Over and Over Again

I am currently on week 8 of training for Boston. This training schedule, like my last, I decided to (loosely) follow Hal Higdon's Advanced training program. I have already mentioned how I don't really follow it to a T, because it calls for 6 days of running per week. Sometimes it doesn't matter if you change it up during training a little bit. However, there are many that you have to do the same each time. This takes a lot of experimentation and it took me a while to figure out what did and did not work for me.

A typical training week includes:

- On weekdays, I run twice after work. Lately this has consisted of one easy day and one day of speed work. I have mentioned this before, but my intervals of choice are Yasso 800s. If you are not familiar, this is where you take your marathon goal time in hours (mine is 3:30) and you run an 800 meter interval in that many minutes. So I would have to run each 800 interval at a 7 minute mile pace. It really kicks my butt, let me tell you! I do feel that it helps a lot with overall speed. 

- On weekends I do one easy run and one long run. The long run is usually between two and three hours and I've been using it to explore the area. One of my favorite long runs is a long loop around Oakland and through Berkeley, ending with a loop around Lake Merritt before heading home.

- I always eat breakfast on long run days, usually around a half an hour before the run. I always eat the same thing, steel cut oats with fruit and Silk Almond milk. If I am traveling or at someone else's house, I have Cheerios instead. It gives me a great hearty meal before heading out and the almond milk does not give me any tummy issues (like real milk does) while I am running. I actually use Silk milk instead of regular milk in everything. I also use it to make lattes, smoothies, baked goods and other things like mac and cheese or pumpkin curry. You can find tons of great recipes on their Facebook page. I use the unsweetened kind, since it doesn't overpower whatever you are making. *

Travel breakfast

- I almost always listen to music, unless I am running with someone else. Lately, a great companion has been this Pandora station. I find that rap has a beat that makes my steps just a little bit faster.

- I try to get out onto the trails once a week, but there isn't always enough time. When I do make time for it, I really enjoy the change in scenery, the quietness, being in nature AND it's a great way to get stronger legs and to work all of your muscles, therefore hopefully keeping injuries at bay. Some of my favorite trails are in the East Bay Parks near my house but I am finding great ones all over the Bay Area!

I only have 10 more weeks of training and here's hoping that the next 10 go as well as the last 7 have!

Do you have any training tips or tricks for me? What does your typical week look like? If you are a non-runner, what is your favorite outdoor activity? 

*FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.


A Weekend Streak

Remember how I talked about falling at the last trail race I did? Well, not only did I look silly, but unbeknownst to me at the time, I got a nasty case of poison oak. So the last few weeks at work (and in life!) were torture. I couldn't wear pants, although I had to, so I was literally sitting on the edge of my chair so that nothing itchy would be touching it. Then I would get home and all I would want to do was take off my pants and stand somewhere without touching anything.

However, I am on a training schedule. For the first week, I endured it. For the second week, I almost punched somebody or scratched my own leg off, but I muscled through. However, the third week, which was last week, I decided to take a few days off. After a long run on Sunday, I did not run Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal to some, but running is my crack and without my crack, I am whack. 

So on Friday when I was finally not quite as itchy as before, I did a 9 mile speed workout to make up for the days I had missed. On Saturday, when a friend asked if I would run her long run with her, I said sure. It was 20 miles. I was pretty sore by the end of it. Then on Sunday, I ran a few miles with a different friend in order to get in my 36 miles for the week.

Let me tell you, there is a reason you are supposed to take recovery days after a long run.

Monday I was off and I could not waste a beautiful day off by not running, especially when my other runs would have to be done at night, so I ran again. This was a great run, a slow ramble through the forest, with no destination or set mileage in mind. It was sunny and about 50 degrees and I couldn't have asked for a nicer day or a better run.

This training cycle I am currently on calls for 6 days of running a week. SIX. Usually I am a fan of schedules and planning and of things being a certain way and of knowing what that way is going to be. However, this time, I am just running. I am making my own schedule. I am running three or four days a week. I am cramming two days miles into one. If I am putting on my running gear, I am going for it.

Yes, I am still doing a long run and I will most likely get in a hill or a speed workout each week, but other than that, I am enjoying running with friends, and running on the days where it works for me. Sure, sometimes this means running 9 mile and upward runs four days in a row, which isn't the best idea, but it's good. It is testing different boundaries and teaching me (yet again) new things about myself.

It's teaching me things like: running for a long time or many days in a row is good practice for an Ultra. Specifically, the Oholone 50k, which I just signed up for.  Yikes.

Have you ever had poison oak? Do you follow your training schedule to a T? Have you ever had to cram all your mileage into less days?



I have always been one of those that are a bit skeptical of compression gear. In fact, anything that is hyped up by everyone else, I tend to stray away from. I tried the ice bath; it only made me cold. I tried the foam roller; it's fun and it feels good but I don't feel a big difference from not using it. So when Incrediwear contacted me to try their compression gear, I thought I would give it a go, even though I was doubtful.

Lucky for me, they not only sent me a calf compression sleeve, but they also sent me several of their different kinds of socks! I usually buy whatever socks Costco or Target has on sale in multi packs, so these socks were such a treat! The compression sleeve, like the foam roller, feels great. It is just tight enough but not too tight and wearing it makes my calf feel like it's being squeezed in a very nice way. I really can't complain.

However, my favorite thing that they sent were the hiking socks. If you ever see me wearing boots and jeans, you can guarantee that I am wearing them under my boots! I wear them around the house as a way to keep warm (and lately it's been pretty chilly) with the hard wood floors. I even wear them for hiking! They are awesome. I want 10 more pairs of these!

My favorite!

So, if you are a compression sleeve lover, you will love their calf sleeves, or if you just want to get cozy feet, you will love their entire line of socks. They also have other compression gear, braces and insoles.

I received these products free of charge in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you like compression gear? What is your favorite brand of socks?


2013 Race Calendar

Last year I challenged myself to run 12 half marathons in 2012, thanks to Jill and her inspiration and enthusiasm. I had a great time planning the races, meeting new people, going new places and challenging myself to do something new and fun. I learned a lot about running and along the way, a lot about myself. For instance: Although going commando is fun, I still prefer to wear undies when I run. I learned that I am much faster than I thought I ever could be. I learned the difference between an easy conversational pace and an almost puking pace and everything in between. I ran more miles than I ever have before.

2012 miles run - 1,682 miles.
Highest mileage month - July,  205 miles.
Longest race - 50k
Fastest race - 5k, 21:49

So what does 2013 have in store?

1. I will once again be joining Jill for a running challenge. This year it's 13 in 2013, but instead of all half marathons, it will be a mix of any race length, both trail and road.

2. Jill is also hosting several  virtual races this year.

3. Laura is doing a race series called 5 By The 5th, where you run either a 5k or a 5 mile race (virtual or otherwise) before the 5th of each month from January to June. I already ran my January race and am looking forward to all the rest!

For me it's better to have something to look forward to or to strive for. So challenges like these are a great way to challenge myself to try harder, to run faster, and to beat my own time. I am also really enjoying running with Broski and seeing him improve. I have another friend who wants to run a half marathon and am excited about joining her on her journey as well.

And of course there is this:

I am currently in week 5 of training and despite a little hiccup last week (which is a story for another time) the training is going well! I also just bought my flight last night so it's getting more and more real each day!

How do you plan to stay on track, fitness-wise, in 2013? Do you have any races planned?


Currently: January

Current Book - The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton (I haven't started it yet, but it comes highly recommended!)

Current Drink - Water

Current Excitement - This month I am going to see Muse! It's going to be so fun!

Current fashion trend - Scarfs. I love them!

Current Favorite Blog/Website - I have been spending a lot of time on this one lately. Hey, a girl can dream... 

Current Garden Item - 

Garden Salamander

Current Love - The new camera bag that I got for Christmas!

Current Food - Cauliflower; I have been eating a ton of it, along with lots of soups and stews.

Current Indulgence -  Candy. I bought a Costco sized pack of Ghirardelli peppermint bark and once I pop, I can't stop!

Currently Pondering - Why my pants keep getting tighter. I think my washer is shrinking them. What? The candy? Noooo.... I don't think that's why.

Current Mood -  Happy. 

Current New Find - This Ethiopian restaurant! I had never had it before an it was so yummy! 

Current Outfit - 
Current Outfit

Current Peeve - People in the office who only complain and complain and never have anything positive to say!  
Current Song - Hero by Family of the Year

Current Triumph - This week I ran an easy run around the lake at a much faster pace than expected. 
Current TV Show - Top Chef. Who's it going to be? I'm rooting for Kristen.

Current Wish-List -  I wish that hotels in Boston were cheaper.

Currently Delaying - Cancelling some credit cards. I am having a hard time deciding which one to get rid of. I even made a pros and cons list and a spreadsheet to try to decide, but I am dragging my feet.

What is on your current wish list for January? Do you have a favorite song lately?


The Last Half

Last week I asked my brother if he would want to run one last race with me in 2012. It was a trail race and there were four options: 8k, Half Marathon, 30k or 50k. I was going to run the 30k and assumed he would want to run the 8k, since it was a pretty steep race and I figured he would want to take it kind of easy for his first trail race.

He chose the half marathon. So we did it together.

Rodeo Beach Trail Race

It was good! It started off in Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands and the first mile was a half mile out and back on a road. We missed the turn and followed some other runners, so ended up running about an extra half mile right at the get go. Then it started uphill.

For the next two miles, we climbed about 700 feet. Broski wanted to run the hills, but I was trying to be the voice of reason and remind him that we sill had a long way to go!

Once we got to mile four, the trail went downhill again by about 500 feet, where we stopped for some snacks. Broski had to lube up and luckily in most trail races they have everything you need at the aid stations! We ate a few pretzles and a swig of coke and then it was back uphill for another 700 feet. We walked it and were passed by quite a few people at this point.

At the next aid station, which was at mile 10, Broski admitted to being pretty tired in the legs and said he "hoped there were no more uphills or steep downhills!" Luckily there weren't. From there it was a pretty steady decline to the end.

About a tenth of a mile from the end, I was enjoying the view while running down a small hill and I tripped on a rock and fell, scraping up my hands and knee pretty bad. Luckily only a couple of people saw me! Because that is what really matters...

We finished in 2:37 with smiles on our faces. Okay that was a lie. I had a grimace because I had rocks and dirt stuck in my knee and I was bleeding everywhere. Broski had a grimace because his legs felt like rubber rocks and he just wanted this to be over with.

So now my brother will probably never run with me again.

Total Elevation Gain: 2,200 ft
Average pace: 11:19
Kicking your brother's a**: Timeless

Have you ever run a trail race with a significant elevation gain? What is the hardest race you have ever run? Have you ever fallen down and skinned your knee (as an adult)?


Best of 2012: Experiences

I have been trying to figure out a good way to recap the year without being too cliche, and Lisa gave me just the idea. So, here it is, the best of 2012, in list form!

1. Becoming a better runner. This year I learned a lot about myself as a runner. I learned how to run smarter and faster and I had a great time completing many races, including my first ultra marathon.

Nike Women's Marathon

2. Spending more time with family. This year was full of family. My cousin got married, my grandma turned 80, I had wine and swam in the pond with my other grandmother Back East and I spent countless hours making food, eating food and running with Broski and the lady friend. Not to mention the normal get togethers like Christmas and Thanksgiving.  It's been a great year for family!

b & a wedding

3. Going to Kansas City to visit Red. In March, I visited my friend in Kansas City, and we ate BBQ, lots of self serve frozen yogurt and had a great time catching up and hanging out and exploring the city.

4. A trip to Tampa for some fun in the sun. I had a great time in the Sarasota and St. Petersburg areas of Florida, where I spent lots of time on the beach reading and relaxing, as well as trying paddle boarding for the first time, going running near the beach and gorging myself on all-you-can-eat crab.

paddle board

 5. Starting a new job. This has been a challenge, but a fun one. I completely switched industries, which has been hard. Nobody likes to start at the bottom again, and it has been a crazy journey, with new things coming along every day.

6. Girls day out in Berkeley. My mom came down and we went out with a few friends and my aunt and cousin for brunch, shopping and cupcake eating. It's always fun to get together with the girls, although it happens less often than I would like.

7. Living in Santa Cruz for the summer. I couldn't have asked for a better place to spend the summer. I really enjoyed being able to go the beach each day, to run with the view of the Pacific in my sights and to get to know this fun little town a lot better. While there, friends S&R came to visit and it was really fun showing them around my new home.

8. Road trip to Amherst, MA. Mr Lovely decided to go back to school and so we took a road trip to Amherst to find him some housing. The towns of Amherst and Northampton are really cute and actually reminded me a little bit of a mountain version of Santa Cruz. They are little hippie filled college towns with nice earthy vibes.


9. Hosting Lisa in San Francisco. Except for the rain, which I was a little mad about since it kind of makes it hard to stroll around the city, I had a great time hosting Lisa for a quick two days in the city. We took a trail run, went to the Castro, walked on the Golden Gate Bridge, went to the park to visit the bison and much, much more. It was fun to finally get a chance to pay her back for the excellent visit I had to Minneapolis last year.

10. Hanging with friends in Oakland. I've made a few new local friends this year and it has been nice getting to know them and some of the fun places in Oakland as well. They are all great people and Oakland has some great sights to see and places to visit. New Years Eve was spent with them and we had a great time eating dungeness crab and playing Scategories before watching the ball drop.

11. Qualifying for Boston. This was something that I really worked hard for and I was really, really happy to qualify for, and sign up for the Boston Marathon in 2013. I even had over 5 minutes to spare.

12. Going to see some great bands. I love live music, but I don't always make time to go to concerts. This year, I was lucky to see several bands, including The Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers, Of Monsters and Men, Imagine Dragons, Passion Pit, and The Shins.

13. Growing a garden. I grew stuff. Stuff that didn't die. Yes, it was exciting. And there is nothing better than a home grown tomato straight from the vine. I can't wait until next year when I can start planting again. 

14. Being in San Francisco. I love wandering around the city, and have really enjoyed the walks I have been taking a few times a week. I am enjoying getting to know little corners of the city that I never knew were there.
china town

15. Going to baseball games. I am so glad that the Giants won the world series and I was really excited to not only be in the area for this, but to go to many of the games. Going to the games is a great way to see a fun sport and to spend time with friends and family as well.

16. Yosemite. I went to Yosemite and had a great time taking long hikes and seeing the sights again. Winter is the area is beautiful and we were lucky not to have too much snow, so we could do a lot of the higher hikes.

17. Going to Oregon with the ladies. I went to Sisters with my second family and we had a great time eating ice cream and hiking and enjoying 30 degree weather in June. We ran every day and it was great to have the snow capped mountains as a backdrop for my runs.

What have been the highlights of 2012 for you? Did you go to any concerts? Did you take any fun trips?