Month: March 2015

Marathon Training Update

Weeks until Mountains 2 Beach Marathon: 8

I haven’t done a training update since week 7, and it’s long overdue. A lot has happened since then (PRed at the Rose Bowl 10k and San Diego Half Marathon), and I’m up to 16 miles for my long run. The week after my last training update I ran 12 incredibly hard miles and then a couple days later got a really painful stiff neck (I get these about every six months), and I had to take almost a week off.


Right after running 12 of the hardest miles of my life.

I think I got discouraged about it all especially since my long run went so badly, but luckily I felt better after a week off and got back to it, and things have been going smoothly since (knock on wood). There are only 8 weeks left until the marathon, which is a full two months, but sounds REALLY soon. Especially since there were 21 weeks left when I first started training. Here’s a peek into my training lately:

Week 9 – This week was made up of a few runs to get me back into the swing of things after my week off, and then the San Diego Half Marathon happened, where I finally got my sub-2 and PRed with a new time of 1:56:47. Total mileage: 33.5


Week 10 – Had to miss one workout this week due to a work crisis, but otherwise I had four easy runs, one being a 15-miler in Santa Barbara (personal distance record at the time). I love doing my long runs in SB and this one felt really great. Total mileage: 28

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After I was done, Jeremy and I went to McConnell’s Ice Cream and got frozen yogurt, where we used to go all the time when we lived in SB.


I asked for sprinkles and the girl working gave me a cup of them on the side.

After McConnell's we got a drink at Figueroa Mountain Brewery (we like to revisit all our favorite places when we're in town). Oh yeah and I cut off like 7 inches of my hair.

After McConnell’s we got a drink at Figueroa Mountain Brewery (we like to revisit all our favorite places when we’re in town). Oh yeah and I cut off like 7 inches of my hair.

Week 11 – Did mile repeats on Monday (1.5 warm up, 3 1-mile repeats, 1.5 mile cool down) and my paces for the mile repeats were 9:02, 8:40, and 8:44.

Echo Park Lake - where I do my speed workouts because all the roads surrounding my neighborhood are hilly.

Echo Park Lake – where I do my speed workouts because all the roads surrounding my neighborhood are hilly.

Went to November Project on Wednesday and Friday of this week, and it was nice to be back. It’s been interfering a bit with my energy levels for my runs so I had to miss some, but I go when I can.

NP at Griffith Park.

NP at Griffith Park.

My long run for the week was 12 miles with a fast finish. The first nine miles I averaged 10:30 or so, and the last three fast finish paces were 8:51, 8:30, 8:43. I felt really good on this run. I ventured into Hollywood and up Beachwood Canyon Drive, and got some nice views of the Hollywood Sign and ended up in Hollywoodland.


Total mileage for the week: 33.8

Week 12 – Last week consisted of 5 easy miles on Tuesday, 7 miles with 5 at tempo on Wednesday (tempo mile splits: 8:55, 8:27, 8:25, 8:30, 8:16), 5 easy miles on Thursday, 2 shake out miles on Friday, and my longest run to date, 16 on Saturday.

Before heading out for my 16-miler.

Before heading out for my 16-miler.

Since I’ve been training for three months now, allowing lots of time to gradually build up to higher mileage, 16 miles didn’t sound too intimidating. My 15-miler a couple weeks back sounded MUCH scarier for some reason, but this time I felt nice and confident as I got ready to run. I headed back to Hollywood again, with the goal of finding the Hollywood Reservoir. I’ve been wanting to check it out for a while since there’s a 3.3-mile pedestrian only path that goes around it, and you get nice and close to the Hollywood Sign. I didn’t take into account that I’d have to climb some narrow roads in the Hollywood Hills, then trail run for about a mile to get to the Reservoir, so that made a hard run even harder, but it was worth it. It was quiet and pretty, and hard to believe it was so close to the busy streets of Hollywood.

Climbing the roads of the Hollywood Hills.

Climbing the roads of the Hollywood Hills. Apparently I ran by Madonna’s old house.


Accidental trail running.

Accidental trail running.

Ugh the sign looked SO much closer than this.

The sign looked SO much closer in person than it does here.


I might be a little obsessed with the Hollywood Sign…


The pretty reservoir.

Welcome to Hollywoodland... now relax and slow down.

Welcome to Hollywoodland… now relax and slow down.

Total mileage for last week: 35.16

My favorite way to recover.

My favorite way to recover.

Also, this stuff is REALLY good and makes your milk taste like chocolate milk. I got it in a race bag, and I definitely want to get some more.

Also, this stuff is REALLY good and makes your milk taste like chocolate milk. I got it in a race bag, and I definitely want to get some more.

Side note, ProCompression’s sock of the month for March are these heather socks and I ordered some the other day and they’re supposed to arrive tomorrow. I love the grey ones! The coupon code expires on Tuesday (the last day of March), so get on it!

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Another side note, my best friend Liz was in town last week and we ate at Sqirl, one of my favorite restaurants in my neighborhood (and probably all of LA). Avocado toast = highly recommended.


Phew, I’m glad to be up to date more or less with training, and definitely want to get back to doing weekly recaps, I’m sure it’ll be fun to read about my progress sometime in the future.

San Diego Half Marathon Recap

I love this race. Not only was it my first half marathon two years so it will always hold a special place in my heart, but it’s always one of the most organized races I run. Everything down to the informative website, pre-race preparation email, expo, post-race activities… everything is planned well and the volunteers are SO nice and helpful. This year I especially loved it because I FINALLY broke two hours!!! I’ve been wanting (but not exactly training) to do this for a while now (maybe like a year and a half) and I finally did it. In past races I’ve just loosely followed a training plan and would just hope that I miraculously improved and broke two hours without putting in the effort needed. This time around, I’ve been busting my ass training for my marathon and working hard during training runs and November Project, and am really seeing improvement. IMG_3027 Anyway, Jeremy and I headed to San Diego on Saturday morning to meet up with my mom and grandma and head to the expo. It’s always held at the pier, which means parking can be annoying, but once you’re there it’s easy to shop at the expo booths or just go right and pick up your bib and shirts. Since it’s my third year running the race, they gave me an additional shirt, and they printed Legacy with three stars on one of the sleeves of both shirts. The women’s shirts this year were lavender color, so I asked if I could get the dark grey men’s shirt instead, since I don’t wear that many light colors. They were super hospitable and it was no trouble. They also gave out a backpack to put all your goodies in.



Jeremy wearing the backpack they give all runners.


Expo location.

The day before a race, I like to have a big bread-heavy lunch and a light dinner, usually a brothy soup. I’ve done this before my last three half marathons, and it seems to work well for me. We all stayed at a hotel downtown so we’d be close to the start and finish lines instead of having to wake up an hour earlier and try to find parking downtown SD somewhere.

All ready.

Flat Lily.

The race is always the morning of the daylight savings time change, so waking up at 5am really means it’s 4am for your body. It hurts, but luckily race-day nerves take care of the tiredness. Before a half marathon, I find that having a small cup of coffee (very important), a little oatmeal, half a banana, and half a Honey Stinger chocolate waffle at least an hour before the race starts sits well in my stomach, and provides enough energy for a few hours. After Jeremy and I left the hotel, we made the mile-long walk to the starting line, where there were tons of porta potties and an announcer getting ready to start the waves of runners.



I was in wave 7, which was a good placement for me. I didn’t see the 2-hour pacers since they were in an earlier wave, but it seemed like everyone around me was starting off at around the same pace. Once the race started, I was aiming for around 9-minute miles for the first half, but a fellow November Project runner saw my shirt and starting running with me during mile one. I never run with people and wasn’t sure how I was supposed to run at my own pace if she didn’t want to, so I ended up talking to her and slowing down to her pace. I kept looking at my watch and trying to ramp up the speed a bit (we were running around 9:30) but I didn’t want to be rude so I didn’t push it. I know that was silly because I wanted that sub-2 hour finish so badly and I should have just told her, but maybe it was a good thing for me to be so conservative in the beginning because I felt like I had a lot left in the tank the second half of the race, and I ended up breaking two hours anyway. It definitely made the first five miles go by fast, and it was a nice change to actually run with someone. I split off from her around mile 5 when she stopped to get water, and I sped up to try to make up some time. Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 8.10.30 AM

I kept up a good pace until the dreaded Washington Street hill at mile 10 came up. Last year I had to walk up a lot of it due to not being in very good shape, but this year it didn’t feel bad at all and I never felt like I had to walk at all. After the hill was done, it was about three miles downhill to the finish. I was able to really push it these last miles, and I’m super proud of my negative splits. While I was pushing those last couple miles, I ended up passing the 2-hour pacer and that moment was one of the best of my running career. I couldn’t stop smiling and I might have uttered a ‘f— yeah’ out loud… Official time: 1:56:47!

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Booking it to the finish line.


The only time I’ve mastered the whole arm-up finish line pose and there were no official photographers to capture it from the front.

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Splits according to Garmin.

Official results.

Official results.

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Immediately after finishing they filled my hands up with chocolate milk and coconut water and I didn’t have time to put it down before the picture…


My two shirts and the huge medal that was dedicated to the military this year.

Along with the backpack from the expo, they give you a nice reusable tote filled with food and drinks.

Along with the backpack from the expo, they give you a nice reusable tote filled with food and drinks after the race.


Three generations at the SD Half for the third time 🙂

As far as fueling goes, I had a Clif shot that I opened somewhere around mile 9, and I ended up taking in a little bit of it every mile, and only ended up eating about half of it. I didn’t feel like I needed any more than that.

I’m glad this race went so perfectly, and I’m excited to see what I can do at my next half. In other news, marathon training is still going well and we are now 8 weeks out from the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon… how did that happen? I haven’t done a training update in a while, so that will be on the agenda for next week!

Rose Bowl 10K Recap

This is kind of old news, but I still wanted to write about my most perfect race to date, the Rose Bowl 10k. My previous PR of 56:07 was set in October 2013, and it had been a while since I’d actually raced a race, if you know what I mean. I hadn’t really been in the best shape my last few races, and I was excited to see how far I’d come since ramping up my training and getting serious about it.


The packet pick-up was held the day before the race, and it was pretty small. There were no expo booths (they had them at the finishers’ area at the race the next day, though) and it was just a few tables with volunteers handing out packets. It was really unclear that you had to stop at the first table and sign a waiver, then find your number, then find the right table to pick up your packet (many people were grumbling and complaining about this), but it really wasn’t that big of a deal, and if you waited in line and got to the front and you didn’t have your number, you had to go to where they were posted and then get back in line. An inconvenience, but not the end of the world. The shirts were cotton and too small unfortunately, otherwise they were nice-looking.


The race started at 8:15am, and Jeremy and I got to the parking lot around 7:15, and were able to park for free. The half marathoners started first, and then all the 5k and 10k runners lined up in the chute (there were no waves, it was a pretty small race). I was prepared for the course to be hilly, and I thought we would be running on some trails, but it was actually just two loops on a path around a golf course, and was blissfully flat. Coach Lauren gave me some paces to try to hit in the first 5k then see if I could speed it up in the second 5k if I was feeling good. During almost all of my other 10ks, I’ve gone out too fast and struggled after mile 2 or 3, or I just haven’t been in good shape. This time, I was conservative in my first mile (it was also a smallish path and there was lots of weaving between runners) and then sped up the next two miles. Once we finished the first loop, according to my splits I slowed down a bit in mile 4, then realized I only had two miles left and felt really good, so I ramped up the speed.

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The last bit of the course was a downhill into the stadium, which was awesome. I was sprinting so hard and I had to dodge people (including someone walking with a baby stroller), but I was gunning for a sub 50-minute time, and I made it just in the nick of time.



Before the race began.

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No time to smile!

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I finished the race with a 7:28 mile! This still blows my mind. I forgot to pause my Garmin right away, so my average pace is a little slower than what the race website says:

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Average pace under 8 min/mile?!

I also blew past the little kids giving out medals, so I had to go back and ask them for one. This was the first time getting a medal for a race that wasn’t a half marathon, so that was cool.


The only weird thing is that my Garmin said the course was 6.00 miles, not 6.2. Those last .2 make a big difference, so I may not have had as big a PR as I thought and the course was probably short, but oh well. I still basked in the glory of a 6.70 minute PR and enjoyed a free Bud Light after the race.

The earliest

The earliest I’ve ever drank a beer.

I also got second in my age group, so Jeremy and I waited around a while until they announced the awards. When they announced the winners in the ‘Athena’ and ‘Clydesdale’ categories (women over 150 pounds and men over 200 pounds), the runners looks embarrassed, honestly, and it was weird. I am surprised no one has complained about this bizarre category. They finally got to my category and they called my name and I got to go up to the podium and get a second, bigger medal.

IMG_2588It was really exciting and felt like validation for busting my ass the past couple months.

Overall it was a good race and I’d run it again because of how fast and flat it was, but the organization could have been better. Jeremy put it best when he said it felt like the Pasadena community just got together for a fun run and not an actual race, like the announcer at the finish line wasn’t paying attention to the people actually finishing (he didn’t even announce when the winner of the races were coming in). I got lucky and the morning wasn’t too warm and the course was pretty shady, so heat wasn’t an issue. And I wore my new Saucony Triumph ISOs, which make me feel like I’m flying. I’m really proud of this race, and can’t wait to see what happens at the San Diego Half Marathon next weekend.