Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of July 3

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Sunday: 12 at 11:34. I met up with one of the ladies I met toward the end of last week’s long run and it was great! We started at Iwo Jima and ran a little bit on the mall before heading to Georgetown and the C&O. The weather worked out well — it was almost chilly at the start because of a little drizzle and it remained cloudy the whole way. I can’t believe I’ve spent so many long runs going solo.

Monday: 3 at 10:17.

Tuesday: Strength + Yoga.

Wednesday: 8 at 10:40. We’ve been over this — running is mental. I knew it would be super hot and humid, so I told myself I only needed to do 3 miles if it was just too hot even though 6 was on the plan. I decided to do 7 halfway through and figured, well I’m out here anyway and it’s cloudy, might as well do 8 — when I only had a mile left to get home. I took water on this run, so I did have an inkling this might happen if I could talk myself into the fact I wouldn’t need to run as far as planned the next day. Good thing too, I needed it. Everything was soaked. Seriously, it was like I ran through a sprinkler.

Thursday: 5 at 10:38. Another super hot and humid run. I only needed to do 3 but figured I might as well do 2 more because my legs felt good. Absolutely soaked again. I think my eyeballs were sweating.

Friday: 4 at 10:04. Interval run — 3 x 800 — on the treadmill.

Saturday: Rest

***

Total mileage: 32. Second week in a row at that mileage. Next week is major dropback!

Got in: Strength + Yoga

Missed: Swim + Cycle. Too hot for bike outside after work anyway.

Blog Training

I Just Started Week 3 of Marathon Training and My Mind is Already Playing Games

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Running is 99% mental. Think positive, envision success and believe in yourself. I know all these things and yet just as I start my third week of marathon training, I’m already struggling, doubting, anxious.

Today was a 13-mile run. I’ve finished 12 half marathons and at least a half dozen other long runs in the 12-13 mile range. I even did a 15-mile run once, just because I was having a good day.
Oh, and all my other runs so far in marathon training? Yeah, those have all been great — my legs have felt great, my lungs have felt great, pace has felt great.

Despite all that, I spent last night tossing and turning, unable to get to sleep. I focused on the alarm set for 5 a.m. to beat the heat, the fact that I was at my parents’ place — where I often have difficulty falling asleep (gotta work my way through that one at some point) — the thought of maybe I drank too much at a brewery I toured in the afternoon, that I shouldn’t have had that ice cream when I got home, that my stomach felt bloated and full and gross. My mind churned and churned and churned for nearly three hours of being awake in bed.

I ended up calling it quits after midnight, drove back to my place and didn’t set an alarm. I knew I could switch my Sunday-Monday runs around if needed, but what I needed first was sleep and to calm the hell down. I still felt restless when I got back to my apartment, so I drank some water and took an Advil PM. I finally fell asleep a little after 1, and woke up at 7:15. I drove back to my parents and hit the trail around 8.

I got the 13 miles in (more on how that went later).

If this was the first time this sort of anxiety-ridden night occurred, I could simply move on with my life, say sure it was the beer or I just had a bad night… but I had a similar, albeit not as bad night last weekend before my 11 miler. And it’s a pattern that occurred before — about 1.5 years ago — when I struggled through some half marathons. I finally got over that last summer, and now something similar is rearing its ugly head but instead of just a single race day, it’s trying to strike every single weekend during my long run.

Honestly, if it keeps up I won’t be able to make it through my marathon training. And that’s what scares me. I know I can run 11 miles or 13 miles or 15 and build my way up to 20, and yet I’m stuck.

My 13 miler went OK. There were moments where I started to feel not just doubt but panic set in, and I tried to calm those voices and just take it a mile or two miles at a time. It was 100% mental — my legs felt fine. It was hot and there was no shade on the trail. I focused on drinking enough water, and making that a new mark to run toward. Then I focused on my turnaround point — at 8.35 miles because I ran down the trail a bit of ways before going the other direction — where it was time for some fueling.

I started to feel good around mile  7 or 8. But then I hit the turnaround where the sun was now directly in my face and would be for 3.5 more miles, plus there’s a slight uphill going back versus the slight downhill going the way I had been.

As luck would have it, the running gods sent me a blessing. While I was refilling my water bottles a little before mile 9, I ran into two other ladies out for a long run and they were heading back the same way I was going. We chatted briefly as we filled out bottles and I mentioned I was marathon training and doing 13 and not feeling it.

I asked if I could run with them and they very kindly obliged and even said they like running in a three-pack versus two. The next 2.5 miles with them went by much faster. They also use the 4-1 walk method, something I’ve thought about trying, especially with the summer heat.

The run pace was a bit fast for me at that time given how hot it was, the zero shade factor, how little sleep I’d gotten and how far I’d already run. I stayed with them, but felt overheated as we were splitting ways, and went to spend a few minutes in the shade to recover before finishing the last 1.75 miles, which felt fine.

I hope that’ll be a little confidence boost that if I do get a little hot on a long run, I can find some shade and cool down enough to finish up. The other good thing is I got both of the women’s phone numbers, and I’m hoping we can start doing long runs together.

So what have we learned here? Well, one thing I left out was the mass of texts I sent to Natalie at midnight (thank God for East Coast / West Coast time difference) and then some more after my run. She helped me realize a few changes I need to make.

  1. Not focusing so much on my wake-up time. Marathon training is enough adjustment without throwing something else in. My normal wake-up time for weekday runs is 6 a.m., so I’ll just focus on hitting that or even 6:30 for now.
  2. Ditto for sleeping at my parents. I just need to be in my own bed, with my own nighttime routine for a while, even if it means spending time in the car driving somewhere to do my long run.
  3. Running with other people. I’d really been struggling with this one, but meeting those two other ladies on the trail and Natalie nudging me that Pacers does long runs made me realize I need to try this out. Part of the issue is while I’ve long known there are a variety of long runs offered by various groups in the D.C. area, most of them are on Saturdays… when I work. But the closest Pacers store to me — an 11-minute drive — offers a 7 a.m. Sunday weekly long run!

While I’ve come up with these three solutions, I’m still a bit despondent and anxious. On my schedule next weekend is a 15-mile long run. I know I can complete that distance — it’s only two miles more than my run today, but I’m worried I will be stressed, anxious and well, worried.

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of June 19

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I was on a weeklong staycation this week, a nice break from the normal flow of things and a chance to really sit and relax — and get some good runs in.

Sunday: 3 miles at 11:00.

Monday: 11 miles at 10:42.

Tuesday: Strength, Swim, Cycle.

Wednesday: 6 miles at 10:01 + short horseback riding outing. I surprised myself on this run. I guess it was being on vacation and being all rested up, but my pace was much faster than normal even though it was still pretty hot and humid outside.

Thursday: 5 miles at 10:06 + yoga. 4 x 800 at 10, 9:41, 9:23, 9:05 with 1 mile warm-up and 1/2 mile cooldown.

Friday: 5 miles at 10:25. It was about 70 degrees, 100% humidity and 68 degree dew point when I headed outside for this run. Luckily a dry breeze was blowing through and it didn’t feel too bad. I was still sweating buckets though by the time it was all said and done.

Saturday: Rest

***

Total weekly mileage: 30 — this is normally my peak half marathon mileage, this time it’s week 2 marathon training.

Got in: Strength, Swim, Cycle, Yoga

Skipped: Nothing!

Blog Weight Loss

I Am a Size 2 and I Feel Fat: Dealing with Body Image After Weight Loss

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A version of this post appeared on RunHaven one year ago. I’ve updated the time references and a few other small points, but overall my feelings then are my same feelings now. Apparently I struggle more with weight in the summer (perhaps it’s the bikinis and skimpier clothes). I’m reposting this because body image is hard, and it’s something many of us struggle with. I plan to write a few more new posts on this in the coming weeks. And I’m making some small changes now that I’m in marathon training that I hope will help. More on that later!

 

I got a new bikini a year ago. My only other bikini – my first ever – was bothering me with its tie back. The knot would dig into my back when I laid out on the lounge chair by the pool.

The reason this new suit was only my second bikini is because I lost 70 pounds more than three years ago. Before I lost the weight, I topped out at nearly 200 pounds. I’ve basically kept it off – a few pounds have crept in but I’m trying to ignore them, for a few reasons that follow.

13340201_10110909483988524_1319904212426562301_oMore than half of my clothes are a size 2, extra small. The rest are a size four or small. Either way, they are sizes I never thought I would reach. Even with the little extra weight I’ve packed on, most of the clothes I bought when I reached my goal weight still fit. And I know part of the scale’s number creeping up is the result of muscle I’ve gained in the past few years.

Yet somehow, I felt fat when I looked into the mirror at myself in my new bikini. Actually, I feel fat on a daily basis regardless of what I’m wearing.

Dealing with my body image after shedding the weight has been an ongoing issue. I don’t see myself as a nearly 200-pound person (I actually never felt as heavy as I really was), but I’m still stuck seeing an overweight young woman when I look in the mirror or when I glance down at my stomach roll while sitting.

At one point, I was so worried about gaining weight after I reached my goal that I went too far the other way – I got too skinny, and I knew maintaining a weight below 125 would not work for me.

I can’t help but think of how much I used to hate women who felt they were fat at this size, let alone ones who said they were on a diet.

And then I start to think about why I set myself to some unattainable standard and I get angry. Ultimately, I know I am a fit young woman. Yet, none of the models I see in catalogs or magazines look like me. They’re sporting defined abs, prominent hip bones, slimmer waists and heck knows what body weight and body fat percentage.

13346496_10110889544702014_1203875030910145372_nNow, I will give some of them the benefit of the doubt – some folks are just born differently, with insanely gorgeous bodies. But the fact they’re put out there as a sort of symbol for what we should all look like is not OK.

When I thought about losing weight, I imagined myself looking like one of these women once I reached some magical number on the scale. I realized that was ridiculous and tried to focus on friends who looked fit and fabulous.

Still, I didn’t think of how small belly pouches are normal on women or how my stretch marks from gaining all the weight in the first place wouldn’t go away. Or that certain parts of my body are curvier than others.

It’s been more than three years since I lost the weight, and as you can see I’m still struggling. But I know that someday – hopefully soon – I will accept by body as it is: a beautiful machine that has powered me through hundreds of runs, dozens of races and 12 half marathons and counting.

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Blog

5 Things I Learned from My Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Race Weekend

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I loved every minute of my time in San Diego, especially the races, but I also learned a few things that didn’t hit me last year when I ran the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll remix.

1. Rest before race weekend is important.

Going into the Chicago race weekend, I took an astounding four rest days before the Saturday 5K. That was a bit overkill, but I went into the races with super fresh legs.

That’s despite all the walking I did seeing the sights of the Windy City — and there was quite a bit to see. I left the weekend with legs that still didn’t feel tired. In fact, I felt I could have easily run the day after the half marathon.

Going into San Diego, I kept my normal running schedule. I figured I did the same thing before San Francisco, but upon looking back on my running log I actually ran a little bit less than I thought the week before.

I finished the half marathon feeling decent, but it took nearly all week for me to truly recover from my San Diego race weekend — something I can’t afford for future races now that I’m in marathon training. Next time, I’ll throw in an extra rest day.

13327588_10110898223015604_8454908728783117861_n2. Little breaks during race weekend = also important.

I jam-packed my weekend with seeing all the sights. I didn’t want to miss much of anything. While that’s great, it left me tired and sore — moreso than in Chicago or San Francisco, when I took small breaks to rest.

While I got to bed early or on time each night I was in San Diego, it wasn’t enough to compensate for the fast-paced sightseeing schedule I’d set for myself.

3. Run slower.

My goal for the 5K was to run around 10:30, and for the half to run around 10:30-10:45. The half pace is on par with my training pace for long runs. Instead, I ran both races closer to a 10-minute mile after getting caught up in the crowds and excitement.

That made for one very tired and sore me, especially on top of all the sightseeing.

4. More expensive hotels can be worth it, sometimes.

The hotel I stayed in was completely and utterly adequate. I didn’t want to spend too much on this trip with other races and vacations coming up, so it totally worked. At the same time, it highlighted what a slightly nicer hotel will get you — easy access to food — both in the hotel and around the corner, fun and vibrant neighborhoods and a window that doesn’t look out onto a walkway (meaning you need to keep the shades drawn at all times).

I don’t regret staying in the hotel I did. It was about $200-$300 cheaper overall for the three nights I stayed, and it was within a 1-mile walk from pretty much everything, including the race start line. But I certainly would consider other hotels next time I stay in San Diego, even if it means saving up a bit more before I go.

13340201_10110909483988524_1319904212426562301_o5. Eat all the foods, but make sure to drink water and save the cheesiest foods for post-race.

After I dealt with stomach issues in San Francisco — luckily not on race day — I vowed to drink more water and hold off on eating a lot of fatty or cheesy foods until after my half marathon. I’m not sure which did me in during my San Francisco trip, but this time I had zero issues, even though I was eating more than I was used to simply because I was burning off more with all the walking and running.

I stayed away from the Mexican food, which I love so so much, until Sunday night dinner, hours after my half. Instead, I ate foods I know my stomach has done well on nights before other races — plain pizza, chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries, and a plain burger that I didn’t finish. In the morning, I stuck with bagels and cereal for the most part, throwing in some other carbs from the hotel’s free breakfast — a waffle and scrambled eggs after the 5K, a cinnamon roll before flying home.

 

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Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of June 12

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This was my first official week of marathon training, and it was great but also a bit of a doozy. Work was crazy, and I was getting used to getting up at 6 a.m. to get in longer than 3-4 mile runs before work.

I finished my runs, and even added a mile to my long run, and I felt really good! But then today — on my rest day — I felt sick. We’ll see what happens tomorrow — my long run might be postponed a day. The good news if I have this entire week off, so plenty of time to play and rest.

Sunday: 3 miles at 10:30. It was super hot and muggy. I woke up at 7, and it was already 78 degrees. I knew a cold front was coming, so I swapped my long run for a short run.

Monday: 9 miles at 10:22. That cold front did wonders and it was really nice outside. I planned to do 8, but felt good so I threw in an extra mile.

Tuesday: Strength training

Wednesday: 6 at 10:19. The weather was still fairly decent, but certainly a touch more humid. This is the longest pre-work run I’ve done in quite some time.

Thursday: 5 at 10:29. Hot and humid and gross.

Friday: 4 at 10:08. The weather was much nicer this day and you can see it in my pace.

Saturday: Rest

***

Total mileage: 27

Got in: Strength

Skipped: Yoga, Cycle, Swim

Half Marathon Reviews

Race Review & Recap: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon weekend

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What. An. Amazing. Weekend.

I’ve always wanted to visit San Diego, so what better way to see the sights than to travel there for an epic Rock ‘n’ Roll race event.

I arrived in town late Friday morning and immediately set out to walk to the San Diego Zoo located about 1.5 miles from my hotel, stopping at Starbucks along the way for some much-needed fuel. Power Lunch deal = stellar.

13310497_10110885700331164_3199726407134218220_nAfter a few hours touring the zoo, it was time to hit up packet pickup at the convention center. I didn’t spend much time at the booths, but made sure to stop by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series one, where I realized the man sitting a couple seats away from me on my plane ride from D.C. to San Diego was actually Joe Harris, who’s completed an astounding more than 120 Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathons — the most of any person. I spent some time talking to him and meeting other phenomenal runners, including Kevin Gonzalez, who went on to run his 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll race Sunday.

After that, it was off to Seaport Village to check out the shops and grab dinner — pizza — ahead of the first race of the weekend: the 5K.

I walked back to my hotel in the evening, traipsing by Petco Park and meandering through Gaslamp Quarter on the way.

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SAN DIEGO 5K — SATURDAY

The East Coast – West Coast time difference helps when you’re 3,000 miles away from home. I was in bed by 9 p.m. the night before the 5K and my 5:45 a.m. alarm felt like nothing.

13307384_10110889544851714_642382878174706671_nI ate a bagel, got my race clothes on and walked to the start a little less than a mile away. I walked around a bit when I arrived, even meeting someone who follows my blog! That was a real treat — I’ve never had someone come up to me before and recognize me in that way.

I noticed a line forming right at the start line and realized it was for Meb! I hopped into place and was able to get a photo with him before he needed to divert for a pre-race interview.

The race started at 7 a.m. and it wasn’t too long before my corral — No. 3 — took off. The announcers even said footage from our start would be used in their highlight reel.

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My goal was to run the 5K at a 10:30 pace — mainly to save my legs. But despite tired legs I felt good and overall I ended up at a 10-minute mile pace. Oops.

13346496_10110889544702014_1203875030910145372_nI ran into a young girl around mile 2, whose name was also Katharine (though who knows how she spells it — I doubt its the same spelling as mine!). I gave her a big thumbs up. I’d seen her ahead of me earlier in the race, and heard her father shouting words of encouragement from behind during the 5K.

Official finish time: 31:16, a 10:04 pace.

After the race, I stood in line to get a photo with Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg, two of our U.S. marathon Olympians. Worth. It.

Then, I went back to the hotel and cleaned up. After that, I took a trolley from Old Town to La Jolla Cove and Mission Beach, then checked out Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma (amazing views) before heading to Coronado for dinner, complete with sweet potato fries — something I’m always excited to eat on a race night.

Notes for next time: Spend more time in La Jolla and Coronado.

I was in bed, lights out at 8:15. #Tired.

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ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SAN DIEGO HALF MARATHON — SUNDAY

13350298_10110909483998504_2894379081715169058_oThat early bedtime helped make it easier to get up at 5 a.m. (Thank you again, time difference working in my favor.) I ate my normal race day breakfast of cereal with milk and a bagel with cream cheese, then walked to the start.

I ran into another runner as I was exiting my hotel and we chatted until we got to the corrals, which helped pass the time. I lined up in corral 8 and about 10-15 minutes of the official 6:15 start, I was off.

The first two miles didn’t feel great. My mind started to go “oh, shit” because my legs were so tired and sore. But somewhere around mile 2, I was finally warmed up and felt good. My pace increased, and I didn’t even notice. I meant to run this race at 10:30-10:45 pace — again to save the legs — but like the 5K, I got caught up in the moment and ran faster.

IMG_9848This course is truly spectacular, though much hillier than the elevation profile suggests. I remember thinking the second half was mostly downhill, and while the data shows it was, there were enough uphills that you felt it.

There was one downhill — somewhere between mile 9 and 11 I think — that was so steep that I almost walked it because I was afraid of hurting something — and that’s coming from someone who loves downhill and is usually able to pick up the pace a bit there without any issue. I didn’t walk, but I did have to slow down substantially go get down without injury.

Around mile 8, I ran into a ton of folks from the We Run Social team, many of whom are also Rock ‘n’ Bloggers. They’d just run a half marathon the day before and were enjoying the scenery. At the mile 8 water stop, we all walked. I grabbed a Glukos gummy pack and actually ate all but two gummies, which is a feat for me. I’ve never been good about nutrition during races, not because of stomach issues but simply because I’m not hungry and don’t feel like walking, which seems like the only way to get it down easily.

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13340201_10110909483988524_1319904212426562301_oI walked for a bit with the We Run Social crew, a little more than a quarter mile, then took off. At this point, the race just flew by, and soon the finish line was in sight.

While the course might have been hillier than anticipated, it was still a great one. Shalane even ran a huge PR on it. The crowd support along the way was incredible, especially in Normal Heights — that was probably my favorite point of the race.

The temperature was great — in the low 60s the whole way with a nice breeze. Folks were talking about how humid it was, but coming from D.C., I didn’t really feel it personally — it’s all about what you’re accustomed to!

Official finish time: 2:14:58, 10:18 pace

The finish line festival area was fabulous, but I didn’t stick around long at all. I hadn’t done gear check and was immediately freezing after crossing the finish line — that breeze and low 60s temperature was just enough for me that I needed more layers after sweating a decent amount on the run.

As I was in the final stretch, the lead car for the marathon runners came up on the left side, where there was a separate lane for marathon finishers — the top finisher was just a few minutes away. After I crossed the line, I waited and got a shot of the winner cutting through the finish line tape. His finish time was 2:26 something… just 10 minutes slower than what it took me to complete half the distance. Crazy.

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13327588_10110898223015604_8454908728783117861_nI walked back to the hotel and simply enjoyed not rushing around anywhere — there was a We Run Social meetup at 11:30, so I just spent a bit of time lounging on the bed watching whatever channel it was that decided to have a Jurassic Park weekend playing all the series of movies a bunch.

Eventually, I made my way to the meetup. I stupidly decided to take an Uber to it, thinking there must be some way to get through the runners. I had to bail about a half mile or less into the ride and walk the remainder of the way, which wasn’t too bad but my legs were seriously tired.

To cap such an amazing day, I took a surf lesson in the early evening. I didn’t know how I would do. My goal was just to get up and stay up on the board one time. Instead, I ended up catching more than 20 waves. The first few were wobbly with some early falls, but after that I was solid.

It was the perfect epic end to an epic race weekend.

That night, I slept 10.5 hours. I spent some time in Monday morning walking around the waterfront, checking out the USS Midway and a few other Navy memorials, before catching my flight home.

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Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of June 5

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Sunday: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. I tried to take this race slower to save my legs, I really did. But it didn’t happen. I got caught up in the moment.

Monday: Rest / 5-hour flight home. I spent time in the morning walking by the USS Midway and along Waterfront Park before heading back to the hotel. My legs were definitely tired.

Tuesday: Rest. Everything hurt. Not that bad, but enough.

Wednesday: 3 miles at 10:39 pace. This was the hardest run I’ve done in a long time. I think the combination of the race weekend, surfing and travel overall did me in, but I also need to start seeing this pace as a decent, normal one as the summer impedes and marathon training progresses.

Thursday: Rest. My alarm went off and my legs still felt tired, so I decided to sleep in and skip my run. It was a bit of a shame since the weather in D.C. decided to be utter perfection and spring-like for three days.

Friday: Rest. My legs — they were still tired. So I slept in … again. Hey, it’s my last hurrah before marathon training.

Saturday: Rest. By late Friday my legs finally felt better again, and Saturday they felt great. Sunday’s return to running and the official start of my marathon training plan looks promising, minus the heat and humidity.

***

Weekly mileage: 16.1

Got in: Running.

Skipped/Missed: Yoga, Cycle, Swim, Strength. Yup, I didn’t do any of these cross training activities this week, largely because of the race weekend. And that’s OK.

Training Recaps

Weekly Training Recap: Week of May 29

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Sunday: 10 miles at 10:40 + short swim.

It was hot and humid, and I wasn’t feeling it, but I made it through this run. I originally planned to wake up at 6, but that didn’t happen. Instead I woke up at 7 and hit the road a little after 7:30. It took me 1 hour, 46 minutes to finish the run, and I walked a mile back to my apartment. I ran out of water shortly before I finished running — gonna have to add those extra water bottles to my hydration belt. I ended up doing this run as two 5-mile loops by my apartment. It helped me break up the run while keeping myself sane by being able to focus on different points — completing the first 5-mile loop, then getting to mile 7.5, where I needed to cross the street and headed into a nice downhill, then to mile 9, where I took a half mile shaded trail around a neighborhood pond.

Afterward, I got a quick shower, then headed up to Silver Spring to meet up with my friend so we could go to the YMCA near her house that has an outdoor lap pool. I figured I could do a 15-20 lap swim, but my legs weren’t having it. I managed to do 10 minutes or a little less before heading back to the lounge chair to sit in the sun. It was hot. I didn’t put enough sunscreen on my face, so that got sunburnt. I got home around 2, made some scrambled eggs and took a 1.5 hour nap. Overall, a lovely day!

Monday: 3 miles at 10:32.

Tuesday: Yoga.

Wednesday: 3 miles at 10:03.

Thursday: 3 miles at 10:07.

Friday: Rest — flight day. I arrived in San Diego around 11 and my hotel wasn’t too far away. I checked in and was off to the zoo quickly!

Saturday: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego 5K. 3.1 miles at 10:00 pace. I ran this race faster than I meant to — I was aiming for 10:30 overall pace. I simply got caught up in the moment despite my legs feeling tired from all the walking the day before.

***

Weekly mileage: 22.1

Got in: Yoga

Skipped: Strength, Swim, Cycle