to hit 70 minutes. 

The one sunny patch -- not that I was unhappy about grey skies!

1:10:01 total time, 7.04 miles, 9:57 average pace, 425 ft elevation gain. Felt so good and enjoyed running so much more when I didn't feel like I was melting! Most exciting was my average heart rate: 135. I definitely felt like I was running at an easy effort level, as instructed, and to see that yes, my higher heart rate and slower paces over the past few weeks are definitely connected to the heat was awesome. 

Note the green starting to come through from a few days of rain recently! 

We all know that we're slower in the heat, that our cardio system works harder, and that everything feels worse in high temperatures. However, when you have several weeks of that in a row, I think it's easy to forget and start questioning your fitness level. This was a nice reminder that the slow runs of the past few weeks are not an indictment of my fitness, but rather just the natural product of humidity and heat. 

Total Cutback Week Miles: ~17

CIM Training Log: Week 10

Monday: PM 60 minute restorative yoga class at local studio.

Largely focused on the lower body, which was great, and also spent 15 minutes meditating. I am normally quite open to meditation periods in yoga classes, but it was 8:30 and I hadn't eaten since an apple at 3pm, and I needed to confirm that the Seahawks had won, so I was not in the most meditative state of mind.

Tuesday: AM strength workout.

(1) plie squats
(2) chest press
(3) jumping lunges w/ back foot on bench
(4) seated row

2x 1 min plank + 10 side plank scissor jacks (each side)

Wednesday: AM 45 minutes easy + 6x20 second strides on neighborhood trails.

Ran on local trails again. I've been a bit lazy about my running routes and should probably mix it up to keep from getting bored, but not driving anywhere means I can sleep about 20 minutes longer, and that's been winning out lately.

45:01 total time, 4.13 miles, 10:54 pace, ~400 ft elev gain, 139 avg HR, 86% humidity (blech) but low to mid 60s temp.

6 x 20 sec strides: .32 miles, avg pace 6:22

Love coming home to see this inquisitive cat staring at me from the bedroom window:

At this point, I know you're wondering how many gratuitous cat pictures I can work into this post. Well WE'RE NOT DONE YET, FOLKS.

Thursday: AM strength workout.

Had been planning to do speed on Thursday, but after being woken up five times by Mason during the night, I opted to do the track workout at night and didn't get off work in time. I didn't want to do intervals on the treadmill since I wanted to run by effort level, so pushed the speed work to Friday and did strength Thursday instead.

(1) bicep curls
(2) tricep dips
(3) hamstring curls
(4) lat pulldowns
(5) fire hydrants (each side)

2x 1 min plank + 2x15 side plank curls (each side)

Friday: AM 6x400m repeats at the track.

High 60s and 80% humidity, so obviously I drenched my running clothes in sweat.

Warmed up with 1.5 very easy.

6x400m: (1) 1:44, (2) 1:44, (3) 1:45, (4) 1:42, (5) 1:39, (6) 1:41

I really felt like I was putting in a strong effort level 9, but it's still not quite as fast as the first time I did this (although closer at least). Boooo. I looked at the first time I did the workout, and it was the evening (my preferred time for speed work), the humidity was really low and it was about 5 degrees cooler, but still. Jess said she wasn't concerned, but I just hate seeing slower interval times.

Jogged five laps around the track for a 1.25 mile cool down and 5.5 miles total.

Friday evening was spent first grabbing drinks with co-workers, then meeting up with my friend from middle school who was down in Orange County, and ended with me spending an hour keeping Sourabh company in his office until he finished work at 10:30 p.m. He's been working really hard lately since he's on a case that's going to trial soon, so I'll take whatever time with him I can get. Also, his office has a fancy coffee machine, so there's that.

Saturday: 45 minute SoulCycle class.

I really liked this instructor -- any class that manages to combine Eminem, Biggie, Beyonce and Whitney Houston in one class is OK in my book.

After I showered, Sourabh and I drove up to Long Beach to pick up my run buddy's and my bib at the expo. I was really impressed with how easily I was able to get in and out, which is my mark of a good expo. We had brunch at James Republic in Long Beach, and while I've heard some great things about the restaurant, and the brunch was good, I wouldn't drive up from OC just to go there. 

Sunday: Long run at Long Beach Half Marathon.

Let me say first of all that I feel SO lucky to have an awesome run buddy in Kristina. She's not training for anything currently, and yet was still totally up to run the Long Beach Half with me as a training run, and she was happy to meet at 4:30 a.m. for the early 6 a.m. start time to avoid the heat. 

Kristina and I at the start line, before I melted into a puddle of sweat. Kristina just glowed (seriously, she barely sweats, I am jealous).

We warmed up with .6 miles jogging from the parking lot to the start line, got in line for the portapotties, which had fairly long lines but moved pretty quickly, then got into the corral area. If I were a marathoner who had a goal, I would have been annoyed at the seeming lack of corrals and the fact that the half marathoners were allowed to run with the marathoners at 6:00 a.m., creating course congestion, but I'm sure half marathoners with a goal appreciated being able to start 90 minutes earlier so... I don't know whose side I'm on there. Anyway, for those who would consider running this race, it's definitely a bit congested in the early miles, but honestly, what race isn't?

We started out keeping our pace quite easy since it was already mid 70s, humid, and heating up. The first few miles did not feel like their pace -- they felt a bit harder, possibly because of the congestion, but our pace just naturally dropped as we progressed, so it ended up being fine. 

Fueling-wise, I had 1/4 bottle of Gatorade and 1/2 a Picky Bar at 4:20 a.m., some Nuun and the other half of the Picky Bar on the drive up, then 3/4 of a 16oz Gatorade bottle between miles 1-8 and half a salted caramel Gu at mile 8. I probably should have had more, but I honestly could only get half of it down.

Kristina teased me that I wanted to take a picture at one point because I kept looking at the glow over Saddleback Mountain and the rising sun, exclaiming, "ah it's so pretty!" Clearly she's heard me say "hang on, I just have to take a picture of this" more than once on the run... 

Around mile 5 or so, I just couldn't not take a picture, so I slipped my phone out of my armband and snapped a few of the Queen Mary as we ran past it using burst mode on my iPhone. I was taking this race seriously enough that I wasn't about to stop for a picture, so I snapped the below pic on the run.

Splits: (1) 10:01, (2) 9:54, (3) 9:45, (4) 9:32, (5) 9:33, (6) 9:48, (7) 9:22, (8) 9:15, (9) 9:21, (10) 9:21, (11) 9:11 <-- uphill for most of it, (12) 8:49, (13) 8:17, (.1) 7:06

I was supposed to drop the pace progressively from miles 11-13, but unfortunately the most significant hill in the whole race comes at mile 11, so I didn't run that mile quite as fast as I would have liked.

I ran entirely on feel and just displayed my heart rate and mileage until mile 11, so I was really pleased with the generally negative split of the run. 

Total time: 2:03:07, average pace: 9:22, average heart rate: 155, elevation gain: 461.5 ft

Total Mileage: ~23.5

I promised another cat picture. This is my favorite picture of them ever -- I love how their tails are touching, and that their expressions seem to express both laziness and contempt. Pure cat right there. Bea and Betty have no time for my pictures.