The Nine

I just woke up from a 2-hour nap, and my evening plans don't commence for another 2 hours so I thought I'd write a post recapping today's long run. I have a process, a ritual if you will, for long runs. I'm sure each runner has one. Here's mine.

I'm finishing Week 4 of marathon training for the Marin County Marathon. Today's schedule called for an 8-miler.

The Night Before I make sure to have a good dinner. I don't go overboard on the carbs, but I make sure I have a balanced meal. Last night I had leftovers of the Lemony Shrimp dish I made on Wednesday, a green salad and fresh strawberries for dessert. Then I had a bowl of Erin Baker's Dark Chocolate Chunk granola. What can I say - its my weakness. And if there's ever a right time to indulge, its the night before a long run.

I also make sure I get a good night's sleep - or at least try to. Ironically, I have been going to bed the earliest on Friday nights, compared to the rest of the week. Last night I was in bed by 9 pm and must've fallen asleep right away because I woke up at 1 am with the lights still on. Thankfully, I was able to fall back asleep right away and didn't get up until 6 am, feeling refreshed for the day.

The Morning Of

* Breakfast: My intent was to give oatmeal another try. I have always wanted to like oatmeal. I have read how healthy and beneficial it is, but 1. I can never make it right (instant or original) and 2. I can't get over the texture. I don't like it. But I decided, it wasn't a good idea to try a new thing before a long run so I stuck with my favorite again - Erin Baker's Dark Chocolate Chunk granola. Usually I have 1 serving (1/2 cup), but today I had 2 servings.

* Route: I usually have my route planned the night before, but with the unpredictable rain, I left it to be a "game day decision." The original plan was to run along the Embarcadero again (in downtown San Francisco), then meet my friend Medha at the Ferry Building for lunch. While the weather looked like it was going to be a nice sunny day, I just wasn't feeling it. There was also a motor cross event scheduled at AT&T Park and I wasn't in the mood to be dodging through people.

I also wasn't all that jazzed to head out to my normal trail - Sawyers Camp. It would have been perfect terrain, what with all the rain we've had, but I am bored with that place. I've run it so many times that I know every nook and cranny of it.

So I decided to stay local and started out right from my front door. I wasn't sure where I was going, but I would just run until I hit 8 miles.

* Tunes: I added some new tunes to my running play list. Have I also mentioned that I renamed it? I use to call it "Burn", but now I call it, "Run This Town." Anyway, I got some new tunes from Chic Runner's recent post. She always seems to know when I am in need of new material. I also added the following songs to my list:

- "Whataya Want From Me" by Adam Lambert (thanks for the tip V!) - "Put It in A Love Song" by Alicia Keys - Re-added "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce - "Hey Ma" by Cam'ron > got reacquainted with this song via Shoop Radio on Pandora, thanks to Alli - Re-added "Love Sex Magic" by Ciara - "On to the Next One" by Jay-Z - "Paper Planes" by MIA - "Feel Me Flow" by Naughty by Nature (again, a Shoop Radio find)

* Accessories: After running in the rain last weekend, I decided I needed a hat with a visor. I don't mind the rain (if its not pouring), but I don't like it in my eyes. After seeing a posting about a hat on the Lulu Addict blog, I ventured to my Lulu store and found just the hat I was looking for!

Lulu Hat
Lulu Hat

I am not a hat person - at all - but this one fit great! It is seriously awesome. Even though it didn't rain, it kept the sun out of my eyes (because I also don't like to run with sunglasses) and didn't bug me once. Its definitely a keeper.

While at Lulu, I was talked into trying their new running socks.

Lulu Socks
Lulu Socks

Actually, I don't know if they're new, but they're new to me. What's unique about them is that they specify which one isfor the left foot and which one is for the right. Its a good thing the sales girl pointed that out to me or else I honestly don't think I would have noticed. The socks were great! They were high enough to protect the back of my ankles from rubbing against my shoes, and no blisters at all. I think I need to head back to the store and stock up on more. :)

* Gear: Any time I run longer than 7 miles I bring my fuel belt with me. I filled the bottles up with my usual Grape Propel, but today I tried the powder mix. Not my first choice, but Target was out of the bottles at the time. It worked fine and I hydrated every 2 miles, as normal.

Grape Propel
Grape Propel

Since I was only planning on running 8 miles, I wasn't sure if I should bring a GU. I didn't think I'd need one, but just in case, I brought one anyway. Better to have one and don't need it than not to have one and do need it.

* The Run I started out with a 1/2 mile walk to warm-up. It was in the mid-40s. Although the sun was shining, it was the type of morning where it was cold in the shade, but warm in the sun. I decided to start out with my Marina Loop route and then see where my feet took me from there.

This was the first time I've ran longer than 5 miles through my town. One thing I learned is that there's a lot of opportunities to rest because of all the darn stop lights (which aren't timed very well, I might add).

As I ran, I did a mental calculation of my total miles for the month. If I added correctly (which is always questionable with or without a calculator), 8 miles would put me at 49 miles for the month. 50 just sounds so much better, so at about 3 miles in I decided today would be a 9-miler, not 8.

As I previously mentioned, Foster City ain't that big so getting 9 miles in was tough. I stuck to the major streets just because there's tons of tiny roads and cul-de-sacs and its very easy to get lost in Foster City...and I don't have the best sense of direction.

Here's a photo looking over Highway 92, looking towards the San Mateo Bridge.

Hwy92
Hwy92

Here's a photo of my favorite spot on the run. I don't remember the street name, but its the one just before Edgewater, and looks out to the many lagoons in FC.

FCLagoon
FCLagoon

Because of all the stoplight breaks, I didn't feel tired at all (although my legs did start to get heavy at 7 miles). But my annoying Garmin kept beeping the entire time to tell me my heart rate was too high. I don't get it. I wasn't huffing and puffing, my heart wasn't racing (at least it didn't feel like it), I was running at cruising speed and yet I was in the max zone. My plan tells me to stay in Zone 3 or 4 for long runs. I think I'd almost have to be walking to stay in Zone 3 at this point. I just don't get it.

And can someone please tell me how to turn off those HR alerts? I swear that thing must have buzzed a thousand times...

I finished 9 miles in 1:43:40, for an 11:31 min/mile pace. I wasn't trying for any time at all, and in fact, didn't pay attention to my pace during the entire run, so this was fine for me. The point was to keep things slow and easy.

9-mile Route
9-mile Route
2010-01-30_Splits
2010-01-30_Splits

Post-Run When I hit 9 miles I turned off the Garmin and walked the rest of the way home. The nice thing about running from your front door is:

1. You can stretch in your living room, which is what I did for about 20 minutes. 2. You can eat right away - I made myself a strawberry - banana - peanut butter - chocolate milk smoothie.

DSC02012
DSC02012

3. Change your clothes right away - no driving back in the car in sweaty clothes. 4. Take an ice bath right away. I threw in epsom salt too. 5. Shower right away 6. Eat lunch right away. Thankfully I had food in the fridge and didn't have to get in the car and drive somewhere to get takeout. I was famished!

I spent the rest of the day RICE-ing (rest, ice, compress, elevate), and took a great 2-hour nap!

Tomorrow I'll hit the pool for some cross-training and to workout any kinks in my legs.

This is pretty much my typical weekend when on a training program. Keeps me from hitting the shops on weekends. :)