Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pidiendo Cacao - Asking For Cacao, And Cacao I Got

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Six
10/20/08 - 10/26/08
Week Total: 31

The highlight of the week is another 20-miler in my pocket done 40:51 faster than the first 20-miler one month ago, for a decrease of 2 minutes per mile. I also improved the pace by 22 seconds in relation to the 20-miler ran two weeks ago. I still can't believe it.

20-miler - Sep 20, 2008 - 4:35:37 - Pace 13:47
20-miler - Oct 11, 2008 - 4:02:02 - Pace 12:07
20-miler - Oct 25, 2008 - 3:54:46 - Pace 11:45

This week 20-miler happened in Long Beach, CA, by the beach in a 98% flat course. I started 3o min before sunrise to take advantage of cooler temperatures, 56F/13C. My plan consisted in running with negative splits, have an average of 11:20, and break the 4 hours with
a total time of 3:46:40.

The first ten miles were planned at an average of 11:30 and I ran them at 11:39 average. I was happy were I was, and I felt as if I worth a million bucks, I was running strong. But next five miles were another story, planned at 11:15, and done at 11:50.

What happened with my million bucks??? I felt like 10 bucks!!!!!!

I'll blame it on the temperature which started to go up to get to 76F/24C. The sun was at its full splendor and there were no clouds on the sky. Important to note that my hubby joined me at mile 13 with a new used-bike he bought. It was nice to have him by my side for the rest of my run.

When I hit mile 17 I have increased my pace to 12:34... Time to do something. Coincidentally, my iPod played Seventeen, by Tim McGraw, which has a good bpm, and lucky me,
I went abstract. I ran from mile 17 to mile 18 at 11:10, great!!! I could make up for lost time... But... couldn't. The pace for the following mile was done at 12:47. I was "Pidiendo Cacao" - Asking For Cacao - When you say you are "pidiendo cacao" (Spanish) is that you are asking for mercy.

And Cacao I Got. I didn't let my last mile to be spoiled. I sprinted for a final mile at 10:31 (
nauseas included) . My husband was there waiting for me.

Performance Check:
Negative Splits: Nope!
Pace planned: 11:20 - Pace achieved: 11:44
Time planned: 3:46:40 - Time achieved: 3:54:46

Still I broke the four hours. For the marathon (Nov. 30th) I will pray to go abstract for the next six miles, and I will play Seventeen, Mrs. Robinson, The Boxer and Firecracker, as many times as possible to keep a good pace.

Five more weeks!!!!


Interval and Tempo work done without issues in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I happened to be during the week. I missed (again) running with Chris who was in SoCal during this week.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Running East

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Seven
10/13/08 - 10/19/08
Week Total: 25.9

Six o'clock in the morning, 59F/15C, twilight,
sea smell, running by the beach. Two miles later an amazing orange ball of fire is rising up. I am Running East.

I arrived to Long Beach, CA on Thu morning, and as any Thu, my tempo run is scheduled after my work day. But is Southern Cal, mid-October, and 79F/26C. It is hot. Thought of my blogger friends Petra, Maddy, Melisa and Charlie who just ran Chicago at mid-80s. Thought of my life in the tropics where is humid and the average high temperature of the city I was born and raised (and ran) ranges from 77F/25C to 81F/27C. Thought of how well we adapt to climatic conditions. Thought of how adapted I am to Seattle's weather, and how 65F/18C is just the max high I can stand without feeling uncomfortable.

After all those thoughts, I know I will not run at this temperature, let alone a tempo run. Run is postponed for Friday morning. But on Saturday I have a 15-miler. Back to back tempo - long run just doesn't work for me.

Oh well, I traded my tempo for an easy one on Friday. Four miles.
And then the words at the beginning of this blog: Six o'clock in the morning, 59F/15C, twilight, sea smell, running by the beach. Two miles later an amazing orange big ball of fire is rising up. I am Running East. Then I turned back for the rest of the run, two more miles. I am Running West, and there, high in the sky, it was the moon. And I felt blessed.

Next day, Saturday, same time, same temperature, same twilight, same sea smell, same beach, but almost four times further. Fifteen miles and Pestrategie plan. Similar results: 11:37 min/mile. Same blessings.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

With Everything I Had

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Eight
10/06/08 - 10/12/08
Week Total: 32.5

For my standards, I ran this week With Everything I Had.

My speed work (intervals and tempo) where done till exhaustion. Both were around of 6 miles so, I decided to complete a 10K distance and measure how I did on each.

The intervals work consisted of 4 sets (1 mile, RI of 0.25, 2 miles, RI of 0.5, and two half miles with RI of 0.25). The speed pace was between 10 min/mile and 8:34 min/mile. The RI were done walking and jogging at 12 min/mile. The 1oK time was 1:03:27. The tempo consisted of 1 mile easy, 4 miles at mid-tempo, and 1 mile easy. To challenge on getting better times than the intervals, I did 5 miles at mid-t
empo for a 10K of 1:02:23. My legs on Thursday felt the work. I did challenge myself big time.

On Saturday the big try. A 20-miler planned on a 11:30 pace. The day was gorgeously sunny, with the most beautiful blue sky. Not a single cloud. Cold as cold could be for Fall. 42F. The run was going to be a "see what happens". Trying to keep the paces I had for my two previous weeks of 13.1 and 16.2, did not go that well. The tempo work really left my legs tired. The average pace was 12:07 for 4h 03m 15s, but still these numbers were a great hit. Three weeks ago I ran the same distance 20.1 mile in 4h 37m 00. This is an improvement of 1:4o min/mile for a total of 34 minutes!!!!

The first five miles were better than last week where I battled the wind, but after mile 6 my legs were asking for help. At mile 14.1 I stopped by my car and sat there for a couple of minutes. I felt absolutely destroyed. I thank that it did not occur to me to quit because I would've. The thought was just not there. I was just recharging myself. After shutting the car door I said to myself, come on, 7 more miles. At mile 15 I had recovered, improving the pace, but it felt back again. I kept going as I knew that I was doing way better than three weeks ago. At mile 19 I said: Lizzie, you made it, just push it. After finishing I drank a lot of water, and almost collapsed. I indeed ran
With Everything I Had.

Below the splits:

Mile 1 - 10:33
Mile 2 - 10:31
Mile 3 - 11:20 - This is a portion that is run on uneven grass. I dislike it SO MUCH. For some reason when I arrive again to the sidewalk my legs feel it hard.
Mile 4 - 11:15
Mile 5 - 11:19 - The steep hill
Mile 6 - 11:20
Mile 7.1 - 11:53
Mile 8.1 - 13:32 - Stop by my car to pick a bottle of water

Mile 9.1 - 11:37 - Recovering, I felt good here
Mile 10.1 - 13:02 - Same uneven area
Mile 11.1 - 13:25 - Tie my shoelace
Mile 12.1 - 12:22 - Steep hill - Don't know why this pace. It should be slower because I couldn't run part of the hill. I walked it. I may have pushed it after the hill.
Mile 13.1 - 12:25
Mile 14.1 - 14:40 - Stop by my car and sat there for a while. I felt destroyed.
Mile 15.1 - 11:27 - I pushed it here.
Mile 16.1 - 13:02 -
Same uneven area
Mile 17.1 - 12:41
Mile 18.1 - 12:53 - Steep hill, couldn't run it.
Mile 19.1 - 12:40
Mile 20.1 - 12:17

Average pace: 12.07... This is an improvement of 1:4o min/mile for the same distance ran three weeks ago, saving 34 minutes!!!! Last week I also had an improvement of 1.47 min per mile for the same distance ran 3 weeks before... So it seems a PATTERN!!!!

Ten minutes later I was home. I couldn't take a shower, or do anything. I changed my clothes and put on something dry, I crashed in my bed and slept deeply for two hours. It felt good...

Here a graph comparing last 3 long runs (20, 16.2, 13.1) - Same course

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Hundred Miles And The Flying Nun

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Nine
09/29/08 - 10/05/08
Week Total: 23.2

One Hundred Miles / One Hundred Sixty Kilometers. That's my total for the month of September... total satisfaction. I had 93 miles on Sun 28th with only two days left to close the month. I had scheduled 5 miles for Tue, what would've given me 98!! so I moved my 7 miles tempo from Thu to Tue to break my goal of 100 miles.

I spent my week in our Nation's Capital which was a crazy week of work. And because it is probable that I don't return to DC as part of this project team, I spent several nights having mojitos and "mangoritas"...with people I am going to miss, so I skipped my Thursday run...

On Saturday, back at home, I had my regular scheduled long run: beginners call for 12 miles / advanced for 18 miles, so my goal was 15 miles. The day started with a wind advisory in effect until 9 pm. So there I go, to have a battle with sustained winds of 30 to 39 mph and gusty crosswinds of 45 to 57 mph due to
a vigorous trough of low pressure affecting Western Washington.

It was crazy. I really felt in every step that I was about to take off and be like The Flying Nun.
When I was not totally running against the wind I was fighting with gusty crosswinds. In addition the winds snapped lots of tree branches, and I was waiting for a branch to fall on my head.

I ran 16.2 miles following the same strategy that I followed last week for my half marathon distance. It did work fine, but I assume that because of the winds I couldn't match the splits. At 13.1 I already had 6 minutes more than last week. However, I ran today at a pace of 11:33 - 29 minutes faster than the same distance ran three weeks ago by Lake Washington at a pace 0f 13:20. Thanks again Petra!!!!!!!

If I only could keep this pace for the marathon I could run it in five hours... but ten more miles is no Country Club. Or is it?

This week splits - Past week's in parenthesis:

Mile 1 - 10:18 (10:19)
Mile 2 - 10:42 (10.11)
Mile 3 - 11:54 (10:42) - (I felt my legs like if they were two iron tubes)
Mile 4 - 11:24 (10:50)
Mile 5 - 11:50 (11:07) (Between 4 & 5 there is a very steep hill)
Mile 6 - 11:11 (11:09) (My legs felt good at this point)
Mile 7.1 - 11:36 (11:08)
Mile 8.1 - 12:59 (13.25) (Stop by my car to pick a bottle of water, but didn't waste as much time as last week. I decided today not to run with the fuel belt, I wanted to be light)
Mile 9.1 - 11:26 (10:56)
Mile 10.1 - 12:02 (11:32) (Totally going against 35mph wind)
Mile 11.1 - 11:52 (11:36)
Mile 12.1 - 12:09 (11:52) (Between 11 & 12 the same very steep hill)
Mile 13.1 - 11:20 (09:56) (As it was not my last mile I didn't sprint, however I started to accelerate)
Mile 14.1 - 12:13
Mile 15.2 - 13:20 (Another stop by my car for another bottle of water and an English muffin, I was starving)
Mile 16.2 - 10:44 (Sprinted the last mile, but I had to push really hard against the wind)

Average pace: 11:33... This is an improvement of 1.47 min per mile for the same distance ran 3 weeks ago - 29 minutes saved, and with a horrible WIND!!!