Category Archives: Running

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.


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.

CIM Training: Weeks 2-5


Best run I've had in a while…

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The second to the last post I left off with two months ago was a recap of week one of training for the California International Marathon (CIM). I’m now (about) 11 weeks in and feel obligated to provide some sort of update of how its been going. But instead of a typical weekly workout recap I’ll share a summary of highlights and takeaways.

Here’s a recap of Weeks 2-5:

CIM Week 2, Aug 11-17: Started wearing a heart rate monitor (HRM)

I haven’t worn a heart rate monitor in years. I could never get it to work and it always chafed me. But I’ve been intrigued about HR training since getting a VO2 Max test done a couple of years ago at the UCSF Run Clinic.

I read about Scosche RHYTHM+ Armband Heart Rate Monitor on DC Rainmakers blog. It wraps around your forearm vs chest so I thought I’d make the investment and give it a try.

I programmed the HR Zones from my VO2 Max test. They’re probably outdated but I went with it anyway. I found that I consistently went from Zone 1 to Zone 5 in minutes. So basically I was running too fast and out of shape.

Fascinating. From this week on I purposefully worked on dialing my pace back on easy and long runs. Essentially, if my coach didn’t prescribe specific paces, I worked on staying in a lower zone vs trying to speed up my pace.

CIM Week 3, Aug 18-24: Relearning how to fuel for long runs

I missed a good chunk of training this week due to work travel back east. I did my long run that weekend when I got back. Its been so many months since I’ve consistently ran “long” runs that I sort of forgot how to fuel for them.

I took the fuel that I planned on using to Dr Ponce, my functional medicine doctor who I’ve been working with for the past year. She did a muscle response test to see my my body responded to them:

* Honey Stinger gels: approved
* Nuun: approved
* Lara Bars (chocolate flavor): not approved. My body did not respond well to them so she suggested trying another flavor, perhaps fruit. I’ve since started eating the apple

CIM Week 4, Aug 25-31: Dealing with plantar fasciitis

After months of walking my dog wearing slippers (flip flops), my fear of plantar fasciitis came to fruition. I could feel it coming on for days but ignored it. And now I was at the point where I couldn’t even walk Coco without limping.

I had plantar fasciitis back in 2008 so I knew exactly what the pain in my foot was, how I caused it and what I needed to do to treat it.

I ordered a night splint from Amazon (with my Prime membership I got same-day delivery!). I also started wearing shoes, even when just at home. The only time I didn’t wear them was when I slept. I also rolled my calves and foot at every available moment. Oh and got a massage.

CIM Week 5, Sept 1-7: The Giant Race – Half Marathon #22

My triage on my foot worked and I was able to run the Giant Race half marathon. It was half marathon #22 and my first double digit run since the Big Sur Half Marathon last November – 10 months!

In all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ll write a full race recap of it. So the highlights were:

* I was undertrained and the struggle in the later miles was real but felt a weight off my shoulders when my Garmin read double digits.
* And it wasn’t a personal worst (PW)!
* My foot held up! Miraculously, it was a non-issue and hasn’t caused too much trouble since.

CIM Training Week 1: Aug 4-10

Now that its time to start training, I’m going to recap my Weekly Workout Recaps marking the number of weeks of CIM training:

Mon, 8/4: Rest Day
Tues, 8/5: 50-min Run of 4-minute intervals
Wed, 8/6: Strength Training with Trainer Dave
Thurs, 8/7: 50-min Run of 1-min sprints
Fri, 8/8: Rest Day
Sat, 8/9: VeganRunning Spin class at Equinox
Sun, 8/10: 90-min 70-min Run

My typical routine on days that I run is:

– Wake up
– Take Coco out for a 20-30 min walk
– Come home and eat half a banana and do some dynamic stretches
– Put Coco in her crate
– Leave for run
– Come home and feed Coco (and myself!) breakfast

Except I overslept on Sunday morning. We didn’t get out for our walk until almost 9 am which left me with a scheduling dilemma. I didn’t want to leave for a 90-min run and not feed her breakfast until after 11 am.

I ended up feeding her when we got home, which then meant that I had to wait for her to do her poop business after she ate. By then I was starving myself so I ended up eating breakfast too…

I have been struggling with figuring out a routine for her when I need to run longer miles. I have NEVER done a long run in the afternoon/evening but it was an idea I’d been toying with. What a better time to give it a try!

It would have been ideal to start my run at 6:30-7:00 pm, but I decided to start earlier because:

1. Evening running gives me insomnia

2. Coco eats dinner at 6 pm. She has an extremely sensitive stomach so I don’t like to deviate too much from her normal routine. When I have in the past there were consequences for the both of us.

3. I didn’t want to eat dinner late either.

So even though it was a hot (for me) day, I started my run at 4 pm. Whenever I’ve see people running during this time-of-day I’ve always thought to myself, “Why???” Now I know…

The first couple of miles felt tolerable and then around Mile 3 I crumbled. Had there been some shade I could have managed but it was 95% exposed and well, I don’t do well when the sun is beating straight down on me.

{So pretty to look at, so awfully hot to run in..}

It was so warm that the small water bottle I carried was emptied by Mile 4. I was slowing melting away.

Around the 45-min mark I ran under a tree for shade. I pulled out my phone and send my coach a text message asking him when an acceptable time to cut the run short would be. He told me to cut it the run down by 20-min. I was thrilled but barely made it to 70-min (and was so happy to be done!).

That evening it took hours to wind down from the run – and heat. And as expected, insomnia hit me hard that night. I still felt wired past midnight.

Clearly afternoon/evening running doesn’t work for me. Not only did it throw off my sleeping schedule, it also messed up my digestive system. Even though I didn’t eat anything for at least 2+ hrs before my run, the Vietnamese food that I ate for lunch did not sit will in my belly during the run.

It was a good experiment for me to try as now I can eliminate it from my options (or suffer the consequences again).

Moving forward I need to make a better effort at going to bed early the night before my long runs. And I need to stick to my proven early morning long run routine.

As for Coco, I’m considering having someone watch her (or sending her to doggie day care). That way, I won’t have to worry if she’s been in her crate too long. And I could run long runs elsewhere – like in the cool, foggy (and hilly) City!