7/14/14

Marathon Training

The last long run before the marathon is in the bag. Though I've done several of these, each time is different. My last marathon was really hard, even though the one before that was really great. so I didn't follow a past plan that seemed to work before. Instead, I did my own training plan based on how I feel right now and what happened last time. Last time I felt over trained, had been doing 2 marathons a year, got really overconfident and tore my quad. This year, I had a really low mileage base, with weekly high intensity speedwork sessions and short distance races scheduled throughout the year. Gradually, I extended the distance of those races. I changed my footwear to minimal. I did weekly tempo sessions on the course with some hill training. I slowed down the intensity a bit and instead of doing several cycles of building up mileage for the marathon, I just did 3 weeks of building after the half-marathon, going up to 22.5. I don't really subscribe to the notion that you can run a marathon comfortably and confidently with a long run of only 16 miles...Or I should say, my legs don't subscribe to that. There are some physical adaptations that take place only through training for several hours. After doing 22 miler really slow, I have to say my expectations are kind of low. I'm not really sure if I can drop 20 minutes off my time on this course as I've done each time before. Perhaps the taper effect will work it's magic!


Long runs:

16 miles
19 miles
22.5 miles

7/2/14

At the Halfway Point

The year is running by so fast! Update on how I'm doing with my humble mileage goals:

Yearly Goal: 
Run: 1,000 mi
Bike: 4,000 mi
Swim: 100 mi

As of June 30th:
Run: 447
Bike: 1,300 commute + 435 recreation + 167 extra miles in May for bike month push = 1,902
Swim: 52 (My USMS flog says 48.74)

Looks like I'm on track. June was a big mileage month all around, and I think July is going to be through the roof! In the midst of marathon training, will update on that later.

6/23/14

See Jane Run 13.1

This weekend I ran the See Jane Run 13.1 as part of my buildup for the SF Marathon. I've been trying to extend my pace runs and this gave me the perfect motivation to pick up the pace. No PR, but I was not pushing it that hard this time. My goal was comfortably hard, with emphasis on the comfortable. The course is fast and flat, though there is the possibility of heat and wind. The course was scenic, with lots of views of the bay. Start at Washington Park and finish at Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda.
I rode my bike to Transbay Terminal and caught the 6am AC Transit "O" bus to get there. Got off on Webster and biked to the end of the street and made a left to Washington Park. There is bike parking by the athletic field. They had a fun 80's theme pre-race warmup and DJ. The race took off in waves with pacers, which makes a lot of sense for traffic and safety. I wonder why more races don't do this. I seeded myself in the second wave, estimating my time to be 1:50. I ran ahead of the pace group and just tried to keep a consistent pace which I felt was 8:00 but after looking at the data noticed was a little faster. After the halfway point I felt myself slowing down and did some recovery miles. I made sure to stop at all the aid stations and drink water and electrolyte. It was hot and they had SOS on the course, which helped. I didn't consume any carbs at the halfway point but in retrospect think I should have. On the last mile, I finally saw my pacer Barbara from Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders. This gave me some relief that I could still finish under 2 hours after my slowdown. I finished in 1:49:31! Photos

6/10/14

Going Minimal: New Balance Minimus Review

 Here is a quick review of the New Balance minimal running shoes I have tried so far.

Trail 10v2 
Specs

439 miles - This is a good intro shoe if you're new to running without alot of cushion. I did a bunch of  short 1 mile runs in these to transition from regular trainers. I really like this shoe and it works as an everyday walking shoe also. They are sturdy and still holding up after 400 miles, I think I might be able to squeeze a few more miles out of it before the heel and toe wear completely off. They offer good traction on trails and wet sidewalk. I would definitely buy these again.

Hi-Rez

258 miles
Specs
This is the lightest shoe I have ever tried, and definitely need a transition period for these. It feels like  you are just wearing socks! I did the same long transition of running a bunch of 1 milers in these to get used to them until I was doing all my runs in them. I like what these shoes did for my balance and lower leg conditioning. My feet feel stronger. Also, it is so nice to stretch your feet in these. You can't stretch your feet in regular trainers. I did some fast races in these! They are a bit light on the trails, and you will feel rocks. It feels so nice on a soft forest trail. You can't feel that sensation in big trainers. However, when it is damp, you're feet will get wet, but that is the point of barefoot running, right? Because they are lightweight, they have less material, therefore wear out faster.  After 250 miles, little tears are starting to appear in the fabric that is holding the hexagons together, but the eva midsole is still intact. Perhaps there is a way to reinforce the area between them.  I had hoped these would last me throughout the year for my marathon training. Not recommended for biking in, lol. Though I enjoyed them, I'm not sure I'd want to pay the same price for shoes that don't last as long when I get huaraches for much cheaper. I'm not trying to be a shoe hoarder.

Zero v2

6 miles
Specs
First impression is: the shoe is very comfortable. My foot has been well-prepped on the previous two shoes. They offer a bit more protection than the Hi-Rez if that is what you're looking for, and they look spiffy for wearing everyday. I have already received compliments. It feels like a happy medium between the two and I can't wait to see how long they last as I get ready for my marathon. I will keep you posted.

I like New Balance because they are made in the USA. My reason for going minimal is that I tore my quad on my last marathon. My legs were cramped badly and my hamstrings were continuously tight training in the Nike Pegasus. Now I run without the hamstring tightness. My legs feel so much better and very good recovery after running. I have been doing a lot of speedwork this year, and so I can testify that this is working better for me. I look forward to doing my first minimal marathon next month and going the distance!

5/27/14

Bike Camping at Samuel P. Taylor SP

This weekend, my bf and I decided to make the most of the warm weather and try bike camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park. The trip was 31 miles each way, and we took about 4 hours to get there with some breaks. Though my bike is not a touring bike, I find it very comfortable on long rides and it did have mounting locations to attach a rack. I found a lightweight rack at Sports Basement, but the braze-ons on my bike were in a weird place. The mechanics there recommended a rack-lock seat collar that had the proper attachments. I made it work. For this area, it's really nice to have a mountain bike or cross bike for road and trails, but my mountain bike got stolen so I'm making the best of it. We fully prepped and packed the day before so that on Sunday we could just hop on our bikes and take off.




I made sure to weigh my gear so it wouldn't go over the limit. I had 25 lbs on the back and 5 lbs in my handlebar bag. I had a tent, sleeping bag, hiking clothes and shoes, toiletries, first aid, bike tools and lights, a few eating and kitchen utensils, even a mattress pad and chair! It did feel different at first riding with the extra weight, but wasn't as bad as I thought. The hills were manageable. I had to be careful not to go too fast on the downhills, it can get a little wobbly. At one point I was going to fast, hit a bump and one of my panniers popped off. Now I make sure to secure it better to the rack. I had some eggs in that pannier and they survived because they were in one of those yellow plastic egg carriers. I had brought a small camp stove but didn't make sure it worked before the trip. We didn't really need it though, as they sell firewood at the campground and plenty of food at the Lagunitas store. Bike camping is actually $7 for a 2 day pass. It is a group camp right next to the bathrooms with 2 firepits, picnic table, water, and a food locker. Because it is a group camp, the other cyclists already had a fire going, and we could make hot tea. At the bike camp, we met interesting cyclists doing fun trips. Some women were doing the California Coast, then across the U.S. to the East Coast! I wish I could have stayed up and socialized more but was so exhausted. In the morning, we started another fire from the hot coals to make breakfast and hot coffee after our morning hike up to the ridge.



From the Cross-Marin bike trail, you can access Jewell trail to Bolinas Ridge. It is a nice short hike/mountain bike with view of Bolinas Bay. After a long ride, it's very relaxing to take a nap under a canopy of redwood trees with the sounds of birds chirping next to a babbling creek. Overall, a great way to spend the weekend!