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.

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.

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!)

Morning Routine Running Tips

As I drove my car this morning to the local trail in the pitch blackness of the morning, I thought about how this is even possible. How does one wake up morning after morning to go on several mile runs. The morning light is beautiful, but my bed and snuggly duvet cover is beautiful as well. I don’t claim to be an expert, I’ve only been running for a few years now, but I am an expert in routine and discipline. As with most things in life, to make things more efficient and effective for myself I come up with an action plan to help me achieve my goals. I wanted to share some ways to make waking up early for those sunrise runs a little more bearable.

1. Go to bed early
This may be a no brainer, but ever since I’ve become a consistent runner, my bed times have also become more consistent. Especially the night before a long run, I want to make sure that my body is energized and ready to go. I used to suffer from insomnia, which thankfully has subsided, but getting enough sleep is always an essential part of my routine.

2. Set out your running clothes the night before
I read this on a running blog before and it is one of the best tips that I’ve added to my routine. I’ll throw my shirt, shorts (with fall coming, capris!), socks, sports bra and GPS watch into a pile (not gonna lie, I’m too lazy to fold them neatly, they are always in a big, messy heap) near the foot of my bed. I don’t even need to think in the morning when I get up. I just grab those bad bays, change and head out the door.

3. Run with a friend
There’s no better accountability to get up and run than running with a friend. As much as I want to hit snooze on my alarm, I know that my friend Erica will be there at the trail waiting for me. Don’t want to keep her there waiting long and I especially don’t want to make her late to work on account of getting a late start running!

4. DON’T lie in your bed and browse social media!
This one is mostly to keep myself accountable. I’ve been guilty the past month of skipping runs to snuggle in my bed and keep up to date on my social media accounts. “Just five more minutes,” I tell myself. Five minutes turns into ten minutes and ten minutes is the equivalent of a MILE. In that 10 minutes I wasted keeping up with the Jonses, I could’ve already been one mile into my run. No more social media checking til after my runs.

What helps you get up in the morning to run?

Better Together

#runningram See Val Run
A quick snap on my 4 mile run this morning.

This morning I had a 6:30am meeting. SIX-THIRTY AM. SIX-THIRTY! Oh the life of a high school sports coach. 6:30am is apparently the only time that high school coaches can meet.

As I drove back home, I had already made my mind up that I wasn’t going to run. I like to run as soon as I get up, if I wait too long I get too hungry. I decided it was going to be a “cross training day” which actually translates to a no workout day.

I opened the door to find my husband sitting on the floor tying his shoe laces.

If he can do it, I can do it.

I quickly changed to running clothes and we began our run together. My husband wanted to run two miles, so I ran the first mile with him. A half mile into the run, I decided I was going to run four. After one mile, we parted ways and he turned around and ran back home and I continued for a few more miles. The photo above was snapped on my run. As we were running, we were talking about how both of us wanted to be lazy today, but we knew that we would feel better and actually have more energy if we went out for a run.

The past two weeks I’ve been lacking in motivation for anything fitness related. But there’s one thing that gets me out the door every time: running with friends. I used to hate running with other people. I was self conscious about how slow I was. I hated feeling the pressure of keeping up with someone and felt to embarrassed to ask people to take walking breaks. While I’m not completely over this, I do enjoy running with people more than I used to. I run with people who are about my size (and that’s fun size aka short) and/or have a similar pace as me.

Running with friends has been an awesome way to keep me accountable for actually running, especially when I don’t have the race motivation factor. If I know someone else is waiting for me, I can’t lie in bed aimlessly scrolling through my facebook newsfeed.

This week I plan on running three times, and I have a running buddy for each day.

Friends for the win!