Training Week: Oct. 14-20

Part of the whole the last two weeks sucking hard thing is that I’m only just getting around to some things (like this). You remember in college how you’d work really hard for a few weeks and then the deadline would be over, the finals would be done and you could do nothing for a week or two. I wish that was still how things worked. I keep thinking I’ve reached the end, so I drop the mic and walk off-stage. And, then, I keep having to go back out and pick it up and dust it off and keep going.

Maybe I should have chilled out on the training during all this. I’m not sure, because on the one hand: stress is stress, but on the other: I’m super not prepared for the half-marathon I’m racing next weekend or the marathon in six weeks (or five weeks? who knows?). So, I sort of had to keep going, right?


1,000y swim. I was very, very worn out from the wedding and the dying cat and the long run the day before. I meant to swim more, but it was sort of all I could do to swim this much.


12 x 800 with the high school kids. We did them in a half-mile loop around the park, so it’s cross-country-like. Two of the 12 we did as tempo, around 3:20, but the other 10 were hard, very hard. I wasn’t particularly consistent, because it would depend on which of the kids I was sort of running with. The 800s ranged then from 2:52 to 3:07, but the majority were in 2:58-3:04. I felt pretty good about that workout, but also pretty tired. Plus, with warming up and cooling down and 3′ jogging in between each 800, it took forever and was like 9 miles of running.

Biked about 18 miles to cross-country practice and back home. Very, very slowly on the way home.


Jog — I usually hate the word jog, but it was probably apt in this instance — 2.5 miles.

Crossfit with Nate. Except I was so tired that I couldn’t do anything. I tried to pick up a barbell and it didn’t move. Sort of eased my way through the workout instead.


Biked 14 miles-ish to the ferry, from the ferry to work, to cross-country, to home.

Ran about 6.5 miles with the high school kids easy with some strides thrown in.


Planned resting.


I ended up riding 2:30 (maybe 35 miles?) over Marshall Wall with Pete and Ilyce in the afternoon. I almost bailed so I could go home and lay on the floor about a dozen times, but the Wall ended up not being as wall-like as I remembered. I did, however, bail on core work and swimming for probably the third time in the week.


Nike Women’s Half. 1:36:47 for the race, probably about 13.5 miles total with the running to the start and weaving throughout the race. Good times.

TOTAL: 11:00

My goal this week was to swim more, since I’m not even hitting my very weak target of 1-2x/wk, and to do more strength work. So far, I’ve failed at both. On the whole I felt pretty good about the training I was able to get in, but it may have taken it’s toll…

Nike Women’s Half-Marathon: Running a Race for Training is Weird

I ended up running the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon on Sunday sort of last minute — like Saturday night decision. Primarily, I wanted to go over to the race to interview some people and feel it out for a story. (Which by the way, you should all go over and check out my story about how races profit off free labor at Beacon Reader. It’s a new journalism platform where you can subscribe, get access to all the reporters on there and the money goes to straight to the writer — me!) But, also, I wanted to get in a long hard, marathon pace type run.

I know people do races for training all the time. But, it’s not really my thing. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done it. I’ve done races where I didn’t expect to PR because it wasn’t a target race, but I still put everything out there on that day. When I race I race. Probably my number one skill in sports is being scrappy/bringing the race face. I’m not saying I’m super fast, but if we just measured the difference between how you perform in training and how you perform on race day, I’d probably be at the top.

So, I don’t usually waste that.

AGH, so many people and lights and speakers.
AGH, so many people and lights and speakers.

And, I guess, well, I didn’t. I definitely did NOT bring my race face to Nike Women’s. I got to the parking garage, about a half-mile from the line, at 6:08 for a 6:30 start. My regular race panic kicked in and I started bolting down the street before I remembered I was going to use the first few miles to warm-up. Also, everyone around me looked at me like I was crazy. Evidently, among the majority of the 30,000 racers there is less of a sense of urgency than I usually feel. After I got my bag dropped at bag check at 6:20, I spent the next 14′ scouring fancy hotel bathrooms for feminine products.

When I finally walked out of the St. Regis at 6:34, I realized we still had 6′ until my corral was scheduled to cross the start line. Because the bib I got from a friend of a friend came with a pace bracelet, I was in the 9:00-9:59 pace corral. It was interesting. I didn’t realize this is what the race looks like to most people doing it: more casual, more photos being taken, more stopping to talk and gossip.

Even running relatively easily, I had to weave like I was drunk. Lots of people did, though it is downtown San Francisco, so it’s possible some of them really were drunk. In the dark, nobody was out yet, so most people just jumped up on the sidewalk to run. This policeman was trying to shoo everyone back into the street, but it was a losing battle.

I sort of enjoyed the scenery and ran 8:23, 8:00, 7:48 for my first three miles. Then, my plan was to pick it up for the next mile (7:18) and run marathon goal race pace (7:00-7:05) for the last nine miles. I think I managed one mile actually in that range.

Since I didn’t bring my race face, I hadn’t really looked at the course. That meant I didn’t really realize, or I only sort of realized, I would be running my marathon pace miles over this:


I did a 6:55 mile along the water and then a 7:15 mile that included the big climb up from Crissy Field. Then, there was a 7:55 mile while we were going up and a 6:45 when we were going down. Somewhere around then I started to worry that this was really hard. Should it be this hard? It did not feel easy. And it definitely did not feel marathon pace-y. Then I did like another 8:00 while we ran uphill and a 6:35 down to Ocean Beach.

At that point I started to get really worried. My legs hurt and I just wanted to be done. I’d been hungry since mile 4. I was going, in theory, 45″ slower per mile than my half-marathon PR. But, it wasn’t easy. What the hell is that about?

I even had to buckle down, zone out and grit my teeth for the last three miles. Since they were flat-ish — up through the park and then back down and into the finish, I was the closest to the actual pace I meant to go: 7:15, 7:00, 6:50. But, when I finished in 1:36:47 I realized I didn’t feel wiped out at all. I felt fine and completely coherent. I changed clothes and started interviewing people.

So, I guess that’s the difference between a training race and a race race.

Running up, up, up.
Running up, up, up.

The race is really well-done, but also totally weird. It caters specifically to women runners — or rather a caricature of what women are supposed to be. They had chocolate at one aid station. What am I supposed to do with a chocolate bar in the middle of a race? (I stuffed it in my sports bra.) They were handing out baby wipes at other aid stations. I think to wipe off the sweat. Did no one tell anybody that women are supposed to sweat when they run? There were actual firefighters dressed in tuxedos handing out Tiffany necklaces at the finish. If that doesn’t scream me, I don’t know what does.

And, that’s how I ended up deciding to run Nike Women’s tomorrow…

Somehow, I had convinced myself that if I just got through the week everything would be ok. Like, then, the kitten wouldn’t be dying anymore and I’d suddenly be untired. That’s not really how things work though. And, when you find yourself telling the cat it’ll get better, who are you really trying to convince?

I was supposed to get up at 6:30 a.m. this morning to go to high school cross-country. But, last night, when I finally got home and then went to the other house to check on the dying cat and then was eating dinner at 9:45 p.m. and trying to figure out how I would get down to Nike Women’s Marathon to do some interviews for a story and make it work with my workouts, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I slept for over 11 hours.

Your day gets really messed up when you sleep for over 11 hours.

You end up deciding that the best way to do some research/interviews at Nike Women’s and get a run in would be to run the race. A friend of a friend was offering up her bib, so I said sure. Sure, why not. My new plan is to run the first 3-4 miles warm-up, do 9-10 miles at marathon pace, just do the half-marathon (obviously, I’m not THAT stupid) and then scope out the scene for my story, take some notes and be back at home — or one of the homes, with one of the cats — by late morning, ready to wrap up some work.

What could possibly go wrong.

PS. The story I’m working on is about races and volunteers and money and it’ll be up on Beacon on Tuesday and you should get excited.