October 20, 2014
Nike Women’s Half Marathon Race Report

Prologue:  I haven’t run a half marathon since January 2014 and while I was looking forward to this race, I was worried about a cranky hamstring/glute that has been giving me some issues in the last few weeks. A couple of weeks ago, I chatted with Coach Liza about it and she recommended I get PT.  While PT is helping the issue, my hammy/glute was not feeling the best going into race weekend. I was a bit discouraged, but I chatted with Coach Liza again and decided that I would do the race and just have fun. She taped up my hammy/glute/IT Band and wished me the best of luck. One other thing I would like to mention.  Thursday before the race, I attended a lecture and book signing for six-time Ironman World Champion Mark Allen. His new book, The Art of Competition is a collection of inspiring quotes and just the inspiration I needed before the race. The night before the race as I was preparing my race outfit, I made a decision that I would “race” this race.  You see, before today, I never really went into any of the half marathons or marathons with the intent of “racing.” I had the mindset that this was for fun and I just wanted to finish. Now that I have Ironman 70.3 dreams, I’m slowly but surely developing a competitive mindset. I not only want to finish, but I want to compete.  I want to go out there, give it my all, push my limits and see where I land.  With that mental affirmation in my head, I read some quotes from Mark Allen’s book, set my alarm clock and went to bed around 7:30 pm to prepare for race day.

Race Morning:  Alarm clock went off at 3:00 am.  Race starts at 6:30 am, but I was riding the bus with the awesome folks over at Fleet Feet Menlo Park.  Bus was scheduled to leave at 4:30 am to make the trek up to San Francisco. I had a piece of toast with almond butter.  I drank one bottle of water while getting ready and then made my way over to the bus.  On the bus, they were giving out free bagels and bananas.  I was worried that I hadn’t eaten enough so I took one of each and ate half the banana and half a bagel when we were about 20 minutes outside of San Francisco. We arrived in San Francisco around 6 am.  I waited in line about 15 minutes for the rest room and then I made my way over to my race corral. I was in the 9:00-9:59 pace group; same as last year.  Exchanged a quick text with coach and ran a quick lap to warm up my hammy/glute and then proceeded to stretch.

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Quick side bar - I am loving my new Brooks Ravenna running shoes. I’ve run in Mizuno’s for the last couple of years and they served me well, but about a month ago I was in the market for a new pair of running shoes and decided to try Brooks out.  I love the stability and comfort of the Ravenna’s. In addition, I think my new favorite running pants are the Brooks PureProject Seamless Capris. I love that they are super comfortable and have a bit of compression.  

Now….back to the race :) 

Made my way over to my corral and waited for the start.

The Race – For the first time in 10 years, Nike changed the half marathon course. The course no longer starts out with a run out to the Embarcadero which is pretty flat.  Instead, it starts with a 3 mile gradual climb out of Union Square to Golden Gate Park. I was happy that I took the time to warm up my legs because the hills were pretty constant until you got to the park.  The park was my favorite part of the race.  It was fairly foggy and mostly downhill. A welcome rest for the legs after the last three miles.

Miles 4-5 I pulled back a bit because my legs were pretty wiped from the aggressive run up the hills and I was worried that I maybe had gone out too hard and too fast. After mile 5, I realized that my legs were still feeling pretty good and so I reminded myself that I was “racing” and kicked it up a bit.  Miles 6 & 7 I turned it up, I ran harder and kept telling myself to push through the discomfort. Mile 8 was another hill, but I charged that hill too. Mile 9-11; it started with a bit of downhill after the climbing we did with mile 8.  Around mile 9.5 we began what turned out to be the killer climb of the race.  It was approximately 1.5 miles of a gradual but steep incline.  I attacked this hill with a vengeance and it spit me right on out. I was spent coming out of that hill. I would pay dearly for this during mile 11.  Right around mile 11.5 I got a sharp cramp in my left side.  It was so painful that my running pace dropped to a slow crawl so much so that it seemed like walkers were passing me. I caught leg cramps last year and it slowed me down big time.  I was not going to let it slow me down as much as it did last year, this year, so I kept pushing through the pain, clenching my teeth and tried desperately to breathe through the pain.  At this point, I think I am either at the 12 mile mark or just a little before. I can’t remember. What I do remember is I saw Jim from Fleet Feet and shuffled over to him and gave him a quick hi-five.  At that point, it was great to see a familiar face and get some encouraging words. With the side cramp behind me, I picked up my pace again at mile 12 and continued to run hard through the finish. 

My official time:  2:11. My time from the 2013 race was 2:14, so I was able to shave off almost 3 minutes.  Not a half marathon distance PR, but definitely a PR on a tough course.    

 

Post race – I went immediately to pick up my bling ;). 

After that, my mind was on starting my recovery as early as possible. It was cool and my body temperature started to drop and I got cold and started to stiffen up.  I wrapped up in the mylar blanket quickly and then drank the chocolate milk they were giving out.  In hindsight, I should have checked a gear bag and put my Osmo Acute Recovery powder in there along with almond milk. While chocolate milk is great, I find my body likes the Acute Recovery better.  After finishing my chocolate milk, I chatted with a couple of fellow Fleet Feet runners for a few minutes, did a quick walk through the Finisher Gear tent and then made my way over to an area they had set up for stretching and foam rolling. A bunch of Equinox personal trainers were stretching runners out. I patiently waited my turn and then after I spent 15 minutes rolling and stretching. I also walked another mile back to the bus pick up area.  The ride back I spent icing my hamstring (Thanks Fleet Feet for providing ice packs and snacks on the return ride). I stiffened up pretty quickly and by the time I got home, I knew I would need to sit in an ice bath, so that’s exactly what I did. 

What’s next?? I’m going to continue to work on building a competitor mindset. I have IM 70.3 dreams in 2015 and I’d love to get a PR in the half marathon distance as well as the 5K .  I have my first sprint triathlon coming up in a couple of weeks that I plan to “race” and a fun half marathon in Jamaica in December which I just plan to just have fun. In the off season I plan to work a lot on core and strength workouts since this is what I’ve learned is the culprit of most of my hammy/glute issues.

Finally, I couldn’t end this report without acknowledging and thanking Coach Liza.  She has been incredibly supportive and patient with this newbie. She believes in me, more than I believe in myself at times.  She continues to tell me that I achieve far more than I believe and with her help, I’m certain I can.  Will the road be easy? Probably not, but what in life comes without a bit of hard work and sometimes a bit of discomfort. I’m ready for the challenge!

October 19, 2014
Nike Women’s Half Marathon Finisher!  @runnikewomen Great race and I really like the new course. #werunsf #bgr #instarunner #runner #runhappy #vanderkitten #vklife #KitUpKickAss #nwmsf #halfmarathon (at Nike Women’s Half-Marathon 2014)

Nike Women’s Half Marathon Finisher! @runnikewomen Great race and I really like the new course. #werunsf #bgr #instarunner #runner #runhappy #vanderkitten #vklife #KitUpKickAss #nwmsf #halfmarathon (at Nike Women’s Half-Marathon 2014)

October 17, 2014
So proud of this man.  Thanks @rcktsientis99 for your 20 years of service. Love You!  ❤️❤️❤️

So proud of this man. Thanks @rcktsientis99 for your 20 years of service. Love You! ❤️❤️❤️

October 17, 2014
With 6X Hawaii Ironman World Champion, Mark Allen. Truly inspired by his talk this evening. The road to 70.3 isn’t just a physical one, I’m training the mind as well. #triathlete #trilife #swimbikerun #roadto70point3 #LiveTheLifeYouWant #dreambig #livefearlessly #livewithintention

With 6X Hawaii Ironman World Champion, Mark Allen. Truly inspired by his talk this evening. The road to 70.3 isn’t just a physical one, I’m training the mind as well. #triathlete #trilife #swimbikerun #roadto70point3 #LiveTheLifeYouWant #dreambig #livefearlessly #livewithintention

October 11, 2014
Loving my new top. It goes right along with my mantra #livefearlessly #fitmom #fitness #roadto70point3 #instafit #bikechick #outsideisfree #fearless #goals #instastyle #igfashion #quotestoliveby #runner #trilife #triathlete

Loving my new top. It goes right along with my mantra #livefearlessly #fitmom #fitness #roadto70point3 #instafit #bikechick #outsideisfree #fearless #goals #instastyle #igfashion #quotestoliveby #runner #trilife #triathlete

October 11, 2014
While Coach Liza is in Kona racing the Ironman World Championship, I’m out putting in some miles to chase my IM dreams. Go Liza!  GO!!! #Stronger #Faster #LizaCoaching #dreambig #livefearlessly #trilife #triathlete #swimbikerun

While Coach Liza is in Kona racing the Ironman World Championship, I’m out putting in some miles to chase my IM dreams. Go Liza! GO!!! #Stronger #Faster #LizaCoaching #dreambig #livefearlessly #trilife #triathlete #swimbikerun

October 8, 2014
A beautiful moon greeted me as I began my ride this morning.  #roadto70point3 #livewithintention #Stronger #Faster #LizaCoaching #training #triathlete

A beautiful moon greeted me as I began my ride this morning. #roadto70point3 #livewithintention #Stronger #Faster #LizaCoaching #training #triathlete

October 6, 2014
Weekly Training Recap

Another solid week of training and I’m feeling pretty good overall despite a hammy/glute issue that is trying to steal all of my joy. I learned an important lesson this week with my running that I’ll get to in a bit but first here is a quick rundown on my workouts.  

  • 3 sunrise walks (generally two miles)
  • 900 yard swim
  • 2 runs (one being my first double digit run since January)
  • Indoor 1hr spin class
  • A two-hour recovery ride
  • 3 yoga classes. 

So first, let me tell you about my glute\hamstring issue.  It’s a bit perplexing. Lately, after a bike ride, I seem to have some pain in my left glute/hamstring. It bothers me to sit and I can feel the pain radiate from my glute muscle down into the hamstring.  Coach Liza had me skip a hill repeats training run on Tuesday to focus on recovery. I used a heating pad to warm up the muscles right before some light stretching and then I converted to ice therapy.  Did this for a couple of days and was feeling a better.  By Sunday afternoon, the pain was back.  I’m sure it’s just an issue with my muscles being too tight, but I figured I was doing a better job at stretching, especially with taking the yoga classes. In any event,  I’m focusing on getting this alleviated as quickly as possible since I have the NWM coming in just a couple of weeks and also the Marin Sprint Triathlon in early November.  I’ve also scheduled a visit to a PT to work on it a bit. 

Now, to share the lesson I learned this weekend. Coach Liza likes to put HR zone runs in my training plan. I have a love/hate affair with this workout. I love it because it generally means I have an easy workout because usually we start low and build from there. I hate it because, when I go out for a run, I just want to run and get it over with.  What I learned this weekend though, is how my body feels to run in specific HR zones.  While I may be slow, I’ve learned that by slowly increasing my HR zone, I’m actually close to, or as fast, as I would have been overall.  I now know when I’m running, if I need to scale it back a bit to rest a bit, I know how my body feels to do that.  Another lesson I’m learning is when coach tells me to do an easy ride, that I also need to scale back then too. I’m learning that each workout is specific to optimizing your endurance over the long term. 

The road to 70.3 isn’t going to be easy.  My goal is to get there injury free and in the best possible shape that I can be and be as prepared as I can be.  I want to finish strong.  

Well, that’s about it.  Another week of training in the books.  What’s going on in your world?

October 5, 2014
One of the things I enjoy more than I thought I ever would is getting outdoors for my workouts.  Something about being in nature, listening to the sounds of the birds chirping, the creeks running over rocks, the wind blowing through the leaves; it’s magical.  You can lace up your shoes or jump on your bike and take a journey to another place and time.    I appreciate this time so much.  #grateful #LoveMyLife #cycling #cyclist #dreambig #livefearlessly #livewithintention #fitmom #fitness #metime #inspired

One of the things I enjoy more than I thought I ever would is getting outdoors for my workouts. Something about being in nature, listening to the sounds of the birds chirping, the creeks running over rocks, the wind blowing through the leaves; it’s magical. You can lace up your shoes or jump on your bike and take a journey to another place and time. I appreciate this time so much. #grateful #LoveMyLife #cycling #cyclist #dreambig #livefearlessly #livewithintention #fitmom #fitness #metime #inspired

October 4, 2014
First double digit run in over nine months and on rolling hills at that. Covered almost 500 ft of elevation and I’m feeling pretty damn good. I have a love/hate affair with running in HR zones and that’s exactly what Coach Liza had on my schedule. Well today, I learned an incredibly important lesson from it. I learned exactly how my body/run feels in specific heart rate zones and how that will impact my overall performance.  When running in a low HR zone, I feel like a turtle.  But we all know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare and how that story ends 😉😃. #Stronger #Faster #LizaCoaching #NWMSF #werunsf #roadto70point3 #runner #instarunner #runhappy #bgr #fitmom #fitness #livefearlessly #livewithintention #training #halfmarathontraining

First double digit run in over nine months and on rolling hills at that. Covered almost 500 ft of elevation and I’m feeling pretty damn good. I have a love/hate affair with running in HR zones and that’s exactly what Coach Liza had on my schedule. Well today, I learned an incredibly important lesson from it. I learned exactly how my body/run feels in specific heart rate zones and how that will impact my overall performance. When running in a low HR zone, I feel like a turtle. But we all know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare and how that story ends 😉😃. #Stronger #Faster #LizaCoaching #NWMSF #werunsf #roadto70point3 #runner #instarunner #runhappy #bgr #fitmom #fitness #livefearlessly #livewithintention #training #halfmarathontraining

October 1, 2014

Glute and hamstring issue kept me from my run, but not my swim. I plan to spend a lot of time at this rooftop pool in the next year. I am determined to overcome my swim fears and get as strong in the swim as I have become on the bike. I swam 900 yards and feel pretty good. #motivated #swimbikerun #trilife #triathlete #triathlon #training #fitmom #fitness #Stronger #Faster #LizaCoaching #goals #livefearlessly #livewithintention (at Equinox)

September 29, 2014
Weekly Training Update

Monday - This is usually a generally a rest day for me.  I went for a sunrise walk in my neighborhood.  This is often just a quick jaunt downtown and back to grab a cup of java. My work day flew by as it often does when I’m especially busy.  Got home and had an urge to go to Bikram Yoga. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and was just feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to process it all. I love Bikram, but I’ve been out of my practice because 90 minutes is tough to give. I love the heated room, the 26 postures and the mental toughness and release that always happen in class.  Not to mention, I always feel great after. This time was no different.  I love Bikram and it didn’t disappoint.  It left me on a high. I slept well that night and woke up the next day feeling amazing.  Just wish the class was 60 instead of 90 minutes.  I think if it was, I’d be able to commit to going more often.  

Tuesday - Strength Training Day.  I worked out for a solid hour and it felt great.  Lunges, squats, dips, kettleball swings, sit-ups, push-ups.  WHEW! Definitely felt the burn.  Actually did a cool down, which I often skip, but I’m learning the importance of making sure that I do that along with consistent foam rolling.  After work I went over to Equinox. I’ve been debating joining a gym for over a year now, but was reluctant to do so because I have access to a gym at work. Sure, I could continue to use the gym at work, but if I join the gym, I’ll have access to classes (spin, yoga, strength, meditation, TRX, etc.), a heated pool, plenty of weights and access to a spa. It was a great day to see the gym as they were having a Autumn party to usher in the new season.  I was able to see it in it’s peak in terms of the number of members in the building.  I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t fight to find parking, there were machines available and everyone was extremely nice and friendly.

Wednesday - Was supposed to go Masters Swim class in the morning, but had a work call that I needed to take.  No worries though, I went to my new gym and hit the pool. I was able to get a solid workout in and only had to share my lane for a short period of time. The guy I was sharing with was super fast, so when I needed to do my fast set, I chased him up and down the pool. I was never able to keep up.  Maybe, one day :).  Before heading to the pool, I stopped in to get some PT work done and a realignment with the folks over at Health Logic.  Dr. Mike is so awesome.  He really knows his stuff.  I’ve been having a bunch of neck and shoulder pain and I got a stern talk from him about the importance of doing the maintenance at home too.  I’m no spring chicken in terms of age and I must learn to make this a daily practice instead of every once in a while.  I think this will be critical for me as I build over the next nine months to compete in a 70.3 distance race.  

Thursday - I was awakened by the sound of rain this morning.  Our first true downpour of the season.  The backdrop of the heavy rain coupled with my morning mediation was simply amazing.  I had set my clothes out the night before so I could get in my run workout. Unfortunately, I had no idea that it would rain, and this wasn’t a light rain, so I opted to run later in the day. Since I was already up, I decided to hit the gym for a yoga class.  The message today was to focus on intention without judgement. I am so inspired by living with intention and the fact that the yogi decided this was our practice today, gives me confidence that I am tapping into the right vibration in the universe.  After work, I laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement.  I ran about 7.5 miles and felt great.  Coach told me to keep it in Zone 2 and that’s just what I did. It felt great to just simply run. I’ve learned what it feels like to run by feel. I knew I could stay within the 10-11 min mile and my splits told me I was consistent. I also know how to turn it up a bit when I need to. Overall, I had a solid and consistent run and it felt good. I knew my body could go on for another hour if I needed it to and that is a good feeling with the Nike Women’s Half coming up next month.  I hope to get a double-digit run in within the next week or so, just to see how I feel.

Friday - Coach scheduled me for a easy commute ride today. I originally thought I would just go take a indoor spin class, but then I was like, there’s really no reason to not ride my bike to work.  I procrastinated a bit, but I eventually got my ish together and made my way into the office. Surprisingly, what I found is that I can actually make it to work in less time than if I had driven to work. It’s only 9 miles, and theoretically should take me about 22-25 minutes, but lately it averages between 25-35 minutes. I made it to work in 32 minutes on my bike. #Winning!

Saturday - I did the Canary Challenge Ride to raise funds for early cancer detection with the Vanderkitten Pros and VIPs.  What an awesome experience.  I cannot tell you how blessed I feel that I met coach Liza and then she introduced me to the Vanderkitten VIPs.  I’ve been meeting a few over the last six months of working with her, but many I had not met. Well that changed this weekend. Many VKVIPs traveled to the Bay to ride in the Canary Challenge ride.  To ride with them was so freakin awesome!  These ladies really do kick ass! I rode the 75K distance which had over 3,500 ft of climbing while the other ladies did 75 or 100 mile distances.  We all stuck around and cheered everyone in.  Afterwards we were invited to the home of the Canary Foundation founder and it was a celebration of the success of the ride. The foundation raised over $1 million dollars.  WOOHOO!!!

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Sunday - I asked coach Liza if I could do a double-digit run on Sunday. She told me to see how I would feel after the Saturday ride. Clearly she’s the professional and I’m the student because she was right. I didn’t have the strength to do double digits. My body was tired from chasing all of those kittens up the hills :). I met up with some other members of the SVTC Tri group. I recently joined this Tri club and so far everyone has been so cool. There were 8 of us all doing different distances. I did completed 6 miles at a little below race pace.

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I finished my Sunday with a mani, brunch and shopping with my bestie.  My pockets took a hit, but my spirit took a bunch of deposits. Its been awhile since we sat down and really chatted and boy did we laugh up a storm. Great way to end the week.

Overall, I had a solid week of training. I managed to get in two days of yoga, three walks, 2 runs, 2 bike rides, 1 swim and a couple of strength workouts. Roughly 12 hours of training.  It was a good week.

How was your week of training?

September 28, 2014
I bumped into two of my favorite ALC riding buddies this morning.  I was out for a run and they were getting ready to ride.  The bond we formed over the six months of training and then the 7-day 545 mile ride from San Francisco to LA will last a lifetime.  Can’t wait to ride with you both again soon.  Xoxo

I bumped into two of my favorite ALC riding buddies this morning. I was out for a run and they were getting ready to ride. The bond we formed over the six months of training and then the 7-day 545 mile ride from San Francisco to LA will last a lifetime. Can’t wait to ride with you both again soon. Xoxo

September 28, 2014
With coach Liza yesterday after the ride.  She’s training me to become a Ironman 70.3 finisher In 2015 all while training for her upcoming race at Ironman World Championship in Kona. She’s a beast!  💪🙌 #triathlete #LizaCoaching #roadto70point3 #swimbikerun  (at Canary Challenge 50K)

With coach Liza yesterday after the ride. She’s training me to become a Ironman 70.3 finisher In 2015 all while training for her upcoming race at Ironman World Championship in Kona. She’s a beast! 💪🙌 #triathlete #LizaCoaching #roadto70point3 #swimbikerun (at Canary Challenge 50K)

September 28, 2014
The view from my ride yesterday.  Absolutely stunning.  #cyclist #trilife #triathlete #roadto70point3 #livefearlessly #livewithintention

The view from my ride yesterday. Absolutely stunning. #cyclist #trilife #triathlete #roadto70point3 #livefearlessly #livewithintention

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