Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SHAZAM - Finally breaking 10:00 min/mi pace!

Speed workouts - what are those? Certainly not something I've really been pushing on myself. I've noticed that my average pace in the past month tends to float somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 min/mi, whether it's for a 3 mile weekday run or a 9 mile long weekend run.

So this morning I decided to focus on my speed during today's 3 mile run. I didn't really plan any formal speed workout like intervals or a fartlek or anything, I just wanted to push myself beyond a "comfortable" jog.

To help me with this, I left the iPod at home and just took the Garmin and off I went. Without tunes to distract me, I could really pay attention to my breathing and the rhythm of my feet and all that. I started off at a good pace but I avoided checking the numbers on my watch. It didn't feel like sprinting but I did wonder if I would be able to keep it up for the whole run.

Mile 1: 10:01

That felt about right. I tend to have a decent pace for the first mile and then sort of slow down from there.

For the second mile, I just tried to maintain the same pace. During this mile, there's a small hill that I go down in the first half and then back up during the second part. (I do an out-and-back run on the trail.)

I definitely slowed down when I went uphill but tried my best to recover quickly and get back on pace.

Mile 2: 9:51

Huh??? I was really surprised by this but then I figured that me flying down the hill helped make up the slack for the slower pace later on when I went up the hill.

So now I have one mile left and I'm thinking, hey, this is pretty cool - if I can just manage another ~9:50 mile, then I'll have a sub 30:00 time for my 3 mile run! Off I went, again just trying to focus on my breathing and maintaining pace. The effort was definitely a lot harder and my heart rate was sky high. And of course, the last mile seemed to take forever!

Once I noticed I had about 0.1 mi left, I picked it up even further. A quick glance at my watch told me that I should be able to finish in under 30:00 so I sprinted as best as I could to lock it in.

Finally - 3.0 miles! I hit stop and started the cool down. All I saw was that my final time started with a "2" so I was happy.

It wasn't until I was back home stretching that I decided to check out the digits.

Mile 3: 8:55

Total: 3.0 miles, 28:49, 9:36 pace

Say whaaaa??? I just wanted to finish with a 9:50 mile, I wasn't expecting a sub 9:00 mile! And to shave a whole minute / mile on my average pace is HUGE for me!

Anyway, in addition to my successful run this morning, I also took Spinning on Monday. I might squeeze in another quick run tomorrow morning but given that I have not packed yet for my red-eye flight tomorrow night and I have lots of work to wrap up before I depart, I'm guessing this might be it before the 5K and 15K this weekend.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good start, decent finish, pathetic middle...

... is how I would describe my workouts this week.


Spinning followed by full hour of yoga (didn't skip out early this time)

It was really nice to have all that deep stretching after a good cardio workout. I like this yoga class in particular because she mixes it up with some pilates moves which I really need because my core is pretty weak these days. Nothing too hard-core but she did end the class with us practicing the crow for our balancing move. Now I couldn't do this move even when I was regularly taking yoga as my balance is nothing to write home about. So this move was more comical than anything else for me. I think I had it for about 0.2 ms and then I would fall back giggling at myself. (And it was exhausting just trying to get into the pose, much less hold it!)


Rest Day (planned)


Thought about it...


Could have gone to the gym, decided to settle in for long night of must see TV instead (c'mon - it was a big night! The return of Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy, Lost plus my faves 30 Rock and The Office)


Eh... it was Friday, too tired from the week at work


At this point, I knew my four day run of laziness had to end so I got going on my long run. I ran my usual route on the nearby trail, unfortunately, I did not realize there was a planned "March for Babies" walk going on for the March of Dimes. It was an all day thing so there were lots of groups walking the trail, sometimes just a few people, other times a bit larger. It was manageable until the end of my run when I came across groups of 50-100 peeps head on and they ended up taking over both lanes. The trail isn't very wide and in some areas, there isn't much of a shoulder. So after getting elbowed a couple of times, I finally had to break out the "Can you please stay to your right?" requests. I felt bad about yelling (politely, I swear!) at people doing a charity walk BUT (excuse time!!!) I had been running for over an hour at this point plus the heat and the sun were finally starting to beat me down so I didn't have much patience left in me. The last mile was particularly frustrating as I had to stop and wait at certain points to let the crowds go through.

1: 10:05
2: 10:35
3: 10:34
4: 11:04
5: 10:58
6: 10:29
7: 12:06

Total: 7.02 miles, 1:16:05, 10:51 pace

The rest of the day was a weird one... I think I caught a mild case of heat exhaustion or dehydration or something. I drank both water and gatorade during my run as well as afterward. But then I went to a baby shower in the afternoon where I happened to be sitting directly in the sun during lunch. I drank some water and lemonade there (OK, and a little bit of hard lemonade as well). By the time we got to gift opening, I had found a spot in the shade but started to get a bit of a headache and for a brief second or so, felt some dizziness as well.

It wasn't anything major until I got home. I thought maybe water, advil, and a quick nap would do the trick before heading out that night. But I woke up later to a *pounding* headache plus the bonus of nausea. It felt like a really bad hangover. So I cancelled my plans and just rested instead. I couldn't even drink any more water because it just made me feel sick. Not too much later, I did end up getting sick - I'll spare you the gory details but all the yummy food from that afternoon ended up down the toilet. I don't think it was the food that made me sick though because my friends that were also at the shower were fine. After that, I slowly felt better and was able to take some water and crackers later that night. It was just weird that I had that reaction. I'll definitely take care of myself better next time - more water, less time in the sun, I guess?


Took a break from the sun and went to the gym instead - stairs + elliptical followed by weights.

I also had an awesome time bonding with the girls at a brunch at my friend's place. Delicious buffet of food (including Hello Kitty shaped waffles - haha) with some fun drinks to boot (white sangria, bloody mary's, and mimosas). Amanda - you were sorely missed, many girls asked me how you were doing. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sorry, Chicago, maybe next time

It looks like registration for the 2008 Chicago marathon closed this week. I received the registration alert email yesterday, but I already decided earlier this year that Chicago was not in my 2008 plans.

Sure, I was disappointed by the clusterf--- at last year's race, given it was my first marathon and all... but the crowds were awesome, the course was fun and flat, and it is one of the majors after all (heehee) so I'm sure I will return to the windy city to try it again someday. I still recommend it to anyone looking for a memorable marathon experience. (Not memorable like last year, of course!)

Anyway, I am excited for my friends that are going to run it again this year - I just have a feeling they will have an awesome race to make up for last year.

Any other 2007 Chicago marathon runners out there planning to tackle it again this year?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ready for the Minnie Marathon - 9.3 miles complete!

I was happy to see that everyone agreed with my decision to cut my long run short last week - didn't know if peeps would think I'm a cop-out or something...

So I took it easy during the week and then on Saturday, I had my scheduled 9 mile run. It went well - no weird pains or anything. I even tacked on the extra 0.3 miles to make a full 15K.

1: 10:02
2: 10:51
3: 10:22
4: 10:13
5: 10:33
6: 10:10
7: 10:41
8: 10:41
9: 11:08
0.3: 2:53

Total: 9.3 miles, 1:37:40, 10:30 pace

So now I am officially ready for the Minnie Marathon 15K in two weeks. Can't wait! I know the FL weather will slow me down but I'm not looking to set any records there. I'm just excited about getting a do-over for the last 9 miles of the WDW marathon. I had to walk most of that part this past January because I was so beat.

On Sunday, I decided to do a little bit of a recovery run. Unfortunately, I decided this about 20 minutes after I had some lunch. I don't know what I was thinking because less than a mile in, I started getting some cramps. So I decided to scrap the idea of a recovery run and just did a brief 20 minute walk instead. The weather was perfect so it was really nice. Afterward, I followed up with some abs and arm exercises.

On a separate note - I'm excited for all the runners doing the Boston Marathon tomorrow! What a great achievement - I can't wait to read all about it.

Also, congrats to Deena Kastor, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, and Blake Russell for making the U.S. women's Olympic marathon team. Deena Kastor won with a 5:43 pace - can you imagine??? If I run under a 9:00 min pace, I feel like I'm flying! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Week in Review: Some running, lots of cross training

So far, so good! The ankle thing must have been a fluke 'cause everything feels fine now. *Knock on wood!* As planned, I kept the running simple this week in preparation for this weekend's 9 mile run.

Monday: Spinning. I also briefly crashed a yoga class at the gym for about a half hour or so. It was a "power yoga" class so we went through all the poses and movements very quickly which I wasn't used to. The extra stretching did feel good, though. I should have stayed longer but I tend to get antsy when I've been in the gym for more than an hour and a half.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: I did an easy 3 mile run in the morning. Felt sluggish at first but it was better toward the end.

1: 10:56
2: 11:11
3: 10:29
Total: 3.00 mi, 0:32:33, 10:52 pace

After work, I headed to the gym for spinning again. I found out on Monday that my favorite spinning teacher will be going on maternity leave soon. So like a good little "groupie" student, I am trying to take as many of her classes as I can before she departs for mommy-ville.

Thursday: Ran an easy 2 miles plus weights. I decided to give the treadmill a whirl since it was only 2 miles. But I wanted to make them good ones - so I did a pseudo speed workout alternating between 10:30 and 9:30 intervals.

1: 10:15
2: 10:00
Total: 2 miles, 20:15, 10:07 avg pace

I was pretty happy with that since usually I have to walk / run on the "dreadmill" and I never make it more than three miles. Even though it was only two miles this time, I'm happy that I was able to run them out at a pretty good pace for me.

Afterward, I did some weights - I sort of skipped out on that during my marathon training so I'm trying to incorporate it in my workouts again. I've been skimping on the leg workouts, though. I do some of them, but not a lot. Part of me is worried about overworking my legs even though I know I need to strengthen them.

Question - My spinning classes tend to be heavier on the resistance training ("hills") vs speedwork. Do those count as leg strengthening exercises?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Heat is On

Overall, I'm happy that I've been keeping up with my workouts this week but I did have a minor setback today.

Here's the weekly wrap-up... in addition to the Monday spinning and Wednesday 4 mi run, the rest of the week went like this:

Thursday: Drills & Sculpt class + 15 min. elliptical

Friday: 3 mi run with hills + trail (0:33:07, 11:02 pace)
1: 11:46 (this mile had some stoplights + hills, need to do some hill repeats!)
2: 11:11
3: 10:09

Saturday: 30 min stairmaster, 10 min treadmill on incline, weights

Sunday: 8 mi run 3.12 mi run (0:33:21, 10:42 pace)
1: 10:48
2: 10:30
3: 10:46
.12: 1:18

I had planned to do a long run of 8 miles but unfortunately, I started feeling a slight pain in my left ankle during mile 2. It hurt to run on it, so I only made it to mile 3 before giving in to the pain. I also started my run too late in the day so the heat was full on which also added to the discomfort. (Although, I would have dealt with the heat if I didn't have the ankle situation since I think that would have helped get me acclimated a bit to the upcoming Disney race.)

The pain wasn't that unbearable but I didn't want to take any chances. I plan to take it easy on my runs this week but I am still planning to do a 9 mi long run next weekend.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Time for a change...

The before shot:

And after:

So far I love the new cut - my stylist gave me exactly what I wanted. And it's so quick to dry and style - took barely no effort at all. Yay!

Maybe with all that extra hair weight gone, my times will be better???


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Who's been working out?

ME!!! Sorry for the bragging but I'm excited about finally getting back into a routine this month. I think I ran 4 times total for the whole month of March - blah!

Here's what I've been up to since the 10K.

Last Week

Monday: Spinning

Thursday: 3 miles on trail / treadmill (0:32:24, 10:42 pace)
- 1.73 mi on trail in 0:18:08
- 1.3 mi on treadmill in 0:14:16 (It was getting too dark so I finished the run indoors)

Friday: 3 miles on trail (0:32:35, 10:48 pace)
1: 10:08
2: 11:20
3: 10:56

Sunday: 7 miles on trail (1:14:55, 10:41 pace)
1: 10:41
2: 10:40
3: 10:28
4: 11:16
5: 10:38
6: 10:55
7: 10:10

This Week

Monday: Spinning

Wednesday: 4 miles on trail (0:40:50, 10:13 pace)
1: 10:05
2: 10:09
3: 10:41
4: 9:56

Off to a good start so far - hope I keep it up! With all those new May races, I need to!

Monday, April 7, 2008

May Races Mania!

Ok, so maybe the Nike lottery did not work out for me... no big deal! I've got lots of other fun races lined up and just added four more for May alone!

Here's the rundown:

May 3rd - Disney's Go Red for Women 5K (Orlando, FL)

This one is a very special race as my sister and I will be walking it together as a sister/sister team. I'm so excited because this is the first time my sister has participated in any type of run/walk race before. She cheered me on during the Disney marathon in January and also supported me for the Chicago marathon last October, but this time she'll get to experience the fun of a race for herself! She's a little intimidated about doing her first 5K (let's face it, we've all been there, right?) but luckily, she is already very familiar with the course - just a simple stroll around Epcot. :)

May 4th - Disney's Women Run the World 15K (Orlando, FL)

The thing I like about this race is that the course is pretty much the last 9 miles of the marathon, or as I remember it, the part of the course where I was completely beat down, exhausted, weak, and suffering from many hours in the heat and humidity.

I'm pretty sure the heat and humidity will still be there, but I am excited to be able to experience that part of the race again with a little bit more energy and enthusiasm. You know, actually enjoy it! (I hope Sully is there at Hollywood Studios again, his high five really picked me up last time.)

May 10th - 10K on the 10th (Location: TBD)

I love Nancy's races - they always motivate me to get off the couch which is probably what I would have been doing that weekend.

May 18th - ING Bay to Breakers (San Francisco)

This is a new one - just registered yesterday. Bay to Breakers is an EVENT. A true SF tradition in my book. It's a *real* race (a 12K) - you know, with Kenyans and all that. :) But for me and probably most of the participants, Bay to Breakers is one huge crazy party in motion. The one time of the year when even though you are many years out of college, it's perfectly acceptable to be completely drunk at 9AM on a Sunday morning. (I hope my mom isn't reading this.) Everyone dresses up in crazy costumes, usually as a group, and some of these groups will even construct these elaborate floats that usually serve one purpose: to transport their alcohol. (Unofficially of course, as I know they've been cracking down with check points and stuff). I've participated every year since I've moved here (2001) except for last year when I had a last minute biz trip.

This year I'm doing something new - I'm going to attempt to run it. I say "attempt" because the race is a zoo. I read that last year's race had about 20,000 registered finishers and another 25,000 "party crashers". That's a lot to navigate through not to mention all the visual distractions!

But I'm really nervous about Hayes Street Hill, the long stretch with an 11.15% incline shown at mile 2 below:

At least this time, I won't be hauling a paper mache bull concealing a beer cooler on a red radio flyer wagon.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it wasn't water in that bottle...

I'm thinking about dressing up for the race - never run one in costume before so that could be fun. Although, I'm very particular about race outfits - so it would have to be something that I feel comfortable in. Suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Sadly, I don't think it's an April fool's day joke.

I'm hoping they have the Nike Club Run again this year to "earn" one of the reserved spots which is how I got in two years ago. Or maybe I'll just focus on a different fall race since there's so many around here at that time. I do have the San Jose Rock 'n Roll half which is two weeks before the Nike one.

I won't take it personally, Nike. I still love your products.
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