Aw, HILL NO!

My blog posts have been few and far between and that’s because my focus has been to the hills. I will say that it’s been a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with hill training. When I was running a couple weeks ago, I shouted out loud at the hill, “I HATE YOU SAN FRANCISCO! I HATE YOU SAN FRANCISCO!” Not going to lie, it did make going up the hill a little bit easier.

A runner that ran the San Francisco Rock ‘n’ Roll last year told me via twitter that last year’s total course elevation was around 1100 feet. Now I’ve made it my goal to hit 1100 feet (and maybe a little more) on a training run. And that’s the beauty of signing up for a challenging course like the SF RNR, I’m forced to do things my typical lazy self would never do.

Here’s a recap of my hill training runs the past month:

2/5: 9 miles – 651 ft
2/11: 4 miles – 422 ft
2/14: 4 miles – 420 ft
2/16: 4 miles – 308 ft
2/17: 11 miles – 961 ft
2/28: 10 miles – 975 ft

My past two long runs hit 900+ feet. Less than 200 more feet to go!

Even though running hills makes my legs muscles feel exhausted and my lungs feel like they’re going to explode, there is a level of satisfaction when you get to the top of hill that can never be matched from running on an even surface. I love (finally) getting to the top of an incline and the view is majestic. I feel very blessed to be running in California and have the choice of several different trails, each with their own spectacular views. Okay hills, I’ll admit it. I don’t actually hate you, and maybe I even love you?

That is the beauty of signing up for a challenging course like the San Francisco Rock n Roll. It finally gave the the motivation to tackle hill running. I was such a scaredy cat before.

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Eating Hills for Breakfast

The San Francisco Rock n Roll Half Marathon is officially 73 days away. In terms of endurance, I feel fine. I’ve been alternating my long runs between 8, 9 and 10 miles. It won’t take long for me to ramp up to be ready for 13.1 miles. What is going to take some time is the hill training. There’s about three big inclines with several smaller ones. Here’s the official elevation change graph.

rnrsf-course-elevation-graph3
courtesy of Rock n Roll SF

I want to be prepared for all of those hills, so training began today. My running partner and I ditched our normal easy and flat running trail and headed for the hills. And… it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Our elevation gain was about 200 feet, or so my running partner told me, my running app crapped out and didn’t record the full run. I used this running trail as a test run. We have our sights set on a much hillier trail run, but the scaredy cat in me couldn’t bring myself to start there. Let’s set ourselves up for success shall we?

As I begin training for San Francisco and her infamous hills, do you have any tips to make eating hills for breakfast more palatable?

2015 Runsolutions

Happy 2015!

Wow, I feel as though I blinked and 2014 was over. I can’t believe It’s already time to make New Years Runsolutions (Running Resolutions). As a goal oriented person, I love setting goals and resolutions for the new year. It gives me the warm fuzzies on the inside.

In 2015, I resolve to…

1. Run 900 miles
Last year I was a little flexible with my mileage goal. I hit 800 miles last year with a very demanding work and personal schedule. Hoping this year will be a little calmer and consistent – giving more time for me to log those miles.

2. Complete an Obstacle Course Race
I’ve run so many marathons and half marathons the past few years, I’m looking forward to a new challenge. Obstacle Course Races intrigue me because of the strength and endurance that is required for the events. It must appeal to the ex-gymnast in me. Tough Mudder? Spartan Race? ROC? Not sure if I can find one that fits with my schedule, but crossing my fingers that something works out.

3. Not be scared of hills and elevation
I did sign up for a race this year with 300 foot elevation – so there’s no more hiding from hills and elevation. This is the year I start uphill training (my thighs are already shaking in their running capris).

4. Drink less diet coke
I know, I know, I know. It’s so bad for you. So many chemicals. Might as well just drink regular Coke. It’s a guilty pleasure, my kryptonite. This past year I’ve drank more diet coke than I care to admit. In the name of healthy eating habits, I will drink less diet coke.

5. Volunteer for a race
I’m always really thankful for the volunteers that are standing on the sidelines cheering you on, handing you your race bib, picking up the water cups that have been carelessly tossed to the side, and did I mention encouraging you and cheering you on? I’ve had the pleasure of participating in races with awesome volunteer support (Rock n Roll and runDisney), I’d love to give back to the running community this year and volunteer at a local race. The google search begins now…

6. Race at least 2 Half Marathons and Set a PR
For motivation and because races are fun. I’m trying to keep the schedule relatively light this year and sign up as races come. I don’t want as of a rigid training calendar like I’ve had the past couple of years. Already signed up for the San Francisco Rock n Roll Half Marathon in March. I’m leaning towards doing a local race for my second half marathon of the year but traveling for races is always fun and exciting too.

7. Develop a regular strength training routine
Last year to help rehab my ITBS, I was pretty consistent with a leg strengthening routine. But my poor shoulders, arms and back are always left out of the “fun:! Especially if I do an Obstacle Course Run this year, I’m going to need to start focusing more on strength. Shaun T are you ready for me?

How about you? What are your new years runsolutions?

800 and Counting…

800

Well folks, it happened. I hit my Runsolution goal of running 800 miles. (and the crowd goes wild)

I was a little worried about actually making the goal because at the end of November I took a two week running hiatus (hence no blog updates). My body was feeling run down and I realized that I was dreading my morning runs. It took every ounce of will power to get myself out of bed to run. I had a hard time completing my “easy” for mile runs, the long runs were just torturous. I wondered if I had hit a wall. It made me sad to think that I didn’t enjoy running any more. I started to look for reasons why my mentality had shifted.

I had just finished up a strenuous 3 months. It was jam packed with work events, coaching, family obligations, fun weekend trips and adjusting to married life. At the end of November, this left me feeling exhausted. Was I really exhausted? Or was I just being lazy?

I decided to listen to my body. If I felt like I needed extra sleep instead of a run, I slept. If I woke up with some extra energy, I went for a run. Throughout that two week period I only ran twice. It was about 6-8 miles total, definitely nothing to write home about. The tiger mom that lives in my head was going a little crazy.

“What if you don’t make your 800 mile goal?”

“You’re so lazy for sleeping in!”

I decided to just ignore the slave driver/goal oriented monster in my head. After two weeks, I would try and resume a normal running schedule and if I still wasn’t enjoying it, that probably meant that I needed more time off.

Last week, I laced up my shoes and with my phone (MapMyRun!) in hand I hit the ground running (punny? okay, no). Much to my relief, I enjoyed that week of runs – which made all the time off well worth it. I definitely felt the two weeks off though. I ran a couple of shorter runs and one long-ish run of 6 miles. The six miler was killer. It felt like I’d never run that long ever. As I huffed, puffed and took walking breaks to finish, I questioned the fact that I am a marathon finisher. While that six mile run scared me a bit, the following week was back to normal. I guess that rough week was enough for the muscle memory to kick in. Not sure if anyone’s found themselves in a similar position to me. This is the first time I’ve experienced training fatigue since I started running consistently three years ago. Just wanted to encourage people to listen to their bodies and that taking time off is not the end of the world as we know it 🙂

800 miles… CHECK.

(And with a week and a half to spare!)

The 700 Club

700

Checking in my Runsolutions goal of running 800-900 miles.

Toward the end of October, I surpassed 700 friends. 700!! 100 more miles to go (currently at 736 miles, so 64 to be exact). I crunched the numbers, which by the way, is not one of my favorite pastimes, and it shouldn’t be a stretch to reach 800.

I average around 17 miles a week. There’s about 8.5 weeks left til the end of the year. That should be about 136 more miles before the end of the year. I just need to stay healthy and disciplined, which may be easier said than done. Hear that IT band? Let’s work together here.

Yay for reaching goals. Yay for double digit runs (10 miler this morning). And yay for FRIDAY.

I (will) eat hills for breakfast

My husband and I signed up for the San Francisco Rock n Roll Half Marathon next March. We made sure to register before the price increase! No procrastination here (for once)! My husband also was pleased to see that this race has a pretty generous refund policy which includes  injury, illness, and unexpected travel delays. Brownie points to the race directors at the Rock n Roll, I like how you think.

I am a big fan of the Rock n Roll series. I’ve raced in the half marathon in San Jose and full marathon in San Diego. The races are always well organized, high energy and really fun to be a part of. I believe the San Francisco location has only been around for 2-3 years. Last year, I was interested in signing up but one tiny little thing stood in my way.

Actually make that three 300 foot gargantuan things.

The hills are alive with the sound of San Francisco. Call me a baby, but I avoid hills like the plague. And even though it’s always one of those things that I know I should do, I just can never bring myself to add hill training to my workouts.

So. Much. Pain.

But there is that old saying, no pain, no gain right and by signing up for this half marathon I will HAVE to train hills. Hill training conjures up feelings of anxiety and dread. I will have to remind myself that this was a voluntary assignment. I have no one to blame but myself.

Speaking of The Hills, I can’t think of a better way to accentuate a post on hill training than with some gifs from my friends Lauren, Whitney and Audrina. Let’s be honest, life is better with a little Lauren Conrad thrown into it. My not so guilty reality TV pleasure will precisely illustrate all of my current feels:

To answer the question, why am I doing this?
sacrifice wins

I guess I am sort of a glutton for punishment
glutton for punishment

To inspire myself during my inevitable hill workouts:
hills-worse

What I hope to look like after hill workouts:
hills-yay

What I’ll actually look like:
hills-sad

Okay hills, let’s go.

Half Way There!

What would we do without nifty apps and websites? My detail oriented/OCD nature is so very thankful for apps like MapMyRun. They email me every week with my weekly workout summary. I just received an email from them for my Mid-Year check up! We are now more than half way into 2014 folks.

Here is my “greatness at a glance” (oh the positivity that comes with this app, it’s almost better than a real life friend!).

halfyearcheckin

 

My favorite stat is how all the hours I’ve logged running cumulate into DAYS. DAYS! I’ve spent a holiday weekend running, so great.

This little reminder made me think about the goals I had set at the beginning of the year. I just looked up my 2014 Runsolutions and here’s an update on my progress so far:

1. Run three half marathons
On my way to this one. I ran one in May. I’m signed up for another one in August. Just need to register for one more in the Fall!

2. Run 800-900 miles
If I keep up the weekly mileage I’ll hit 800 no problem. Honestly, I wish I could get to 1,000. But with my knee still acting up, I’m only letting myself run three days a week and it’s hard to log more than 20 miles running only three days a week.

3. Run FASTER
I have not incorporated speed work into my runs, but I have been getting faster. My average time is somewhere between 10:00-10:30 mile depending on the day. I think last year my average was 11:00. Definitely progress!

4. Set a half-marathon PR
CHECK! CHECK! CHECK! The half marathon I ran in May I ran in 2:10:35, which works out to about a 9:58 mile. Not only did I sent a PR, I blew my last PR out of the water by ELEVEN minutes! I even ended up having to walk a few portions of the race towards the end because of my knee. Quite proud of this one!

5. Cross and strength train
Crickets. Crickets. Ehem. Wake up call.

6. Kick the IT Band Pain to the Curb
I wish I could say this one was taken care of. I’m still struggling with some knee pain. I’ve limited my running to three days a week and I’ve only been running on the trail. I I stick to that regimen, it does’t flare up like it used to. I’ve also been using the video below to strengthen the muscles around the IT band (hey look at that, I guess goal #5 hasn’t completely been forgotten!).