Kaiser Permanente’s San Francisco Half Marathon

I haven’t “raced” in about 2 years. Do I miss it? I am torn for the nostalgia of new PRs (and glory of small town age group winnings) but not the smells of humanity and beeping of Garmans or worse, that smell of Gatorade. None the less, nothing pushes you out of your comfort than the adrenaline rush of a horn on a race. And when it comes down to it, despite the struggles of the race or the early wake ups, I am always glowing in happiness and deliria afterwards.

While I planned to visit a friend out in San Francisco to escape from the Poler Arctic that is now Boston every winter (thanks climate change), I got the idea that maybe I should sign up for a race.

The old me would never fall short of a marathon when doing a vacation race, but this is the new, slower, fasciitis modified, climbing out of a rut to start running again me. She’s content with a 2 mile jog so a half marathon might as well had been 100000 miler. I haven’t seen double digits in a while but before I knew it, I handed my good money to some website that said it was secure and signed up for the 35th Annual Kaiser Permanente’s Half Marathon.

The good news, the course had a net decline in elevation and it was a on course I was familiar after running Bay to Breakers (coincidentally enough this was the last race I ran two years ago in San Fransisco!).

So I was ready to go! Training for the 6 weeks I had went great! I hit two double digit runs before race day.  I was ready! Sure I ate and walked tons the few days before (post to come) but I am a pro at burning out my legs walking the 7 bumps of SF as my taper.

Morning of the race, I was still on east coast time and woke up about half an hour early before my alarm. Ate some bread and cashew butter and ubered my way to the Golden Gate Park, the start of the race!

The 5k and half marathon both start at the lovely (but huge) Gold Gate Park. I knew the area, but the issue with the park is that it’s a hill and has these lane paths that can wind you out to the buffalos instead of the race start. After a little turning around and following/stalking behind people that looked like they might be running a race, the starting line was found in time.

The race had a little under 5,000 runners, but It never felt cramped or obnoxious and I barely smelled at menthol gels at the start. I was hoping for a little delayed started so I can procrastinate and figure out my music (my spotify didn’t download the albums I wanted to!!!! bad juju right there) but within 30 seconds, the horn went off and with the only music on my phone being an Eve 6 album, I worked with that I had.

The first 7 miles loop around the park in a few little rolling bumps (not really hills). Within about 30 second, i definitely regretted that long sleeve I had on, and I probably could have taken it off right away, but there’s something stubborn in me that tries to test out how long I can run while feeling hot and miserable. Just like that part of me that wants to see how many water stations can I pass before my lips chap from dryness and thirst.

I have a Garmin but I didn’t bring it, nor used in in years besides for when I bike outside (literally once a year). So I had no clue my pace and just went with my feeling of feeling too fab at the first miles of the race. The first mile marker I saw was around 4 and I guessed I was running about sub 8 minutes and gave myself an invisible dusting of the shoulder (most of my miles are in the 8:30-9 min range).

I tried to take a selfie, but the salt of my sweat was burning my eyes and my running selfie game is also not what it used to be. Plus there’s all these kids running with selfie sticks and shit. I can’t compete, esp not when I don’t have glasses or contacts on. We ran past some buffalos in the park too, but I didn’t even attempt to photo after failing at the water fountain.

After mile 7ish, the second half of the course is and out and back on ocean drive. Now, while I love me a good ocean view on a run, there’s some about a long, flat view of a path that makes it seem sooo infinite and never ending.

Somewhere between mile 7-9, I was starting to feel the burn. If you told me by mile 10, that it was the end of the line, there probably would be no complaints from this sweaty beast. I would have given you one big, sweat hug.

The first 3 miles of the ocean drive run also had a slight incline that made the endless open room in front of me seem even more daunting, but I definitely enjoyed the swing of it on the final 3 miles. Did I reward myself with a walking stretch at each mile marker I made to without vomit? Yes I did. Did the mile markers turn into stretches at every .25 miles after mile 12? I will never tell.

And then there’s the final .1 mile that always seems longer than .1 of a mile as you tell yourself what blast you had suffering for the past two hours.

And when all else fails, there’s always the join of collecting this gold medal (hey, we can’t all win the Olympics) that has a moving whale!

And I am glad to say that my skill of running positive splits has not diminished

Bib Number 4097
HALF MARATHON 1239 of 4972
Gender Place 328 of 2404
F 30-34 72 of 360
Gender F
Age 31 (shit I am getting old)
Start Time 08:11:06
4.7 Mile 00:36:47 07:49 min/mi 
9.8 mile 01:20:48 08:14 min/mi
Elapsed 01:52:01
Pace 08:33 min/mile

And now I go look for more races.

Twas the night before 2016 Boston Marathon

And I feel a sense of familiarity. Butterflies going through my tummy and up to my throat, the excitement of running in an event the whole city partakes in. The mixed feelings of Goal A, B & C all sitting on my mind.

And gratitude that despite all my whining, I am still running and for the fifth time in a row I get to compete in one of the most sought after marathons and that despite all that has occurred, I still feel the safety of putting on my running shoes and pounding my way through the road.

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If you want to follow me and aren’t sick of me telling you how already, here’s the info.
Text RUNNER to 234567 using your US mobile phone. You will then receive a text response with instructions on how to submit a runner’s bib number. You will receive up to 8 texts per bib number. Message & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel.

My bib is 17723

My outfit is ready and I am somewhere in between. The weather started at 70 expected, down to expected 61 this morning and is now saying high of 57. At this stage, it sounds like perfect weather to me. I’m just hoping for no wind.

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After much debate on shoes, I have decided these more light weight Asics feel better on my heel/foot than anything else with more cushion. The pile to the left is my throw away layers. There’s a slight concern about being cold, but I rather not stress out about throwing away something I love.

My goals:

Goal A- 3:30 – BQ city

Goal B 3:45 – Because I needed something in the middle

Goal C- 3:59 – Because a sub 4 is always a nice

My training this year is so much different than it has in the past. On one hand, I got some solid 20 miles this cycle due to the moderate weather we had this winter. On the other hand, my weekly mileage was at a relative low, my high weeks were around 55 and on average I ran 45-50 miles per week (compared to 60-70 in prior years). I took 6 months off from running so this training cycle was more about building base than speed. I would have loved another month of training to add speed to the mix.

And on the final note, I’m running naked… well wrist naked for a mix of seasons one that starts with I have no idea where my Garmin is after I left for Argentina and ends with that it’s probably better that at this stage I run by feel and not time pressure. I am not ready to hit the times of my prior fitness. The beeps on the watch stress me to run by old goals and not by feel. Injury and crashing and burning can only result from that.

So naked wrist and the motivation to get the race finished shall be my driving pace.

And of course all the smiling faces on the course 😉

Welcoming Spring with True Runner

This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint and True Runner. All opinions are my own.

Hi there!

Remember little old me? Yea, I’m still around, still slightly limping but mostly running! I found some things that work for me (maybe before I jinx it, I’ll write a post for it) and it’s been helping me gear up for Boston. So much… that dare I say I am dreaming bigger? Yes, I think, if the stars align and I do enough meditating, I might even have another BQ in me for 2017! I don’t know yet which race will be it, so if you have recommendations, let me know! I’ll try to re-qualify during the Boston marathon, but historically, I just never perform well in that race. I get excited and go out too fast, the headwind in the final 10K makes me whiney, and the whole wait to start drains out about 30 seconds of each of my miles. I’ll try, but plan B race needs to be found before September. I don’t know if my foot will ever love me enough to run daily marathons again, but I think there are hopes of me completely this list

If you’re a runner, Boston is probably one of the best cities to call your home, despite the drama and craze that comes from the Boston Marathon. With that large demographic, there’s no really no shortage of running stores, running groups, and running events. Especially once the sun starts to shine!

Recently, I’ve been exploring some new hoods and stumbled upon True Runner in Chestnut Hill Mall area (shopping mecca as I explored the new Wegman’s that opened up). True Runner  carries a wide range of shoes, apparel and gear to support all your running needs that you can come up with and more.

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Not only is True Runner a store created for runners, by runners, it’s also a community. To celebrate rising temperatures and the start of running season, True Runner is hosting their annual Spring Gear-Up event on Saturday, March 19 & Sunday, March 20.

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Spring Gear Up Event

March 19 | 9:00 AM

The Gear-Up Event will have a bunch of delicious nutritional samples to try and be sure to stop in and take a picture in our photo booth. Share your photo and your “Why I Run” story with us socially for a chance to win great prizes. On-site brand reps will have countless giveaways and don’t forget we will have True Runner freebies all weekend long.

March 20 | 10:30 AM

The Gear-Up Event will have a bunch of delicious nutritional samples to try and be sure to stop in and take a picture in our photo booth. Share your photo and your “Why I Run” story with us socially for a chance to win great prizes. On-site brand reps will have countless giveaways and don’t forget we will have True Runner freebies all weekend long.

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Additional Event details:

    • Photo booth: share your picture and your “Why I Run” story on social media for a chance to win great prizes
    • Face painting
    • Prize wheel: spin the wheel for a chance to win prizes from top brands
    • Nutrition sampling
    • Brand reps on-site offering product expertise and demos

For more information visit True Runner and join fun kids like the ones below!

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Come join me on Saturday for a fun run at 9AM and to welcome the new spring collection at True Runner!

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Learn more about True Runner on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter!

20 Gifts Under $20 for your favorite (or second favorite) running addict

So I do this every year, where I kinda review things I have and things I wish to have and things I want every runner to have and combine to this list. For the most part, the list stays a bit static, but luckily some things are refillable and some things change priority for me depending on how much I run, where or I  run, or maybe in the case of 2015, how little  I run.

Without much more of a ramble, here’s the list!

It is not in any order besides my amazon search order. As a full disclosure, I do get a few pennies kickbacks from Amazon. So even if  you’re not shopping for running gifts, but are using Amazon, check out through one of my links so I can continue to support Jack Meower’s growing organic Wholefoods catfood addiction.

Due North Foot Rubz Foot Massage Roller – $13.99 Sort of a little alternative to the ball I usually recommend.

Due North Foot Rubz Foot Massage Roller

Nuun Tablets – $15,38 for a 4-pack – Honestly, they just make pretty awesome hangover cures as well.

Nuun Active Hydration, Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tablets, Original Mixed Flavor 4-pack: Lemon+Lime, Tri-Berry, Orange, Citrus Fruit (4 Tubes/12 Tabs Per Tube)

Body Glide –  $9,95 for medium size. They make a for her version, but it’s twice the price and this is already odorless and works great, so what’s the point?

Seat Cover for your car  -$19.95  I won this once at a race, and its actually quite useful since I always tend  to just jump straight  back into the car after a race. Tony loves that.

Shower Pill – $9.99 Basically wipes your a travel shower lol.  Or you could just use babywipes,  but they look less cool in your race bag.

Athletic Body Wipes by ShowerPill-(10 Wipes)

KT Tape – $12.71 For the consistently injured runner who just wont give up.

KT Tape Kinesiology Tape, Original Cotton Elastic Therapeutic Tape, 16-Feet, Uncut Roll, Pink

Mini Foam Roller – $18.80 Fit for travel… as you can see I guess my list has a bit of a theme this year. Yay injuries and dealing with them.

Portable Charger – $9.99 For when you run 100 milers and need a recharge. Or when you travel and see to never be able to find an outlet.

Meals on the Run – $12.99 for kindle version.  A book with recipes that take under 30 minutes to scramble together

Compression Sock – $19.99 I know socks,  how cliche… but honestly, just like underwear you can never have enough… and giving underwear is more awkward.

Reflective Bracelets and kit – $13,97 I don’t run outside at night, but if you do, you should probably make sure people can see you. They give anybody a license these days (including me).

Skirtsports – Prices vary and their site always has some great deals!

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Toesocks – Okay so I’m back on socks, but everyone could use some cooler socks for the 3 times a year they go to a Yoga class (or maybe it’s just me).

Running Mug –  Kinda trinky, but all runners love coffee… how else do I survive the 20 miler after a week of work.

Runner mug, large 15 ounce ceramic running mug

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances – $10.19 I love The Oatmeal and I love running….. and he also has a great cat book as well

Runner’s Calendar – $14.99 Okay, so it’s another cliche gift idea, but runners are kinda obsessed and we do love calendar. But if your runner also loves  cats, dare I suggest this one instead?

Beer Socks – $11.99 okay I’m back on the socks…. and I’m not sure how comfortable they are in a marathon, but totally worth  sporting in a beer mile, right?

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Running Ornament – $16.99 or better yet, make your own!

Tea Tree Foot Soak – $14.95 It’s kinda  small pack, but its my fave!

Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak With Epsom Salt, Helps Treat Nail Fungus , Athletes Foot & Stubborn Foot Odor 16oz

Sparkle Skirt – $15.97 for Halloween or brunching runs, every girl (and boy) needs some sparkle in their run

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And there’s so many more!

For more idea check out my other lists:

2014 10 Gifts Under $20 (I guess I got lazy this year)

2013 20 Gifts Under $20

Have your own gift list or suggestions? Link up in the comments!

RRCA Coaching Certification Recap & Was it worth it?

What a weekend! Gorgeous weather, gorgeous coastal city and what did I do? Spend 18 plus hours in a make shift back room of a running store turned into a classroom. All for a better cause I would hope!

What is RRCA and what am I certified for?

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RRCA, stands for Road Runners Club of America. It’s basically a club of runners, coaches, running clubs and maybe a few other things all with an overall goal of promoting distance running. You can read the history more on their website and if you belong to a running club, chances are it might be an RRCA member club,

RRCA is one of several running coach certifications. So far, they offer the one basic level of training, and they are hoping to develop a level 2 course and some continuing education options.  Other programs include USATF Levels 1 and 2, NAASFP Marathon coaching, Natural Running coaching, etc. Maybe I should go make up my own and start certifications? I’ll call it run, eat, run, run get Plantar Fascia and fall of the face of the running blog world certification. 

Do you really need it?

As far as I am aware, there is nothing in state law that requires to be a certified running coach in order to coach running. Each different organization looking for a coach can have all sorts of requirements on its own. RRCA is one of the few that is more highly recognized (at least by me) and to some degree helps you gain a network and a structured (but not specific) theory of coaching. Also, once you complete your certification, you can give yourself a title of some sorts with credentials, cause we all love credentials in this world to separate us from all the other Slim Shadys, I mean running self proclaims experts.

How do I become an RCAA running coach?

You get online.. unless you have a hook up, the class open up a few months in advance and fill up in about 30 minutes (at least anything near Boston or NY does). You sit through two days of lecture and such.  You take a test, you give more money and get a first aid & CPR certification and bam…. through effort and such, you’re not deemed worthy of being a coach.

Why I want to be certified?

Of course I love running and I mostly wanted to learn a bit to self coach myself. However, I’ve had an increasing number of readers and friends asking me for coaching advice (or at least before I feel off the face of the blog world into self depression of Plantar Fascia world). I always here’s a few things that works for me, and talk about me. However, clearly, what works for me, is not even great advice since I broke down anyways. So, I wanted to find a more structured way of advising and helping potential clients and friends, as well as being involved in community running events and I felt a little lost with all the information that is out there. So I decided the RCAA course/certification program might not be the all in all solution, but it can make me focused a bit.

Things we covered

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  • Coaching history – Done via video
  • Types of runners and their training needs – Novice, Experienced, Elite
  • Building a training program – This includes lots of side topics
  • Running Form
  • Small amounts of bullet points on Nutrition & Injury
  • Runner Psychology
  • Insurance – they sold their perks and reminded you to be mindful, they do happen.
  • and maybe a few things more that I zoned on in

Things I learned and focused on

  • RRCA stresses uniform usage/meaning of certain terms like cross training, tempo run, or intervals, as it relates to coaching running. As coaches, they want us to be careful with how we use these terms. Basically, each different coaching theory uses a different definition for terms like “tempo” and intervals so when we give our runners plans, we need to be very specific on what we want them to do
  • Aside from putting together a running plan, most things in regards to said runner is most likely out of our scope, which includes but is not limited to:
    • Nutrition and diet
    • Injuries and dealing with them
    • Therapy
    • Legal stuff
    • And pretty much most other things
  • “Effort days” are basically workouts that occur at a harder than conversation pace and in a good plan only include 2-3 “effort day” per week with all other runs/workouts being “conversation pace” I think this is the theory that most of your workouts should not be in that grey area and should either matter (be hard) or easy. The rest is wasted effort if you’re on a goal for something.
  • Periodizing your training where the macrocylce includes the entire training period up until the goal race, the mesocycle includes a shorter training phase within the macrocycle that is targeted towards a specific goal, and the microcycle is a short period (usually a week) within a mesocycle. Then there’s a typical infographic pyramid structure used for overall goals of each mesocycle.
  • A tempo run in their definition where its lactic treshold is your fastest pace you can go for an hour, but should be trained in 20-40 minutes according to their training philosophy

What’s next and overall impression

Next step is a 100 choice test, CPR, & First aid certification. Will I be opening up for coaching? Probably not yet. A lot of passion for running is tied to my own running and until I resolve my plantar fascist nightmare, I think taking on running clients will make me more depressed about the fact that I myself cannot run. However, if you do have any questions, feel free to reach out to me and if I ever do start to pimp my coaching for business, trust me, blogworld, you’ll be the first to know!

Is it worthwhile and for whom?

I still haven’t made up my mind if the class was worthwhile for me. I think a short pros and cons list might help.

Cons –

  • The classroom was not decided for 35 students sitting there for 9 hours a day. The classroom, essentially the backroom of a running store and was not designed for the amount of people it was holding, felt miserable to me.
  • Lecture format – I loved learning and discussing, but sitting in a lecture for 9 hours a day for difficult for me. Personally, I would rather read a large portion of what was lectured in my personal time. I’m also not a hearing/listening learning. I can sit there and focus for hours on end while reading, I can memorize things I read and see, but if I heard something somewhere, the chances of me recalling it, are slight.  Everyone is a different type of learning and the part about slides on a projection board was not for me.
  • Too short – I really wanted to have time to soak in and discuss so much more running nerdness that I almost felt like a weekend wasn’t enough

Pros – 

  • All the things I learned that I listened above. Have this in a structured format was incredibly valuable.
  • Discussions, our instructor Randy did a great job of incorporating as much discussion as possible in the limited amount of time available. I felt comfortable approaching him with questions throughout the whole week.
  • Discussion with other “students” It was great to learn about other backgrounds and experiences, from the fellow “mommy bloggers” to competitive runners and other community leaders
  • I am ready to coach individuals and groups. While I am choosing to not pursue coaching yet, I do feel comfortable workings with group runs and individuals now and can confidently say I can work with you if you’re interested
  • Free (okay not really since I paid for the course) Daniels Training book

Overall, I do plan to walk away focusing on the things I learned and benefits I took from this class and certification (once complete). If coaching if something you are seriously considering, this class is a definite must even if it is just to cover some of the more obvious things since everything else is so subjective and individualized.

Weekly Recap – Why I ignore injuries

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I really hate admitting it, but I’ve been a terrible follower of my own advice. I hate admitting injuries, and taking the steps to fully recovery versus elevating them to a higher level. Absolutely hate it, and unless I am getting sharp pains, I pretty much have been ignoring issues for months now.

For those who have followed me for a while, I’ve been a “runner” for over 7 years with half marathon/marathon running over 4 years now. Sometimes, I feel like a complete newbie, but yes, it’s really been that long! For those 7 years I’ve been incredibly lucky, where although I was a really uncoordinated kid growing up, picking up running as an “adult” has come incredibly easy for me! I ran my first 5K 25:28, not elite, but pretty well for a girl who spent most of her childhood being inactive and chubby. My first marathon in under 3:25 and while not always following the all righteous rule of gradual increase, I have led a very injury-free running life. The most was maybe taking two extra rest days to rest out some soreness and a cranky piriformis from lack of stretching.

And then 2014 came with a string of discomfort that just couldn’t be resolved with two extra days of rest and for a while I refused to believe it. I ran my official 50 miler on what I highly suspect was a stress fracture. I still don’t regret it, because I’m not sure when I will take the time to train for a 50 miler again, but in the grand scheme of running things, I’m sure it was not my best move.

And recently, as I am coming back into training and running, I started ignoring another pain. My heel… which has been on and off problematic probably since October. At first the back of it bothered me and now the outer right side is. The outer pain went away and the side pain came sometime when I was actually not running and cross training in December. And while the pain is dull and easily ignored for a bit, and boy have I done a great job of denying it’s existences; it has come to a point where I can tell it’s alternating me gait and my walking… terrible signs.

So yes, once again.. I am taking a short running break. Hopefully it’ll be only a week break.  I’m seeing a doctor on Wednesday to do an X-ray because while after enough poking and testing, I’m relatively confident it’s not a heel stress fracture, there is definitely some inflammation occurring and I have a terrible guess it’s a heel spur, but maybe it’s just a weird case of plantar fasciitis where the pain is on the side of the heel versus the arch? Either way, I am trying to stay optimistic and positive about what I can expect from my spring races. I am trying to contain my anxiety about lack of performance at Boston because while I would love, love to PR on that course, I can also have a blast running it for fun. I’m also hoping for a quick recovery so I can resume training for a sub 1:30 half marathon in mid-March giving me about 6 weeks of training left.

After two days of easy paced “short” runs, my heel is feeling less inflamed; however, I am resting until official diagnosis and this is giving me hope that I will be okay. So why am I writing this whole speculative analysis of my injury when my appointment is two days away? Because if there’s nothing more; runners love talking about their running, and when they’re not running, they will go on and on analyzing what is keeping them from running. It’s a fixation, maybe not the healthiest, but also not the worst one either.

So my week of training where I ignored all my issues Monday-Friday and then finally googled MDed myself into a panic attack Friday night.

Monday – 8 Miles 7:08 pace.. my first “speed” workout where I did 4 x 1.5 Miles at 6:55 my Half marathon goal pace with rest in between

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Tuesday – 6.2 incline 3; 7:74 pace + Tabata 1 hours

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Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – 10.1 Miles 8:19 pace with heeling feeling weirder than usual

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It was literally negative 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Boston on Thursday morning!!!

Friday – 8 Miles 7:37 pace on incline 3, still doing a great job of ignoring potential injury

Saturday – Fun Run with Somerville Road Runners club at Casey’s 4.1 miles.  Casey’s Tavern provided a stellar brunch offering post run!

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Sunday – Fun Run with Slumbrew in Assembly Square where I ran with old friends and new. 3.1 miles

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Weekly – 39.6 Miles