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Starting Line

Last year, I ran my first marathon in San Diego. The other day, I found the starting line video from that event. You can see the magnitude of this event, and see how many TNT participants are involved.

Hills Finale

hilltraining.jpgTonight was the final scheduled session of our hill training. Unfortunately, this was only my third of five total sessions. After an initial warm up run down the street, we ran up the hill for a total of 6 times (7 to be exact because we did 2 half runs), and looped around the block for 3 times.

Ok, after 3 seasons of hill training you’d think I’d perfect this by now, right? NO. That hill is STILL hard. That hill had a gradual incline up until that horrid 40 degree incline 3/4 of the way up! Just like last time, my heart was beating sooo fast, and my breathing was so deep. During the run, there was only one word on my mind. “WHY?”.

I didn’t really know until after the run, because actually, I felt great. I felt great for accomplishing and not giving up on that hill that continues to conquer most of us. I felt great for being able to say no to whatever party or bar I may have hit up tonight, and actually deciding to train. I feel stronger every time, and I’m loving it. The San Diego Marathon is a month and days away, and you know what? I already feel I’m ready.

What’s That Gooey Stuff?

gels.jpgPrior to joining TNT last year I had no idea what was a carb gel. Two of the more popular carb gels are the Powerbar Gel or the GU Energy Gel. What I mentioned in my last post was that the GU saved my run. Reason being is that we burn so much carbs and electrolytes while running that we need to replenish very quickly, especially during endurance training. According to the GU website, these are the instructions:

Follow these three simple steps to maximize your athletic performance:
1. Top off your energy stores by taking one packet of GU 15 minutes before exercise, preferably on an empty stomach for fastest absorption.

2. For sustained energy consume one packet of GU every 35-45 minutes during exercise, washing it down with a few mouthfuls of water or GU2O hydration drink to speed absorption.

3. Speed recovery and reduce post-exercise fatigue by eating one packet of GU within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. This takes advantage of the post-exercise time window when your body replenishes lost glycogen most efficiently.

So, for a long run, or a marathon, I would be consuming maybe 5 or 6 packs a run. It’s very important to try these out BEFORE your marathon if you plan on running one because some people on my team get stomach aches or feel too heavy after taking one. Sometimes, the favors are just plain nasty. My favorite is the caramel flavored Powerbar Gel, mainly because it’s consistent to what it should feel like, and taste like. I’ve tried many fruit flavors, and no, it’s not what you would expect! There are a few alternatives, I’ll gather some information and will post later.

Palos Verdes

Palos Verdes, CAWeek 11 Sunday Run: The Palos Verdes Route – We started off at the shopping center at Malaga Cove, ran to Hawethorne Blvd, passing 2 water stops, back to the starting point, then run to the first water stop, then back. Weather was perfect, beautiful views of the ocean, passing some really amazing houses. We even saw a glass house. Yes, I was able to see straight through it, overlooking the ocean.

We formed a pace group 3 “b”, because half of us wanted a 6 minute run : 1 minute walk interval instead of a 7:1 considering the hills on this course. Oh, there are hills all right, especially the first one being within the first mile of running. It wasn’t TOO bad because the amount of uphills evened out with the amount of downhills. Today I ran with Mega, Shauna, Jennifer, and Gretchen… talking about various topics from favorite vacations, to running teams who drink, to cool hotspots in LA/Hollywood. Great talks make the run go by so quickly. Other factors in making this a great course: We had no idea how the course was so we didn’t really know the mile marks were. “Oh, we’re almost done!”, and the power of the GU.

The Heat

hot!Week 10 Sunday Run: Ok I know I’m on the “Summer” team, but it’s not summer yet! It felt like summer today, running 10 miles in 80 something degree weather. They even ran out of water at the 2nd water stop, and my water belt went empty early on. The sun was beating so hard that we scrounged for shade while we ran.

I continued to run with pace group 3. Surprisingly, I kept up again, even with this hot weather! Glad for that. I met some new people on the team, and also ran with a participant from the Winter Season, Lindsey. She’s always good company. We did our usual run from Shutters, down to Venice, then back up on San Vicente & 7th, then back to the parking lot. Usually, our team would be on the grass doing post-run stretches, but we were all appreciating the cool concrete under the parking lot shade.

Movin On Up

movinonup.jpg Week 9 Sunday Run: After finishing strong last week with no problems, my teammate Phillipa decided we should try out pace group 3 this week. I agreed, and guess what? This is the week where the team happens to extend our intervals by one minute to a 7:1 interval. Mind you, this pace is faster, AND we’re running longer (14 miles).

The beginning of my runs are usually the worst, where I have the most pains, but I actually kept up with the pace group! The front end of the group are ex-group 2, so their actual pace was much much faster. It was about a 9:30/mile pace for a while, then we eventually split into our own groups. I had a hard time breathing because this is NOT my usual pace. Last week’s pace was probably a consistent 10:30/mile.

This pace group is a little more challenging as well because we actually ran up the pier, which is one huge incline, and after each water stop, we reset our watches to new intervals. Towards the end though, Philippa’s knee was bothering her, so we took it easy… can’t risk any more injuries. All in all, I’m glad that I was able to keep up with this pace group. I can feel myself pushing my limits, but after we enjoyed a lovely brunch at Rutt’s Cafe in Culver City with teammates, Warren, Byong, John, and Samantha.

Negative Splits

smocean.jpgWeek 8 Sunday Run: I missed last Sunday’s run due to Easter in San Diego with the family, so the last time I did a long run was two weeks ago. Boy, time surely flies. I can’t believe it’s week 8 already. Today’s scheduled run was 8 miles. It was our usual course, from Shutters, to the end of Venice, back north to San Vicente, then back to the parking lot where we meet.

This week was the perfect example of using Negative Splits. Negative splits is a running term where you run faster on the second half of your runs instead of the first half. So for the first half, you keep a slow pace, conserving energy, and warming up your muscles getting ready for a faster second half. This is truly my running style because usually, my aches and pains get introduced in the beginning, then towards the end I am good (or maybe it’s the fact that my muscles and joints get numbs that I can’t feel it anymore? I don’t know, I’m not an expert).

Towards the end, Ilana and Philippa, my running partners of the week, kinda strayed away from our usual pace group 4 and picked up the pace a little bit. Philippa even got us to RUN up the incline where the pier starts (great use of hill training there). We felt we had a very energy efficient pace, and I admit, we were conquering that last half of the run very well! It felt awesome. When we finished the 12 miles, it’s really hard for me to say that it wasn’t a problem. I was a little scared at the finish line because I actually felt a small pinch in my right leg muscle, so I ended the run slowly, walked, then stretched it out. Tomorrow I recover.

Negative Splits: Use Them to Perform Better in Your Next Marathon

The Hills

The HillsNo, not the TV show, the Hills. I’m talking about the hills in Santa Monica. Before TNT, I never really knew that hills even existed in Santa Monica. When I hear Santa Monica, I think of sunny skies, the beach, and the promenade. Well, on the east part of Santa Monica, near the airport (they have an airport too?!?), our team trains in a residential street named Dewey. Today was my first session, but it was the team’s second practice here. It replaced the strength training (although we’re supposed to do that on our own time now) on Wednesday nights. This time it was 7pm.

Let me tell you, those hills are crazy! It made me feel like I was in some kind of boot camp. I guess it’s almost equivalent to running up stairs. We sprinted up this hilly street, in which gradually inclines for the first 2 mini-blocks, then the 3rd and 4th sections incline horrendously. We sprinted up, then walked down. The downhill part was just as tough as my legs were wobbly. My heart was racing, I was out of breath, and my legs were aching.

The reason for this kind of training? Taken from our team’s website, this is why:

  • helps develop power and muscle elasticity
  • improves stride frequency and length
  • develops co-ordination, encouraging the proper use of arm action during the driving phase and feet in the support phase
  • develops control and stabilization as well as improved speed (downhill running)
  • promotes strength endurance
  • develops maximum speed and strength (short hills)
  • improves lactate tolerance (mixed hills)