Monday, August 27, 2007

Week 7 Wrap Up

Well, I sort of feel better from Saturday's run. I feel a little bit of soreness/strain on the side of my right knee which I've googled to identify as my lateral collateral ligament (LCL) - or not, I'm not really good at anatomy. I've iced a little bit here and there and I will be taking it easy this week so I'm sure I'll be fine in time for the weekend long run.

I've also been experimenting with food stuff during these runs. We get Clif Shots on the Nike runs but I tried a power gel this week and I liked it a lot better. Not as thick so it's easier and quicker to get down. I also tried Clif Blocks - way too much work for me. I also plan to try the GUs as well.

It was funny because I was having an IM chat with my old roommate PB, successful finisher of the Comrade Marathon, and he had asked me if I tried eating real food like bananas or cookies during my runs. I responded that I hadn't, followed by the question, "Are there any advantages to eating real food?" A second later I realized how funny that sounded!

I was also surprised when I realized no one from my running group needed to take a bathroom break during our four hour plus run on Saturday. I wonder if I'll need one during the actual race? I definitely am not going to hold it! I just checked the course and it looks like they have the "portojohns" stationed throughout, so I should be OK.

I only ended up running three times this week for a total of 26 miles. I should be logging more according to my Runners World mag, but oh well. Since this is a recovery week, our long run this week is a "short" run - only 12 miles! Yippee! :)

Fundraising Status to date

Quick shout out to all my friends and family supporting me with their donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society:

Arlene (Ate)
Bammy (Tita Bammy)
Lucita (Tita Luchie)
Mike (Kuya)
Victoria (Mom)

You rock! Together, we've raised over $1600 so far! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

19 MILES!!!

A new milestone... yesterday, we did our 19 mi run! It was originally supposed to be an 18 mi run where the planned course was only 17.75 mi, but we kept missing our turns so we'd have to go back and get on track. There were three of us that had gadgets measuring our pace and distance so we knew we were over 19 mi when we finally got back to the home base. I finally calibrated my new Polar watch so I was happy to hear that it was pretty much in line with the other two girls who where using the Nike plus kit.

Unfortunately, I still have much to learn about my watch. It definitely can do a lot of things so I will have to spend time reading the manual. Someone wanted to know what the actual time was and after flipping through several screens on my watch, I gave up. I told her how long we had been running and we sort of just guesstimated the time based on when we thought we started.

This was definitely my most challenging run so I'm glad we now have a recovery week. Normally, I feel pretty good during these long runs, but by mile 15, I was definitely in that zone where it's all mental, you know? I was starting to feel a sort of strain or tightness in my right leg... nothing serious, but not the most comfortable. A lot of times, the pace leader will check on us, and normally my response is, "Doing good!" but now it was more, "I'm OK." :P But I felt better toward the end and we all managed to pick up our speed toward the finish.

Again, we were the last ones back but they still had the water, gatorade, yogurt, and bear naked granola waiting for us when we returned. I don't know the exact time of our run, but I know we were over four hours.

I did the ice bath in the bay again. This time, a girl from our running group also did it so it was easier to stay in there longer when you have someone to talk to. Last time, I only managed five minutes. She had heard you're supposed to stay a minute for every mile you ran, so we stuck it out and managed to stay in a whole 19 minutes. It was hard, because it was colder than normal yesterday. Normally, by the time we return, the sun is shining down on the marina. Not so yesterday.

Yesterday's splurge was Jamba Juice's Peanut Butter Moo'd. Wow. It was sooooooo delicious! Like a peanut butter milkshake. Yum yum!!!

I even made it out that night to go to a friend's housewarming party. I sat for most of it... but it was a lot of fun with yummy food! :) It was a party where originally all white attire was required, and then modified to be black and white attire. Well, me and JW wanted to stick with the spirit of the original theme - check out our ensembles!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Setting my marathon goal finishing time

With this being my first marathon, of course my main goal is just to finish. :) But I am starting to wonder what kind of finishing time I should expect.

I've done a few half marathons with my most recent one being the SF half marathon where I finished in 2:08:13, 9:47 min/mi pace. That course was predominantly flat.

So I've been asking some of the other runners from my running group about this, and I've heard a couple of theories:
  • 1) Double your half marathon time and add 20%: For me, this would be 4:42:05, 10:46 min/mi pace
  • 2) Double your half marathon time and add 20-30 minutes: Using the 20 minute guideline, this would give me 4:36:26, 10:33 min/mi pace.
I think if I finish under 5 hours, I would be happy. :)

BUT here are some stretch goals for my own amusement:
  • 4:14:54, 9:44 min/mi: P.Diddy in the 2003 NYC Marathon
  • 4:29:15, 10:17 min/mi: Oprah Winfrey in the 1994 Marine Corp Marathon

Thursday, August 23, 2007

TNT Boot Camp!

Having some snacks at home before going to the TNT workout? Bad idea. The nice thing about our Thursday workouts is that they are so close to home. But so far I'm learning that stopping at home after work and before the workout is not working out for me... either I fall asleep or I'm tempted to snack a bit. :)

This week, we did a warm up run and then ran a 2 mi time trial on the track. This is so the coaches can divide us in different wave run groups so that we are grouped with people at our own pace.

It was good that I pushed myself more than I usually do when I run... but I sure wished I hadn't had those extra snacks while I was running! :)

After the running portion, we then had some coaches in from Bay Area Boot Camp that ran us through some strength exercises, cardio drills, and a core workout. Challenging, but fun!

We did all of our workouts at the local high school track. It was funny because the football team was on the field and the marching band was practicing nearby. It was very surreal and I had a little bit of deja vu of going to the local football games when I was in high school. It was pretty funny...

During the workout, I started talking to one of the TNT runners... I learned that her son, Luke, had passed away from leukemia. In his honor, TNT hosts a 5K race called Luke's Run every fall near his birthday. I looked it up and this year it's the Sunday after my 20mi training run so hopefully I will still be able to make it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Guilt-Free Chowing!

I have now realized one of the true joys of marathon training. Sure, sure - the endorphins and runner's high and all that is all good and stuff but the biggest perk for me? Being able to pig out and not feel bad!!!

As a lot of you know, I love my heart rate monitor - it's still one of my most favorite birthday presents ever! I always wear it when I work out and I like that it tells me how many calories I've burned. (I don't trust the calorie metrics on those cardio machines at the gym, but I do trust my handy Polar watch.)

Normally, I aim for a workout that would burn around 300-500 calories. That was pre-marathon. :)

I always wear my HRM when I run but I only view my heart rate when I'm actually running - I like to make sure I'm pushing myself hard enough but not too hard. Anyway, I only check the calorie number when I'm done and that's usually more for amusement. After my 16 mile run, I hit a new record - over 2000 calories burned! 2000!!! Think how many cookies I could eat! Just kidding.

After my 16 mi run, I met JW and CW for a well deserved treat - my first Happy Hound experience! Happy Hound is a local dive that is known for their burgers and hot dogs. I got a delicious cheeseburger - sorry, Happy Burger with cheese - with fries and wow, was it delicious! And I did not feel guilty one bit. After all, I did need some protein to help repair my muscles after that long challenging run, right? :)

I feel like I've seen the light!!! Before I was scared of my upcoming 18 and 20 mi runs, but now, I'm thinking... oooh what fun pre-run Friday food and post-run Saturday food should I have???

So there's the big question, guys! For those of you with "endurance" training experience, what fun foods do you suggest??? I got some good ideas from RB this week... Mac&Cheese on Friday and pancakes and eggs on Saturday. :) Yum, yum...

Week 8 Wrap Up

Seven weeks to go! Woohoo!

Alright, I'll admit right up front that I suck because I missed my TNT training this past week. It's really quite pathetic actually - I came home from work Thursday to change for the workout but I had a little bit of time so I just rested my eyes for a little bit... and BAM! I wake up - and practice was already over. I realized then that I definitely need those two rest days a week.

I still managed to complete 26 miles again this past week - 4 mi on my own Tuesday, 16 mi Nike SF run on Saturday, and 6 mi Nike Danville run on Sunday.

The Nike Danville run was a jackpot for me this past weekend. Not only did we all get treated to free Jamba Juice smoothies (the Nike flavor, of course) and raisin bread (yum!), but I also got free Nike dri-fit socks for doing a shoe trial (the real reason they have these runs), and a free Nike Club Run t-shirt. Plus we got to hear the speaker this time who led us through some key strengthening and stretching exercises for runners. I was too busy eating to participate :), but I did grab one of the nice handouts.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sixteen flippin' miles

We did our 16 mi run today. 16 miles. Sometimes I think - 16 miles? Big deal, you still need to get through 18 and 20 mile runs! On the other hand, it’s my longest distance to date. Plus, I would be geeked out if I did an 8 mile run and this is twice that!

I think this is the week that I’ve started to get really excited for my upcoming marathon. It’s really starting to hit me that this is gonna happen. I mean, it’s one thing to pay your money and sign up and tell people that you’re going to do it... but I’m well on my way to actually being able to do it! But don’t worry, I won’t get too ahead of myself – as I’ve mentioned, I still have some longer distances to cover first. But so far, everything feels good! (Knock on wood!)

I’m really starting to enjoy these long runs. But I would never be able to do them on my own. Nike has them so well organized – I love it! The course was similar to last week’s 14 mi run but this time we went a little bit along Great Highway and then ran the entire length of Golden Gate Park before returning back to the marina.

It’s funny because I was really struggling in the beginning – even though I had two days rest, I just felt tired and I wasn’t sure if was going to be able to keep up with my pace group. But after the first three miles, it got better and then you’re just in auto-pilot mode. Having the group is great because everyone’s so supportive – either we’re all complaining together (haha) or finding ways to motivate each other.

I never wear my iPod anymore for the Nike runs and it’s totally fine. I don’t get bored and it’s kind of nice just to focus on myself and my running. :)

It took us a long time to finish – almost four hours! Sometimes, I don’t even feel like I ran a 16 mi course. More like we were on a 16 mile sightseeing tour of a bunch of water stops in SF. During the group runs, I just focus on getting to the next aid station, not really finishing the course. It’s weird taking off from the marina knowing you’re not going to be back for several hours – I feel like I should have a backpack with me or something (right now, it’s just my car key).

And as usual, we were the last ones back to the home base – heehee. BUT the perk of that was that we got to partake in some homemade rice krispie treats that someone had made for all the Nike pace leaders. Yum, yum.

Next week – 18 frickin’ miles!!! And then recovery week...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

#2 Fundraiser for the Week plus The Power of Your Money

I know this isn't something I should brag about or anything but it is sort of recognizing your efforts so here goes. We (as in the TNT South Bay Run team) get these weekly email updates and according to the email update I received today... I am the #2 top fundraiser for our team so far! And if you've seen my previous entries, you know my team is pretty big (pic). I really am honored to have such supportive friends and family. Of course, I'm sure others will take over soon... some people have set some pretty high goals.

Anyway, at our last workout, we got some interesting information on the power of our donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Check it out:
  • $1000 supports one week's salary for a medical researcher at UCSF, Stanford, or Berkeley who may discover key information to developing curative treatments for blod cancers
  • $500 provides a blood cancer patient with financial assistance for one year
  • $500 allows 10 patients to log on to a webcast and hear the latest information on treatment for their disease
  • $200 provides a Family Support Group Program for one year for a patient and their family
  • $150 allows 5 patients to make a First Connection with a trained peer volunteer
  • $100 provides 3 patients access to an information teleconference
  • $75 is the average cost of tissue typing to become a bone marrow donor
  • $50 is the cost of a CT scan
  • $40 is the cost of sending a comprehensive packet of information for children with cancer
  • $35 pays for transportation expenses for a patient living in Northern California's most rural areas to treatment at a comprehensive cancer center
  • $25 covers a single prescription co-payment
  • $5 is the cost of sending a newly diagnosed patient information about support and their disease

Monday, August 13, 2007

Week 9 Wrap Up

Wow - I just realized I am now at the halfway point of my marathon training! Exciting stuff! Except I still don't have my flippin' new running shoes yet... More on that later - but maybe not, cause it's really not that interesting.

Anyway, it's been a fun running week. On Thursday's TNT workout, they had a podiatrist talk to us about taking care of our feet and ankles followed by an instructor that led us through a core workout. It was more like a full body workout and to be honest, I was pretty beat after that was over and could have been done for the day right then. But we still had our trail run which wasn't too bad... I think starting next week, our Thursday workouts will be on the track. After the workout, I took my stinky self over to that Bocce Ball place to meet up with friends. :)

Saturday was the 14 mile run - my longest distance to date! It was a doozy, *lots* of hills. It was nice though, we had a good-sized group of about 10-12 runners and we stuck together for the whole route. Plus one of our pace leaders had the Nike plus system so she made sure we stayed on pace which was really nice. We also had some really nice views during this run along the ocean and stuff. I actually took the Cliff shots on this run... they worked out pretty well. Still struggling with opening them with my sweaty hands but I think I will figure that out over time. (Are you supposed to bite them open?) Anyway, it took us over 3 hours to complete the run. When we got back, pretty much everything was torn down and the only people left were the pace leaders who were still cleaning everything up. They gave us a nice cheer when we returned. I did the ice bath thing in the bay again which I think helped a lot because I didn't really feel too sore the next day despite all the hills and stairs we had done.

On Sunday, I decided to do the Nike run in Danville - just 6 miles this time. I realized that with the scheduled runs I have left, I wouldn't have enough "punches" to get the VIP status I had last year so I'm gonna suck it up for a few weeks and do both the Saturday and Sunday runs. The run was nice and quick (an hour is quick these days) and this time I actually got to hear the post-run speaker who discussed sports nutrition (he was long gone by the time we finished the Saturday run). At least the drive to Danville is a bit shorter and on different highways so it doesn't suck too much :P

I ended up with about 26 miles for the week. Next long run will be 16 miles!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 and my upcoming scary run this weekend

Here's another good website for planning your runs: This one shows the elevation, too!

I'm a little scared because this weekend I'm running 14 miles and the route looks kinda tough... looks like it will be a hilly one!

Monday, August 6, 2007

You guys are awesome! Let's keep it up!

I am beyond elated right now. It hasn't even been 24 hours since begging all of you - my wonderful friends and family - for donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and you guys have already contributed over $1000!!! Incredible.

You all rock! If you haven't donated yet, what are you waiting for? :)

Click Me!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Week 10 Wrap Up

Recovery week went well. My first run after the SF half was the one I did with TNT on Thursday. My long run was a 10 mile run along the Marina/Embarcadero - same course as before. This time we went all the way to the ballpark and then turned around. My friend Gee joined me for the run this week - thanks Gee! He also introduced me to these Nike contact lens that are tinted so you don't have to wear sunglasses. It's interesting - they create this reddish ring around your eye - if I hadn't known what he was wearing, I would have just thought he'd been out partying too late! Anyway, what will these Nike peeps think of next? Actually, while at Jamba Juice, I noticed they have a new Nike-inspired smoothie. They're taking over the world!

I did a hike this morning with some friends and my legs feel pretty much back to normal. Good thing - next long run is a 14 mi one, it will be my longest distance to date!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Go Team!

Yep, it's official! I've joined Team in Training to help me prepare for my upcoming full and half marathons. As part of that, I will be raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, an organization that fights blood cancers.

I've been thinking about joining Team in Training since last fall when I ran the Nike half marathon. It seemed like literally half the runners in that race were from TNT. Being on the course for over 2 hours :), I ended up spending a lot of time observing them and they seemed pretty cool. First, it seemed like all the spectators on the course were TNT supporters so I was sort of jealous of all the cheering they got - especially when they all quieted down when the non-TNT runners (aka - ME) went by. So I had been joking with friends that the cheering was the main reason I wanted to join - even if I had to sponsor the whole thing on my own! And then a smart person pointed out that all I had to do was write my name on my race shirt and people would cheer for me, too. Oh yeah, I guess that would also work. heehee...

But it was more than the cheering from the sidelines. It was also the cheering amongst the runners. Every now and then you would see someone struggling, and I would always notice those purple-shirted runners checking in with each other. At first, I thought they were from the same training club, but then I noticed they were from different chapters - different states even!

It continued all the way to the finish. After I finished my half, I went and hung out by the finish line and there were so many runners that were really struggling by the end. I would then see some TNT runners approach the finish line and before they crossed, they would go back and help others finish. It was really cool to see.

Plus, it was fun to see their jerseys and see who was inspiring them to run. They inspired me, too! Especially the runners that were battling blood-related cancers or had survived them themselves - if they could do it, so can I, right?

On a related note - back in 2000, I raised over $2000 when I participated in the Avon 3-Day walk for breast cancer in NYC. That was such an amazing experience. Walking 60 miles in one weekend was significant on its own, but it was so much more meaningful knowing I did my little part to contribute to a bigger cause.

I'll be honest, I never thought I could run a marathon. (It wasn't that long ago when I couldn't even run a mile!) I'm not there yet, of course, but I'm slowly getting there. Obviously, this is a big deal for me - and I thought this would also be a great opportunity to support another cause. So I went to a TNT information session and I signed up!

I had my first training session with them on Thursday. Now I know why those TNT runners get all sucked in! Everyone is super friendly and super supportive. (Super, right? hehe) We just did a short trail run in LG, but it was cool because everyone cheered everytime someone came back from the run. Another cool thing was that some of our "honorees" were there at the workout. The "honorees" are our special friends directly affected by blood cancers - some are currently in active treatment, while others are in remission, though they still undergo regular maintenance treatment or testing. They're amazing though - some of them actually trained with us that day! I'm telling you, it's really inspiring!

I'm still new to the whole thing - but I know this is going to be a really rewarding experience. I'm pretty excited. Plus I have awesome mentors within TNT, they brought our group home-made chocolate chip cookies after our Thursday workout. ;)

I'll continue to make updates on my progress with TNT. Let me know if you would ever like to join in on a workout. I usually can only make the Thursday evening ones in LG. And if you'd like to sponsor me and donate to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, please click here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Week 11 Wrap Up

Oooh... a "treat" for all of you - pics from Wharf to Wharf and the SF half!

Wharf to Wharf

San Francisco Half Marathon

Yeah, the pics are small. But that's all that MarathonFoto would show and it's not like I'm going to buy any of these!

Anyway, I did 23 miles for Week 11. On to recovery week! I got some great advice from KB and JL (actually, make that JL-UK, heehee!) so I've been taking it easy this week so far. I was really sore after the race so I just rested Monday and Tuesday. I felt a lot better today, so I did a quick, easy workout on the elliptical at the gym and I *finally* made it to yoga class.

Tomorrow, I'll start running again but hopefully, it'll be an easy one. I just joined a new training group (more info on that will be coming soon) so I'm not too sure what's in store.

Update: Too cute - I just found out my mom ordered two of these pics. Gotta love Moms! :)
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