Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Fantastic Race-Free Weekend and June/July Plans

If you follow me on Instagram, you learned I didn't run the RnR San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday. I feel 99% at peace with the decision (there's always that irrational 1%, right?).

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen mountains -- for those not familiar with San Diego, it is not in the mountains.
On Friday evening, after learning my deal was on hold so I wouldn't have to work that weekend, I ran 4 miles. I figured I'd warm up for a mile then see what kind of speed my legs could carry. Turns out, they could barely hold a sub-9:00 pace. It wasn't that it felt hard. It's that it felt impossible.

I have no idea what's going on with my legs (or was going on? I did some intervals on the treadmill last night for 20 minutes before doing some lifting and they actually felt ok...), but I've run a few longer distance races where I felt shitty before, and in retrospect I wish I hadn't run them. It just sucks, and it leaves you feeling defeated.

I thought about heading to San Diego and at least trying to run, but honestly, I had no desire to wake up at 4:30 a.m. (and wake Sourabh up as well) only to realize after a few miles that my legs wouldn't be cooperating. It would make the weekend a lot less fun.

I texted with Jess, who will be coaching me for the California International Marathon, telling her how I was feeling, both physically and mentally. She was, as always, awesome; straight-forward and realistic but positive as well. (Also, she was responding at 10 p.m. her time on a Friday night.) Jess said given how my legs had been the past few weeks, it was pretty unlikely I could PR. She framed the question as: would I be more disappointed not to have tried or to try and fail?

Given that 4:30 a.m. wake-up and how I've felt after other poor races, I knew I'd be more disappointed to head to San Diego, curtail our enjoyment of the city (I wouldn't eat Mexican/Indian/Thai/other delicious foods in anticipation of running, and we'd be going to bed at 9 p.m.), then run a poor race.

Sourabh suggested we head into the mountains, which I was obviously on board with. So Saturday morning we drove up to Big Bear Lake in the San Gabriel Mountains and hiked seven miles on the Pine Knot Trail.

The trail climbs about 1400 ft over 3.25 miles (we parked 1/4 mile away from the trailhead making it 7 miles total for us).

The hike had gorgeous views of the lake and San Gorgonio Peak (over 11,000 ft tall!). 

Still some snow left from the May snowstorm the mountains got a few weeks ago!
San Gorgonio is the tallest peak in Southern California, and just like the other 10K peaks (San Jacinto Peak, Mt. San Antonio -- AKA Mt. Baldy, and San Bernardino Peak), you can hike to the top of it. Yes, hiking all four peaks is definitely on my SoCal Bucket List.

Alpine flowers
Initially we'd wanted to hike the Skyline Trail, which is a new addition to Big Bear, but there was a mountain bike race using the trail. After jumping out of the way of speeding mountain bikes three times, we decided we'd find a different route, especially given that we had Mason with us. I've heard Skyline is an absolutely stunning trail, though, so we'll be back to hike it at some point.

Big Bear Lake!
I know I made the right decision legs-wise, since the hike wasn't difficult by my normal standards and my legs felt incredibly fatigued the whole time. There is just no way I was PRing on them.

Summit snapshot
After we got back to Orange County on Saturday night, we feasted at our favorite local Mexican place, Taqueria Zamora, then watched a movie without regard for what time we were in bed because hey, no race in the morning!

Sunday we grabbed breakfast at my current favorite diner-type breakfast spot, Alta Coffee Warehouse & Restaurant, on Newport Peninsula. Then we headed to the Irvine Farmer's Market at the Irvine Great Park (it's a work in progress, but in a few years this park will be larger than Central Park!). I spent the rest of the afternoon reading Americanah, which is fantastic so far, and doing some food prep for the week ahead.

I am completely comfortable with my decision not to run RnR San Diego. Yes, it always sucks when you work hard at something and it doesn't pan out, especially when you were working hard for twelve weeks. But I was training to PR, and I didn't feel like running a race and not doing that. Instead, after several busy weekends filled with work or taking my parents places, we had a completely relaxing weekend filled with some of my favorite things: exploring, reading and eating.

Sometimes, not running a race really is the best decision.

June/July Training Plans

If hearing about someone else's running-free weekend bores you, then you're in luck! That part of this blog post is now done. Let's talk about my plans for June and July.

After discussing training with Jess over lunch in NYC, we agreed I'll be starting CIM training at the beginning of August. That will give me an 18 week training cycle, allowing me some leeway in case work gets extra intense for a few weeks.

The plan for the next two months is to focus on strength and short bursts of speed, capping my mileage at about 20 miles per week, with the goal being to get stronger and lean out a bit. I put together a lifting plan for myself that has me doing four strength workouts a week (two upper body and two lower body).

For running, I'll be doing two 20 minute rounds of intervals (with a 5 minute warm-up and 5 minute cool-down) each week, one shorter easy run of 4-6 miles and one longer easy run of 8-10 miles. I'm also going to try to fit in a yoga class each week.

Monday's lifting routine.
I've put together lifting workouts for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (lower body, upper body, lower body, upper body) that I'll repeat through the month of June, keeping track of the weight I'm lifting to track improvements. I'll probably switch the workouts up for July.

Now, obviously this is the goal and I can never predict when work will make a workout impossible, but I'm hoping to get as many of the planned workouts in as possible. I think I should see some real improvements and (hopefully) drop a few pounds over the next two months.

Here's a question for you -- would you be interested in seeing the full plan? I'd be happy to make the schedule and weight lifting tracker a Google doc available for download if people are interested. 


  1. "I was training to PR, and I didn't feel like running a race and not doing that." <-- BOOM. It's all about quality of races--not quantity. Could you have done the race? Sure. But would it have been worth it? ("It" meaning everything you described.) Probably not. Those can be tough calls to make, and you definitely made the right choice.

    1. Thanks, Carrie. I totally understand that for some people, races are just fun things to do, but when your focus is on only running quality races, running one and not doing well just sucks.

  2. Sounds like a great weekend to me! =)

  3. Definitely not worth it to be bummed to not have it go as you want. I think your body was just telling you it needed to recover. The hike looks gorgeous though!
    As much as I have been itching to run a race I am in no shape and know it would frustrate the hell out of me so am not letting myself get trigger happy.
    Although I did just sign up for a beer mile in bk in July with my sister ;)
    I would always be interested in seeing a plan! more plans shared the better esp since getting stronger and leaning out are still my ongoing goal before I am well enough to put 100% into training!

    1. I hope you're already training for that beer mile ;) And yes, the hike was gorgeous and that (and the Mexican food) left me without a shadow of a doubt that I'd made the right call.

      I'll post the plan sometime this week!

  4. All mountains and places from my childhood growing up in southern CA! These pictures make me miss it so much!!


    1. I feel so lucky to be living here! Must have been wonderful to grow up here.