The Ventura Half Marathon


The Trail of Snot.  That is how I will remember this race.  I felt fine, but that cold/virus/whatever my children gave me two weeks ago is still clearing itself out and I left quite a few snot rockets in my wake…including, possibly, on other runners trying to pass me.  That’ll teach them.

But anyway.

The first two+ miles of this race were not good.  It was slow.  Felt awful.  Gave up all hope of breaking 2 hours, maybe even finishing.  Why bother.  This was terrible.

I should know this by now, but I need a little bit of time to warm up.

Mile 3 things started to kick into gear.  I felt like I was working harder than I should be given the fact I had another 10 miles to go and that, by all other indicators, this would not end well.

But by Mile 4 I figured that since it was already happening, I’d just keep going that hard as long as I could.  #strategy

At Mile 5 I started walking through the aid stations because I got tired of soaking myself and having most of the water go up my nose.

Mile 6 a guy with super buff arms befriended me.  We ran together for about half a mile until I LEFT HIM IN THE DUST.

The turnaround point was a highlight, because the marathon runners ran straight and we got to head back, so I took a moment to appreciate the fact that I dodged that bullet.

The second half we were running into a headwind.  But I managed to maintain my speed and was still in control and killing it.  This race was going to be a cakewalk.  Why don’t I always use this strategy?

giphymile 7

Mile 10 I hit wall #1.  Mile 11.5 came wall 2.

Right around Mile 11, based on my watch (which was a little bit off the official time), I realized that I could *probably* break 1:45 if I hung on.  And once I realized that I had to do it.  Had to.

That’s when things got ugly.  My body was like, “Sorry, you did not adequately prepare me for this, stop right now.”  And I was like, “NO, BODY!  I’M THE BOSS HERE!”  and my body was like, “F*** you,” and my entire body, arms included, started to burn then go numb.  I tried to stay calm and not puke.

Mile 12 Buff Arms passed me.  And there was nothing I could do about it.

When I crossed the finish line my heart rate was 195.  Based on the Mayo Clinic’s method of calculating, my max heart rate should be 185.  I almost exploded.  Finish line pictures will be keepers.

I crossed the finish in 1:45:03.  God.  Dammit.

I wore my Garmin, which spit out a bunch of info that I probably didn’t need to know but is fun (for me) to look at.


Total elevation 52 feet.  Shwing.

Discrepancies in distance due to starting my watch a little late, and having it pause itself when I slowed down too much at the aid stations (a setting I have it on for when I do city running because it’s awesome at lights).

For posterity’s sake, and since I have them so neatly packaged right in front of me, my splits:


Wrapped it up with these puppies:


Why is running so fun.

The poor friend who I convinced to sign up for the full marathon did indeed finish, but did so while deathly ill.  CHELSEA, YOU ARE CRAZY but also a rockstar.  Feel better soon, girl.

Now I’m off to eat 1300 calories and completely negate this entire experience.


Spring Training Schedule


I have always found plans to be useless, but planning is indispensable.
~Dwight D Eisenhower

Sunrises lately have been ridiculous.

So last week I did one of my most favorite things: sat down and put together a training schedule.  I put some serious time into the presentation of my training schedules (that are generally excel sheets that only I see), color coding and making them look like this:


Because where’s the fun if you don’t seize every time you open up your schedule.

So, 2 half marathons in the next 4 months (late March and late April).  Time to get some structure up in these parts.

First: considering the fact it took me just about forever to feel normal running again, I am starting from the beginning.  Novice training plans.  No serious speedwork, no super hard runs.  I am not shooting to PR at either of these races, I  am just working to get my mileage base back since I’ve been out of the game so long and have found it so hard to get back.

Second: I have never been a competitive runner.  I’ve never had a coach.  I mostly run because just swimming all the time gets really boring.  But I do understand the basic structure of a training schedule for an endurance sport (thank you, decade and a half of swimming and coaching) and have done enough recreational running/triathlons to know at the very least what some of my limitations are.  Included in these are the fact that injuries tend to flare up when/if I:

  • Do too many consecutive days of running (especially after long runs)
  • Make every run a “hard” run
  • Don’t foam roll before and after every run
  • Don’t cross train/strengthen

One other thing that will be different this time around:

20140111_104104Yes, this.  I am working full time, (trying to) coach in the mornings again, usually running on minimal sleep, and dealing with a tiny HH.  Flexibility is really important.

When I put together a schedule for any race, I usually take a look at a few of the free options online (see: here, here, here, here for half marys…there are a ton) and build off of those.  (Runners World also has some more detailed training plans for a variety of different levels, but they cost money.)

Hal Higdon was my go-to when I trained for my first marathon.  Things I like about Hal’s approach:

  • He incorporates cross training/strengthening into the schedule.  It’s not just straight up running.
  • He provides alternatives on days that are not speed days or heavy mileage days, giving the runner some flexibility.
  • You can stick with his training schedule and avoid running multiple days  in a row.

Elements of Hal’s novice schedules that don’t work great for me:

  • The longest run on the schedule is significantly shorter than the race distance (10 miles for a half, 20 miles for a full).  Personally, I like to have one run that is close to race distance under my belt before race day, especially at this stage when I’m building back into a solid fitness level.
  • Race days are incorporated into the schedule.  I like this in theory, but in reality it probably is not going to happen.  Finding a 10K race somewhere in this region on one specific weekend requires a little too much logistical maneuvering than I am up for right now.  At this point I am less concerned with speed, more concerned with getting that base mileage in.

And so, for this spring, I have taken Hal’s basic outline and combined it with a slightly different mileage structure, and after taking into account a few other things (such as the fact that the race is on a Saturday instead of a Sunday…)

half mary
And yes, I am calling this a spring training schedule even though it’s January.

I will not hit every single workout on here, but it is what I’m shooting for.  I have, however, given myself five mandatory things I need to do each week (barring any extenuating circumstances, like an illness):

  • Complete the long run of the week, even if it doesn’t happen on Saturday.
  • Get at least 2 shorter runs in during the week, even if they aren’t the full distance.
  • On the days I can’t get a run or cross-training session in, complete hip/core strengthening exercises for at least 10 minutes, just to maintain a certain level of strength.
  • ROLL AND STRETCH before and after runs.  Because (a lot) of times I am squeezing runs into very tight time slots, this can be harder than it sounds.
  • Try to swim at least once a week at the very very least to stretch everything out.

You can also assume the majority of my cross training will be swimming (though the intensity/distance will vary), since I think I OD’ed on stationary machines the past 3 months.

Finished Week 1 yesterday.  So far, so good.