MTR: Week 19

MTR: Week 19

So…by the time this post is up, I think it would be safe to say that I along with 24,999 other eager runners are en route towards Santa Monica—facing the 26.2 miles whether we are ready or not. But I still wanted to wrap up my MTR series with a recap of this past week.

Spending some time in Larchmont Village on Sunday afternoon, after a PR-filled taper run that morning.

Sundaymile group LSD run at  [New 5/10K PRs!!]

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 3 mile morning solo run at  9:19/mi

Wednesday –  3.4 mile morning solo run at  9:18/mi

Thursday – 3.6 mile morning solo run at  9:13/mi

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Rest

Total Mileage ->   18 miles

Because of the reduced mileage all-around, it felt odd to have more free time in my mornings. I also felt at times that I should make up for the shorter distance by going faster, but thought better of it and held back so that I wouldn’t bring on any unnecessary injuries…

It’s a bittersweet feeling to see that training for my first marathon is coming to an end. These past five months of training have given me some of my best days, greatest challenges, and even some handy excuses for not having a “social” life. I would argue against the last part though, because I don’t think I would be running a marathon at this time in my life if it were not for my team. Conquering something so massive and challenging seems much more doable when you’ve got people to back you up, and that’s something I’m grateful for.

I definitely plan on a marathon recap, and even an afterthought post to really wrap things up, but for now, I’ll just keep you waiting 😉

MTR: Week 18

MTR: Week 18

This week’s long run was actually one I was looking forward to. I mean, after you run 22 miles, 12 miles seems like such a reward! I was also looking to the run as a way to ‘de-stress’ since my weekend was an exhausting/stress-inducing one. It was something I touched upon in my last post, and I can’t get into details for privacy reasons, but I was feeling so anxious about the situation that it was costing me quality sleep.

Even though the ‘issues’ didn’t resolve overnight (they did resolve by the end of the week though 🙂 ), Sunday’s run certainly helped. We ran a 6 mile out-and-back starting from near the Santa Monica Pier, and while I started off slowly, I had negative splits towards the end of the run. My teammates poked fun at the fact that I didn’t even look like I was out of breath or sweaty. I guess the fun thing about tapering is being able to see how much you’ve improved in your ‘old’ long distances.

I celebrated my 9:23/mi pace on the inside, but figuring out how to maintain the endurance/speed I’ve developed during this course of marathon training is something that’s been brewing in my mind as of late.

Walking east from the beach on Wilshire, towards my lunch destination.

I also learned after the run that this would be our last team carpool for training! Our final long run before the marathon is next week, but we are staying local for that 8 miler. As for the rest of the week in running, here’s how it turned out:

Sunday12 mile group LSD run at  9:23/mi

Monday – Rest

Tuesday6 mile morning solo run at  8:57/mi

Wednesday –  6 mile morning solo run at  9:20/mi

Thursday6 mile morning solo run at  9:08/mi

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Rest

Total Mileage ->   30 miles

Despite having to deal with a stressful situation, I was happy to not give in to the anxiety and sacrifice my morning runs and lifting workouts. Working out in the weekday mornings is best for my schedule, and I think I can safetly say that this has become a healthy habit. I feel so much better and ready to conquer the day after busting out some miles/pumping up my muscles in the morning 🙂

So now it looks like I’m down to one more week before the big day. The 26.2. I plan for this final week in marathon training to be a light one, with 3-4 milers during the week and Friday/Saturday as rest days. I also have to remind myself not to get too carried away at the expo…just get my bib, whatever samples I’m able to scour, and run walk home to rest 😉

Do you enjoy taking it easy the last one-two weeks before a big race, or do you find yourself feeling anxious about the big day?

MTR: Week 17

MTR: Week 17

I was debating over the idea of running 20+2 miles prior to the marathon, but I ended up doing so this past week. To be honest, it was a pretty smooth set of miles, except until I reached 20.1…haha. I seriously could feel every bone/ligament/tendon in my body from the hips down, and what was only “two more miles” felt like twenty.

I know there is a lot of debate concerning how much a long run should cover prior to the actual marathon, and that a lot of people say no more than 20 while others say 24 is totally okay. I decided to run 22 because a) I was running with a team, b) we ran from Dockweiler Beach to Santa Monica and back, running alongside Marina Del Rey (um, who doesn’t want to run by the beach??), and c) why not?

Blister/scar from my water bottle strap // trying out GU Watermelon Chomps // Celebrating my longest run of the training season by going out to eat!

Sunday22 mile group LSD run at  10:05/mi

Monday – Rest

Tuesday4 mile morning solo run at  9:24/mi

Wednesday –  Rest

Thursday6 mile morning solo run at  9:41/mi

Friday4 mile morning solo run at  9:27/mi

Saturday – Rest

Total Mileage ->  36 miles

Since the Clif Shot Bloks I used for Mile 20 as race fuel worked pretty well, I kept in theme with using a gummy/chewy food for fuel, but decided to try the watermelon flavor of GU Chomps since they were {slightly} cheaper at Vitamin Shoppe. I stuffed them in a Ziploc, which I then stuffed into my running water bottle, and I was off to meet my team at 7:00am for our carpool.

The sky was cloudy and gray, but the temperature was nice and cool since we were starting off at the beach. We made our way north from Dockweiler, passing Marina Del Rey. It even rained around mile 6, but that didn’t stop us from trucking on through the “fun” part of Venice, and straight onto the bike path near the Santa Monica Pier before turning around at 11 miles. I decided to fuel up with all my chomps around the halfway point (along with hydrating), and savored the watermelon flavors as I eased myself to run back to the starting point.

There were so many good (and bad annoying) distractions throughout this run. I always enjoy people-watching when running, and there is ample opportunity to do so when you run alongside the coast. Even at 8:00am, people are hanging out in Venice and “making a scene”, which obviously equates to entertainment for the weary runner!

Want to know some of the annoying stuff though?

Getting a blister on the back of your hand from your running water bottle strap.

That said water bottle getting soaked prior to the run because you didn’t screw the cap tight enough, and your chews ended up getting soaked as well.

Wishing the last two miles of 20+2 didn’t feel like 22.

In the end, it was all worth it when I high-fived my teammates and commiserated with them about our long run “struggle” 😉 And I was pleased with the fact that I was able to step out on the town afterwards and treat myself to an appetizing lunch and astounding cupcake sundae for dessert!*

*Side note – about five hours after eating, I started getting strong stomach pains and a really bloated stomach. I ended up vomiting, which after consulting a running friend, I think was due to my long-run induced muscle-spasms/eating something high in sugar after running. Even though this adds to why one shouldn’t run over 20 miles prior to the 26.2, I’m glad that this happened pre-race so that I can be prepared to address the issue if it happens after race day (by keeping Tums or some antacid on hand)

Still, I don’t regret my cupcake sundae ‘cause that thing was mind-blowing….and apparently gut-blowing as well :P*

Have you ever experienced nausea/vomiting after a run? 

MTR: Week 16

MTR: Week 16

This week in running may look light compared to last week’s adventures, but I have to be honest and say that some runs were a struggle to just get done…

Sunday – Rest

Monday – mile morning solo run at  9:27/mi

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday –  Rest

Thursday –  9.4 mile morning solo run at 9:41/mi

Friday6.6 mile morning solo run at 9:35/mi

Saturday –  Rest

Total Mileage ->   22 miles

Sunday became a rest day this week since I ran a half the day before as my long run for the week. That allowed Monday to be a good day for a run, and since I was still visiting family for the holiday weekend, I was able to run the familiar neighborhood route near my family’s home.

Tuesday was forced to be a ‘rest’ day since I was traveling pretty much all day. Once I got back to my apartment, I was tired beyond words. All I could do was unpack, shower, and go to sleep early in hopes of trying to get rid of a lingering headache. I’m usually on top of my workouts on Wednesdays, waking up at 4am to squeeze in a lifting session and a run, but this Wednesday was an exception. I still got up early, but didn’t have the drive or energy to get going. I ended up going back to sleep for an hour, and then lifted weights after coming home from a long day spent on campus. Fortunately, I was able to push myself out the door on Thursday and Friday after some time twiddling my thumbs, but once I got going, I was able to zone out and just focus on getting in the miles necessary for the week. 

At least I felt good during the runs, it was all just a matter of finding that inner-motivation 😉

Do you find it difficult to get back to your workout regimen during/after times of travel or stress? 

MTR: Week 14

MTR: Week 14

By the time this post is published, I will be exactly 5 weeks away from the marathon, and it’s hard to believe that the longest I’ve run so far is 18:00 miles!! The length itself is one thing, but the location was a whole other factor that really influenced the significance of the event.


I woke up on long-run Sunday morning and assembled my necessities while munching on two bars that had a fair mix of carbs and protein. I was in a rush the day before with grocery shopping and wasn’t able to find the fuel I wanted to experiment with at the stores I visited (Clif Shot Bloks, or even vegetarian-friendly gummies at a decent price!), so I decided to experiment with my fueling strategy for the next long run.

I did bring a water bottle this time to run with. It was just not in a fancy hand-strap like I had planned.

Our team left for San Pedro, and after a quick bathroom break at the park we all assembled at for our starting point, we were off…to fend for ourselves against steep inclines, rocky trails, and precarious lanes near cliffs at risk for landslides!

But the hardest hill we faced hit us hard right before the 3 mile mark. I gave up on keeping my usual pace then and there—it would be in my best interest to just take each mile one at a time, and each hill one step at a time.

Despite the balmy weather (and consequent stick skin and hands, ew), I held on tight to my water bottle which sloshed loudly for the first several miles. Because of the added weight, I had to switch off between hands every two minutes or so! As I started to warm up, and as I started to approached more hills, I sipped on my water when I felt like it, and the sloshing sounds died down as I ran further and further north towards Ranchos Palos Verdes. There were some amazing, gorgeous views, and even though I was running with my phone in my belt, I didn’t want to stop and take it out due to a) sticky hands and b) the risk of losing my running mojo.

Our turnaround point was at mile 9, and I started to feel extreme fatigue in my legs around miles 11-13. I stopped a little after mile 13 to stretch out legs and shake out arms, and that helped me a little bit as I approached the San Pedro border again around mile 14. I surprisingly felt more refreshed around mile 14.5-15, and the dreaded hill we had to fight our way up in the beginning now felt like a breezy downhill ride. A lot of my teammates hated the downhill though, since it beat up their knees pretty badly.

As I hit mile 16, I mentally started to feel fatigued. I started to get annoyed by the slow walkers who most likely had just woken up and were getting some fresh air before brunch…and I was smelly, sticky, sweaty, and just wanted my Garmin to scream 18 MILES—STOP—YOU’RE DONE! And even though it was a struggle working for each point-something mile to get to mile 18, I eventually did, and I felt the relieved to be done, but accomplished for fighting through those hills.

I finished in a little over 3 hours, but because of all the hills, my pace wasn’t a concern for me. I’m sort of hoping that all the work I put into this run will help me during my next LSD challenge of 20 miles!

Sunday – LSD 18 miler group run at 10:43/mi

Monday – Rest

Tuesday6 mile morning solo run at 9:41/mi

Wednesday –   7 mile morning solo run at 10:02/mi

Thursday –  Rest

Friday – 7 mile morning solo run at 9:19/mi

Saturday –  Rest

Total Mileage ->   38 miles

The rest of the week’s runs were scheduled as usual, with Monday being the-day-after-a-long-run rest day, and Tuesday’s run being my routine morning route. Fortunately, my soleus ache from last week has subsided. I wasn’t pleased with how I was feeling on Wednesday’s run, since my pace was much slower than usual, I felt fatigued, and I was starting to feel burnt out and bored. It was supposed to be an 8 miler, but I cut it back to 7 when I passed my apartment right at the 7 mile mark and the temptation to head back and get ready for the rest of the day won me over.

Thursday’s planned 6 miler (turned 7) was pushed to Friday, and while I was anxious about that decision, it turned out to be the right one for me. I listened to my body, and it paid me back. I felt more refreshed on Friday’s run, and was pleased with getting back to my current pace. Saturday of course was a rest day—which I accepted gleefully since I was volunteering at an all-day, STEM-related event.

20 miles is next on the agenda—and then it soon will be time to taper! 

Have you ever felt “burnt out” after training for something for so long and so hard? 

MTR: Week 13

MTR: Week 13

Sunday was the day…I landed a new PDR! The morning started off scattered and frustrating due to lack of communication within the team I run with, but once we were off, it turned out okay.

I made the mistake of not bringing water with me on the run because I didn’t want to carry it for the entire 16 miles, but I don’t plan on making that mistake again for the 18 miler. Despite the rising temps during the run, I managed to not suffer from any serious symptoms of dehydration. I also didn’t feel the need to fuel during the run, but I noshed on our team’s stash of granola bars—along with chugging down two bottles of water—once I was done.

This week’s long run started off in Griffth Park, but we detoured at the freeway and ran alongside the LA “River” (river in quotes since there’s not much water….). Also found some shoes hanging on an arch during the run—did someone cut their long run short? 😉

Sunday – LSD 16 miler group run at 9:46/mi

Monday – Rest

Tuesday –   5 mile morning solo run at 9:43/mi

Wednesday –  7 mile morning solo run at 9:30/mi

Thursday –  6 mile morning solo run at 9:53/mi

Friday – Rest

Saturday –  Rest

Total Mileage ->  29 miles

I didn’t think that there was a significant difference between 13 and 16 miles, so that’s why I didn’t put pressure on myself to prepare with fuel and hydration during the run, but I do plan on investing in a water bottle with a hand strap, and experimenting with some chews or other kind of fuel for the 18 miler.

I got home later than compared to previous weeks’ long runs, and quickly got ready to go out again to refuel properly. I made it a short outing and came home to completely rest, and even go to sleep early like a Gra’ma 😉

Monday was an off day from running, Tuesday was a 5 miler through Downtown, Wednesday was a 7 miler that felt mostly uncomfortable due to needing to use the restroom mid-run (had to stop at Mile 5, but at least I felt better in the last two miles…), and Thursday was one of my most horrid runs of the week. I think I strained my left soleus muscle during the run on Wednesday, and so Thursday’s run was farrrr from fun. At least I got my weekday mileage checked off though, so that made it easier to accept two consecutive rest days from running on Friday and Saturday.

What’s the longest you’ve run without water?

MTR: Week 12

MTR: Week 12

Wow, this week. It definitely started off with a challenge, but the thing I love about a challenging run is the feeling of accomplishment you get right after.

Sunday’s long run was my first with the team after a month hiatus. It was originally a 12 miler, but then was changed to a (confusing/winding/uphill) 13 miler in Pasadena. It was hard due to the fact that the first 6 miles were uphill, and I could feel my legs ache sooner than I would have liked. Many of us had to stop around mile 3 to check our phones for directions—but many in our pack got lost at some point. I was lucky enough to stick with two other girls for the majority of the run, especially when we were making precarious turns on roads near clifs. Yeah…

At least the views were grand and beautiful, I just can’t say the same about the feeling in my legs. The ball of my left foot was numb for the first couple miles, and then I started to feel a dull ache near my hip. I also really needed to make a bathroom stop, which only added to the not-so-swell mood I was feeling during the majority of the run. My crew and I ended up skipping out of four miles since we made it back to our starting point at mile 9, but I still wanted to get my four miles in—after a bathroom break of course 😉 ! The three of us went out for a two mile out-and-back, but they left me after one mile, so I was on my own to complete the final three painful miles.

Since I did have my phone with me during the run, I took advantage of the opportunity and tried to distract myself by taking pictures mid-run:

“Highlights” from Sunday’s 13 Miler -> The directions that did not help us from getting lost // the first mile on the run // heading back from a 2 mile out-and-back after a 9 mile bathroom break // happy to see the overpass and finish!!

After regrouping with my team, I realized that I had a better experience than a lot of my other teammates. Two guys ended up in the heart of Glendale, without phones, and had to rely on a local fire station for water and a friendly biker for directions (who also happened to offer them money and food!!).

Well, at least it was an adventure! I also tried to keep things in perspective, thinking about a documentary I recently watched called Desert Runners. I was only running 13 miles, but I had to remind myself that there are people who put themselves through much more extreme conditions (the four deserts) and run 24-26 miles each day for 5-6 consecutive days. If one is capable of accomplishing that, I can deal with a not-so-fun 13 miler. It is just another step that has to be crossed in this marathon journey.

Sunday – LSD 13 miler group run at 10:05/mi

Monday – Rest

Tuesday –  5 mile morning solo run at 9:15/mi

Wednesday –  6 mile morning solo run at 9:36/mi

Thursday –  Rest

Friday –  5 mile morning solo run at 9:18/mi

Saturday –   Rest

Total Mileage ->  29 miles

Because of the increasing elevation for the first half of the long run, my pace was slower than usual. I gave myself a rest day on Monday to recuperate, but I still lifted weights. Tuesday and Wednesday were refreshing runs since I got to run in areas I have never ran before, due to the fact I was staying with my Dad as he was in town for business. For some reason, Wednesday’s was a particularly slow run. Even my splits were up and down and all over the place! I am glad I was able to squeeze in the run though—even at the chilly time of 6:30AM. Thursday was a much-needed rest day—even from lifiting—since I had some lab duties in the morning and came home feeling super tired. So tired, that I felt the need for an early evening nap. I was able to get in one more run for the week on Friday, and allowed myself a rest day again on Saturday, since I wanted to be in fresh shape for the 16 miler I had to run the next morning. Well, more on that in next week’s recap 😉 

MTR: Week 11

MTR: Week 11

This week in marathon training brought about some temporal changes—afternoon/early evening runs shook up my usual morning run routine, and a busy day on Wednesday called for an early morning run.

Saturday’s run ended up being more of an impromptu run, since I needed to go by the grocery store to pick up some much-needed essentials for dinner. In total, I was able to run a speedy 2 miles while checking-off an errand 😉

 Needed to grab some dinner essentials on Saturday night so...running was obviously the way to go ;)
Needed to grab some dinner essentials on Saturday night so…running was obviously the way to go 😉

Sunday – LSD 10 miler afternoon solo run at 9:28/mi

Monday5 miler morning solo run at 9:13/mi

Tuesday Rest

Wednesday –  5 miler early morning solo run at 9:18/mi

Thursday –  Rest

Friday –  5 miler morning solo run at 9:18/mi

Saturday –   2 miles total (run to the grocery store in the early evening!)

Total Mileage ->  27 miles

Since I had company over until Sunday afternoon, my 10 mile run had to be squeezed in sometime in the afternoon. Despite there being a rainy forecast, the rain subsided for me long enough to get in my long run. I felt super accomplished after this run, for sure 😀 !

It was harder for me to get in my 5 mile runs as the week went on, but I’m glad I was able to in the end, and keep in line with my team’s training plan. Rest days were more than necessary this week, since I felt myself wanting to sleep in for longer than usual. I also feel like this has something to do with my added emphasis on weight training. I’m also continuing to keep an eye on my food intake, especially my protein content, as according to everything I described in this post.

This coming Sunday’s run is a 13 miler welcome-back run with my team, but we have a 16 miler planned for the following week! Marathon training is approaching the ‘serious threshold’, folks—soon it will be time to nail some PDRs 😀

MTR: Week 10

MTR: Week 10

This week turned out to be quite interesting—I ended up streaking! Run streaking, that is.

Sunday – LSD 10 miler morning solo run at 9:20/mi

Monday – 3.2 miler morning solo run at 8:54/mi

Tuesday 5.6 miler morning solo run at 9:16/mi

Wednesday –  4 miler morning solo run at 9:19/mi

Thursday –  4 miler morning solo run at 9:19/mi

Friday –  2 miler morning solo run at 9:25/mi

Saturday –  Rest (finally)

Total Mileage ->  28.8 miles

This week turned out to be a slow one in regards to work. Since everyone is slowly getting back to the grind, that meant a lot more free time in the mornings for me this week. And since I was up for it, I ended up running each morning at a pace I felt comfortable with. The weather was pretty nice too, and may have also been influential 😉

Sunday’s long run was a harder one to get through because I had just come back from my visit with family. The feeling of homesickness (almost) had me skip out on the run altogether, but luckily after the run, I felt better. On Monday, I felt quite speedy and it showed with my pace. On the days following, I mentally felt ready to run, but my pace began to slow as the days went on—with Friday’s being my slowest for the week. I also focused a lot on weight training and began altering my food intake this week—topics which I plan to go into detail about in a separate post. 

For the first week of January, I’m pretty happy with my efforts, but it would be nice to turn those ‘solos’ into ‘group runs’ again. Thankfully since my running group will be back in session starting this week, there should be a lot more help in the motivation department. I’m also looking forward to the changing scenery of Sunday long runs!

What has been the duration of your longest running streak? 

MTR: Week 9

MTR: Week 9

Cold weather + sore legs from running in the wrong shoes does not equal the most fun running week ever (why didn’t I pack my Hokas?!)…but being able to hibernate and have home-cooked meals most certainly makes up for whatever running workouts I could muster this week 😛

 Thursday's "race": a freezin' 5k
Thursday’s “race”: a freezin’ 5k

Sunday – LSD 12 miler morning solo run at 9:29/mi

Monday –  Rest

Tuesday 1.5 miles on treadmill 

Wednesday –  6.5 miler evening solo run at 9:24/mi

Thursday –  3.1 miler at a NYD Race (!!) at 8:55/mi

Friday –  Rest

Saturday –  Rest

Total Mileage ->  23.1 miles

Sunday’s 12 miler gave me an opportunity to do a little bit of exploring…since I sort of got lost, haha. I planned to originally meet my Dad at his gym, but he actually had to pick me up from the grocery store near where I ended! We did drive back to the gym though, and I was able to soak my sore legs in the hot tub spa—and my legs required that for sure!

Wednesday’s run was a relaxing (mentally) evening run, but my legs still felt sore, particularly my calves and the sides of my quads. It made me yearn to get back to my “real” running shoes, but I kept telling myself things would get back to normal starting next week…I hope 😛 ! It felt nice to kick-off the new year on Thursday with a 5k, and since I was able to run it with a close friend, it made the event much more enjoyable—even in the 43 degree weather (not considering the nasty-cold 14mph wind chill!!).

Friday and Saturday were rest days due to it being my last day with the fam and a travel day. I also used the “free” time to reflect over my schedule for the coming semester, and to see how my running schedule will fit in. Classes don’t start for another week or so, but this week marks the beginning of my second lab rotation. Still, I do think that morning runs will be manageable—along with designating days for cross-training, stretching/yoga, and weight training. I aim on delving into the details regarding my plans about the things I plan to do in support of my running in a separate post, but for now, I know they are some things that have just got to be done 😉

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