Week 8 - Extra effort, extra output

This week I pushed the training a little more, and got a lot more in return. More fast interval work, more hills. I feel that the endurance I've gained from marathon training is crossing over into the swimming (and vice versa). I feel like my body is using oxygen and fuel more efficiently. Had a great time swimming at Angel Island in beautiful Ayala Cove with WWS. We had a wonderful picnic on the boat afterwards. It felt like a mini-vacation on the weekday! Swimming in the pool feels much easier since I have focused on getting a better pull. By trying some sprints I noticed that now I can go at more than 1 speed. I integrated the bike by using it to get to the swims and trails.

Here is a view from the cove at Angel Island:
Sunset at Angel Island

Aquatic Park
swimming at Aquatic Park w/ WWS

The fog was thick everywhere else. Can you believe it? The hills on my upcoming marathon & ultra are a little intimidating, but I am adopting the motto of the North Face Endurance Challenge to "Run your self-doubt into the ground". Instead of just running for mileage on the LSD, I am going to run for time on actual terrain of the course. A 20 miler on a flat would take twice as long in the Marin Headlands and Mt. Tam, so it doesn't make sense to train on moderate hills and easy paths. Sundays are peak training days: I did almost a mile in the bay, 19.5 miles biking to and from the headlands, and 11.25 of hilly trails = 6 hours. It was like a triathlon, with a 2 hour lunch break and dog walk at T1.

North Face Endurance Challenge - notes and photos by tjiang

a perfect way to end the week

Running the Entire Pacific Crest Trail...Again


Recovery Drinks

Today was supposed to be my rest day, but I feel like I can run another 19 miles today! It must be the recovery drink I had: Unsweetened soy milk with protein powder, cinnamon, chia and joint supplements. Wondering what other people drink for recovery after a hard workout.


Week 7 - The Halfway Point

Yes! Only 7 weeks left until the marathon and I am heading towards the peak. I have three 20 milers coming up then a taper. My plan says next week is it for hill repeats, but the course on Mt. Tam has some steady climbing for 4-5 miles at a time, so I will keep doing them until the taper. I did feel sore for several days after doing successive short hill repeats instead of one long hill up and down. I think there is a place for doing both, because a long climb totally redlines you. Today's long run turned out to be a mile longer than planned, but no prob. The only thing I need to do is bring an extra pair of dry socks because after 12 miles the feet need a little refreshing. It would be so nice to dunk them in the ocean halfway through. There were alot of surfers out at Ocean Beach today! I saw several boards fly through the air!

Some issues that are coming up are: sleeping (not getting enough) eating (my appetite has gone down) This is when I have to pay attention and force myself to bed and eat the right things. Anything that says "high fructose corn syrup" or has a variant of sugar in the first 5 ingredients gets the boot.

Sorry bike, I didn't ride you very much because I'm working on my swim. I signed up for an Alcatraz crossing next month just to kick it into gear. That always seems to happen when I register for something. The WWS Sunday Swim was great, I'm glad I found some ladies there that swim my pace, so we can do the buddy system out there and challenge each other.

Had a fun time at the GGTC social night. What an inspiring bunch! I hope to do some group training again one of these days but it is really tough because I already have my little training routine all dialed in. I plan to do some group trail runs after the Alcatraz thing. I feel like there are so many events and things going on right now - it's the end of Summer! Monday is officially the last day of Summer, but we'll continue our weird schizo weather pattern here, foggy, with 3 hours of sun, then sunny all day, then foggy, then windy...

To be honest, I'm not thinking too much about the marathon because in December I have an ultra (just by a few miles) and I also already thinking of the triathlons I want to do next spring and summer. I'm learning about lots of potential events from people in my training groups.

A Simple Strategy for Running Your Best Marathon


Week 6 - Relaxed Effort

I'm almost halfway through my training program, and as things start to heat up, I need something to help keep me grounded and focused. The yoga is really helping with that. I found that doing some yoga sun salutations and breaths before my swim gets me in the frame of mind to focus on form. It also creates alot of internal heat that keeps me warm in the cold water. All the chaturanga dandasanas are giving me some arm strength, and the movement from that pose to the Upward Facing Dog is the one that develops the pull muscles, esp. if you don't rest on your legs and stay on your toes. I'm getting the hang of sweeping the water now and the feeling of propulsion with the arms. Whenever I get stressed or overwhelmed, I just come back to the breath and form.

...And today with WWS we swam outside the cove! OMG it was beautiful to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the ocean, and Coit Tower, and the sailboats in the bay, and Alcatraz, and all the swimmers coming back from their swim events. I love San Francisco! Then I ran the trails of the Presidio, to the Coastal Trail along Baker Beach, Sea Cliff, Land's End, Sutro Baths, Ocean Beach and back through Golden Gate Park.

The Olympic distance triathlon doesn't seem as daunting. I'm psyched about the marathons coming up but also enjoying the training process. It's a lifestyle. Running 4x a week, swimming 3x and biking to work and whenever I get a chance. Daily yoga. This week we added Baron Baptiste to our yoga mix. Very good workout.

Sun Salutation A & B: 3-5 sets of each can be done in 10-15 minutes for a great warmup.

California Coastal Cleanup 9.19.09


Week 5 - In the Zone

This was a good week - I'm feeling in the zone. Training plan is based on modified green team intermediate, with some days traded out for swim days, and doing 800 meter intervals for speed.

Running - trying to find efficient pain-less ways of getting up and down the hills. I found that running up on the ball of the feet helps alot. Good recovery, especially when I do an hour of yoga after the run. I use DVDs. I have done many hours of classes and various places around the city and use the DVDs because I can just press play. Steven on Tuesday and Nicki on Wednesday. Nicki Doane can show you some great Ashtanga done right. My arms were sore and my hamstrings got totally stretched! Also worked the external obliques like never before...must be those reverse triangle poses! Ice baths? Never do them.

Swimming - Spent a little extra time swimming (instead of biking this week) mostly working on my strokes. Dude, freestyle swimming has some highly technical moves it takes years to master it! I was doing the pull, then not hesitating after the pull but continue to lengthen and keep the movement going. Now I'm adding the front quadrant swimming. This just means having my stroke extended as long as possible until my recovering arm is back up over my head to switch arms. Before I was switching too soon, then hesitating on the breath, then losing the streamlined position, which slows me down like a parachute. It certainly paid off today in the bay. It was a strong flood at the opening, like a river current going across, except this time I didn't get flushed back to the boats. I stuck with my swim partner and with Coach Edna's guidance we went well into the center of the cove before turning. I didn't try to race my pace in the beginning and started nice and slow to find a good rhythm of breathing. Then when it was time to turn, we jetted across and finally made it to the jacuzzi, it was a BLAST! We swam a little inside the wall where the water is calm, then headed back across the flood with the same determination. It was very choppy and had to turn over quite a bit to get air. The sun was shining right in my eyes and sighting was short, only like a second. Also, it felt at times like I was going nowhere, just on a treadmill, but that is when I streamlined it more to let the water go around me, and picked up the pace and kicked more. All this took place in the span of 30 minutes, but it seemed like much longer. Now I know what I would do in the instance that I get caught up in the current again (Plan B): I would pretend like I'm doing a buoy turn and swing out of the current at a diagonal back to shore. I really like the WWS group swim out here it totally simulates the racing experience. If I keep it up maybe I can do an oly tri next spring.

Nutrition: granola bars, blueberries, protein shakes, grilled veggie sandwiches & tacos (half-wheat, half-corn tortillas mmm!), buckwheat noodle stirfry, potatoes, bananas, kiwis, kefir & kern's...get that low-carb crap away from me! I'm burning at least 4,000 cals a week and have no need for it! It's like garlic to a vampire!



A seemingly quiet composed runner heads down the street for an interval run in the park, but this is the chatter going on inside her head, inner coach in italics:

7:00pm - I'ts cold, I'm tired and really hungry, and it's about to get dark outside. I can just do my run in the morning and stay home and watch a DVD with my dog. But then you'll have wasted a whole day of not training and recovering for the next thing. just go, you'll feel different once you get warmed up. Eat Oxygen!
7:05 - Ouch, my legs feel stiff. There is something going on inside my ankle. Is this going to hurt the whole time? No, just stretch at the stoplight.
7:10 - Finally, warmed up. ok, this is alright. Let me just cruise like this for a bit. This run is going to help me run faster, right? cool. If I aim for 6:00 pace I'll end up with 6:30 pace. Sounds good to me.
7:20 - Crap, there is an event going on at the track, that is why I should have got up at 5am to do this! Ok, should I go home and just call it an easy day? Silence from coach. Where am i going to do my intervals? Right here! ok.
7:25 - Get ready to run as fast as you can for the next half mile, then run moderate for a quarter.
7:30 - (Running fast) breathe, fast feet, breathe, stop fiddling with your watch, just go go go! Try not to run into those people up there, stay alert and aware of your terrain. Great it's windy, and there is a steep hill coming up, oh well resistance training! mind goes blank:

7:36 - Wow, ok, the first one was alright, good pace I wonder if I can do that again or if it's going to get progressively slower, -let -me -catch -my -breath...only 2 more to go....
7:40 - fast feet, breathe, cough, etc. don't puke, try not to zone out this time...
7:46 - Ok, they start out fast then taper off, try not to slow down. one more to go, this is it, last one is always the hardest. I really need to watch what I eat before these...
7:50 - aaaaaaaaaaaaa! (huffing and puffing eveyone else is able to talk while they're jogging and I'm just tring to get air, looks at pedometer) only 10 meters left - do not slow down at 9!
7:57: OMG! Ok, can I just stop now? No, just keep moving and breathing. 119% Maximum Heart Rate 215? You can run easy now. Hey it took less time than I thought. Now go home and chill. Tomorrow is another day. (endorphins churning - wow this song is really great!)
2 hours later, no appetite, can't sleep, but sure glad i did it! Next week, 4 x 800s!

April Recap

Spring is here! Proceed with caution!  I managed to ramp up my activities, adding in more bike rides and swims, and taking the time to d...