Tuesday I joined the gang at Fleet Feet Encino for another 8 mile hill run. We run mainly through neighborhoods and don't usually have too many issues with cars, however before we even reached mile one, three of us were nearly struck by a car! Keep in mind that all three of us were wearing headlamps and brightly colored clothing, not exactly easy to miss. Also, the car came to a full stop at a stop sign, then inched forward and stopped again seeming to have noticed us and letting us pass. Just when we were passing directly in front of the car it started to take off! I was the furthest ahead and grabbed Andreia's arm attempting to pull her with me as we all shrieked and tried to run faster. Luckily the car stopped before anyone was hurt but it's definitely the closest I've ever been to being hit. After that chaos the rest of the run seemed almost easy. In fact, I read in Thrive that doing something to shock your system (like loud music) can increase your adrenaline and cause your body to take more kindly to running. Not that I want to have near death experiences before each run, but if I can think of something safer it might not be a bad idea.
After the run we gathered at the store for ab work. Coach Trey commented that I had improved over the past few months at the "leg up" exercise where you put your legs straight in the air and lift them straight up. When I started training I would lift but nothing would happen. Lately though I've managed to get some air! It still burns my abs but as a teammate said, that's how you know it's working!
I actually did the Wednesday run on Wednesday this week. I'm so lucky that my neighbor Andreia is a runner too and also training for the marathon so we set off on our 8 mile run together. It wasn't the speediest run but considering our elevation gain was 400 feet I think we did pretty well. I ate half a Bonk Breaker in addition to some carrots and hummus before the run and I felt great! Unfortunately Andreia didn't eat quite as well and was struggling toward the end. I've definitely been there and must say that working on my nutrition (eating better and increasing my calories) has probably had the biggest impact on my runs.
Thursday I went to Fleet Feet for yoga with Ko Ohka. I walked in and was shocked to see at least triple the normal crowd. I had forgotten that Fleet Feet's 5 and 10k programs had started up and those trainees were there to take advantage of their free weekly yoga. Since most of them had never taken yoga before Ko took the class very slow and easy. It was kind of nice because for once I felt like I was a star student and not just hopping around trying to keep up. After class one of the girls from the marathon training group mentioned that I had lost weight and was looking toned! Talk about ending class on a high note, that really made my day!
Friday I went to WHPT for my usual pre-run workout. The gang was in an extra silly mood and Rod walked in while Mike was working on my right arch wearing a latex glove on his head! The pain had been pretty tough to get through so I appreciated the laugh.
Saturday morning came earlier than usual this week. Coach Trey had suggested we do our 16 mile run at Zuma Beach for a change of scenery. Even though we had just done 20 miles at the beach last week and it wasn't a huge success, another run at Balboa Park sounded even less appealing so I jumped at the chance. I looked at the satellite maps online and the boardwalk looked dinky so I emailed Trey and asked if he knew something I didn't. He said he'd never been there! Now I started wondering if I should just run at Santa Monica again for fear of the unknown. Luckily one of the run/walkers in our group did her homework and said we could accomplish the run in three loops all on boardwalk or through parking lots (which would likely be empty on an early, rainy Saturday morning as had been predicted). My confidence was renewed, especially knowing other runners would be there so I convinced Sarah and Andreia to join me and we met up at the beach at exactly 7:00 a.m. I wore shorts again, a different pair this time, to test them out and also to test my ability to wear shorts in cold weather. We took off and at the end of the parking lot came across a film crew. It was a nice distraction to see what they were up to on each of our three passes. We also ran by vans for the Biggest Loser Resort and saw the trainees about to head up a steep hill at the end of the parking lot. We saw plenty of other runners which was encouraging that we weren't crazy for being out there. We kept a really good pace, almost all miles were sub-12 minutes! I was really happy about that. After the run, Sarah, Andreia, and I headed down to the water for our ice bath. It was extra freezing this time since we didn't have the 70+ degree weather of last week. Also the waves were gnarly so we had to quickly dunk before getting sucked out to sea. Overall a great run and I'm glad we got in the water again.
After a nap I got up and made hazelnut macarons with nutella filling for my awesome friend Wie who made a contribution to support the Center for Assault Treatment Services. I'm so excited, they came out awesome even though I've never made hazelnut ones before (traditional macarons are made with ground almonds). If you donate $26.20 or more, you too can have your very own batch of homemade macarons! Just go to http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta