Category Archives: running

Races, paces, and silly mistakes

Confusing indeed. Better luck next time, kid.

I ran my third 5K yesterday miles… or rather, I attempted to run my third 5K.

Per my marathon training plan, this weekend’s plan was to run a 5K at the idea race pace for the (much, much) longer race in May. Last month, I did some searching on and found the Campbell Valentine’s 5K/10K — scheduled for the very day I was supposed to run at race pace.

I signed up and yesterday morning, found myself heading to downtown Campbell to jaunt 3.1 miles. Alex kissed me goodbye, wished me luck, and told me he’d be waiting at the finish line. With my chip affixed to my shoe, I took off with the other runners, enjoying the warm sunshine and eager to add another race to my tick list.

But almost two miles in, I realized something was wrong. I kept running after the first mile marker, figuring the turnaround would be soon. It wasn’t until after the water station, when I saw the 2-mile marker, that I realized something was up…

A 5K is 3.1 miles… So for me to keep running in one direction and hit a two-mile marker was an indicator that I probably wasn’t going the right way… Sure enough, there were a couple of other 5K runners on the course that were figuring out the same thing — the volunteers we passed were a bit confused, but one mentioned she thought the 5Kers were on the other side of the creek we were running on. Awesome.

So we turned around, knowing that our 5K was actually going to be a 4-mile run — no regrets, any gained distance is usually a plus, though it was a little frustrating that there were so few people who knew what was going on or where we were supposed to be. Even more frustrating was that it was SO EASY to have gotten lost — there were no markers telling us that the 5Kers were going in a different direction. Looking back, though, it’s possible I missed an announcement as Alex and I rolled into the park as things were just about to get started.

All in all, an okay race — about 48 minutes for the whole thing for me, meaning a 12:00/mile pace based on the unofficial time. Hoping to get official results soon, though I’m happy with the results regardless.

Lessons learned:

– Get there early
Very possible that I missed an announcement about where I was supposed to go. Even though I didn’t cheat and run less than the course, it still skewed my results and gives me an inaccurate read for pace — I know I lost time stopping to look around, ask volunteers, find other runners and volunteers who could help
– Be prepared
This was my first race without my Garmin (since I got it, that is). Had I taken 30 seconds that morning to grab it, I would have had an accurate breakdown of my time, pace, and distance covered — and I probably would have noticed the lack of turnaround sooner.
– Be satisfied
At the end of the day, it was still one more race done. Still one more run accomplished. Still one more for the records. Maybe it wasn’t the best, fastest or longest race I’ve done, but it was fun and got my heart rate up. And Chipotle was the biggest sponsor of the race, so I was pleased to snatch up some free chips and guac after I was done. Delicious.

But the best part of the whole race? Alex told me afterwards that he is thinking about starting to run and interested in doing a 5K. I am so excited for him. He’s gonna be great… I can tell.

What have you learned through fitness? What do you hope to learn?


Back in the game

After taking about two weeks off to nurse an injury– caused by (in succession): a birthday (mine), a beach, dancing, and (lots of) alcohol — I decided tonight after I got home from work that it was ‘now or never,’ so to speak with regard to a run I’ve been wanting to go on for over a week. My knee has not hurt for the last week or so, but it does feel ‘funny’ sometimes and there’s been a twinge of something ‘not quite right’ if I flex it back too far or too hard.

That said, the trial trots up and down my office’s hallway and around my apartment were telling me that my knee was much better, but I still didn’t want to push it. (Okay, I was being lazy, too.)

But tonight I ran. I did an 11:20 mile pace, which is better than I’d been running before I tweaked my knee. I felt light, I felt strong, my pace was good and my form was awesome. Having stood at the edge of that “Oh, crap! I need to do that! Big Sur is coming up in May! I don’t want to duck out because of injury!” cliff, I’m completely one-hundred percent relieved that tonight’s easy run went so well… And really, it wasn’t so scary after all… 🙂

Here’s to a good 3-miler (hopefully! will have to see if body is willing…) tomorrow!

The hard part

It’s hard to get out the door.
It’s hard to warm up in cold air, when my breath still hangs in front of me.
It’s hard to get moving, thinking about how badly I’d like to be inside.
It’s hard to keep pace and keep going.
It’s hard to keep from sprinting to the end so I can just be done.
It’s hard to keep my form sometimes . . . which means back and hip pain most often.
It’s hard to push further than 5 miles.
It’s hard to climb the stairs after a run.
It’s hard to will myself to stretch out.
And it’s hard to remember to hydrate and do some core exercises.

But as hard as it can be, finish lines, milestone runs and knowing that today I did just a little bit more than yesterday becomes so incredibly worth it.

Running on vacation


We will attempt a run in Fresno. No promises.


After a week that had “Could have been MUCH better” written all over it, I’m really looking for a long run this weekend . . . Except I’m going to be out of town. Normally, I love the trails at Rancho San Antonio Park, but this weekend, I’ll be tracking down some trails in the magical land of Fresno.

I’m not entirely looking forward to it, though — Fresno is hot, which means I’d have to get up pretty early (or wait until I’m home late tomorrow night), and and it’s a birthday celebration weekend, so there will likely be some drinking.

I’m making a  preemptive strike though and bringing my own water bottle which I intend to keep filled and drink from all weekend. If I don’t make it to a long run today or tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll be fine to wait until Monday, but I’m trying not to get derailed on training anymore.

Healthy eating will be interesting — aren’t vacations a test in resolve, anyway? I’m keeping Rachel’s rules in mind as I head out.



Yeah, my arms don't look like that, but maybe someday . . .


The challenge and the unique experience of running is something that changes with every workout. Every time I lace up my shoes, I have an idea in mind of what I’ll accomplish. Somedays, I par the course, others I rock it solid and then there are always days when my ambitions supersede my abilities for that given day.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I set out to run 7 miles at Rancho San Antonio Park, an open space preserve with miles and miles of running/hiking trails but two miles in, my goose was cooked. I’m certain it was my not-quite-as-hydrated-as-I-could-be status, not to mention the surprising 90-degree+ heat (my weather app predicted 82 – lies!), but it just wasn’t gonna happen.

Two miles in, I was exhausted beyond exhausted, I was sooooooooo hot (not in the good way), and starting to feel a bit lightheaded. Big red flag. I trotted back to my car, guzzled some of the originally-cold-but-now-almost-lukewarm water in a bottle I’d left on the passenger’s seat, and resolutely drove myself back to my apartment.

Some food and water later, I decided I should try to keep my mileage goal. I laced up my road shoes and headed out for a five-mile road run.  MUCH. BETTER. In the time that I’d left the park, eaten dinner, and let it digest enough to head out to road run, the temperature had dropped over 10 degrees and I was feeling so much better. I tried to keep up a steady pace, but found myself pushing a bit harder eventually hitting a 9:23 pace for a short while — WHOA.

For my 12:30/mile-average self, that was huge, but taking that break to cool down, refuel and try again made so much difference. I finished 4.5 miles in just under an hour with very few walk breaks and I realized: I’m getting stronger.

My body is responding to this training. The longer I wait to take a walk break, the fewer I find I need. For a girl who’s only slightly scared of the big 26.2-mile run on October 30, this is confidence inspiring. I’m stronger — mentally and physically. Though my goal may only be to finish without dying or not be kicked off the course, I’m so much more confident that I’ll actually get there.

What is your biggest challenge to working out? Is it mental or physical?

Know yourself.

I’m challenging myself and pushing myself trying to train for a marathon in October. I keep trying to inspire myself, keep my motivation up and trust that I’ll do it right, but it dawned on me tonight . . . I don’t know if I really know that I can do this.

Now, before you jump in with the pep talk, let me explain . . . I don’t know if I know myself WELL enough to say that I can do this. I believe that I can, I certainly would like to think that I can, but I’m trying to run the entirety of the race this time . . . so can I do it?

Well, I really, really, really hope so.  I really, really, really want to. But in the mean time, I don’t KNOW that it will happen – I trust that it will.

A college professor of mine once said, “Sometimes, you have to jump and trust that there’s a net to catch you.” She was so incredibly right. So here I am, rather confused by my own over-cerebralization of things (I may or may not have made that word up). Here’s what I do know about myself, though . . .

– I have never met a vegetable I didn’t like

– I’m really good with kids

– I’m pretty funny

– Somedays, I’m even smart

– Inspiration comes easily, motivation and determination are more difficult

– I love being a vegetarian – I doubt I will ever eat meat again

– I still miss sushi, though

– I’ve started rock climbing again – it’s helping me get over a fear of heights stemming from a climbing accident

– My biggest flaw is that I quit before I get started

– I know I can find motivation and determination to get me to the finish line – as Nike says, “Just do it!”

There’s probably some other stuff I could mention, but I’ll table it here – after all, I am still learning.


In a desperate attempt to get some food in my stomach after more than 12 hours of not eating, I scarfed some cheese pizza and had a soda this afternoon.  Later, I had a cupcake and a Coke.  For dinner, I tried to redeem myself with a large salad (romaine with black lentils, feta and artichoke hearts dressed with some olive oil and lemon juice), but the damage was done.

Tonight, I went for a short (40 minute) training run.  I’m just starting marathon training and I seriously felt like crap today.  For starters I had NO motivation, no energy to run until late in the day and I had to guilt trip myself into putting my running shoes on.  Then, I didn’t quite get in three miles (my goal; I managed 2.77) and it felt like it took me forever just to get there.

Lesson learned: you are what you eat. I ate a bunch of crap today, I felt like crap today. I know it’s a holiday and tomorrow will be better, but oy . . . My body is craving some serious ruffage now.

In spite of my sluggish running, I also got in three 10-minute segments of Core Fusion Pure Arms & Abs before giving up and resigning myself to a better tomorrow.  I’m sure I smell amazing.

Post workout snack: plain Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries, a handful of rolled oats and a drizzle of honey. Delish!