Countdown to 2009

I have been under the weather but still am trying to achieve my goal of logging 1,000 miles this year. With less than 10 miles away I'm feeling better already.

I'm sad to have lost a friend over the holidays, prematurely to health issues. Good health is a precious gift if we have it we must take care of it and try to help those that are suffering. I'm going to be more proactive about the health of my family and friends by awareness, education and motivation.

Other New Year's Resolutions: go probiotic, log more miles hopefully on scenic trails, unplug more often, spend more time with friends, revitalize dormant skills (art), try something new (triathlon!)
How to press the reset button on your life >>

Great article about swimming to avoid winter doldrums >>

The world may be in chaos with war and fiscal crisis, but if we don't take care of ourselves then we cannot be of any use to anyone else. Wishing everyone a HEALTHY happy new year!

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" -Ghandi


Breathing Breakthrough!

Today when I was doing speed intervals I discovered a breathing breakthrough! I noticed that my breathing was very shallow - it's in my chest and I felt out of breath. My fast pace is 2 steps for every inhale, 2 steps for every exhale, mostly breathing through the mouth. Every 3 cycles of this I tried to take a deep inhale through my nose and belly breathe into the core, then resume with the 3 cycles of regular breathing. I continued the deep, shallow pattern throughout the exercise and it helped tremendously! On the hills I adjusted the pattern so it was every 2 cycles. I must've been made aware of this from all the swimming I've been doing. This article also has some insight.

You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen; Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen!


Tadpole Training

The swimming is going well. It's low impact so I can practice it on rest and cross-training days. It's just a matter of being consistent and showing up there 2-3 times a week and putting in the time. I tried to hook up with a swim coach but it didn't seem to fit in with my schedule, so I'm using Kevin Koskella's Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD. I can tell if my form is bad when I start drowning, LOL. If my neck is sore, it means my ear is not touching my shoulder and I'm not turning to the side enough. The noseclips and zoomers are helping me tremendously. No more choking on water and sinking. I'll be doing tons of drills to start off with for the next few weeks.

I remember the days when I was afraid of water, but snorkeling helped me get over it. Today I discovered to hold my breath a bit before exhaling underwater. It's very relaxing, like yoga breathing.

Blogs: Triathlon Training Blog



Lately I've been enjoying Bart Yasso's book My Life on the Run, detailing his many running adventures around the world. It even has a chapter on his bicycle tour across the United States riding over 100 miles per day. I had no idea he battled Lyme disease and addiction, which makes his stories even that much more inspirational... and he's a vegetarian to boot! The book has some training plans for all races and levels. I used his Yasso 800s method to improve my speed and it works.


Getting Reacquainted With H2O

I'm hoping to do a triathlon next year and it's time to get reacquainted with H20. There are tons of videos on youTube that explain technique. Expert Village has several videos teaching swimming techniques such as freestyle. It's all about multitasking. Each task is broken down into basic steps and it's very simple to understand:

Peter Elizondo
Phillip Toriello
Rotem Agame & Olga Tzinker

I'm also checking out TriSwim Coach.


Bike Heaven

Happy Trails!

China Camp State Park is bike heaven. The running on theses trails is nice too, but in one hour I covered more ground on my bike and did the entire Shoreline loop and saw everything. The cross-training on the bike is great for strengthening the muscles around the knee for support. I've had an entire week off after the marathon now I'm ready to rock-n-roll again!


Map My Run now has Nike+ Integration

If you're a fan of Nike+, then you will appreciate the ability to view your mileage and pace data now in Map My Run, and from there you will be able to actually download your charts (if you have a premium membership).


Not So Fast, Elites!

Arien O' Connell's time was faster than any of the declared "elite" winners in the NWM08 (way to go!) but gets no props. How frustrating! But I bet she's got sponsors knocking at her door now.
Article >>


Nike Women's Marathon 2008


Wow! Team Purple is deep, and their support is deep too! I saw teams from all over the US. I ran the first part of the marathon behind a Moms In Motion runner, but then I lost her - she must've picked up the motion. Then, I cruised behind TNT Central Ohio in Golden Gate Park, then TNT Greater San Francisco. Around Ocean Beach I tried to catch up to TNT Team Tofu, but there was no way - they were too fast. I did 4 minutes better time than the last one, but it was way more comfortable and I had a strong finish, thanks to all that speed and hill training. Didn't need the ipod 'cause there was tons of music: dj's, marching bands, drum circles, classical, ragtime, cheerleaders, a U2 Cover band, and a Tuba rendition of Billie Jean. It's those little funny moments that keep you going. With the full and the half both sold out, combined with the Walk of Hope event this weekend, I can only imagine how much money was raised to fight cancer. Time to chill.

Nike Women's Marathon 2008


Marathon Time

It just one week away so I'm going over my checklist to make sure I have everything in my fuel belt ready to go. We're taxi'ing on the runway, flight attendants, prepare for takeoff.


Short & Sharpen Week

I've adjusted my ambitious training plan to the official Nike Women's Marathon plan, since they are already tapering down and it sounds like a good idea. I made up my longish run that I didn't do yesterday today and will just stick to the program for the countdown. I'm already thinking of my next big event though and I think it will be a tri next year.


Going Long on Sunday at the Church of Sweat

Ocean Beach
Everything hurts. I am baptized in sweat. I feel redeemed. Tomorrow the pain will be gone.


OCD Runner

ocd runner

Today the tracks were crowded with youth track meets and soccer games, but I managed to find some laps for speedwork. I can't believe the marathon is in 28 days! I could say more about the OCD aspect of running, like how I have 5 running logs and get into the designs made by my mileage and pace graphs, but I won't because I think you already know what I mean.

Funny shirts at the track meet:
"Visualize. Attack. Kill."
"We're bringing XC back"


Sunset Run

Sunset Run
Tonight was a little group fun run organized by Fleet Feet and Nike+ to benefit Students Run Oakland, a great program (check out their video). I scored a cool technical shirt. They also had a raffle of entries into the Nike Women's Marathon and Nike+ Sport Kits. Hella fun! I've been adding more hills into my program and feeling it. Gotta rest.

Students Run Oakland on KQED Truly CA >>


Friday Happy Hour

My friday happy hour is running speed intervals into the wind. It always takes me quite a bit of motivation to do this workout when I'm a bit tired at the end of the week, but I know that once I'm out there, my heart rate will be elevated and I'll be in the zone, in a completely different frame of mind and feel great afterward. It's a mental game that gets played out every time between the slacker and the action-figure. I'm up to 6 x 800, w/ 400m recovery intervals. I'm doing the 800s between 3:30 - 4:00 min each. To make it easier, I just run 4 minutes hard on my stopwatch, then run easy for a quarter mile. To keep track of my laps I use bracelets. Every time I complete an interval I slide the bracelet to the opposite arm.

I'm getting the wind info from iWindsurf.com. Check out the wind after hurricane IKE! It's still gusty at 35-56mph!


1,000 miles!

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." - Lao-tzu

On 9-5-08 at 8:30pm I logged my 1,000 mile! It took me 13 months. The last half mile was all up a steep hill, finishing atop a scenic park. Half an hour later was a 4.0 earthquake. A memorable day indeed! Not to rest on my laurels, I have already picked out a new challenge (See sidebar). The reward for 1,000 miles is a great feeling of accomplishment, but little perks like wearing a new pair of skinny jeans ain't bad either!

Now to get cracking on the third rock from the sun.


Nike + Human Race 10k at Sunday Streets

Sunday Streets SF

So I signed up to do the Human Race and it happened to be on the same day as Sunday Streets, how perfect! Several miles of streets of our city were deemed car-free so that people could get out and bike, run, skate, dance, etc. Great idea!

I ran down to the Embarcadero as a warmup, then decided to start somewhere significant and inspirational. I chose a commemorative marker for the Ferry Building enduring the 1906 Earthquake.

1906 Earthquake Totem 10k Finish at SFBC boothSunday Streets SF

I ran all the way down to the end of the event then turned back to finish at the SFBC booth. Even though there were a few stops to let cars pass in certain areas, I still managed to run a PR! Okay, it's only 5 seconds but it matters. The booth was well stocked with water, raisins, friendly faces and sunscreen, just what I needed. I jogged back to south beach to meet my friends who were hula-hooping it up. I realized it requires skills I do not have at the moment so I just had a little stretch and continued onward. What a fabulous day! I've signed up to volunteer at the next Sunday Streets.

Warmup and cooldown with a nice hill!
G-Map Elevation Chart

Playlist: "Bionik" by fave dj Dominik Eulberg

I am approaching my 1,000 mile milestone with only 11.71 miles to go!


Running ALiVe!

Hot summer night, 4 x 800 speed intervals, flying along the track with the sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge, 300 ft climb home.


Fam and Movies

Fam reflects on the Olympic Steeplechase. There is a movie about him called "Run Like Hell". Another movie is coming out next year about everyday people discovering their athletic side called Athlete to hit the screens in 2009.

Another movie I really enjoyed about running is Spirit of the Marathon. And you can also browse a long list of films here. Something to watch while you put your feet up after a long run.


Putting the Work in the Workout

I'm halfway through Hal Higdon's book Run Fast and I'm kicking it up a notch this week with 800m intervals. I'm a newbie to speedwork and I realized the most uncomfortable part of running fast for me is the feeling of being out of breath and gasping for air, so I worked on controlling my breathing rythm. I'm starting with 3 repeats today and will try to work my to ten over the next 10 weeks (average times were 3:35). Oh, and that hill that I usually avoid running at the end of my run is now a part of my route.


Go Aquarius!

Olympics Marathon champ Constantina Tomescu at 38 is the oldest Olympic marathoner in history. That's my age and I'm Aquarius too! Aquarians are pushing the envelope! I think it would be cool to launch an athletic challenge event based on astrological signs that goes beyond geographical regions and borders.

Today I begin training again for the next marathon, the Nike Women's Marathon!


More Support...

Good Luck!

I just recieved Run Fast by Hal Higdon and I was thrilled to find it came autographed with a word of encouragement by Hal himself!


Nike + Human Race 10k

On 8.31.08 millions of people around the world are going to run for several charities in the Nike+ Human Race 10k. I'll be running for the UN Refugee Agency.

It's happening on the same day as Sunday Streets SF, a car-free recreational urban open-space experiment, so I'll be running there, since you can participate in the race wherever you are with the Nike+ Sportband.
Join the challenge!



My friend Eli sent me this card, so I just had to share...

Along the route there were people holding signs of support for their loved ones, but there was plenty of generic support for all. My favorite was a cryptic sign scribbled on yellow paper around mile 23 that said "in your head".


SF Marathon 2008

SF Marathon 2008

I survived my first marathon! It was not easy, but I feel exhilarated and transformed by the experience. I did great in the first 10 miles, but then the pace chart went out the window after too many hill encounters. Next time I will pay more attention to the elevations. Going up is actually easier than coming down, because unlike cycling where you fly down, with running each leap forward your body absorbs the shock, and the heels and knees are not too happy about it. If I could've changed a few things, I would have done more hill training and remembered to gulp more electrolytes before I hit the mid-race mark. I finished under 5 hours and put in my maximum effort, just for that I'm happy as can be. Thanks to all the super volunteers and spectators who came out to support the race - I can't express how much it helped, especially at mile 24!

...Only 72.26 more miles until I hit 1,000!


SF Marathon Weekend is Here!

SF Marathon Expo
SF Marathon Expo
As I walked in to the tent, I heard the woman behind me say what I was thinking, "This is a runner's dream!" Amazing how picking up a registration packet, bib number, a t-shirt and some goodies is a little dream come true.

Most of the pace charts online are for doing the marathon all at one pace, so I made a customizable pace chart in xcel for changing your pace at different points in the marathon to calculate your desired finish time. It has 3 versions: One for dividing your marathon into 3 parts at miles 8,16, and 24, one for dividing it into 5 parts every 5 miles, and a 10-10-10 (10m miles, 10 miles, 10k):
Download >>


One Week Until Marathon Day!

Mileage for previous 7 months leading up to the marathon (Voomaxer chart from Facebook). I like the zig-zag design at the end.

After a day of complete rest yesterday, I had a nice trail run this morning and feel ready for the marathon. It is a little nerve-wrecking but I know it will be fun. My only strategy for race day is to stay loose and shoot for a negative split, where I get nice and warmed up for the first half, then accelerate to 8:00 and then 7:30 in a classic progression. I think I will try the 10-10-10. I will bring a pace chart, but truthfully may end up winging it since it is my first one. I know that if I go hard early on in the race I will feel it later which may wreck it for me. Also, I am not going to freak out about buying new gear for the event. The only thing I'm getting is an extra carb-flask. My shoes are good. I'm in good shape. I've run the terrain before in separate chunks.

I've been eating super clean (no sugar or refined carbs) and have dropped a few pounds this week, but now I'll start eating more complex carbs and on Thursday the carbo-loading begins! According the article, I need to be eating 600g of carbs a day from complex to simple 3 days before the event. I calculated 600g to be the equivalent of 40 slices of whole-wheat toast! My pre-race meal will probably be 2 slices of whole wheat toast with a pat of butter and organic jam. It worked well for the 20-milers.

What 600 g of carbs looks like:
12-13 cups brown rice
17-20 large bananas
20-22 medium potatoes
29-33 large oranges
53-60 figs
source: Organic Athlete

This fueling plan works for me: 3000 calories, 400g carbs, 50-25-25


Reading about Running

Right now I am reading an exciting page-turner called Ultramarathon Man by that mad runner Dean Karnazes. He's run 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states, amongst other unbelievable achievements!

...AND he has a movie! >>


Taper - The Last Speed Workout

I looked at my training plan and noticed that today is the last speed interval run before the marathon. I am new to speed training and just barely learned to run at 8mph for 800m and 1600m intervals this year. It was cold earlier in the season, so I trained indoors on the treadmill and just set the incline at 1 to make up for lack of terrain and weather conditions. From there I would set the treadmill to the most difficult pace I could stand and do the intervals, taking note of my heart rate at different speeds. Then when I am off the mill I can roughly estimate how fast I am going by checking out my heart rate. My new pedometer also helps with that.

I looked at my log and noticed that my best time on my 5-miler was back in February, I did it in 47:09. So today I set out to make it my goal to beat that time. I ran it in 42:12, that is almost 5 minutes faster!

Time to:
- change the battery in my heart rate monitor
- eat and sleep well
- come up with a suitable marathon day strategy
- see if I need new shoes
- decide what to wear for the marathon!



Four months ago I did a Wash-n-Go run. The goal is to do a "comfortably hard" 3-miler while the laundry is in the wash cycle. Though I didn't beat the clock, my times have improved, and the heart rates have come down.

date time avg HR / max HR pace
3-11-08 32:22 160 / 190 10:47
7-9-08 25:53 157/185 9:45

...and my laundry is clean!


The Last 20-miler Before the Marathon

That was it! I finished the 3rd and last 20-mile run before the marathon, and now am on the taper phase. I do not know what happened this time, but around mile 17 I looked at my watch and noticed that I just might finish my run in under 4 hours. I sussed it out and felt like I had a little somethin' somethin' in the fuel tank, a little "money in the bank" so to speak. Just then a massive adrenaline rush kicked in I said to myself "heck yeah LET'S DO THIS!" So I booked it on the homestretch to finish the run in 3:40:21 which is about 26 minutes better than last 20m a PR! This is a great boost in my motivation and confidence for the big 26.2.

Time for a chuckle: Insert witty T-shirt slogan here!


20 Mile Training Run #2

Ok, I take it back. Running a marathon IS a big deal. After 3.5 hours it starts to get spiritual. It probably would have been less tough if I had just rested yesterday, but I have no regrets. I broke up the run into several pieces in mind, from terrain to psychological, then near the end it seemed to dissolve into a moving dream. I wonder what my electroencephalogram looks like right now.


Feeling the Burn

Wow, running a marathon does not seem like that big of a deal now after climbing steep hills for 4 hours on a bicycle!



Easy 8

Today I have an easy 8 mile run to give my legs time to get solid. It's funny how what used to be a long run for me is now a short run.

"As you start your marathon (or half marathon) training, don't forget..."
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my goal that I forget to enjoy the training process, and the simple things, like forgetting to turn my stopwatch off at the end of a half-marathon.


20 Mile Club

Week 10: The 20 miles went well. It was a bit of an extra challenge because I have been sick all week. I figured, well I can stay home and cough my lungs out or get out on the trail and cough my lungs out, so I chose to maintain my long run. I had a little aromatherapy on the go by putting a few drops of eucalyptus oil on my sleeve and taking a whiff every now and then. It's a great pick me up. Early on I ran into some ladies in the middle of their tri and cheered them on. At mile 15 I could feel the soreness everywhere in my legs, but by mile 17 they were numb and tingly. My mantra was "think positive happy thoughts", then the endorphin factory would drop a supply load to the quads. Oh the quads. They are aching. I think rigor mortis is setting in. Two more 20-milers on the schedule this month, then the taper.

Getting Ready for 20-Miler!

Ultimate Direction Fuel Belt

20 mile kit:
20 oz water bottle (filled at 3 water stops)
4 Gu gels in gel flask w/water
Nuun electrolyte tablet for the last 5 miles

Post-run Fuel: 12oz. Accelerade


Homemade Energy Bars & Gels

Here is my favorite recipe for oatcakes, which you can modify to your taste to make some tasty energy bars:

Wild Oatcakes
1 cups of oats
1 cups quinoa
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of ground flaxseeds
1 cup of mix-ins (raisins, dried cranberries or other fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, peanut butter, etc.)
1 mashed apple and banana
1/4 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water
If you like, you can add a scoop of protein powder.

Mix it all together, if you need more moisture, add a splash of soy or coconut milk. Roll into a log and cut into slices or spread out in a pan and cut into squares and bake at 350ยบ for 15 minutes or until golden. The flaxseeds eliminate the need to use oil or butter, and are high in fiber and omega 3s.

Now that I am doing longer runs, Instead of messing around with sticky gel packets I am using the gel flask. I just pour the gels in, mix with water and am good to go. Here is a recipe for energy gel that I found. The brown rice syrup is high in complex carbs.

DIY Energy Gel
50% Brown Rice Syrup
30% Honey
20% Blackstrap Molasses
1/8 tsp salt

I am also trying a new combo, adding maple syrup, which has more minerals than honey. The nutritional profile of honey varies on the types of flowers it is made from. Honey has a tiny bit of protein and antioxidants. You may also want to tweak the amount of salt more or less.

4oz Brown Rice Syrup
2oz Blackstrap Molasses
1oz Maple Syrup
1oz Honey
1/8 tsp salt

If the honey is too sweet for you try the Agave Nectar. Organic Athlete also has recipes of natural energy gels made with dates. YUM! (Video)


Taking a Moment

Marathon training is not an easy thing to do. I've never run over 18 miles before, and last week I felt closer to the wall. I had the energy and stamina, but my legs were ready to call it a day at mile 17. The burning desire to finish is there, which is good. I've passed a significant milestone in my training and I just wanted to acknowledge that as an important event...

...Because next week I'm doing 20 miles in one day!


Veggie Fuel

Victory Garden Harvest
Photo of my mesclun garden

I thought that doing all this extra training would have sent me towards the meat section at the grocery store, but thankfully, it has not. I am happy with my hummus wraps, nuts, sunflower seeds, AND there are plenty of tasty non-gmo soy and seitan dishes out there to satisfy my palate. One thing I noticed when I did a nutritional analysis when I was starting out is that I wasn't getting enough selenium or magnesium. This was easily solved by supplementing my diet with nuts.

Selenium - Brazil Nuts
Magnesium - Almonds, Walnuts
Iron - Sunflower Seeds

Good read: Runners World, The Nut Case

You can also find some info about nutrition balance at Running While Vegetarian, or if you are vegan, some tips at Organic Athlete.

No bonking allowed: I learned the hard way what happens when you don't eat something on long workouts - Dizziness, weakness, fatigue, a longer recovery period, general loss of motivation. It is not good for your body to get dehydrated and empty of fuel like that. Now I train with prevention in mind and use some commercial products such as gu, accelerade and muscle milk before and after the workout. Instead of eating large meals, I break it up into smaller power snacks throughout the day to keep my energy levels high.


Amped on Friday!

There is nothing quite like the feeling of Friday's run. Here is the scene: Thursday was a rest day and Wednesday was the speed interval day. I feel like my legs are going to send me flying into the stratosphere! Tomorrow will be the most miles I have ever run in one session, and it will keep building up for the next 6 weeks to the 20 miler!


Trail Mix

Here is a 2 minute video of the trail run through The Presidio. Enjoy!


Marathon Training

Alright! I am 2 weeks into my marathon training plan. It is a modified version of the Sporting Excellence plan and the Hal Higdon plan. Higdon's book "MARATHON--The Ultimate Training Guide" offers some great tips and advice which really breaks it down. The Green Team also outlines a complete program. I just switched rest days around to suit my schedule and unforeseen circumstances. Sometimes I can't adhere to the schedule and have to give myself some room for flexibility. My primary goal is to go the distance at my best and run injury-free.

Other Runners' programs:
Training Plans 1 >>
Training Plans 2 >>


Happy Trails!


Once I hit the trail, I completely forgot about everything I was stressing-out about.

Inspiration: check out this audio clip of Daniel Fahy today at the Marathon des Sables. In this 7-day endurance event, the runners had to carry all their food, camping and survival gear with them in the blistering heat. Here is a sample kit.


Nike Women's Marathon

Yay! I was selected in the random drawing for the 2008 Nike Women's Marathon, a race to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I'm so excited! Now I have double the motivation for my training to go the distance!


The Run Aquatic

SFDSE Embarcadero 10k

The San Francisco Dolphin South End Runners Embarcadero 10k was a splash, and I managed to run 8 minutes faster than my last 10k at about 50:00 as I had predicted. Thank you, Hal!

Bikes R Nice

At Runner's World, Mark Remy started a "bike thread" asking runners and bike lovers about how often they ride and what kind of bikes they have. I've always been a bike commuter, and biking to work I have a built in workout twice a day. Pedaling helps work out the stiffness from running the previous day. I have a Giant Rincon hybrid mtn bike and a Giant Halfway folding bike for the bus commute. I like Giant because of their outreach to the female cyclist and bikes fitted for women. Other brands I had to search really hard to find a small frame that wasn't pink.

Another great thing about relying on bicycles for transportation is when I have a race, I can just cruise there and be already warmed up. Don't have to worry about bus schedules, traffic delays, parking, etc. I just strap a jug of water to my bike rack. I'm starting to see more valet bike parking at events, which is awesome, and way better for the planet. Check out my neon. I'm hopping on my bike now for my 10k!


The funk happens

Spring came, and then there was an overwhelming burst of mania, project planning, weird sleep and mood swings which led to less running last week. A spring-cleaning-and-painting-the-bathroom marathon ensued, followed by a mild and mellow funk. May I blame it on the full moon? Peace was attained. Smudging with sage alway seems to help. Focus was regained.The race is next Sunday!

I'm spicing up my hummus with Patak's lime relish this week and eating Klamath Pearl potatoes, organic of course.


Power Breakfast!

Yogurt, goji berries, blueberries, granola, wheat germ, ground flax seed & blackstrap molasses.

I just love Mr. Breakfast.


Wash 'n' Go

It is possible to cram a workout into my busy schedule: Do laundry while on tempo run. Thirty minutes later, put clothes in dryer, stretch, shower, put on clean clothes. I got mad multi-tasking skills, yo.


Steven's Total Body Hot Power Yoga

After the run today, I did Steven Grillo's Total Body Hot Power Yoga from the DVD. I first tried it when I went to Bishop Arts Yoga in Texas and was hooked. First of all, the studio is gorgeous and it is warmed by radiant heat. The music and ambiance of the session is calming and allows focus. I really like the graceful flow of Vinyasa poses with other styles mixed in. It works the whole body, the core, strengthens and stretches. The stretches are perfect for after a run. I am ready for the weekend!


Remnants of the Hill

The hill repeats I did on Thursday lingered with me all weekend on my right ankle, knee and back. I will have to go easy on the downhill next time. I feel so much better after a short recovery run, stretches, contrast shower. I did stop and experience a pause of doubt before heading out to the gym, but we all know what that leads to.


Ramping up speed.

After spending about a month at the new pace and watching my heart rate, next week I'm going to rev up the speed another notch. I think I could have gone a little faster yesterday but am playing it safe.

Now for stretching after the speedwork: Pigeon pose is one of my favorites. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana >>


Pedestal Routine for Core Strength

Yesterday's program recommended a comfy 3 mile run of 65-75% of maximum heart rate, which (for me) is not over 144bpm. I had a hard time finding that pace and ended up doing 83%. Afterwards I tried the pedestal routine below. You get a total workout just trying to keep good form and balance. You may recognize the plank pose from yoga, which in itself, is harder than it looks.

This Pedestal Routine is part of the General Strength routines presented in "Building a Better Running: Building from the Ground Up". This routine is a great example of exercises that target all three dimensions of the core. For more videos visit RunningDVDs.com

Update: After trying out the pedestal routine, I have a new name for it: Planks of Doom. Be warned.


10k Training

I've started doing Hal Higdon's 10k Training Program in preparation for the DSE Runners Embarcadero 10k. Hal is also an artist who makes interesting paintings. It's been a few weeks into the speedwork and my pace time is slowly and steadily decreasing. Imagine that.


Yoga for Cross-Training - The Magic Five

Doing Bikram Yoga has been an excellent cross-training activity that incorporates deep stretching and strength-building, and meditation. Although there is a hurdle to begin which I call The Magic Five. It took me five classes to acclimate and start really enjoying it.

1. First Class - got sick with a cold for a week
2. Second Class - had to leave halfway through the class due to heat exhaustion
3. Third Class - had to sit out the second set of most postures
4. Fourth Class - could survive all postures, but collapsed with no energy after class
5. Fifth Class - got into the postures and had energy after class

It gets even better...The last class I was able to feel all the muscle tension working it's way out of my body and completely disappearing after the final half spinal twist pose.

Bikram recommends for beginners to start by going 60 consecutive days in a row. Even though my schedule is more like once a week, I am still seeing small improvements in my postures and in my core strength.

Here is something I am trying off the mat because I ride my bike alot (another cross-training activity):

Bike Yoga: Whenever stopped at the red-light or intersection, try to balance on one leg as in tree-pose, engaging the leg muscles. Alternate legs for symmetry.

Yoga has what is known as “Tree pose” where you stand on one foot, the various balance poses really challenge muscle stabilizers!
 blog it

Hello World

I started this blog to share and keep track of my running: information, progress, cross-training, health and nutrition info and things learned along the way. I have the pleasure of living in the San Francisco Bay Area where there are miles of scenic routes to traverse. I've only been running seriously for about 10 months, and my plan is to run not walk towards my 40s with a strong body, thumping heart and open mind.

I just got this idea one day that I wanted to try to do a marathon (ok, the idea came after the idea to do a 5k, 7k, 10k, half-marathon...) so I will keep track of this experiment here.

I'm inspired by the quote "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". I look forward to celebrating once I've logged that mile 1,000.

Update: almost 10 years later, I've logged over 10,000 miles, have completed over a dozen marathons, an ultra, several triathlons including a half-iron, several century rides, some brevets and 8 Alcatraz crossings! I feel better than ever! I have learned so much about how to take care of my health and have discovered the advantages of cross-training which has kept me injury-free. Achieving my fitness goals and spending time out on nature trails and in the water has improved my health, quality of life and given me immense energy, peace of mind and joyfulness. Keeping a blog helps me focus on my goals, track my progress and remember where I've been. Group training has helped me share this joy with others.


May in Pictures

May is a long haul with all the events: Bike to Work Day , the BoMF Gala , the Alcatraz Classic, the art auction I was in for HH , and fina...