Monday, January 5, 2015

Training Log: Surf City Half - Week 8

Happy New Year! Hope you had a wonderful holiday and 2015 is going well so far.

I feel like I moved to California yesterday instead of four months ago,`and I can't believe it's already 2015. I'm really excited for a "fresh" new year, though. Except for that whole "I have to take the California bar exam in February" part. That I could skip.

In terms of training, I thought the week of New Years would go much more smoothly than Christmas week up in Washington. Alas, I had a hard time kicking the "it's the holidays, don't make me do anything" feeling. I also slept poorly and had too much sugar. And before this past weekend, I hadn't foam rolled or stretch in a week. So instead of one week of laid back holidays training, I had more like two weeks.

It was also "cold" in Southern California -- it hit the 30s and there was snow down to about 1,000 ft elevation, so really, for Orange County it was cold. Since buildings aren't as well insulated here, you feel the chill a lot more inside, which meant I was even more loath to head outdoors, whether into my "cold" car or the "cold" weather. (Quotes used because I realize I sound like a jackass. I'm sorry, I've apparently lost any ability to handle below-50 weather.)

SEE, I told you it was cold, look at all that snow. 
So...yeah, this week was pretty far from ideal, and it was on me.  I need to step it up over the next three weeks. I feel like I've hit the point in training where willpower lessens (at least for me), but if I want a successful race on February 1, I have to grind out the next three weeks of tough workouts before tapering.

My one resolution for the new year is just to recommit to training and give it my best until race day, which includes (1) getting enough sleep, (2) doing workouts in the morning to ensure they get done, (3) putting as much effort into recovery as I do workouts, and (4) cutting back on sugar because it's not a performance aid and I really don't like the fact that I've been having sugar cravings -- my caffeine addiction is more than enough for now.

Training Log: Surf City Half - Week 8

Monday: 60 minute yoga class.

Got out of work in time to drop into an evening yoga class at my gym. It was a flowy vinyasa class and, at the time, felt like a bit more work than I wanted the night before speed work. Only then speed work didn't happen on Tuesday (more on that below) so it worked out well.

Tuesday: Rest day.

It was rainy. And very windy. And "cold". And I got home at 7:45 pm and could not muster the will to go run 7 miles on a treadmill.

Wednesday: 5x1600m repeats on Back Bay path.

Margaret was in Orange County for New Years so I got to catch up with her over breakfast and hear about London. I am so happy that we became friends in 2014 and feel so lucky that I got to see her before the end of the year!

Got out of work early and headed to my favorite local run location: Back Bay. Initially I did not want to be out there -- I was tired and my legs felt heavy. The first repeat was way off pace. Then Gnarls Barkley's cover of "Gone Daddy Gone" came on and its beat matched the pace I needed to hit. Am I the only person who finds it a lot easier to hit a certain pace when I just have to match the beat of a song?

I ended the run feeling great, because apparently that's the theme of all my runs this training cycle: I will question myself and my legs will feel shitty to start but then I'll tell my brain to shut up and get it done and suddenly I'm hitting fast paces and they feel good. Seriously, this happens on almost every single run lately.

New Years Eve ended with dinner at Pizzeria Mozza, which has my favorite pizza in Orange County, and finishing the first season of The Affair. It was such a fun show to discuss/analyze/dissect with Sourabh after each episode, and while I thought the finale was a significant drop in quality, I can't wait for the second season. Anyone else watch it?

Thursday: Strength training.

Sourabh and I spent the morning walking Mason along the beach in San Clemente, a "South County" beach town that we hadn't visited yet, then headed to the gym for a strength workout:

  • 1/2 mile warm-up
  • Dynamic stretching routine
  • Three sets of 15 reps of four upper body exercises focused on strengthening muscles that get underworked sitting at a desk all day (chest press, double arm row, lateral pull down, squat to press)
  • Two sets of 15 reps of two core exercises
  • Cool-down stretching

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: Tempo run on San Diego Creek Trail + strength training.

I decided to run my tempo outside instead of on the treadmill. This seemed like a solid idea at the time. Then my run sucked (see earlier: no recovery work, lots of sugar, not enough sleep, etc etc) and I hated everything until the last three miles when I hit my groove and felt good. Clearly I just need to get used to every run sucking at the start.

Headed straight to the gym for a strength session with my trainer:

  • Two sets of 15 reps of two core exercises using the cable machine
  • Two sets of 12 reps of four lower body exercises (squats, hip lifts, step ups, etc) -- I'd felt my hamstring twinge a bit, lower than my previous injury but the same leg, so Melanie wanted to be extra cautious not to overload it and we focused on core instead
  • Two sets of 15 reps of two core exercises using an exercise ball

Post-run and workout, this was how I spent most of the day. I randomly picked up a book I've had on my shelf for months and read it cover to cover. I haven't read an entire book in far too long and it was nice to sit and read for a while.

Sunday: Long run on beachside path + 60 minute yoga class.

Ran an easy 10 miles along the path that runs between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach with a friend, basically running "pier to pier". It was so nice to have a run buddy for a long run! I like running solo for hard workouts, but it's nice to have someone to chat with when my focus is just on logging miles and not hitting paces.

I felt a couple of twinges that I didn't like around mile 7 but, miraculously, when I focused on proper form by driving with my knees and activating my glutes and hamstrings, the twinges went away. Shocking, right?

Splits: (1) 10:18, (2) 10:04, (3) 10:15, (4) 10:23, (5) 10:33, (6) 10:21, (7) 10:23, (8) 10:14, (9) 9:22, (10) 8:20

We ran at a conversational easy pace until the last two miles, where the goal was to go sub-10:00 then sub 9:00 for a fast finish on tired legs. I had a Picky Bar and mug of tea for breakfast about 90 minutes before we ran and a Salted Caramel Gu at mile 6. I don't think I'd have needed fuel if we'd started at 8:30, but since we weren't running till 10:30, I knew I'd need an extra something.

Post-run brunch was at Ruby's at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier. There are two levels and both have gorgeous ocean views. The food was actually pretty good, too.

I decided to hit another yoga class at my gym in the late afternoon to try to loosen up my legs and do penance for my poor focus on recovery. I focused on taking it easy. The instructor was great about giving options to each pose, saying to do the first if we wanted to make the class more restorative.

Total Mileage = 24 miles 
Speed Mileage = 11 miles

The goal next week is to get in every workout (with the obvious "unless something hurts and it would be stupid to do it" caveat) and focus on proper fueling and recovery. Hoping to also hit at least one yoga class as well, since I think it's good for both my mind and body. And hey, while I'm being ambitious, why don't I set a goal to read another book cover to cover? #newyearnewme or something like that...

Any book recommendations? 


  1. First, re: foam rolling. I didn't bring mine home for the holidays, and I felt absolutely awful. Whew knew it makes such a difference? I'm right there with you in terms of recommitting to training. Sure, the workouts have been logged the past few weeks, but it's been more of going through the motions. It's a new year, though, so let's refocus and get 'em done!

    1. HUGE difference. I wouldn't have noticed it in the past when my foam rolling was more sporadic, but I definitely noticed it now that I'm more consistent in my usage. Here's to 2015!