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Week 4 OC Marathon Recap

April 29, 2013

Last week of training before I head into taper week! As much as I’ve been running for the past four years, following some sort of formal marathon plan is very new to me. What can I say, I hate being told what to do. Fact, I recently Googled ‘marathon taper week’ to get a sense of what kind of mileage I should be doing the week leading up to the marathon. I learned that taper weeks are different for everyone, it’s about reducing your average weekly mileage by a certain percent. So someone who runs 40mpw will have a lower taper week than someone who typically runs 60mpw. I’ve learned to go with my gut instinct and do what feels right for my body. In the end, it’s your race.

April 21-27

Sunday

8 miles

After a not so great 20 miler the day before, my legs were more than ready to work on the trails. Matt and I hit up Los Liones for a quick run up to Parker Mesa and back. Love flying down that trail, the steeper the better.

Pilates

Monday

3 miles

Wore the devil shoes for a quick jaunt, called it quits after 3 miles and went home. You’re probably wondering as much as I am why I still continued to wear those shoes…

Pilates

Tuesday

10 miles

Usual early morning tempo run in Santa Monica with Matt, still wearing those damn shoes. Felt crappy first few miles, major shin splints, and just sucked it up on the way back with pick up miles from 8-10. Despite the slow beginning miles and all the stopping, managed to average a 7:30 for the entire run.

Pilates

Wednesday

5 miles

First “track” workout of the training season. A little too late. Since I was too lazy to drive to an actual track, I just ran on the Ballona Creek bike path which is somewhat flat. Funny how when you’re doing speed intervals you realize how NOT flat the path is and notice every bump and crack in the road. This was NOT fun, I set out to run 8 Yasso’s (800s) for a total of 4 miles + 1 mile warm-up. My beginning splits are a little off because I was still trying to figure out how to work the interval training on my watch. Also ran my first 800 only to realize at the very end that it didn’t even count because I forgot to press Start. I definitely needed more than a mile warm-up (maybe 3 next time) and more than a minute of rest in between (more like 3-4 minutes). I ended up pausing the watch towards the later intervals so I could rest more.

3:29, 3:24, 3:27, 3:20, 3:17, 3:18, 3:12, 3:15

Sadly only two of those 800’s are actually within my goal marathon time range.

Much prettier than a track

Much prettier than a track

Pilates

Thursday

Sweet rest!! Unplanned rest day, but legs and body just did not feel like moving. I never feel guilty about these days because rest is part of training too.

Friday

10 miles

Legs were itching to run after taking a complete rest day on Thursday so banged out a quick 10 miler knowing I probably wasn’t going to run as much this weekend.

Pilates

Since this post is lacking in the picture department, I’ll show you what we ate instead. If you haven’t been to Mo-Chica, go! Really great Peruvian food in the heart of Downtown LA.

mochica

Saturday

10.5 miles

I couldn’t wait to get on the trails this weekend after spending so much time on the road. Matt and I ran on trails that we haven’t been on in a long time. It was nice being back on the dirt not worrying about pace and splits. We started on the Santa Ynez trail->The hub->Eagle Rock->Musch->Trippet Ranch and back. Short and sweet run enjoying the nice views.

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Total miles: 46.5

It’s the final countdown!

You can read more about my previous weeks here:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 3 OC Marathon Recap

April 23, 2013

Last peak week in training, thank goodness.

Random note from this week on WHY ALL MY RUNS HAVE SUCKED:

Decided to run in my semi-new Nike LunarGlide 3 and save the ones I’ve been training in, LunarGlide 4, for the race. I bought these LunarGlides last year in August for Hood 2 Coast, but I haven’t worn them since. For some reason, it didn’t fit right on my feet even though it’s the exact same model and brand, just an updated version, so I stowed them away and bought the 4s. I always attributed the 3s to not fitting right because I still had to break them in, even though the 4s felt like clouds on my feet from Day 1.

Cute, but deceiving little shoes

Cute, but deceiving little shoes

So I stupidly ran on the 3s all week even though it was giving me a lot of shin pain, something I have never had before. The shin pain was even messing with my left knee. The toe box was very tight fitting even though I kept trying to loosen up the laces. I wear my shoes VERY loose, almost to the point where it looks like they might slip off my feet, but these shoes were still so tight in the front. Every run with these shoes pretty much sucked and I was losing hope for the marathon next weekend. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my runs, never thinking ONCE that my shoes might have been the problem!

Anyways, problem solved yesterday when my shins hurt so badly on my normal Tuesday tempo run with Matt that I had to pull off and start running on the grassy medium slowly while stopping to stretch my shins every so often. He then informed me that the 3s got bad reviews and most people didn’t like the update. I felt so relieved that it wasn’t me, but the stupid shoes! I was tempted to chuck the shoes right in the middle of our run and go barefoot but I stuck it out for the rest of our 10 mile run and immediately chucked them once I got home. Farewell!

Long story short: If a new pair of shoes doesn’t feel right after a couple runs, you should seriously evaluate the shoes before sending yourself into a frenzy and wanting to withdraw from every race you signed up for this year.

April 14-20

Sunday

Pilates

Felt tired from Saturday’s long run, so took it as a sign to rest and just went to Pilates. Love lazy Sundays.

Monday

10 miles

Boston Marathon morning! I was so excited to track all my friends who were out there running that the miles just flew by. First day of wearing the devil shoes, but completely ignored all pain because I was so excited to get back to my computer and watch the marathon unfold.

Pilates

Tuesday

7.5 miles

Ran around the Marina, sported my Boston shirt in memory of what happened the day before. Beautiful day on a sad morning with the wildflowers blooming all over the trail and bike path.

Read my Remembering Boston post here

boston

Pilates

Wednesday

11.5 miles

A run in parts. Started the run by myself before meeting up with Sharon for a few miles and dropping her off at Peet’s, ran a few more by myself before meeting up with her again and dragging her out to run with me, dropped her off at home before running home myself.  Did you catch all that? Uneven pacing but glad to get in some double digit miles on a weekday.

Pilates

Thursday

10.5 miles

Meg and I ran the Sullivan to Westridge loop which I haven’t done in so long. Met up with Matt close to Westridge before running back to our cars. Really missed the trails after running the majority of my miles on road for the past 2 weeks. First good run all week because I was wearing trail shoes!

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Friday

10 miles

Struggled to get in 10, probably should have taken another rest day but I was determined to get my mileage up to 70 for the week and didn’t want to run more than 20 on Saturday. Lunch made up for the uneventful slog of a run.

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Pilates

Saturday

20 miles

Started the run with 6ish solo miles before meeting up with the gang to finish off the rest. Since everyone seemed to have different mileage plans for the day we all ended up running different routes. Dave, Matt and I ran up to Will Rogers and noticed this new trail, Rustic Creek, off the side of the park. The trail sign said it was only less than a half mile to the end but we were determined to see if the trail connected to any other parts of the park we’ve never explored. It was this awesome single track trail hugging the side of the mountain and I wished it had gone on forever but sadly it ended at a creek (like it said it would). Still determined to find the continuing trail, we made our way up the creek, across logs, bushwacking every plant and tree branch in the way only to be disappointed that it really did lead to nowhere. Note to self: when the sign says END TRAIL it really is the end.

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We made our way up to Inspiration Point before turning around. Dave headed back to the car but I still had a couple more miles to get in before I was done for the day. Luckily I can always convince Matt to run extra miles with me despite him having just run a 2:52 marathon on Monday. We finished up our run by heading to the Palisades, down Temescal and to the beach path and calling it a day.

Total miles for the week: 69.5 (.5!!!) Cue OCD alert.

Here’s hoping this week is much better!

Music on the Run

April 21, 2013

Here are some of my most recent favorite tunes on the road. What are you listening to these days?

playlist

Week 2 OC Marathon Recap

April 17, 2013

As the OC Marathon inches closer on my calendar, my goal becomes more daunting and real. Especially after tracking so many friends at the Boston Marathon on Monday, I’ve only gotten more anxious about my own race. Unlike many ultras where I run just to finish, road races are about hitting your splits every.single.mile. The pressure to run a certain pace and keep it up for all 26 miles with little room for error is scary.

Maybe I am over thinking, but this is the exact reason why I only run one of these a year.

In the end, it all comes down to your confidence level and how much you trust in the work you’ve put in.

This was a peak week for me, so I wanted to get in 65-70 miles which meant incorporating double days back into my weeks. Oh how I did not miss double days! I used to do these ALL the time when training for Zion in order to get my mileage up which led to a huge burn out once the race was over. Even though I still do double workouts most days, I’ve replaced that second run with Pilates.

Week recap from 4/7-4/13

Sunday

8 miles

Easy conversational pace at Los Liones trail with Pete C. I’m thinking of making Los Liones a Sunday staple to work on hill intervals and uphill hiking speed. Also it’s a nice way to flush out the legs from a long Saturday run.

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Pilates

3 miles

Monday

7 miles

Pilates

Tuesday

8 miles

Tempo run up and down Georgina in Santa Monica with Matt, took it easy on the way up and made up the time on the way down with a 1 mile pick up at Mile 6.

Pilates

Wednesday

Pilates

Rest day from running, instead carbo loaded with the Boston marathoners at Wildcraft Pizza in Culver City.

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Thursday

6.5 miles

Easy morning run in Brentwood with Meg. Struggled to get up, but glad I made it out. You never regret a workout!

8 miles

After work run with Matt, my legs are definitely not used to running in the afternoon. Struggled with the first 4 by myself before meeting up with Matt where he helped salvage what was left of my run.

Friday

6.5 miles

I debated going on this run since I had a long run the next day, but figured since I took Wednesday off, I should get used to running on tired legs.

Pilates

Saturday

23.5 miles

Not my best run since I didn’t start on fresh legs, I just wanted to get in the miles. Meg and I ran around PV, she showed me some new trails down by the cliffs I have never been on which was a nice change from the normal route. A good amount of hills and rollers which slowed down my pace a lot. Does this view ever get old?

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Total mileage

70.5

One more peak week (this week) and I’ll be tapering off, can’t wait!

Remembering Boston

April 16, 2013

What happened yesterday in Boston hits really close to home. Even though I don’t personally know the thousands of people who ran the marathon, I feel the running community and all the spectators/volunteers/race personnel are one big family. I had a lot of close friends who ran the marathon, some were still on the course or at the finish line when the unthinkable happened. Running is our safe haven. We use it to escape the realities of the world without fear. What was supposed to be a joyous celebration for runners, whether it was their first time in Boston, or their 20th time, turned out to be the complete opposite. Running through the streets of Boston is a privilege that only a few are able to experience and the spectators make up a huge part of that experience. All we can do is move on, pray for those who were affected and keep on running. Go out and run today and dedicate a few miles to those that didn’t get the chance to cross that finish line yesterday.

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Potato and Chorizo Dobladas

April 10, 2013

Over the weekend in Portland, I saw these on the menu at the pub in the hotel we were staying at, McMenamins. What are dobladas? Dobladas means folded and that’s just what you do with the tortillas.

I immediately wanted to recreate these at home with what I had on hand. This recipe comes together in no time especially if you make the mashed potatoes ahead of time. I combine the potato and chorizo (or soyrizo) together and whenever I want a quick meal, I spread the mixture on some corn tortillas with some melted cheese inside. Top them with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, the possibilities are endless, as with the ingredients you can use inside. This makes a nice, light supper or lunch and are great little finger foods to serve at your next party!

Potato and Chorizo Dobladas

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce package uncooked Mexican chorizo sausage or soyrizo
  • 2 pounds small potatoes, baby Yukon gold or red skin potatoes
  • 10 6-inch flour or corn tortillas
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 C buttermilk or milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped chives (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil.

2. Quarter your baby potatoes and drop them into the hot water. Let cook for 15-20 minutes until soft.

3. Drain potatoes and mash the potatoes with buttermilk/milk, 1 tbsp of butter, chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper until smooth. Set aside.

4. Heat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and pan fry the chorizo, breaking them into crumbles.

5. Mix together chorizo and potato mixture.

6. Spread the mixture on a tortilla with a handful of cheese.

7. Lightly coat a non-stick skillet and heat until cheese is melted. Fold the tortilla over and serve.

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Week 1 OC Marathon Recap

April 7, 2013

After Gorges last Saturday, my legs were feeling pretty beat up the next day. Hence, the lack of any sort of movement on Sunday.

Sunday in this order after flying home: brunch, nap for 3 hours, moved from bed to couch for a few hours, prep dinner, eat dinner, watch Game of Thrones premiere, sleep. Yes that is a typical rest day for me, I try my hardest to get away with as little movement as I possibly can.

Eggy goodness at J. Nichols

Eggy goodness at J. Nichols

Monday:

8 miles/60 minutes/7:30 pace

Surprised by how easy this run and pace felt even though quads were still pretty beat up. Also felt so good to be moving again after being sick all of last week and not running a single mile before Gorges.

Pilates

Tuesday:

12 miles/1:28/7:19 pace with 1 mile pick-up at Mile 10 (usually when I start thinking about all the ways to kill Matt for making me do these pick ups)

Pilates

Wednesday:

7 miles/53 minutes/7:34 pace

Pilates

Thursday:

10.5 miles at Westridge/1:24/8:00 pace
This is my usual run on Thursday mornings with a great group of friends. We meet at 6:30AM and spend the morning running up and down trails in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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Friday:

4 easy miles/30 minutes/7:30 pace

I don’t usually run on Fridays, so I ran this more out of boredom and having too much free time in the morning. Anyone else do that?

Pilates

Saturday:

19 miles/2:30/7:53 pace

Slow and steady long road run in Santa Monica with a good mix of hills thrown in. It’s been a while since I’ve done a long run on the road and it’s pretty intimidating since I can’t use the trail as an excuse for going slow.

Followed by one too many drinks at a wedding…

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Total miles for the week: 60.5

Onwards…

Gorge Waterfalls 50K

April 4, 2013

As with almost all of Rainshadow Running races, Gorge Waterfalls 50K was another bucket list race that I had wanted to do last year. What’s not to love about mossy trails, lush forest, running along the Columbia River, singletrack trails and most of all, waterfalls! I was blown away again by this race organization how they are able to piece together some of the most amazing trails that are sometimes hard/far to get to and create a spectacular course for the runners. I love the low key feel in these races where the R.D. just wants to give the runners a chance to see incredible sights most people wouldn’t be able to see, in most cases, resulting in more elevation gain. Not to mention, probably the best post race  party ever. I’ve only done Orcas and this race, but both times they had live music, tons of good food, raffles, homemade pizza located in a great atmosphere to just kick back and relax after the race. I am starting to fill up more of my calendar with their races, so very much looking forward to Winthrop Marathon in June.

Anyways, back to the race. The race sells out FAST (75 minutes this year) and it will probably sell out faster next year so I was very happy to get a spot in the race along with a few friends. The course is an out and back with approximately 6,000 ft of gain, It has 1 major climb (2 miles long), but you hit it on the way back as well. That’s not to say this course is fast at all! I had been sick all week long before going into this race so I took it as a sign to just take it easy. Frankly, I wasn’t even sure I was going to make the trip with how congested I was feeling just a couple days before. I always knew going into this race it would be a fun run for me since Way Too Cool was only 2 weeks before.

2012 final profile for real

We started at Benson State Park, picked up our bibs, met up with Suann, Aron and finally go to meet Jojo! Love it when twitter friends become real life friends. The first mile was on a grassy double track along the road before we hit the parking lot to Multnomah Falls where we started a series of switchbacks on a paved road. I was feeling decent for not having run in a week so I ran most of it and hiked the really steep parts.

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When we finally topped out at the top at Mile 4, we were rewarded with a smooth padded dirt trail, heaven. I was looking forward to this smooth cruising for the remainder of the race, but I was so wrong! The smooth trail didn’t even last a mile before the rocks started jutting out of the trail making it hard to run and get even footing.

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We had a steep descent twisting and turning into the lush forest, slippery rocks and moss covered the trail, not to mention it ran by some waterfalls making it even more wet. We were running along the edge of some big drop offs making it a little scary to go fast. I usually love cruising downhills, but I had a hard time trying to get good traction on the rocks without wiping out or falling off the edge of the cliff. We even hit a patch on the trail where we had to scramble over rocks, no trail! All the runners gasped when we ran right by one of the biggest waterfalls, Multnomah. It was one of those trail running moments where you can’t believe how incredible nature can be for all your senses and how lucky you are to be running in it.

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Picture taken from here.It was really hard to get a picture of the fall in it’s entirety.

The first aid station came into view a little short of 7 miles and just as I was pulling out, Thomas caught up to me. It was nice to catch up and run a few miles with him before he pulled away. The next section was on a rolling trail, the most exciting part was being able to run underneath Ponytail falls! I had seen pictures from this portion of the trail before, but it was so much greater when you see it in person. You could hear the roaring of the water from a quarter mile away and as you approached it, the trail came in right underneath the fall.

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The trail was becoming more covered in moss and at times, it was almost impossible to see where the trail was going. I kept a steady pace and chugged along, sometimes getting my foot caught in between the rocks and falling (that’s how uneven the footing was). I was rarely running in a straight line, more like running left to right and constantly looking at the ground to avoid sharp rocks even though I wanted to look around at all the beautiful scenery.

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I think all the uneven running really took a toll on my energy later on in the race. We hit the road for about a mile and a half before getting to the second aid station where we would do a short out and back before coming back to the same aid. I could have done without all the road running, but it was nice to be able to run straight and not have to worry about tripping for once. It also gave me a chance to make up some time during these flat road miles.

Upon leaving the second aid, we turned back on the trail and climbed to retrieve a poker chip to make sure you made it to the turnaround point. I saw Matt during the climb looking good and Thomas closer to the turnaround at Elowah Falls. This was the turnaround.

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Amazing, right?

I picked up my chip and headed back down the same trail. I was hoping to fly on the way back down the road since we had a nice tailwind, but my legs were feeling beat up so I did my best to shuffle fast and make it back on the trail. Not even a quarter mile back on the trail, I heard someone whistling to me that I had taken a wrong turn. I yelled out to the guy who was ahead of me as we backtracked our way onto the right trail. This goes to show how hard it is to see the trails here! I was feeling a little light headed and my chest congestion was getting worse, nothing nutrition related. I had to pull off the side of the trail a couple times just to take a couple deep breaths and let the people behind me pass. I knew we had that major climb towards the end so I took my time at the last aid station making sure to eat something and get my water bottle capped off.

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The trail was getting more and more crowded as we got near Mulnomah Falls and anywhere close to a trail head. As soon as we started the climb up Mulnomah Falls, I suddenly started feeling really good. Channeling the #WUPower, I made sure every stride up was with purpose and started passing people. Just like at Orcas, my best miles were towards the end going up! It actually felt way better to hike fast than to run. We climbed and climbed over steep rocky trails twisting and turning, occasionally popping out of the trees and getting a great view of the river and the mountains towering about it.

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Finally the trail started to level off for a little bit before we started our final descent down to the finish. The descent wasn’t as fast as I would’ve liked because it was so steep and you really had to put on the brakes when making the sharp turns. We ran through the same parking lot from earlier in the day, except this time it was packed with cars and hikers. From there it was a straight shot back to the finish line where I came in 5:23.

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Aside from the technical trail, the race was really fun and unlike any other. It’s definitely a course you want to go out and just enjoy with no finishing time in mind. Bring your camera because you can expect some really amazing shots along the way.
*Thanks Matt for taking most of these pictures

How to Train for a Marathon PR in 1 Month

April 1, 2013

Unfortunately, not an April Fools joke.

Since this is the year for bucket list races and PR’s, I found myself without a road marathon for the year (cue frantic online search for local races). I knew I wanted something in the spring because I’m impatient like that and I wanted a course that screams PR, which for me is either completely flat or downhill. I dabbled between Eugene Marathon in April and the OC Marathon the week after in May. I LOVED Eugene from my race experience last year and with proper training, I knew I could do a lot better than my time last year, which was only a couple seconds off from my marathon PR the year before in Santa Barbara. One problem. My race piggy bank was starting to look a little sad (enter searching for a second job, tbd). It’s only the first day of April and I’ve already traveled to Seattle, Sacramento and Portland for races not to mention Sacramento again in May, San Francisco AND Seattle in June, ICELAND in July, Eugene in August and November. Who knows where I’ll be October and December, but it probably won’t be within a 100 mile radius of Los Angeles #firstworldproblems. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a lot of my races comped, but traveling is still a huge expense.

Then this happened

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Boom. Done. OC Marathon here I come.

It’s flat, local and I haven’t run it before. Sure, I would much rather be here….

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…but that would require all those thing mentioned above that I don’t have right now. Upon deciding on the O.C. marathon, I’ve been doing some online research on training plans which is really strange since I never follow any sort of ‘formal’ plan. Apparently there is no such thing as a 1 month training plan that isn’t labeled ‘suicide attempt’. Since I can’t dedicate 16 weeks to just train for a marathon and frankly right now it is too late for that anyways, I’m going to make it up as I go and pray for the best. So for the next four weeks, I’ll post on here my weekly workouts and runs and hopefully come May 5 I’ll see 3:1X next to my finishing time.

Turkey Taco Casserole

March 26, 2013
Here’s a quick weeknight dinner recipe with ingredients you probably already have on hand. For a leaner version of a Mexican casserole, I used lean ground turkey (can use beef, chicken or no meat), refried beans (you can use fat free) and light shredded cheese. The leftovers are delicious the next day, just pop it back in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly again. I love casserole dishes because it makes a lot of portions for lunch or dinner the next day and they’re so simple to make.
Turkey Taco Casserole
serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey or beef
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 16-oz can refried beans
  • 1 4-oz cans diced green chilies
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 flour tortillas, cut into 1″ strips
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat Mexican blend cheese {or cheddar cheese}
  • sliced avocado for serving

Directions:

Spray an 8″ square casserole pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and place over medium high heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and red bell pepper. Sauté until cooked through and add ground turkey. Brown turkey, breaking up the bits and pieces with a rubber spatula. When turkey has browned, add the chili powder, cumin, salt and garlic powder. Mix well.

Spread a thin layer of ground turkey at the bottom of your casserole pan. Top with a layer of refried beans, green chilies, a sprinkle of cheese and four of the tortilla strips. Repeat this process until all of the ground turkey has been used. After laying on your last four tortilla strips, spread the salsa over top along with remaining cheese.

Place in the oven for 15 minutes. When casserole comes out of the oven, let sit for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with sliced avocado.

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