“I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.”

Andy Warhol.

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That’s right, boys and girls. Some dark, wintery Northern California training ahead as preparation continues for the big bad LA Marathon in February!

I’ve been semi- secretly following a makeshift Hal Higdon plan that’s been pretty well Frankensteined into something that ol’ Hal might not condone at all. Basically, my strategy is to steadily increase mileage, diligently complete my long runs with some fast finishes thrown in every few weeks, and do goal pace workout most weeks. Easy runs easy and harder runs hard.

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Yellow highlights are pace runs. Purple are fast finish.

We will see how this evolves. But on the whole things have been going smoothly. I even got in a run during my trip to Mexico City last month, which was awesome and not at all the asthma-inducing shit show that I expected. Did you know that Mexico City’s minimum elevation is 7,382 ft? Neither had I (by comparison, our mile high city of Denver maxes out at 5,690 ft.). To my surprise, the run was absolutely magical. On Sunday mornings, the city closes several main streets to traffic and opens up these uncongested city miles to pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. On the day of my excursion many of the local running groups were out and celebrating Dia de los Muertos.  I was having so much fun that I tacked on two additional miles to explore a bit of the splendid Bosque de Chapultepec (aka a huge ass park).

The rest of this year will be focused on remaining uninjured and maintaining mileage amidst the tempting pull of lazy holidays and early dusks. And maybe one more half marathon before 2016….

Training Diary 6.15.14 — Speed Phase Week Three (AKA – I hate Tempo Runs)

Maybe more accurately: I suck at tempo runs. Unfortunately the only solution is also the least attractive: practice, practice, practice. Hal Higdon calls them “the thinking runner’s workout,” but I never expect so many of those thoughts to be “Oh my God, what fresh hell is this pace? Ugh, Kathryn. You are a terrible runner. ” Sometimes you need matter over mind. So I try to visualize beautiful robot-movement in my form, and relax my facial muscles to catatonic slack— totally unfeeling, absolutely numb. Imagine my legs as machines, incessantly — endlessly — moving. Don’t look at the watch. Never look at the watch. Seriously, stop checking the fucking watch. GPS is the devil. Running is torture. How on earth do people do this? What ecstasy it would be to walk — or better, to stop completely, hinging at the hip, pressing palms firmly against thighs. Ugh. Kathryn. You are a terrible runner.

I’m realizing that of course I’m doing it all wrong, or at least mostly wrong. Here’s Friday’s workout:

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So for example, if I’m looking to run a 24:30 5k, then according to Runner’s World training paces calculator, my tempo pace should be more like 8:20/mile. Currently I’m completing a ¾ mile warm-up (or so), and then increasing my pace too suddenly, subsequently crashing and burning by the end? On the other hand, I know these runs should feel hard, so maybe it’s more an issue of becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. Or probably some combination.

Either way, I dread that the secret actually lies in a painful learning curve.

Monday — Easy Run / 5.75 miles / 9’27” pace  A make-up for last week’s delayed Sunday long run. Not very impressive for an LSD, but still meaningful enough for 5k training. Besides, a run-commute home along the Embarcadero and through Potrero Hill? Best de-compression ever. Half a mile from our apartment, I stopped at the market for fresh herbs and cruised home for dinner. Summer. Ah.

Tuesday — Easy bike ride and strength training.

Wednesday — 6×400 / 4 miles / 9’33” pace  A beautiful morning in the Haight. 6’44 / 6’25 / 6’49 / 7’00 / 6’51 / 6’55 An improvement from last week — almost all intervals in the sixes. I’m doing a lot of walking between sets, and reading conflicting information regarding the better approach: Avoid a cooldown, or rest enough so that every interval can be performed at full quality?

Thursday — Dynamic Flow Yoga Class / 90 minutes  A class full of arm balances, which I love.

Friday — Tempo Run (from hell) / 3.6 miles / 9’08” pace  See above.

Saturday — Rest.

Sunday — Long Run / 6.6 miles / 9’49” pace  A meandering exploration around Noe Valley, Duboce triangle, and the Mission. My long runs have become a bit prescriptive, always with the go-to 8 mile route or 10 mile or 14 mile route that I know well. Kept this one interesting with some new and some familiar hills, neighborhoods, twists and turns.