You may be experiencing the first signs of fall elsewhere, but we’ve just officially started summer here in San Francisco!
Temperatures began a slow climb during the week and peaked in the 80’s, just in time for a picture-perfect weekend. No better motivation to get outdoors and tackle my week 10 workouts:
- Tempo run – 5 mi
- Track workout – 8 x 800s
- Long run – 15 mi
Tuesday’s tempo run got off to a bit of a rocky start, though. I was sick in bed for most of Monday with a migraine (great way to spend a holiday, huh?), so I was feeling out of sorts and decided to ease in to things with a nice, scenic loop by the Golden Gate Bridge.
As I warmed up, however, I felt better and started to get caught up in my surroundings (case in point: catching sight of the Banana Slug below!). Before I knew it, the five-miler quickly morphed into seven.
Even with all this mileage, I’m still trying to maintain balance by doing a variety of cross training. Not only does it help to strengthen opposing muscles and (fingers crossed) keep injury at bay, but it’s also a relief to change things up mentally. At this point in the program, lacing up running shoes over and over for long runs can start to feel like Groundhog Day.
Speaking of…I’ve been getting a few questions about training, particularly:
Are you actually having fun doing this? And, does a 15-mile run seem short at this point?
The short answers: Not always, and no. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts of the runs that I really enjoy (i.e. when they’re complete!), especially as I get into better and better shape…but I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always “fun” gearing up mentally – and physically – for the really long ones.
So why do it? I like the challenge. The fact that I can get competitive with my past self, and kick her butt. And keeping the larger goal (crossing the finish line) in mind helps, especially when it means cutting Friday evenings short so I can get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to hit the streets.
As for the second question, I was discussing it with a fellow running pal, and we agreed that a distance like 15 miles is just that – 15 miles! While it’s shorter, in comparison, to the longest training runs (anywhere from 20-24 miles), it still requires a certain level of preparation, recovery and recuperation – more than, say, a six or eight-miler.
But it’s all about finding tricks to keep yourself motivated and moving forward. My secret? Bribery. Namely with new training gear and tools.
One of my latest preoccupations has been keeping my hair out of my face during workouts. There’s nothing more annoying than stray strands getting caught in eyelashes or stuck to a sweaty cheek, particularly when you’re in the middle of a growing-out phase, like me.
So I’m on bit of a hairband bender, and Halo Headbands have been my recent drug of choice. They sent me two to test out – the 1/2″ and 1″ versions ($10 each) – both of which performed well during a rigorous boot-camp class (above) and track workout (below).
Where other hairbands tend to creep back during workouts, these stayed put, even when my bun exploded out of its elastic during high-impact plyo jumps. But the true test is the “shirt change,” meaning you can change your top without it slipping off. The Halos passed with flying colors, thanks to the special suede-like grippy inside strip.
Hair under control, I was free to focus on the task at hand – namely, my Thursday 800’s on the track, which were supposed to be in the 3:45-3:48 range.
I started out just under pace, with 3:38, but then slowed by a second or two over the course of the next four (up to 3:44). Not good! The goal is to try to keep them all within a range of a few seconds, so I increased the rest between each interval and was able to decrease the pace over the next three, ending with a 3:33.
Fast forward to Saturday’s long run…it took me more than two miles to get loosened up and into a good rhythm. And then this happened! Annoying, but it’s a great reminder to double-knot for race day, so there are no unnecessary pit stops early on.
Since the weather, was so nice, I plotted a water-inspired route. First major landmark: the Pacific Ocean, by way of the Great Highway.
It was still early enough that the beach was quiet, aside from a few surfers.
I couldn’t resist a quick walk in the sand, although I was only about five miles in, so I didn’t stop for long.
Next stop? Our body of water on the other side of town: the bay. I decided to experiment with Honey Stinger gel, a new mid-run fuel, to keep my energy up for the city portion of the run. It’s runnier than other gels, but much more palatable with a high honey content, so this will definitely be one I use again.
By the time I hit the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero (eastern waterfront and roadway of San Francisco), the weekly farmer’s market was in full swing. Unfortunately, there was also a cruise ship docked at one of the nearby piers, so I spent the next few miles dodging tourists and luggage.
My ultimate destination was Aquatic Park Cove, where Ben was doing an open-water swim with a few friends. The final landmark before that was Fisherman’s Wharf, though, where I got to see the morning’s catch firsthand.
My legs still felt pretty strong by the time I hit mile 14, but the beating sun and rising temperatures were starting to zap any remaining energy. Luckily, I hit the cove – and mile 15 – just in time for a warm welcome from the water from the big guy.
Not the speediest of runs, so I’m excited to join the group again next week. The miles are a lot more fun with a side of laughs and great conversation!
I didn’t bring my suit, but I did free my feet from those shoes and take a well-deserved dip. The water was around 63 degrees – chilly, but much more do-able than the ice bath I am considering for after next week’s long run (a 20-miler!).
Time to get psyched up for week 11…stay tuned!
Thanks to the folks at Halo Headbands for providing samples for review; all opinions are my own.