Taking the Leap and Running Through Redlands

Stupid exercise induced asthma.

SLO Marathon Training Recap Week 9

With the exception of total mileage, my training week was right on target this week. I got my main workouts done, and finished it off with a half marathon, which was on the schedule, though it was a last minute decision to actually sign up and run the race (more on that below).

On Monday, I ran four half mile intervals (my goal is six, but time is always a factor). After a half mile warm up, I did my intervals on the street near my house. I even had my own coach (Alan) out there! That was nice because he gives me an extra push. Each half mile was around 4:03 to 4:04, which is probably a little too fast for me right now, but it felt good (in a really hard kind of way).

On Wednesday I ran up into the hills behind our house for a hill workout on the trails. It started off great! I found a $20 bill on the road! Everything else was, well, hard. I did 15 repeats on this hill:

Hill Workout 2It’s not super long but it’s pretty steep, so it was challenging. So challenging that I didn’t trust my exercsie addled brain to remember what number I was on, so I used the “count rocks” system.

Hill WorkoutI’d add a rock to the pile after each repeat. I was glad I did because not only could I not remember which one I was on, I had to keep recounting the rocks because I wasn’t sure I was counting them correctly!

I had to work on Saturday, just for a couple hours basically to transport a couple of our massage therapists to a golf event where they’d be doing chair massage. I asked for, and got, permission to take a run in between the time I dropped them off and picked them up. Running around the country club where I work is really like another hill workout. Lots of beautiful views though.

Running Through Redlands

On Sunday, Alan announced the Run Through Redlands half marathon, 10, and 5k. This is his fifth year announcing, but this year they moved the event to March 8 (from late April). The race was on my schedule, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run it. If I had not worked the day before, I probably would have run 18 miles then taken Sunday off. Well, that didn’t happen. But I feel like I’m a little behind in my long run effort, so I was hesitant to skip that long run.

We had to be at the event by 5:30, so with an hour plus drive that meant a 3:00 am wake up. And remember that little ol’ time change? Yes, we were basically getting up at 2:00 am. Just as the bars were closing.

We arrived and Alan took off to do his announcing thing. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Run the race? Do a long run on my own around Redlands? Go back to sleep (which really sounded like the most attractive option)? I tweeted:

So I made the decision at 6:30 to run the race that was starting in 50 minutes. Because of my lack of commitment, my planning was terrible. Though I had brought along a banana and a Clif Bar, I didn’t bring any gels or electrolytes (and they didn’t have them on the course either!). Instead I tucked another Clif Bar in my Flipbelt, hoping I could get it down if I needed it.

My goal was to have fun, to see if I could get in some marathon pace miles in, and just to stay occupied while Alan was working. Even though I ran the race last year, I’d forgotten how much uphill there is during the first half. In fact, basically the whole first half is uphill, which should be good training for the hills of the SLO Marathon. So my 9:30 miles slowed down to 10:30 miles after mile two, then picked up at bit after about mile seven as we headed back toward the finish line.

I was almost to mile 12, and looking at about a 2:12-ish finish, not great, but not bad, then WHAM! I started to feel like my vision was darkening around the perimeter and that I might just have a big bear sitting on my chest. I know immediately when my exercise induced asthma is rearing its ugly head, but I kept trying to run for a bit, but finally had to slow to a walk, take a couple puffs on my inhaler (fortunately I had remembered to bring that!), and wait for the medicine to kick in. And wait. And wait. It seemed to take much longer than usual for my breathing to return to normal, but finally I could start running again. Slowly. And keep on going to the finish (where my lovely husband greeted me with his usual “here is my favorite person in the whole world!”).

Mile 12 took me almost 13 minutes, giving me a finish time of 2:16:17, which was a little slower than my race last year. But, the good news is this:

RedlandsSecond place in my division! I was actually lying on a massage table getting my free post-race 10 minute massage (which was wonderful by the way), when I heard them announce my name. I sometimes judge myself a little too harshly, forgetting that I’m not 30 anymore. When you compete against your peers, you come out…second! (Of course I checked out the first place woman’s time..just under 2:13. Stupid exercise induced asthma!

RecoveryI’m spending a day or so in recovery mode. I was really exhausted after the race, which I think was more an aftereffect of the asthma than the race itself (that and waking up at 2:00 in the morning!). Alan drove home and I put my feet up and took a little nap. Then I took Monday off of running, but I did go to a yoga class (I had two clients cancel, which sucks, but it did give me time to go to the yoga class we offer at my fitness center).

Yoga

pro compression

This post has gone on for a long time, hasn’t it? So let’s wrap the Take the Leap Yoga Challenge in pictures! Well mostly. I am a wordy gal. Let me just say that it was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks so much to prAna and Fit Approach for hosting!

Click here to read more about prAna, their beautiful fitness and lifestyle clothing, and their approach to sustainability (plus a 15% discount!).

 Take the Leap Challenge, the Final Week

Week 5This is supposed to be a simple child’s pose. Not so much in my house.

Week 5 1I thought this was the last day of the challenge, so I celebrated with some headstands, a crow, and by wearing a pretty prAna top that I hadn’t worn for a while. But, I found out that 30 Days of Yoga was actually 35!

Week 5 2Revolved Chair pose. I love yoga in my front yard.

Week 5 3Half moon pose with a little help from the pups. This is me, seconds before toppling over.

Week 5 4Flashback Friday. Tree pose in front of the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas (from about three years ago).

Week 5 6During my run at work on Saturday. Beautiful views, lots of hills for the run.

Week 5 5And finally…savasana. The perfect post for the last day of the Take the Leap challenge and for post-race recovery.

How was your week in training? Any races, events or other competitions? Have you signed up for the SLO Marathon yet? Remember, you can save $10 with my code: WOODAMB.

Run Through Redlands Half Marathon

Another so-so week of training. I am tired of hearing myself whine, so I can imagine how you all feel. So, instead of focusing on the minimal running during the week (crazy work schedule) or the failed 20 miler on Saturday (20+ mph winds, with gusts of more than 50 mph), I will instead tell you about the half marathon that I ran on Sunday.

And I’ll show you this:

pizzaAt least I eat well when I’m training poorly.

Run Through Redlands Half Marathon

Actually, I had planned all along to run a half marathon this weekend. Originally, I was planning to run La Jolla Half Marathon, a race that Alan usually announces and that I love, challenging though it is.

But then, a scheduling conflict left Alan planning to announce the Run Through Redlands, which is much closer to home and saves us a lot of expenses in gas and food because we can drive up the morning of the race. They have a half marathon, 5k, 10k, and even a Color Splash run, so there really is something for everyone.

Then, after our tough 18 mile run last weekend, Alan wanted to run 20 miles this Saturday. I decided to run it with him, mostly because the 18 miles was so hard that I felt the need for a do-over. And it looked like the weather would be cooler (the heat was a big challenge the weekend before). Unfortunately, that cool weather came at a cost: extremely high winds. We did head out for our run, but after about five miles we mutually decided that it was just too much. So, I decided to run the half marathon after all.

DebbieIt was a bit chilly (for us) in Redlands on Sunday morning, so I stayed in the car while Alan worked until about 20 minutes before the race. They start all the races at different times, with the 10k starting at 7:00, followed by the half at 7:20 and the 5k at 7:45. I watched the 10k runners get started, then headed to the starting line.

I started off the first two miles pretty strong (especially considering I have done virtually no speed training). Then the hills started. I have run along the course before when Alan was working, but I had never done the race. So I was surprised to find out just how hilly it was! I really think it can compare to the La Jolla course, which is one of the more challenging out there.

I had a little asthma scare at about mile 4.5. I can feel it coming on, so I stopped running, used my inhaler and walked until I felt ready to start running again (I really can feel it lift). I was concerned because it was so early in the race, but I was fine after that until the final mile.

I really loved this course. My grandparents lived in Redlands, so I am a little familiar with the area, but it’s different to experience when you’re an adult. It is an older area, with stately homes on huge lots in some places. There are still orange groves along the route, plus some spots that are almost forest-like, with old trees and brush. These pictures are from the previous times I’ve run through Redlands.

Old Home 2

Old Home 3

Old Home

Orange Grove

Beautiful, isn’t it? That being said, it is not the race you would want if you like to have cheering crowds to root you on. Aside from the volunteers, there was virtually no one out there.

The weather was perfect. What was too cold before the race, low 50s, was just right during. It stayed cool through the entire race, even when the sun peeped out from the clouds in the last couple miles. I did have one more asthma event (not attack because I stopped, walked, and used my inhaler before it got that far), in the last mile, but I was still able to get running again for the last half mile.

I’ve told you before how Alan greets me when he is announcing a race, usually starting with the words, “here comes my favorite person in the whole wide world!” This time he really piled it on, telling everyone my marathon PR of 3:16, that I was first place in the Encinitas 5k, and a few other things I couldn’t even hear. Of course he didn’t tell them that was all about 15 years ago!

I finished in 2:13:52. By my Garmin, I ran 13.25 miles, at a 10:06 pace. My official results were 13.1 at a 10:15 pace. Whatever, it was good enough for third place in my age group!

Redlands

I started to get cold soon after I finished, so I headed to the car to change and get some warm clothes. When I got back, after checking my results and picking up my medal, I decided to take my own advice and take advantage of the free massage that was being offered. It was short, only about 10 minutes, but, along with my stretching and foam rolling, will help my recovery. Plus, I think I’ll get another massage this week. I earned it.

MassageWhen I was walking back from changing into warm clothes (the start line, where we parked is about a quarter mile from the finish line, so it was a bit of a hike, tired as I was), the Color Splash run was just finishing up. Talk about perfect timing, they were playing the Dirty Dozen Official Ragnar Song as I was walking by!

I had done a little research before we went to Redlands, and somehow managed to find my grandparent’s address (in spite of it being over 30 years since they passed away). I found out that it was right in the middle of the race route! I had always felt that I was close by when I was running there in the past, but I couldn’t remember the street, let alone the complete address. So, after the race, Alan and I decided to drive by before we went home. Amazingly, it looks pretty much the same!

GrandpaI can remember every bit of the inside. I have memories of my mom, grandma, and sisters playing cards in the dining room (the windows just about in the center of the house). We also had tons of fun in the swimming pool, and when we got older, we were allowed to sleep in the little guest house that is in the backyard. Good memories!

I spent the rest of Sunday recovering. When we got home, I took a nap, stretched some more, and used the foam roller.  And I made this again for dinner!

Chipotle Stuffed Avocado

With five more weeks until Rock and Roll, I know I have to get serious with my training. I have a tempo run planned mid-week, my 20 miler next weekend, plus two other middle distance runs to help get my mileage to where I want it to be. I need to get my butt in gear or I will not have a pleasant experience in the marathon. I don’t want to just survive it, I want to run a strong and successful race. With no asthma, if that’s possible.

How did your weekend go? Did you have any races or other events? Or a massage? Share!!!

I’m Published! Plus the Palm Springs Half Marathon (and a New Look!)

You may have noticed that my blog has a fresh new look. I changed themes, something I’ve wanted to do for a little while. More on this in my next post, but, yes, I did it myself.

I’m Published!

Have you received your March Runner’s World yet? If so, flip to page 30 and you will see…me! Well, my writing anyway.

Runners WorldPretty cool, huh? Believe it or not, this dated back to October (magazines have long lead times). I received an email from an editor at Runner’s World, telling me that he found my name on the RRCA certified coaches list, then read a little about me on my blog.

I was given the question with a week or so to answer it. Being edited by professionals is interesting. Every word is looked at, questions are asked to make sure everything is clear, revisions are suggested.

Thanks to a couple of Twitter pals for sharing the news. Lindsay posted a picture before I was even aware the magazine was on the stands. And Lea also congratulated me for making Runner’s World. Makes me feel famous!

Palm Springs Half Marathon

A couple months ago this was my goal race. Then December happened. I lost a lot of motivation, had a hard time running over five or six miles, and speed work…well it didn’t get done. So with my decision to run the Rock and Roll Marathon in June, I decided to use the Palm Springs Half Marathon as a training run, my first 13 mile run since last July.

My goal was to run the race at my long run pace, about 10 minutes miles or so. It is easy, though, to get caught up in the moment when you’re using a race as a training run. Strange thoughts enter your mind, like “this is my day!” or similar sentiments. You start running faster than planned and end up blowing up in the last few miles.

None of that happened. I did exactly what I wanted to do: I ran my own pace, didn’t get distracted, didn’t run too fast, didn’t have any asthma problems (that is huge!), and ended up finishing in 2:09:50, which is just under a 10 minute pace.

Time

Alan was announcing, of course, so I got to hear those cherished words, “here comes my favorite person in the whole world, my wife!” I also saw lots of old friends, and even another blogger (Monica from Run Eat Repeat).

Oh, Marilyn and Elvis were there too.

Palm Springs Half Marathon - Elvis Presley - Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn spent a little time with Alan too.

PS Half 2

I would have cropped the picture, but the day was so beautiful and the sky was so blue that I just couldn’t.

They had nice race shirts this year. Black and red long sleeved tech shirts. Nice change from plain old white. Coco liked it a lot!

bla bla bla

One thing I didn’t expect from the race was the terrible chafing that I have on both my legs and arms. I wore a race skirt that usually gives me no problems, but I was actually bloody after the race (no pics, sorry). For the rest of the day I walked around with my arms held out from my sides, that’s how painful it is.

Oh, and look what I found in my goody bag!

20140209_164842

 As I mentioned the other day, I’m an Ambassador for the San Luis Obispo Marathon (even though I have a schedule conflict and can’t be there for the race). When I saw this in my bag I really did Feel the Zen. Remember, you can get a $10 discount for the full and half marathon through March 18 by using the code 2014AMFRIENDS.

As for the rest of the training week, it went pretty good. I did miss my Saturday trail run because I had to work. Total miles were about 22.

Tuesday: 3.1 miles before work. Easy pace.

Wednesday: 6 miles. This is supposed to be my speed or tempo workout, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I did a fartlek run, having a little fun with short intervals of high intensity alternating with an easier pace.

Sunday: The Palm Springs Half Marathon. 13.1 miles in 2:09:50.

I also taught a couple strength classes and a stretch class this week.

It’s finally time to create my marathon plan for Rock and Roll. While my total mileage dipped a little this week, now that my long run is up to 13, it is time to start the real training. I’ll share that next week.

PS Half 4Yes, my Garmin says 13.2 miles! Also, nothing like getting in over 27,000 steps by 10:00 in the morning! So you know how the rest of my day went, I have barely over 29,000 at 8:30. I’ve been sitting on my butt recovering for most of the day.

How was your training week? Did you compete in a race or other event? I’d love to hear about it!

Training, Rock and Roll, and RAGNAR

Well, I finally did it. I’ve been talking about it for a month, but on Friday I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego on June 1!

Confirmation

Whew! Now I guess I’d better create my training plan and get going. I signed Alan up too, so it was not a cheap endeavor, though I did get a discount code from Kristen. Still, I spent just shy of $300.

Shortly after I signed up, I received an email from RunningSkirts.com promoting a one-day 50% off sale. So I went ahead and spent even more money! Great service, by the way. I ordered the skirt on Friday and received it in the mail on Saturday! Too bad it was too cold to wear it on Sunday.

Running SkirtNot sure if this will end up being my race outfit, but I love the color and the fit.

I’ve been saying that it has been seven years since my last marathon, just guestimating, so I decided I should look it up. I ran the Los Angeles Marathon on March 19, 2006, so it’s actually eight years. My last Rock and Roll marathon was on June 1, 2003, so it will be 11 years to the day when I run my next one!

SunriseThis wasn’t a running day, but it was such a beautiful sunrise. This is the view over the tennis courts behind my fitness center.

Ragnar

On Thursday I received an email from Melissa asking me if I would be interested in joining her So Cal Ragnar team. She had to pull out, and was trying to find a replacement. It will start in Huntington Beach on April 4 and finish in San Diego the next day. Pretty perfect time and location-wise.

Now, while I know a lot of friends and bloggers who have done Ragnar, and I understood that it was a long, relay type race, that was really all that I did know. Before I jumped in I decided I’d better look where I was diving.

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Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport.

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From the Ragnar website: “You and 11 of your craziest friends (or 5 of your crazier friends for an ultra team) pile into two vans and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style. Only one runner hits the road at a time. Each participant runs three times, with each leg ranging between 3-8 miles and varying in difficulty. So, from the elite runner down to the novice jogger, it’s the perfect race for anyone.

Okay, I thought, I can do this (I think). In April I’ll be well into marathon training, so the mileage should be fine (it looks like I’ll be Leg 12, with a total of about 18 miles). I checked with Alan to make sure we had nothing scheduled that weekend, and it was clear.  So, I guess I’m in! Ragnar here I come!

According to Melissa, most of the team is made up of women who met at Fitbloggin’ (and includes Carrie, the one person that I have met). I look forward to meeting the rest of the team. I have a feeling that by the end of the second day, I’ll have 11 new friends.

The Week in Training

RnRTraining5

Finally, I had a good training week, though not quite as many miles as last week. With my half marathon next weekend, I decided to cut back a little on mileage for my long run, so I ran 10 miles. My legs felt beat up this week, so even 10 miles was a challenge. I attribute the sore legs to a couple tough classes that I taught, plus the general increase in mileage and intensity I’ve been adding. It served to remind me that I need to work on a good recovery plan alongside my training plan. More on this later in the week.

Tuesday I got out late (as usual) and only managed two miles. Well, at least I got a run. And it made Penny happy.

Wednesday, after taking Penny for about a half mile, I headed out for my tempo run. As I mentioned, my legs have been sore/tired all week, so it was more challenging that it should have been, but I did manage six miles total, with three at about half marathon pace, averaging 9:03 per mile.

Saturday is our regular trail run. Alan and I ran a little over five with Penny and Buddy, then I took the little girls for a mile. I stretched afterward (then slept about two hours!), but I still felt tired.

RnRTraining3

Sunday, still fighting those tired legs, I took Penny for two miles, then headed out for another eight. I felt like this 10 miler was more difficult that last weeks 12 miles, but at least I got it done. Next week I’ll be running the Palm Springs Half Marathon, but mostly as a training run, giving myself a chance to run 13 miles as I really get started on my Rock and Roll marathon training.

RnRTraining2

It was really cold in the morning too. After last weekend when I bragged about wearing short sleeves, the temperature as about 30 degrees colder. It was 31 degrees when I started my run!

I did have a dog rescuer moment as I was finishing up my long run. I was running uphill, less than a mile from home, I saw two dogs run across the fairly busy street about a quarter mile ahead of me. When I got there, two dogs were standing there, looking at me. I could see that the larger dog had a tag, and the other had a collar, but they wouldn’t let me get close.

Finally, the smaller of the two dogs started to head back across the street. I went into the street to stop traffic, then when the dog just kind of wandered down the middle of the street, I chased him toward the (safer) side. The other dog followed and they both ran into the front yard of a house. As I rang the doorbell, I noticed that the gate was slightly ajar. Both dogs went in through the gate and I shut it behind them. Nobody answered the door. I hope that it was their house, because otherwise the homeowners will be coming home to two new friends.

RnRTraining4

I also taught two challenging strength classes, and a stretch class. So I’m feeling pretty good about my training. And excited that I’ve actually signed up for the race, not to mention Ragnar.

So much excitement! What exciting things did you do last week? Will I see you at Ragnar?

Holiday Half Marathon Training: 3 Key Workouts (plus Malibu)

Yet another weekend spent living life instead of keeping up with the blog, social media, etc. That’s a wonderful thing, but I tend to feel stressed during the week trying to keep up without my weekend head start. Yeah, I know, blogger’s problems.

Anyway, while Alan and I spent the weekend in Malibu where he announced the Malibu Marathon, I also spent a little time planning my training for the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon. This past week was a throwaway week, with only two runs and just seven miles (!), but I’ll be back in full force this coming week. I promise I will get the full plan posted this week too, but in the meantime, here are three key workouts that I think will get me to the finish line with my post-50 PR (in spite of the shortened training period).

3 key workouts - Holiday Half Marathon

Lactate Threshold (Tempo) Runs

Because of my limited time for training (and, ahem, my age), I plan to complete a tempo run once every other week. I’ll keep it simple, starting with a mile warm up, then aim for two to three miles at slightly under my half marathon goal pace (which is about 9:00 minutes per mile).

How it helps: Tempo runs help increase your lactate threshold.   By training at a pace just under the point where you accumulate too much lactic acid, which would force you to slow down, you increase your lactate threshold, which allows you to run faster for a longer period of time.

Interval Training

This is the workout that I will alternate with the tempo runs. Frequently run on a track, or in my case a marked area of one half mile, interval training is run at a faster pace, for a shorter distance than tempo runs.

How it helps: Intervals will help to improve your VO2 Max, which is the efficiency at which your body processes oxygen. Half mile to one mile intervals are perfect for half marathon training. They should be done at 90-95% of your all-out effort. I try to get in three to four miles total (not including warm-up/cool down) of interval training.

Downhill Running

As I mentioned last week, the Holiday Half Marathon has a net elevation loss of about 714 feet, which means there will be a significant amount of running downhill during the race. While that may sound pretty nice and easy, downhill running brings it’s own set of challenges that need to be addressed in training. If it is not down correctly, not only will you risk injury due to the higher impact of running downhill, you could also slow yourself down. I plan to find a gentle downhill of 4-5% (these are abundant on my regular running route), and spend some time focusing on form as I run the downhills once or twice a week.

How it helps: Proper downhill training can teach you to avoid the pitfalls of “braking,” which can cause you to put more pressure on your heels and knees, plus help your muscles adapt to the needs of downhill running.

These key workouts are in addition to what is actually the most important workout, the long run (though some of the downhill training can be incorporated into the long run). I currently have about an eight mile base (though it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve run that distance), so I’ll start my increase from that point, peaking at 12 miles two weeks before the race.

Training starts this week (since I only managed a short run while we were in Malibu, details of that coming soon). I’ll get the plan up soon, then follow up with training updates each week.

Now, Malibu. Since it’s late and I didn’t write all weekend, I’m offering pictures today, details tomorrow.

Malibu Vegan Food - key workouts

An early dinner the night before at Hugo’s, where we go every year when we stay in Malibu (actually we stay in Agoura Hills, which I imagine is a lot less expensive to put us up at). While they serve meat, they have an amazing vegan menu (as well as gluten free choices), and take pride in offering eclectic and delicious options.

Malibu half marathon - key workouts

With a new start line, the beginning of the Malibu Half Marathon was, well, interesting. Imagine this: The announcer (Alan) had to move 3,000 runners about 1/2 mile down the road from the staging area to the start line. Details coming. Hint: It wasn’t as pretty as the coastline of Malibu.

Malibu Marathon - key workouts

While I usually take my run early, before the start of the race, the new cluster fuck start line, and my responsibilities as Alan’s transportation from the start to the finish (down a busy Pacific Coast Highway shared with 3,000 runners), stressed and distracted me. Instead, I waited until we arrived at the finish line then took off for a little four mile run. Not what I’d planned as a kick off to my Holiday Half Marathon training, but I was happy that I managed to get in a few miles instead of blowing it off.

Malibu truly has to be one of the most beautiful places to run. With blue skies, fluffy skies, crashing waves right alongside the road, it truly is running heaven.

Malibu Half Marathon - 3 key workouts

How was your weekend? Did you race? What is the most beautiful course that you have run on (an official race or just a training run)? In addition to Malibu, my favorites are along the coast at Hanalei Bay (in Kauai), or the Paris Marathon. Of course, my daily route, on the trails of La Quinta is amazingly beautiful too.

Monday Runday: The Training Begins for My Next Event

Just popping in for a quick post after a great birthday weekend. It’s almost 7:00 (though it feels like 8:00 because of the time change) on Sunday night and I haven’t touched my computer all weekend. Yay for me! I had a fun “grandma” weekend, which I will share much more of later in the week, but I wanted to let you know that I have picked my next event!

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon - Monday Runday - Torrey Pines

Fortunately, my next race will end at Torrey Pines State Beach and NOT climb up that hill!

Yes, after a couple of weeks of hinting, I have decided that I’m going to run the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon! It’s on December 29, meaning I’d better get training because that is less than two months away. And if the next eight weeks are anything like the last few months, we will just blink our eyes and it will be time to race.

I’ll post a detailed training schedule in another post, but I plan to train pretty hard for this race. I am still chasing that elusive post-50-year-old sub-two-hour half marathon, even though I came within 11 seconds last July in the Costume Party Run. While I was perfectly happy with that result, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying to do even better.

I will have a few advantages that will help me achieve my goal. They are, in no particular order:

  1. Training in the fall/winter instead of spring/summer. In the desert that means a lot.
  2. Alan will be announcing this race, which always gives me extra motivation to do well (plus I get to hear his words, “here comes my favorite person in the whole wide world..”
  3. San Diego. December. Awesome.
  4. Finally, the course seems to be designed for PR-ing. It is a point-to-point course that starts inland (in Ranch Penasquitos) and runs, basically downhill, toward the coast, ending at Torrey Pines State Beach. While I am not going for a PR (that was set years ago and would be more that 25 minutes faster than my current time), that 714 net drop sounds pretty good.

If you live or are planning to visit San Diego for the holidays, I would love to have you join me! It’s a few days after Christmas, which makes it a great way to kick off the new year. And a PR course? Come on! You can sign up here.

Stay tuned for the training schedule. And my weekend recap. In the meantime, here are a few pictures to hold you over.

Grandsons - trainingSo happy to see these two and continue our tradition of taking a run in the morning when we’re visiting (after the other tradition: going to Starbucks with Grandpa for coffee (for us) and hot chocolate (for them)).

Grandsons - trainingSelfie with Grandma

Grandsons - trainingI’m behind as usual. All the better for the photo ops.

Grandsons - trainingIt was a beautiful day. The clouds behind us look like a painting!

Grandsons - trainingAnother tradition: The post-run group selfie.

Grandsons - trainingTo complete the Grandson Sweep, we drove south on Sunday morning to visit Samuel (and his parents).

Grandsons - trainingGrowing so fast! Drinking from a cup (with help).

Grandsons - trainingHis dad, or maybe his Uncle David, I can’t remember for sure, used to make this exact face!

Grandsons - trainingLook at those teeth! Seven!

Grandsons - trainingNot our best pose.

Grandsons - trainingMuch better!

Grandsons - trainingI just love this thoughtful expression.

Grandsons - trainingGrandpa and Samuel

Vegan dining - trainingSome eats: Falafel Wrap at Coach’s in Huntington Beach

Vegan dining - trainingCoconut soup at Spice’s Thai Restaurant in Mira Mesa

Vegan Dining - trainingThis was the lunch special (plus the soup)! So much food, including the curry with vegetables and tofu, spring rolls, a salad, and brown rice.

 All in all a great weekend. And a perfect way to celebrate my birthday.

How was your weekend? What are you training for right now?