San Francisco Marathon

July 19-25
S: 0 B:44 R:36.2

2 years ago: 4:44:17
This year: 4:20:23

I'm still not fast at these things but - I've moved up a wave!

The San Francisco Marathon
San Francisco Marathon

WARNING: technical running info ahead
The mild SF temps and fog made it perfect weather for running. This is a great event. There is quite a bit of music, camaraderie and cheering on this one. Thanks to all the volunteers! Doing all the pace workouts, strides and hill training this year really paid off for me. After a couple of years of just training for distance and heart rate, I decided it was time to pick up the pace. I used a 'less is more' approach with the F.I.R.S.T. training plan and used the McMillan Running Calculator to find my target paces for the three key workouts. Don't input a current marathon time, put in the next reasonable target time you want to run or 1 or 2 minutes more than your best 5k time. It is challenging, and after using it for 2 training cycles I am almost to my ideal marathon pace. This is also the first time I was able to use a pace band successfully. I was originally going for a 4:30 finish, but I brought the 4:20 pace band as plan B. Turns out the 9:30 pace was so comfortable for me that I just stuck with it and was a few minutes ahead of schedule all the way up to mile 20 or so. Instead of doing the speed intervals on a flat track, practiced them in Golden Gate Park to practice pushing over inclines and get an idea and muscle imprint of hill pacing. Fast turnover and low center of gravity running on the downhills saved my knees. By mile 23 I was clinging to 9:30 for dear life, but it worked.

I ran into Ron (Punk Rock Runner) a few miles from the finish, hanging tough. He had just completed an Ironman a month ago, so to run a race that even marathoners fear after that is nothing short of amazing. At the finish line, I met a masters runner who just qualified for Boston with a PR from his younger days. There are hundreds of inspirational stories like this from runners, each one a hero in their own right and to their families and friends.

SF Marathon 2010
Finish Line Video Bib #60792

I would definitely do this again. What's next? My legs feel like they want to run more now, so we're going to up the mileage ;-)

Marathon Training Programs for your Garmin


Countdown to the SF Marathon

Jul 12-18
S:1 B:44 R:14.5

I'm winding things down here, taxi-ing down the runway and get lined up for takeoff at the SF Marathon! WAVE 6! This was my first marathon and next Sunday will be the second time I run it after doing Nike Womens, Stinson Beach, Northface Endurance Challenge 50k and Big Sur. I think I'm a little bit better runner now! At least I can walk normally and not collapse afterward.

There is an amusing article in WSJ titled San Francisco: The Race Even Marathoners Fear. Ha! If you run trails and some of the hillier marathons in the Bay Area it makes SF Marathon seem easy.

I had an amazing breakthrough on my swimming stroke after a minor adjustment made after studying my guide at Swim Smooth Swim Types. I haven't even delved into the whole remedy yet, either, just one minor drag adjustment that made all the difference! Here is a good OWS video that Coach Leslie put together about swimming in choppy water.

Headlands 50

On Saturday I volunteered all day at Headlands 50 and met alot of runners. I learned about Ultra runners: How they train, what mileage they do, how they eat, what they wear, what events they do, what kind of hydration packs they use, what they bring in their drop-bag, etc. It is a challenging course, even for the marathoners. I was glad to be able to help them get their water, electrolytes and food. We went through probably 80 gallons of water at least and 3 loaves of bread, 2-3 jars peanut butter and jelly. Salt caplets was #1 request. I was really moved by the support many of the runners had from their families and friends, waiting out there in the cold fog for 6 to 12 hours. Not too many people would do this. But then again, not too many people will run 50 - 100 miles! I highly recommend volunteering on an ultra before you think about doing one. It is serious business. I'm still on the fence about it. My hubby is NOT into the idea. It is an issue of contention. I can totally understand where he is coming from. I might have to transform him into a runner, then he'll understand ;-)!


San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island

Jul 5 - 11
S: 1.4 B: 46.5 R: 34.7

San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island
Olympic 3:19:28

If you ever want to hit the reset button and instantly forget about whatever was stressing you out for the past month, do a Triathlon. For me it's the cure for the Summertime Blues. Throw all your gear into a bag & do all the sports you like to do back-to-back in one morning as fast as you can. Start with a splash & end with a dash! Some notes and things I learned from my tri-neighbors:

  • If you're in the last swim wave, good time to spectate and enjoyed the expo, check out your neighbors cool bike, do a little warm-up run or stretch if you need to.

  • There are no waves at Clipper Cove, it's like swimming in a pool. You won't need a bucket of water for your feet because the water is almost 60 degrees and no sand coming out of the water directly onto carpeted exit to a concrete transition area

  • If you hang your wetsuit up on the rack or on your bike if there is room instead of throwing it in a plastic bag, it will have a chance to dry and be way lighter in your bag on the way home.

  • The bike laps were flat with some good turns and little hill, can get windy with gusts over 20mph. I didn't have aerobars so I spent alot of time riding down in the drops. I noticed no one is wearing bike gloves.

  • If you laminate your helmet number with scotch tape, it won't stick all over your bike helmet when you try to peel it off.

  • I noticed I wasted alot time by applying sunscreen before my run in the transition area when I could have applied it on the go seeing as how it was the roll-on speed-stick type.

  • The 108 Treasure Island bus drops you off right at the gate and has a rack for two bikes.

  • Volunteers rock, and kudos for the people that pulled all the swimmers out of the water at the swim exit!

San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island

With a variety of events and competitors of all ages amateur to elite and physically challenged, including a Biggest Losers category, the message here is that anyone can do a triathlon or run a race if you put your mind and training into it. The Olympic distance can go on for 3-4 hours depending on your fitness, and is much like getting through a marathon. Now to work on taking 25 minutes off my time!

As I'm getting halfway through the year without really taking a break in training (at least 9 events so far this year) slumps happen. For inspiration during slump times, I really enjoy reading the blogs. Thomas posted and entry about Inspiration that had me thinking about the little things that can get you through it, and for me it is definitely humor, especially in the form of signs or slogans on t-shirts. I like the "Chuck Norris never did an Ironman" sign that Punk Rock Runner saw on his first IM, he has a very entertaining blog btw. These signs had me laughing, these are funny, and and I love these.

my new hoodie!

5 ways to save time in your transitions


Sunset Run

Last night was a great Sunset Run, a "fun"raising event hosted by Fleet Feet Sports 100% for charity. The beneficiary this time round was Students Run Oakland. They have a great video that makes me want to run a marathon every time I see it.

If you've never done a Sunset Run before I highly recommend it. They have a DJ, raffle, and yummy bagels, and one of my favorite routes along the Bay to Hopper's Hands.


Summertime Blues

Jun 28-Jul 4
S:.2 B: 50 R:15

4th of July Swim

The week started off with 8 miles of intervals, did another trail run, a swim at Aquatic Park and half an Alcatraz swim. Just finished a the last 20 miler before the San Francisco Marathon today, which I didn't do yesterday but instead fell into a lethargy. I have been running without music so that I can listen to my pace and surroundings and also it helps with mental training. It also helps for long swims when there is nothing in the ears except for mack's earplugs. Meditation time.

In other news, two deaths in my extended family, and hurricane Alex caused massive floods in Monterrey, Mexico where my relatives live that left at least 6 people dead and destroyed parts of the city. And now they found tar patties on the Texas gulf coast from the oil spillage (Texas beaches always had tar patties, but I guess these have the BP logo branded on them). And guess what, they are disposing of the oil there too. We are on day 77 and no end in sight. Run out the sadness. :-(

June in Pictures

June is all about: The Escape, Back on My Feet Runs, Trail runs, bike rides, the beach, Water World Swim and SUP, the wind and fog! I star...