myRUNweek (2) SD Half Training

I am starting a new page on my blog, myRUNweek, which will show all the training weeks leading up to a race.  I’ve been reading various weekly recaps and I thought it would be a great idea to track my weekly training as if I’m recording it in a journal.  I can also look back on it to find ways for improvement.  Plus it holds me accountable!

So I am starting with week 2 of 10.  Week 1 was while we were still on vacation where I managed to incorporate a few runs and workouts.  Currently, my A goal for the half marathon is a PR (1:44:30).  I hate to admit but my fitness is not up to this level.  I will re-adjust my goal after the 10K tune-up race scheduled the first week in February.

My training paces are based on my last marathon finish time as calculated by Mcmillan running calculator.

 1/11 to 1/17 Week 2:

Monday:  4 mi Treadmill + Core/Hip Mobility (10:00/mi avg)

Tuesday: 8 x 400m (1:45 avg) repeats with calisthenics (SDTC Track workout) + warmup/cooldown (3mi total).  Form drills (high knees, butt kicks, grapevines, hamstring kicks) and dynamic stretches prior to repeats.  The recovery portion of the workout I alternated doing pushups, squats, side squats, and lunges.  It felt great to be back at the track and be surrounded by a bunch of motivated runners.

Wednesday: 2K row + Strength Train – Personal best of 10:07 on the rowing machine! Truly becoming stronger and feeling good about it.  The circuit below is from an article I read on Ace Fit, Weight Training for Weight Loss.  I like the combination of exercises and being able to do it in a short period of time (took me 30min).  It was a tough workout especially after the rigorous session on the rower.

Thursday: 7 easy miles around Coronado followed by form drills on the grass.  It was a therapeutic run as I had a void in my heart only time can heal (Not quite ready to divulge the details yet).  Also, I felt sluggish and tired the entire run due to lack of sleep caused by a 2 year old who’s been having sleep issues the past few days (hope it ends soon!)  and the rough afternoon we had as a family on Wednesday.  Plus the hard workout on Wednesday left me feeling sore.  I need to re-schedule my strength workouts so they do not affect my running (or make it less stressful).

Friday:  YES rest and recovery.  A quick core/hip mobility workout at the gym.  Both girls are in school so it was a day to run errands.

Saturday:  11 miles Long with San Diego Track Club (8:45/mi avg). I ran with my best friend and was involved in an engaging conversation the entire run.  The pace was a little faster than planned but it felt comfortable.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Sunday:  40 min Power Yoga at home.  The last time I used this DVD was probably before I had my first child which was 5 years ago!  I felt tight and sore from Saturday run so I thought why not give this yoga workout a try.  I loved that my 2 yr old tried to do it with me – her downward dog looked awesome 🙂

Weekly Total:  25miles/2hrs strength

Do you use a program/calculator to determine your training paces?  Has a strength workout affected your run the day after?

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Friday Five: Meb’s Words of Wisdom

Each week my girls and I visit the library conveniently located less than a few minutes drive from our house.  I always feel as if we were returning from a shopping spree, our huge bag heavy and filled with books.  Two weeks ago before the start of our road trip, I lucked out when Meb’s book, Meb for Mortals I requested was available for pick-up. It was the perfect book to read during a long drive as it delivered candid details of a champion’s training program.  I finished reading it, my mind brimmed with knowledge and ideas on how to apply Meb’s words of wisdom to my current training.

The best part of the book was at the end of every chapter featured a section of “Do’s and Dont’s” – concise and insightful advise to ponder.  While there are many to consider, I chose five of the best to help improve my running potential.

1.  DO regularly work to improve your running form.   One of my fitness goals I previously mentioned is to incorporate form drills at least 1-2x/week in my training.  Meb actually does them almost everyday as he stresses the significance of getting them done. He advises for those who are time-crunched to “Run 1 mile less and use the extra time to do drills.  One or two miles less per week for significant improvement in your running form and a lowered injury risk is a great trade-off.”  Runner’s World online featured an article in April 2015 regarding 5 Drills to Make You a Better Runner with video tutorials of Meb performing the drills adapted from this book.

2.  DON’T run your hard workouts so hard that you’re exhausted afterward.  Raise your hand if you’re guilty (Hand high up in the air!)  I’ve had days when I felt like I could fly during interval sessions, yet had to take a few days to recover.  Understand every workout requires a specific pace to meet its purpose.  Running faster will not further improve performance but only induce more stress which usually leads to injury.  “Save the racing for race day.  You should always feel you could have done another interval or a longer tempo run or another mile or two on your long run” is Meb’s advice.

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3.  DON’T think that running a lot means you can eat whatever you want.  This one hit a nail on my head.  It’s definitely an excuse I’ve used many times before. Knowing my lipid panel stats nudged me in the right direction towards better nutrition.  What surprised me however was that someone like Meb who runs more than 100 miles a week has to take measures to control his weight.  I guess we all experience struggle with our ideal weight.

4.  DO consider strength training to be that much more important as you age.  I am a year younger than Meb and can relate to his approach towards strength training.  Now that he’s older, he focuses more on functionality and deter the effects of aging.  I completed my strength streak challenge over the holidays which helped me get into the habit of including strength workouts a couple of times each week.  Physically, I feel stronger and more balanced.  It was definitely worthwhile to add a strength training regimen to my program.

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TRX, one of my favorite equipment

 

5.  DO take measures throughout the day to speed recovery.  Meb discussed several ways to help quicken recovery, from post-workout nutrition to ice baths, massages and sleep. After a long run, I usually wait until I get home before I eat/drink anything besides water missing the 30 – 90 minutes “recovery window” when glycogen synthesis is maximized where your muscles’s ability to store glycogen is at its peak.  A combination of carbohydrates and protein is ideal as protein is the key to repairing damaged muscle fibers during rigorous session.  After a hard workout, Meb has an electrolyte drink, a protein-enhanced Generation UCAN (one of his sponsors and a drink I would like to try in the future) before stretching then a banana or PowerBar afterwards.

If you haven’t read the book yet, see if you can borrow it from your local library or better even, get a copy for yourself – a great addition to your running library.

Friday Five is a link-up hosted by the DC Trifecta ladies, Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!.  I’m thrilled to join their link-up today under the topic “Favorites”.

Road Trip and Hotel Fitness Centers

Holiday break is over and back to our old routine.  My 5 year old returned to school today and husband is back at work.  Surely, my toddler is happy to have Mama all to herself for part of the day.  And it feels good to sleep in our own beds after 9 days of being away from home.

A couple of months ago, we received an invitation from our friends to visit them in Colorado.  It’s been 3 years since my husband and I went snowboarding and our toddler has never played in snow so the perfect opportunity was for us to take a road trip during the holiday break.  Our girls, a 12 yr old dog, my husband and I in our SUV with approximately 16 hrs of travel time (plus a couple of hours more to include potty/fuel/lunch stops) – not exactly a pretty picture but with all the luggage we have, it was easier more practical to drive than fly.

9 days without any type of exercise  would probably drive me insane so I knew it had to be a part of my schedule during this trip. Fortunately, most of the hotels that were dog friendly also had a fitness center and reasonably priced.  Our first overnight stay was at a Comfort Inn in Cedar City.  We arrived late afternoon and after we were all settled in,  I checked out the fitness center.  To my dismay, the hotel was in the middle of an upgrade as they had boxes of new equipment unopened.

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An elliptical and a 25 lb dumbbell was all I had to work with, but it was enough to complete a full-body workout – a HIIT on the elliptical followed by a few hybrid-type exercises with the dumbbell (squat to press, lunge and rotate, renegade rows) + bodyweight exercises (push-ups, burpees, mountain climbers).

 

 

The following day, the girls peeked out the window to be greeted by snowflakes.  First sight of snowfall was their excitement for the day as we still had a long road ahead of us before our arrival in Colorado.

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We spent 4.5 days in Colorado with a day of snowboarding at Winter Park Resort.  Our friends had a condo in Fraser where we stayed for a few days.   It had a spacious well-equipped fitness center.  I braved the cold (30 deg at 5400ft altitude in Arvada) on New Year’s Day when I ran 5 miles.  However, Fraser at 8500ft and much much colder with snow/ice on the ground, I settled for a treadmill run where it was warm and comfortable.

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My view from the treadmill.  BRRRR, looks cold out there.

We all had a blast on the mountain.  The girls spent an afternoon on the bunny slopes, skis on their feet for the first time.  My 5 year old did a really good job, but we couldn’t convince her to take lessons the next day.  Our toddler was a bit unsure but seemed to enjoy it nevertheless.

I was a little anxious to go snowboarding as it’s been a few years.  I guess it’s like riding a bike – once you learn how to balance and pedal, it’s a skill that can be re-learned quickly with practice.  The beauty of snowboarding is I can control the speed and I will admit I was slow and too careful.  Guess I didn’t want to cause an injury that would prevent me from running.  The only pain I experienced was soreness in my legs that felt better by the next day.

Our trip back, we decided to divide our trip into three days with a stop to Moab, UT to view the arches at Arches National Park.  It was only a 5 hour drive from Fraser, a much more tolerant drive than the 8-10hrs we did.  I loved the changes in landscape from the towering snow-covered mountains in Colorado to the magnificent red rock formations in Utah.

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Arches National Park

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We stayed at a La Quinta  in Moab.  Out of all the hotels we stayed, this one had the best fitness center with plenty of equipment to choose from.  3 miles on the treadmill and a quick full-body workout before dinner.  I’m certainly lucky to have a supportive husband and kids who gave me some free time to get it done.

Fitness Center

After Moab was another 5 hour drive to St. George with a detour to Canyonlands National Park.  Unfortunately the weather prevented us from continuing on with our drive as the visibility was only a few miles and we figured it wouldn’t be worthwhile.

Last night in a hotel room – the Days Inn.  It had a very small fitness center with a treadmill, an elliptical and a recumbent bike, as well as a pulldown machine.  It was late around 7:30pm before I had the chance to run.  I expected to be alone but actually had to share the gym with two other people.  I had to start on the elliptical first as the treadmill was occupied.  The cool thing about the treadmill was it’s IFIT feature with workouts at specific places you can view on the screen.  One was a 5 mile course along the Monterey Coastal trail.  I lived in Monterey for a few years and ran the trail many times so it was awesome to see the familiar views.

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Screen a little hard to see…

On the 9th day, we were HOME SWEET HOME.  The drive from St. George to San Diego was the longest but we treated ourselves by stopping at the Wicked Spoon brunch buffet in Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas.  Definitely worth the stop!  The girls liked all the glitz and glamour.  This entire trip was definitely a feast for their eyes – many interesting sights.

7 of the 9 days, I successfully managed to include some type of workout by making it a priority.   Without the support of my family, it would have been a more difficult task.  And I made sure I did my workouts within a reasonable timeframe  that didn’t interfere with our overall schedule.

What’s the longest drive have you done?  Do you specifically pick a hotel with a fitness center when you travel?

2016 Races and Training Plan

The New Year is only a few days away and I finally came up with a race plan for 2016.  I decided to focus on half marathons with the goal of achieving a PR (1:44 is the magic number).  Due to schedule and budget constraints, I usually limit the number of races averaging 5 to 7 a year.

Since 2008, I’ve signed up to train with the San Diego Track Club (SDTC) Rockin n Runnin marathon training program.  This program has so many awesome perks including 2 free races (Cardiff Kook 10K and Sue Krenn 15K), but what I love most about it is the motivation it provides to push yourself to achieve your best especially during tough workouts.  The year I joined this program in 2008 was the year I qualified for Boston.  And as Meb mentioned below, Coach Greer is the BEST 🙂

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This program’s training plan is specifically for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in early June, however due to the popularity of the half marathon portion of the race, it now also offers a half marathon training plan.  However, with my first half marathon only 11 weeks away, I decided to write a personalized training plan based on what I learned studying for my Run-Fit Specialist certification, which I recently passed! (More about this certification on a later post).  December has been the month for building a base as well as focusing on strength and YES, I am still on my strength training streak until New Year’s Day.

My training plan starts the second week of January with 25 miles/week to a maximum of 38 miles/week, with a 2 week taper.  Each week will include 4 days of running:  1) Easy run Mondays 2) speedwork on Tuesdays with SDTC  3) acidosis threshold or lactate threshold runs on Thursdays after the 4th week 4) long runs on Saturdays with SDTC.  As you can see, my maximum weekly mileage is only 38 miles.  Will this be enough to reach my PR goal in March?  My maximum mileage going into MCM was 48 and I finished in approx 3:51.  The 10k results in February will determine my level of fitness and I can better assess my goal time for my first half marathon of the year.  Fortunately, I still have 2 more half marathons in my schedule to reach for that magic number!

Feb:   Cardiff Kook 10K (2/7)

Mar:  Sue Krenn 15K (3/?), San Diego Half Marathon (3/13)

May:  Mountains to Beaches Half Marathon (5/29)

Jul:     Scripps Ranch 4th of July 10K (tentative)

Aug:   Balboa 8miler (8/?)

Nov:   USA Half Marathon (11/19)

What’s your maximum mileage training for a half marathon?  Do you have plans to join a marathon/half marathon training program?  How many races are you running in 2016?

 

 

 

Conquer the Hills

This past Saturday, Movin Shoes – one of San Diego’s local running stores hosted “The Soledad Challenge 10K Run to the Top”.  Mt Soledad is located in La Jolla at 822ft above sea level with panoramic views of San Diego and the Pacific Ocean.  On top of this hill sits a redwood cross that has been a source of controversy for decades (which might have been resolved recently due to the land being sold to a private organization).  Surrounding the cross are black granite blocks commemorating veterans who proudly served our country.  One interesting trivia I discovered is Dr. Seuss’s last home sits on top of Mt Soledad – will have to look for it the next time I go!

Several paths lead to the top of the mountain, one path from La Jolla has a steeper climb, a run I did almost a year ago.  However, the Soledad Challenge started from Movin Shoes in Pacific Beach with more of a gradual ascent.  Still, it’s a continuous uphill route for 3 miles to reach the summit.  Approximately 40+ runners showed up for the challenge that started at 7:15am.  Our usual Saturday group all decided to run it.  The more people I know, the merrier!  It wasn’t officially a race – no bibs, no official time, but Movin Shoes did provide a water stop at the halfway point.  Much appreciated.

Here’s the elevation profile:  

I can see the cross, almost there!

I planned to take it easy, but running uphill is NOT EASY.  I found it most comfortable to take short, quick strides.  When my body started to fatigue as my heart rate shot up to 180+rpms, I started repeating in my head “Strong legs, Strong glutes, Strong core” to propel to me to the top. Having my BRF running next to me helped as well.  She caught up with me visualizing a string attached on my back pulling her towards me.  A trick we learned from a running seminar we attended years ago.  She is an amazing and strong runner who is coming off from a break after giving birth 6 months ago.

   Me and my BRF, Miche

Water stop!!! Yes, Please.

With some of the guys from our group

As we started our downhill run, we saw one of the gals in our group on her way up.  We decided to turn back to accompany her to the top.

Downhill is the easy part, as many would say.  To me, it’s actually more difficult.  I have to run more conservative downhill or risk painful strains due to eccentric loading.  Fortunately, the three of us took it easy and enjoyed the rest of the run.

The Soledad Challenge was definitely a challenging workout. Due to a great turnout, Movin Shoes has suggested to add this 10K challenge to their schedule once a month.  Incorporating hills into my training program has many advantages, strengthening the cardiovascular system as well as increasing muscle strength and power, so I will consider running this event again.

Are hills a part of your workout?  Anyone else racing during the holiday season?

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The Taper Blues

10 days until race day and I’m going through a funk.  Last week is what I would consider a non-running week as I struggled to complete an easy 7- mile run, followed by an emerging series of aches and pains (ankle/hamstring/IT band).  I’ve heard of “phantom pains” surfacing during this period which could be the case since I didn’t have as many issues the past several weeks of training.  Yet even with the knowledge, I can’t help but feel a bit discouraged.  Thursday, I only managed 3 miles – I could have pushed for more but common sense pointed to rest and recovery.  Then unexpectedly when I felt ready to run on Saturday, I went through another hurdle of being sick from something I ate the night before. A severe stomachache and eventual vomiting caused the worst body aches the following day.  I managed to sleep most of the day (thanks to my husband who watched the girls!) and felt better in the afternoon.  

Sunday, I was sitting next to my 2 year old happy and content playing in the sand.  It’s been a week since she had the unfortunate event of fracturing her left humerus.  What’s amazing to me is her sheer resilience, absolutely unfazed by this bandage wrapped around her arm to minimize its movement.  Rather, she focused on her strengths so she could continue to enjoy her daily activities.  This particular observation uplifted me.  Instead of brooding over one bad week, I should be celebrating my achievements up to this point and BELIEVE my goals are within reach. 

 

Flashback : Race recap and training tidbits

Yikes, 5 months without a post!  Only 4 weeks left until Marine Corps Marathon.  I regret not writing as often as I would like but after spring break, the dynamics in my home changed when my husband went out of town for a month for work.  My girls, especially the eldest terribly missed her dad and at times affected her behavior, therefore each day was an emotional roller coaster that left me completely drained.  The last thing on my mind was to sit in front of a computer. Unfortunately, the one month without writing has crept up to five, and I missed posting about a couple of the races I ran and most of my marathon training.

April:  La Jolla Half marathon – the first time I ran this race after living in San Diego for nearly 8 years.  Guess I avoided this race because of its hilly route, especially the Torrey Pines Hill about a mile climb up to approx 400 ft!  The entertainment portion of the race was lacking as I noticed it was quiet throughout most of the race, but the ocean views were truly remarkable.

La Jolla Half elevation profile

I finished in a little under 1:55.  My goal was 2hrs and stayed with the pace group until the last few miles when I knew I had enough energy left to pick up the pace. The long downhill at mile 10 helped tremendously.  I was happy with my performance and will most likely run this race again.

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In May, I took a couple of weeks off for recovery and in preparation for my 20 week marathon training plan that started in June.  The plan included 4-days of running (Tues speed session) and 1-day strength/crosstrain, 2 to 3 20mi long runs and build-up close to 50mi prior to taper.  It’s been tweaked a few times, but I’ve managed to accomplish the training so far without any major injuries.  There was a month when my right ankle/foot was bothersome but not to the point where I had to stop running.  Actually, replacing it with brand new shoes seemed to have solved the issue.

July: I participated in 2 races – Footloose Freedom Mile run in Mammoth on 4th of July and Chicago Rock n Roll Half at the end of the month.  The mile run in Mammoth was impromptu.  My husband spotted a flyer when we checked in to our condo and I said “Why not? It’s only a mile right!?”

This is a race hosted by the Mammoth Track Club which starts 30min prior to their 4th of July parade so the street was filled with plenty of spectators.  It was an awesome race except the part when I was gasping for air (hello altitude!) with maybe a quarter mile to go.  I finished with a respectable time of 7:33 actually placing 3rd in my age group!  Can’t remember the last time I placed and had no idea until recently when I looked up my race results on athlinks.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention I met one of the best female elite distance runners, Deena Kastor who was there to run with her daughter.  A starstruck moment for me!

Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon: The race that brought together old college friends whom I haven’t seen in years.  Back in college, we would have never predicted meeting in Chicago to run a half marathon!

A summertime race on the east coast meant hot and humid weather. The heat I can take but not the humidity.  Hydration and a relaxed pace was the key to the finish line which is exactly what we accomplished.  Despite the heat, Chicago was an awesome city to explore and the race was an excellent opportunity to tour it.  The best part of it was sharing the experience with my dear friends. 

This week is the final one prior to taper. Yesterday was a 20miler-regrettably I ran the first 5 miles at a very fast pace to keep up with a group and paid for it at the end.  A great reminder to avoid the same mistake at the marathon.

Spring Break

Intention: Run 3-4x while on vacation

Reality: 1 and 1/2… the half was due to a run cut short (more about that later)

Last week, we soaked in the sun and enjoyed time with family during the kids’ spring break.  Our family of 4 joined my brother’s family of 5 as well as my youngest brother and Mom for a reunion in St. Petersburg, FL.  Being able to rent a house to accommodate all of us was a big plus since my oldest daughter has looked forward to this week of spending time with her cousin the same age as her.  At night, they would close the door in our bedroom so they could be alone in their own world of pretend play.  Such priceless moments.

6 days – I had it planned in my head that I can probably manage 3, even 4 days of running but even with the best intentions, I found reasons, ok excuses to abandon my plan.

Monday was a long travel day, up at 4:15am and by the time we got settled in to our hotel room, it was time for bed.

Tuesday, I woke up exhausted!  Without a pack and play for my toddler at the hotel we stayed in the first night, she was up until who knows what time playing in bed.  No way I was going to push myself to run.

Wednesday, finally up at 7am while the rest of the family still in deep slumber, I quietly made my way out the door towards a neighborhood overlooking the Bayou Grande, a body of water by the Weedon Island State Preserve.  Viewing the map, it didn’t seem very far but the time I got there, I was already 2.5mi out.  Briefly, I enjoyed the view and caught a sight of several large fish swimming around – none I can identify and no they were not sharks.

Bayou Grande with Weedon Island across the water

Thursday, I woke early again but a little fatigued.  3 miles was the goal and close to the halfway point, I unexpectedly tripped and fell 😦 In my mind, it happened in slow motion where I saw my body trying to maintain its balance but it was too late.  I extended my arms to save my face and head from hitting the ground.  The worst of my injury was bloody torn skin on my right hand and a sore wrist.  Luckily, my legs still functioned and didn’t need a ride home.

Who said running is not a dangerous sport?

Friday, another day off.  We had a busy day ahead of us and our plan was to leave as soon as everyone was ready to go.  I didn’t plan to wake up any earlier since I was not going to run before sunrise – not in an unfamiliar area.

Saturday, last day of our trip with a late flight home.  I wanted to run in the morning but we had to pack and ensure the house was in an acceptable condition prior to our checkout.

I’ve never been good with keeping up my mileage during vacation.  I know it has to be done first thing in the morning.  And when we are elsewhere besides our home, a decent night sleep is nonexistent especially with our kiddos in the same room. So when the choice of sleeping in or being awake to go for a run, SLEEP usually conquers. Yet, I continue to pack my running gear because I know I can find time if I truly want to go for a run (No excuses, right!?)

The Lottery

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I’ve been watching the Running Man since Friday the 13th when the lottery for the Marine Corps Marathon started.  5 days past and I’m still staring at the same Running Man.  I didn’t realize it was this difficult to even register for it.  Last year, my name was unexpectedly selected to run the NYC Marathon – only 1 in 10 are picked so I was ecstatic to have the chance to run it. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.  I would love to run it again, but I have many other marathons to mark off my list (Chicago, Portland, Seattle – maybe a race in every state?…) .  The lottery is open until the 23rd so I’m keeping my fingers crossed the Running Man finishes his run and allow me to register!

This is my third week of running after a 3-week break due to ankle and hamstring pain.  I feel the usual aches in my right foot/ankle but nothing too detrimental.  By the next day after a fairly hard run, I recover enough to handle a slow and easy pace. Currently, I’m experimenting with my heart rate monitor as this is the first time I’ve really used it to gauge my pace and the way I feel instead of just running a particular pace.  So far, I think it has helped me in keeping my long runs relaxed as I tend to get carried away when with a group and usually end up running faster than what my body can manage, hence the resulting injuries.  I will continue to track my heart rate and plan to run my half marathon using my HRM as a guide to dictate my speed rather than a planned pace per mile.

Only 5 weeks of training left until the La Jolla Half Marathon – a beautiful scenic course along the coast.  Yikes check out the elevation profile!  Although, I’m terrified of the hills, I’m excited to run this race.

Quick look at Training

Tomorrow we start week 5 of training with the Super Bowl Run 10K race on Saturday instead of our usual long run.  My first race of the season of which my #1 goal is to PR (as I doubt myself after just typing it…)  My PR at this race is tough to beat as I was very fit when I ran it many years ago – 7 years to be exact so I’m setting a second goal to beat my time from last year. “Dream, Believe, Achieve”, Right!?

The past four weeks of training has gone well.  Besides the tightness in my right hamstring, I have no complaints.  My performance seems to be improving every week and I feel strong during our weekly track sessions.  So far, my training has consisted of 4 days of running with additional core work and an extra day of strength training.  I have taken 1 to 2 days off for recovery but that doesn’t mean I just sit on the couch all day.  After all, I do have 2 kids who keeps me on my toes most of the time.  And worst, I don’t want to be part of the statistic where sedentary behavior increases the risk of early death, regardless of exercise!

Yesterday, the San Diego Track Club ventured up north to the San Dieguito River Valley trails in Escondido.  It was my first time running there as I usually miss the north county runs since the drive is time-consuming (about 40min one way), but I’m happy I decided to run this one.  I’m not much of a trail runner since my foot control is terrible and I usually end up tripping over myself, but the trails we ran were mostly leveled with only a few slight inclines along the way.  Plus being surrounded by nature is simply energizing – I completed 7 miles but I felt as though I could have ran forever.

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           Mule Hill Trail