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.


  1. Meat of marathon training, you are coming! It really is crazy how much of an impact weather has on our runs--not just pace/effort, but also how we feel in general. Also, that is a fast and strong finish!

  2. As winter starts approaching here I am even more jealous of all your beautiful runs! Nice job in the half especially those last few miles!