Rock and Roll Marathon San Diego. The Recap.


Apparently I have an ego. And it was humbled last Sunday at the Rock and Roll Marathon San Diego.

I seem to be having a bit of a hard time accepting that I am no longer the runner that I was eight years ago. Oh, I had big plans (remember that 4:15?). I guess what I forgot is that insufficient training + older age maturity does not equal a great time in a marathon, no matter what one used to run.

All of this is silly, of course. We had a great time! I ran with my husband the whole way, we took pictures, we talked to people, we cheered for the bands. We walked when we needed to (which was quite a bit, especially in the second half). We even sat down once (not a good idea because not only was it hard to get back up, it somehow tweaked Alan’s back). I did make my standard, mile 25 nausea stop, where I stick my finger down my throat in the hopes I’ll feel better (I did!).


The race started at 6:15 on Sunday morning (here is my pre-race recap, which takes us up to the starting line). As I mentioned before, we had been told that there would not be waves for the marathon. Therefore we were surprised when they held each corral up for a minute before letting them start. I don’t know, that sounds like a wave start to me. So we actually started at 6:21.

It always takes me a couple miles to get into a rhythm in any long race, and this marathon was no different. I had a hard time getting my breathing under control, which always worries me because of my exercise induced asthma. And my stomach felt like a rock! It didn’t hurt, but it felt full and uncomfortable for the entire race.


After less than a mile of a slight uphill, the course turns right onto University Avenue (and runs by within a couple blocks of where my Aunt Lois used to live). It is pretty flat through that section, then takes a turn back toward the city again, which is basically downhill as you head toward the San Diego Harbor.

That was pretty much the last downhill we’d enjoy until the last few miles of the race. I was feeling good at this point, except my stomach. I stopped once to use the porta-potty, then a couple miles later, Alan did the same (and I did again, just in case). That put us a little behind our pace, but we caught it up a little on that downhill into the city.

At five miles, when we were almost at the harbor, we took a turn and ran right through Petco Park, home of the Padres baseball team. Of course we had to stop for a couple pictures.


And of course, the requisite selfie.

RnR9Then the course headed back uphill. That’s when it got, well, challenging.

We still kept plugging along. At mile six I grabbed a little vasoline from the medical tent (because I’d forgotten my body glide in my gear bag). As we ran out of downtown San Diego, we ran through Little Italy, then Old Town. I loved running through the neighborhoods of San Diego. At mile eight, we ran through the first of two tunnels. While it was pretty short, maybe a quarter of a mile, the band was playing, and they had set up a light show. It was cool. The second tunnel, at mile 25 was similar, and briefly energized Alan and me. Briefly.

After Old Town, we turned onto Morena Blvd. I love and hate Morena Blvd. I love it because it is the name of our beloved bloodhound, who we lost in 2009. Hate it because it is boring and hot. But at least it is flat.

We finally turned toward Mission Bay, approaching the halfway point. While we welcomed the cool breeze, it was just about then that the sun started to peek out. Within a couple miles, the clouds had cleared completely, and it definitely warmed up.


We had a few struggles as we ran past Mission Bay. We walked multiple several times, and that was where we took the ill-fated sit-down break. I had a few deja vu moments though, as I recognized portions of previous races that I’ve run along Mission Bay, including Ragnar (that was Carrie’s leg), the Fearless 5k, and a few others. We also saw an old friend cheering on the runners at mile 13. It’s always fun to see a friendly face.


From there it just got harder. We fell farther and farther behind my our goal pace, walked more, especially up any hills. At mile 15, that hill was a bridge over the I5 freeway. We were walking alongside another gal, who said something to the effect this was nothing compared to the hill at mile 20. Uh oh.

The sun was fully out now, and it was warming up. As we ran into a residential area, we were happy to see so many residents out there with their water hoses helping to cool the runners down. Drought be damned. And they handed out cold, wet sponges at a couple locations, which I held onto so I could continue to use it so cool myself down (a choice I regretted later as I apparently washed off all my sunscreen).


We kept moving though. Alan would run ahead, I would catch up when he took a walk break. We were feeling it by then. Alan’s back had bothered him since our one sit down break, but he kept moving along. And I did too.

When we were finally approaching mile 20, which is where we turn off Friars Road onto the 163 freeway, I was actually looking forward to it. I was remembering the race from years before, when we ran along 163 in the opposite direction early in the race. I remembered it as being mostly uphill, so I expected that we would be running in the opposite direction, so it would be downhill, right?

Not so much.

One of my facebook friends characterized miles 20-22 as the hill by which all other hills will be forever measured (my words, but her sentiment). They called it the Mile of Music, but, I think of it as two miles of hell. Yeah, there were a couple speakers along the road playing some music but even Jump couldn’t get me going at that point. But then they played Happy!


If you follow my blog you know that I have a special place in my heart for this song, even since Ragnar when it was played over and over during the event. Yes, annoying to a point, but in retrospect, the song has come to represent and remind me of the good times that we had. Now when I hear it, it makes me, well, happy! I even managed a little (painful) dance up that hill.


Alan and I were both so happy when we finally got off that freeway! We were even happy to hear a man say, right before the mile 22 marker, “less than five more miles!” The next section was through another neighborhood, with kids cheering us, and a few more men with hoses. Love them.

And then there were the TseTse Flies.

RnR12Original concept for a band, no? Alan was ready to join.

We kept moving, albeit slowly. Run a little, walk a little, repeat.

RnR3This was during one of the walk a little parts.

RnRWe were pooped, but still were having fun! We were getting close now, plus taking pictures gave us a chance to stop for a moment.

We finally reached that last downhill portion of the race. At one point, Coach Paul Greer, who’s been coaching and cheering runners for many years in San Diego and manages to appear all over the course during the race, was standing at the side yelling, “use the downhill!” I had to laugh, because by then even the downhill felt like an uphill.

At mile 25, after my “barf break,” we got it going a little bit, determined to roll into the finish with some dignity. I think we managed. What do you think?

RnR4It took us 5:36:09, which is where my humbled ego comes in. This is more than an hour slower than my previous “worst” time, and more than two hours slower than my best time. I had wished hoped planned for 4:15. It didn’t work out that way. We had a great time, we ran together, had fun, survived 26.2 miles on insufficient training. I’ll get over it, I know. Heck, Alan isn’t bothered by it at all, and he’s a lot faster than I am.

Actually, as it turns out, Alan finished 10th in his division, and I was 32 out of 75. So I guess we did pretty good for our age after all!

RnR20Does it make a difference that my Garmin showed a 26.63 mile run? Not really.

We grabbed some water, a banana, stopped for a photo, trudged hustled over to pick up our gear bags, then headed back to the car. We had brought along a cooler with two bottles of our Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator, which was cold and delicious and helped get us on the road to recovery. We also took one more selfie to show off the hardware.

RnR17We finally made it back to our hotel about 1:30. We ate, slept, rested, stretched, and showered. We did not, unfortunately, make it to the wedding.

CompressionI slipped on my compression sleeves as soon as we got back to the room. I credit them with helping me recover more quickly. By the next morning, I felt amazingly good. We walked to the beach, and I had very little soreness in my legs.


As I mentioned, I used those sponges to keep me cool during the race. The downside was a terrible sunburn on my chest and shoulders. My face wasn’t too bad, but I’m still mad at myself for allowing this to happen. I also have a blister on my toe, unusual for me, but probably something to do with running for over five and a half hours.


As I write this it is three days after the race. I am finally coming to an agreement with my ego, and simply appreciating my accomplishment for what it was. I (we) kicked ass! We did everything we wanted to do, and had a good time doing it. I am enjoying my recovery. I took a short run on Wednesday, and my legs felt surprisingly good.

I have learned something about myself (a common denominator for everyone who runs a marathon, I think). I like running “fast,” though that is relative these days. If I’m going to do this again, I want to train properly. I want to see what I can do again, at my age.

RnR18So, here goes the training again! Well, soon anyway. After I take my time allowing my body to rest and recover.

What winter race do you think I should do? I’m thinking around mid-December. Hmmm, something tropical maybe?

We Came, We Ran, We Rocked

Well, kind of.

The full recap of Rock and Roll San Diego will be coming, but let me just say: Expect a lot of couple selfies.

Rnr7Because that’s what we did best. We had fun, we took pictures, we struggled, we did a lot of walking. Basically what two, ahem, older people will do when they run  a marathon with insufficient training. So, yes. We rocked.

We drove into San Diego on Saturday morning and drove straight to the expo. Even though it has been over eight years since my last marathon, expos are the same. Too many people, lots of things I don’t need, overpriced race souvenirs (including the all-important race shot glass), and, did I say, too many people.

RnR14Alan bought a few things in the Brooks Happy Island Store, while I didn’t buy the Run Happy hat (so I’m going to have to search it down because I really need want that hat).



After the expo, we headed over to Evolution Fast Food for lunch (more on that later), then to our hotel to check in and kick back for the rest of the day.

But first, we had to make a stop at Roadrunner Sports. We are the original VIPs (just a slight exaggeration) and have spent so much money there (starting when it was just a catalog store) that it’s almost embarrassing. Alan got a great deal at the lightly used shoe store.


Sorry. I’m a Shoe Dog Fan girl.

We actually stayed in north San Diego county, in Encinitas because that’s our favorite place in the whole world.  We ate an early dinner at Native Foods, then, because we had to get up around 2:00 am, went to bed early. After I laid out my running outfit for the photo opportunity of course.


I realized that each part of my race day outfit was from a different company. My top is from Lorna Jane, skirt (which fortunately arrived on Friday!) from, shoes from Mizuno, sock were Nike, and bra was Under Armour. I am Eclectic!

Boy, did 2:00 come early! The reason for our early wake up call was that we were told to arrive by 4:00 am so that we could park, catch the shuttle to the start, etc. We did arrive almost exactly at 4:00, and I guess it was worth it because there were no long lines of marathoners waiting to park. We drove right in (to our pre-paid parking lot), parked, and walked over to catch the shuttle. Of course that meant we had about two hours to wait before the race started.


We camped out at the lawn bowling field (?) at Balboa Park. Even though we were just a few feet from all of the action at the start, there were very few people that joined us. We had a nice bench and were able to relax (with only two potty trips) until about a half hour before the start.


At about 5:45, we headed toward the start line (the marathon started at 6:15, the half marathon at 6:45).


We found our corral (#6), and squeezed in to await the start of the race.


There were quite a few runners.


There were about 8,000 in the marathon, 20,000 in the half. We were told that there would not be waves for the full marathon, but somehow, there were actually waves that started one minute apart. No big deal really, but when you’re told one thing, then the gun goes off and you think you’re off, then it turns out you have to wait another six minutes, it was, well, a little annoying. Plus that makes the clock off by six minutes throughout the race (not that it mattered too much as it turned out).


The man who took our picture was very proud that he got the Rock and Roll banner in the background. So was I.

The rest of the recap will be coming tomorrow because it’s late, I’m tired, and I ran a marathon yesterday. So stay tuned!

Oh, just so you (kind of) know what’s coming, we did earn this:


So, how was your weekend? Any event, races, or family fun? Did you Rock and Roll (there were a lot of bloggers there, none of home I bumped into)?

It’s Time to Rock and Roll!

Are We Ready to Rock and Roll?

I say this way too often, but damn! Time flies. When I first decided, back in January, to sign up to run my first marathon in over eight years, this date seemed so far away. Yet now, in two more days, I’ll be standing at the start line of my 36th marathon, Rock and Roll San Diego. I am excited, scared, anxious, and uncertain, basically feeling what every first time marathoner feels, can I do this?


I’m feeling a lot of the emotions that I felt for this race, my first marathon, in 1996.

Actually, I am quite sure that I can do it, but I would like to finish strong and with dignity (unlike the time in the San Diego Marathon (now Carlsbad Marathon) when my finish line photo showed me holding my hand over my mouth, trying not to throw up!). I’ve set a goal of 4:15, which I’m not sure that I can accomplish, but I’m certainly going to try. To that end, Pacebands was kind enough to send me one of their 4:15 wristbands to use during my race. I’ll have a giveaway coming up next week, so stay tuned. I know that my Paceband will be a great tool to keep me on target for my goal time.


 Getting to the Start Line

While Pacebands will help to get me to the finish line, I’ve also had a lot of help along the way getting to the start line. A lot of things have to happen during marathon training in order to stay healthy, strong, and uninjured. In addition to following a four month training plan, which includes building your endurance and stamina, you need to taper properly, and have a plan for race day.

St. George

Even though I had to train through the desert summer (or possibly because of it), I did my best training ever in preparation for the St. George Marathon in 1999. And it resulted in my PR.

Then there are the small things that help you through training. Those little things that motivate you, nourish you, restore you.

Taper Time 4

A Great Training Partner

The best thing of all was that Alan decided to run (and therefore train) for the marathon too. His last full marathon was done as part of Ironman Arizona a few years ago, so it’s been a while for him too. While not all of our training days aligned, we did our long runs together most of the time, which was awesome. We plan to run the race together, something we do for the “important” races: my first marathon in 1996, and both times we ran the Paris Marathon. Some things are meant to be enjoyed as a couple.

Paris Marathon

We wouldn’t have pictures like this if we didn’t run together for the Paris Marathon.

A Nutritional Boost

I was very fortunate that I was able to partner with Fit Approach and Vega Sport, who gave me the opportunity to try out the Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator. As I mentioned in my review, it is the first all natural, plant based recovery drink mix designed to address all six key elements of post-workout recovery, including muscle glycogen replenishment, muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis, hormonal support, soft tissue repair, immune system support, inflammation reduction and rehydration. It has been a wonderful addition to my recovery plan. If you feel that you may not be achieving to your potential, check out the Fuel Your Better website.

Vega Sport

I plan to have a bottle of Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator waiting for me at the finish line.

Great Shoes

While I tend to wear a variety of shoe styles and brands during training depending on the type of workout, Mizuno Wave Riders have been my go-to shoe for everyday base training and long runs for a while now. I took a leap a couple years ago in my never ending search for the perfect shoe. I came pretty close, and I’ll be running Rock and Roll in a bright and shiny new pair of Wave Riders.

mizuno wave rider

Wave Rider 16 (last year’s model but I love the color)

A Cute Functional Outfit

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of this skirt from It’s on it’s way, but I hope I didn’t order too late because it will go perfectly with the top I’m going to wear, which I bought at Lorna Jane. It’s not really a running top, but it fits so well, no chafing, and it’s so pretty that I plan to wear it for the race. If by chance the skirt doesn’t arrive, I have a white one that I bought last year for the Costume Party Run (from which I’ve removed the Dalmatian spots), which will work just fine.

Vega Sport 4

Love, love, love this top from Lorna Jane.

The Rock and Roll Marathon starts at 6:15 Pacific Time on Sunday. If you’d like to track my progress, my race number is 56310. We’ll be at the expo around 10:00 on Saturday morning if anyone wants to meet up. We don’t have a shake out run planned (though if you’re looking for one you can join Meb, Pavement Runner, or Stuft Mama), just packet pickup, a little shopping (which should serve to shake out those legs a little bit), then lunch with the family. Then hopefully a nice relaxing afternoon, an early bedtime, and some good sleep. Ooh, and dinner here!

Anybody doing the Rock and Roll Marathon or Half Marathon? Or shopping at the expo? I’d love to “tweet up!”

What I Ate…Vegan on the Road at IHRSA

What you won’t find in this post: A list of elegant vegan restaurants, beautifully photographed entrees, or how I packed enough food to feast upon for four days. What you will find: How I survived, ate delicious food, some great memories, and created a few good pictures from my vegan on a budget weekend.

I did bring a few things with me. A small bunch of bananas. A few Clifbars. A tub of hummus, coconut milk creamer, and popcorn. Oh, and a bottle of wine. I wasn’t a girl scout, but I know about being prepared.

I am afraid that I don’t even remember the name of the cafe where I had lunch on my first day at the convention. I had bumped into Kymberly and we wanted to find a quick lunch close to the convention center. I figured I could always order a salad no matter where we went, and that is exactly what I did. Their chopped salad was pretty good with a good mix of vegetables. A little lemon, oil, vinegar, and pepper made a tasty dressing. It was the company that was the important part anyway.

By the time I checked in to my hotel on Wednesday, it was after 5 and I’d been on the go for over 12 hours. I really didn’t feel like searching out and driving to a vegan restaurant, so instead I headed to Little Italy, a neighborhood in downtown San Diego, where you will find many Italian restaurants and lots of pasta. I filled up on capelinni with tomato and basil and it was quite good. Not shown in the (incredibly bad) photo, the glass of wine I had with dinner.

Vegan at IHRSA

Bad picture, great food, at one of the Italian Restaurants in Little Italy.

Because I never made it to a grocery store (and I didn’t have a refrigerator in my room, just my cooler) breakfast on Thursday was a little, um, unplanned. A bagel and some fruit from the free continental breakfast at my hotel, plus a banana, and a Clifbar, were all I had through the day. By the time I finished up my last session for the day at 3:00, I was starving. I decided it was worth it to head over to one of the few vegan restaurants in San Diego, Evolution Fast Food.

vegan at IHRSA

I’d been there before, back when I was in town to deal with the death of my Aunt Lois, but I was kind of surprised at how easy it was to drive there from the convention center. Um, two miles straight up 5th St? No problem!


Once there I loaded up on a few things. A Buffalo Chick’n Sandwich, a veggie sandwich for the following day, a peachy dessert that was delicious and so huge that it lasted for the next 3 days, and a raw scramble, made with almonds, curry, cilantro and other seasonings that was really good.

bla bla bla

A little later in the evening, I headed over to meet my son and daughter in law for dinner. They are about a 20 minute drive from downtown so it was a pretty quick drive. After a little discussion (they are NOT vegan), we chose the Genghis Grill Mongolian Stir Fry. I was a little hesitant, but it turned out to be very good. The concept is that you select the ingredients of your meal as you pass through a salad bar type area. You pick your protein (they keep the tofu with the vegetables, not the meat, which is good), your seasoning, vegetables, and sauces then they grill them up and bring them to your table. I made sure to tell them that mine was vegetarian, and they promise to keep it separate for the meat-filled areas. It was delicious!


On Friday morning, I brought along my goodies from Evolution Fast Food, and ate some of the raw scramble before my shopping and exercise at the Lorna Jane grand opening. I ate my veggie sandwich while I was at the trade show (right after my Anti Gravity Yoga class when I needed some refueling).

After spending about four hours wandering the floor of the convention center, I was starving (again) and I couldn’t think of anything that sounded better than another Buffalo Chick’n Sandwich. This time I ordered it with fries and it was just as good as I remembered.

It was an early evening for me. After all the walking through the convention center, the classes at Lorna Jane and the trade show, I was pooped. The next day, Saturday, I grabbed yet another bagel and bowl of fruit from the hotel breakfast, but my main fuel for my last session of the convention was the last of the raw scramble (and a banana).


Then I was off to visit Samuel (and his parents) again. They invited me for brunch! We had a potato scramble, salad, guacamole, and a fruit bowl.


While some of my meals seem a little off the cuff and random, they really prove that it is possible to adhere to your vegan diet easily, even when you’re on the road. Nothing was fancy, but all was delicious.

How do you manage when you travel? Do you search for just the right restaurant, bring a lot of your own food, hit the supermarket when you arrive, or…?

Squeezing It In: Fitting in Workouts on a Busy Schedule

Wow! What a week. After two days at work, I was off to the IHRSA Convention (more on that later), where I spent four days living out of a suitcase, on mostly restaurant food (more on that later too). I also attended the grand opening of the Lorna Jane Active Living Room in La Jolla, spent some time with my family (and grandson!), and finished the week with my scheduled long run. That makes me kind of tired just to write, even though I just lived through it!

Debbie poster

I thought it was pretty cool that I was featured in one of the huge posters that IHRSA had on the walls of the San Diego Convention Center!

Squeezing in Workouts

It can be tough to stick with your plan and get in your workouts when life gets busy or if you’re on the road. Believe me, I wasn’t perfect myself, in spite of being surrounded with an amazing number of classes to attend, fitness equipment to try out, and staying in one of the most runner friendly locales in the country.

Being too busy is one of the most common excuses not to work out, and it can be a challenging one to overcome. At the convention, my first sessions started at 8:00. That meant to get in a run, shower, and drive to the convention center I needed to get out on the road by 6:00 at the latest. The problem? Well the recent time change was not in my favor. And I did not want to run alone, in the dark, in downtown San Diego. That meant…the dreadmill treadmill.

Treadmill workouts

Fortunately the treadmill at the hotel was a newer LifeFitness model, so that I could imagine I was running through the forest instead of clomping along on a treadmill in a tiny hotel fitness room.

Another way I fit in fitness during my travel was to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me by the Lorna Jane opening (they had free classes), and some of the exhibitors at the trade show.

Grand Opening at Lorna Jane La Jolla

I was invited to attend the grand opening of the new Lorna Jane store in La Jolla and to attend one of the free classes they were offering all weekend (I was compensated for this, but my body actually had to do the workout). Silly me, I misread the schedule and thought that I was attending a Pilates class. It wasn’t until it was time to start that I found out that it was actually a class called Torture Intensity Training with Tim. Okay…

I was surrounded by much younger fitness enthusiasts (including Ashleigh from A Daily Cup of AsheeJoJo) , but, if I do say so myself I kept up pretty well. It was only about 30 minutes, but it was enough of a workout to get my heart pumping and my muscles burning.

LJ Class Workouts

MJ Blog Friends - Workouts

That’s Ashleigh in the middle.

Because I had the class schedule mixed up, I arrived early at the Lorna Jane store. That gave me an hour to spend shopping! Everyone at the shop was so helpful, and I ended up selecting several pieces that I love. I can’t wait to get back to La Jolla!

LJ Shop - workouts

Love, love, love the bright colors!

LJ Outfits - workout clothes

Not the best picture, in my hotel room at night, but I was so happy with my purchases!

LJ Datebook

I also received Lorna Jane’s 2014 Move Nourish Believe date book. I love the motivational sayings and the layout. I just bought a paper-based appointment calendar for the first time in years, but I think I’m going to move to this one. I love it!

I also took the opportunity to take the Anti-Gravity Yoga class again at the IHRSA trade show. I did it last year and LOVED it. Unfortunately, we don’t have any locations to take the class in the desert, so I was on the lookout for it. It is a half hour long, and it is amazing. When you are supported by the silk hammocks you can do extraordinary things.

Workouts IHRSA

This isn’t me (though I chose this picture because she was blonde). I was wandering alone when I found the Anti-Gravity Yoga booth, so I didn’t have anyone to take pictures.

I also spent time here and there on several different brands of treadmills, just trying them out, enjoying all the bells and whistles that they have now.

All in all, I felt happy with my workouts during my trip. While they weren’t up to my normal level, or keeping up with my marathon training schedule, I did keep active. Not only that, the Friday workout at Lorna Jane kicked my butt! I woke up Saturday morning so sore I could hardly get out of bed. While I wanted to skip that treadmill run, I thought it might help loosen me up a little (it did not, but I’m still glad I ran).

In fact, I was so sore on Saturday that I was concerned about my Sunday long run. I was scheduled to run 15 miles. Could I do it when my legs were burning before I even started?

Before I left for home, I took a quick trip to my son and daughter-in-law’s and got to see guess who? Samuel! He is getting so big and starting to walk so well! Walking in spite of the new puppy, Chloe, who gets excited and tends to knock him over!

Samuel CollageAs a good grandma, I of course took some video too:

I will be filling you in completely about the IHRSA Convention in the upcoming days, but I did want to mention two things.

First, I was so happy to bump into Kymberly, from Fun and Fit. We met for the first time at last year’s convention, so it felt like old friends getting together when we saw each other. But, bad bloggers that we were, we didn’t get a single picture together! And I missed out on seeing her twin, Alexandra, who didn’t get to San Diego until Friday. Hopefully I won’t have to wait another year to see them again.

Kymberly - workout

No pictures together, but I loved this pic of Kymberly trying out the Total Gym at the trade show!

Sunday, finally back at home, I was scheduled to run 15 miles. My legs (not to mention my abs, chest, and shoulders) were so sore I was really concerned I wouldn’t be able to do it. That didn’t keep me from trying though.

Because I’d been gone all week, I really needed to take Penny and Buddy for a short run first:

Training 15 miles - workoutsI only took them for two miles, but I know they were happy about it. Then I headed out for the next 13.

Well, I was slow, feeling like I was shuffling along for a lot of the run, but I did it! I finished my 15 in 2:50, and boy was I happy to get it done. I actually felt pretty good, but my legs really were beat. I’m so happy that next week is a cut back week! Here’s the schedule for the coming week:

Training ScheduleIt is possible to get your training in if you really want it. There are ways to overcome the “I’m too busy” excuse. Check this post for ideas to help you get your fitness on no matter what the excuse.

How was your weekend? How do you overcome the “I’m too busy” excuse?

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.