marathon week 7: spring break


Week seven gave me a much needed step back week. My training plan called for lower mileage plus extra rest days. I was not looking forward to the break after some of my best training runs the previous week, but the extra rest came at the right time.


Meanwhile, spring arrived in LA. For a few weeks the hills and trails are green and full of life. It wont be long until the temperature starts rising and everything turns brown.


My runs in Griffith Park started out dark and cold but once the sun was up it felt great out on the trails.


Spring time is also when the mornings are clear. It won’t be long before “June Gloom” arrives and mornings are overcast- ideal running weather for Southern California.


Even with a lighter training load my long run was a challenge. I ran 17 miles and tried to keep my goal marathon pace during miles 10-16.


If I can average 7:45-8:00 at Mountains to Beach I will qualify for Boston. I thought I was running just that but ended up going faster. I will need to get better at recognizing my pace because I was gassed at mile 17, not a good place to be with nine miles to go.

Next week goes back to my full training load. As much as I enjoyed my step back week I’m ready for the second half of marathon training.


marathon week 6: shoe porn


Week six training repeated week five training. How to keep it fresh? I tried to narrow down my shoe choices for the M2B marathon, now only 11 weeks away.


Training went well. I returned to my plan’s rythym of six days running with a rest day before my long run. I ran 58.25 miles, same as last week, and now I’m looking forward to ramping up for the next round of training. Since my workouts were the same, I tried to vary my shoe choices to help decide what I will wear on race day.


I’ve tried a lot of shoes over the last five years and discovered my favorites through training and racing half marathons. My top three models: Newton BoCo AT, Saucony Kinvara, and New Balance Zante.


The Newton BoCoAT is my go to trail running shoe. I wore them when I raced the Chesebro Half Marathon in 2015 and I wear them whenever I go off road into the hills. They are automatically disqualified from M2B because they are heavy, and get hot if I run longer than 10 miles. A great shoe for trails and cold weather, but not what I’m looking for when I run 26.2 in May.


Meanwhile, I’ve been wearing the Saucony Kinvara  for almost five years and I pr’d a recent  half marathon with them. I first tried the Kinvara 3 and have been wearing them ever since. This year, the Kinvara 7 was introduced so I scooped up two pairs of the six for half price! I’m training with my first pair right now. There is only one  other shoe competing with the Kinvara.


And that’s the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante. I tried a pair of Zante’s last year and raced  the Tiburon Half Marathon with them. I will decide between the Kinvara and Zante when I run M2B.


Since my last two weeks of training were identical, I alternated long runs wearing the Kinvara and Zante. My Hermosa Beach to Palos Verdes route was 19.25 miles and included a little bit of everything: roads, trails, gravel paths, hills, and flats.

Both shoes held up admirably. The Zante’s upper was more comfortable – the shoes fit me perfectly and I could hardly feel them. My Kinvaras made themselves known but seemed to have more support. Will this make a difference in the later miles of my marathon?

For now, I’ve narrowed my choice between the Kinvara and Zante. There are still ten weeks of training to go and I will need to decide seven weeks from now so I can break in my race day shoes.

marathon week 5


Week five ramped up in miles and intensity. I ran 58.5 miles which is near my previous upper limit. I began nutrition experiments on my long run and continued my strength training after each workout.


I needed to bump my long run to Sunday because Ryan had a track meet on Saturday. He effortlessly puts my form work to shame.


During my tempo run I kept my pace at 6:45 for four miles, my best time ever but a mixed blessing. I felt sore and a little out of it for the rest of the week. I kept up my strength exercises and hit the foam roller extra hard and rallied for a solid long run on Sunday.


I started in Hermosa beach, ran south to Palos Verdes and looped around Lunada Bay before heading home. I usually eat a banana before I run but this time I added a slice of toast with peanut butter. I could definitely feel the difference and my energy level stayed consistent for all 19.25 miles.


I’m going to repeat this run next week wearing a different pair of shoes. All in all, week five was a success. I continued to build my fitness and stayed consistent. With 11 weeks to go I’m feeling confident about finishing 26 miles. Still in question is my race pace and running strategy which should become clearer soon.


marathon week 4


The first quarter of my marathon training is complete. Week four repeated the previous week’s workouts and I stayed consistent matching week three’s effort, mileage, and pace.

week_04Weather was a factor… for LA. I completed my long run between rainstorms and the cool overcast morning helped me hold a steady pace over 17 miles.


Once I warmed up I locked into an 8:15-25 pace through fourteen miles. At mile 15 I ran into some runners from a local running club and ran with them for two miles. It wasn’t until after my run that I realized I finished with a sub 7:00 mile. I was jogging and talking along the way and felt good during the final kick. Was this an omen for a strong finish in May?


Next week I step up to six days running, a longer tempo run, and a longer long run. I’m feeling good today and ready for phase two of my training.

orinda, ca

Whenever I travel I try to fit in some running. New scenery refreshes and invigorates me, so when my in laws told me about Lafayette Reservoir near their home in Orinda I had to check it out.


Orinda is about 15 miles east of San Francisco. I visited during Christmas and the winter morning was cool, frosty and clear. I followed a bike path and city roads for three miles before reaching the reservoir. Since it was a weekend during the holidays there were a lot of hikers and families on the shoreline path. I chose a route along the ridge of the hills surrounding the lake and found the trails mostly empty.


The steep rolling hills explained the lack of fellow travelers. After a steady climb of 700 feet the ridge trail leveled briefly before a series of steep ups and downs. I was no longer cold and my breath came out in clouds while my sweat was steaming as it evaporated.


I was running in a classic California landscape. Old oak trees and rolling hills that would turn golden when spring arrived.


Once I circled Lafayette Reservoir I had another six miles left on my run. With the tough part out of the way I was able to run smoothly and stay loose as I headed home. I don’t know when I’ll get to run Orinda again but I’ll be ready when the chance comes.