Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Week 13 of training is officially complete and 11 weeks from today I will be running (or at this time hopefully done with) the Los Angeles Marathon! Even though I was off work most of this week I still couldn't manage to make time for Bar Method. Instead I started the week on Tuesday with a timed run. Since so many of us have been experiencing various levels of injury, Coach Trey decided to give us a break and we only had to run out for 15 minutes then turn around and head back to Fleet Feet Encino. This came out to about 3 miles but I accidentally restarted my watch when I was trying to stop it so my pace is wrong. After the run we used the Trigger Point rollers and also did some hip strengthening. Although most people found the hip work pretty tough, it was a breeze for me and I know I have Woodland Hills Physical Therapy to thank for that.

Wednesday I started the day at WHPT and planned to get my scheduled 6 miles in but instead went to see Sherlock Holmes followed by Black Angus for dinner. Sometimes life gets in the way of training and I try to remember that missing one run isn't going to ruin my marathon experience... but I still managed to make up the run on Thursday!

I actually had a great run on Thursday, even though I had to run solo. I used mapmyrun to plan my route and managed to come up with only 2-3 stoplights for 6 miles! I had some decent hills in there but they were pretty gradual so I was able to keep my pace up. After the run I headed over to Fleet Feet for the weekly yoga class with Ko Ohka. It was a great class and I'm getting really close to touching my heels to the ground in downdog. I think I'll make that my goal for 2012, though I'll need to go more than once a week I'm sure. Luckily I bought a deal for yoga classes in Agoura Hills so hopefully I can make that happen.

Friday I hit up WHPT after finding out that Saturday's 12 miles would be run on trails. My inner thighs were sore from yoga but they got me ready to run! It was soooo hard getting up Saturday but I dragged myself out of bed and was really glad I did when I finally got to the meeting point and saw this:

We started the "run" (and you'll find out soon enough why that's in quotes) with a walk up a super steep hill to warm up. Then we began trotting along and I tried to keep my pace slow to conserve energy. It soon became very clear that I was not going slow enough and after about 2 miles I was walking. Luckily Coach Trey came along and gave me a series of landmarks to push me to run a little more than I thought I could. He also suggested taking shorter steps and moving my arms which really did help going uphill. By the time we got to the turnaround point, about 4 miles in, I felt like I'd already run 12. I had a snack and some water (which we had to carry ourselves, but it wasn't too bad) and started walking. I decided that I would walk all the uphills and run the flats (ha, what flats?) and downhills but would make an effort to run at least some part of the uphills using Trey's landmark method. It worked and I finished but it was pretty miserable.

I thought it was pretty interesting though, that trails seemed to be the great equalizer, at least for our group. Granted Bobby and Joseph, our super speedy guys, weren't there but we all seemed to be very close together throughout the run. Some people, like my neighbor Andreia who is awesome on hills, I knew would pass me but I was surprised (and inspired) to see her husband Jack not only pass me but pull away to the point I knew I wouldn't catch up! He kept a slow steady pace and was able to run almost the entire time... I could really stand to learn from him. I also appreciated the camaraderie that developed from such a tough run. Our group typically tends to encourage each other when passing at Balboa Park, but you could tell the empathy in our voices when we gave a "nice job" or the ever desirable "almost there." It even applied to strangers along the trail, walkers, bikers, and other runners, who almost always said "hello" or "good morning." I guess there is just something about death march I mean trail workouts that bond everyone together.

Even though it was very difficult, it was nice to hear that even Coach Trey wasn't always great at trail running. He reminded me that when I first started running, even flat ground was difficult. And even running hills on the road is still pretty tricky for me. Since I clearly wasn't going to have a wonderful pace or anything, I figured I might as well take a couple pictures since the area was beautiful and we had some great views.

Even having lived in the Valley my whole life, I had never been on Reseda Blvd. south of Ventura. I had no idea there were such fancy homes up there and ultimately it turns into a dirt road!

 Looking out over the Valley

At the top of the super steep hill where we started (end of Reseda Blvd)

And finally, my fundraising is still a little stagnant but I'm expecting that to change as we draw closer to the race. I've got a macaron order from my aunt to fulfill (and big thanks to her for being super flexible) and I'm going to try to think of more creative ways to raise funds. In the meantime, why not start the year off right by helping a great cause that does so much for victims of sexual abuse and assault as well as raising awareness:

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