Nike Women’s Marathon 2012 Race Recap

What kind of idiot makes a hilly as hell race as their goal race of the year? Yeah, I'm just not a very smart person when it comes to running…. Or anything else for the matter of fact. However, I chose the race, I am stuck with it, no choice!!

Nike expotique

I was a bit disappointed this year, but it is still a lot better than most of the race expo I've been to. Safeway gave out these awesome containers with various nuts combo and it was awesome! We also got some Paul Mitchell's shampoo samples.

Race packet pick up:

Very quick- no lines at all on Friday. I heard it was crazy on Saturday though.

Race day:




As usually, having 25,000 women all gathered at union square can get a bit crazy. We got dropped off by my husband at the Westin Hotel for potty needs. We then walked to union square. Luisa (my running partner) and I went to our coral (7:30-8:59) and said good bye to my niece.

Our coral got pushed up closer to the front and I started to panic when I see the sub6 min sign next to me, are we gonna get run over?? Oh well.

The race started on time. 30 seconds after the gun started, we crossed the finish line. And for nike womens marathon, means that we are lining like right behind Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan.

Get my garmin started… Wait a minute, what happened to my fields… I lent my watch to my friend Luisa, and it came back with all the fields messed up. The only thing I can use is instant pace, which is obviously useless, and I can only tell my pace for the previous miles when it shows briefly AFTER the mile has been completed. Not good.

Mile 1: 7:52:<— WTF, this is my 5k pace…. Feeling nauseous, imagining I will be walking the last 3 miles because of this. Puhleeeease slow the heck down. I give it that this is a slight downhill mile, leaving downtown, heading to the embacadero.

Mile 2: 8:27

Still too fast for my fitness level, I wasn't sure if what I was feeling was okay. I know this is not suppose to be easy, but I shouldn't feel like its hard work either. Running along the embarcadero, heading towards fishermans wharf. I felt like I was working slightly hard, and panic a little. Trying to look for pacers to see if I'm doing okay,

Mile 3: 8:30

Hit a couple of steep hills, but just one block long. Head up, down, then up down again around aquatic park, ghiradeli square. Life is good. I am feeling a bit better now, found my groove. Looked up and saw someone holding a pacer board. 3:20 marathon sign. OMGF. should I slow down or hang on as much as I can??? I don't even know what pace 3:20 marathon is since it is so out of my league. We also have our first real hills here after aquatic park climbing onto fort mason. I powered up this hill, and surprisingly, I was able to control my breathing and recover very quickly.

Mile 4: 8:37

I've done a tempo run here on this route before, so I was just trying to remind myself that. It was very foggy that day and you cannot see the Golden Gate Bridge at all, sorry visitors, or else, this is one great route to run with awesome views!

Mile 5: 8:33

Still running steady, but I know as soon as I hit mile 6 with those hills I will no longer see the number 8 in front of my pace. I also saw some cool street dancing on our left side and got me excited! I was tempted to jump in and hang out for a few sec, but that might not be a good idea if I was trying to PR.

Mile 6: 8:52

Here we climb up from crissy field up to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Look at the massive amount of people powering up this hill

So I was a bit surprise that I was able to maintain 8:52 for this mile since its a non stop climb for a mile. It takes you up from sea level on crissy field up to the base of Golden Gate Bridge. Then it continue on to my biggest fear, the presidio. It is one massive hill that never ends. A lot of people slowed way down here. There is a girl that was very strong, apparently trying to get her friend Carmen to run a sub2 half marathon. Every 10 seconds, she would turn around and say “Carmen, you are looking strong” “Carmen, power through the hill, you got it”…. It was getting a little old, but she was doing her best to encourage her friend which was really struggling.

Mile 7: 10:43

Here you can see, I started my dreaded walking breaks again, I was a minute faster than last year at this mile, so I did cut down my walk break. To be honest, could I have run those hills more instead of walk? Absolutely. What worried me was if I do power up these hills, would I have enough energy to play catch up on downhills? Or even survive when I get out of the cliff house area and finish running on the flats? All these kept coming up on my mind, and because of my way below average hill running skills, I decided to walk a bit here and there to preserve some energy.

Mile 8: 7:52

I love downhills. I know I've lost a lot of time on the damn presidio hills, so I must make some time up here and I got it. I was also a little bit concern about my quads shredding running this fast, since there are two more hills I have to conquer. I didn't care, I tried to relax and just let gravity do the work.

Mile 9: 10:00

This is the rolling hills area in the neighborhood where they give out oranges and wet napkins. Wet napkins ???? I later found out its for people who were eating the oranges so their hands won't be sticky. Seriously, what kind of race does this shit??!! I'm trying to PR, why would I be worrying about eating oranges and wiping my hands…oh well. I was really struggling, I had to fight my massive devil thoughts of wanting to walk. I gave in many times but I try not to walk more than 10-20 steps. I kept looking at the clock to see if I can make any of my goals, because my garmin is not showing ANYTHING. But I cannot do math while running. *gives up*

Mile 10: 8:30

This is a combo of some uphill and my downhill miles. I just looked at my garmin data, and I ran down this very steep hill between 7:00 and 7:30, really using it to make up my lost time. Here we run down from the crazy rolling hill neighborhood down sea cliff, gorgeous view. My husband said he will be taking picture for me on great highway and I was looking for him as well. Yep, he was on my left and he got some pic of me!

Mile 11: 8:42

Continuing with this mile to get ourselves into the golden gate park. I'm sure part of this is still the residual of speed from the downhill splits, since at this point, fatique was setting in, and I'm paying interest for the loan shark I borrowed for running so fast at the beginning.

Mile 12: 9:25

I really hate the golden gate park. Here we have a mile long slight incline. I can see it but it wasn't like the ones I encountered earlier. However, I was tired, just all over tired. Mentally I was almost done. Honestly, nothing hurts right now. I was tired, overall fatique, yes, legs a bit heavy, but nothing really hurts. I really need to push and finish strong. I have absolutely no idea if I could PR at this point since I have no garmin data to look at. The only thing I can go by were those clocks by the mile marks but apparently I can't add. At this point, I was in survival mode,I had alot of evil thoughts of wanting to walk, but I really tried not to. I can't remember if I walked or not, maybe a few steps on some steeper sections, but probably not much. I really want this over with now.

Mile 13: 8:12

This is a slight downhill. As you can see, I can no longer keep the 7:xx pace like the earlier downhill areas where I flew down. My legs are getting heavier and heavier. I know I am very close to the finish line, I was very grateful that this was downhill. I don't think I can keep a sub9:00 min mile if this is flat…. Where is the finish line for god sake???

Mile 13.1: ~7:10

I never remember to press the stop button on my garmin, so I don't have this last bit of data,but just moving my cursor along the last bit of the garmin graph, my best guess was it was around 7:10.

Official time: 1:56:01<——— can I not just run 2 seconds faster to get it below 1:56???? Well, I didn't have my damn watch to look at, so I had no clues was that close.

I will take this though. I ran the Nike 2011 was 2:04:xx, more than 8 min PR.

My HM PR was 1:57:58 on a flatter than pancake course.

Overall, I am very happy with my result. I missed my stretch goal of 1:55, but I do understand that this is a tough course, especially for someone who has a major weakness on hills.

Things I learn from this training cycle:

  • Ryan Hall training plan works (even though I did not follow it carefully, I move around the workouts in a very dangerous fashion, like running all 3 hard workouts within 4 days etc)
  • I am not very injury prone and response well to hard speed workouts, but I should not take this for granted
  • I really need to embrace the hills if I want to continue to race this course.
  • Check garmin to make sure everything is functioning day before the race, not during the 10 second count down.
  • I believe I have it in me to get below 1:50, it may not happen next year, but I believe it will happen with hard work.






Training paces and random thoughts

Since procrastination is my last name, I will do my weekly summary for weeks 5 and 6 together after tomorrow… What a lazy chick.

I want to talk about training paces today. How many of you read other people's blog and compare to your own and wondered, why in the hell am I running so slow?? From all the articles, running forums that I read, the cumulative information is that THOU SHALL RUN SLOW in most of your runs to gain the most benefit. While I am a scientist by training, I seriously do not understand the physiological benefit of training slow. Reasons for the benefit I read and remember but do not understand including-

  • Building aerobic base
  • Growing mitochondria in your legs or something like that
  • Allowing speed workout to hit paces because you're not going crazy on easy days

Should we be running the majority of our runs slow, and sprinkle in some speed session manifest as painful tempos or killer intervals? Are we guilty of running our easy runs too fast?? I read on forums that people who are way fast, do their easy runs in the mid 9s, and I've been doing mine in the low 9s, apparently, I have no business in running my easy runs this fast. However, I must admit, I read blogs, and bloggers post their training time, and most of them run their daily training run very fast. Why?? They race and their results are still good. I'm just very confused.

Do you run your easy runs slow? Or too fast?

Tempo runs

I literally have this image in my head on my tempo run, trying to feel badass.

I have a love hate relationship with tempo runs. I love it that I know that this makes me stronger. Again, I do not understand the physiological effect it brings me, somewhere along the line about some lactate level will increase. Or whatever. I just know that tempo run hurts like a mofo. I adjusted my training paces based on my shiny 5k or, and it gave me a predicted HM of 1:51:xx<—- WTF?! Well, shock aside, I am hoping I can attempt to train my speed session base on this, and OMG.

The truth to it is I do not know how to do them, I don't know how I am suppose to feel. Comfortably hard was what I was told to do, but I don't comprehend how hard can be comfortable. I call my tempo run uneasy, but not yet dying, and if someone wants to say hi to me during a run I can only wave back, smiling was stretching it type of feeling. The warm up mile is always tricky. I don't want to run it too fast in fear it will ruin the run, but if I start out too slow, the drastic difference between easy pace and tempo pace will shock me to death. Easier to go from 9:15 to 8:30 vs 10 to 8:30.

I also literally have to take a deep breath and freak out every single time I have a tempo scheduled. It's a very tough mental game. I usually make all sorts of excuse to try to avoid it, but I usually get them done. Was it fun? Absolutely not. The only great thing is how I feel afterwards.

I tackled my last tempo run at 8:30 pace. I just ran 3.1 miles at 7:45, this shouldn't be too bad<—- WRONG

It was indeed very difficult. I already failed the first 2 miles and believe me, I was trying very hard, 8:37-8:39, a good song must have came on my playlist that got me into 8:10 for the 3rd mile, then I maintain my oace for 8:27ish. If I tell you this was easy and relax it was a big lie. 6 miles at 8:30 was as much as I can handle right now at my current fitness level.

Long runs:

Does anyone worry about their pace for their long runs? I usually run mine painfully slow, maybe because I run with a friend and a dog and we tend to chat non stop and let's be honest, I am not one of those people who can chat the whole time they are running while maintaining a 9min mile pace. So we ran at 10:30 or slower, depending on how many times said dog decide to pee. I don't know if I believe in super slow long runs anymore. My marathon I ran in July, the pace was exactly like my long runs… Which is NOT GOOD. This training cycle, I added what Ryan hall calls race simulation long runs. 6 miles easy pace, plus 5-7 miles at 20sec slower than race pace. Reasoning was somewhere long the line of running faster on tired legs but not killing yourself, I buy that. Except that I don't know what my race pace should be.


Wow,,, such long rambles.

Do you believe in slogging your long runs? Do you hate tempo like I do?



My SUB25 5K race report

5Ks are never my thing, it's the hardest shit ever, the entire 3.1 miles is painful. My niece is a Giants fan and we ran this last year together and thought it was a fun fun thing to do, so I did it again this year, we literally have friends all doing this together, and it was a fun fest. My niece, her friend, my husband, my friend Susan, her two brats, I mean kids, all did the 5k, and my other two friends Stephen and Jinny did the half marathon.

It was perfect weather, not too cold or not too warm. I do not know how to run a 5k period. I want to get it under 25 minutes, but I didn't even know what pace needed to be run in order to achieve that goal, failed.


My husband and I at start line, we are such cute couple.

I didnt want to be near my husband or my nieces friend because I hate having someone I know running next to me, peer pressure. So soon after the gun start, I took off like a jack rabbit, but having to dodge the gazillion people running 13 min mile pace staring in the 8 min mile coral,I was pretty annoyed.



Mile 1: 8:06- shit, will this be good enough? Should I run faster? Where the hell is the turn around point??

Mile 2: 7:38 – people say that mile 2 is the hardest, why am I not hurting yet, wow, I must be a super star… Ummm no. I just die later. I saw this yellow tank girl that is running slightly faster than me, but I wanted to hang on to her, at this point, I can still see her, but she is moving faster and faster..lost her eventually

Mile 3: 7:46- clearly I started to die here. Not dead, but dying. But granted its only one more mile, in my head, I stay, 10 more min, just like a tempo run, push it through. I did.

Of course I fail at running tangent even for a 5k race, total miles ran, 3.16, not too bad. Last 0.16 miles ran at 7:06. Not too shabby for a slow person!!

Official Time: 24:07

6/250 in my age group

Very happy with the result!!! Hopefully I can get it sub23 next year!!


Nike women’s marathon training week 5

This program is eating me alive!!!!

Monday: Easy run @8:50 5 miles

Tuesday: 6×1000 (4:50 each), 2 min recovery jog

Wed: easy run 5 miles @9:00

Thur: Tempo run 5 miles 8:30 (no warm up or cool down,no time) plus the wind at crissy field = near death

Friday: rest day

Saturday: drag and die fly 5k race

Sunday: long run 13.1 miles @8:55<—- I took a realy long break like 10 min at my friends house eating watermelon,,,




5K really is not my thing

This is my race report from a trail race put on by the amazing race org- Brazen!!

Drag N Fly- love the name. Drag your ass up the hill, and fly down the other side. (not)

Great things about this race??

  • Race day exactly on my birthday Sept, 8th. Brazen gives out medals to all distance finishers, so it's extra special for me to have a medal with my birth date engraved!!
  • I placed first in my age group! For the first time, holy cow. This may be a norm for a lot of people, but rare for me, I'm always #4. My secret goal for this race was to get an AG place, so I opted for the 5k because I do not have hill endurance for 10k, and this gives me the best odds! 1/20 in my age group, not too shabby. But wait, what's my time?
  • 29:51, avg pace: 9:08 —- no, my math is not wrong, brazen calculated the pace based on the actual length of the course, which was 3.25.


Running on these dirt pack road with holes all over… Since I don't have my right ACL, I gotta be extra careful.

Nearly fainted when I saw this, little did I know this was not the only one,

Who in the hell place first with a 29:51 time on a 5K?? I know 5k is not my strong suit, since I do not like the near death feeling, but this is a minute and 21 seconds slower than my very first 5k when I did not even know what pace was.

Anyhow… The race, let me just repeat, I do not like hills, I hate hills, I die on hills and it's not fun. After running on grass with holes for 100m, I met hill number 1 and I wanted to walk already. Let just say, that was a baby hill.

Mile 1: 8:27- pretty good considering the hills

Mile 2: 10:45 – cannot effing deal with those hills, even with the downhills, the rocks and sand..omg (NEAR DEATH)

Mile 3: 8:50- too tired to run after the hills tired me

Mile 4 (0.27)- 8:30


After the race, I stick around because I was pretty sure I was able to place , since I looked around I didn't see any older looking woman (my age) was around. Yep, first place. Very happy getting this, albeit a little bit embarassed.


Greet birthdy gift!!

However, this stressed me out a bit. Will the hills at Nike do this to me? Throw me off so bad that I cannot continue with my pace even on downhills and flats?


How do y'all deal with hilly races?






Wordless Wednesday

Red sky during evening run with the hubs




Wordless Wednesday

Red sky during evening run with the hubs