Run, Cook, Eat!

20 miles! But, ow.
March 31, 2010, 10:22 pm
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This last week has been kind of a roller coaster of running highs and lows. I’m not sure what’s going on with my foot, and the doctor was not incredibly useful. In short, the pain got much better in the 4 days before the doctor’s visit, and he gave me the OK to run on it. I did 5k the next day with no pain, so I did my 20 mile long run on Sunday.

During the run my foot ended up being not so bad, and I was super relieved that I could do the run. I wanted company for some of the run, and the only way to make the timing work out was by starting at 12:30 PM on Sunday, doing 10 miles by myself, then meeting up with my two running partners for the last 10 miles together.

Good lord it was hot out. I know I’m a huge wimp for complaining about it being too hot…I’m completely spoiled by the steady San Francisco climate. But due to our wonderful fog and grey skies and constant winter-high-of-56-degrees, I’ve gotten used to running in my preferred gloomy and not-warm weather. Seriously. I get annoyed if the sun is out, or if it’s warmer than 60 degrees. I’m s-p-o-i-l-e-d.

But anyway, I have yet to develop a good tolerance or sense of pacing for running in warm weather or sunshine. So why in the word have my 18 milers and 20 milers during this training cycle have been in 68 degree weather? I do not understand.

Anyway, it was warm, I ran too fast, but I compensated by drinking a lot of water. I met up with my friends around mile 9.5, and fortunately that slowed me down to a conversation-friendly pace. The first 9 miles I spent cursing my life, but it immediately got better once I had friends as a distraction. Foot started aching a bit around mile 17 but I finished without incident.

I’m pretty happy with how the 20 miler turned out. It’s the furthest I’ve ever run, so I’m thrilled I made it to the end without dying. I’m lucky to have such great running company to help me make it through.

Unfortunately the next day the foot pain returned, but nowhere near the same level as last week. I’m heading to Fleet Feet now for advice/inserts/etc, and I’ll follow up at the doctor again if that doesn’t help. Sigh…trying to stay optimistic…


Race Report: Tall Mom Race for the Cure Virtual 5k

I’m going to start by saying – very tentatively – that the doctor said I do not have a stress fracture. WOOHOO!!

There’s still some tenderness on the top of my right foot, which is worrisome. But it’s not the sharp pain I had a few days ago, so the doctor gave me the OK to run again.

So I signed up for Tall Mom’s Virtual Race for the Cure.

Photo 53

My “race” was nothing spectacular: I headed over to Kezar track, with plans to run a 5k just to test out my foot. Any pain – I would have to stop.

I love running at Kezar on Friday nights because it’s so quiet. On most weekdays it’s full of gigantic training groups who take up 2/3 of the track running the wrong way, but on Friday night it’s always sparely populated and quiet. There were maybe a dozen people there total – just enough to make it feel safe.

On the train ride over I’d decided to not even push my pace at all, just to start at marathon planned race pace of 10:05 per mile and make this into an exercise of not starting out too fast / how to hold a slower pace. After a half mile this went out the window. I’d been doing about 9:30 min/mi for the first half mile, but after that my pace just steadily increased until the very end.

There was a bit of tenderness on the top of my right foot near the first metatarsal during the first mile, but after that it went away. PHEW. I’d worn an older model of shoes – Asics Gel Foundation 8 – along with my old inserts, in an effort to change the padding/pressure on the top of my foot. (My current Asics Kayano 16s have a weird angled lace bed.) The old Gel Foundation 8s turned out to be a bad idea. I’d had trouble with these shoes wearing themselves out very soon, after 250-300 miles. I had thought this wouldn’t matter for a short 5k, but my knees began screaming at me around mile 1, definitely feeling the older shoes.

Anyway, I powered on through, pace increasing throughout, and finished with a time of 0:27:16 (0:08:47 min/mi). Not bad! This is an unofficial PR for me, seeing as the only timed/accurately measured 5k I’ve done in the last year and a half was a 0:28:33 last spring. I don’t trust the accuracy of my Nike+ chip enough to call this a real PR, but I’ll add this to my list of times. I was happy to maintain a pace like that, given that my intervals pace for this round of marathon training has been 08:35 min/mi. Considering that most of the time I’d been maintaining paces in that range the distances were a mile or less, I’m pretty thrilled I was able to sustain something like that for over 3 miles. Fun! I need to do more short races.

Go Tall Mom on the Run!! Thanks for hosting this, and good luck with your amazing fundraising! And good luck to everyone on their Virtual Race for the Cure this weekend!

Race Report: Emerald Across the Bay 12k, 2010

On March 21 I ran the Emerald Across the Bay 12k. I wasn’t really planning to do this race, but it ended up on my schedule and it seemed like a good idea at the time. The plan was to get in some extra miles that week to make up for my decreased mileage in New York, and what better idea to make myself do it than by committing to a race?

The race is a point-to-point, starting out in Marin at East Fort Baker, running up to, over, and down from Golden Gate Bridge, across Crissy Field, finishing at Aquatic Park. We caught shuttles at Aquatic Park which took us to the starting point up in Marin.

View from Aquatic Park at 6:45 AM:

2010-03-21 07.06.57

I got in line to wait for the shuttle, and THIS GUY came by, started dancing, and giving high fives:

2010-03-21 07.10.47

The shuttle came and took everyone over to East Fort Baker. We got there plenty early – I had about an hour and a half to kill before my wave crossed the starting line.

2010-03-21 07.37.52

These folks looked like they were at an Of Montreal concert:

2010-03-21 07.39.28

About 20 minutes before my wave started, I checked my phone and my sweats, so no more pictures for me until the very end. At 8:45 I headed up to the starting line, and the second wave took off!

I didn’t have much of a pacing plan going in, aside from treating it roughly like a tempo run (9:35-9:50 min/mi). I didn’t want to push too much since I’d gotten a lot of mileage earlier in the week, but that’s about all I had planned.

It was the standard crowded mess at the beginning. I ended up passing a fair amount of people in the first two miles, which I attribute entirely to letting people pick their own starting wave *with no time guidelines* for each wave. Pacewise I’m usually in the middle of the pack, but I kept passing people whose bibs were for the first wave. And there were walkers in the second wave! Not cool. If you’re going to walk, pick the third/last wave.

The first mile or so was downhill, and not too long after the first mile marker, the ascent from the ocean level up to Golden Gate Bridge began. I’m not sure what the gain actually was, but it was a fairly intimidating hill. I ran (slowly) and passed a bunch of people walking it. My Nike+ didn’t start at the beginning, so I was only able to self-time from approximately 0.75 miles onward. This was disappointing, and I never really felt like I got a good sense of my pace or time for the rest of the race.

Once we got to the road level of the bridge it got considerably easier, with not much actual bridge slope to notice on the way across. They didn’t shut down any lanes of traffic for us, so everyone ran on the ocean side pedestrian walkway. If I’d been doing this race with a more serious mindset I would have gotten annoyed with this, since people kept running four-across and blocking anyone who wanted to pass. Around here I chatted for a bit with a guy and his maybe 9-year-old son that was running the race with him. Cute.

Running the downhill from the south side of the bridge was really really fun. I’d run up this hill dozens of times while training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, but I’d never gotten to do the super awesome downhill, just the grueling uphill portion. The race folks had stationed a photographer here (good call!!) to get shots with the bridge in the background:

I barreled on downhill – probably too fast – and got to Crissy Field. This is the “back” of one of my favorite out-and-back long runs, and the course continued eastward.

This is the only race I’ve done in the last year and a half in which I did not bring my own water pack. It was nice not to be constantly be adjusting it. Since it was a 12k and the weather was semi-cold and gray, relying only on the two water stations worked out ok.

The route map wasn’t so great so I wasn’t quite sure where the race was supposed to end. I was a bit disappointed to see we had to run back up the hill by Fort Mason, but at least we ran up the easy side of the hill, which isn’t bad at all. BUT. We got to the top, and I saw a big inflatable arch. I was far enough away that I couldn’t read it, but hey…arch! So I stepped it up and got moving, until I got close enough to read that the arch said “one more half mile!”. CRUEL. Not ok. There were no garish mile markers for the entire course, until this tricky and misleading one. Anyway, i didn’t enjoy the speedy downhill that I normally love because I was to busy being pissed at the sign.

The finish line was not too far from the downhill, just a half block or so at the start of Aquatic Park. I picked it up and passed a handful people and finished, but I didn’t have a good sense of my time at all so it didn’t feel that great to cross the line and see the gun time, which was at least 20+ minutes off from my actual time.

I stuck around for a bit at the expo. There were beer tents:

2010-03-21 10.25.05
But I feel like you’ve got to run at least a half marathon to deserve a beer at 10 AM.

I wasn’t able to check my time until later that afternoon, but I ended up finishing the 12k in 1:11:36 (9:35 per mile.) Not bad. I hadn’t set out to race this, just to run it as a tempo run, but I did end up PRing. (Can you tell I don’t do many shorter races?) My tempo pace for this batch of marathon training is 9:35-9:50 per mile, so I managed to hit that right on the nose for this run. I think I could have done better if I’d been training specifically for this race, and if I hadn’t run 10 miles the day before, but it’s a new PR so I’m not going to be too critical! 1:11:36 is much faster than the other two 12k races I’ve run, and I’m happy with that.

This was the first race I’ve run without someone to cheer me on, and that was a nice experience. As much as I love my running partners and wonderful running sherpa boyfriend, it was a good chance to get out and run with no pressure and just enjoy!

Out for the count…
March 24, 2010, 6:51 pm
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Last Sunday I ran the Emerald Across the Bay 12k and had a great time! Race report forthcoming. But sadly, I fear I am now injured.

Since Monday morning I’ve been experiencing a sharp pinpoint of pain on the top of my right foot, on the inner side near the base of my big toe. It doesn’t bother me at all when barefoot, but when wearing shoes (running shoes included) I feel pain on that exact spot. This sucks. I’m pretty distressed.

I suspect it was caused by one of a few things:

  • The notable big hill on the 12k course – up from ocean level to bridge level, and then back down again.
  • Heavy mileage that week – an 18 mile long run, a 10 mile tempo run, and the 12k/7.45 mi, all over the course of 5 days.
  • A badly positioned Nike+ sensor combined with tightly laced running shoes.

I’ve been icing and taking anti-inflammatories, but my test jog on Tuesday only got me ~0.75 miles before the pain said “STOP!”. The doctor appointment has been made for Friday, but until then I can only rest, worry, and obsessively google “top of foot pain.”

The obsessive googling has led to two “internet diagnoses” – a stress fracture or tendonitis. Neither of which are appealing, but tendonitis seems to be slightly more appealing in that it is not an immediate death sentence for my goal to run the Eugene Marathon in May.

Hopefully it will be neither of these things, it will clear up on its own, and I’ll be good to go in a few days. I’m hoping yoga tonight will distract me by getting in a workout that avoids foot pain. Let the waiting and worrying continue…

First Farmer’s Market/Long Run Combo of the Year!
March 20, 2010, 3:15 pm
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This morning was the first combined long run/farmer’s market trip of the year! We did a bit over 10 miles at 10:06 per mile, starting at the ferry building, down the embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf, over the hill to Crissy Field, and back. It felt pretty good! Another friend joined my normal running partner and me. He’s faster than us, but he’s SO nice and accommodating about going our pace. J joined us for the first 2 miles as well. Lots of fun and good company.

We went to the farmer’s market afterward, and we’re right between winter and spring vegetables:

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 avocado
  • Blue Bottle skim latte
  • Primavera chilaquiles, 2 green chile tamales, and black beans – split between three of us for lunch.

Yay for the start of asparagus season!

NYC / Busy

Alas it’s been far too long since I blogged. I see my Kaiser Half Marathon race report staring at me in my drafts folder, mad that it has been ignored for the last month and a half. Some time in NYC and work chaos back in SF have prevented me from blogging and cooking, but thankfully it hasn’t prevented me from running.

I was worried that NYC would cause me to “fall off the wagon” in terms of my running schedule, but I made it through OK. The first few days of my trip had good weather, so I did the Central Park big loop each day. The last day before the rain began was wonderfully cold – 45 degrees, just perfect – and I finally began to get over my aversion to hills through the combination of the nice-ish rolling hills in the park and the weather finally combined to give me an enjoyable run that happened to include hills. Yay!

Then it proceeded toward monsoon-like weather for the rest of my stay, but I got in some treadmill time at the hotel. I don’t mind the treadmill part, but I do mind that my paces don’t feel right on the treadmill compared to my GPS-calibrated Nike+. Plus it’s always way too warm in gyms. But I got the miles in and that’s all that counted.

The day I got back to San Francisco I did my first-ever 18 miler. It was too warm in SF that day (high of 70!) so I was apprehensive about finishing, but I made it through. I hydrated well and Gu-ed every 4 miles, and I ended feeling mostly not horrible. I ceased to function for the rest of the day, and my legs, shoulders, and abs have been aching ever since, but I made it through and (shockingly) kept it at 9:56 per mile, which was a good 35 seconds faster than my goal pace for the long run. I guess I essentially ‘raced’ my long run, so I’m going to have to hold back more for the next few long runs to prevent the soreness.

On schedule for this weekend: a semi-fast 10 miles at 10:15 per mile on Saturday morning, followed by an ill-timed 12k on Sunday morning. The Emerald Across the Bay 12k had been on my calendar since the start of the year, but I just don’t have the time/energy to give it my best this Sunday. It’s a good excuse for my make-up tempo run for this week, and the going-over-Golden-Gate-Bridge part will be good practice for the San Francisco Half Marathon later this year.

I’ll definitely be running this one rather than RACING it. But seeing as my only other 12k races were Bay to Breakers during excessive heat, this should be an easy chance to score a PR, however unimpressive!

The countdown to the Eugene Marathon continues, and the runs keep getting checked off on my little training plan! Only 42 more days until my first marathon!

Rain rain, go away…

There’s been a whole lot of NOTHING to report lately. It’s been raining in San Francisco for like, 15 days straight or something. This has limited my running somewhat, but I’ve still managed to get in every scheduled run. I don’t mind running in San Francisco rain (read: fog, mist), but it’s just been a huge downpour every day. My evening run tonight was intended to be a gym/treadmill visit, but they were all occupied so I gave up and went to the track in the rain.

I’ve had a few good runs lately. I did an 8 mile tempo run this week (in the drizzle) at 9:30 per mile, and I managed to keep up the pace and still end feeling good! This has me optimistic about my speed improvement. My intervals tonight were good too – instead of the 1 mile and 1ks that have been on schedule lately, I was greeted by 5 x (2 min fast, 2 min easy) plus warm-up/cool-down. How awesome is that? I love 400s (approx. my 2 min distance) so much more than longer intervals.

Lately I’ve noticed it’s taking longer and longer for my body to “kick in” on long runs. During training last year, I’d usually get 3-4 miles into a long run before I’d start to feel good. The last 3 runs or so I’ve gotten all the way to 6 miles before my body finally says “OK, this feels good, no need to quit anytime soon.” This could be my body adapting to marathon training? Or maybe just ill-timed breakfast and hydration on Sunday mornings? We’ll see how this changes in the next 3 months.

On tap this Sunday: the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon in San Francisco. The course is really nice – Golden Gate Park, the Panhandle, and Great Highway – plus it’s my running partner’s VERY FIRST RACE! I have no doubt she’ll cross the finish line. I plan on sticking with her the whole race, so I’m especially curious to see what our time ends up being. We’ve been training at around 10:30 per mile for long runs, and I have NO IDEA how fast she’ll be able to run on race day. I suspect secretly that she’s faster than me. My PR (2:11:45) was at a 10:04 pace, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that we could be speedy and come close or surpass that that! Regardless, our only goal is to finish and kick some ass.