Saturday, July 31, 2010

Recovering in NZ

My parents are living in New Zealand for the year, so I'm doing a few recovery runs in the Southern Hemisphere over the next few days while I visit them.

It was a perfect 60 and raining this morning.  I LOVE running in the rain!
and I love it even more when I see cute little sheep!
This was supposed to be a 13 mile run with my dad, who's now training for the Portland Marathon.  Unfortunately, we had to turn back early because my right IT band was having major issues. We ended up running about 7 miles.

Amazingly, I was barely sore after the marathon... Monday night I went to yoga and was able to do everything, even lots of low lunges!  I ran 4 miles Wednesday morning, went to yoga again Wednesday night, and then ran 4 miles when I landed in New Zealand last night, bringing my week total to a very impressive 15.  Yayyyy recovery week!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Body

Dear Body,

You are amazing.  I never thought we'd get along as well as we are now, and I'm so, so sorry for all those years I took you for granted. 

Thank you for not giving up on me when I starved you to the point of hospitalization.

Thank you for not giving up on me through the relapses in the years that followed that hospitalization.

Thank you for all the miles since those three screws went into my hip.

Thank you, IT band, for calming down these past few months.

Thank you, body, for staying strong through all the triathlons, marathons, shorter races, spin classes, bike rides, hikes, rock climbing, and yoga classes.  I know I haven't always appreciated you, but now I do more than ever. 

Stomach, I'm cool with the fact that you're not as flat as I used to want you to be.  Legs, your strength amazed me this weekend. 

I promise to feed you right, treat you well, and not put you down.  You continually amaze me, and I'm so grateful for everything you help me do.

Love, Cate

Sunday, July 25, 2010

2010 San Francisco Marathon Race Report

Without a doubt, this was the best race of my entire life.  This was basically a complete opposite of my experience in LA!  The weather was perfect, the course was awesome (the hills were tough, but kept it interesting), and I loved all the signs with fun facts about San Francisco.  Starting at the beginning...

The alarm went of at 4 AM.  I'd actually slept pretty well so I popped out of bed, got dressed, and had my usual breakfast (soy milk, rice chex, and raisins. Mmm).  We started walking to get a cab when I realized I didn't have the timing tag on my shoe.  Oops!  I ran back to the room, put on the tag, and we were off in a cab.

It was dark and cold at the start, and at this point I wasn't really nervous or excited.  I was kind of dreading having a repeat of LA, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

It was EARLY!

I headed into the 3rd corral for my 5:42 AM start.  The waves before me went off and I was still kind of out of it.  Then before I knew it we were on our way...

The first mile was not awesome.  My stomach was bugging me, my pants felt like they were falling down, and when I went through the first mile in 8:38 I was worried I would have a long, slow race.

Things got better as we worked our way past Fisherman's Wharf and up into Fort Mason.  There was a pretty steep hill at mile 3 but it was short.  At this point the bridge still looked really far away, but I was starting to feel good.  I went through mile 4 in about 32:20 and was concerned it might be a little too fast, but I tried not to worry about it.

The bridge was awesome!  It was foggy and seeing the elites coming back the other way was really inspiring.  The hill up to the bridge wasn't as bad as I remembered, and I felt strong and relaxed.  I had a Gu at the turn-around, and on the way back ended up chatting a little with another runner.  We'd been near each other most of the way so far, and she asked what pace I was trying to run.  I said I was running 8:10s but was worried it was a little fast.  We talked about qualifying for Boston, which she had done before.  I admitted that was my goal, but wasn't sure if I'd make it.

There were some hills I wasn't quite ready for going from the bridge to Golden Gate park.  At the halfway point I was still feeling strong, and went through at around 1:46.  That was about when I started thinking I had a decent chance of running a BQ time, but I knew there was still a long way to go.

The next 6 miles were up and down hills in Golden Gate park.  It was beautiful, but I kept kind of expecting to hit the wall.  I remembered how dead my legs started to feel around mile 15 or 16 in LA.  When we left the park at Mile 19 I was still feeling really good.  There was a steep downhill at about mile 20 and at that point my legs were starting to feel kind of tired.  I was still taking Cytomax and water at every aid station, but realizing that I could slow down to almost 10-minute miles and still BQ was a really comforting thought. 

The last few miles were L O N G but at that point I was just in shock about my time.  I couldn't believe I would finish in under 3:35, and I still hadn't hit the wall.  I kept thinking a mile marker was wrong or I had taken a shortcut on accident!

I crossed the finish line in 3:32:46, which was a 14 minute PR! (12/428 in my age group!)

I was not feeling like eating AT ALL, but grabbed some Pirate's Booty for later.  The finishers medal doubled as a coaster, which I put to good use at brunch.
I think I'm still in shock that I actually qualified for Boston and PRd by so much, especially on such a tough course!

So...what was so different about this race?

Weather: The conditions were absolutely PERFECT.  It was cool and not too windy, even on the bridge

Training: I pretty much followed the Pfitz 12/55 plan to the letter, only skipping 2 or 3 runs over the whole 12 weeks.  With the base I built up training for LA, I think I was just in MUCH better shape than back in March.  Also, that 5K PR on the 4th of July definitely didn't hurt my confidence!

Fueling and Hydration: I got REALLY dehydrated in LA, but this time I walked through every water station so I could drink the whole cup without spilling.  I grabbed a Cytomax, then a water, and drank them both.  I really didn't feel like I lost any time, and I know I took in a LOT more fluid and electrolytes

Nerves: They were OUT OF CONTROL before LA, probably because I didn't prepare enough.  This time around, I was relaxed and confident because I knew I'd put in a lot of effort training.  I wasn't fully convinced I'd BQ and my attitude the first mile was actually kind of crappy, but overall I was just a lot calmer about the whole race.

So now I'm not sure if I'll run CIM in December...I got my BQ and I kind of want to focus on half marathons and 5/10Ks through the fall, keeping my base up until I start training for Boston sometime in the winter.  I'm not sure what plan I'll use yet, but I'm doing some research.


I PRd by 13 minutes this morning at the San Francisco marathon...Boston here I come!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Should I Be Afraid?

One of my friends recently sent me a link to this article, published last week by the Wall Street Journal: The Race Even Marathoners Fear

I've run the first half of the course before (you can race either the first or second half, or the full), and yeah that hill leading up to the bridge is kind of a pain, but I really don't think the hills are that bad (and I think it helps that I've been training on hills).  I realize it may be stupid to think I can run faster now than I did in LA, which had a pretty big net elevation loss, but I'm pretty sure it will be a lot cooler, and I've put in a ton more miles and quality workouts leading up to this race.

Last week was a good one.  My foot seems totally fine, and I can't believe how comfortable I feel running mile repeats around 6:43.  I am kind of excited to focus on more speedwork once this race is over so I can do some shorter races through the fall (maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.

Summary of the week:

Monday - 90 minute Vinyasa yoga class
Tuesday - 7 @ 7:38 min/mile
Wednesday - 8 miles w/ 3 x 1 mile (6:43, 6:45, 6:41)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - 5 miles @ 7:23 min/mile
Saturday - rest
Sunday - 12 miles @ 8:35 min/mile

Total: 32 miles

Saturday, July 10, 2010

RICE-ing it

It's 15 days from the San Francisco marathon and I'm sitting on my couch, icing my foot, and planning to sit tomorrow's 16-miler out.  I'm trying not to stress myself out about this foot situation, but I'm kind of freaking out.

(Image from

It all started on a 4 mile run yesterday.  I felt a sudden, cramp-like pain around the base of my big toe.  I ran home, but it was definitely pretty sore.

This morning it felt fine, so I went to the track for 4 x 800.  My 2 mile warm-up and 800s were pain-free, but as soon as I started my 3 mile run home, I felt the pain coming back.  It's been hurting ever since then, particularly when I flex and extend my toes.  It's also tender between my first and second metatarsals.

I'm guessing it's not a stress fracture just based on the location and fact that I can't exactly pinpoint the pain, so I'm doing RICE-ing and will take the next day or two off.  I really REALLY hope I'm feeling better in a few days!

This week was kind of a weird one.  After my 5K on Sunday I had a horrible headache and decided to push my 20 miler to Monday.  The rest of the week was pretty easy.  I was supposed to have a track workout Monday and a 8K or 10K race today, but instead I moved my track workout to today.  It wasn't a fabulous workout - I never really felt in the zone, but my times were OK.

Summary of the week:
Monday - 20.1 miles (8:56 min/mile)
Tuesday - Cross train (22 min stationary bike, abs, lifted for upper body)
Wednesday - 6.5 miles (8:31 min/mile)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - 4.4 miles (7:31 min/mile)
Saturday - 8 miles w/ 4 x800 (3:14, 3:14, 3:17, 3:12)
Sunday - resting my poor little foot :(

Total: 39 miles

Sunday, July 4, 2010

New 5K PR!

My old 5K PR was set in September, 2001.  I was in really good shape, running high school cross country, and spent a week during the summer at Steens Mountain Running Camp.  After getting pretty out of shape in college I was sure there was no way I'd ever come close to 21:28 again.  Even when I started to get back into shape, it seemed like I could never crack 22:00.  Until today!!!

We made the long trek out to the middle of nowhere, also known as Pozo, California.
The 5K was a flat out and back through beautiful rolling hills covered with oak trees ("classic California landscape" as my dad would say).  We got there early and ran a 2 mile warm up.  It was starting to warm up, but it wasn't hot.  I went through the first mile in 6:50 and everything felt perfect.  I knew I was pushing hard, but I felt like I could maintain it.  I wasn't sure of my pace after that, but after the turn-around, I started to pass people here and there.

The last 1/3 of a mile was a long, straight stretch I thought would never end.  I was running as hard as I could, and I crossed the line in 21:19!!!  I beat my old PR by 9 seconds.  Mike was far more impressive.  He's only been running about 20 miles a week and he doesn't do speedwork, but he ran 20:55!  We ran a 3 mile cooldown, bringing the day's total mileage to 8.

Afterwards, they had breakfast and awards at the Pozo Saloon.

Waiting in line for breakfast...
Mmmm breakfast!
3rd in my age group (20-29). Going up to collect my prize.

I scored this awesome outfit!

They were giving away TONS of stuff! Mike got a running hat, we both got water bottles, and some new plants for the front porch.

I was supposed to run a total of 20 today, but I have a really bad headache, so I think I'm just going to do it tomorrow morning, then start the taper!