Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 11 weeks out

Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 11 weeks out

11 weeks out / week 2 — week of January 6, 2014


I knew that this week would be decidedly different from last, mainly because I anticipated running most, if not all, of my miles by myself, in SJ, on the GRT; it’s not a big deal (though I am getting used to running by myself—that definitely wasn’t the norm in Chicago!). Some runners are die-hard loners on their runs, while others swing the opposite way. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle; I dig the variety.

Monday, January 6

plan: rest/XT

actual: rest like a rockstar + push-ups

Rest is a relative term when you chase after care for mostly chase after your 2.5 year-old all day, but we rocked this rest day like superstars. Aside from taking a walk to the post office, just a couple miles round-trip, and some playground time, we took it pretty easy. I noticed that I felt well after my first week of training, even with the uptick in miles and in trail runs, yet my hip flexors felt a little… funny. The best way I could describe it is that it felt like I had a ton of relaxin coursing through my body (and if you don’t know what that is, no shame… I only remember it from my pregnancy). I didn’t really feel sore or tight, but I felt like my hips and ankles were kinda like Gumby, like my body decided to take a great big deep exhale and just let it allllllllllll ouuuuuuuuuuuuuut. Weird.

A dailymile friend recently posted something about a push-up app that piqued my interest, so now I’m getting into the habit of doing them (standard, non-modified!) right before bed each night. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, and dare I say it’s even somewhat… fun.  Besides daily push-ups, anytime A and I are at the playground, I hop on a bar and work on my negatives in my chin-up and pull-up attempts. Slowly but surely…

Tuesday, January 7

plan: lactate threshold: 9 miles with 4 at 15kRP/HMRP

actual: recovery 5.1 with A [8:14 avg] + 2 rounds RYBQ 10×10 + push-ups

Just like last week, A slept poorly on Monday night, scheming against me and my planned tempo run, and rather than try to have a quality speed sesh on piss-poor sleep, I decided to take a recovery 5 with her mid-morning. No real complaints here, only that on our run, we went to a few different stores for bubbles and sidewalk chalk (don’t hate me) because it’s sunny (please don’t hate me) and mid-to-upper 60s (I love you?) every day here, so sidewalk chalk and bubbles are musts right now! In the ‘weather is relative’ department, a sales associate told me that her store doesn’t stock those items during the winter because they’re ‘seasonal.’ Insert snarky-ass comment here about what winter constitutes…

a little Chicago love
a little Chicago love

During naptime, I did a couple rounds of the RYBQ 10×10. Although it’s bodyweight-based, compared to the Hereford, the 10×10 is a pretty thorough work-out. It feels quite nice to do it post-run.

Wednesday, January 8

plan: MLR 11

actual: lactate threshold: 9.1 miles with 4 at 15kRP or HMRP [7:56 avg OA; 7:23 avg on tempo miles] + push-ups

First legit speed sesh of Oakland training. I love the speed stuff, but if given the option between tempo or track, I always choose the latter; there’s something about the tempo stuff that (unnecessarily) intimidates me. It took me some time to mentally prepare for this run, and when I started in the 4 o’clock hour, I was surprised to see that the streets of SJ and the GRT were completely soaked, since it had rained/was raining (or very strongly misting) overnight and into the pre-dawn hours…somewhat remarkable only because SJ barely got 3.5” of rain last year. It made for some seriously precarious footing on parts of the GRT, and combined with running fast and running in darkness, save for the light of a headlamp, this tempo was way more challenging than it needed to be. I already can’t turn corners for shit when I’m tempo-ing, but when the pavement is wet and my thoughts keep reverting to what do I need to do to stay out of faceplanting and falling in the riverbed, yea… I welcomed the opportunity to slow things down a bit.

Pfitz suggests that more “experienced” marathoners use their HMRP for these tempo runs, instead of their 15kRP, so I typically aim for a range (which, based on my most recent race times for both distances, equates to a 7:13-21). The pace was hard to find, in no small part due to the aforementioned semi-miraculous weather conditions, so I ultimately averaged just shy of HMRP, a 7:23. Initially, I was pissed about this because of course, I want to be breaking world records here!, but I think given the conditions and where I am in my training right now—along with the very incidental detail that I haven’t done any concerted speedwork in a few months, since my Chicago/NYC training—I’ll take it.

Thursday, January 9

plan: recovery 5

actual: faster finish MLR 12.03 [8:10 avg, range from 8:28-7:32] + push-ups

A speedwork-MLR turnaround is usually tiring for me, but experience has taught me that it’s uber important, too, since it does wonders for my endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and ‘mental’ muscle. Yet again, it rained/fogged/heavily misted in the wee a.m. hours, but this time around, it was more of a treat than a stressor to run in, since I wasn’t going after a certain pace. By the time I finished this run, I looked like I had just taken a shower in my running clothes. It was awesome.

Friday, January 10

plan: MLR 11

actual: MLR 11.02 [8:15 avg] + push-ups

I typically change Pfitz’s schedule a bit each week so I can do a LR on Saturday (instead of Sunday), so oftentimes I’ll end up having a MLR right before a LR—another way to tire out my legs—but the volume I posted this week in 4 consecutive days (W-Sa) is something that I usually wouldn’t subject myself to. Fortunately, on Friday, the ground was dry, so the pre-dawn running felt serene and relaxing. I managed to oversleep my first two alarms, so I got out a little later than usual and had to haul ass to make it home by 6am… only to find that C, too, had overslept his alarms and was still in bed and barely alive to the world. By then, I was at 10.41 miles, and I knew that he’d need at least 10 minutes to get ready, so once I dropped off my headlamp and hydration belt, I flew back outside to finish the rest of my miles. Don’t judge me because I know for a fact that most of you would have done the same, if given the opportunity. 🙂

Also, WE CLOSED TODAY! Woohoo, California homeownership!

Excited faces :)
Excited faces 🙂

Saturday, January 11

plan: recovery 5

actual: faster finish LR 17.01 [8:08 avg, miles 8-17 progression from 8:30-7:17] + moving! + push-ups

Thinking I’d try something new, I picked up the GRT and went to its northern-most point, Alviso, and decided to run the entirety, or almost-entirety, of the path, all the way through downtown San Jose. I’ve only gotten a little south of the SJ airport before, so I was looking forward to doing some exploring. For whatever reason though, this run was pretty mentally exhausting and tough for me until I had a moment with myself around mile 12.3 and decided I would let myself ‘kick’ on the back 4-and-change miles. Perhaps the run was tough because 17 is a bit formidable, and especially if you’re going at it all on your lonesome, but I seriously felt like my head was up my ass for the majority of the run. Of course, this is normal—not every run will be sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns—but dammit. Blerg. My thoughts ranged from changing this LR 17 into a recovery 5, to bagging it altogether and calling C to come fetch me, yadda yadda yadda… Just one of those runs.

the saving grace
the only enjoyable aspect of the first dozen miles on Saturday

If nothing else, I’ll be able to tuck this experience in my “mental callousing” file so the next time I have a sub-par run, I’ll be able to remind myself what I did to turn this one around. Another Pfitz (and StrengthRunning) staple is a fast-finish LR, so I try to get in the habit of posting hearty negative splits on my LRs in anticipation of when I’ll do it on race day. It definitely teaches me patience and has helped my pacing tremendously, too. I’m super pleased that I was able to finish this run strong and significantly, significantly happier 🙂

And, for the record, the section of the GRT that winds through downtown SJ is quite nice. I imagine it’s just darling when everything is in bloom. And, strangely, parts of the GRT Saturday morning alternatingly smelled like skunk (somewhat normal, from my experiences so far), something sweet (interesting), and Indian food (what?????). Finally, as I was finishing up my run, I realized that I had miscalculated my distance and was going to end up running closer to 19-20 unless I took a shortcut back, so I chased my LR with a recovery walk home, with as many shortcuts as possible 🙂

I was planning to do a couple rounds of the 10×10 later in the day, but I opted for some real-world functional fitness and strength: moving personal effects from a studio to a 3-story townhouse (lifting! squatting! stairs!). I’ll call that a draw.

Sunday, January 12

plan: LR 17

actual: recovery 5.02 [8:23 avg] + push-ups

A long night of moving made me welcome the thought of doing an easy recovery mid-day, during naptime, since my usual recovery partner decided she didn’t want to run with me (a first!). My legs were definitely tired when I began, probably more from all the moving than from the run, but they felt progressively better as the run continued. Since this was my first run from our new place, I wanted to check out Penitencia Creek Trail/Park but somehow botched it, and once I figured it out, I didn’t have a ton of mileage left. From what I saw, though, it’s quite lovely and with beautiful views of the east foothills.


All in all, I’d call this a successful week. I’m getting adjusted to the training volume, which, surprisingly, is less noticeable in my fatigue than it is in my never-ending desire to eat anything and everything salty; I feel like I just need to buy a salt lick to keep on hand. This past week, I also began to think about goals for Oakland and began to do some research on previous years’ times. While I realize that I’m still quite early in my training, I think I’ve set a pretty ambitious goal for myself, and I’m pretty stoked to chase after it like hell soon. More to come on this one real soon. Most importantly, I learned that Lynton is coming out to Oakland to run the half!!!! Between seeing him in late March and seeing Austin and Erin again in early February for the Kaiser Half, I think I will be starting to count down the weeks in no time here 🙂

with Lynton, immediately after finishing NYC, and the beginning of celebrating his massive PR
with Lynton, immediately after finishing NYC, and the beginning of celebrating his massive PR. SO excited he’s gonna run Oakland’s half!!!!!


after we both big PRed at Eugene in April '13 (also the last time I saw him! what?!)
with Austin, after we both big PRed at Eugene in April ’13 (also the last time I saw him! what?!). Kaiser can’t be here soon enough!! (the first of a handful of our run-cations this year… join us!)


Erins! local run bud, yea!! stoked to see her and run with her again super soon!


Weekly Mileage

plan: 59

actual: 59.28

 How were your runs this week? When in your training do you begin to start considering your goals for your upcoming race(s)? Do you schedule race or training rundezvous with friends (and count down weeks in advance?!)?

10 thoughts on “Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 11 weeks out

  1. Love that my pic ended up in this post! Have we really not seen each other since April?? This is madness! It seriously doesn’t feel like that long, but I guess when you have three marathons, two moves, and whatever else has happened (collectively), any length of time will seem short. I digress though.

    I seem to schedule my bigger races so that I either have friends to run them with, or friends who are willing to come out and cheer. Bonus points for both.

    I’m starting to think of my goals for Kaiser (three weeks out), but every goal I come up with (except for setting a new PR) seems so arbitrary. Maybe within the next week or two, goals will become solidified.

    So excited to see you! Less than three weeks to go! 🙂

    1. Totally excited to see ya in two weeks (fewer than!), Austin! No idea what I want to do for Kaiser yet either, but I’m just really looking forward to seeing you and Stone again 🙂 it’ll be aweeeeeeeeeesome!

  2. I love that the event is called a festival!!
    Running all your miles by yourself.. not a big deal! ugh you are way mentally tougher than me. I do it out of necessity, but I’m already eyeing people running my way in the mornings to see who is a regular to maybe say hi to one day lol

    Killer work out week!

  3. Super solid week, my friend. Ramping right up and the paces are strong too!! Moving is EXHAUSTING (and one my least favorite things in the world) so the fact that you did it post 17-miler has me all kinds of impressed. Congrats on closing on the new digs!!!

  4. I do a majority of my miles alone, but I have a hard time getting myself psyched up to do a long run by myself. When I was training for a half last year, I think I only had to do one long run alone (the 12-miler, ugh!), which helps. But having gotten that out of the way, I know I CAN run distance alone… I just hope to avoid it.

    Currently I have the Shuffle with my bestie on my calendar, and I’m definitely excited to run and hopefully PR with her. AND excited to find a fun Bay Area race, since I’ll undoubtedly be back out that way sometime this spring/summer. 🙂

    1. Funnnnnnnnnnnnnn, Anne! Running with besties rocks. And I’m selfishly super stoked at the prospect of seeing you out this way sometime this year, in the near-relative future!

  5. You go girl! Glad to see your adjusting to CA and digging into some awesome training. Don’t forget to update all your DPU gal pals! We want your new address and lots of pictures! MISS YOU LOVE YOU!

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