Monday, March 16, 2015

RnR San Diego Half Marathon Training Log: Week 1

I still haven't totally decided on a spring marathon, but right now I'm targeting the May 31 RnR San Diego Half Marathon. I've heard good things about it from friends and coworkers, it seems like a good course, and I love a downhill at the end of a race. My biggest worry is the price and the fact that I'll be in NYC two weeks before race day for Sourabh's law school graduation. For now, though, I have a 12 week training plan in place with RnR San Diego as the race at the end.

My first week of training was... dreadful. A late night airport pick-up Sunday night meant I had to switch workouts around (I simply can't start the work week on 5 hours of sleep), and then I woke up mildly sick on Friday. It wasn't anything serious, but it was bad enough that I was not going to skimp on sleep or push myself, especially because my friend Hana was visiting and I wanted to have as much energy as possible for her.

So here's how things shook out:

Monday: Off.

Tuesday: (1) 2.5 miles progression (2) lower body strength workout.

This mess-up is totally on me. I wanted to do 3-5 miles easy then head to the gym, but I totally forgot that with the time change on Sunday, it's still dark at 6:00 a.m. I lost some time hemming and hawing, figuring out what to do, before Sourabh rationally said (just run at the gym). He joined me and I ran 2.5 miles, starting at 10:00 pace then increasing the pace :30 each 1/2 mile, trying to fit in a bit more mileage. Since I'd had an easy-ish weekend, I didn't feel bad about making the easy miles faster, but this isn't the kind of thing I'd do once I'm really in training mode.

I focused on heavier weight and fewer reps for this lower body workout, moving between exercises quickly to make them supersets.

  • 3x10: (1) glute bridges, (2) squats, (3) deadlifts, (4) hamstring curls
  • Core work (30x horizontal and lateral scissors, 1:30 plank)

Wednesday: Upper body strength workout.

I'm at a new gym location and I love the weights layout. They have my favorite upper body machines all in a row, making it really easy to bang out an upper body circuit quickly. I focused on increasing the weight each set.

I always write out my strength workouts ahead of time then take a picture and just read it off my phone at the gym.

  • 3x12: (1) chest press, (2) fly, (3) high row, (4) low row, (5) shoulder press, (6) lat pull-down
  • 2x15: (1) knee-ups, (2) reverse sit-ups

Thursday: (1) 4x1600m repeats at half marathon PR pace (2) therapy yoga class.

Hit Back Bay early for some mile repeats. This was the key workout of the week and the only non-negotiable. I wanted to see how my PR pace felt over mile repeats. It felt GREAT. The first mile was a bit rough because I didn't do enough of a warm-up (I ran an easy mile but I'm going to try to build in more of a warm-up before speedwork going forward). However, after that, each mile felt more and more relaxed, despite a faster pace. I took 2:00 recovery in between, which was probably a bit much in retrospect.

That evening, I hit up a therapy yoga class at the gym. I went into the class expecting more of a restorative yoga flow, but it turns out it's actually very much a therapy class. We used trigger point balls for self massage, focusing on our hamstrings, IT bands, backs and necks. I'm going to try to make this a regular part of my week because it's at 7:30 p.m., which I can typically make if I don't have a very busy day at work, and it felt like the perfect recovery day activity. (Thursdays will normally be recovery days but since things were switched up, it was a speedwork day.)

Friday: Off - sick.

Friday night we had the best meal I've had in months (maybe years): dinner at Playground in Santa Ana. Even with a drink each, the total came out to $40, and the food was phenomenal. The chef produces a new menu every day (other than the vinegar fried chicken and sticky pudding), and some of the dishes were totally weird but incredibly delicious. Sourabh and I want to go back at least once every few months to try the new dishes on the menu. Can't recommend this place highly enough if you're looking for a delicious, exciting meal in SoCal.

Saturday: Off - sick (walked 4 miles around Disney).

Sourabh's friend was kind enough to gift us his free tickets to Disneyland/California Adventure, so Hana and I hit up the park for four hours Saturday morning.

It was fun to check it out, but we were happy to be leaving as the day got hot and the park got crowded. The morning at Disney really wore me out, so I knew it was a better idea to rest than to run or hit the gym.

Sunday: 10 mile hike in Santa Ana Mountains.

Our friends Leah and Bjoern drove down from LA early Sunday morning and we took Harding Truck Trail five miles up to Laurel Springs before heading back down for 10 miles total before it got too hot. When things dry out, the springs stand out bright green against the mountain, but we actually had to look for it to tell where they were since everything is so green right now.

The trail goes for over 10 miles one way, so it's a great long run if you're a trail runner. The route is also beautiful -- you have views of Orange County and the Santa Ana mountains for almost the entire hike.

Looking south toward Laguna
Thanks to a Twitter recommendation, I knew the best place to park for this hike was the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary (29322 Modjeska Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA 92676 if you are looking for an address to punch into Google Maps). It's right at the trailhead and parking is free!

Iced coffee was a necessity after the hike, and then we all drove to EATS Restaurant at Hotel Irvine where we met up with another pair of friends who were in town with their extremely adorable baby. EATS is a hit and miss restaurant. Good burgers and comfort food small plates (great for sharing a bunch of delicious food post-long run or hike), but their salads and fish dishes are lackluster. It's a great spot to meet up for brunch, though, and centrally located in Orange County.

We closed out Sunday with a walk along the ocean at Newport Beach, then I crashed on the couch and finally got back to reading The Science of Running. I got sidetracked and set it aside but am excited to finally finish it.

Goal for week 2: make it better than week 1!


  1. Hopefully the half course is better than the full course in SD. Laura and I ran the full together - it spent a ton of time on a highway which was miserable! I have heard good things about the half though!

    1. They're actually totally different routes! No freeways at all from what I've heard :)

  2. I think daylight savings messed with everyone! I know it will be worth it but being dark in the morning is so discouraging.Still a good first week down! Trails and hiking sound so nice I really wish I had better access by me.

    1. This trail was only 30 minutes from our apartment! So excited to keep exploring :)

  3. I'm going to have to reference your strength workouts - nice job! And therapy yoga sounds awesome.

    1. I am loving strength training lately. Something about the way I can bang out sets is appealing when I'm busy I guess.

  4. Exciting news! I've heard great things about the RnR series so I hope that works out. Also, we *need* to catch up when you're back in NYC!