Thursday, April 10, 2008

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...)

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