Training days

For the past ten weeks, I’ve been training for the LA Marathon.

Gracias a Dios, my fears about training have not been realized. I still love running and don’t see it as a chore. More importantly, I’ve managed to stay healthy with the exception of some minor foot pain in December and chafing from my sport bras (ouch!). I expect those aches and pains.

My training plan from ActiveTrainer looks like this:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Track workout or easy run
Wednesday: Easy run
Thursday: Easy run on a hilly course or tempo run (speed work)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Cross training or easy run

Weekday runs and cross training are always less than an hour. I’m too lazy to get to the gym, so I just do a short run on cross training days. Sometimes I skip a short run or substitute a road run for a track workout. I never skip weekend long runs, which increase gradually from 6 miles to 20-22 miles. For the most part, I like my training plan, but adjusting to it was a small challenge. I prefer running after work. In the spring and summer, that’s fine, but with the end of Daylight Saving Time and the change of seasons, I knew I had to do more runs in the morning. I’m not a morning person, but becoming one became more important after I was nearly run over at a busy intersection by a distracted driver. That shook me up. Luckily some of these schedule issues subsided during my vacation from work school.

Thanks to LA’s mild winters, I haven’t had too much of an issue adjusting to colder weather. I did do some runs in 30 and 40 degree weather in NY and rain in LA, but for the most part, it’s perfect running weather.

Yesterday morning’s long run was 16 miles. It was the first long run I did with a group, sort of. A college friend invited me to run with her students training with Students Run LA. Since the high school is around the corner and I’d been getting bored running on my own, I decided to join them. I ended up running most of the course through the Westside on my own. I didn’t see any SRLA runners after mile 6. Still, this long run felt better. I ran earlier than usual so it was cooler and a little less sunny. The route the coaches mapped out was less hilly and I had to stop more often for red lights on major streets. Additionally, there were parents on the course meeting the runners at miles 6, 12 and 14 with water and fuel. I bypassed them since I had my fuel belt with water and GU Chomps. I was the third (or fourth?) person back to the school. My friend said her students were impressed with my pace. That was a nice ego boost. I’m looking forward to more runs with the SRLA kids in the next two months including the 18-mile Friendship Run in two weeks.

I’m halfway done with training, eight weeks to go. Aver que pasa.


Squeezing the trigger

Immediately following the Long Beach half marathon in October, I was fired up for more races. I researched marathon training plans for individuals as well as group training programs. I sought advice from friends, including one who has trained others. I was full of doubts and questions.

Do I have the time to train? Do I really want to give up sleeping in on the weekends? Do I want to risk injury? Will training and running the marathon make me hate/fear/dread running? The last was my greatest fear. I could deal with an injury, but my self-doubt and motivation was another issue.

Instead, I signed up for shorter races with Lori. I scaled back my running goals for November and concentrated on getting faster. And then I went to New York.

Meb Keflezighi, '09 NYC Marathon winner and a Bruin!

According to the NY Marathon iPhone app, our friends, multi-colored dots on a Google Map, were still in Brooklyn. Despite that, we rushed downstairs with our hot chocolate and breakfast burritos to wait half a block away at 5th and 127th. According to the coverage of the marathon on television, the elite runners were currently on the Madison Avenue bridge. In a few minutes, they’d be passing through Harlem.

We finished our burritos and waited on the shady side of the street, cameras in hand for the leaders to approach. We barely had time to snap pictures as the elite men and eventual winners ran by clocking 5-minute miles. They made it look easy.

We took a break from our post and walked to Rite-Aid to buy poster board and markers. Sean knew several people running the marathon and I knew a couple. I made signs and for the next few hours we cheered both friends and strangers. When it got too cold, we went back to his warm apartment.

While I had fun cheering, I also was jealous. I wanted badly to jump in and run the last six or so miles of the course, but I was in jeans and had just eaten a big breakfast.

I ran the route the next day, albeit backwards. Bundled up and with an iPod Shuffle full of podcasts and music, I ran my usual route to and through Central Park. Halfway through the outer loop of the park, I passed the marathon finish line. I dodged workers busy dismantling spectator stands and temporary fencing. A few tourists and runners (easily identifiable with their marathon bags) posed for photos under the sign. I smiled and kept going.

Early the next morning, I returned to LA. I went back to work and signed up for the LA Marathon.

While I’d had my finger on the trigger since running Long Beach, my weekend in NY definitely made me squeeze it.



Sean’s flight was supposed to be on Monday, December 27th. That morning, he texted me.

“My flight’s been canceled. I scheduled another flight for Thursday.”

I was disappointed, but not surprised. For the past couple of days, I’d been crossing fingers, lighting candles and bajando las ánimas de mi tía Macaria in hopes that Sean would be able to get out of New York despite a blizzard. But the weather didn’t cooperate.

Sean grumbled that he felt like he had been running a marathon only to find out the finish line had been moved. I just accepted it and hoped there would be no issues a few days later.

The next day, most of his boxes arrived via FedEx. I shoved the heaviest in to the closets and joked that he should’ve shipped himself in one of those boxes.

I kept myself busy that week doing work from home (or trying to) and running when it wasn’t raining.

Thursday came and there were issues. Of course there were. Sean’s brother was got caught in traffic and was late to pick him up. Sean would have missed his flight, but it was delayed. That meant he was about to miss his connecting flight, but that one was held. He made it to LAX that evening, 20 minutes after originally planned.

I was there with a sign welcoming him home.