Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pre-Race Things

Most people I know don’t like to taper, but I love it.

Taper Thoughts

• I love the extra time. It’s only 8 pm and I’ve already eaten dinner, done the dishes, and watched all of my DVR’d shows (while foam rolling of course).

• I love the sleep! By the time the last 2 weeks before a marathon roll around, I am usually so worn out that I feel like I can’t get enough sleep. For someone with sleep issues, it’s heaven! I’ve been getting just about 8 hours of sleep every night for the past week!

• While I don’t like the fact that the final week of taper came the week after Thanksgiving (I really wish I could do more cardio this week), I have been doing lots of yoga, which has been good for my body and really enjoying the rest.

• The only thing that I am sad about is that I have yet to feel “rungry.” You know, that constant feeling of being famished during the peak month of marathon training. Yeah, it never came and I am so sad about it.

I’ve spent the past few days:

• Working on my race playlist: I named my Vancouver Marathon playlist “O Canada” and have been trying to think of a creative name for CIM. But it’s in Sacramento, and I really can’t think of anything interesting so I’m just calling it “Run CIM.” I’ve been adding songs to it as they pop into my head and will go back at the end of the week to finalize it. If you have any suggestions, send them my way! I’m more into Top 40, Rap, Hip Hop and 90’s Alternative, but if it has good beat or inspirational lyrics, I’m game.

• Packing my gear: I’ve laid out my overnight bag and like my playlist, have been throwing things into it as I think of them. I’ll go back on Saturday morning for a final round.

• Finalizing weekend plans:

– I have this amazing friend, Tina. She isn’t a runner, but supports me in my racing habit. She came with me to Vegas in 2009 for the Rock ‘n Roll Half-Marathon so I didn’t have to travel alone. She has woken up to drop me off at the SFM 1st Half-Marathon Start Line – mind you, a race that *starts* at 5:30 am. And this weekend, she is driving me up to Sacramento. There is no way I’d be able to drive myself back to the Bay post-race, so Tina is giving up her weekend to come and be my race support.

– I’m also reuniting with my friend Missy who is returning to Northern California to also run CIM! We signed up as a way to celebrate our birthdays (CIM falls just between both of ours). Kinda an insane way to celebrate birthdays.

– And of course, I am so thrilled to see my favorite Bay Area running folks. This is the first marathon that I am running where I’ll have so many friends at. They’ll be: racing (there are too many of us to individually name), spectating and supporting (Jana has graciously agreed to try and find me at Mile 20 to give me sustenance!) and even volunteering (Layla will be at the Finish Line handing out the medals!).

Which kinda just leaves my race goals. I have never been one to set race goals. My mantra when it comes to marathons has always been to “finish faster than the last one”, even if just by a few seconds. But a few incredibly supportive friends have taken a special interest in making me see that I am capable of more than I realize and have encouraged me to expect more of myself. So with their advice, I have set my goals and shared it with them. If you’re really curious about what they are, feel free to ping me and I’ll share them with you too, but otherwise, just know that they are set and you’ll find out post-race whether I achieved them. Or not.

Besides a time goal, my other races goals are:
• To finish in time for the 49er game. Hey, they could clinch the division on Sunday; it’s a legit goal.
• To run even paces.
• To not feel like death on the last 10K
• To take less walk breaks
• To fight the voice that says, “I can’t.”

All week I’ve been looking for Runspirations on Pinterest, Youtube, etc. I’ll share my favorites over the last few days before the race.

Ego and Out-of-Control Animals

In Vinyasa Yoga, one of the instructors often tells us to “leave our egos at the door and do not go beyond our edge.” By this she means to be realistic about what we are capable of doing on that given day. We should not push beyond our limits, because if we do, it could lead to an unnecessary injury.

But running has the opposite psyche. We constantly tell ourselves, and each other, to push beyond our limits.

So how do we find the balance?

I think the key phrase is “on that given day.” Some days we feel better than others. What our bodies allow on one day, may not be what we are capable of on another.

One thing that I have learned from training for so many races is that there are different kinds of running workouts. Long runs, speed work, tempo runs and yes, easy runs. Each workout has a time, a place and a purpose – “on a given day”.

Several weeks ago I did a long run with RoadBunner. She is a faster runner than I am but “for that given day” she had to run at an easy pace because that was what her marathon-training plan called for. Normally it stresses me out to run with someone who is faster than I am, but she is a smart and disciplined runner who listens to her training plan and I knew that she would be okay with whatever pace I set for the run.

There have been many days where I have not “checked my ego at the door.” Many of my training runs have been at paces that were faster than prescribed. I would even start my run by telling myself that I would not run faster than a certain pace, but then I would fall slave to my Garmin and think, “I can run faster than this.” Even on days where I was specifically told to run a slower pace. Clearly I have yet to learn that every run doesn’t have to be faster than the previous.

Recently I stopped wearing my Garmin on “easy run” days so I wouldn’t look at my Garmin every 5.8 seconds. But to be honest, I think those runs ended up being about the same paces as my “non-easy run” days.

So now I’m wondering if I have actually progressed to the point where my “easy runs” are just at a faster pace, or if it was just my ego talking the whole time. I really have no clear answer. I am also not even quite sure what the point of this post is. It’s just something that has been weighing on my mind.


On another note, I went out for a 5-mile (interval) run this morning. About a mile and a half into the run I was trotting along (again, at a pace that was faster than it should have been) when I was blind-sided by a dog that was larger than I am.

It came up on my right side and knocked me over. It stood over me, barking, not letting me up. The owner (who was not much bigger than I am) came running over, yelling at the dog to back off. I finally yelled, “He’s not listening, can you just pull him back?” She finally did, and then proceeded to beat the dog down. What a bad dog owner, no wonder the dog was such a wreck. I barked back at the owner that she needs to leash her dog or else it would get her arrested one-day.

Ironically, last week, a German shepherd also jumped on me. It was an older dog and I knew that it was only trying to be playful (not mean), but still, I wasn’t amused and also had to ask the owner to get his dog off of me.

I have 3 takeaways from these experiences:

1. If your pet cannot behave, or you cannot control it in public, please keep it leashed.

2. What is the best way to handle an out of control animal that you encounter on a run?

3. Why am I such a target for these animals?

Week 47

Tuesday, November 22

AM: 1-hour (6-miles exactly) Easy Run

PM: Bikram Yoga

Wednesday, November 23

Since this was the last day of work before the long holiday weekend, I worked from home and was able to spread my workouts out over the course of the day (and still get in a full day’s work):

AM: 45-minute Swim. Didn’t count laps again, instead, I just swam freestyle (cause that’s the only swim stroke I know) to the tempo of whatever song was playing on my playlist. The thing is, I forgot to change the playlist on my iPod so I swam to my running playlist, which is all fast songs. Thus, this turned out to be an up tempo swim.

Lunch Time: 1-hour Strength Training with my Trainer. I hate push-ups and was under the belief that doing push-ups on the TRX was much easier than doing traditional push-ups on the ground. I usually negotiate with Dave to alternate between the two every week. This time, he decided to prove to me that TRX push-ups were harder than traditional push-ups by making me do “Atomic Push-Ups”:

You better believe they were every bit as hard as they looked. And I did at least 50 of them. Actually I think I did more, but I was so traumatized I lost count.

PM: Bikram Yoga

Thursday, November 24

Every single muscle in my body ached from those damn atomic push-ups. I had nightmares about them. I’m not quite sure how I managed to pull it off, but I did 6.23 miles of Speed Work.

Then I proceeded to *stuff* — and I mean *stuff* my face for the rest of the day. Hey, I haven’t had any dairy since September so I fully enjoyed my Dungeness Crab Brie Mac and Cheese, as well as all the other fixings. I didn’t regret it at the time, but now that I am starting a very light last-week-before-a-marathon week, I wish I factored that in before overdoing it.

Friday, November 25

Rest Day. It was Black Friday and we kept up our family’s 20+-year tradition of spending it in downtown San Francisco:

• Drove up to the City and valet parked at Nordstom
• Got a hot drink from the Nordstrom Espresso Bar
• Shopped at Nordstrom, and then checked our bags into their Concierge Desk
• Walked to Neiman Marcus for lunch at the Rotunda Restaurant – because their Chicken Consommé, Popover’s and Lobster Club Sandwich are all a part of the Black Friday tradition. Then perused the handbag department.
• After lunch, shopped at the stores on Grant St; i.e., Banana Republic, Lululemon, Kate Spade, etc
• Made our way back toward the San Francisco Center; stopping at Macy’s to see the SPCA pups and kittens in the window displays

{this kitten looks like how I feel}

• Perused Bloomingdales and the other stores on that side of SF Center.
• Had a light afternoon snack at the Nordstrom Cafe
• Did a final round at Nordstrom, picked up our bags and then called it a day

Unlike the crazy discount stores that open at midnight, downtown San Francisco doesn’t get crowded until the late afternoon when families start arriving for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Union Square.

As for the purchases, since I’m going to NY on a shopping trip next week, I kept things to a minimal and just got a few essentials (Tip: get a proper bra-fitting at Nordstrom), a bunch of basic black and white T’s from Banana (40% off), and a new bag from Lulu (as well as one for my sister). It was definitely a great day to get into the Christmas Spirit.

Saturday, November 26

AM: 8-mile run at a pace much faster than I intended. This left me sorer than I wanted to be.

PM: Bikram Yoga

Sunday, November 27

Run Wild for A Child 5K Race

We are now down to 6 days until CIM. S-I-X days.