I ran 7 injury free miles Saturday. I even had a couple sub 12 minute miles there near the end. I was pleasantly surprised. I ran with a couple of friends, who are faster than me of course, and I managed to keep them in sight for most of the run.

Today I was able to squeeze in a "quick" 3 miles in between classes. Fueled by my fast miles on Saturday, I was determined to see how fast I could run (my own version of speed work). I was rewarded on mile 1 with a 10:04 pace, but it went downhill from there.

I run on this ~1.8 mile loop around my neighborhood. About 1 mile of it is flat, the .8 is hilly. So I was able to keep ~10 min/mile pace for that first minute, which was almost all flat. I paid for it on the next mile, which dropped to a 12 minute mile. Even with the hills, this is not a reflection of my smart running. It's a reflection of my lack of impulse control. I KNEW that I wasn't able to keep a 10 min/mile pace over 3 miles with HILLS. But I decided to try anyway.

My last mile was an 11:20. I probably could have kept an 11 minute pace for all 3 miles if I didn't decide to try and kill myself in the heat.

Better planning is needed in the future.



4 miles on mixed terrain in my Vibrams, and no calf pain! I think I've finally gotten acclimated to my "toe shoes", at least on flats and moderate hills. Had the same ankle discomfort on this run as I did on Saturday, but this one went away (or maybe my ability to ignore it has increased) after about 2 miles. I did stop and stretch it at least twice.

Unlike Saturday, these miles were sub 13s (yay!) and I'm hoping to be back around 12s by the end of April. Also, the trail I ran was the one around my development. I ran the whole thing, twice. I was very excited. I haven't been able to do that in quite a long time.

Tomorrow is cycling and/or swimming. Training is back in session!


The Longest (6) Mile(s)

My goal for today was 6 miles in my Vibrams. I'm slowing increasing my mileage in these fancy shoes. I want to run injury free and the last few weeks with these shoes have given that to me. I'm not saying I'm a convert, but it's hard to overlook the fact that I haven't had IT band pain since I started running in these gorilla feet shoes. I could be getting stronger. I could be losing weight. I could be running with better form. Or it could all just be in my head. Regardless, I think I'll ride out this experiment and see where it takes me.

Back to my 6 miles. I went out later than I wanted to (I was aiming to be putting foot to pavement no later than 9:30, I probably got out around 10:30) and it was warm! What happened my my lovely running weather. My impromptu 3 on Thursday were in nice high 60s. Cool, and comfortable... But I digress.

I went to Irvine, the closest place I can think of that has a nice flat running path, and ended up running into some friends who were just finishing their runs! Had a good chat with one, talked about running the Vibrams and my lack of pain (which I shouldn't have, jinxed!) and then I took off.

I barely made it through the first mile, my ankle felt weak, unstable, and pounded (what did I tell ya, I jinxed myself!) But did I give in? No, damn it! This is a bean free weekend. The time when I'm allowed to focus on myself in my long runs, not worry if my run is going to be cut short by loud fussing or other toddler distractions. So I stopped and stretched/worked it out, and went on my way.

Halfway through mile 2 I couldn't take it anymore, stopped stretched and set off. After both mile 2 and mile 3 I had to stop to work out my ankle, but as it wasn't so much pain but discomfort, I powered through. I was all prepared to rinse and repeat after miles 4 and 5, but I didn't happen. Miracle of miracles, I didn't need to stop.

Yes, you heard it right, I ran 6 miles, with negative splits, ending faster (better!) than I started. It felt awesome. I'm glad I didn't call off the run the first (or second or fifth) time my ankle bothered me enough to stop running. I'm glad that I listened to my ankle and stopped to work it out. I'm ecstatic that I kept running (pun intended) towards my goal.

My run today showed me more than the level of my endurance. It was an actual metaphor for my life right now. Yes it's painful and hard and it really SUCKS. But I'll work through it, and it'll end up alright. In fact, it'll probably end up better than alright. I might even end up with negative splits.



I wasn't planning a run today. I was planning a swim. I really should have gotten one of those in, but that's a different story.

But running brings my sanity. Brings me balance, brings me peace. And if there was a week I needed balance and peace anymore than this one... well, it hasn't been for a long time.

In between my Anatomy & Physiology lab and lecture, I ran home to get lunch, and decided to run. It was only 3 miles (all under 11:30, BTW) but it was a little of what I needed.

If you don't run, I can't explain to you, convince you, that running can bring me peace, can bring me balance, can help me find my sanity. But it can. I can lose myself in my music, in the cadence I feel in my steps. In the commands I give my muscles. Just me, the outside, and the forces I apply/are applied on me.

I am stronger for it. And this is it. One of the things that is going my way. One of the blessings I will be counting everyday until there are too many to recite. I have (mostly) injury free running. I can take this with me anywhere, everywhere.

I can create my own peace, if only for a few miles.



I realized on Friday that I really need to have a training log. Whether I actually keep this site up to date, or I write it down, you know, on actual paper in an actual book, I need something.

I decided to do another timed 500 swim Friday night. 13 minutes even. But is this faster or slower than my last timed 500? I checked this blog, and I couldn't find anything. I know I didn't write anything down. So I went to my last resort, Facebook.

I knew I'd posted the time somewhere, that mini-blog was my last resort. Amazingly enough, I found it. Posted on January 17th, 13:02. So I was faster, but not by much.

The thing about a training log, I can't compare apples to apples. Did I do 200 yard warm up before both time trials? I don't know. Would that extra 200 yards (or less) have made a difference in my time, maybe. Tired arms are tired arms. But I'll take the faster time at face value and let it motivate me to push harder.

Now on to running.

Ran 5 miles in under an hour on Saturday. (59 minutes and change) Started at Peter's Canyon and ran down Jamboree about 2.5 miles, then back up. This path has a slight slope and, of course, we ran down the first half. I was wearing my Vibrams and my calves are still talking to me today. I'm not sure if this is poor stretching after, poor nutrition, and/or not enough running in the Vibrams, but I'm thinking I need to get "normal" running shoes for Ragnar. I don't think I'll be able to suit up and run all my legs of the race with calves that feel like these.


Game Day: Surf City 1/2 Marathon 2011

So I finally get to the start line of the Surf City 1/2 Marathon and I'm racing under an assumed name. I waited too long to register for the race and had to get a bib from someone who wasn't able to run.

Not that I WAS able to run the whole 13.1, but you all know me. I'm not the smartest when it comes to whether or not to race injured.

I knew I wasn't going to "race" the race. I hadn't trained. I couldn't run the whole thing. I was just out there for a supported run, to push myself and see what distance I could pull out, and to think.

I've got a lot of things going on in my life. Having a baby, being a single parent, going back to school, trying to train, etc, etc. I know, I know, all of us have lots going on in our lives. Mine may be busier than some, but not as busy as others. (I'm lucky to be in the place I am now in regards to THAT particular situation.)

I didn't have the bean this weekend. It also happened to be a close friend's birthday and there were plans on both Friday AND Saturday. Crazy I know, but I wasn't racing (although Ali the Runner was. We had a great time and she PR'd!!!) so I decided to take part in all the festivities (Ali didn't. She was the smart one).

Anyway, back to my life. This is where I digress but then get back to the run report, because there wasn't a race. I want to go back to school to be a Prosthetist. To do this I need one more class, Anatomy & Physiology. I went to 2 schools in my area to petition for said class and finally got in! This was after I resigned myself to the idea that the universe was trying to tell me something. I let go of my strangle hold on the idea that I HAD to get into this class THIS semester. If I didn't my WHOLE plan was never going to happen. I would miss my milestones and not even be able to attempt being a Prosthetist.

I decided to embrace the fact that I was probably not going to get into this class. What did that mean? Yes it meant I'd be putting off my chance to get into the Prosthetics program, but more importantly, it meant I could stay at home and see the bean grow up for 6 more months. I chose to focus on the fact that I had this wonderful opportunity. To spend time with my child.

Then I got into the class. So I get to spend time with the bean AND move my plan forward. It was, for lack of a better term, a sign.

The thing about signs is once you experience one, actually experience it not just notice it on the side of the road and keep cruising on by, is that you are open to accepting other signs.

Back to my race. I decided on a run/walk strategy. First I ran 1 mile and walked 1 minute. When I wasn't able to recover sufficiently from that, I ran 1 mile and walked 2 minutes. When that stopped working, I ran 1/2 mile, walked 1 minute, then I ran 1/2 mile, walked 2 minutes, finally I ran 1/2 mile, walked 3 minutes. This all worked up to mile 9. After that I walked it in, well, until I got into the finishers chute. You HAVE to run when that many people are watching!

This was the best part of the race, I made a plan, stuck to it, and didn't beat myself up over the fact that I couldn't run the whole race or that I wasn't doing as well as I wanted.

As I was just running the course, not racing it, I was able to actually take it everything that was happening. The overcast weather, the racers, the music. The music was key. My shuffle spoke to me and I listened. The play list it generated gave clarity to a situation I'd been struggling with for a while. It gave me the clarity to realize I had a decision to make, the courage to make it and the resolve I needed to follow through on it.

It did almost take the whole 13.1 miles (and 3 hours, 11 minutes) to realize the universe was sending me another sign. But I got it. Thank you.


Weak Muscles, Strong Heart

Spinning was awesome and horrible at the same time. What I learned?

1. I'm still having trouble pushing myself to discomfort.
The burn is where the work happens. If you don't push your limits, you won't get faster/better.
I need to get into the mental game of training.

2. My muscle strength is my limiting factor.
In running and biking, my muscles are what cause me to stop/slow down. My knee hurts, I
can't handle the burn, but cardiovascularly, I'm good. I feel like I can go so much longer.

The disconnect really does a job on my head.


Run, then Swim

On Saturday I ran my first 5K since the 1/2 marathon. It wasn't super quick. It was in my Vibrams. It was on hills. I'm pretty sure I have the Vibrams and hills to blame for the fact that my calves only started to calm down on Wednesday.

The run was ~40 min (I forgot my watch and only had a clock and my memory to rely on). I ran around Lake Mission Viejo, the easy way. A few minutes after I started a fellow runner came up and jogged with me. He wanted to know all about my Vibrams and how I liked them, etc. Since I'm fairly new to these shoes, I gave him my honest opinion with the caveat that I'd only worn them a handful of times.

He ran with me about 1/2 way around the lake. It was nice to have someone to chat with on my route. This is one thing I like about the running community, in general, I've found runners to be some of the friendliest and most helpful people. We talked about races we were training (or trying to train) for, hydration issues, fuel issues, why we run, etc. It was a fun time all around and I only walked once, on the hill from Vista del Lago. It was a planned walk. That hill kicked my ass before I took time off and it still does now.

On Tuesday I found myself with some unplanned downtime so I headed to the gym to do a swim workout. I devised a pyramid workout:

100 yd warm up
200 yd skills and drills,
4x 25 yd RI: 10 sec
2x50 yd RI:15 sec
2x100yd RI:20 sec
2x50 yd RI:15 sec
4x25 RI:10 sec
100 yd cool down

Here's the note I got:

Dear Yas,
I can still pull out a 1000 yd workout with sprints in less than 40 min. I still feel good. Challenge me next time, why don't ya.

Your lungs and muscles

Duly noted body. I will find a harder workout for you next time we hit the pool.

Tonight is spin. I'm getting back into a work out groove, little by little...


Thwarted 1000 or How Yas Found Out She's Not Completely Screwed

On Monday I went to the gym to attempt a 1000 yard swim workout. I get there and there's this lady putzing around the pool. Checking things, going into a storage room I'd never noticed before. Bringing out a garbage can full of something.

Shit! On the way over I thought to myself, "Self, I hope your swim isn't going to be interrupted by an aquarobics class." But it was. Although these people were super nice and didn't try and kick me out 15 minutes before the class began. They would have been in for a fight.

While I was doing my 100 yd warm up I talked to the instructor to find out when the class started. I had about 15 minutes to get some sort of workout in. This is when my warm up turned into a timed 500.

I finished in 13:02. This included the slow 100 yd warm up AND about 5-10 seconds of talking to the instructor to assess my pool situation. 13:02! It was probably closer to 12:55.

While this might be slow to some of you all, this makes me super happy. My form didn't all go to crap. My endurance, for at least 500 yds, wasn't gone. I was a bit tired, but not exhausted and I wasn't dragging the last few laps.

Now just to get back to 1 mile and sign up for the OC International...


Game Day: 2011 Southern California 1/2 Marathon

3:18:38. This is the finish time for my first 1/2 marathon of the 2011 season. I'm hoping it's the last time this year I see a 3 as the first number in my 1/2 time, but that might be wishful thinking.

This race was mentally tough. It was the first time I've ever seriously considered flagging down a volunteer or policeman and posting a DNF. Seriously. I threw myself a little pity part during mile 9. I was having a wonderful conversation with myself.

self: what's the point. my knee hurts. I won't be able to run again. why does running hate me so much. why don't I just sit down on this curb and quit right now.

self: This really isn't the most pain you've ever been in. It's not most disappointing situation you've ever been in. It's not even the most disappointing race you've ever been in, because you KNEW that it was going to be hard and that your knee was not ready.

self: f*ck this. why do I even do this. this is crap.

self: What this really means is you need to get back to cross training. Get to the finish, get home and start planning your swim and cycling workouts while fixing your knee. You know that's what happened the first time. YOU KNOW that's how you finished training for your first 1/2 marathon. YOU KNOW if you even THINK you can do a Olympic Tri in May you have to get back to the other sports AND they'll give your knee a rest. Also, you will probably beat yourself up for posting a DNF when there is no blood or bones protruding out the skin.

self: fine, now STFU and let me get to work.

At some point I started to see people cheering on the course with medals. I forgot this race gave out medals. I didn't want to be the only person in my group, the person who encouraged her friend to train for and run his first 1/2 marathon, not to get a medal.

So I sucked it up and started to post some 15-15:30 min/miles walking. I didn't have enough in my knee to sprint at the finish line, but I could jog.

My plan going forward:

Get through this week. I'm planning the bean's 1st birthday party (yes, he's almost a year. I can't believe it either). I haven't really done anything for this party but send out invitations. I may be screwed.

Find a PT and see them. I need to figure out how to fix my knee issues.

Check out the Y. I need to pick my gym or the YMCA and sign up for the childcare program. It's really the only way I can, reliably, get in the pool or on the bike.

I'll keep you all posted.