midyear report


A month since running my first marathon and my training is back to normal. I still have not figured out my running goals for the second half of the year but I got back to six days running with two workouts and a long run.


2015 was my breakthrough year for running. I finally started to figure out the path to better training and racing without being injured. I ran more miles with more consistency than ever before and broke the 2000m barrier.

My first run2run post laid out my 2016 goals:

  • 2500 miles
  • Marathon: Mountains 2 Beach, 5/29/16
  • Half Marathon PR
  • 10K PR
  • 5K PR
  • No injuries!

We’re half way through 2016, a great time to check in on those goals.

2500 miles: I’m just shy of 1200m this year and on track to hit 2500. If I decide to run a marathon in the fall I may come up short because of the taper and recovery weeks but that does not bother me at all. I’ll take the two marathons.

Marathon: Got this one off my back when I completed the Mountains 2 Beach marathon in May. Preparation for this race was my entire focus this year and it was worth it. I came through exhausted and ready for more.

Half Marathon PR: In January I ran the Griffith Park Half Marathon and knocked three minutes off my previous best. This race was my confidence builder for the marathon and one of my best runs ever. The day after I finished, I signed up for M2B.

10K and 5K PR: Since I was training for the marathon this year I did not run any shorter races. I plan to run both distances this summer. I’m confident I can PR the 10K since some of my tempo run paces were 10-15 seconds below my best 10K race pace. The 5K might be more challenging since I’m not doing any race specific training, especially if I sign up for another marathon.

No Injuries: race results seem like a bigger deal but his is my most important accomplishment in 2016. I include a dynamic warm up before and a strength routine after every one of my runs. The results are fantastic- longer and faster running with shorter recovery periods. Sometimes the exercises are a grind and that’s when I remind myself what it felt like to be unable to run because of injury.


I’m heading into the second half of 2016 feeling motivated. Up next is my first 5K of the year, consistent training, and if things go according to plan, a chance to cross off the rest of my running goals.



goal free running

Three weeks since running the Mountains 2 Beach marathon and I’m starting to feel like I’m back to normal. Volume, frequency, and pace are well below my training levels and that’s ok.


Until I feel ready I’m running goal free. I decide my route the day of my run and let the pace come on its own.


I usually find myself running the Strand along Redondo, Hermosa, or Manhattan Beach. Even on warm days, like today, the sea breeze keeps conditions just right.


I can tell that my marathon recovery is coming to a close. I’m back to five runs this week and my legs are starting to feel fresh. Time to start thinking about the rest of 2016.

recover and reset

It’s been two weeks since I ran the Mountains 2 Beach marathon and it seems like so long ago. To myself: c’mon, get out there and start running!  Then from my body: hey, not so fast!  One of my training goals was to listen to my body and break a habit of riding my post-race enthusiasm to injury.

So I waited. I did not run at all for 10 days and then I started some goal-free workouts this week.


My first run back was awful. Legs felt like lead, aches and pains that were fading away spoke up: you are not ready.  I took another break and finally had a decent run, a relaxing out-and-back along the Greenbelt.


June in Southern California brings overcast and cool mornings and that’s perfect for me. The day after running the Greenbelt I felt good enough to follow up with a short run along the Strand.


When I’m training I run solo so it was fun to take Alex today. He’s able to keep up with me and it won’t be long before I need to keep up with him. I’m looking forward to us running some 5K and 10K races later this year.


I’m still not feeling 100%. This week was a good start and it left me wanting to run some more. I should be back to normal soon.


m2b marathon race report


I wanted to run a marathon since 2011. My desire was sorely tested through IT band setbacks, rebuilding my core strength, and learning proper running form.

But I persevered, got healthy, and started putting in the miles.

Last year I ran four half marathons and lowered my time by 12 minutes. Four months ago I started marathon training. When I lined up for the 2016 Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, I felt excited and ready to run.


M2B was the ideal first marathon for me. The point to point course started in Ojai, CA, and finished at the Pacific Ocean in Ventura Beach. There were about 3000 runners, enough to feel like an event but not so many to make the race crowded. After a slight climb at the start, the road maintained a gentle downhill slope all the way to the beach.


The starting horn sounded at 6:00 am, just after sunrise. Conditions were perfect. About 55 degrees and drizzly in Ojai then overcast and 60 in Ventura. During my training I experimented with shoes, clothes, and nutrition. My plan for the race was to drink water every three miles and eat a gel every six. I wore New Balance Zante 2’s, compression socks, shorts and a singlet. Two hours earlier, I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a banana. At 5:45, I took my first gel.

When I race it can take me a few minutes to get into the flow and find my pace. But not today. From the start I was loose and felt I was running at my goal pace of 7:50.  My splits put me a little slower but after accounting for the initial climb I was right where I wanted to be. Three miles in I was supremely confident.


During the early miles I was bunched up with the 3:23 pace group, five minutes faster than my goal time. I felt so good that I decided to stick with them, my first big mistake. I was running 20-30 seconds ahead of the pace I trained for and at 13.1 miles I had run my third fasted half marathon ever. I still felt strong and thought I could hold up for the second half. I just made mistake number two.

Mountain 2 Beach Marathon

I continued through mile 17 at about 7:50. During the next three miles I started to slow but did not realize that I was running close to a minute slower than my goal pace. Then at mile 21 I hit the wall.


I hurt everywhere. Each step became a struggle. I tried to convince myself that the last six miles were the same as an easy run, but the last six miles seemed to stretch out forever. During miles 22 through 25 I would walk for a minute or two and then try to run. From the moment I started walking I knew I would not make my time.

As runners continued to pass me I realized that my goal to run a marathon was still waiting for me. When I reached mile 25 I vowed to run and finish strong. I reached into myself deeper than I had ever done before to keep running. As I passed through the chute I heard my name announced and I was done. Not finished. Done.


Thirty minutes later I did not feel like dying anymore but I was spent. I finally checked my watch and saw that I finished in 3:46:25, with an average pace of 8:38 per mile. Not what I originally wanted but I’ll take it.

I’ve been on an emotional high since then.  Despite the pain, I came through uninjured except for a blister on my left foot. Now that I know what to expect I can already see how I will run differently: be patient at the start and stay strong for all 26.2 miles.

The marathon and I have some unfinished business. I want to put together a race where I run negative splits, and where I use my training to follow the right race strategy. I’m going to take it easy this month and ease back into training. I know I can do better next time and I want next time to be later this year. I am a marathoner. It feels good to say that.