Category Archives: Running

Weekly Workout Recap: Jan 12-18

A photo posted by Naomi (@njnsf) on

{the above photo is part of the race course taken three months ago on a routine run}

I debated writing a race recap for the Foster 10-mile Race. The race didn’t go well for me. But since I’ve decided to resume these weekly workout recap series, I’ll use this post for my race recap.

Pre-Race

The days leading up to it were a little stressful. When I saw my doctor last week she confirmed what I had suspected. I was showing signs of increased cortisol (stress) levels. My IBS symptoms had returned. It was likely due to the stress of marathon training and indulging in sugar during the holidays. With my gut health taking a step back, I’ve decided to do the Low FODMAPS diet for the next 4-6 weeks. Its the best thing to do when having an IBS flareup.

I also need to be cognizant of how much stress I put on my body and that includes workouts. I discussed my upcoming races with my doctor. She felt it would be okay to proceed as planned, provided I didn’t run or do hard workouts on consecutive days.

The workouts leading up to race day were easy or complete rest days:

Mon, 01/12: Rest
Tues, 01/13: 5-mile Run + 40-min Foam Roller Yoga (online video at home)
Wed, 01/14: Nothing – Pilates instructor had the flu
Thurs, 01/15: 5-mile Run – alternating speeds in 2 and 3-min increments
Fri, 01/16: Rest
Sat, 01/17: 2-mile Shakeout Run + strides

While Saturday’s shakeout run felt good, later in the day I spent four hours on my feet at the doggie meet-up. By the time I got home from that I felt exhausted, hungry and dehydrated.

Alone the Low FODMAPS diet is a difficult program to follow. But add in the fact that I also can’t eat soy, dairy, corn, grain or nightshade foods and it feels maddening.

I didn’t have anything to eat during the day on Saturday and that evening I had a mostly veggie with some protein dinner. In hindsight I realize that I didn’t eat a lot of carbs because there’s not a lot of carb options that I can eat right now.

Race Day

I woke up, got ready, then took Coco Pop out for her morning walk. As soon as we got home I put her in her crate. It would be the longest block of time she was left home alone (and she did fabulous!).

My only carb-related option for breakfast was a banana, but at the time I wasn’t hungry. There were four aid stations on the course which would be plenty for a 10-mile race so I opted not to bring a water bottle and carried the banana instead.

I ran 1.35 miles to the Start Line at Leo Ryan Park. It was the perfect distance for a warm-up.

When I got there I picked up my bib and then used the restroom in the community center. Real bathrooms with no lines! A few people from my neighborhood had signed up for the 5K so I walked around looking for them but never found them (I think they no-showed). It was a warm morning so I hung around outside and did some dynamic stretches.

Since I still wasn’t hungry and I decided to use the banana as my mid-race fuel (since my usual Honey Stinger gels aren’t Low FODMAPS compliant).

The race was small. Everyone (5K and 10-milers) gathered at the Start Line and started together. They gave some instructions before we started but everyone around me was talking so I didn’t hear a word of it.

The race started with little fanfare. The first couple of miles had us running across Foster City toward the Bay Trail. I felt great during the first three miles.

Once we got to the Bay Trail things went south. I knew this part of the course (the bulk of it) would be a mental struggle because I hate running there. Its exposed, usually crowded and quite boring. And I’ve run here for YEARS.

What I didn’t expect was my legs to give out on me. I underestimated the toll that Saturday’s excursion took on my body. While my lungs felt great my legs failed me. Its a good thing the Finish Line was closer than my house was because I would have just made a beeline home.

And while I did eat that banana over the course of Miles 4-8, I think the lack of pre-race fuel was also a contributing factor. The rest of the race was just one long slog with lots of walk breaks.

As for the race itself, it was well-organized. The volunteers at the aid stations were supportive and fantastic. The course was well-marked with signs, course marshalls and policemen directing us where to go.

But the race lacked personality. There was nothing exciting about it. As little fanfare there was at the start, there was none at the finish. When I crossed the line, I walked over to the table to get a water bottle (they did have snacks but I didn’t take any). Then I walked to the volunteer table to get my Finishers Shirt (no medal). And then I slogged the 1.35-mile journey home. I was home within 15-20 minutes. It was all anti-climactic. There’s more excitement at a $5 DSE race.

The bulk of the race course is where I do most of my running – for free. So while I’m glad I experienced this race once, it goes on my list of “races I don’t feel the need to run again.”

CIM Training Update — It Didn’t Happen

Since I attempted to do a series of posts on CIM training, and since CIM has long come and gone, I thought I’d write one last post to wrap it up.

Ironically, like my incomplete training posts, I also did not complete this race.

In fact, I never even got to the Start Line.

Let’s rewind back to November 13th, three and a half weeks before CIM.

My workout called for 6-7 hill surges. I felt strong running the first six intervals. But on the seventh one I felt my good ‘ol hammy pull. The same hammy that gives me problems once a year. Over the next week I took great care to ice and use my TENS machine on it, and by the following Sunday, it felt good enough for another long run.

I had been doing all my long runs in Golden Gate Park because 1) hills and 2) foggy weather. I felt great from the start of the run and forgot all about my hammy problem. I decided to run up the steep hill from Ocean Beach to the Cliff House so I could get a photo of Lands End.

This photo wasn't worth the pulled hammy I got running up the hill to take it.

A photo posted by Naomi (@njnsf) on

As I ran up that hill I felt my hammy pull again. But I was stubborn and kept running on it. The longer I ran, the more my body compensated for the injury and soon I felt pain in my opposite hip. The longer I ran the more intense the pain and I only managed 13 miles that day.

So once again, I spent the next week icing and using my TENS machine and by the next Sunday felt good enough for another long run. This time, the hammy held up fine (in fact, it never gave me problems again), but my hip still hurt.

I only managed 13 miles again that day, a day that should have been my peak week long run. But stubborn as I am, I was still convinced that I could run CIM.

But my hip kept getting worse to the point where it hurt just walking my dog.

I attempted a final “long” run the Sunday before race day but had to cut that one short as well. By then my Achilles started to hurt while running and that’s when I knew CIM wasn’t going to happen for me. The Achilles is something I will just not mess with.

I had two reasons for running this race:

1. Redemption from my DNF in 2011.
2. To celebrate a milestone birthday.

Although disappointed, I also felt okay with my decision to DNS. There’s a lot of things I will risk to run a race, but an Achilles injury is not one of them. In the grand scheme of things, it just wasn’t worth it. This was so unlike me, but I guess with age comes wisdom (?) – at least that’s what I keep telling myself :)

So instead of running, I decided to still make the trip to Sacramento and cheer on my coach and other friends who were running it.

We made it to three different points along the race course and got to see for everyone that I planned to at least once.

It was a fun day and in my own private way, I also found closure about having to DNS in 2011.

Since then I’ve taken two weeks off from running to rest my hip. I can finally walk without feeling any hip pain and plan to start running again this week.

My chiropractor pointed out that I am a notoriously slow healer. So for now I’ve decided to train for shorter distanced races. In hindsight I under-estimated my body’s ability to bounce back from an extended period of rest (almost a year!).

Once again, the CIM Finish Line eluded me, but I’m confident that I’ll meet it one day.

I’m not sure I’ll post weekly training recaps for the next few races I’m targeting. There are some other topics that I’m burning to blog about, but I’m sure I’ll share training updates along the way.

As always, thanks for reading!

CIM Training: Weeks 6-11

Continuing on from my last post of recapping the past few weeks of running…

CIM Week 6, Sept 8 – 14:

The week after the Giant Race was all about recovery. Being that it was my first double digit run in 10 months the DOMS was real – especially in my hips, quds and hammys.

I got a massage from my massage therapist, took an extra rest day and also saw Dr. Eva, my chiro for some ART and adjustments.

I also had a follow-up visit with Dr. Ponce. Back in January she had me do a saliva test to see what my cortisol levels were. Now that I was getting into double digit miles again she wanted me to do a follow-up test for comparison.

What she didn’t tell me at the time was that my test results from January were the second highest levels she’s ever seen (she didn’t want to alarm me with just how messed up I was). The results from this recent test were much, much improved. However, my adrenal hormone levels were still a little off. And my gall bladder wasn’t fully functioning which is why I’m still bloated. She adjusted my supplements to address these issues.

CIM Week 7, Sept 15-21:

I continue to struggle with GI issues. It was particularly bad this week and I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t eat marinara sauce – it upsets my stomach too much (running or not).

I also struggled with time management. During this particular week it was challenging to fit in the workouts, keep up with work responsibilities and of course Coco and social time.

One new thing I did this week was change how I “foam roll.” I often feel like rolling on the floor is too intense in some areas (hello Upper IT band) so I’ve been experimenting with ways to modify it.

I went back to using my Yoga Tune-Up ball and rolling out my quads, glutes, hips and even rhomboids while standing against a wall. I found that its so much more effective for rolling out the kinks.

CIM Week 8, Sept 22-28:

Months ago, when I joined my new gym, it came with a complimentary private Pilates session. I didn’t schedule it until this week (after they kept hounding me to do so).

I met with the instructor at the gym’s studio for a 1-hour session. OMG it was so good. We did the basic Reformer and Cadillac exercises. I was so amazed to see that they hit all the areas where I always have muscle imbalances (hips, back, glutes, etc). And as a plus, the workout also stretched out my back and hammys.

By the end of the session I was hooked and dished out big bucks for 12 more private sessions. I’ve scheduled them for once a week which will take me through the end of the year.

At the end of the week I flew out to NYC for a work trip. I got in on Saturday evening when it was still 80-degrees at 11 pm.

Melted…

A photo posted by Naomi (@njnsf) on

I did my long run the next morning in Central Park. I was going to run with my cousin Michi, who is training for NYCM, but I couldn’t get up early so she left without me. I forced myself out the door at 10ish am and felt the thick humidity.

My schedule said to run 10-miles but I only managed nine – with a lot of walking. If I lived in NYC I would not be a runner. I melt in heat and crumble in humidity.

CIM Week 9, Sept 29 – Oct 5:

Seen on the run… #selfie

A photo posted by Naomi (@njnsf) on

I remained in NYC through the following week. I was busy with work commitments but did manage to fit in another run. I started running on the West Side Highway and made my way to Central Park. It wasn’t as hot as it had been on Sunday. I noted that Central Park is great for CIM training – so many rolling hills.

At the end of the week I came home to a heat wave in the Bay Area. I just couldn’t escape the misery.

I did my long run at Sawyers Camp because there was a music festival in Golden Gate Park. It was hot, I got covered with bug bites and battled a cold the entire time. It took me HOURS to rehydrate from this one.

CIM Week 10, Oct 6 – 12:

One of my all-time favorite spots to run.

A photo posted by Naomi (@njnsf) on

I did my long run at Sawyers Camp again and like last week, it was hot. I got more bug bites and it was a strugglefest. Again. It hit me just how hard long distance running is. It was foolish of me to expect to be back where I was last year after just a few runs. After all, this run was just my third double digit run in 10 months. Yet, while it was humbling, this realization helped me take off any pressure that I was putting on myself.

And oh yeah, I am still struggling with fueling on the long run. I get bat-crazy hungry by the end of it.

CIM Week 11, Oct 13-20:

One hour in a 105-degree infrared sauna…it's like going to Bikram yoga all over again…

A photo posted by Naomi (@njnsf) on

I had heard that infrared saunas are great for recovery. And it just so happens that Dr Ponce has a sauna in her office, so I booked my first session in it for Monday, the day after my long run.

The irony is not lost on me that for someone who crumbles in heat, I’m using heat for recovery.

The best way for me to describe the experience is to say that its like going to Bikram Yoga without having to do all the poses – just savasana for a full hour. The sweating was intense and I had to step out every 15-min. I also drank an entire bottle of water.

After the session I felt refreshed and rejuvenated, like how I always felt after a Bikram class. But other than that, I didn’t feel the amazing recovery I expected.

At the end of the week I returned to Golden Gate Park for a 15-mile run. After three weeks of gross, hot weather, I was finally treated to some cool fog. It was running heaven.

And for once, I didn’t feel intimidated by the distance. Mentally I broke it up into three 5-milers and just took it easy, enjoying the miles.

Other than GI issues that attacked my gut after eating a gel on Mile 10, the rest of the run went great. Legs and lungs both felt good and I didn’t feel any post-run stiff or soreness.

It was a great way to end the week. Maybe that infrared sauna did make a difference after all.