Dusting off the Racing Shoes

I ran my first race in the Run the Bay Series yesterday; the San Jose 408K Race to the Row.  It was, in fact, my first race of 2017 and the first race in my brand new age bracket.  Buh-bye 44-49, Hello 50-54!

I normally don’t travel far or pay for shorter races.  And it’s not that I feel a certain way about shorter runs or think they aren’t worth it but I can bang out a 5 mile run for free.  In my neighborhood.  Plus, let’s talk economics.  Race fees add up.  But, as you can guess from my opening sentence, this is a SERIES.  Meaning, special goodies and props for running all of the races involved.  And besides, my friend Stephanie said it would be fun.

So at 5:45am we piled in my car and drove 75 minutes in the rain to San Jose.  The race started at the SAP Center, home to the San Jose Sharks.  And venue of many concerts including an upcoming show by Neil Diamond.  I know!  Neil Diamond!

This is a very well run race.  Plenty of parking and cheap at $5, a large line of port-a-potties, a UPS bag drop and 4 Corrals for runners.  They announced that there were close to 5,000 runners so it was a good field.

After the National Anthem and the wheelchair athletes, they started Wave 1 for the speedy demons and the folks who would have a chance at winning.  There was about 5 minutes between waves so in Wave 2 we were next to go.

What I love about shorter races is that it’s a fantastic way to see how your training is going.    You race.  You push.  You get uncomfortable.   Sometimes that’s hard to do on your own.

What I dislike about shorter races is that it’s more of a cluster at the beginning.  In a marathon you don’t worry about crowds because you are supposed to start slow and easy.  There’s plenty of miles to settle in to your pace.  In a shorter race I feel more pressure to get out the gate and go.  So there’s a lot of moving around to find space to hit your stride.  Luckily it was only for about half or three quarters of a mile before it opened up.

Stephanie and I stayed together for the first mile then settled in to our own paces.

Side note.  My husband Brad asked if it’s expected that friends run together if they go to races together.  He seemed to think it was weird and maybe rude that we didn’t stick together.  I’ve done some races running with friends but most of the time I find it’s a hard thing to do because no one has the same pace and is able to run the same race on the same day. But I’m curious to hear what you think.

The course was pretty flat, mostly flat actually.  There were some spectators, a Mariachi Mile at the end (3 or 4 mariachi bands playing along the last mile) and the Memorial Mile, a block along the course where veterans were invited to come and cheer the runners on.  They were a great boost and I know that the runners were grateful for their presence and service to our country.

The race finished at Santana Row, which is a lovely outdoor shopping center with restaurants, etc.  We were medaled, snacked, watered and directed to the shuttle buses to take us back to the start and our cars.   Next time we will have to plan more time to have a proper meal and maybe a celebratory libation!

I’d definitely do this race again and am looking forward to the other two races in the series.  For more info on the series click here.

Ok results, because when you race you want to see how it all went.

  • Race Place:  402
  • Chip Time:  00:41:51
  • Pace:  08:22
  • Age: 50
  • Age Place:  8
  • Gender Place:  116

Stephanie and I joked that no matter what we ran it would be a PR because neither of us had done an 8K before.  So yeah, nailed that PR!

My next scheduled race is Ragnar So. Cal on April 7-8 so I’ve got some long runs to get under my belt.  My three running legs total 25 miles.  Cannot.  Wait.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂




DIY Marathon Training Group

So as I posted recently, it’s marathon year.   I also have some serious goals this time around.  I want to be able to race hard and make this my strongest marathon yet.  Since I may be 10 and done, this is important to me.

Recently I put two action items on my agenda (because I’m all about action items these days).

  •  Register for the race.

Check.  I’m an official entrant in the 2016 California International Marathon on December 4, 2016.  And if I’m not mistaken (not that it makes any difference to me) it’s the last chance to qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon.  Again, just sharing info.

  • Find a group and plan for the race.

This action item has been a bit tougher.  I’m deciding between two Runner’s World programs.  One is based on a 3 day a week plan and the other is a more conventional 4 to 5 day a week plan.  But I’m not worried about that part, I’ll decide this week.  The other part, finding a group or club to train with has been really hard.

I’ve checked out some online groups.  I’ve checked out some local running clubs and some based in San Francisco.  Meh.  I’ll be honest, I’m not inspired.

What I’m looking for is a community of runners that are sharing the same goal and want accountability and some support in their training for a late fall or winter marathon.  I want to share ideas, training, find out what’s working, what’s not, get inspired, be inspiring, give or get a gentle kick in the tush when needed, support and be supported by others while we train.

So because I have not been able to find one, I’m creating my own.  With all of my free time (snort).

Stay tuned for details on the group, where you can find us and how you can participate.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Goal-Focused Training

If I’m not training for an event my workout intensity drops dramatically.  Now that doesn’t mean I stop exercising but I’ll be the first to admit that my weekday runs will drop from 5 or 6 miles to 3 or 4.  And if I can get in more than a 6 miler on a Sunday I’m lucky.

I know from experience that I need something on the calendar that I can work towards. I need to have a training plan in place so I don’t have to think about how far I need to run (or how little I can get away with).  I just look at the calendar and go for my 6 mile run.  There’s no thinking.  An no thought process means no debate which means no skipping or cutting it short.  See.  Brilliant!

I call it goal-focused training.

So if you’re a runner, register for an event.  Hang on now.  Wait.  Did I say marathon?  Did I say half marathon?  No.  A 5k is perfect.  It’s 3.25 miles and unless you’re running an Olympic trial or an actual meet, you can walk as much of it as you like.

But why do you have to register for a race?  Because training for a race will give your workouts purpose. 

Then there’s the mental shift.  Say these two sentences aloud:

  1.  I’m going on a walk with Mary today.
  2. I am training with Mary today.

Now I’m no genius but #2 makes you sound pretty tough.  You’re not walking, you’re training.  Cool, right?  And when you start training for an event you’ll not only develop some serious street cred BUT you will become an inspiration for your peeps.  No joke.

So pick a race a few months away and register.   Determine where you are and what you need to do to be race-ready (whatever that means to you) and mark your workout in your calendar.  Just like that, you’re training for an event. Nice work!

Once you start training the quality of your workouts will improve.  You will get stronger.  You will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment when you train for and compete in the race.   I promise.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

PS – Not sure where to start?  Email me and I’ll help you out.

Why Recovery Runs are Important

When training for a race, each of your training runs serves a purpose.  My training plan has an easy run, run at race pace, long run (at a slower pace) and then the beloved recovery run.

The recovery run is the one component I used to consider optional.  For the past few years I’ve learned to make it an important part of my training and no matter how I feel after the long run the day before, I make sure that I get that 3 mile run done.

The lovely thing about this run is that there is no expectation of speed or even that you put forth a modicum of effort.  It’s all about slow, easy and loose.  Stiff, sore or kinked muscles are warming up and you are getting that lactic acid moving and out of your system.

Note: If you are really sore the day after a tough long run, try walking for 10 minutes to warm up and then do a run/walk cycle for 10 minutes and cool down with a 10 minute walk.

I promise you this, your training will be better and you will not deal with the crippling soreness that may afflict you post-race if you include these recovery runs.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Good Luck to SF Runners!

The San Francisco Marathon and Half Marathon is this weekend so good luck to those tackling this fun race.  If you are toeing up to the starting line this weekend, here are 3 tips to make your race great!

  • Part of the beauty and splendor of racing in San Francisco are the views and hills.   While hills are pretty to look at they can be tough to run and trust me, there are hills aplenty in this course.  To get up a hill without killing yourself  shorten your stride and pump your arms and pitter patter to the top.  Some of the bigger hills come early in the race so pace yourself and run smart!
  • If you have a time goal, stick near a pace group to help keep you on track.  Pace group leaders work very hard to have you hit the finish line within 2 minutes of the pace goal.
  • Be patient with your race.  Start easy and build up to your race pace as you warm up.   Nerves and excitement lead many a runner out of the gate too fast.  While this won’t affect you as much for a 10K, it can be a disaster on a half or full marathon.  Settle down, let the rabbits pass you by because by mile 22 you’ll be the one doing the passing.

Good luck and have a great race.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂