Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bay to Breakers Race Report

Goal:
Top 3 Bay Area (Prize $$)
A Goal:  sub-6:00 pace
B Goal:  sub-5:50 pace

Actual:
2.5M warmup
12K Race in 43:49 for 10th place overall with splits of 540, 555, 635, 603, 542, 530, 530, 2:29
1M cool down 


Can I really say that my "spring season" kicked off with my first race in seven months at Bay to Breakers?  I sure can!  But, let's be real.  I obviously didn't really have a spring season.  Due to many factors, such as getting a minor achilles flare up in mid-January or a two-week trip to Europe or hitting my knee cap on my car console, I didn't up end starting the races I had planned to compete in earlier this spring.  I've also been traveling quite a bit with work, which doesn't typically put a damper on my training, but there's something about the Plano, Texas scenery that really drains every ounce of motivation out of me.  So, yeah, a lot happened, but I still got in some pretty decent workouts despite some hurdles along the way.

I came into this race fresh off of a work trip, and also with a fresh pain in my knee.  I really wanted to run B2B this year, and I wasn't going to let a silly smack to my knee prevent me from starting -- and finishing -- this race.  So, I took a day off on Friday and hoped that some time off the legs would make it possible for me to race.  

I really wanted to run Bay to Breakers, no matter what, for numerous reasons.  First, I haven't raced in forever. I had a couple of key workouts leading into this race that indicated I was pretty fit.  Maybe not fast, but definitely strong.  Also, I wanted to represent the Strava Track Club / rabbit team.  I haven't worn the gear yet and Coach Dena has done so much for me, even though I don't even go to the Tuesday evening track practices.  I really wanted to race as my way of giving back and saying thank you for all that both groups have done to support my passion.  Finally, this is BAY TO BREAKERS.  San Francisco's oldest race.  With the MOST personality.  I mean, people run naked.   And you get to run across the entire city and end at the ocean.  In the end, my knee held up just fine and I raced hard.  

Everything leading up to the race was made seamless with the help of friends - Ozzie and Silvia who kindly gave up their apartment so Peter and I could stay there the night before, and also Athena, who let me shower at her place afterwards.  Race morning, Peter and I woke up, jogged three blocks from the apartment to the start line, where I met Heather and Tania to get a warmup in.  We jogged to the elite tent to drop our warmups, grabbed Amy, and did a mile out and back.  After some strides, a couple of bathroom breaks, we were finally at the start line.  Tania, Heather and I got interviewed by a news station before toeing the line.  

After the gun went off (was there actually a gun?  I don't know), after about 400 meters, I realized zero women were near me.  Crap.  I asked a dude who was part of a centipede what their goal pace was.  "5:20" he responded.  Crap Crap.  I immediately backed off and suddenly all the other women who should be running faster than me zipped by.  A handful of Africans, Jen Rhines, and a couple others.  I let them go. I needed to save my energy so I could haul past people on the downhill in golden gate park.  

At some point, Heather caught me and said, I'm here.  We ran together through the hardest part - the infamous Hayes Street Hill.  After cresting the top of the long hill, I urged my legs to move faster, but they refused.  The lactic acid build up was intense, so I realized that it would be best to be patient and wait for them to settle down and then start moving.  Around this time, I said let's go girl to Heather and continued on the ascent up to the top of Golden Gate Park.  
Running alongside heather on hayes hill
During this climb, a couple of guys were instrumental in helping me pick up the pace, and I latched onto them until the pace slowed.  That happened around the downhill portion through the park, so I moved on to find the next one to latch onto.  I noticed that an older gentleman was running the tangents like a champ, so I picked it up a bit to run alongside him and commented on his abilities.  We ended up finishing within seconds of one another.
trying to push the pace on the downhill
With about 2 miles to go, I noticed that I was gaining on Amy, but also Jen Rhines.  Jen had raced Bloomsday just 7 days before, so that explains why I was so close to her.  I knew that it was possible to catch Amy, but highly unlikely to catch Jen.  I set my sights on Amy's back, and with 1000 meters to go, had reeled her in.  I said some encouraging words to her, and continued on my way down to the finish.  I was pretty damn happy to finish because I was beginning to HURT and I was also happy with the result.   

Ultimately, this race brought several new experiences to me and now holds a very special place in my heart.  I completed my first Bay to Breakers, which is  a race that I've dreamed of running since I was in high school.  And, for the first time ever, Peter and I toed the same start line of a race and crossed the same finish line.  

 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

(Down) Week in Review

30 Miles
3 Days off
10M "long run"
2 days in LA

In an effort to ensure the knee doesn't flare up even more, Terry and I agreed to take three days off.  I also lifted twice this week, as I want to be sure to strengthen the quad and other tendons that attach around the knee cap.  I've never dealt with an injury to the kneecap, so I'm not sure what exercises would help it exactly, but I figure the general lifting exercises I already do can't hurt.

I flew out to LA this weekend to see my sister for a little bit before heading to Peter's sister's graduation from high school.  It was nice to run around the Bolsa Chica wetlands near my sister before heading up to Pacific Palisades for some graduation fun.  Not too much happened this week.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bay to Breakers (Week in Review)

46 Miles
7M workout fail
11M MLR with Meagan
1 day off
12K Race in 43:49 for 10th place overall with splits of 540, 555, 635, 603, 542, 530, 530, 2:29

This week was highlighted by both positive and negative things. Let's start first with the negative:

  1. After flying to Dallas for work, my kneecap felt terrible. Now I can feel it slightly when I run, and feel it even more when I run faster and get more leg lift.  It was definitely a bummer that my knee hurt after trying to straighten while sitting on the plane. 
  2. I completely bailed on my target 4 x 1.5M workout in Plano.  I did 2 miles of work and then threw in the towel.  I really, really want to be able to race and finish the Bay to Breakers race, so I decided it would be okay to be a wimp and to save my energy (and keep the knee strong) by bailing on the workout.
Now, on to the positive:
  1. I ran my first Bay to Breakers race and I was the second bay area female resident to finish!  I was hoping for first, but I think that one woman may have lied about where she *actually* lives.  Regardless, the race was incredible!  Peter and I got to start our first race together, I ran alongside Heather on the Hayes Street Hill, and I was able to snag some prize money in the process!  I hope to run this race every single year because it encapsulates the heart and soul of the city!
  2. My knee held up during the race! It was a little sore afterwards, but Terry and I decided to take a couple days off since we still have over 9 weeks until the SF Half.  



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Week in Review

63 Miles
11M with 4 x mile repeats at 545 (54 for 200m rest), 543 (80s for 300m rest), 539 (80 for 300m rest), 531
10.3M MLR
13.4M with 15x1 min on/ 2 min moderate for 7.4 miles in 6:04 average

On Tuesday of this week, I was still battling jet lag.  I really felt this dread that it would take a month to get over the dead feeling in my legs and my increased rate heart.  The mile repeats workout on Tuesday was good in that I got something in, but bad in that I felt terrible the whole time.  I wouldn't have guessed that just 4 days later I would have a long run that would make me think - oh! you're actually in decent shape.  The unexpected great ones are simply the best...I went in with absolutely no expectations and came out really pleased and excited about where my fitness is heading!

My knee did randomly start hurting midweek, but only when I walk down stairs.  I haven't felt it walking or running, but I'm nervous because it's near the top of my knee cap and if it hurts when I go downstairs, it's got to be inevitable that it will eventually hurt while running.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Week 2 in Europe

45 Miles
2 Days off
14M easy long run
3 days in Zurich
lots of jetlag

Nothing much to this week except that traveling back to California absolutely sucked.  It's way harder to adjust back to the time difference if you have to go straight to work and you don't get to sleep 14 hours (like I did the first night we arrived in Europe).  It's been a real struggle running the latter half of this week because my legs just feel dead.  My breathing also feels completely off.  I don't really get it.

Regardless, I'm super fortunate and grateful to have the means to travel to Europe and to be exposed to so many different cultures.  So happy that I was able to take this trip with Peter and Claire!!

Zurich

Vienna Wedding & Hot Date

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week 1 in Europe

45 Miles
2 Days off
10M with 3 mile tempo in 608, 601, 551, 800m jog, 1M of 30s on/off in 552
14.6M with Michelle in Vienna
3 days in Amsterdam, 4 days in Vienna

This week can best be summed up with bullet points and pictures:

  • I'm proud of myself for doing an unplanned tempo in Amsterdam
  • Peter, Claire and I travel really well together.  We didn't plan a single thing and somehow everything worked out (except getting in to the Anne Frank house, which wasn't high on my list anyways!)
  • Tulips are pretty.
  • I'm grateful that Michelle flew to Vienna because not only did we get to catch up, but we also got to run 14 miles together on Saturday!





Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week in Review

55 Miles
8.2M with 15 x 1 min on/off
16M long run with 8M via 622, 622, 609, 618, 613, 606, 606, 559, 620, 633, 652 (cool down)
4 days in Plano
1 Day on a plane
1 Day in Amsterdam

What a whirlwind of a week!  I flew to Dallas to sort out stuff with my tech team.   I barely survived the humidity in Texas, and I barely got myself out of bed every morning to get a run in (it's soooo hard to wake up when the time difference makes it feel like 430AM cali time!).  Did I mention that I absolutely despise Plano?  I'm sure the people who live there are very nice.  But it's just so....vanilla?  Hot?  Boring?  Regardless, I get so much work done when I'm there since I'm able to bug the heck out of my tech partners to get answers quickly around features we're building for Erica.

While in Texas, I did 15 x 1 min on the 2 mile loop I found, with minimal traffic stops and just four sharp turns.  I felt like total garbage for the last 5 intervals and really fought off every inclination to cut the workout short.  However, I perservered and finished 15, which was the number that coach had outlined for me to do.  I didn't actually cool down because I was running behind getting in to the office (again, that damn time change) and basically finished the last interval and walked into the hotel.

After 4 long days in Plano, I prepped for a Friday long run with Jonah.  We were supposed to do 8 miles at 630 pace, but instead we were hovering around 615 pace so I figured, screw it, let's keep the pace honest and push even harder.  I am glad that we did this together, especially before I head out to Europe!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Week in Review

58 miles
11M down ladder on the track
15.4M long run with 2 x 4 miles at 616/616/617/614, 3:51 800m jog, 604, 556, 557, 551

For those who care, here are the detailed splits for the track workout I did on Wednesday with Heather and Jonah at Stanford.  This was special because it was Heather's last day here in the Bay before her big move to Seattle.  I was really grateful to have both her and Jonah with us and we all synced together perfectly into formation on the oval.

Over the weekend, I was scrambling to find a long run buddy because everyone was either at the Boston Marathon or traveling for Easter.  Fortunately, Tania and Ben really came through and met for a workout that matched with exactly what Terry had down for me to do.  It was great running with Tania because she's so close to the Trials standard and I would love to workout with her to help her achieve her goal!

alternating 200m and 400m rest
2000m: 88/87/90/86/89 (79)
1600m: 86/88/85/87 (2:00)
1200m:82/83/84 (79)
800m:81/81 (2:05)
400m: 88 (65)
200m: 36

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Week in Review

55 Miles
1 Day off
10M with 6x1000m repeats at 336, 332, 333, 333, 331, 329 with 60s jog rest
12M MLR
10M with 3.5M via 601/604/601/251, 5:00 jog, 1M in 5:48 of 30s on/off
4 days in Charlotte

Thank god for Billy Shue.  Such a trusty little running buddy while I was in Charlotte for a 4-day heads-down-no-windows-only-laptop-screens kind of meeting for work.  This trip to the Queen City was a bit different than ones in the past in that I basically only saw John, Aaron and Billy because I was exhausted from work and also because no one seemed to be running from the Dowd except for Billy.  I didn't mind though.  Instead of seeing tons of people at a brewery and not getting to spend any quality time going below the surface in conversation, I was able to spend really focused time with some of my dearest friends.

After 4 days of fun in CLT, I headed back to California with hopes of hearing good news via email from my attorney, saying that I was divorced!  The one year separation mark came and went, but I was foolishly ignorant and assumed that everything would be done on that day.  It doesn't work that way. Quite honestly, I don't even know at this point when the divorce will be finalized, but ultimately it doesn't change how I'm already living.  The only thing it will change is the last name on my work email, which is ABSOLUTELY annoying the crap out of me.  Other than that, I get to go about my day-to-day as though I'm Caitlin Chrisman.

Anyways, back to my return to Mountain View.  California welcomed me with it's typical perfect weather and I immediately jumped right back into my routine with my running buddies, with a Saturday community run at Whole Foods and a long run field trip (thanks to Tom for chauffeuring me) at Sawyer Camp.  Overall, I was really pleased with the workouts this week and am looking forward to finally getting a race under my belt!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Week in Review

59 Miles
10M with 2 x 2.5m via 558/555/251, 2:30 jog rest, 2M in 555/553, 90s jog rest, .48M in 540 pace
14M with 5 miles at 637, 611, 612, 614, 606, 636 

The highlight of this week was throwing up in the middle of my workout on Tuesday.  No really, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Nothing better than approaching the imaginary finish line for the last rep of an interval and throwing up right before you reach the end.  Fortunately (or unfortunately?) it was just water, but I threw up twice on the side of Stevens Creek Trail before dejectedly heading back home.  I don't know what was worse - throwing up on the side of the trail or having to run another 1.5 miles back home before I could lie down and let my stomach recover.  The good news is that it didn't appear to be any particular bug, and I just limited my food intake for the next couple of days while cautiously continuing to run and take in tons of liquids. 

By the time Saturday came around, I felt ready enough to do 8 miles with Jenna before taking off for an uptempo portion of the long run.  It's definitely been a bit painful to do some of the faster workouts, such as the one I did earlier in the week, but I am very much enjoying the long runs and the tempos above 6:00 pace.  I'll need some more time to regain my comfort level with running sub-5:50 pace over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week in Review

50 Miles
8M with 4 x mile repeats at 549, 548, 550, 547 wiht 60s jog rest
14M with 10 miles at 644 - 620 pace with Max

I can tell that I'm finally starting to get back into shape again. I was really pleased that I was able to knock out a solid long run with Max on Saturday.  While it definitely felt much harder than it normally would, I held my own just fine.  There really isn't much to report except that I've been doing yoga, lifting weights, and rock climbing once a week to ensure that I stay healthy.  Gearing up for the Bay to Breakers race in May!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week in Review

44 Miles
1 day off
3 miles "on feel" tempo via 638/624/612
3x lifting
12.3M MLR

Not much to report this week except that I didn't do many hard workouts.  I did ramp up my long run so now I'm back into normal medium long run territory.  Most importantly, I hosted Merry for two nights and we had a blast touring San Francisco and running around the area.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week in Review

44 miles
4 x 1.5M with Boston sub-3:00 guys
8.3M long run

I'm just a couple weeks into coming back from my achilles injury, so right now I'm running with Howard, Tom and Abhijeet in their workouts.  I really like hopping in with these guys because it gives me a way to still get some work in while also providing pacing and encouraging words.  This week was no exception and we hit Baylands park bright and early for 4 x 1.5M repeats with the first mile around 10s faster than MP, and the 800m at 10K pace.  We hit the following times, and I hung back with Howard:

633/259 (2:00)
639/258 (2:00)
629/259 (1:59)
629/259

Looking forward to more runs with these guys in the coming weeks!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Week in Review

37 miles total
6 days running / 1 day off
1 lifting session / 5+ days of PT exercises
4 days in Plano, TX
2 days in San Diego, CA

Now that my work project is really picking up, I am in complete awe of Sarah Cummings, who managed to run 100+ mile weeks while working at Goldman Sachs and now at Blackrock.  I'm not even working as many hours as Sarah typically does and I'm completely wiped out.  At the office in Texas, I'm constantly at my laptop, furiously testing features and walking back and forth between the tech and testing teams.  It's nonstop, and I love it.  But it's definitely hard to find the motivation to workout, mostly because the running routes absolutely suck.  In Plano, you're either running through a concrete jungle in a corporate park, sliding through horse manure on grass alongside a busy highway, or dodging cars while running on the shoulder of a road.

Despite the unfortunate hazards associated with running in this poorly planned town, I did managed to get in a workout of 2 x 2 miles on a windy Wednesday.  I hit faster times than I was expecting, especially for being solo, which left me feeling confident that I'm on a road to recovery and will get into shape rather quickly.

I was bummed that I only got to get in one lifting session this week, but it was just the nature of the beast.  With a crazy work week, and just one day at home before flying back out to San Diego for fun, I'll take it.  Right now, my biggest thing is not gaining weight because I definitely ate out for basically 2 meals a day for practically this entire week.  SIGH!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week in Review

38 miles
6 days of running / 1 day off
2 lifting sessions
1 rock climbing session
8M with 4M tempo at 640/636/622/612 as pacemaker for Howard
9.4M long run
1 massage

Things continue to stay the same, meaning that I might not be injured any more!  I believe that a combination of factors have led to my ability to nip this injury in the bud:  1) consistent weight training regime, 2) massage therapy once a week and 3) patience and trust.  It's easy to get excited and to jump right back into the thick of training.  But, really, there's no point to that. I don't have any races set on the calendar.  If I am toying with the idea of any races, it's because I want to represent the Strava Track Club and give back to them since I have been completely MIA at the track practices.  I know that I must put my ego aside and just get ready to lace up eventually, even if I've had a couple of bumps in the training so far.  Regardless, I'm feeling pretty confident that I've put the achilles flare up behind me.  My goal now is to help Howard out for some of his marathon workouts because they allow me to get some work in, but not hard enough to put me at risk of doing too much speed too soon.  We'll see how next week pans out!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week in Review

24 Miles total
5 days of running / 2 days off
2 lifting sessions
1 massage at Sports Medicine Institute

Okay, I don't want to get too excited yet, but I am happy that I was able to get five runs in this week, without any setbacks on my achilles.  I've kept the mileage low (<6 a="" achilles="" after="" as="" be="" but="" couple="" far="" free="" fully="" i="" is="" it="" mile="" more="" much="" my="" nbsp="" not="" o="" of="" p="" pain="" plan="" running.="" runs="" satisfied="" seems="" so="" soon.="" stress="" that="" the="" to="" too="" until="" weeks="" will="" working="">

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Week in Review

3M total
5 days off
1 mile run on Saturday
2M run on Sunday at 608 pace
4 days in Plano, TX
1 yoga session
3 weight lifting sessions

Phew! What a whirlwind week:  I was in 4 states in the span of 3 days!  It's nice to finally be back home.  I started off the week in Plano, Texas for some facetime with my teammates who are helping Bank of America to launch Erica - a digital assistant for the mobile app.  It's really hectic and crazy when I go to the Plano office, with lots of work and team dinners, and not enough time to unwind.

Since I can't run, it's tough to sleep right now.  So, naturally, in the middle of the night on Tuesday, I decided to book a ticket to Raleigh / Charlotte to surprise Michelle before she goes to London (and also to pick up the remaining items I left in Durham after my separation).  I landed in Durham late on Thursday night and headed over to Billy's to spend the night.  I was sad that I couldn't run so we could catch up even more, but I had a crazy day on Friday.  I woke up early to pack my car full of the boxes of books I left at Billy's house before driving over to Amanda's house to get those boxes too. As Amanda brought my boxes down, I was reminded about how much crap I had left here.  While simultaneously catching up with Amanda and playing with her boys Owen and Eli, I sorted my stuff into piles - ship back to Cali or take to Goodwill.  After an hour, I said my goodbyes and stopped at Goodwill before going to the UPS store to ship three boxes of stuff.  It took a long time to wrap all of my art, but I was able to get it all sent out without a problem.

By 9AM, I already felt extremely accomplished and still had to drive 2 hours to Chatham, Virginia to see Don Reagan, a PT that I greatly respect.  Don validated some of the things that other clinicians had told me and also cautioned me to stick with just one person so that I don't get overloaded with too many opinions.  After two wonderfully painful dry needling sessions, I felt great.  I really wish dry needling were allowed in California!

After my appointment in VA, I drove to Charlotte to surprise Michelle (and Danielle!).  It was great to hang with the women who have stood by my side through a tumultuous year and to celebrate Michelle's job transfer to London!  It was here in Charlotte that I attempted my first run, a whopping 1 mile jog with Michelle on Saturday.  I didn't feel my achilles, so I knew that my lifting was helping me improve and get healthy!

And sadly, after a couple of hours at the brewery, I had to say goodbye to my Charlotte family and head back to California.  I'm so glad that I finally sorted through my belongings in Durham and that i could find closure in that chapter of my life.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Week in Review

10 Miles
3 days of lifting
2 days of rock climbing
1 hike

I've been down this injured achilles road before, so I decided to shut things down and to continue lifting weights instead.  I hate running sporadically, with all decisions to go on a run dependent on how my achilles is feeling.  I would rather take time off than to juggle the conflicting emotional decision making.   And so with that, I lifted a bunch, went on several walks and went rock climbing.  There has been a ton of rain, so I have avoided sloshing through puddles at least!

I did get some answers from Jenna, as well as a PT at San Francisco Cross Fit.  Seems that most of my underlying issues are stemming from the same source as last year's injury - tight calves, tight lats and an overactive back.  I've been working on corrective exercises to remedy this issue.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January in Review

So after the month of December, I was proud of myself for "holding back" and doing "moderate" workouts.  If there is anything that I learned from last spring when I truly took running easy, it's that down time is extremely important.  I got a little too excited in December and started doing workouts too soon.  I also thought that rock climbing would replace the need to lift weights, and I was wrong.  Halfway through January, I had a solid week of training, including a long run effort, running hard on the uphills.  Immediately following that run, I spent three hours in high heels, dancing in celebration of my sister's birthday.  After that, I went hiking / trail running at Big Basin, which caused my achilles to flare up.  Mind you, it was never actually painful, but considering that this is my third time dealing with this injury, I was super cautious.  After a couple of cautious runs, I eventually caved and shut things down.  After all, I'd rather take time off now rather than six months later when I'm training to qualify for the 2020 Trials Marathon.

So while I felt like things were really coming together in the first half of the month, I hit the pause button on training for the latter half.  My goal has been to walk a lot and lift twice a week so that I can gain the strength back to keep this injury away.

Week of January 2 - 67 miles total
  • 12M with 12 x 400m with 90s jog rest via 78-76 with Laura in pouring down rain
  • 12M MLR
  • 14M Long Run with 7 miles steady state (640)
  • 0 Days off


Week of January 9 - 70 miles total
  • 12M with 8x1000m 3:31-3:42 with 60s jog rest 
  • 15M Long Run
  • 13M at Canada Road running hard on the uphills
  • 0 Days off

Week of January 16 - 38 miles total

  • 1 day of hiking
  • 10M with 4 x mile at 612, 607, 601, 557 with 60s jog rest
  • 2 Days off for achilles
  • 1 day of lifting


Week of January 24 - 4M total, achilles
  • 6 days off for achilles
  • 2 Days of Lifting
  • 2 Days in Austin
  • 2 Days of rock climbing