Monday, December 8, 2008

Running Journal Month 12 (December 2008)

Week 52 (12/22-12/31)
Week 52 mileage: 20.5
2008 mileage: 1401.7
2008 race miles: 624.89
2008 races: 69

And so my first year of running comes to an end! I really feel like it flew by in a heartbeat! Here are some '08 highlights:

Series Finish: PCTR Trail Running Series - 2nd Age (20-29), 3rd Overall

Club Finish: DSE [Stats to come]

Ultras: 2 (PCTR Skyline to the Sea and the Quad Dipsea)

Goal Race Sequence Completed: Dipsea; Double Dipsea: Quad Dipsea!

Road Marathon (CIM): Qualified for Boston!

Favorite Races of '08:

Mt. Tam Hill Climb (straight up Tam to summit finish, anyway you want to go)

Golden Hills Trail Marathon (loved the course in the fall season, first technical marathon distance)

CIM (first road marathon, qualified for Boston)

Dipsea and Quad Dipsea (loved both, the double was too hot! Quad was the most climbing per mile by far)

DSE Daly City Scenic Run (straight up and back down, loved it)

Other notable races of '08:

PCTR Pirate's Cove 30k (gorgeous scenery, first longer race), Quicksilver 25k (awesome course), Bay to Breakers 12K (thought I'd hate it, but loved it!), Mt. Madonna Challenge 12k (mysteriously won race and prize money, plus awesome course), Skyline to the Sea 50k (first ultra, nice course, minus the bees), PCTR Santa Cruz 21K (love river crossing), DSE Sawyer Camp (fast! PR'd by more than a minute), Enviro Angel Island 25K (met a great friend)

Some other year end numbers:

Ultras: 2; Trail Marathon: 1; Road Marathon: 1; Road Half-Marathon: 1; Trail 30-33Ks: 5; Trail 25Ks: 5; Trail 20-23Ks: 6; Trail less than 20ks: 10; Road 12Ks: 4; Road 10Ks: 11; Road 4-4.5Ms: 6; Road 5Ks: 10; Road Mile: 1; Track Mile: 1

12/28 Race Stats:
DSE Mission Rock 5K - 22:29; 30/118; 7:14/M; 3rd F; 2nd Age

Week 51 (12/15-12/21)
Week 51 mileage: 19
2008 mileage: 1,381.2
2008 race miles: 605.29
2008 races 68

I'm happy with this week's races. Saturday I finally felt up to actually really racing a PCTR race - it helped to have some close competition and legs not in total recovery mode! Finally, I broke 2 hours and by a lot so I was happy. I really felt I could not have gone faster than I did when I finished. Sunday's races were ...interesting. Although some claim I cannot count it because it's a downhill course, the 1 mile distance was certified, so I'll at least mention that I beat my mile PR by a whopping 21 seconds. I've only run two timed miles, but was pretty happy when I got around a 6:08 (the race clocks were messed up so I'm not entirely sure to the second). The 5k that came right after was not as good, but who cares? I probably won't do this race again next year as it was so disorganized, but it was good for one time. I only have one more race this year and I'm looking forward to a little r&r.

Race Stats:
PCTR Rodeo Beach 20k - 1:52:42; 9:10/M; 28/100; 4th F; 3rd Age - PR
Miracle Mile - 6:08; 20/97; 4th F
Christmas Classic 5k - [stats to come]

Week 50 (12/8-12/14)
Week 50 mileage: 26.7
2008 mileage: 1,362.3
2008 race miles: 604.5
2008 races: 65

Have to say my legs were pretty tired after CIM, but I was able to run on Saturday and since I had already signed up for the 33k, I went ahead and did it knowing it would be a slow and somewhat painful race - the scenery on Muir Beach course, however, is so amazing, I was able to enjoy at least some parts of the race. I must have warmed up my legs because on Sunday, even though I started off very slow, I almost beat my PR without really aiming for it. I think that this is due to three things: 1) I do run better if I run the day before even if my legs are tired from it; 2) I started off slow not caring about the race, which always results in a better time; and 3) I think I'm actually overdue for a significant 5k PR and as soon as my legs are somewhat fresh I'll be able to shave off major time (since I recently did so in my 10ks). Other than the PCTR race next Saturday, I think things will be a bit calmer race-wise during the holidays (there just aren't as many good ones going on) and I guess my next task is planning what to do in 2009. I'm thinking it will be a road/trail marathon year...hitting phoenix, Boston, maybe Anchorage, maybe even Pike's Peak (we'll see).

Race Stats:
PCTR Muir Beach 33k - 4:05:31; 38/70 overall; 9th F; 6th Age
DSE Conservatory 5k - 22:28 [stats to come]

Week 49 (12/1-12/7)
Week 49 mileage: 29.7
2008 mileage: 1,335.6
2008 race miles: 580.9
2008 races: 63 -
First Road Marathon!

Well, able to check another goal that wasn't even really a goal off the list. Actually, two non-goal goals in this case: running a road marathon and qualifying for Boston. Got both, unexpectedly, in one fell swoop the week after the Quad Dipsea. I must say my legs are more sore after the marathon than the Quad, but that's not that suprising. CIM has got to be the ugliest course I've ever run (can't imagine much worse), but it was a fast course with many gradual downhills, which was nice for a first marathon. I just stayed with the pacer and I felt that the pace needed for the 3:40:59 qualifying time wasn't that hard to keep up - I was able to chat some with the girls next to me, one of whom is the lead in broadway tour of Phantom of the Opera and the other of whom was an air traffic controller (making sure planes don't crash into each other)! My friend Lisa who I went up with also qualified for Boston, so we'll both be going there in '09 I guess. Congrats to Lisa! The whole road marathoning thing wasn't really a goal or something I trained for specifically, it just kind of happened along the way, which is great. I'd like to get a faster time at Boston if possible, but I'd really like to get faster without taking my focus away from the trails too much.

Race Stats:

CIM - 3:39:28 -8:22/M; 1576/5198 (clock time); 347/2183; 82/355 Age (clock time)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Running Journal Month 11 (November 2008)

Week 48 (11/24-11/30)
Week 48 mileage: 40.8
2008 mileage: 1304.9
2008 race miles: 554.7
2008 races: 61

And....the Quad Dipsea is history! I ran easy alongside Lisa in the 5 mile Turkey Trail Trot on Thursday and so I felt good on Sunday for the race. What can I say? There was perfect weather and I ran a satisfying time, with splits at 1:30, 1:30, 1:35 and 1:38. Now that I know the course, I think next year I'll go a little faster on the downhills and try to break 6 hours. Strangely, I feel much better than after the skyline to the sea 50k, either because that was the first or because that had a lot more downhill (so more running). One thing I did during the Quad was to take some extra ibuprofen, which I think helped prevent my knees from swelling up, and they feel fine. I'm curious to see how it all feels this coming Sunday at CIM, where my goal is just to run it with no time goal in mind.

Race Stats:

Quad Dipsea 6:12:57 - 100th overall/221; 4th Age

Turkey Trail Trot 5M - 44:41; 155/676; 23/158 Age

Week 47 (11/17-11/23)
Week 47 mileage: 17.8
2008 mileage: 1264.1
2008 race miles: 521.30
2008 races: 59

Ahh, races! Got to the SC Turkey Trot on time, but waited in the bathroom line too long and missed the start by a minute! Due to that, ran it not caring about my time and enjoying the views a bit more than usual, but as not many women showed up, I still got 2nd in my age group. Overall, I liked the race and would probably do it again. It must have been a good warmup because I ran Sunday's 4 mile race at a faster pace than my 5k PR pace! I went out faster than usual - I think my mile splits were around 6:48; 7:00; 7:12; 7:18. I wonder what would happen if I could pace myself a bit better and try to do all 7s or 7:05s. It's hard to pace exactly, though, but I think it's key. This week will be wild because of Thanksgiving's 5 mile trail trot followed by Saturday's Quad Dipsea!!! I'm really excited as I've been anticipating doing this race since the Dipsea, but have to admit to being a little bit scared! Hang in there knees!

Race Stats:
Santa Cruz Track Club Turkey Trot 10k -48:16 [watch - ~47:20]; 68/267; 2nd Age
DSE Great Highway 3.95M - 28:19; 3rd F

Week 46 (11/10-11/16)
Week 46 mileage: 43.4
2008 mileage: 1246.3
2008 race miles: 511.15
2008 races: 57

This was a backwards week because it was a great training week and not such a great racing week...well, at least Saturday wasn't great. Saturday, everything hurt and I'm not entirely sure why, but I'll just chalk it up to being tired. Sunday I tied my 5k PR though, so that was good. For training, I was able to make it to Rancho twice, the dish once and the track for intervals. I won't be able to do that this week because it's just too hard to run on Monday after a double race weekend (and not smart either). I may be able to do something light on Friday though...I could do Dish (or Rancho), Rancho, track, dish perhaps... I really hope I do well at the 10k that's coming up because it's a certified course so if I can just shave 16 seconds off my 10k time I could get into the sub-seeded category for certain races. Although, probably because I'm hoping for it, it won't happen. We'll see.

Race Stats:

PCTR Stinson Beach 30k - 3:27:59; 6th F; 40/133; 4th Age

DSE Polo Field 5k - 22:21; 32/154; 2nd F; 2nd Age

Week 45 (11/3-11/9)
Week 45 mileage: 20.4
2008 mileage: 1202.9
2008 race miles: 489.45
2008 races: 55

This weekend I only did one race for a change - another DSE 10k and I'm happy to say that I held close to my PR of last week (missed by 10 seconds), but considering the crowds, cobblestones and headwinds, I was happy with my time. I think perhaps the speedwork is helping even though I've only done it for two weeks now... I'm feeling strong and relatively uninjured and I just hope I can keep this going through the end of the year (or at least until the quad dipsea). I'm pretty nervous about doing the quad dipsea because the double wreaked havoc on my knees, but I think I'll run more gently in the quad and there are no killer shortcuts so perhaps it won't be as bad as I think... we'll see.

Race Stats:

DSE Embarcadero 10k - 45:29; 6th F; 2nd Age

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Running Journal Month 10 (October 2008)

Week 44 (10/27-11/2)
Weekly mileage: 37.9
2008 mileage: 1182.5
2008 race miles: 483.25
2008 races: 54

I was happy with this week's training and races. I ran the dish on Tuesday for just one loop because my legs were still tired from the races on Saturday and Sunday, then I ran Rancho with my friend Lisa on Wednesday and we did around 8.5 at a pretty good clip (definitely faster up the hills than I would have done alone) and on Thursday I did 400 intervals at the track. It's not that much mileage wise but I felt good and not worn down and had the extra energy to do a lot of weight training, which I like. Saturday's race was totally muddy and wild, with pouring rain and gusting wind - but it was totally fun! It wasn't that cold so I just added a hat with a visor to my usual running wardrobe and that was all I needed, plus I beat my time that I had on that course last time in dry weather by 4 minutes - I was happy considering the fact that I felt the muck really slowed me down in places. And Sunday's race was crazy as well, not weather wise, but time wise - I got a PR by ~1:30! I didn't feel like I was going that fast, but when I got near the clock I couldn't believe it!

Race Stats:
Enviro Stinson Beach 25k - 2:42:56: 48/132 overall; 11th F; 3rd Age
DSE Sawyer Camp 10k - 45:16; 7:18/M; 4th F

Week 43 (10/20-10/26)
Weekly mileage: 31.4
2008 mileage: 1144.6
2008 race miles: 461.55
2008 races: 52

I took a trip up to Redding for the Whiskeytown trail race that took place off of Whiskeytown Lake. It was pretty up there even though I only caught a single glimpse of the looming Mt. Shasta, which I definitely want to hike up (maybe next spring/summer). Also explored a local museum about the gold rush and stopped by an olive tasting place on the way back. If I do Whiskeytown again, however, I should do the 50k because most of the scenic trails and stream crossings were on the 50k route, not the 30k, which was almost all fireroads due to recent burns in the park and nontechnical somewhat boring trails. Missed the start of the DSE race on Sunday by 4 minutes, but ran the 12k anyway, a few minutes faster than that stupid bridge to bridge 12k - it was fun playing catchup to the other runners and even with the 4 minute late start, I finished strong. I'm feeling good and without injury and I hope I can keep that up through the Quad Dipsea.

Race Stats:

Whiskeytown 30k - 3:00:10; 9:41/M; 5th F; 2nd Age

DSE Fort Point 12k - 57:55 (by my watch); 7:46/M; 6th F; [?] Age

Week 42 (10/13-10/19)
Weekly mileage: 22
Mileage to date: 1113.2
Race miles to date: 435.5

I didn't run much during the week as I was in semi-recovery mode from the trail marathon/10k weekend before, but I felt okay by the time Sunday rolled around to do the Carmel 25k. I did not know what I was in for! Unexpectedly, I think Carmel was one of my most difficult races thus far. It included at least three very steep climbs and I got lost at the top of the middle mountain and added probably a mile and a half to the course by accident. On top of that, I got a mad blister on my foot -well, not really a blister, more like my skin just rubbed away entirely. It was so painful on the way down to the finish that I had to walk even though I could've run. The good thing, though, is that the Carmel race will still count for the PCTR series at least, since I got second overall (due to the lack of competitive women in the race)!

Race Stats:

PCTR Carmel Valley 25k (+~1.5miles of getting lost) (4,285' gain) - 3:16:28; 1st Age; 2nd Overall

Week 41 (10/6-10/12)
Weekly mileage: 32.4
Mileage to date: 1091.2
Race miles to date: 420 - First Marathon (Trail)!

I really felt unsure the week leading up to this last minute decision trail marathon; my other race got cancelled and this one fell that same day, but it was longer than I was planning for. I was concerned that I'd have a super hard recovery like after the 50k a few weeks ago and I hadn't run that much during the weeks leading up to it. But, lo and behold, it was an AWESOME race! I loved almost every moment of it. It was a beautiful, cool fall day and the trail took us through shady, beautiful forests. At the top of the hills were trees that were creaking in the wind. Appropriate for October, it felt like a haunted race, especially when a runner pointed out the place where a local woman's body was recently discovered! I had some knee pain going downhill during the first half but it disappeared. My right foot hurt again in a familiar place, but hopefully that will go away with rest. The best part of it was that my quads didn't feel at all like after the 50k when I was done - I felt a bit sore, but it was more even spread and not nearly as intense. Was it the extra five miles? the difference in the two courses? the experience of having done one before? I'm not sure. Whatever the reason, I was able to race the DSE 10k the next day and come close to my PR, taking third. I plan to rest the next few days and look at my upcoming schedule. I need to prepare for the quad dipsea and/or CIM, and I may cut out some races to do so. We'll see.

Race Stats:

Golden Hills Trail Marathon - 4:43:59; 33rd/132; 9th F; 4th Age

DSE Golden Gate Park 10k - 47:16; 7:36/M; 3rd F; 3rd Age

Week 40 (9/29-10/5)
Weekly mileage: 22.9
Mileage to date: 1058.8
Race miles to date: 387.6

This was one of those races that fell into the category of "they can't all be good" as it really was not good. Part of it had to do with my high expectations of getting a fast time and also my failure to pay attention to some obvious signs, like the fact that I couldn't muster any speed at my track workout on Tuesday. I felt pretty tired the night before and just thought that would go away like usual, but it didn't really. When I started running, I knew right away I couldn't go much faster, and then I almost threw up in the first mile, not from overexertion, but it felt like something was stuck in my throat... anyway, I got progressively slower during the race and was just happy to finish in under an hour! After I finished, and I wasn't breathing hard when I finished, I started having some kind of asthma or hyperventilating thing where I kept breathing super fast and couldn't slow it down. The whole race sucked. I'm not going to blow it out of proportion, though, I'm just going to take it easy for a bit this week.

Race Stats:

Bridge to Bridge 12k 59:47; 8:01/M; 281/2517 overall; 23/527 Age

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Running Journal Month 9 (September 2008)

Week 39 (9/22-9/28)
Weekly mileage: 18.1
Mileage to date: 1035.9
Race miles to date: 380.15

Well, this week I learned the meaning of recovery. I felt fine after the 50k except for extremely sore - no, not really sore, more like totally disfunctional - quads. I wasn't really able to walk quite right until maybe Thursday night when I went on a long night walk (with a tiny bit of jogging). Other than yoga and some arm weights like usual, I didn't run at all, and wasn't sure I'd be able to do the Santa Cruz PCTR race on Saturday. Somehow I did manage to do that race, and I'm pretty happy my quads complied because it was a great race - I especially liked making my way through the waist level river on the way out (taking off my shoes and socks) and on the way back (running through it w/shoes and all). Despite the loss of time, I think taking off my shoes was worth it as they really absorbed a lot of water weight when I kept them on. Sunday's race was satisfying because it was five flat paved miles and I tied my PR pace. I have no idea how fast I could have gone if I hadn't race the day before or done the 50k, but it'd be interesting to find out. Looking forward to the bridge to bridge race.

Race Stats:
PCTR Santa Cruz 21k - 2:20:41; 10:35/M; 30/100; 6th F; 3rd Age; 2175'
DSE Oyster Point 5M - 37:25; 7:29/M; 1st Age; 2nd W;
tied PR

Week 38 (9/15-9/21)
Weekly mileage: 38.7
Mileage to date: 1017.8 - 1000 MILES! 1st ULTRA!

This was obviously a week replete with achievements. During the week leading up to the 50k, I did yoga on Monday, a track meet on Tuesday, yoga Wednesday and an easy 5 miles on the treadmill on Thursday, but not weights and no running outside, so I was well rested. The track meet gave me my first timed mile on a track, and I know I can go faster next time so I'm pretty excited - the cool thing was how fast the mile went by in a race compared to track workouts where I can't barely stand to do a whole mile. I was worried that my legs would still be tired from the track meet by the time the 50k rolled around since I'm not used to that kind of work out, but I had mostly recovered by Friday. Although my feet didn't feel perfect and I felt like I hadn't done enough good quality long runs prior to Saturday, I was more excited than worried going into the 50k. I expected it to feel much worse than it did. I didn't start with the gun as I was taking care of some business in the portapotty and I'm glad I did; luckily, I didn't seem to have my usual stomach problems during this run, which was a huge relief, especially after being stung by the swarm of bees 4 times (once in the head) and dealing with a blister from a rock in my shoe, which required me to sit down at the 1st and 2nd aid stations to tape up my foot. I was on a first-timer's high, the course was beautiful (and I was going slow enough to enjoy it), the weather was perfect, and I felt great during the last 10 miles. I ran extremely slowly during the first 30k and much faster for the last 20k, which was a great plan, though it didn't result in an awesome time. I'd say it was a good strategy for my first ultra, especially considering I'd never run more than around 19 miles at once before. My quads started to have little pains in them near the end and now they are extremely sore, but nothing else is. I hope they recover by Thursday or Friday as I'm preregistered for a race next Saturday. My main concern now is that I'll never enjoy an ultra as much as this one!

Race Stats:
Tamalpa Track Meet: 1 Mile: 6:29 - 1st F; [other stats to come]
PCTR Skyline to the Sea 50k - 6:05:25; 71/178 overall; 13th F; 4th Age - 1st ULTRA

Week 37 (9/8-9/14)
Weekly mileage: 33.8
Mileage to date: 979.1

Another triple race weekend. Friday night at the Moonlight Run there was little wind and it was fairly mild, but my legs felt a little heavy I think from the tail end of the cold I had during the week. Next time I'll bring a headlamp as the dark slowed me down a bit. Saturday's race was...not fun. I fell, felt crappy, and when I took off my shoe my entire sock was soaked in blood from the blood blister under my toenail that popped. It hurt on and off, but not as bad as it should have for the way it looked. Anyway, Sunday's Stern Grove race was fun and unexpectedly hilly for DSE. All I can think of now is that the 50k is this Saturday. I'm excited but also scared I'm not really ready. I'll just try to make it through and have fun with it. Appropriately, the 50k will put me across the 1,000 mile threshold and my goal of doing ultras.

Race Stats:
Palo Alto Moonlight Run 10k - 47:54; 121/920 overall; 1th F; 5/168 Age
Mt. Tam 18k - 1:38:27; 32/69 overall; 12/26 F; 2nd Age
DSE Stern Grove 4M - 31:02; 32/103 overall; 1st F

Week 36 (9/1-9/7)
Weekly mileage: 25.6
Mileage to date: 945.3

After the Mt. Tam Hill Climb on Monday (Labor Day), I came home with a big head cold that lasted 'til the end of the week. I wasn't sure I would be able to do the 30k on Saturday, but with Skyline to the Sea in mind, I thought I needed the long distance, so even though I didn't feel close to 100% and hadn't run from Tuesday through Friday, I did the race anyway. The first 10k felt like a warmup to loosen my stale legs, the second 10k felt normal and okay, and the third stretch was a bit painful and hot. There were a lot of steep uphills in the last 10k and it was slow going. Nevertheless, I made it through, and decided not to run the DSE 5k the next day (opting instead to gormandize on sweets at the Chocolate Festival in San Fran). I still don't feel 100%, but hopefully I will by mid-week. This coming weekend will be another triple race, including Friday's moonlight palo alto run, which I'm pretty excited about since it's nearby.

Race Stats:
PCT Redwood Park 30k - 3:25.50; 32/86 overall; 4th F; 2nd Age; ~2780' elevation gain

Week 35 (8/25 - 8/31) + Labor Day (9/1)
Weekly mileage: 38.2 (excluding Labor Day)
Mileage to date: 919.7 (excluding Labor Day)

I'll dub this week Mountain Madness -haha. It ended with a triple race weekend and a crazy hike up Mt. Diablo (finally)! Before I get to that, I'll mention quickly that I signed up for the Palo Alto Running Club (PARC) on the offchance that I'll feel like mixing up my training routine every now and then and I know some people in it; realistically, though, I doubt I'll train very frequently with them as their runs don't really fit in my schedule and I think I get a better quality run when I'm on my own. Sometimes, though, I think it's nice to run with other people, especially when I'm not feeling up to it. Anyway, three races in a row meant that the middle race suffered a bit, but it was a fun weekend! Saturday was a 10k race on flat gravelly trails in Hayward followed by a hike up (and down) Mt. Diablo. Diablo is visible from almost everywhere in the Bay Area, so I was glad to finally do it. It was hot, dry and pretty steep for the first third, a bit gentler for the second third, and then steep uphill again, though not as extreme as in the beginning, for the last third. I kept thinking about the 25k on Diablo and how I wouldn't be able to go much faster than when I hiked! Hiking, it took 3 hours up and 2.5 down. Curious what my race time will be when I do that race next June. Sunday was DSE's Potrero Hill - 4 miles around SOMA with a hill climb from mile 2-3ish. I actually really liked this race, but my legs were tired and I couldn't go very fast. Didn't do much the rest of Saturday, but Sunday was an absolutely awesome race: the Mt. Tam Hill Climb! Mt. Tam is the other mountain (other than Diablo) that you can see from many places in the Bay Area. This race is somewhere around 3 miles long, from the base of Mt. Tam to the summit, any way you want to go! The first mile or so is runnable, and after that, for me, it was mostly power hiking up the steep rocky terrain, with a bit of running where the switchbacks flattened out. There were shortcuts I know I didn't take and even better paths I think I missed, so I'll need to do some hiking or running reconnaissance there to figure it out. I finished in less than an hour, and felt pretty good, so I ran back down the mountain with some other runners. I liked this run down almost as much as the race, just because it was nice to hear an older, very good runner tell us all about his past while we ran down the mountain. Can't wait to do this Mt. Tam race again next year - I know I'll go much faster.

Race Stats:
10k on the Bay - 47:47.40; 41/146; 3rd F; 1st Age
DSE Potrero Hill 4M - 31:47; 41/114 overall; 5th F; 2nd Age
Mt. Tam Hill Climb (3M?) - 58:15; 14/24 F; 8th Age 79/110

Monday, August 4, 2008

Running Journal Month 8 (August 2008)

Week 34 (8/18-8/24)
Weekly mileage: 33.7
Mileage to date: 881.5

This week I played around a bit with different track workouts. I tried 400m intervals (16 laps w/8 intervals, each rep at around 1:45-1:48, which is faster than my current 5k race pace by a little bit. I also tried doing some strides on friday, the day before the saturday race, not for speedwork, but to loosen up. I did 4 laps with each straight 100 stretch at about my 10k race pace. Sure enough, I felt stretched out and much better after. I like doing the speedwork on my own and trying to keep track of the 200 splits, and I think it'll make me faster. I may try mixing in some 800 intervals, or mile repeats too. Maybe this week I'll do 4x400, 2x800 and then one mile - I think it makes more sense considering the distances I'm trying to race. Oh, and saturday's race, even though I found it last minute, ended up being a really good one because there weren't that many people so I ended up winning it (1st F) and so I got a $100 gift cert for a running store nearby! And then sunday's 5k was a PR (plus we got tix to the Giants-Padres game for later that day after the DSE picnic)! Good weekend overall.

Race Stats:
Mt. Madonna Challenge 12k - 1:09:03; 9:16/M [~1200' climb]; 1st F/13; 12/36 overall;
Plate to Plate 5k - 22:20 [their clock was faster, but I trust my watch]; 7:11/M; 4th Age; [other stats to come] - PR

Week 33 (8/11-8/17)
Weekly mileage: 23.5
Mileage to date: 847.8

This week I did a random 10k trail race in Felton instead of the weekly DSE race on Sunday. The Sunday DSE race was a cross country 5k and 5ks aren't really my favorite. The Felton race was kind of like the DSE Daly City run, with a little less climbing, lots of sand and trails, and more technical downhills. I think it was my first trail 10k because the usual distances are much higher for the trail races that I do... It was harder than expected though, with more climbing in a short distance. Once I figured out where the free pancake and omelette breakfast was located (it was not obvious), I concluded I'd do the Felton race again.

Race Stats:

Race Thru the Redwoods 10k - 51:21; 8:16/M; 4th/43 Age; 102/442 overall; 22nd F [300' elevation]

Week 32 (8/4-8/10)
Weekly mileage: 35.2
Mileage to date: 824.3

This week ended with a trek around Angel Island (two loops around). It was an odd race. I was by myself for a large chunk of the second loop; I literally saw no one. Strangely, I didn't pay much attention to the scenery despite the effort (ferry, etc.) to get there. I thought there would be a barbeque at the end, but I saw no sign of one. Best part is that I made a new running friend, which is always amazing, and so maybe we'll run together sometime soon. since she lives nearby. Sunday's race, however, was totally awesome! I think it must be the best DSE type DSE race (thus excluding the double and practice dipseas) out of all of them. 3.4 miles up a steep, paved road on a mountain, and 3.4 miles down. Totally loved it.

Race Stats:
Envirosports Angel Island 25k - 2:10:33; 8:23/M; 25/93 overall; 4th F; 2nd Age - PR
DSE Daly City Scenic Run -6.8M - 56:32; 8:18/M; 12/39 overall; 1st F (of 9)

Week 31 (7/28-8/3)
Weekly mileage: 40.1
Mileage to date: 789.1

This week I ran two PR races again: the Thursday night DSE 4.5M Lake Merced loop (a PR by about 30 seconds on last week) and the San Francisco Marathon First Half (of the marathon course). It's easy to get a PR when it's a first half marathon! I was loosely aiming at 8 minute miles and ended up at 8:14 per mile, which I think is decent considering the amount of hill climbing at the end of the course (through the Presidio). I thought it would be really hard waking up at 2:45a.m. to start running at 5:30, but it really wasn't - I slept early, got a great night's sleep and felt energized before the race. Anyway, a Boston Marathon qualifying pace is an 8:23 per mile and I feel that if I were on a flat course and had some more long distance flat training in me, I could hit that target without too much difficulty. Don't know exactly what I'm doing as I've signed up for both the Quad Dipsea and CIM which are within a week and a half of each other. I figure that if for whatever reason, injury or whatever, I cannot do the Quad, then at least I can do CIM perhaps. Or, if my recovery time is less than expected from the Quad, I can do CIM too. Or even if I'm still recovering, I can do CIM slowly just to get a marathon under my belt. We'll see. Of course my real running goal is still to do trail running and ultras, and this goal remains the most important to me, but the natural extension of all my little 5ks and 10ks where I pay attention to my times seems to be Boston and a couple marathons. Just for kicks.

Race Stats:

DSE Summer Evening Series 7/31 - 33:39; 7:28/M - PR

San Francisco (First Half) Half Marathon - 8/3 - 1:47:46; 8:14/M; 536/6679 overall; 102/3696 F; 28/1265 Age (30-39) - PR

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Running Journal Month 7 (July 2008)

Week 30 (7/21-7/27)
Weekly mileage: 35.3
Mileage to date: 749

This week I incorporated one of DSE's Thursday night summer series races into the mix. The Thursday night race was a very low key 4.5 mile loop around Lake Merced in SF. For some reason, I felt like I was going slow, but I ended up doing around my usual race pace. Now that I know the course, I'm tempted to go again, even though it's hard to get there by 6:30. It also felt different racing in the evening as I'm used to morning conclusion: don't have four ice creams (work event) right before a race! The Sunday race was fine, but again, the same thing happened where I felt really slow, but ended up getting close to my PR time. I guess no matter how slow I might feel, I should just watch the mile markers and pay attention to my watch - the numbers are way more reliable than my head! I should also remember that the Windmill race is all downhill on the way back for next time because it was not as obvious as you'd think. I like the DSE races like this Windmill one where we contribute to this Sri Lankan runner's fund so that a particular talented group of runners in Sri Lanka can get things like racing shoes - I like that the donation makes a big difference to a small group, rather than a small difference to a big group (like usual charitable donations) and that it's directly related to running. Next week's race will be interesting as it will be the longest I've gone on pavement. I hope my knee handles it okay. Also, it starts insanely early in the morning, which I'm not looking forward to at all! I hope I have fun anyway though.

Race Stats:

DSE Summer Evening Series 7/24 (4.5M) - 34:10; 7:35/M; 2nd Age

DSE Windmill 10k - 47:31; 7:38/M; 52/201 overall; 6th F; 3rd Age

Week 29 (7/14-7/20)
Weekly mileage: 22
Mileage to date: 713.7

I finished this week off with two PRs - one, a repeat of the first race I ever did at Joaquin Miller State Park (20k), the other, a 5K in the Marina. I know at some point it will start getting harder to get PRs, so I'm trying to enjoy it now. The Joaquin Miller run was special for me, as it was my 25th race since I began racing (on February 16, 2008) and I had fun thinking about how different I felt during the race while I was running. I didn't go much faster as I forgot how technical the trail was, but I didn't have any music playing and I took the time to enjoy the deep forest trail and also to have some fun bounding down the steep downhill at the end. I've learned a lot from my race experience thus far, and I know there's still some more to learn, but I feel much more confident in myself as a runner now. I know that I'll keep going with it because I've been through so much already that could have derailed me but didn't. I also believe I will continue to get faster and stronger during the next few years and I'm excited to see how far I can go.

Race Stats:
PCT Sequoia 20k - 2:00:33; 9:53/M; 5th Age; 42/100 overall; 1960' elevation gain - PR
DSE Marina Green 5k - 22:55; 7:23/M; 4th Age; 8th F; 52/179 overall - PR

Week 28 (7/7-7/13)
Weekly mileage: 16.2
Mileage to date: 691.7

Was able to get in a couple of runs during the weekdays again as the knee felt better and I loved the DSE race on Sunday! It's probably the third best DSE race (1st is the Double Dipsea, 2nd is the Practice Dipsea) I've done so far. My friend came in from Michigan and ran the race with me - kudos to her as she's not used to hills! And hills and sand there were, in abundance. More than I was expecting from the usually flat, paved DSE races. I loved it! Now I just want keep training so I can get in shape for the Golden Gate Headlands race in August. If my body cooperates, I definitely want to do it.

Race Stats:

DSE Golden Gate Bridge Vista 10k - 51:19; 4th Female; 37th overall (dont know age group place) - sounds slow but the course was hilly and sandy!

Week 27 (6/30-7/6)
Weekly mileage: 12.4
Mileage to date: 675.5

This week I traveled to Florida for some races, warm, sunny beach and ocean and Universal Studios. My plan was to do five races, three on the night of the third, one on July 4th and one on July 6th; however, due to the knee issue, when I tried to run the midnight race, my knee just wasn't working right. I ended up just walking the 5k with my friend Heather (who wore flipflops), but I still had fun. It would have been a great course to run as it was lined with candlelight and I liked that it was dark out - very different. Maybe next year! The next day, I decided to do the same thing with the 5k race, but after about a half mile of walking, I started jogging, then running, and finished with a relatively slow time, but I was so happy that my knee felt okay to run on that I didn't care. I managed to get 4th in my age group even with the slow time, so that was unexpected and nice. By Sunday, I was able to run the trail 5k without too much concern about the knee, and I really liked the course - it was a flat trail that wove in and out of forest through the very damp, humid Florida heat! It was fun, and my favorite race of the trip (even though they just gave the winners hats). I finished that race only 10 secs slower than the July 4th 5k, and pulled off second in my age group (thanks to the new 30-34 age group, which is much less competitive on these shorter distance races). I also went kayaking in the ocean there, and think I might like to try that out here in California - maybe some adventure racing or something...

Race Stats:

Lutz Independence Day Run 5k - 24:56 - 4th Age

Tampa Run Through Hell Trail 5k - 25:12 - 2nd Age

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Running Journal Month 6 (June 2008)

Week 26 (6/23-6/29)
*30th B-Day* (6/27)
Mileage to date: 663.1

So, after the Double Dipsea (see below), my right knee was very sore/injured so I didn't run during this week at all, but I did make it to Yosemite to hike up Half Dome on June 27th for my 30th birthday! Climbing up half dome was one of my New Year's resolutions, so I'm glad I actually made the time to go there and do it. I thought the hike up was gorgeous - lots of waterfalls and beautiful, majestic scenery everywhere you looked. When you arrive at the base of the rocky "half dome" at the top of the hike, looking up at the steep, precarious climb ahead is a bit intimidating if you're a little shaky with heights, but I just tried to stay positive about it and actually had a lot of fun going up. I really didn't think it was that hard or scary, but I think I can credit at least part of that with the strength of my runner's legs and confidence built up from running :) The views (and cell phone reception) were great on the top, and I managed to hear a happy birthday song from my oldest and dearest friend Christina right as I reached the summit. Going down was a bit scarier, mostly because there were large steps in the granite that were difficult for me to navigate going backwards and down along the cables (partly I think because it would help to be a bit taller due to the height of the cables), but I made decent time and just kept at it. The next day, I hiked up to Glacier Point, which was at about ~7100', worrying about not having enough water on such a hot day the whole way up, but as it turned out, the top was fully civilized (many people drive up) and I had an odwalla smoothie and two hagendaaz pomegranate dark chocolate ice cream bars - go figure! Overall, I had an amazing time. The next hiking goal: Whitney! I wonder when I'll be able to fit it in...

Week 25 (6/16-6/22)
Weekly mileage: 46.5
Mileage to date: 663.1

Wow was the Double Dipsea a tough race! Ironically, before the race started, I mentioned that I didn't think the heat would bother me as it never had before and there would be plenty of aid stations, but was I wrong! Going from Stinson Beach to Mill Valley, I felt okay, and ran it in about the same time as the single Dipsea (~1:20). I noticed the heat, but felt cheerful and ran through the hoses and sprinklers that the locals had set up along the course. Even on the way back to Stinson Beach, I felt okay until the Cardiac climb began, and it all went downhill (very uphill!) from there. Even though I drank at the aid stations and ate fruit and was eating sports beans, I started feeling chills and nausea and my legs just didn't seem to have any energy in them at all. I hiked all the way to the top, and I've never felt so desperate for an aid station before! I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish the race. I ate tons of watermelon and electrolyte drink there, and felt just good enough to continue the race and run (slowly) to the end. My time back was about 1:36, so overall I only slowed down by 16 minutes, but the pyschological and physical pain of it all was enough to make me very conscious of the heat factor in running, and to plan better next time! I'll have to think of this a bit for the Tampa races coming up, as I'm sure it'll be hot and humid in a way I'm totally not used to, but those are shorter, flatter races so hopefully it won't be too much of a problem.

Race Stats:
Double Dipsea (~14M); 2:57:43 (Actual time); 162/359 (place); 6th Age

Week 24 (6/9-6/15)
Mileage to date: 616.6

This week I focused on moving my runs back outside (instead of running the treadmill). Went to the Dish a couple of times with my new friend Sue. When I first started running, I always wanted to run by myself, but now I'm finding that having a companion is forcing me to get out there, and that's what I need right now, although I have to say that once I'm back in the swing of things, I'll still do many long runs by myself, which I also love.

I spent some time reflecting on my running evolution to date as I find that I've gone through a lot both physically and pyschologically over the past six months. I've encountered numerous minor but aggravating injuries along the way, but I've also become a lot stronger - I can easily say right now that I'm in the best shape I've ever been in during my entire life, and that's a pretty good place to be, despite some week to week fluctuation. Also, I've run races faster than I ever imagined would be possible when I began. Really! In the beginning, I thought that I would have a hard time ever beating a 9 min/mile pace! Right now, I know I could run one mile at a 6 something pace for sure, and my best pace time is about a 7:30 (for a 10k). This getting faster thing is totally unexpected for me because I remember my one season of cross country at age 14 and just concluding that I'm not that fast (I rememeber going in the 7s was difficult for me then, but I'm sure now I was just not developed yet). Must give credit here to doing an oodle of races, which has basically served as speedwork training that I otherwise probably would not have done. Going forward, however, I feel like I need to develop a plan. Maybe not this instant, but soon. There are a few things I should decide, such as: which races do I really care about doing during the next year - do I want to do more 5ks/10ks/12ks or focus more on the longer trail runs/ultras and marathons? Depending on these answers, I should adjust my weekly running accordingly, with a view to improving and also not getting hurt. So far, I've muscled through the "training" runs on the theory, do what I feel like, with some shorter days and some longer, race when I want to and do the races I want to - it's been fun, but very hodge-podge, and probably creates a higher risk of injury. If my answer is that I want to do it all (shorter and longer) the way I have been mixing it up, then I need to think carefully about how to structure my week so that I don't fall into the trap of losing endurance or being so fatigued from the weekends that the first half of my week gets blown. I think Ive made it through phase one and I'm about to start the next phase of running - the second phase is a balancing act of careful planning and strategy, but also the ability to continue to have fun with it, preserve the passion, so to speak. Positive thinking is key right now.

Week 23 (6/2-6/8)
Mileage to date: 601.6

This week I fought off a cold, battled a strained hip flexor and tried to ignore a strange foot pain, and ended up running the 98th Annual Dipsea Race on Sunday as planned. The Dipsea is the second oldest race in the country after the Boston Marathon and is a very unique race. Each year, about 1500 runners participate, half of which are part of the "invitational" group and half of which are regular "runners." To qualify for the invitational group, which means you have an automatic entry in the race, you have to finish in the first 750 to cross the finish line. If you are a runner, you have to go through a competitive application process likely involving some bribes (there is a line on the app for this purpose). Making the first 750 may not sound that hard, but this is a handicapped race, which means that old ladies start first and fast young guys last, with a big time spread in between (the first group left at 8:31 a.m. and the last at 9:22). Also, the invitational group starts first (with all invitational handicap sections) and then the runners section (with all of its groups) next. This meant, as a 29 year old female, I was in the last group of women to start, with men age 11-55 following in small groups after, but with only an 8 minute spread between my group and the fast guys age 19-30. This also meant that, and I don't yet know exact numbers, but in order to make the invitationals, I would have to pass probably 4-500 people or something. Needless to say, I didn't make it in, but only by a mere 7 places!!! Ahhh! I almost wish I were place 800 so I would know I wasn't close. My conclusion is that I can make it in next year, which is the 99th Dipsea, and then I'll be in for sure in the centennial race, which would be pretty cool.

Race Stats:
Dipsea - 1:20:47; finish line place: 757; time place 651; Runners group place: 127

Monday, May 12, 2008

Running Journal Month 5 (May 2008)

Week 22 (5/27-6/1)
Mileage to date: 590.1

I didn't run Tuesday through Saturday because my feet and left hip were hurting after the double pavement races and I just wanted a break. I swam and did weights and relaxed some instead, which was nice. Turned out to be a good idea since I got totally lost on the Sunday Practice Dipsea and ended up going what I estimate to be about 5 miles total out of my way, for a grand weekly total of about 12 miles (all on Sunday). Well, I didn't get "lost" as I knew how to get back, but I was searching out shortcuts (allowed in the Dipsea) and ended up taking a long-cut, by a lot. I think I've got the trail figured out enough for the real Dipsea, but I'll see if I can remember the shortcuts... Interesting week overall.

Race Stats:
DSE Practice Dipsea (should be 6.8M, but wasn't for me -see above); time? don't 2 hours or something ridiculous. Place? Not last. Woo-hoo. Lol. :)

Week 21 (5/19-5/26) *plus Memorial Day
Weekly mileage: 46.8
Mileage to date: 578.1

This week (plus Memorial Day) was packed full; I climbed, swam, ran, lifted and ran two races. As I don't want this blog to become an ode to my injuries, I'll just mention briefly that I was dealing with the same foot issues and a new (but I hope temporary) hip issue that I think I got from doing my ab work a certain way. Anyway, I can't wait to hit the trails again after all these road races - want the soft dirt. Sunday's DSE 5k race was in SOMA in a, let's just say, not so picturesque part of town, but at least I got a PR since this was much flatter terrain than my only other 5k to date (the DSE Easter Roller Coaster). The Marin Memorial Day 10k was much nicer (weaving through neighborhoods and along bike paths) and probably the flattest 10k I've run so far, which made my time my best to date - again, another PR. There were a lot of speedy runners there so I felt a little extra motivation to pick it up and a little competition with a friend from DSE didn't hurt. We stayed after the race to watch the little kids race around the track, which was highly amusing. Some looked very determined while others looked like it was tons of fun and some just got distracted and went the wrong way...I'd like to run this race again next year.

Race Stats:
DSE Mission Rock 5k - 23:23; ~7:33/M; Overall: [to come]; 3rd F; Age: [to come] PR
Marin Memorial Day 10k - 46:43; ~7:32/M; Overall: 320/560; 105F; Age: 28th PR

Week 20 (5/12-5/18)
Weekly mileage: 40
Mileage to date: 531.3

The highlight of this week was definitely Bay to Breakers, the 12k race through downtown San Francisco famous for its wild costumes, music and (in previous years) naked runners. The course starts on Howard Street on the San Francisco Bay side of the peninsula, swings a right on 5th and then goes up Hayes Street (up a hill), continues along Fell and then meanders through the Golden Gate Park along John F. Kennedy Dr., ending with a great view of the Pacific Ocean. Even though it was hot and sunny in the South Bay, it was a typical cloudy and cold day in San Francisco, but once I was running, that didn't matter. This was my first race that started in such a large and wild crowd and I had to weave around people like crazy in the beginning, but it was more entertaining than annoying. It took me around half a minute just to reach the start line - very different than my usual trail runs! Actually, this was a good thing as it prevented me from going out too fast and, by the time I got done with the Hayes Street hill, I had plenty of reserve left to run hard the rest of the race. I really enjoyed the different bands that were playing along the course and the cheering spectators kept me motivated. This was only my second 12k, but it was much, much better than my first (Emerald Across the Bay), both physically and pyschologically, and I had a ton of fun, espcially at the DSE barbeque party after the race. Can't wait 'til next year!

Other notes of interest from this week: I decided to try adding a bit of swimming in to my routine. I went out and bought a suit and hit the pool in an attempt to do laps. I really like swimming, but I definitely need to practice! The trick will be finding the time...

Race Stats:
Bay to Breakers 12k - 56:49; ~7:37/M; 692/22,439 overall; 104th F/11,518; 43rd Age PR

Week 19 (5/5-5/11)
Weekly mileage: 46.5
Mileage to date: 491.3

Ahhhhh. Everything is better this week. I made it out to the dish three times during the week, which felt great. I was a feeling a bit nervous for Quicksilver (Saturday's race) during the week since I hadn't done any of my usual longer runs (the longest was just 7.4 at the Dish) that I like to do at least once the week of a race that's longer than 10 miles. For some reason, I had it in my head that Quicksilver would be exceedingly difficult compared to the other trail runs I've done; however, once I got past the first climb, which I hiked up as fast as I could, I found it was mostly rolling hills along the top with scenic views and maybe one or two long gradual climbs on a fire road. The scenery and terrain were similar to Rancho, so I felt completely at ease despite the more technical trails (due to the rocks and sand). The main twist that I encountered at Quicksilver was being stung by a bee around mile 3! I felt this sharp pinch on my inner thigh, looked down, and a bee was stuck to my leg! During the run, another runner told me he had been stung three times and I heard later at the finish that a couple of other runners also got stung. I faced a moment of panic thinking that my leg would swell up or it would hurt too bad to continue running but, after a few moments, the pain was manageable and I convinced myself that the running adrenaline would numb it up and I'd just feel the pain after the race. This turned out to be true. My conclusion: I'd much rather be stung by a bee while running than take a rolling dive like the lady running in front of me did - that fall totally derailed her previously strong pace even though she was okay. Quicksilver got me a first place for my age group and I was the fourth woman overall. For the age win, this was well timed because I only have a couple months left in this age group and I am fully aware that the next age group is much more competitive! Also, I think that the really fast women probably did the 50k or the 50 miler, but, hey, small favors - I'll take what I can get. So, even though Quicksilver said they'd mail me the race t-shirt later because they ran out, I did get a nice plaque for my first place age group finish, as well as a very nice medal that all the participants got. DSE's run the next day was strange for muscles were okay but I was wheezing. I think I might have a mild allergy to some of the Golden Gate Park tree pollens...not a big deal.

Race Stats:
Quicksilver 16M - 2:33:15; ~ 9:35/M; ~24/100 [to come] overall; 3rd F; 1st Age
DSE Kennedy Drive 8k - 37:25; ~7:31/M; 40/108 overall; 5th F; 1st Age

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Running Journal Month 4 (April 2008)

Week 18 (4/28-5/4)
Weekly mileage: 26.5
Mileage to date: 444.8

Being back on my feet running again this week felt awesome. The poison oak has mostly gone away and my foot didn't hurt after Sunday's DSE race. I'm so excited for Quicksilver already. Even though I live near San Jose, I've never been there, so it'll be interesting.

Race Stats:
DSE Walt Stack 10K - 48:08; 7:44 pace; 47/120 overall; 8th F; 3rd Age

Week 16 & 17 (4/14-4/27):
Mileage to date: 418.3

Week 16 was a bust. Running the Muir Woods race on the 12th did not seem to make the foot injury worse, but it certainly didn't help it get better. I was forced to do other non-running exercise during all of week 15. Running made the metatarsal area hurt more, so I just didn't run and focused on trying not to get too depressed about it (a difficult challenge). On Sunday, went to see my friend's team finish the 199 Mile Relay ( ). They did great despite being plagued by injuries of varying types. After they finished, we went to a little vegetarian restaurant in Capitola called Dharma ( ), which had an array of very healthy plates. It was a good day.

During Week 17, I took a more active approach to the recovery and visited Athlete's Advantage, a deep muscle therapy massage center where Nathalie worked on my foot, releasing some of the tension that had built up. It felt better to walk on for the next few days, so I went back again on Wednesday for another session. She mentioned her friend Adam, who owns Runner's High in Menlo Park (, so I went over there for an analysis. Adam watched me run in various shoes for about 45 minutes or so, and concluded that I need shoes with slightly more arch support. I bought an insole for my current shoes since they are new and a new pair of Saucony ProGrid Omni 6 stability running shoes. I really liked the way they felt on my feet, so I decided to try them out. We'll see how it goes.

As for the race on the 27th, originally I was signed up for the 50k at Big Basin on the 27th, but had dropped it to the 25k the week before. The drive to Big Basin turned out to be a little longer than anticipated, however, and I ended up starting the race about 5 minutes late; at that point, I dropped down to the 17k, figuring it would be better for the foot and I was starting late anyway. It was a good decision. My foot hurt a little bit, but mostly I felt fatigued and my stomach was upset, so I was pretty happy not to have to do another loop. That being said, the trail, waterfall and redwoods were amazing as always, and I tried to enjoy them while I was out there, even though it was hitting the 80s near the top of the hills. The course was not a fast one, but I felt particularly slow. Even on the 17k, I got a bit dehydrated, but it was a good run overall because my foot felt okay after. My conclusion is that I think I can start running in Week 17 again, which makes me happy.

Also, on the 26th, my oldest and greatest friend ran an awesome first marathon. A big congratulations to Christina!!!

Race Stats:

PCT Big Basin 17k (elev. gain ~2,110') - ~ 1:55 (I'm guessing b/c of the late start and failed watch!); 22/89 overall; 7th F (woulda been 4 0r 5 if I started on time); 3rd Age (either way)

Week 15 (4/7-4/13):
Weekly mileage: 20
Mileage to date: 405.8

This week was a lesson in recovery and restraint. I spent it icing and limping around the office, trying not to get overly frustrated with the state of my foot (and failing). I kept up the yoga and went climbing on the gym wall on Friday, but I only ran once on the treadmill on Thursday, and my foot didn't love it. Nevertheless, it seemed a bit better Friday, so I decided to run the Envirosports Muir Woods 25k starting at Stinson Beach and climbing part of Mt. Tam, mostly because I absolutely love the trails in that area. The weather reached the low 80s that day - by far, the hottest weather I've run in. I wore a white tank top, shorts and sunblock, and doused myself with the water at the aid stations, which seemed to do the trick. The trails wove in and out redwoods and through streams, with views of the ocean at some open parts near the top. My foot doesn't seem to be worse for it, so I'm glad I ventured out. Other highlights from the week included seeing Eddie Vedder play at Zellerbach in Berkeley and climbing all over San Francisco (and, finally, up Coit Tower) on Sunday.

Race Stats:

Envirosports Muir Woods 25k (elev. gain: ~3400') - 2:38:56; ~10:14 pace; 35/138 overall; 8th F; 2nd Age

Week 14 (3/31-4/6):
Weekly mileage: 11.4
Mileage to date: 385.8

Recovering from knee, foot, poison oak and stomach ailments. Ridiculous!

Race Stats:
DSE Great Highway 4M - 30:43; 7:40 pace; 44/118 overall; 4thF; 1st Age

Running Journal Month 3 (March 2008)

Week 10 (3/3-3/9):
Weekly mileage: 5.5!
Mileage to date: 283.5

This week's numbers look like I just skipped out, but actually, I traveled to Ogden, Utah for my friend's snowshoe race. We spent 4 days there, and snowboarded for two of them. Snowboarding was how I remembered it from the one time I've tried it before - difficult and fun. We visited Antelope Island, the salt flats and a dinosaur museum as well. I love the nature in Utah, but I wouldn't want to live in SLC. I gave myself permission to take a break from running if needed while I travel. While maybe one day I'll be organized enough to run and travel, I wasn't quite there yet and I didn't want to miss out on anything while I was there.

Week 11 (3/10-3/16):
Weekly mileage: 24.5
Mileage to date: 308.3

I ran in a new place this week out of necessity - the baylands in Palo Alto, the park off of Shoreline Blvd. It was scenic and flat and served my purpose, but it was windy as hell. I forgot I used to fly my stunt kite there...

Race Stats:
Emerald Across the Bay 12k - 59:06; 7:55 pace; 529/2971 overall; 32/306F Age Group

Week 12 (3/17-3/23):
Weekly mileage: 47.4
Mileage to date: 355.7

Kept it up at Rancho and on the good ole treadmill. And then, on Saturday, had an absolutely awesome time running PCT's Pirate's Cove 30k. I felt great, and the views were a dream. Mostly ocean. So glad I did the 30k because the shorter one would not have had the same ocean views. On Sunday, I ran my first 5k. My legs were tired from the 30, and my ankle was aching, but it was interesting to try a shorter race. The roller coaster race had a very short but steep uphill at the turn around, which caught many runners by surprise.

Race Stats:
PCT Pirate's Cove 30k (elev. gain: ~3570'): 3:17:26; 10:30 pace; 29th overall; 5thF overall; 3rdF Age
DSE Easter Roller Coaster 5k: 25:56; 8:20 pace; 35/150; 6thF overall; 1st Age

Week 13 (3/24-3/30):
Weekly mileage: 18.7
Mileage to date: 374.4

And the pain begins... everything that could possibly go wrong with my body going wrong at the same time! A runner's fear realized. The list was long: I banged my knee; I was covered in poison oak (from the 30k maybe???); I had some mysterious stomach problems happening due to what my doctor told me was a severe bout of dehydration; and, last but not least, my left foot felt like it was either sprained or had a stress fracture. I didn't run during the week at all other than a couple miles on the treadmill Friday. Thought I was better by the weekend, so I ran two races... Nevertheless, I had tons of fun eating all kinds of jelly bellies from the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield on the way back from the race in Granite Bay.

Race Stats:
XTERRA Chanoko 16k - 1:24:34; 8:27 pace; 22/55 overall; 4th F Age
DSE Embarcadero 10k - 47:07; 7:34 pace; 37/171; 4thF; 2nd Age PR

Running Journal Month 2 (February 2008)

Week 5 (1/28-2/3):
Weekly mileage: 25.1
Mileage to date: 145.1

My journal notes deteriorated during this Week 5. Although I kept making new discoveries and having new experiences, running no longer felt "new" in the same way. Regular life, job and a cold invaded. I also realized my feet were taking a pounding at the Dish with its concrete path and hard, dry rocky side "trail". Since I had discovered Rancho, I thought it was time to abandon the dish for a while in order to save my joints. My notes state emphatically: "get better fast" and "no more dish!" The week ended on a high note, however, since my interest in running led me to meet a new friend (who runs too), and everything negative from the week faded away in a second.

Week 6 (2/4-2/10):
Weekly mileage: 32.9
Mileage to date: 178

My cold deteriorated into an ear infection. I kept thinking my immunity was low due to running, and it may have been. Hard to tell. My life was rather chaotic and everyone at work was sick. Nevertheless, I stuck with the running, mostly because I was fearful that if I stopped, I would never get it going again. This is a true beginner's fear. It's very real, however, and not to be laughed at - many people who start running don't stick with it. For some, it's just too time consuming, for others, they don't find a way to enjoy it. All too vivid are the pre-running days and a beginner's mind knows how easy it would be to fall back into that easy, yet unfulfilling pattern. If I knew what I know now, only a few months later as I write this catch-up blog, I would have been better off. I needed to realize that I had actually fallen in love with running, and that it wouldn't be something I would easily give up, even if I had to take whole weeks off for various reasons. At that time, I didn't realize this, however, and pushed through the pain of running while sick and stressed. The week ended on a better note, with a hike up Montera Mountain near Pacifica.

Week 7 (2/11-2/17):
Weekly mileage: 43
Mileage to date: 221

This week marked the week of my first organized running event ever (other than school sports). I never thought I would be entering trail runs after only a month and a half of running, but sometimes a friend can provide the inspiration/encouragement that makes you try something you never otherwise would have done on your own, and to your amazement, you discover you are capable of more than you ever thought. This sentiment summarizes how I feel about running generally: it's a perpetual challenge where you can push yourself harder than you ever thought possible and triumph. That's why time comparisons don't really matter in the end, it's about you vs yourself. I was a bit nervous for my first race, especially since people kept asking me if I had "trained" for it, and my answer was "no" just running a lot... but I tried to focus on thinking of it as just another training run in a place other than Rancho (which it basically was). I took a belt full of liquids, and donned my usual running tights, and just headed out on the trail along with the group. There were parts that were a bit steeper than Rancho where the herd power climbed, but it evened out. The course was not as scenic as some places, but I love being surrounded by trees and trails, so I enjoyed it. I felt a bit frustrated at one point at not knowing how far along we were, and some chick said we still had the majority to go. I passed her a bit after that, mostly cause I didn't want to hear any more of her good news. I didn't go out too fast and I felt good through the course. The finishing line took me by surprise and I was really happy I didn't have any serious problems along the way. It was a great day. The next day even beat that though because I hiked the double dipsea course, with some deviations, and the trail at points meandered through mossy green fairy worlds and spit me out at Muir Beach. Any time I come across the ocean, I feel like I'm home.

Race Stats:
PCT - Sequoia 20k (elev. gain: ~1960'): 2:02:15; 10:01 pace; 10th F 5th Age; 40/100 overall

Week 8 (2/18-2/24):
Weekly mileage: 13
Mileage to date: 234

I'd like to say that I felt strong after my first race, but truthfully I was tired, and spent most of this week doing yoga, weights and climbing, as well as recovering from my ear infection. The week ended on a high, however, with a climb up Mt. Tamalpais, where I had never gone before.

Week 9 (2/25-3/2):
Weekly mileage: 44.3
Milegge to date: 278.9

Feeling rested, I pushed up some of my Rancho runs to 11ish miles this week. I raced my second race on Saturday, the PCT Skyline Ridge 23k, and had my worst race experience to date. I went out too fast, and spent the second half of the race feeling absolutely awful, psychologically and physically. I asked myself why I was running, why I thought I could do any of this, where my life was going. I'm just glad there were no obvious cliffs around considering my dark mood. Nevertheless, I finished with relatively good numbers. Of course it matters that all the fast women were doing the 37k, but I tried to cheer myself up. Even though my stats made me feel a little better, I took the don't go out too fast lesson to heart, because I never want to feel that way again during a race! On Sunday, I did my first 10k with DSE (see link at right). DSE has a casual and fun city runner vibe totally different from PCT, but this felt like a totally new world because the course was paved and relatively flat. I like running the hills and trails more, but I also like the festive atmosphere of the DSE events.

Race Stats:
PCT Skyline Ridge 23k (elev. gain: ~2170'): 2:16:59; 9:35 pace; 12/59 overall; 2nd F; 1st F Age

DSE Windmill 10K: 47:20; 7:37 pace; 57/150 overall; 11thF; 4th Age

Running Journal Month 1 (January 2008)

Week 1 (Sunday 12/30/07 - Sunday 1/6/08):
Weekly mileage: 28.5

"Pain is just weakness leaving the body."

On the last day of 2007, I decided to start my running at the Stanford dish. The main loop of the dish is 3.7 miles, but if you add on the slope that goes out toward 280, you get another 1 mile down and 1 mile up, for a 5.7 mile jaunt. I hit the dish 5 times the first week, and then finished the week off with a 9 mile hike up Monument Peak in the Ed Levin County Park in Milpitas with my favorite hiking group around, the Intrepid Northern California Hikers, or "I.N.C.H" for short ( In this first week, I bought many running books and discovered Pacific Coast Trail Runs (see link on right). I thought that after a few months I might be able to run a short PCT run. So anyone reading this doesn't get the wrong idea, the first week of running was full of highs and lows. Notes in my journal from that week include: "ultras here I come", "love running in the rain" and "ankles feel like stumps."

Week 2 (Monday 1/7 - Sunday 1/13):
Weekly mileage: 34.4
Mileage to date: 62.9

This week was a gym treadmill and dish week. Having not monitored times thus far, it was hard not to pay attention to the times on the treadmill, where I felt happy with a high 9 and low 10 minute per mile pace. I should note here that, though I barely recall high school cross country, I remembered training rather hard during that season as a freshman, and I also remembered it being difficult for me to get down below an 8 minute mile. With that in my head, I figured at almost age 30, 9-something per mile was pretty good, at least for a beginner. It's all about staying positive. And anyway, my focus began with a need to spend time outside on the trails, not a need for speed... The big discovery of the week was Rancho San Antonio open space preserve (, which is on my way to work and so soooo much better to run at than the dish. At Rancho, you weave past creeks and over little wooden footbridges in the forest, and then gradually climb up to higher open places with panoramic views of the bay. Another discovery was Road Runner's running store in San Carlos ( By this time, I had also established a somewhat regular cross training routine consisting of yoga three times a week, climbing wall at the ymca (gym of choice), elliptical workouts and weight training three or so times a week in a "bodypump" class, plus whatever other sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, other weights and activity I could fit in. Somewhere in between it all I managed to fit in being a lawyer... One of the hardest things about fitting running into my schedule is the waking up early bit. Notes from my journal that week include: "yay, woke up early!" and a note about it being stupid to do a 9.4 run without hydration.

Week 3 (Monday 1/14-Sunday 1/20):
Weekly mileage: 24.6
Mileage to date: 87.5

Most of my notes from this week are about ankle pain. I was basically doing all hill training and my shins and ankles were feeling it. On that Saturday, I went on a 21.1 mile hike with 5500' elevation gain in Henry Coe State Park with Inch. I thought it would be hard, but I felt fine. I think the running made it at least psychologically easier because I kept thinking, I'm just hiking, not running. I discovered another running store: Running Revolution in Campbell ( I finished reading a great book by Dean Karnazes: Ultra Marathon Man. I thought it was a good read and inspirational. Notes from my journal include: "too much too fast??" and "funfun but blisters!!"

Week 4 (1/21-1/27):
Weekly mileage: 33
Mileage to date: 120.5

By this time, I was experimenting every so often with doing double plus loops on the dish to get in a 7.4 or 9.4 mile run instead of the 5.7 mile one, and I realized that the second loop is always easier. In my head Iwanted to run much further, but I had heard stories about stress fractures and other scary running injuries and, of course, the famous 10% rule (don't up your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week), so I kept the miles down for the time being. Running rancho was bliss; it was quiet with perfectly packed smooth and buoyant mud trails - running heaven. Notes from my journal: "1 month baby! congrats!" (I feel it's important to praise yourself for your endeavors...)

Here we go!

One cold day back in December... no, even further back: one hot day in Death Valley in November ’07, I was on my way down the trail at Telescope Peak after a glorious but quick sojourn to the summit; near the end, my friend sped ahead and so, feelin’ good, I ran the last piece of the trail. Despite many REI trips to prepare for the Death Valley jaunt, I was not cognizant of the fact that Telescope Peak is almost 12,000 feet high and I was a bit surprised that I felt a little woozy and somewhat winded running down that trail; what I was even more surprised about was that I LOVED the feeling of running on that trail. Despite the effort it took to move my body (after decades of not running) I felt like I was floating through nature, detached from the physical world around me (it was downhill, after all). I was satisfied, finally, because one of the reasons I went to Death Valley was to escape the very physical, real world where I usually reside up in Silicon Valley. That satisfying feeling hung out in my head for the next month or so, waiting...

Then, one cold day back in December, I felt a sizzle of energy even though almost dark out. I grabbed what I thought were running shoes, threw on some random yoga type workout clothes, grabbed my hiking headlamp and sped up to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve with the mission of running up Black Mountain where I had hiked before. I knew it was a relatively short trail up, a few miles maybe, and felt I could do it. Not analyzing my plan before its execution (like I usually do) was key, and refreshing. If I had gone down the safe path, there would’ve been a million reasons not to go...but I drove up the windy road in my convertible and starting jogging up without a thought. I slowed a lot on the hill, even walked some, but reached the top at a moderate jog. By that time, my hands were freezing, my eyes were watering, my feet were aching, I had encountered a massive herd of deer glaring at me from the edge of the trail that made me wonder whether they really and truly are herbivores, and, most importantly, and unexpectedly, I felt more alive than I had in years, perhaps ever; the feeling was visceral; and the city lights melting into a sea of stars above the rocky top of Black Mountain provided the perfect place for me to soak it all in.

In that place at that time, my mind shifted; I changed. Even the parking ticket waiting for me in my car when I got down didn’t derail me (note to self: no more parking 30 mins after sunset please). I was about to embark on a new adventure, and I knew it.

I’ve never been a runner; in fact, I hated running up until November. I ran one horrendous season of cross country my freshman year of high school and, while I got progressively better, I grew to hate running because of the experience, bad coach and no real fun. Never again, I thought... I’ve gone through periods of being "in shape" - hitting the gym, doing aerobics and other things. But I thought runners were masochistic and annoying and that they didn’t really know how to really take care of themselves. Sure, I was entitled to an opinion, but it is clear to me now that I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

I’m writing this blog for many reasons: to keep my friends and family involved in my new passion, to satisfy my craving for a creative outlet for my thoughts, and, mostly, just for myself. Running is something I do purely for me and so is writing about it. So, readers, wallow in my selfishness! I’ll be posting the next installment soon...