Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 12 weeks out

Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 12 weeks out

12 weeks out / week 1 – week of December 30, 2013


I put feelers out on my last blog post about whether people would be interested in reading my weekly training recaps, now that I’m in Oakland marathon mode. Surprisingly, people want to read this stuff, so here we go! (though you can still always read everything on DM) 🙂


We’ve been living in San Jose now for a few weeks, since December 21, so the first week/week and a half I was here, I stuck mostly on the Guadalupe River Trail, since that’s close to home (read: I can run there easily and not get lost… or haven’t yet, anyway). Luckily, I’ve been connecting with folks online—mostly other San Francisco Marathon (#TSFM) ambassadors and some Twitter peeps—so I feel like I’m kinda beginning to have an idea of some trails and paths here. Granted, if you put me on a trail by myself tomorrow, you probably wouldn’t find me for another week, but hey. Day at a time.


The week’s training:


Monday, 12/30

Target: rest or XT

Actual: 30 mins easy spin + 2 rds Hereford Workout


I decided that I’d try to re-establish the lifting habit I did in previous training cycles, though this time around, instead of doing a bodyweight routine, I’d go for something more advanced, specifically the Hereford Workout from RYBQ. The complex where we’re staying temporarily has a gym, so I had access to more weights than I usually do (and especially considering when all our stuff is on a truck or in storage until we move into the new place).


Warmed up with a 30 minute spin—first time on a spin bike in probably three years—and holy hell. Apparently I either don’t know how to properly position a spin seat, or I have the world’s most sensitive pubic bone (uhh…). While the ride was easy—fairly low resistance, high cadence—my pubic bone didn’t like me so much after this for a couple days. After the spin, I did two rounds of Hereford, with some modifications, and later did the (modified) pull-ups and chin-ups at the playground. Yeah, I was that crazy mom.


Tuesday, 12/31

Target: general aerobic + speed: 8 miles with 10x100m strides

Actual: 6.1 mile ‘easy’ trail run with Paulette in St. Joseph’s Hill Open Land Preserves in Los Gatos (elevation gain: ~1,000 ft; splits: unicorns. No idea, didn’t save them)


Paulette, a #TSFM & Oiselle ambassador, also lives in SJ (and is also from O-hi!-o originally), and I had been tweeting about meeting-up for a run, so she orchestrated this one on NYE morning. Los Gatos is a super cute town, about 20 minutes from where we are in SJ, and the downtown area is nestled right up against the foothills, which makes for some awesome trail running. Paulette was a champ and totally put up with my endless questions on the run, such as where we were, which direction we were heading, what we were looking at, and the like 🙂 (hey, inquisitive minds need to know these things). We mostly hiked the ascents and ran the descents, so this was an excellent first ‘real’ trail run. I’m quickly learning that trail and road running are completely different animals, especially when it comes to pace expectations. We had some beautiful views on this one, but I left my phone in the car (boo).


Wednesday, 1/1

Target: 11 MLR

Actual: 11.15 MLR (splits: no idea; didn’t save ’em )


Took to the Guadalupe River Trail north-bound for this one on new year’s day. Even though I had gotten some sleep after some (sober) NYE festivities in San Francisco the night before, I still woke up feeling ‘meh’ for this run, and my stomach fuckin’ loathed me for most of it. Suffice it to say that I did some investigating and got some firsthand experience regarding the bathroom situation on the GRT at mid-morning. This definitely became a mind over matter type of run because physically, I felt fine; my guts, however, told me to fuck off for about 7 of the 11 miles. Oy.

hard to be irked when the world sure is pretty
hard to be irked when the world sure is pretty


Thursday, 1/2

Target: 11 MLR

Actual: Recovery 5.25 with A on the GRT (splits: unicorns)


I wasn’t wild about doing two back-to-back MLRs, but I thought it’d work best for my schedule this week… and then my toddler conspired against me. When she sleeps poorly, I sleep poorly… and especially when somehow, my bed becomes the family bed and I get wedged between a rambunctious-when-she’s-sleeping toddler and daddy. I woke up at 3am, just a little before I would have woken up for this run anyway, decided I slept like hell, and made the call to take A with me on a recovery run later, on what would be her first time running with me here. While I was pissed at myself later for this decision, I decided that it was probably in my best interests to not do 11-11 in two days’ time.


Anyway. Stroller running feels like you’re constantly running uphill (when I run with her, I’m pushing about 70 pounds: ~40 for her and 30 for the stroller, and running with one hand on the stroller and the other arm driving me forward), so when you’re stroller running and running uphill, it buuuuuuuuuurns. Fortunately, the GRT is pretty flat, except for a few ascents and descents under bridges, but man. Those ascents had my quads throwing SOSes. Kudos to the folks here who routinely run with their kids.


Friday, 1/3

Target: 11 MLR

Actual: 11.02 MLR (8:21, 23,  8:37, 42, :39, 35, 33, 24, 07, 8:10, 7:53 )

The return of pre-dawn runs, and my first in SJ. The midweek MLRs were the biggest change for me from following Pfitz, and I think they have helped me enormously when it comes to marathon fitness and speed. This early in training, in this mesocycle, the MLRs are on the shorter end (11), but they’ll eventually get up to 15. I was awake around 3:30 and doing all the pre-MLR stuff, including texting Declan and bemoaning his absence here, since we did most of our MLRs together this summer when we were training for Chicago. Shortly after moving here, I bought a headlamp and hydration belt specifically for these MLRs, so this was the first day I got to use both. And, just like many ‘firsts’ I’ve had this week, this was also the first time running with a headlamp since Ragnar (my only other times running with one) and my first time with a belt since… hmm… I paced a friend in a spring marathon in 2012, maybe.


The run was actually quite nice. I took a circuitous route to pick up the GRT, just so I could stay on lit city streets for as long as possible, and once I eventually did pick up the trail, around 2.6 miles in, I quickly saw two of the only three animate objects I’d see all run, including a skunk (!!) about a foot away from me. The run was pretty uneventful otherwise, though I think I was freaking myself out a bit about the silence and darkness. My splits definitely reflect how comfortable I felt with the darkness. Once I decided to embrace it and the relative quiet, I had a blast. I mean… low 40s, under the stars? Yes, please. My guts were good until the very end of the run, which, while frustrating, is spot-on for this stage in training. I think with my endurance training comes my intestinal fortitude as well. (you’re welcome)


Saturday, 1/4

Target: 15 LR

Actual: 16.17 (elevation gain: 3,461 ft; splits: 9:53, 8:16, 10:37; 9:42, 7:41, 7:49, 12:10, 9:45, 9:24, 12:31, 8:09, 9:25, 8:39, 8:48, 8:02, 7:49, 6:56 for .17 )


Second time in a week headed back to San Francisco, but this time, I was picking up my girl Erin (Stone) and her friend Sarah (Foxy) to take them over to a rundezvous + brewery outing with #TSFM ambassadors. Stone, Foxy, and I parked in the Park Presidio and ran over the Golden Gate bridge to meet the 10-person strong gaggle of runners (and a dog!) for a 10-mile run over the Ninja Loop in the Marin County Headlands. Each way on the GG was 2+ miles, so I was confident I’d get the mileage I was after and with a healthy dose of hills for the day. What I had no idea of, however, was the difficulty of the Headlands—especially when you’re coming from flatlands Chicago—but it was a fuckin’ blast. It was simultaneously humbling yet totally invigorating to traverse through the Headlands and take in multiple views of SF, Sausalito, and various parts of Marin County that I don’t yet know 🙂 When the ascents became seemingly impossible, Stone, Foxy, and I switched our runs (that were more like hustles) to a 2:1 run/walk, which seemed to help. If nothing else, a 2:1 R/W was definitely more efficient than any hustle I had been doing previously.


Running with Stone for the first time since Boston & Chicago '10 training--clearly, quite excited. Super fun day with Foxy, too! (photo: Foxy)
Top: running with Stone for the first time since Boston & Chicago ’10 training–clearly, quite excited.  Bottom: super fun day with Foxy, too! (photo: Foxy)


Serious rundezvous on some serious hills

Serious rundezvous with TSFM + friends on some serious hills (photo: Paulette)


The GG Bridge is on the right, while downtown SF is in the center (look closely).

The GG Bridge is on the right, while downtown SF is in the center (look closely).


Good afternoon, GG
Good afternoon, GG


If you look really closely, about mid-pic, you'll see a road. That's where we started one of the ascents. Mind.blown.
If you look really closely, about mid-pic, you’ll see a road. That’s where we started one of the ascents. Mind. blown.


Following the Headlands run, Stone, Foxy, and I ran back over the GG Bridge—total clusterfuck on a sunny, fog-less Saturday afternoon—and got cleaned up to go to a brewery with the gang. Even for someone who doesn’t drink beer (me) and who didn’t drink at all because she was driving for an hour back to SJ (uh, me again), I still had a blast getting to know other ambassadors and really appreciated all the awesome offers from the folks in the south Bay for future rundezvous 🙂 yay, social media bringing people together!


At the brewery with a gaggle of local-ish TSFM 2014 ambassadors
At the brewery with a gaggle of local-ish TSFM 2014 ambassadors


Sunday, 1/5

Target: general aerobic + speed: 8 miles with 8x100m strides

Actual: 8.09 mi (elevation gain: 1,076 ft; splits: 9:51, 11:18, 12:11, 10:03, 8:51, 8:47, 7:49, 7:13 )


Think I lucked out with my training this week and the number of people I’ve been able to meet, and Sunday was another one of those days where I was meeting folks from the internet, this time Twitter, for a run through the trails, this time in Alum Rock, not too far from where we’ll be moving in SJ here in a few weeks. Saurabh, Anil, and I had been tweeting periodically since before the move, and they both had been super helpful to me in the past few weeks I’ve been here, giving me pointers not only on which headlamp to buy but also more “practical” (ha, what’s that?) things, like pediatricians or physicians.


Anil is in the throes of training for his first 50k in a week, and Saurabh is training for his first Ironman in Coeur d’Alene in the summer, and they both ran Chicago this past year. Rockin’! It was really cool to get to know these guys more and get some more good climbing in through a trail that’ll be super close to me post-move. Sidenote: so far every person I’ve met from Twitter has been a runner, and they’ve all been cool as hell. Anyway, in the last couple miles of the run, once we were done climbing and out of the hills, I started to throw in the 100m strides, and I was surprised by how good these felt. My legs have felt pretty fresh this week, even with the increased mileage and with the trail running, but I was still surprised by how good it felt just to get some good turnover going, even if only for a couple miles and for only 100m at a time. This is encouraging.


downtown SJ (look closely)
downtown SJ (look closely)


Anil and Saurabh doing the work while I take the pics
Anil and Saurabh doing the work while I take the pics


Weekly Mileage

Target: 55

Actual: 57.78


Week one… in the books.


How were your runs this week?


16 thoughts on “Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 12 weeks out

  1. Holy whoa! 57.78 miles for week 1 of training? You’re a machine! Nice start to training! Love the run photos! I’m sure all of this is a fantastic change of scenery from the LFT.

    1. Thanks, Austin! & yea, this is week of of Pfitz’s 70/12, so 55 is the base–crazy, right?! Super excited to see you in a few weeks here! Let the countdown begin!

    1. Thanks, JP! Yea, never thought I’d ever start tracking elevation during marathon training… and thanks for the blog comment. Kinda did it on accident to be honest, but hey, sometimes accidents can be good things, right? 🙂

    1. Thanks, Declan! Surely you will be receiving all of my 3am/5am texts… it’ll be like I’m still meeting you for a rundezvous! xo

  2. Hey! You’re running on my routes! 😀 GRT runs by my work so I hit it up every so often and I did all my long runs out to Alum Rock while training for CIM.

    I’m slowly getting back into running (foot issues and sick) but I’ll be back out on those trails soon. Maybe catch you out there? I can only dream of getting 57 miles in a week. ah!

    Welcome to the Bay Area!

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet response, Sonia! Glad you’re getting back into running; this area sure is a beautiful place for it! and very cool you ran CIM; I’ll have to pick your brain about it 🙂 Hope to see you out there soon! Take care, sweetie!

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