Category Archives: running

{His} CIM Race Report: When a 45+ min PR Isn’t Quite Enough

Moving across the country together didn’t seem to up the ante enough, so we added household coaching to the mix. He signed up for CIM in July and handed the reigns to me: “Let’s see what you’ve got, Coach”. His previous marathon PR didn’t come close to justifying his running capabilities, so I set out to change that. MAF-style.

Here’s how round 1 turned out, from his perspective…

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Most of the time a PR is cause for celebration, confirmation that the effort, training, long runs, watching what you eat, and staying in every weekend was all worth it. But sometimes that excitement and satisfaction is accompanied by a nagging “what if.” What if I had taken it out slower? What if I had just pushed through the pain? What if I hadn’t let the pain win? What if I had trained just a little bit better?

This was how I felt after the California International Marathon in Sacramento.

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I was ready for this race. I had trained for 6 months. I had PR’d my half marathon 6 weeks earlier on a challenging course. I had mostly listened to my coach (aka Heather, aka “dietitianontherun”). I had stopped just going all out every run, and learned to train strategically. I thought I was ready for that Boston Qualifying time.

I needed to break three hours and five minutes, or run 26.2 miles averaging 7:03 per mile. I ran 3:10:26. At the end of the 26.2, I was relieved, happy even. It was over. I had crushed my previous PR and actually felt okay doing it.

But days later, the more I thought about it, the more disappointment crept in. Should I have listened to my coach (and her coach) and taken the first 10K a little slower? Would it have made a difference?

Mile 1: I went out and patiently ran with the 3:10 pace group—ironically the pacer who would rush past me in the last half mile of the race. I let everyone else take the first mile fast (it was all downhill), while I cruised, found a rhythm, and didn’t trip. I kept my pace, even when the competitor in me said “don’t let that guy pass you!” I stayed patient for the first 10K. After that I slowly upped the pace, reaching cruise control at just under 7:00 minutes per mile. For the next 10 miles, I thought I could hold that pace forever.

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My breathing was controlled, even as I passed people already laboring. My heart was cool, calm, and collected. Peaks on the rolling uphills, calm on the downhills. It was echoing what my coach would say, “easy peazy man – you’ve got this.” I got a boost seeing THE dietitianontherun.com (and Katie) at mile 12 where I swapped water bottles (with Osmo).

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Mile 13.1: At the halfway point, the 3:05 pace group was within sight.

Then the race before the race started. Miles 15-20: not quite close enough to think about the end, but you’ve been running for 15 miles and you’d like it to be over soon. Those around you are starting to labor. You start to wonder if, in fact, the miles are actually 1.2 miles long. You don’t see many smiles among your fellow runners at mile 18; you’re a little tired of all the people encouraging you on the side of the road, they look comfortable and happy. The number of racers on the side of the road stretching out tight muscles – or walking – is rapidly increasing.

Fortunately, the miracle of Osmo, dates (yes, real fruit!), Clif Shot Blocks, and good ol’ fashioned H20, kept my body from completely revolting for this period, and the entirety of the race.

When I had the pleasant surprise of seeing Heather again at mile 20, I gave her a nod and a “We’ll see,” recognizing that 10K was a long way, and my body was starting to ask “can we just lie down?” Since this was marathon #5 for me, I knew – and every 7th sign along the race course said it –  it’s a 20 mile warm-up followed by a 10K race. But, man, you are never ready for that race.

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Miles 20-26: My pace began to slow, first 7:10, then 7:20, then 7:27. The mohawked, neon yellow-clad dude I had passed at mile 15 caught back up. He was shooting for sub-3:00 but had long ago recognized that, today, it was not meant to be; he decided to run with me as we acknowledged “this f***ing blows.” Soon, I was completely off the saddle: 8:00, 9:16, and 8:47. See you at the finish, neon-clad dude (he finished in 3:08). We’ll talk later, Boston.

The 3:10 pacer blew by me, with none of the posse that had been with him over the first few miles. (Where did they go?) Even he didn’t look like he was having fun.

Finally, after another .2 miles, it was over.

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image image

My joints survived. My muscles didn’t feel terrible. I was just happy to lie down. It was over, and I had done well.

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How could I not be ecstatic? I blew away my previous PR of around 3:58 by about 48 minutes. Maybe it was the acknowledgement that there is still so much to learn about running strategically. Or maybe lingering questions if I was, in fact, fit enough. Or, if only nerves hadn’t had my heart knocking 95 beats per minute for the two hours preceding the race, I could have come in 5 minutes and 28 seconds faster.

In the end, my disappointment was not in the result, but in the recognition that – Oh crap, now I have to do this all again if I want to run Boston. Yes, I would have to run another marathon just to qualify to run…another marathon.

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After a few days/weeks off of running, and getting to go to CrossFit as much as I want (Coach, you can’t stop me!), I’ll be running the same old route back and forth. It’ll be back to the heart rate monitor, hour-long runs at 150 beats per minute, and nothing but my water bottle plus PTI and BS Report podcasts to keep me company.

I guess I’ll see you in Eugene, with sights set on breaking three hours.

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Filed under marathon, race report, Races, running

Dear Santa, I’m a runner, so….

…any of these will do. Pleaseandthanks! Happy holidays. Enjoy the cookies.

I’d be happy with any or all of the following under the tree or in  my compression-stocking. If you’re looking for some unique ways to surprise the athlete-of-any-flavor in your life, you’ve come to the right place!

We’re going to kick things off with a charming gal I met at the Morgan Hill Half-Marathon Expo last month (he ran, I got to stand around with coffee for a change!). LaRene had earned her own large booth, right by the packet pick-up. The unique coasters and prints caught my eye as something that would fit right in with our travel souvenirs, adding a different note.

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I immediately started working with her to design a year-end gift for Coach Katie, which turned out absolutely perfect:

athleticartworks_teamamazingday

You can shop around on Etsy or LaRene’s Athetlic Artworks website, and create a unique little beauty for yourself or someone who has done badass things and might like to see those things in print, every day.  Browse around and you’ll see she does more than just sport-specific creations! Go outside the box and you can come up with anything meaningful to you & yours.

For the holidays, use code HCFIT10 for 10% off!

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Once you’ve got your commemorative creation, let’s get you dressed. Lucy sent me this Fall/Winter outfit to test out – they must’ve heard the word that I’ve strayed just a little from my lulu-only wardrobe – and I’m thoroughly impressed.

The Endurance Run capri (seen in action below) is a true-to-size fit, flexible and sleek. There’s a zip-pocket in the back and two side-pockets along your hips – perfect for an iPhone/pod, keys, eats, etc. Pair with the Run Your Heart Out LS (pictured here in Poppy/Lucy White Strip) for a comfy cozy jog in the cool temps. My favorite thing about this top is the material – you can find warmth and thumb-holes from a lot of active wear, but comfort matters, too! This is soft enough to lounge around in, should you choose to veer towards my daily work wardrobe choices.

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If there’s one thing an athlete can never have enough of? It’s socks. I buy them at almost every race expo, REI / running store sale, etc.  There isn’t a more practical stocking stuffer ‘round these parts.  Bombas sent me two pairs to keep my digits warm and comfy. Similar to TOMS, they donate a pair of socks for each purchased. These are feel-good happy feet!

bombas socks_1 Bombas_2

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In case none of the above tickle your runner’s knee, these are a few more of my favorite things:

– 12 oz Nathan handheld water bottle, for longer runs & trails

– lululemon {run} Speed Shorts (of which I have at least 10 pairs….)

Polar RC3 GPS Watch

Mizuno WaveRider 17 / 18 shoes (I order .5 size up)

–  TOMS flats, for everyday wear and keeping trashed running feet happy

Splish grab-bag swimsuits, which could in many different ways…

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What’s on your holiday wish-list?

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Filed under gift guide, running, running gear

Exceeding the Minimum

Over the past few weeks I haven’t had a lot of wiggle room with physical activity. If something hurts my knee, it’s off the list. If the Coach suggests 20 minutes the spin bike or pool running, I do exactly that. If she says “2 x 10 squats”, I do exactly that. If the PT says “Foam roll for 1 minute”, I hop right off of that torture tube at exactly 60 seconds (because I hate it).

This may be exactly what I need to do for this injury treatment – which is progressing pretty well, for now – but it’s made me extremely antsy. I haven’t worked out for more than 45 minutes in about 4 weeks. A routine that once supplied a consistent load of endorphins to my system has turned into one that seems resistant to them. A brain that was once happily occupied with a detailed training schedule is now spending way too much time thinking.

Thinking back to my training throughout this entire year, there are a few trends. When I started working with my Coach, I completed most of the workouts, while consistently skipping – or, “not fitting in” – a few of them(cough, strength training, cough). I spent way too much energy focusing on how slow my pace was. Then I realized maybe a few of those skipped workouts may have been important. Then I realized maybe the few beats of HR over MAF I consistently ran at may have done more harm than good. Then I realized I actually didn’t train very consistently at all.

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Fast forward to July – October, and I filled as many workouts in as “completed” as I possibly could. I could probably count on one hand the number of days I didn’t do what was prescribed, and there would have been a damn good reason for it. But I also just did exactly what was written out. Rarely less, but never more. (One exception: the 100 minutes of plank of September.) Katie was running me to the bone, and I feared anything extra would be a mistake. If it wasn’t planned on my schedule, written out in exact numbers, or approved beforehand, it did not happen.

I never exceeded the minimum of what was put out there for me to do. I stayed where I was comfortable. I never said “this is getting easy – give me more!”. I only tested limits when I was explicitly told to do so.

We’ve got a few new ideas to put into place next year, and one of them is that I’m okay with a few extra nudges, a few extra pounds on the weights, and even a few extra days of those gym sessions. But really, what I’m realizing now, is that I can’t always put that on someone else.

Sure, I love having the guidance of a coach. But during the 26th mile when I’m running solely on faith and the boxes I’ve checked up to that day, I only have my mind. And if my mind can’t get past the minimum required of it, I’ll lose worlds of possibility.

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Photo credit: @stravarun instagram.

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For the Nth time this year, a new page has turned. We’ll see where that gets me & these recovering legs…

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Filed under learning, running

Recovery & Resilience

This year has taken my running+racing ego for a wild ride. Let’s just say this:  I severely underestimated the cumulative effect of taking 2013 “off”.There’s not one single thing I would change about that decision, or any of the other ones I made in that calendar year (‘twas a great one, indeed),  but set me up for peak physical fitness it surely did not. Noted.

2014 started off like a rocket: taking the RRCA running coach certification course, signing on to work with a Coach and subsequently starting to train for a marathon (after a 10 day trip to Africa, of course).  If you’ve hung around for a while, well, we know how that turned out.

Desire to Change_Dietitian on the Run

Right away my name was thrown into the MCM lottery just to see what might happen.  I knew that my body had more to give. I also knew that was a lot more to be learned from MAF, my coach, and my favorite sport.

I ran MCM with a goal to re-qualify for Boston. It wasn’t a huge stretch, but it certainly wouldn’t be easy (and it’s not supposed to be!). I let Katie whoop my butt from July to October, and have never been so happily exhausted.

Aaand, now we know how that turned out, too.

Katie reminded me that I took a huge chunk of time off my spring vs. fall marathons in one year; I did what I did on that day. And it’s up to me how to move forward from that, how to recover.

Resilience_Dietitian on the Run

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this year, it is this:  whether or not you choose resilience will teach you a lot about yourself and your strength. It won’t give you measurable pounds lifted or minutes per mile run or a specific race time. (At least not right away….) But every time you choose it, you run a meter that deposits a lot of emotional energy in a bank with an incredible interest rate.

When you choose to be resilient after your perceived failures, set-backs or let-downs, you’re recovering and coming back stronger.  You’re soaking in a mental ice-bath – letting the sting of the situation-at-hand cool down, become numb, and eventually dissipate. It’s absorbed into your muscle and brain tissue to rebuild and get ready for what’s next.

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It took a few days and enough time to accept, absorb and let go of a race day that wasn’t what I expected it to be, before finally giving credit to a few things. I didn’t enter this year with the fitness base I’ve had in the past. I didn’t keep building on the successes of 2012, and because of the year I did chose to have ( think: more fun less fitness, in a great way), I entered this one as a different athlete. I’m rebuilding. And it’s a long, tedious process that involves using a lot of patience that I didn’t think I had (still debatable, I s’pose). 

But it’s way more exciting to be resilient – to chase endurance and strength and speed on my own terms – than to throw in the towel.

courage_Dietitian on the Run

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Filed under about me, challenges, Goals, learning, running

New Kicks, Same Game: Mizuno Wave Rider 18s (Review)

This  post is part of a sponsored campaign with Mizuno on behalf of Fitfluential. Opinions are my own.

MIzuno WaveRider18 Run

Over the past few weeks you may have seen a new kid on the blocks, making waves in the Bay. The Mizuno WaveRider 18 has arrived, with a sleek new design, just enough support and the influence of “Hado” at its back.

Hado –
intrinsic vibrational life force energy
that promotes powerful transformations.

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As of last fall I’ve been a Mizuno-runner, through and through. I was converted by the 17’s, which have now run two marathons with me, blaze the trails with my Hayates, and save the Sayonaras for short races and/or Wednesdays…when we wear pink.

Now, my little Mizuno family has grown by two feet:  Mizuno WaveRider18_group1

Mizuno circle_waverider 18

They didn’t arrive in time for marathon adjustments, so I’ve used them in-between long runs to switch it up. We’re still getting to know this little black sheep, but the kicks have made a few first impressions:

- Lightweight – 7.8 oz, to be exact.

- Neutral – which is the only way I take my shoes.

- Balance – of fit and performance. They’re trained and designed to take the energy of your run and give you a smooth, sleek ride.

- Familiarity – the same, trusted Mizuno-patented Wave Technology that responds to your stride and provides support for your run. They’re also very wide-foot-friendly! WF gals know what I’m talkin ‘bout.

One thing to keep in mind: they feel a little tighter in the heel, and definitely take a run or two until they’re warmed up and ready to go. As with any new shoe, give them  an intro phase and take it easy! Throw in a few strides on your second or third run and let the responsive technology kick in.

Mizuno WaveRider18 Black

If you’re looking for a new yin to your foot’s yang, give the Wave line a try. I’ve yet to consider any Mizuno shoe a bad fit.

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Filed under gear, new things!, running, running gear, training