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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Weekly Training Recap

Mon: 4 miles

Tues: 4 miles – 558 ft elevation gain
Hills day! My running partner and I made it a new years resolutions to tackle hills on our weekly runs. We finally mustered up the courage to run at an infamously hilly trail. We have a lot of work to do as this run included a lot of walking, but getting there is half the battle right?

Wed: Rest Day

Thurs: 1 mile 
Attempting to run four days a week again. Last time I ran 4 days a week, my ITBS started flaring up. Hoping that all the strength training, stretching and foam rolling will help the ITBS be a thing of the past.

Fri: 10 miles – 105 ft gain
Ran the first two miles with my husband, made the 10 miles go by much faster! Even though I dread getting up earlier for long runs, I always feel so great afterwards – especially after a double digit run!

Sat: Insanity: Cardio Power & Resistance
Posting this before it actually happens with the hopes that it will actually make me do it 😉

Total mileage: 19 miles

T-minus 9 weeks til the San Francisco Rock N Roll.

Hit the Ground Running

I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than with a morning run. With the new year comes a sense of new beginnings, a fresh start, and a blank canvas with seemingly infinite possibilities.

To be honest, I didn’t want to leave the confines of my warm and toasty bed, especially since it’s been so cold here lately (yes, I’m using the California definition of cold here, but spoiled Californian aside – I think we can legitimately say it’s cold here). Thankfully my willpower ended up winning and (with a little bit of persuasion) my husband and I headed out the door for our first run of 2015.

My husband and I just moved into a new home and used our run also as an opportunity to explore our new neighborhood. Two for one! He is coming back from a running injury and ran the first mile with me. It was a sleepy morning, not too many cars or people around. Although the people I did run into greeted me warmly and enthusiastically. I completed my usual four mile run with an extra sense of satisfaction as a January 1st run always feels that much better than any other day of the year run.

4 miles down, 896 more to go!

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!)

2014 Runner’s Gift Guide

See Val Run // 2014 Runner's Gift Guide

For the crazy and addicited runner in your life. Here’s a few ideas for this holiday season. This list is comprised of a few of my personal favorites and a few that are listed are in constant use in my daily life and have the “See Val Run” stamp of approval (if you were wondering they are the Flip Belt, Garmin GPS watch, Alex Water Bottle).

From left to right
1. Flip Belt in Nuclear Yellow- $29
2. Born to Run – $11
3. Sparkle Athletics Gold Running Skirt – $25
4. Road ID – The Wrist ID Slim – $18
5. Retro Marathon Inspirational Quote Print – $10
6. Garmin GPS Forerunner 210 (multicolor) – $180
7. Alex Water Bottle – $26
8. Run Rest Repeat GoDRY Active Tank – $7 (sale price as of 12/10/14)

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.