Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I got nothin’

I need some kind of “creative post title generator.”

Now that we are mid-way through this week, I’ll finally post about last week’s running (May 14-20th):

Monday: 4.26 mi Trail run.  Because of views like this:
…Probably won’t be so green in another month or two.

Tuesday AM: 4.8 miles half road/half trail with a massive 500’ climb over 1 mile
Tuesday PM: 6.08 miles at the Track including: 2x800m (3:51, 3:58), 3x600m (2:47, 2:51, 2:53), 4x400m (1:49, 1:49, 1:54, 1:51).

Thursday: 7 miles: After a mile warm up, alternated 1/2 mi fast (3:55-4:08) with 1/2 mile easy.

Saturday: 13.74 miles. Included a nice mile-long climb, the rest was flat/9:34 avg pace excluding the cool down (Same route as last week- :22/mi faster!)

Total Weekly Miles: 35.88 miles

This 5 runs/4 days a week thing seems to be working out ok for me.  I haven’t felt tired going into any of my runs. If I start to struggle with my pace at the track on Tuesday nights I guess I’ll cut back on the “fun run” that morning, but it hasn’t been an issue yet.

I did some pushups, light arm weights, and crunches in there, but I need to get in the habit of incorporating my bike for some cross training.  I miss spinning, but I don’t want to drop money on a gym membership right now.

After Saturday morning’s run, we headed toward the ocean for the afternoon.  We grabbed lunch and a beer in Ventura for Dan’s birthday then walked through the town and on the boardwalk. We saw dolphins from the end of the pier, too, which was pretty cool.
100_7793  100_7800 
100_7803  100_7818

I really enjoyed these mermaid merMAN ornaments hanging in a shop window. There were several rows of them including some that were Village People-influenced.

Mer MAN.

On our drive back, we picked up a ridiculous amount of perfectly ripe strawberries. We snacked on a bunch, but still need to figure out how to use them up before they go bad. I’m leaning toward freezing some.

Then  we came home and had red velvet birthday cake.
Number of candles represents years until 30
[Number of candles represents years until 30]

In other running news, if you are a smallish person like myself, who wears the Garmin HR monitor, I highly recommend finding the smaller strap on Amazon.

I remember looking for it when I first got my watch 3 years ago, but I was cheap and didn’t want to pay $10 + $7.95 shipping directly from Garmin, so I sucked it up and used the original heart rate monitor strap, just dealing with it being a little loose because I shoved it under the band of my sports bra.  Now it’s $8.50 and if you buy $16.50 of other stuff or have Amazon Prime, you get free shipping.

^Most excessive packaging ever.


Comparing the two straps at their smallest setting, the small strap is 5” shorter than the original strap. The small strap can be lengthened to up to an inch longer than the smallest size on the original strap.  Now that I have worn one that is comfortable! because it is the appropriate size, I can’t believe I dealt with the original one for 3 full years.

PS, Thanks for your comments on my last post.  I want to be sure I am respecting the distance before I commit to tackling it!

Monday, May 14, 2012

To Marathon or not to Marathon?

Ok. So I’ve been on the fence about this whole running-a-marathon-thing.

Some reasons FOR:

  • Right now I have plenty of time to run a lot with my part-time work gig

100_7759Tip: Don’t move to CA and plan to continue a career in education

  • SoCal weather is very conducive to running a lot
  • I have people to train with, and they run near my pace
  • I have several half marathons under my belt
  • I’ve been running over 30 miles per week for the last month, comfortably. And enjoying it.
  • Personal preference for longer distances (read: 5ks are not comfortable)
  • At least I’m not a guy (<—source)

Some Against:

  • I’ve been lucky and able to run pretty injury-free…since starting to run, with the half marathon being my longest distance (well, 15 mile training runs). I don’t want to break myself.
  • I don’t want to jump into a marathon solely because it’s the “next thing to do” after a half or feel like I should because so many people I know have run marathons and beyond.  And I don’t know if that’s why I’m considering it.
  • Planning travel (i.e. flying back east to see family. or for fun.) is tricky in the middle of marathon training
  • Marathons are more expensive than half marathons
  • Freak collapses/deaths at races freak me out. I just scheduled a physical.

I guess it comes down to:
1. Just because lots of people run marathons, does that mean it’s a good idea for me?  AND
2. I don’t want to hurt myself. Because I want to keep running.

I have a friend who runs at a similar pace running her first full at Long Beach (October 7).

I had it in the back of my mind that I would run the half marathon in my town on November 4th since it’s close, cheap, and pretty flat (another opportunity for sub-2 if I need it).  There’s also a marathon on the same day, but I hear that things get a little lonely after the half marathoners split off, and I don’t know if that’s ideal for a first marathon. 

I should also add: a few weeks ago I won a free entry to the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon which is on November 17th.

Thoughts on the subject are appreciated!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

And now for last week’s running (May 7-13):

Awful attempt at a hill run at 11:30am on a 90 degree day. 3.39 miles/SLOW pace.

Tuesday AM: 4.81 miles
on hilly roads & a trail/avg pace of 9:50 with 3 miles between 8:53-8:58.
Tuesday PM: 5.21 miles at the Track: 4x400m, 4x400m, 4x300m

Thursday: 5.57 miles
on hilly roads/9:23 avg pace excluding the cool down

Saturday: 13.83 miles. Included a nice mile-long climb, the rest was flat/9:56 avg pace excluding the cool down

Total Weekly Miles: 32.80

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Almost a Serious Runner

According to the June 2012 issue of Runner’s World, my new 5k PR puts me a mere 12 seconds away from marking me as a “serious” runner.


Maybe in another month or two I’ll attempt to shave off 3 seconds per mile and make the leap from hobby jogger to serious runner.

With my new 5k time comes new training paces…

My November HM time of 2:06:48 gave me an equivalent 5k time of 27:20 in RLRF, so I was using that for my training paces the past few months.  I had noted recently that my long run pace seems to have shifted to around a 9:40 pace, and 10:00 has become my easy full-sentence conversational pace, and I guess my new 5k time confirms it.

  Old New
400m 2:02 1:51
800m 4:08 3:47
1200m 6:18 5:46
1600m 8:32 7:50
Short Tempo 9:05 8:23
Mid Tempo 9:20 8:38
Long Tempo 9:35 8:53
HMP 9:49 9:01
HMP + 20 10:09 9:21
HMP + 30 10:19 9:31
Easy 10:40 9:58

Some of these new paces sound kinda tough.  By the way, a 25:11 (25:10) 5k predicts a 1:56:39 half marathon. Gulp.

I know Run Less Run Faster suggests you do a 5k along the way to gauge progress and adjust training paces if necessary.  I need to go back and re-read parts of the book, but I think my 5k time predicts a 1:56:39 half based on my current fitness…not if I were to just begin the training now.

I was going to share something funny I came across about having curly hair, but I changed my mind because it turns out my hair wasn’t curly at all today.  It was above 90 with minimal humidity.  When allowed to air dry, as usual, this is what my hair looked like.  The natural curl appears to have fallen out– wtf?  And yes, this is pretty straight for my hair as there are no ringlets.


Maybe I need to take advantage of the low humidity and dust off my hair straightener again to finish the job. I kind of gave up on straightening my hair when it took me an hour and a half and in high northeast humidity, it would start to curl up again mid-day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

New PR! Operation School Bell 5k

Let’s start with the most fun part of the weekend- I ran a new 5K PR!

My last 5k was in August, and I ran a 28:07 (9:03 pace). It was hot and humid, and I spent the afternoon at a friend’s pool leading up to the evening race, but it was still a PR (maybe because it was my first time officially running that distance since my first 5k in July ‘09).

Saturday night I was trying to figure out what a good goal pace would be.  I had a bad too-fast tempo run last week that started at an 8:31 pace, went to 8:41 for the second mile, then slowed from there, so I was convinced that any pace faster than 8:31 would be hard (looking back, it was probably the heat and the hills that messed me up on that run).

I looked up equivalent race times in Run Less Run Faster, to see what 5k time would be equivalent to my goal of a 2 hour (or faster) half marathon.  A 2:00:31 half is equivalent to a 26:00 5k, which is an 8:22 pace, and that sounded hard.

I didn’t know what a good pace was for me. So I just went in with the loose goal of beating my previous 28:07, and hoping I could maintain around an 8:20-8:30 pace.  I set my watch up to beep at me at every half mile for more frequent feedback than my usual 1 mile autolap.

Clearly I started off WAY too fast.  When I saw the first half mile was at 3:50 I was surprised and knew I needed to slow down, but I felt surprisingly good for the first mile.  It was an out-and-back course, so there was an awkward turnaround on the bike path at 1.55 mi. marked by a blue arrow on the ground and two people telling us to turn around.  I guess I prefer loop courses- those kind of turns make me feel like I have to stop and then get started again.  There was water at mile 2, but I didn’t stop because it was a little chaotic and I figured I had hydrated enough before.

My legs were not feeling as fresh after 2 miles and I could tell I was slowing down.  [By the way: I’m shocked I ran the same pace for both halves of the 2nd and 3rd miles].  For the 3rd mile, it was feeling harder to maintain the (slower) pace I was running.

You could see and hear the finish area from about .25 mi away.  That’s when I started to pick up the pace. 
[Ignore the green line…Garmin made the 45’ of elevation change over 1.55 miles look way worse than it is]

I remember seeing the clock at 24:39 and knew I wasn’t going to break 25 since I still had .1 mi to go, but decided I was going to try to make it as close to 25 as I could.  I saved enough energy in the final stretch to pass a guy I had been running behind for the last couple minutes.

It wasn’t chip-timed, which meant I had to try to be coordinated enough to rip the bottom part of my bib off and hand it to someone as I ran across the finish line.  My time was 25:11.  I didn’t remember to stop my watch until after I had my bottle of water.

Overall I came in 50th/386 and shockingly, I won 1st place in my age group (small field of 25-29 year olds I guess).
  [Picture from a friend’s phone, don’t know why it’s B & W]


There were plenty of water bottles, orange slices, bananas, bagel chunks, and coffee at the end.  It was a nice low-key event and the proceeds go toward a good cause.  There was a Kid’s 1k Fun Run at 8, then the 5k run/walk started at 8:15.  Since the bike path used for the race is in full sun, I wouldn’t have minded if it started a little earlier.

The rest of April 30-May 6:

Mon: Above-referenced bad tempo run. 6.07 mi. Tempo parts were 8:31, 8:41, 9:13, 8:56, 9:00.


AM-: 6 mi Running Store Fun Run/avg pace 9:57
PM- Track closed…7.71 mi/avg pace 9:35

Thurs: 10 mile loop in 1:42.  Killer 1.5 mile long hill at the beginning.

Sat: Running group’s prediction run (no watches). 3.66 miles in 36:38. Half trails/half paved roads. Ran 1:02 slower than my predicted time.

Sun: 3.1 miles in 25:11

Miles for the week: 36.65

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Oracle

Once upon a time, in the long long ago, in early April:


Then came April 30th:


Without fail.

Kara (n.)- any person or thing believed to indicate future action with infallible authority

April Totals: 125.70 miles run; 20.25 miles hiked; 8.51 miles biked.
2012 Running Total: 347.41 miles


Could you go for a year without internet?  This blogger dude claims he is going to do that.

However, the article mentions, “You can check back for updates on The Verge [a tech news site where he is a senior editor], where he will post diary entries about twice per week.”

Uhh, that’s still using the internet, buddy.  I don’t care if you are handing your article on a thumb drive to a coworker to upload, you’re still benefitting from the internet because your work, which is posted on the internet, is generating your paycheck.

I know I would have a hard time giving up the internet for a year (or a week).  The reasons that immediately come to mind?

  • Internet banking.  I’m pretty sure my checking account is free because I DON’T go into branches.  Yes, I know how to balance a checkbook, but I also pay all my bills online except rent.  Which saves me the cost of stamps, envelopes, and something like half a percent of interest on my student loans.
  • Weather. You mean I’d have to buy a thermometer or just step out the door to know the temperature?
  • Email. Primary mode of communication with family and friends. I’m not a huge phone-talker.
  • Job Postings. Not in print too often anymore.  When I applied for jobs straight out of grad school, it was maybe 50/50 for paper vs. online applications.  Now?  Probably at least 80% of the listings I have seen want you to submit your documents electronically.
  • Garmin Connect. I guess Garmin has a non-internet program for uploading your runs, but I haven’t used it before. Otherwise, needing to calculate paces and projecting race times for different distances by hand would require me to brush off my dusty math skills.

Some benefits to life without internet.  I’m sure there are many more:

  • I’d probably spend more time outside or reading books. Or both.
  • I prefer online shopping over malls, which can make me stabby… so I would spend less money.

How long could you last without the internet? (I say that includes email).

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