Zen on the Run

So today on my running agenda was hill repeats. The purpose of hill repeats are to build power and endurance in the legs and cardiovascular system.  Incorporating hill repeats into a training program will make you a better runner.  Faster, fitter and stronger.

Hill repeats are not only hard physically but also mentally.  Here are a few things that work for me to help manage the mental part of a hard run.  Trust me, I’ve had lots of practice 🙂


Mantras are great and I highly recommend them.  They are short phrases that one uses to either set the tone for a workout or help boost confidence during a run.  “Strong finish”, “You’ve got this”, “Just do it”, etc.

Today I used “smooth and easy”.  And yes, I repeated it up the hill multiple times.  To myself, not out loud because I’m sure the neighbors wouldn’t have appreciated hearing my mantra at 6:30am.

Focus on a Number

But not on the number of hill repeats or number of laps you’re running.  Keep it simple by just counting your steps.  And think small numbers.  1-10.  Then start over.  For me counting had a twofold effect.

  1. By counting fast I kept my cadence up
  2. By counting in my head I couldn’t also think “crap, this is hard”.  It wasn’t possible to do both.  And when my mind started to drift (as it does) I re-focused on counting.

It’s a little trick I learned from Adrian Cooke on his podcast Meditate with AC.   Mindfulness when we workout can be very helpful as long as we pay attention to cars on the road and that we’re executing our workout safely.

So the next time you have a hard run and are struggling, don’t freak out.  Take a deep breath, repeat a positive phrase or saying and when in doubt, count it out.  You’ve got this!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂









Six and Counting…

Happy Fall!

While the temps are still quite warm where I live there is some chill to the air in the a.m. that is appreciated as I wrap up Week 6 of my marathon training.  Only 10 more weeks to go!  Woo Hoo!

The Plan

This week we cycled back to having 2 long runs.  The first of the long run, which I dubbed the “short” long run was an 8-10 miler so I opted for 10 miles.  And like Survivor, it came with a twist.

The first 4 miles at a “long run pace” of 9:35 to 10:52 minutes per mile (read:  conversation is easy) then from mile 4-8 transitioning into a  “steady state” pace of 8:52 to 9:19 minutes per mile (read:  um, really?).  Then the last 2 miles at “long run pace”.    So the distance isn’t a problem, the pace while a push in the middle isn’t a problem, it’s that it’s a Thursday.

So here’s where my age starts to show because after a long run I’m not ashamed to admit that I just want to take a shower and a nap.  Sadly, when I returned from my 10 miler at 8:00 am I had time to kiss the kids goodbye, stretch, shower, eat breakfast and then had to go to work.  It was a long day 🙂

The second long run was scheduled as a  12-16 miler so I split the diff and did 14.   I’m happy with the pace, happy with the route and only felt tired at the last mile.  But that’s to be expected, I hadn’t done 14 miles in a long time.  Overall here’s what my week ended up looking like.





The Food

Last week my goal was to continue drinking enough water and adding some electrolytes.  Some people don’t sweat very much when they run but I do so I need to make sure I’m replacing some of what I’m losing.

A little education on fueling.  Your body uses glycogen for fuel.  Glycogen comes from carbohydrates so therefore eating a hearty (but not massive) carbohydrate-rich meal the night before a race will help top off your stores so you can access them during your endurance event.  For me, I need to pay attention to this for races over 12 miles or so.

My plan was to make pasta and chicken for dinner on Saturday but an unexpected trip to Sacramento for a volleyball tournament derailed that plan.  Instead of my delicious pasta dinner I had an In-N-Out burger at 8:30pm after I got home.  Not the *best* choice for dinner the night before a long run, that’s for sure.  I did make sure to have a hearty bowl of oatmeal about an hour and a half before the run so that helped a bit.

Yoga/Stretching and Body Work

Yoga took a backseat this week and I’ve recommitted to fitting it in most days of the week.  I miss my Namaste.  Intense stretching also got some short shrift but 10 minutes a day is better than nothing.

This week we’re back to hill repeats and something called a “thirds progression” run.  Looks interesting.  We’ll see.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂


Hello Fall

It’s September 24th – and summer is officially over.  Except someone forgot to tell Sacramento, CA.

I’m at a volleyball tournament and its in the high 90’s.  A dry heat, mind you, but high 90’s.  And we’re outside under EZ ups before our next match starts.

Correction.  The EZ ups are there, the team found a cool, dark room in the venue and I’m blasting the AC in my car.  Sorry global warming.  It’s hot as balls out here.

Tomorrow I’m running 15 miles down near the bay.  It’s supposed to be another toasty day so I’ll be sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, my sunglasses, a hat and have electrolyte tablets (Nuun) with me.  We’re running early but if there’s not any fog it will warm up quickly. Better safe than sorry.

If like me, you’ll be out running in the last dregs of hot weather be prepared. Speed work, hill repeats, and the like can wait for cooler temps.  If you’re not used to running in the heat go slow, be prepared and you’ll be okey dokey.

And now that I’ve burned up enough fossil fuel I’m heading back out to watch some volleyball.

The things we do for our kids, right?  I know, I wouldn’t have it any other way either.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Sunday Runs Are In Full Swing

One of the challenges I’ve had is finding a group that I could run with.  Correction.  Finding a group that didn’t leave me in the dust or lap me on the track.  Talk about humiliating!!

So I put together a Sunday Run series that anyone could join; no matter what level.  I pick a route that one can lengthen or shorten easily and I try to provide some clear instruction so no one gets lost.   Best of all, you don’t have to ‘join’ the group or pay to play.

If you want to meet some new folks, have some laughs and run please join us!  Click here for this weekend’s route and please let me know if you have any questions, route suggestions or comments!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂



Five is Fine

And the fun continues.  Week 5 is a wrap.  Here’s an update.

The Plan

Hello hill repeats and the first double digit long run.  I don’t mind hills and am not particularly fast on hills.  I’m built like a cabbage farmer’s wife from the old country so my short strong legs come in handy.   My specs for the hill repeat workout was finding one at a 6-8% grade where I could run 60 to 75 seconds up and then easy back down.  I mistakenly thought my goal as 8-10 so I did 10.  Looking back on my plan I was only supposed to do 6 to 8.  So call me an overachiever.

The funny things about hill repeats is that the more you do them, the easier they get.  There is usually a part where you are working up that hill and you just want to stop.  Your lungs and legs might be burning and you think, yep, I’m walking.  But if you dig in and push through that really uncomfortable few seconds you will come out of it and be able to finish the hill.  You just have to get out of your head.  Shake out the doubt, anxiety and yes, discomfort and go for it.  You’ll never be disappointed.

In addition to hill repeats this week, I had a 10-14 mile run.  My longest run on the plan so far was 9 miles so I thought a 12 mile run would be wise.  I’m glad I opted for the shorter route.  It had had been a busy week and I was tired.  It was also warmer than I expected and that always freaks me out a bit.  I don’t like running in warm weather.

The route I planned for Sunday was over the Golden Gate Bridge down to the water, along Chrissy Field to the Marina Green, up and over to Aquatic Park and along past Pier 39 and then back.  Some good hills, some nice long flat miles and a good finish over the bridge.  Overall it was a great run; the pacing was good but I did take a few bathroom breaks and stopped to take in beans and water at mile 6.  Next week I have 2 long runs so I’m going to try and manage that a bit better.

Here’s what my week looked like.

Scheduled Workout


Easy Run             30-45 minutes

Off or X-Train or 30 minute easy run
Easy run, 6-8 repeats at 60-75 seconds, easy run
Off or X-train Off or 30 minute easy run Long Run             10-14 miles
Total Miles
Goal Pace   9:32 to 10:29  9:32 to 10:29
9:32 to 10:29 for easy run, 5K pace for hill repeats
  9:32 to 10:29 9:35 to 10:52
Distance   4.61 miles
3.39 miles 5.5 miles
x-train 3.27 miles
12.0 miles
Actual Pace   9:47  8:52 10:03   9:11 9:37  

The Food

I’m happy with how the food is working out.  The challenge I have is that a few times a week my kids play sports and we don’t get home until much later than usual.  Twice a week there’s soccer practice until 7pm and twice a week there’s volleyball games that finish close to 8pm.  I threw some crock pot meals together so there was food when we got home but it has not been ideal.  It’s a work in progress.

My main focus this week was to get my hydration in check.  Water, La Croix sparkly water, electrolytes, more water with a pinch of salt added for better absorption.  Repeat.  I tend to front load my water then it slips off the radar by the end of the day.  I was much better with evenly drinking throughout the day.

Yoga/Stretching and Body Work

I do intensive stretching in the morning and after a run or at night.  I spend a lot of time on my back rolling on a foam roller, LAX ball or softball,  I also spend time in a couch stretch or a deep squat.  None of it feels “good” as I’m in the midst of the stretches.  No joke.  But I notice that I’m not popping Advil for aches and pains as I’d done in the past and after a long run or hills that I did this past week, I’m not sore.

I still enjoy Yoga and try to fit that in a few times a week.   It’s something that has had to be cut back on just due to my current commitments.

Ok  did I miss anything?  Naps.  I need them daily.  And coffee.  I have a cup every afternoon at 4pm.  You can set a clock by it.

Week 6 starts today and I’m happy for a “rest” day.  I have 2 long runs this week, one for 10 miles on Thursday and one for 12-16 on Sunday.  Deep breath.  I’ve got this.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

More Today Than Yesterday

Here’s the thing, progress isn’t about the big things.  It’s just doing just a little more today than you did yesterday.  And repeating the process.

One extra step on your FitBit, a second longer in your plank, an extra veggie on the plate, the final glass of water before bed.  It seems, well, insignificant.  But it matters.  Moving forward one inch is still moving forward.  An inch a day for a year adds up.

Soon that extra second is a full minute plank.  That extra step becomes an extra half mile.  Those veggies start to crowd out the empty calories.  You make progress.

And that’s magical.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Marathon Training – Race Recap

Yep, it’s a double shot of running for you today!

The Plan

This week was a light mileage week, which was welcomed and appreciated as it was capped off by The Giant Race in San Francisco.  I registered for the 10K which was perfect because I was scheduled to run 50-60 minutes at a long run pace.  I decided to push the pace because, well, it’s a race.  And I have a hard time with that. Competitive spirit and all that.

This race has a big draw so the corrals are really crowded and it takes a while to get to the starting line.  And then it’s pretty thick for the first mile or two which can be a problem if you’re trying to run fast – you get bogged down.

After the past two year’s of running this race I thought I set myself up better by placing myself in a faster pace group so I’d be closer to the front (read: with faster runners) and I wouldn’t have to bob and weave around walkers and slower runners.  Unfortunately I realized that a final port-a-potty stop had to be taken so I got out of my corral before the start and by the time I hopped back in I was closer to the back than I expected.

So I tried to be as polite as I could while I hustled my bustle to open spots.  I did get stuck a few times behind large bottlenecks which was a bit frustrating but hey, it was my fault I had to start at a slower corral than I could run so patience was required and I took opportunities when I could.

At the 3 mile turnaround  there was room and I was able to pick up the pace and got faster at each mile to the end.  I think the training plan is working because even at the 8:28 pace I sped up and I felt strong and was running smoothly.  I’ve been in races where I’ve pushed myself too hard so I know what it feels like to *not* run smoothly.  🙂

My final time was 55:14 which is an average pace of 8:47.  While 90 seconds off my PR from May, I’m super excited that in my age group (F45-49) I placed 19th out of 350.

For those who like to geek-out on running stats, here are my splits.

  • Mile 1 – 9:12
  • Mile 2 – 9:01
  • Mile 3 – 9:02
  • Mile 4 – 8:42
  • Mile 5 – 8:28
  • Mile 6 – 8:20
  • Final .29 –   2:16

Speaking of stats.  Here’s my weekly training recap.

Scheduled Workout


Easy Run             40-50 minutes

Off or X-Train Easy Run             40-50 minutes Off or X-train Off or 30 minute easy run Long Run             45-60 minutes Total Miles
Goal Pace   9:32 to 10:29   9:32 to 10:29   9:32 to 10:29 10K race  
Distance   5.31 x-train 4.60 x-train 3.19 6.29 19.39
Actual Pace   9:26   9:20   9:27 8:47  

The Food

After my breakfast snafu I shared last week, I made a concerted effort to eat earlier.   My new favorite breakfast is a yogurt parfait.  In a bowl layer ¾ c greek yogurt (2%), ½ c oats, ½ c berries, 2 tsp chia seeds and drizzle with honey.  Yum.  And bonus! I can make it before I head out to teach class or run and when I get home it’s ready to go.  And it takes a while to eat so I’m not scarfing it down.

The pot of soup I made last Sunday was perfect for lunches and the dinner planning was very useful as the days got hectic and sports ran late.

I’ll repeat the meal prep this week.  It helps to have things ready to go when needed.  But I think I need some new Tupperware.  I’m missing a bunch of containers but have tons of lids.  Go figure.

Yoga/Stretching and Body Work

I’m still making time for my intensive stretching.  I’m also doing yoga 3 or 4 days a week.  My psoas problem has abated but am still doing the warm up stretches that I was shown.  I notice a difference when I teach class or run if I’ve done just a few minutes of them prior to leaving the house.  And I found the LAX ball under the couch, so I’ve added that back into play.  My feet are happy.  Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Ok  – week 5 starts tomorrow.  There are some interesting hill repeats on the schedule so we’ll see how those go.  Stay tuned!

And thank you to everyone who is commenting and sending encouragement as I train.  I really appreciate it!!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂