La Jolla Half Marathon Race Report

Pre-Race Emotions

Finally, the weekend was here. I hadn’t been this nervous about a race for years. For one thing, this was the first half marathon in years for which I actually trained seriously. All the long runs, all the speed work, all with the goal of running a two hour half marathon.  In addition to that, I had picked a challenging race in which to do it. The La Jolla Half Marathon is one of the hilliest and toughest races in Southern California. But frankly, the thing that really made me nervous though, was you.

Yes, that is true. You made me nervous. I had set a standard for myself, told you all about it. I felt like you had hopes and expectations for my race. Could I live up to all that? So yes, I was a little frantic nervous.


Backing up a bit. Alan and I drove in to San Diego on Saturday. This year the expo was moved to Roadrunner Sports, which was perfect. I had even told Alan that I wanted to stop there (big race=new outfit!), before I knew about the expo.

Off-topic for a moment but this just sprang into my mind. As you know, I have been asking for help deciding on an outfit for the Costume Party Run, my next event, for which I am an Ambassador. A couple people suggested a Dalmatian, which I though would be perfect and a great salute to my amazing 12-year old running partner Penny. White shorts/skirt, and top, add some spots, a tail, ears, and a collar. Easy (important for me), appropriate for running a July race (even more important), and cute (the most important). While at Roadrunner I happened to see a photo of the Shoe Dog and a little light went on in my head. Check out the similarities:

Penny Shoe Dog

Anyway, while at Roadrunner Sports I did pick up an outfit (with an extra 10% discount on top of my VIP discount-woot!) and my race packet.  While roaming the (2) aisles of the expo, I met Laura Mildon at the Island Boost booth.

Island Boost is a premium, all natural endurance energizer, which comes in a liquid form as opposed to a gel. It is formulated with glucose, a fast and easily absorbed energy source, and coconut water for electrolytes. This makes it perfect for quick assimilation during the run, but it also makes it very sweet.  The passion fruit flavor was delicious, but I had a little doubt about the sweetness of it during the run. Laura offered to let me try a sample, suggesting I take a packet right before the hill (she didn’t have to say what hill, if you have ever run the La Jolla Half Marathon you know she is talking about the Torrey Pines Hill, which is at mile 5.5 in the race), and at mile 10.

La Jolla Half Marathon

You may have noticed that I was on the verge of breaking one of the cardinal rules of racing: Nothing new on race day. There I was, the day before the race, planning to test a new energy replacement and buying a new outfit.

race report


I had to get up early on race morning. We were staying in La Jolla, which meant that I needed to catch the shuttle bus up to the Del Mar Racetrack for the start of the race. We were told that the buses ran between 5:00 and 6:00, but we needed to be in line by 5:30. Pretty easy, really, since our hotel was right across from where they would pick us up. But Alan, who was announcing the 5k, also need to get to the start line of the 5k. The first bus there would be too late for him, he needs to be there before the runners arrive.

In the past, he was given a ride on a motorcycle, which would then transport him back  to the finish line after the start of the race, so that he could announce the finishers as they came in. This year, the ride back was assured, but the right to the start was not available. That meant that we had to leave about 4:45 so that I could bring him to his start line. I then drove back, with plenty of time to spare, until I was almost back to the hotel. I expected to have to explain myself, because the road around the hotel was closed for the race. What I didn’t expect that I would be blocked by a bus loading runners for about five minutes. That was okay, still time to spare.

I finally got back to the hotel, parked my car, and went up to the room. I was ready to go, I just needed to drop off my keys and wallet, picket up my race gear, and head down to get in line. But then, my key didn’t work. So I marched back down to the lobby, had to wait several minutes because the desk was being manned by the security guard until the desk man got back. Still time to spare, though it was getting shorter.

The key machine didn’t work. After multiple tries, I was finally sent back to my room with the security guard, who let me in with his master key. I just had time to use the restroom one last time, grab my stuff, and head out the door. Good thing the line started right in front of my door!

When I arrived at the Del Mar Racetrack, I wondered what my hurry was. It was 6:10. The race didn’t start until 7:30. It was pretty cold, around 59 (yeah, I know, I’m from the desert give me a break), so I wanted to keep my warmups on as long as possible. I did go pick up my gear bag so that I’d have it when I was ready. Time moved quickly though, and soon enough, it was time to head to the start line.

Race Report

Can you see the start line? In all my years of racing, this is the farthest I’ve ever been from the start line. That is the result of time, injury, and my own words from last year’s race report

My suggestion? If you want to do a wave start, you need to corral the runners by their race pace or expected finish time. You can pre-screen on the application and assign race numbers appropriately. Then block off the corrals and either go with the wave start, or let the natural effect of corralling go to work: The fast runners are out front, and the slower runners are behind, and the walkers are at the back.






Actually, the race directors took every suggestion I made last year, and the result was a better race. I wonder if they read my post? The start was better, there were a lot of water stations, something La Jolla has never had, the exit after the race was much more open so that you weren’t standing waiting to get out of the finish area on tired legs. Part of this, I know was because the race was taken over this year and managed by InMotion Events after being run for years by the Kiwanis Club. But, a small part of me hopes that they read my post, took my suggestions, which created a better race. A girl can hope, right?

Race ReportRoadrunner Sports provided the pacers. This was the two hour pacer (sorry, I forgot her name).  This may give you a hint of my upcoming story, but I did not see her again after the race started.

Race Report

The Race

I was in wave number three (of six). When the race started, wave #1 took off, then there were three minutes between each wave. It went fast, and was organized, and when my time came, we were off. I was wearing my Garmin, mostly to give me an idea of my pace, to keep me from running too fast, and to let me know that I needed to pick it up if I slowed down. The challenge with a hilly race is that there is no set pace at which to run. Yes, I can say that my goal pace for a two hour half marathon is 9:09, but add a little elevation and none of that counts. And there was plenty of elevation.


We finally were off. And, even though I was surrounded by a bunch of potential two hour half marathoners, when I checked my Garmin about a half mile into the race, we were running eight minute miles. Um, better slow down.

Overall, the first three and a half miles were great. The course takes you out of the racetrack, through a pretty good uphill along Ville de la Valle, then a left turn onto the Coast Highway. Part of what makes this such an amazingly beautiful race is that much of it is run along this highway, which hugs the west coast of California, offering amazing views of the ocean and the shore. For me, though, mile 3.7 ish, wasn’t so beautiful, because that was my first “asthma incident.” I have dealt with my exercise induced asthma as long as I’ve been running, so this was nothing new, but it still slows me to a walk, puffing on my inhaler until the medication sets in. I probably walked about three minutes, right at the point the road headed back up to the Coast Highway, right before mile four.

When I felt recovered, I started running again, hitting mile four and this view.

race report

Here comes the hill. (That picture was from a couple years ago. I did not take any pictures during the race.)

Actually, I ran strong up that hill. Not fast, but steady, and I did not walk. As Laura instructed, I took my first Island Boost at the base of the hill, right before the water station. It was quite strong and sweet, but I liked the Passion Fruit flavor. And I did feel good after taking in the Island Boost. I felt the fuel kick in and it felt good. I had no stomach problems at all during the race. I was actually looking forward to my next “boost” at mile 10.

One of the things they don’t tell you about “the hill,” is that in addition to that .75 miles of about 15% grade, there is another mile of slight uphill as you run through the park. It doesn’t level off until you leave Torrey Pines park and get back on the main road.

I was running along fine at this point. In fact, miles 4 through 9 were about as good as I could hope for. My pace was good, even though the fear of the asthma makes me want to hold back a bit, and I felt strong. I was close to the mile 10 marker when the asthma kicked in again. Maybe I should describe it. It doesn’t feel like my airway is closing, at least not at first. I start to feel a little lightheaded, like I’m not getting enough oxygen. My extremities start to feel the same way, and my pace will slow down. At this point, if I try to push through, it will become a full-fledged asthma attack. If I stop, walk, and use my inhaler, I can usually recover completely.

When I started running again, I was approaching a water station and it was time for my second Island Boost. And I felt a surge of energy almost immediately afterward.

Of course, that was also partly because mile 10 is downhill. A long, glorious, relatively steep downhill all the way until you hit the mile 11 marker, dropping you down into La Jolla Shores, where you run briefly right along the boardwalk between the parking lot and the beach, causing surfers to make mad dashes between the runners. After that you enter a little neighborhood, where right before my favorite house ever (because it’s purple), I had to stop yet again and use my inhaler.

Purple House

I took that picture a couple years ago, when, I was having similar problems with the asthma (but was not in nearly as good of shape). That year I did a lot more walking and picture taking.

Shortly after I passed the purple house, I turned a corner and saw the 12 mile marker. I also knew that one more turn would bring me to the final hill in the race, one that doesn’t get talked about much, but is just as deadly because it is unexpected, steep, and much longer than you expect. It actually takes you from the 12 mile marker to only about a quarter mile from the finish. I heard a lot of groans (maybe one from myself too) as we turned the corner.

The last part of the race is downhill all the way to the finish. It’s kind of steep, and partly on a brick-paved road, so you have to be careful. I could feel the asthma starting again, but I wasn’t going to stop so close to the finish. I pushed through and finally heard the voice of my husband announcing as I approached the finish line, “Here comes my favorite person in the whole world.” We’d been asked to cross our arms across our hearts as we crossed the finish line, in remembrance of the Boston Marathon, and as I did so, my emotions welled up and suddenly my airway started to close. Fortunately, I was done, so I stopped, grabbed my inhaler, waved off the man who was approaching me with concern, and gradually recovered.

race report

Post Race Recovery and Reflections

After I managed my asthma, I grabbed some water, coconut water, and a little fruit and headed out to find Alan. Actually, he found me because I was still a little hazy. It’s nice to be right across the street from your hotel in these situations, so I headed back to the room, and after a quick photo-op trip to the roof, showered, ate a little and we got on the road. Because we had someone important to see.

race report

So, all that walking…how did I do with my goal? Well, you can probably guess I didn’t make my goal time of two hours. But, I am happy that in spite of the asthma issues that I managed to finish at all, and that I did in 2:05:41. I’ll take it. That was good for 21st in my division.

I didn’t mention this before, but I was running this race for two people. One was my mother, who would have been celebrating her 85th birthday that day.

Wilma 002

The other was my friend Jeff. If you recall, Jeff was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma back in November. He had emergency surgery, where they found the huge tumor had actually pushed his brain stem aside. His fiancee, Amy, was given very little hope of his ever waking up. But Jeff is still with us, still fighting, still being amazing. He has been through radiation and is currently undergoing yet another round of chemo. After a recent hospitalization and another procedure for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, Jeff was not able to get around much, so Amy asked all his friends to dedicate their weekend athletic endeavors to Jeff, who is an Ironman triathlete.

race report

Jeff and Alan appeared on the local tv station this morning to promote the Gem of the Desert Trail 5k which is on May 5 and will benefit Jeff. If you’re in the area, there is a link to the registration in the sidebar.

Thoughts of Jeff kept me going. Because, seriously, compared to what Jeff has gone through, what is a little asthma?

I know a lot of you were racing and at other events this past weekend. How did they go?

Weekly Training Recap, Week 13: Taper Time!

Well, the hard stuff is over (except for the actual race). For the next six days, I’ll reduce my mileage and my effort. On Wednesday, I’ll run a little tempo at race pace, then that will be it until the race (I’d actually like one extra day, but my schedule doesn’t allow it except Saturday, and I’m choosing not to run the day before the race). I’ll be careful with my strength workouts this week, especially my Friday Fast & Furious class, which tends to leave me sore and tired.

I have to say that I’m pretty proud of the training that I’ve done for this race. While I didn’t manage all my workouts, usually only completed one speed workout a week, and totally failed on the yoga, my training was much more intense than it has been for years. When I found it difficult to get to the track for interval work, I made up for it by doing my intervals on the road. I stayed on track with all my distance training too. I’m pretty excited to see the results next Sunday. Here is my weekly training recap.

Strength Training

More of the same on the strength training front. Two Superball classes, which provide a moderate workout, and one Fast and Furious Class, which was challenging, added an extra mile to my running total, and left my back kind of sore for a day. I will definitely skip it next Friday! See the photo below for the workout (we did jump squats instead of split squat jumps).

weekly training recap


As many runners and bloggers did this past week, I dedicated my Tuesday run to Boston. I wore a race shirt and ran three miles with Alan and the dogs. Easy pace on the way out, uphill, pushed it a little on the downhill portion.

weekly training recap

I knew that Wednesday would be my last speed work day before the La Jolla Half Marathon, so I made it a good one. After running three miles with Penny to warm up, I took her home then went back and did three-one mile repeats on the road. The first was 8:15, the second was 8:09, and the third, in which I had just a little breathing (asthma) difficulty, was 8:19. I was happy with that. It still kind of makes me laugh to think that I once did a whole marathon at a 7:30 pace. Age Time will tell!

I skipped my Saturday run. Because I had to work, it was only going to be three miles, but I woke up with a slight headache generally feeling yucky. So, I took an extra hour of sleep instead of the run. When I got home from work I had a package from Roadrunner Sports. New Shoes! I had just ordered them on Friday and I had them in my hands by Saturday afternoon. That’s the RRS VIP treatment alright!

mizuno wave rider 16

My new Mizuno Wave Riders. Aren’t they pretty?

On Sunday, Alan was announcing the Run Through Redlands Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, and Color Splash Run. I only had eight miles on the schedule, so I just took off along the course before the races started to do my run. Redlands is very pretty. My grandparents used to live there, but I don’t remember exactly where. I kind of rambled during my run, got off the race course, and ended up with what felt like my first hill work of my training cycle! There are some beautiful homes in Redlands. I took a lot of pictures last year when I did a similar run, so I didn’t plan to take any this year, until I saw this house and couldn’t help myself.

weekly training recap

When I headed back toward the start, I ended up running alongside the 10k runners, which gave me a little push (plus it was finally downhill!). I ended up with 8.5 miles. After my run, I hung around the little expo while Alan worked until the last runner finished. It was getting warm near the end, so I found a place in the shade and watched Alan work.

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

Even though I didn’t run the half marathon I checked the results. The woman who won my age group ran 2:17! Last week I ran 2:09 in my training run. I think Redlands has a tougher course, but even based on my pace today I would have done quite well. Oh well.

Here are a few more pictures of my Sunday:

mizuno wave rider 16

Before my run. Because they never look this good again.

weekly training recap

Because of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, runners were asked not to leave bags or backpacks on the ground. This got me thinking though. A helicopter hovering very low, then rising with something big and black on the end of a long cable. I learned after the run that it was lifting an air conditioning unit to the top of a bank building, but still strange to see at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.


If you are interested, here is my complete training log for last week (click to enlarge).

weekly training recap

How did your training go last week? Any events, races or competitions? Share!

Week 12 Training Recap and London Bridge Half Marathon Report

If you caught my last post, you know I was off to Lake Havasu for the weekend to run the London Bridge Half Marathon. I decided to run the race as part of my La Jolla Half Marathon training because it coincided with a 13 mile long run on my schedule. The key to using a race as a training run is to run it properly, and I had a plan. As to whether I followed that plan or not…more on that later. Here is my weekly training recap.

Strength Training

Strength training has not been my focus in this training cycle. I’m getting it done, through the classes that I teach, but that has been it. I am already planning ahead for my next race (I’ll let you know soon!), and I will get back to the gym. But, for now, I managed two workouts this week, both classes that I taught.

I had planned to take Monday off. I was tired from the weekend and I thought that I’d just “teach” the class instead of participate. That was until I had four people in the class, two of them very fit teenagers. So, I played along and participated in a challenging Fast & Furious Class.

training recap

I also taught a Superball class during the week, which counts as my second strength workout. We did a superset style workout that was fun and challenging.


I didn’t start the week strongly. On Tuesday, which is supposed to be my interval/speed work day, I instead decided to sleep in a little and take the day completely off. I know that is necessary sometimes (and I know my body appreciated the rest), but there is always a bit of a guilt factor when I skip a workout. That meant I needed to make up for it (again) on Wednesday. As I’ve done for a few weeks now, I warmed up with a four mile run with Penny, then, after taking her home, headed out for an interval workout on the road.

I felt much better than I had the previous week, so I decided to run half mile repeats. The only problem was that during my first interval I could feel a touch of my exercise induced asthma coming on. I didn’t have my inhaler with me, so I slowed down, let myself recover, then got back on it. I never got up to the paces from a few weeks ago, though. My slightly uphill intervals were around 4:07-4:10, the downhills were 3:52-3:55. Not bad, but slower than I hoped. Still, I did three miles worth, five half miles, plus two quarter miles (damn asthma!).

On Friday, I took the day off and Alan and I drove to Lake Havasu City, home of the London Bridge (and the London Bridge Half Marathon). It’s about a three hour drive from La Quinta, across a desolate area of Southern California that we forget exists anymore. Soon after we got into Arizona, we drove passed the Parker Dam. Neither of us had driven this way before, so it was pretty interesting. Especially this:


Sure enough, shortly after seeing the sign, Alan spotted a burro on the side of the road. We drove even more carefully after that.

training recap

training recap

After passing Parker Dam, it was about a half an hour before we arrived in Lake Havasu City. We checked into the hotel, then headed over to packet pick up (which was held at the hotel). Alan was announcing the race, so he checked in, I registered, then we stuck around and helped out for a little while until the rush was over.

training recap

After an early night (dinner at Chipotle’s), I slept badly. I’m not sure why. I felt like I’d had some caffeine too close to bedtime. Jumpy and definitely not sleepy. We were up early though, Alan had to be at the venue by 5:30 (the race started at 7:00). After we arrived, Alan went to work and I stayed in the car, nibbling on a bagel and a banana, passing time. This was planned to be a long run, after all, not a race, so I wasn’t feeling any pre-race nerves. Really.

training recap

The London Bridge Half Marathon

About 6:45 I wandered over to the start line, kissed my husband and borrowed his asthma inhaler. Then I went to the start line, which was interesting because no one seemed to want to move to the front. I knew that I didn’t belong there, and finally the runners started to move forward. Then, the National Anthem and we were off.

training recap

The Plan

As I mentioned, I did have a plan for this training run/race. I would run the first three miles at about my regular long run pace, which is between 10 and 10:30 minutes per mile. At mile three, I’d pick it up to about 9:30 for the next two miles. At mile five, I would pick it up to race pace, which is about 9:09 per mile, for the next six miles, then slow back down for the last two miles.

The Reality

After the gun went off, I did not lose sight of my plan. I held back. At least I though I was holding back. Several minutes into the race I looked at my Garmin and saw that I was running at an 8:30 pace. Oops. I slowed down. I had a hard time bringing all the way down to 10 minute pace though, so I settled for something between 9:30 and 9:45. I felt good though. The course was pretty flat, with just a few rolling hills to keep it interesting. It was also very beautiful, in a desert kind of way, but I did not stop to take any pictures. Training run or not, I still had 13 miles to run.

I hit the five mile marker just under 48 minutes. Right where I wanted to be. Time to pick up the pace. Except the best I could do was 9:19 for the next mile. And slower after that. The next mile was 9:33, then 9:55. Then, in mile nine I felt my asthma start up. It is a feeling of lightheadedness that seems to warn me that I am not getting enough oxygen. I slowed to a walk, took a couple puffs on the inhaler, and waited until the feeling passed. Then, I started running again. That mile was 10:45. Not too bad, really, considering.

For the next few miles the best I could do was around 10:15 miles. Then, less than a quarter mile from the finish, the asthma again and another 10:45 mile. But then, finally, the finish, and the words from my husband that I love to hear, “Here comes my favorite person in the world..!” I was done. Official time: 2:09:20. Maybe not according to plan, but I was happy with the result.

training recap

training recap

After grabbing a water, walking it off a little and stretching a bit, I wandered over to where the results were posted (yes, it was a training run, but I’m not that uncompetitive). There I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’d finished third in my age group!

training recap


Alan and I drove home Saturday afternoon. It’s fun to be away, but much better to come home. Sunday morning we went for a little slow three mile recovery run. I also got to sleep in a little, which I needed after all that running, driving, and a poor night’s sleep the night before. I did have to deal with this though:

training recap

This is an odd looking picture, but it is the chafing on my thighs. It hurt during the race, then it got numb or something, because it didn’t bother me until I stepped in the shower after the race. Then, yowza!

Here are a few random pictures from Lake Havasu, plus my complete running log for the week if you’re interested.

training recap

training recap

Being from California, Alan and I got a kick out of this, a sign on the entrance to the cocktail lounge at our hotel. We were so disappointed that we couldn’t bring our guns we decided to skip the trip to the bar.

training recap

Well, one more week of hard training, then a short taper, then finally, race day. I think I’m ready.

How did your training week go? Any races, events, or other competitions? I hope you’ll share!

Weekly Training Recap: La Jolla Half Marathon, Week 11

As I complete my eleventh week of training I am feeling strong awesome amazing tired. I finished last week on a high, after completing my #bestrun on Easter Sunday. Reality set in by Wednesday, when the first four miles of my run were so slow and sluggish that I felt like I was just starting my training. But, I did get it done, and to be honest, it wasn’t that bad. Here is my weekly training recap.

Strength Training

Not a whole lot to report in this area. I taught two Superball classes, which were moderately challenging, and one Fast & Furious class. We did a Tabata workout that was pretty high intensity. I’m glad those things only last about 13 minutes!

weekly training recap


As I alluded to in my first paragraph, running this week was a huge reality check. Last week I was all like “I’m so ready to race,” whereas this week I feel like “can I even run 13 miles?” In my mind I know this is because I am getting old I am training hard, always pushing myself to run farther and faster. In my heart, I feel a little discouraged that my training was not better this week. I will let my mind have the louder voice.

Tuesday was again a time challenge, and I ended up running only two miles before I had to get ready for work. As I did last week, I shifted my speed work to Wednesday, after first running a four mile “warm up” with Penny. Those were four challenging miles. I had a bit of a headache, plus I could feel the effect of my migraine medication. I was tired, and generally felt blah. I am actually pretty proud of myself that after the first four miles, I took Penny home and went back out for my intervals. My only concession to my blah-ness was the way I designed my road intervals. Last week, I ran half mile intervals, with the odd numbered ones slightly uphill, the even numbered slightly downhill. This week, on the uphills, I split it into 2-1/4 mile repeats, then completed a half mile interval on the downhill. I finished three miles of speed work, 6 x .25 miles and 3 x .5 miles. Not my fastest workout, but at least I did it.

I had my long run planned for Saturday because Alan was away for a track meet, so I figured it was a good time to get it done. I was scheduled for 12 miles, which is the longest run so far in this training cycle. I had high hopes that this run would be my #bestrun, so I prepared by having my camera ready to snap glorious shots of my run, my dog, and the scenery. Well, I have the pictures, but I did not have the #bestrun.

weekly training recap

I started out with Penny, of course. I have to be a little careful with her, because she is almost 12 years old, still thinks she is a puppy, and loves to run. I planned to do the run in two loops, the first one with my dog, then drop her off and finish alone. I also had the urge to make a bigger loop on the first outing, simply so I’d have a shorter distance to finish alone. It’s a mind game thing. So that is my excuse for maybe pushing my dog a little too hard (she’s fine, by the way, she ran with me again today). She was pretty tired as we finished that first loop. It is kind of hard to tell with Penny though. She is the opposite of a horse racing back to the stables. As we get closer to home, she gets slower and slower, no matter whether we’re running two miles or eight. She just wants to keep going.

Here’s a little video of my beautiful Dalmatian, running to music.

weekly training recap

I dropped Penny off after seven miles, filled up my bottle, ate a Gu, then headed off for the final five miles. I started off downhill pretty well, but my tired legs soon caught up with me. I plugged along, mentally doing the math so that my run would end up exactly at 12 miles. I did not want to run any extra!

weekly training recap

After my exactly 12 mile run, I spent some time resting stretching, dozing icing, and napping foam rolling. And eating and drinking too, knowing that I would run again the next day with Alan.

Running Buddies

From another day, but here are my Sunday running partners.

The next day, Alan, Penny, Buddy, and I headed into the trails for a six mile run. While I was tired, the pace was slow because of the trails, so it felt good just to get my tired legs moving. The weather was great, the company was even better, and I ended up with the most mileage for the week that I’ve had for a long time, 27 miles.

weekly training recap

Almost forgot to mention! In the top right corner of the picture above is a photo of a coyote I saw on my first loop. Even though they are generally scared of people and bigger dogs, I chose to just avoid any problems and changed my route slightly so that I didn’t run past the area that I say the coyote. The picture isn’t very good, but, trust me, that is a coyote.

For those that are interested, here is my complete training log:

Weekly Recap 11

I’m looking forward to a day off on Monday (with the exception of my Fast and Furious class, which I may just choose to teach, as opposed to participate).  Next weekend I’m running the London Bridge Half Marathon as a long training run. It should be fun, Alan will be announcing and I’m looking forward to it.

weekly training recap

These two got to go for a little run on Sunday too.

How did your training week go? Any events or races? Milestones? Do tell!

My #BestRun.


I am excited to be participating in MissZippy’s #BestRun link up this week. The idea is to write about my most recent best run. First, I need to tell you that my weekly training recap post will be a day late, because, unfortunately, that recent best run didn’t happen this week. Oh, I had high hopes. I had my camera ready so that I could memorialize my run. I was creating the post in my mind before the run even started. Well, best laid plans and all that, it just didn’t happen. Oh, it wasn’t a bad run. It just wasn’t the best run.

What makes a best run? Is it your fastest run? When the weather is perfect? When you feel good the entire time? Or is it a beautiful locale, great running partners, hitting your training targets? There are so many things that can add up to make the perfect run. For me it is a combination of most, if not all of the above things. And I felt really, really fortunate to have experienced such a run last week, which happened to be Easter Sunday.

Oh, it started out normally enough. I was scheduled to run 12 miles, as I was in week ten of my La Jolla Half Marathon training. We were in Encinitas (see, already I’ve got the “beautiful locale” thing). Because it was Easter, and we had plans to meet family for brunch, I decided that I would cut my run back to 10 miles. It wasn’t the time factor as much as I didn’t want to be too drained to enjoy time with the family. I’m training harder than I have for a long time, and I find that my long runs take it out of me. So, I was fine with cutting down the mileage.

Alan is on a different training schedule that I, so he was going to run five miles. That meant I had him for the first two and a half, which we ran on the trails alongside the railroad tracks heading south with a great view of the coastline. At Alan’s turn-around point, we’d crossed the coast highway, in Cardiff, so I continued on south with a beautiful view of the ocean. The sun was shining, and the weather was just a little chilly. Perfect for a long run.


Smiles contribute to a great run, right? This made me smile

The next mile was downhill, as I ran out of Cardiff, towards Solana Beach. With the ocean on my right, the sun rising on my left, I was just enjoying the rhythm of my run, the beautiful weather and scenery. Even as the road started uphill, I kept my pace steady at about 9:15, which is an amazing time for me. The hill leveled off in Solana, where there was a lot of road construction going on, meaning that I was skipping over various hazards like trenches, holes, and sand patches. When I reached my mile five marker, my intended turn-around point, at about 48 minutes, I thought, “man, I feel good!” and decided to run a little farther.


As I crossed Via de la Valle into Del Mar, I figure that I’d run to dog beach, just a little bit farther. My Garmin read 5.5 miles as I stopped just before the bridge. A little side story: As I looked below at the dogs and their owners, I noticed a pretty white Lab, with a funny kind of gait. I’ve written before out our dog Goldie, who injured her back years ago. After a negative diagnosis (she’ll never walk again, you should put her down), Alan spent months with rehab, until that first amazing day when we saw her wag her tail for the first time. Now she walks, runs, leaps, albeit kind of clumsily, with a few falls thrown in. Anyway, I noticed that this white Lab had a similar gait I asked her owner, who confirmed that her dog had had a tumor removed from her spine. That was my turn-around point, and I was able to stretch out my rest for about five minutes as I talked to the dog’s owner.


The second half of the run continued to be amazing. As I ran back through Solana Beach, I felt like I was running downhill. My pace was increasing without any thought or effort. Mile seven was 9:27, mile eight, 9:20. That brought me to a nice downhill, heading back toward Cardiff.


What really made this a #bestrun for me though, was mile 10. This is the mile that takes me back up to Encinitas. It is a mile long uphill, probably around 5-6% grade, that is challenging even in a shorter run. I am happy (and proud) to say that I ran mile 10 at about race pace, 9:02. That made me feel so ready for my race!

Even the final mile, a relatively flat one that took me back across the railroad tracks to my hotel, was pretty good. I ran it in 9:46, which was almost exactly my average pace for the entire run.


So let’s see. Fast run (for me)? Check. Perfect weather? Check. Felt good? Check. Beautiful locale, great running partner (for part, anyway), hit my running targets? Check, check and check. Yes, it was definitely a #bestrun. The best I’ve had for a long time.


Tell me about your best run. What about it made it the best?

Thanks to MissZippy for the link up. And special thanks to Pavement Runner who designed the graphic. Be sure to check out all the other links and read about all the #bestruns!

Weekly Training Recap: La Jolla Half Marathon, Week 10

My race seemed so distant when I first started training 10 weeks ago. Now I have four weeks to go, and guess what? I finally feel like I’m in shape and getting faster. Who knew? Here is my weekly training recap.

My race last week, when I took almost two minutes off my previous 5k time, kind of drove it home. On top of that, I had a good speed workout this week (after increasing the interval distance too!). My long run was great. Not only was it a beautiful day for a run along the coast, I felt so good that I actually wished that it was race day.

I was also pretty pleased with my strength training. I have come to terms with the face that, at this time of my work season, I am not going to be consistent going to the gym. Therefore, I’m putting extra effort during the classes that I teach, and it is really working to make me feel stronger.

Finally, yoga. You may notice that there is no yoga section in this post. That is because there was no yoga. I’m a work in progress, I guess, I only hope to make it back to the studio before my sessions expire.

Strength Training

weekly training recap

Ignore the date on the workout above, this is the workout I did last Monday. Challenging but not too crazy. I’d planned a Tabata workout for Friday, but no one came to class. Phew Darn! On Tuesday and Thursday I taught my Superball class. Tuesday was the Vanity Workout, Thursday the Functional Workout. Both workouts are pretty challenging, so I felt pretty good about my strength work.


One of the things that I am enjoying is that I really feel faster (finally). Now, I’m not going to break any records, or even any of my own PRs, but after years of gradually running slower and slower, it feels good to see the training difference.

Tuesday is supposed to be my interval day, but I seem to have a hard time getting out the door any earlier than 5:30. Yes, that’s pretty early, but it only leaves me a half hour or so to run because I need to get ready for work. I don’t want to keep cutting off my speed work, so I decided to simply run three miles (with Penny, of course), and save the speed for the following day (which is what I did in week eight too).

So Wednesday, after a three mile warmup, I ran six 1/2 mile intervals on the road. The three slightly uphill intervals ranged from 4:03-4:07, and the downhill ones were 3:42-3:48. Just about perfect I thought, since I ran my 5k at an 8:04 pace just three days before.

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

 I couldn’t decide which picture to choose, so you get them all.

Saturday was scheduled to be a six mile run with hills. We headed to San Diego in the morning, and plans to run when we arrived, well, they didn’t happen.

On Sunday, which was Easter, I was supposed to run 12 miles. We also had plans to meet my son and daughter-in-law, and her family (and of course Samuel) for brunch. So I decided to cut the run to 10 miles, make some tweaks in my training plan, and not worry about the time, or being too pooped to enjoy the day.

Alan and I got started about 7:30, late for us if we were at home, but perfect for the chillier coast. Alan was planning to run five miles, so he turned around when we reached Cardiff. Right below this guy, actually, the Cardiff Kook:

weekly training recap

 I continued on and I just kept feeling better and better (and consequently, kept running faster and faster). When I got to my turn-around point I decided to go just a little farther, which is why I ended up running 11 miles. I averaged about a 9:30 pace for the run, including the first three, which were pretty slow on trails. I’m particularly proud that I ran mile 10, which is an uphill mile from Cardiff to Encinitas, at about race pace. It was a wonderful run.

weekly training recap

The pace shown above is not my average pace (which was 9:30). I think it is the pace I was running when I stopped the timer.

weekly training recap

My turnaround, at Dog Beach in Del Mar.

weekly training recap

Waves and wildflowers. It was a beautiful day.

As I mentioned, I’m making a couple tweaks to my training plan for the last several weeks. Since I missed my 12 miler, I will do it on Saturday, then, on the following week, I have decided to run the London Bridge Half Marathon. Alan is announcing the race, and since I want to run 13 miles that weekend, it seems like a no-brainer. I plan to start out slow, then pick it up to race pace for about six miles, then settle down and cruise in for the last miles of the race. That will be my last long run, two weeks out from the La Jolla Half Marathon.

Here is my training log from week 10. Click to enlarge.

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

Just to show you I clean up pretty good. If you missed my Easter post, click here.

How did your training go last week? Any races, runs, or competitions to share? Link on!