Dealing with Cramping (and the No. 4)

A common factor in my long runs over 18-20 miles seems to be a cramp in my calf. Never both, it's usually one or the other. I try to stay up on my sodium levels and well hydrated along with proper stretches before or during... but they always rear their ugly head late in the run.

Last weekend at Big Sur (4/26/09) I could feel my right calf begin to tighten up around 16 and sure enough, two miles later it jumped up and grabbed my calf muscle and wouldn't let go. So bad, it was to the point where I was on the ground in a push-up position trying to stretch it out. Worst cramp ever, hands down (no pun intended, but wish it was).

After getting it loose enough to continue to move forward, I could also feel a tightness on my quads. It is usually uncommon for that to happen to me, but due to the massive uphill sections and more importantly the following downhill portions, I can chalk the quad screams to those. When running downhill becarefull not to go too fast (or too slow). The latter I beleive to be my mis-step. Worried about aggrivating my previous IT band injury, I was most likely braking too much causing fatigue in my quads. (here is a great page on hill running; uphill and downhill)

With my lower body screaming, minus my left calf for some reason, my options were few for the remaining 8 miles: Walk it off and lose my time goal or do as much as possible to run through it. Stopping and posting a DNF (did not finish) wasn't an option.

Deciding to run through it is what I went with (of course). I had worked too hard to post my first sub-5 that I wasn't going to let my legs stop me. I could finih without them. First level of attack, absorb any sodium I had on me that I hadn't consumed along the way. That meant eating my GU and Sport Beans earlier than anticipated, continue hydration with sports drinks and stretching after any immediate tightness before it gets worse. And finally, mind over body.

Yes, I said it and I'll say it again: mind over body. Find that determination deep inside you. Ignore the pain and yell at your legs saying "You can rest and cramp all you want at mile 26.3!" For me, this was easier than it has been in other occasions (notably the Kaiser Half in January). I wanted that sub-5 finish so bad. It was all I was thinking about all weekend. I kept seeing the number 4 repeatedly as a sign that it was meant to be: 4th full marathon, April, the fourth month of the year, it was on the 26th (6-2=4), the Lakers won game 4 the night before, I was running it with 4 friends... I know, I know. It's getting a little obsurd, but anything that would keep me moving forward was the plan.

Over the next 8 miles I was able to find a smooth pace and rhythm to prevent future cramps from getting any worse. Yes, all my muscles were tight and screaming, but I was able to keep them from officially cramping on me by slowing my pace and moving consistently with a walk break occasionally. It actually hurt more when I was walking, but I needed to give my legs a rest from the constant pounding. In the end it paid off and I was able to put the pain in the back of my mind and fight through it... I know, it's very high school football coach of me, but I have a 26 min. PR on a tough course to hide my shame of using terms like: mind over body and fight through the pain. But I didn't say 110% so I can hold my head high.

If you have any tips on dealing with cramping during runs, I'd love for you to share in the comments for others that may have similar issues. Run strong everyone.


The Beauty of Big Sur

Heralded as the one marathon to run for it's scenic views, Big Sur delivers.

The course begins with the first 5 miles running down Highway 1 surrounded by redwood trees. Early on we were running next to green pastures and there was a long line of cattle walking along the grass across a couple hills in a straight line. I couldn't help but notice that we were their perfect opposite. A line of humans making their way across rolling hills on pavement. I couldn't help but smile at the thought.

Random moment of the race: being escorted by a motorcycle cop, a Lexus SUV was making it's way past us (slowly). The license plate said RUNHER 1, so I made way to see who was in it. The car wasn't traveling fast and hanging out the back seat window was one Mr. Bart Yasso talking with runners as the car made it's way down the road. The car's speed was slow, so he was holding casual conversations with runners who were willing to chat. Pretty cool moment. I think I stayed within ear shot for maybe a half mile.

As the course exits the redwood trees, you are greeted by green hills and the Pacific Ocean on your left. Several miles later you begin to approach the Point Sur lighthouse. It's so peaceful, you almost forget that you are running a marathon and try to imagine why all marathons aren't held in such scenic delights?

Coming out of mile 9 you start to see a very large hill. I don't know why it isn't a mountain, but I'm sure there is a technical definition that fails it from qualifying. On the side of the "hill" you can make out a line of small runners conquering it as you approach. Like a small line of ants climbing a sand mound. In several minutes, that will be you.

At the base of the hill going across Little Sur River Bridge you make your way up to Hurricane Point, there were Taiko drums pounding away. To me it sounded like being sent off into battle to attack Hurricane Point. Boom. Boom. Boom. The drums bang in the background as you make your assent up 520 feet. When you reach the pinnacle and turn to look at what you have accomplished, a moment of pride is instilled, but you are not quite at the halfway point so the celebration is short lived.

After the decent, you reach Bixby Bridge and the halfway point. Awaiting you is a grand piano being played by Michael Martinez. It is quite a visual experience. You have just climbed and descended over 500 feet, crossed a beautiful bridge and are greeted by pianist. Probably the best Kodak moment of any race, here you can be photographed with a grand piano, a beautiful architectural bridge and the monstrous Hurricane Point you just conquered. Not to mention, the sun hitting the hills and the coastline at the base. A gorgeous photo opportunity.

The next 7 miles are rolling hills along the coastline with scattering of homes that you can only be jealous of. The coast is always at your left and the Pacific Ocean to boot.

At mile 20 you begin to start seeing signs if civilization more frequently and become surrounded by tall trees and beautiful flowers along the road. Live bands and entertainment line the course more frequently and offer great sounds to get you through the final stretches of hills. The whole course is hilly, don't get me wrong, but towards the end any extra motivation is helpful.

Near mile 22 at the roadside is a table lined with fresh strawberries for you to enjoy. You have a few miles left and cruising into Carmel at the finish line at 26.2 you realize you have just completed arguably the most beautiful marathon in the world and the largest rural marathon in the world.

If the scenery wasn't enough, you wouldn't believe how organized the event is. This was the 24th installment and with having to bus runners starting at 3am and closing down Highway 1 is a task in itself. At the starting line they had plenty of port-a-pottys (always a line, but that is expected). They also had free hot beverages available to keep you warm before the start.

As for the race, there was water and Gatorade almost every 3 miles. On several occasions they were handing out complimentary GU in assorted flavors, apples and bananas. All on the side of a two lane highway at the edge of California. It makes you wonder how they can be more organized than some larger events in metropolitan cities.

This is by far my favorite course of the 11 combined half and full marathons I have participated in. My first marathon in Florence, Italy will always hold a special feeling because it was my first 26.2 mile race, but I would highly recommend Big Sur to anyone with a side note of "you had better love some hills."


Big Sur International Marathon

After looking at my watch and seeing that I needed to complete mile 25 and 26 in less than 30 mins. to reach my goal, a glimmer of hope crept into my mind. I pushed it out of my head and realized that rolling hills and the past 7 miles of running through cramps meant anything could still happen.

8 hours earlier, I was boarding a bus at 3:45 a.m. at a middle school in Carmel getting ready to travel to the starting line where over 4,000 people would attempt to run "the western edge of the world."

Strategy: Start with the Cliff Bar 4:30 Pace group and stay as close as possible while keeping with my 9:1 run:walk intervals. Keep in your mind that 4:45 is more realistic, but would be thrilled with a sub 5 hr. finish.

With excellent coaching and training friends, I felt ready for the course. Knowing that the course is labeled as "moderately difficult" due to rolling hills and weather conditions, I had the mind set that the whole course was uphill as to not feel defeated when I turned a bend and saw another incline. 

To start, the first 5 miles are downhill. A sure way to begin quickly and set your quads up for punishment later on by going out fast downhill. I knew this was part of the course, so keeping that in mind, I slowed and enjoyed the huge redwood trees we were running through. During this period the pace team got in front of me and rather than speed up to catch them, I stuck to my plan and continued at my 10 min. per mile pace.

I caught up to the pace group around mile 7 and stayed on pace until mile 10. With previous IT band issues, I was going to take the downhills with ease. At the base of Hurricane Point (mile 10), Taiko drums set the tone as we began our assent up the 520 ft. incline. Seeing the drummers pound away at the base of a monstrous hill was an amazing visual experience. Hands down the best mid-race moment of my running career. For some strange masochistic way (masochism: A willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences.), I have begun to enjoy conquering large hills. Maybe it's the feeling of accomplishment afterwards or the search for inner-determination during, but I was ready for Hurricane Point. I loved it. At the peak I turned back and looked at what had been accomplished; at where I had been and what could not defeat me. (below is an image after coming down from Hurricane Point and Bixby Bridge at mile 13)

The decline was going to be tricky. Obviously the 10 min per mile pace takes a hit climbing 520 feet over 2 miles. (Note: It's not an incline, then flat, then more incline... it is back-to-back uphill miles.) But you must resist the urge to not speed down the decline to make up time, a common mistake that I was well aware of: forewarned is forearmed. At the halfway point, I was on pace for a 4:30-4:40 finish and right on schedule. 

Up to mile 16-17, I was running the perfect race. I was about 5 mins. of pace for a 4:30 finish, but with Hurricane Point, that was expected. I was well hydrated, eating GU on schedule and feeling great. Although my legs were feeling tight, I just continued to push through one mile at a time. Around mile 18, I felt my right calf cramp and it wouldn't let go. I tried to stretch it out and attempt to walk it off, but it wouldn't give. I could see my sub 5 finish slip away with every second that passed (along with every runner). After a couple minutes of stretching and massaging, I was able to get it to a point where I could continue to move forward and take it a step at a time. For the next mile or two I couldn't stop looking at my watch and obsessing over how fast I needed to be going to reach my goal. I finally got to the point where enough was enough. I covered my watch with my sleeve and just kept moving forward. A run, a shuffle, a speed walk, whatever would get me to the next mile. I started making small goals. Run to the top of that hill and you can walk. OK. I get to walk to that cone, then I have to run again. I did this mostly for miles 20-24. 

Around mile 24 I realized that I had about 30 mins. to reach the finish line in order to get a sub-5 hour finish. It was in reach. At this point I was logging 11-12 min miles, but had been running through cramps in my right calf and and in both my quads for the last 6 miles. I put it out of my mind and just kept thinking about how I would feel at the end. When I saw the finish line and the official time's first number a 4, that was enough for me. 

4:52:56 — a PR by 26 mins. On a hilly course, with 20 mph winds... the feeling of accomplishment was amazing. It rejuvenated the feeling of why I choose to run marathons. It ignited a spark that hadn't been in me since my first 26.2 mile race. Marathons 2 and 3 were tough due to injury and improper training, but this time I was posed for success thanks to wonderful coaching and friends that helped out along the way. Also, it was fantastic to see all the support from fellow facebook-ers. Your cheers of encouragement, support and congratulations were very much appreciated. It crossed my mind several times that there were people out there sending good vibes. Thank you.

I tried not to make this post too long, but I feel like I have left so much out. Here is an outlook for later in the week:

Friday: Bart Yasso


The Invisible Man IV: A New Hope

The Invisible Man is making his fourth appearance for my fourth full marathon. To mix things up a little bit, I uploaded a black and white photograph. Perhaps an homage to the greats of the past and legends of today such as Bart Yasso (Runner's World) who is noted for saying: "If we were told that we could run only one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it." BAM. There it is. If that doesn't get you hyped up to run an event... then I don't know what will. Hopefully, I will be able to take a moment during the race and realize what I am doing and where I am doing it. But I have a feeling I am going to be so obsessed with my time...

NERD ALERT: The original 1977 Star Wars movie was titled STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE

Will my full marathon episode IV be filled with new hope? (there is a sentence in there somewhere, but I think you catch my drift).

Back to reality: above is the invisible man. From top to bottom, left to right:

Nike Long sleeve Running Shirt (navy blue)
Champion Running Shorts (black)
Asics Running Socks (black)
Asics Kayano 14 Shoes (white/blue)
iPod Shuffle (orange)
Running Belt (red) with Water Bottle and Gu (chocolate)
Sport Shield (similar to Glide, to avoid chafing)
Garmin 305 Running Watch
Iron Man Timex Watch (to keep my run:walk ratio)
Blue Striped shirt (to keep my upper body warm pre-race)
Black and Red striped pants (to keep my lower body warm pre-race)

So as you may have noticed (or not) this will be the first time I have clothes to keep me warm pre-race. I normally don't carry anything or if I plan on running with 2 layers, will discard with a friend along the way. Since Big Sur is run along Highway 1 with no spectators, this is not an option. So I have elected to be one of those people that sheds their clothes when the race begins. I normally would just agree to be cold waiting for the start, but since we must be bussed to the start line and will be waiting over 2 hours to start, this is also not ideal. How to solve it: I went to Old Navy today and bought a hideous Blue striped long-sleeve shirt for $5 and went to Ross and picked up a pair of $4 jogging pants. Fashion sense aside, I think it will do the trick. I will never see these clothes again and they will be donated to charity by the event.

Well, this will be the last post until after number 4... I will definitely be updating my status throughout the weekend on Facebook. I have the Expo Saturday (where I look forward to meeting Bart Yasso again) and the race Sunday. Oh ya, Dean Karnazes will also be there... maybe he can give me some of his good mojo.

Thank you for all the well wishes and support. See you soon.


Going Out Too Fast

With my fourth marathon three days away, there is something I must prevent: GOING OUT TOO FAST! Of course speed is relative, but I tend to be one of those runners that gets swept up in the start line energy and burst out the gates.

Of course by burst out the gates, I mean 10-30 seconds faster per mile than I should be running. Sorry to break all your hopes that I run 6 min. miles, but I generally cruise at 10 min. miles. Shorter races or runs I enjoy 8-9 min. miles, but for the full distance I should be clocking 10s.

How to solve this:
One: I have signed up (for the first time) to run with a pace group. There are usually pace groups at events where a trained professional runs the race at a pace (typically even splits) to get you to the finish line at a certain time. At Big Sur, Cliff Bar will be sponsoring several pace groups with finish times of: 3:40, 3:50, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 5:00, and 5:30. I'll be shadowing the 4:30 group.

Pace leaders generally run with a stick and have a flag or balloon at the top with their estimated finish time on top. (see Betty above, thank you Flickr) You've probably seen a giant group following or running with one person. These spectacular individuals know exactly how to run a race and finish it at a projected finish time. For me, I'd like to finish under 5, thrilled with 4:30, shooting for 4:45. Since I tend to take walk breaks (at a 9:1 run:walk ratio) I will simply shadow the group letting them get slightly in front of me but keeping them in my sights. If they happen to get far enough in front of me, then that is OK, considering they should finish 15 mins. in front of me. But if they can keep me on pace early, then that is what I'm looking for.

Two: My Garmin watch will let me know how fast I am running at a min per mile pace. Before, I was always having to look at my watch after each mile and having to do the math to calculate how fast I was going. Now I can see how fast I am going throughout the entire mile to know whether or not I am on pace. This I believe to be the difference maker. 
There are also pace bands that can be helpful... it allows you (based on your estimated finish time) to see the exact time you should be at for each mile. These are beneficial if you do not have a watch that will tell you your min. per mile pace. They're pretty cool and it includes tips to help keep your pace band dry (see right side bar on link above).

Shooting out at the start is a common challenge for many runners. Pace groups are common place at most marathons, sometimes being separated by 15 min finish times. These can be great groups to judge your finish time if you see them on the course. If you'd like to participate in a pace group, look at the race's website to see if they have sign ups (Cliff.com has a complete list of events they are participating in) or visit the sponsoring booth at the events expo.

I'm getting really excited for this weekend.


Wine Tasting Fundraiser

I guess it's true... it runs in the family. This past weekend, I hosted a Wine Tasting Fundraiser for my sister who is participating in Team in Training. She will be running her very first marathon at the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon in little over a month and has her longest run (to date) this Saturday: 18 miles.

I have been running for almost 4 years and during that time my sister, Briana, has occasionally been asking me how I train, what motivates me, and some tips to get her out the door. Since she lives over an hour away, it really isn't ideal for either of us to train together. Knowing how difficult it is to train yourself the first time around, I thought it would be a great idea to get her into a training program. In doing my part, I signed her up and paid for her entry fee along with offering almost daily advice on running and fundraising until she got comfortable in the program.

She has committed to raising over $3,100, so I also offered to host a fund raiser to help achieve her goal. We organized a Wine Tasting Fundrasier, taking advantage of BevMo's Nickel Sale (Buy one bottle, get the second for a nickel) and received generous contributions from friends (see below). We were able to purchase various red and white wines within our budget. Our parents also helped contribute by donating all the food and snacks that were enjoyed throughout the night and kept the party going. We also had a raffle with prizes donated from several contributors including a grand prize: A wine tasting and tour of Castello di Amorosa (below)  for four people (value $150). It is a local winery that is well known for their wine and Castle built on it's property. I was fortunate enough to attend a tasting and was very impressed... so much so that I left with a bottle of 2007 GEWÜRZTRAMINER "Dry", Anderson Valley. If you are in the Napa Valley area, I highly recommend making this one of your destination points. The vineyard is breathtaking.

Overall, the event was a success in raising over $300 plus over an additional $400 from donations of people that were unable to attend.

Popular wines of the night: (left to right in no particular order)

The Little Penguin: 2006 Shiraz, South Eastern Australia

Clos La Chance: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (pictured)
Several bottles were donated by our dear friend, and fellow blogger, Jo. (LOST Blog and Pop Culture Blog). She was also kind enough to bring additional items for raffle prizes including wine and a LOST gift basket with shirt, soundtrack and John Locke Action Figure. You're amazing Jo. Thanks.

Far Niente: 2007 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, CA

3 Blind Moose: 2007 Riesling, Columbia Valley, WA 
My favorite of the night, but I'm partial to a Riesling

Honorable Mentions: (left to right in no particular order)

Red Guitar: 2006 Navarra Old Vine, Spain 
- Donated by our friend Tamara

Trinity Oaks: 2007 Pinot Grigio, California

Viano Vineyards: 2005 Private Stock Zinfandel, Contra Costa County, CA
A local wine from my county... 

St. Innocent: 2000 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
- This wine (along with others were donated by our friend Drew) and was enjoyed especially.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the event and helped by donating to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training on her behalf. It meant a lot to me and to my sister. When she is out there running 26.2 miles for the first time, you will have helped her get to that point and it will be an experience she will never forget. 

Here is her link if you would like to make a contribution. She is really close to her goal. Any donations made will receive a "special thank you" from the PavementRunner Blog.


3 Legs

No, it's not a surgery that I am considering to make me faster.. (but imagine if it was a possibility?) Here are the three legs that I will be running for the relay. I am runner #9 of 12 in our Team of Lori's Lusty Lads for the Calistoga to Santa Cruz 199 Mile Relay. 

Leg 9
Estimated Start: Sat. 5:19 pm
Location: Sonoma
Mileage: 5.6
Rating: Easy
Course: Uphill

Leg 21
Estimated Start: Sun. 3:58 am
Location: Milbrae
Mileage: 6.5
Rating: Moderate
Course: Rolling Hills

Leg 33
Estimated Start: Sun. 12:23 pm
Location: Ben Lomond
Mileage: 6.3
Rating: Easy
Course: Flat to Downhill

There it is. What my weekend will look like on paper.  I can only imagine what it will be like to experience. I have the second easiest leg assignment, but it also has the second most miles with a total of 18.4. I am slowly getting excited, but am trying to focus on Big Sur. 

Can I think of The Relay as a potential celebration run or will it be a redemption run? 


I am a Lusty Lad

As many of you may know, I have been training for the Big Sur Marathon on April 26. Usually post marathon I'll take a couple weeks and relax with some light runs... not this time.

That's right. Less than a week later, on the following Saturday, I will transform from a PavementRunner to a member of Lori's Lusty Lads for The Relay. It's a 199 mile twelve person relay from Calistoga to Santa Cruz.

There are several of us doing the Big Sur marathon the week before, so our legs will not be as fresh as most, but a lot of us couldn't resist the opportunity to be a part of this amazing challenge. This is the same event that Dean Karnazes runs solo. He covered it in his book, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner. He runs it every year covering 199  miles on his own over the weekend as TEAM DEAN. (I highly recommend picking up the book below, it is a fantatsic read about an amazing human being.)

When the idea was brought up amongst our training group, I took awhile to think whether or not I would have the energy to participate. Once I started seeing the 12 slots begin to fill up, I knew it was an opportunity I didn't want to miss. Even if our group decided to do it again next year, experiencing it the first time around was something I wanted to be a part of.

This whole week, I'll be covering in detail how the event will unfold and which parts of the course I will be running. Our team logo is above and when the team asked me to design it, I was honored. We are currently having them placed on dri fit shirts and I'm real excited to see how they turn out. 

Oh ya, the team name and it's origins. 

Many of us started running as participants in the San Francisco National AIDS Marathon Training Program. This is where many of us met Lori. Words fall short in explaining what Lori has done for so many of us. We all knew that her name would have to be a part of our team's identity since she is an essential part in many of our lives today.

Here is the definition: exhibiting lust or vigor; stout; strong; vigorous; robust; healthful; able of body. With the emphasis on strong, vigorous, healthful and able of body. Plus it sounds sexy. Ha.

Well, because apart from Lori, the remaining 11 members are men. (or lads).

And there it is: Lori's Lusty Lads. There were many different versions thrown around and many covered over our 18 mile run a month ago. I think for about an hour we were throwing names around on that training run. The things that cross your mind on long runs.

But, the name is set, our 12 are set, we are registered and paid for. We are hashing out the final details on Saturday and in 3 weeks we will be running as a team for 2 straight days. I can only imagine the stories that will come from this.


24 in the Books

It's official, I went one over Jordan on Saturday. On a gorgeous day to run, I joined six other runners and set out on a 24 mile excursion at 6:40 a.m.

It was cold, around 41 degrees (warm for our snow friends) as we were departing Golden Gate Park and headed for the Presidio. Our turnaround point was in Sausalito on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I have never run on that side, so I was looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, to get there it involves going across the Golden Gate Bridge. It's not that I don't like the bridge... just not a fan of running ON it. I love the view, I love running near it and even up to it, (Hopper's Hands?). But being on it is almost 2 miles (each way) that I sort of just zone out. Usually it is an out and back across it, but this time we were running on the other side into Sausalito, a beautiful, quiet artist/boat community. And at 8 in the morning on a Sat., it's filled with runners and bikers all enjoying the route and scenery.

There were some slight hills along the way, but nothing we haven't been working up to handle. Our team was set to run 22 that day, but the final course ended up being a little over 21 which left me 3 mi. short of my goal. I left the house late so I wasn't able to sneak in my 2 miles before. Luckily there was another runner that wanted to hit 24, so we set out on a 1.5 out and back on Great Highway. I don't think I would have been able to do the last 3 at a decent pace without my friend, he had the energy and he was pulling me with him, which I was glad to follow.

I finished my 24 in... Drum roll, please: 4:13. OMG. That puts me completely on pace for a sub 5 finish and gives me a huge confidence boost for Big Sur. That being said, here comes the rationale part: I stopped my watch at our water and stretch stops. Honestly you could proly (probably) add on 20 mins. to that time, but on an official course I wouldn't have taken those stops as long as we did. I usually never stop my watch on training runs, but this day, I thought I could use the extra boost. Also, Big Sur has major hills, so we have to take that into consideration. In reality my 4:13 probably would have been a 4:30 with the water and stretch stops I normally take, but my watch said 4:13 and I'm gonna celebrate like it's 1999 because I can.

Now it is 3 weeks of taper and enjoying what I have gone through to get to this point. Thank you to everyone on Facebook that shot me out some positive energy for 24. It went fabulous and I couldn't be happier. Afterwards it was a walk in the icy cold pacific ocean and my legs feel great today. Good enough to squeeze in a 3-4 mile run tonight. Cheers.


Twenty Four

I'm no Jack Bauer, but I will be conquering 24 (miles) on Saturday. That's right, 2.2 miles shy of glory. I know you're thinking: "Why not run the full distance?" Great question.

For me, 26.2 is a sacred number. And honestly, 20-22 miles is probably as far as you need to go to finish a marathon. Of course, doing more is better. If you can run 30, 26.2 seems much easier. But for me, I've never run over the marathon distance and my ultra marathon dreams are years away, so for now 24 is a great number to see how I will fare a couple weeks from now.

Most training programs take runners to the 20-23 threshold and save the full (literally) experience for race day. I like to follow the same mind set. Although, I have been flirting with going over the distance to build more endurance, but right now it's just smiling at the girl across the bar. Maybe in the future I'll buy her a drink.

Sorry, I digress. I'm a little anxious to get in my 24, so much so, that my group is planning to run 22 this weekend and I'm going to show up early and sneak in 2 miles beforehand. I thought we were scheduled for 24 as our last long run, but I guess 22 is as high as we go. Now I'm in a position where (mentally) if I don't get in 24, I'll feel like I cut myself short. Which is a bad mind set getting ready for race weekend.

So, this Saturday I will run 2 miles solo around 6 a.m., then run 22 (hilly) miles with the crew. I'm viewing this as true and final test to see how I will do at Big Sur in a couple weeks and I'm also excited to begin my taper. It'll be nice to now that I don't HAVE TO spend 4+ hours on the pavement Saturday mornings. Instead, it will be more like 2. Much nicer, right? At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Deep down inside I LOVE the long runs... I'm one of those people that embraces it.


Return to Nike RunClub

In less than half an hour, I will be taking part in what used to be a weekly ritual for me: Nike RunClub. Last year, I would run most Wednesdays with the weekly night run that NikeTown in SF hosts. As for this year, I just haven't been able to keep it in my schedule.

Well, that time is over and I am committing to it again! With my work schedule changing to 9-6, it works out perfectly since RunClub starts at 6:30. Call it a blessing in disguise, call it the Run Gods telling me to get my butt back in shape (literally, cuz my jeans are getting a little snug.)

Downside of running high mileage, you just feel plain lazy during the week. Both before and after. I have a huge-ly ginormous, mucho-importante 24-miler this weekend. It will be a true gauge as to how I will fare at Big Sur in (gulp) three weeks. But more of that to come later in the week. Right now, it is NIKE TIME! Yep, Nike time in my Asics. Sorry Nike, I wear Asics.

Run Strong everyone!