This was fun. No, not really, this was a bit tiring but feeling good at the end of it all. Super hot weather but running part of the way with the running group helped a lot!
No music or headphones on this run courtesy the fellow human runners who made it easier.
Did about 6 miles with my running buddy before the Asha group got started, then joined them in for a 10 miler (and motivated one of the fellow runners to go another extra mile with me) and then it was down to the last 2 miles.
The last 2 are always the hardest. It was already hot, the rest of the group was done but I had to wrap this run up. Without any music to keep me going, this was a little challenging but not unfamiliar territory at this point.
Hill training - Every Thursday. It is brutal, challenging but much needed specially when training for hilly terrains like you'll encounter at the SF Marathon.
It's a short hill and you climb up, trying not to sprint through but pushing yourself enough that your heart rate starts to hit your 90% peak or so. Then you turn back around and run back down on repeat.
The key is to manage your stride efficiently while trying to breathe at a consistent rate. This can mean you have to slow down a bit or make your steps shorter. Use your torso to lean forward a bit and use that upper body weight to pull you along. The legs follow suit.
Turns out, running down the hill requires a whole bunch of work too, you would think gravity would do its job and it does and then some. The chance of injury is high if you accelerate out of control. So make sure you keep your pace under control, watch your steps as you
A good stretch before an after the training is very important, don't forget that!
It was interesting to see the heart rate graph after the run. It is pretty clear how quickly the HR shot up as you hit the peak of the hill and when you start to trend down the heart rate slows down quickly too. Notice on #5 and #8, the cool down is slightly longer and the reason for that is....water breaks.
Stay hydrated, stay healthy and keep running!
There's something to be said about long runs on Weekdays, lots of logistical and time planning.
I could not run over the weekend so I knew that unless I finished the run on one of the weekdays I would miss that week and missing a long training run was something I did not want to do, come what may. It would throw me off my training plan and would be a mental barrier too. Also, waking up that early on a weekday would throw me off my schedule but in a way it was good training for the final run since it would require waking up at an absurd time and getting ready and heading up to the city.
Ended up starting as early as I could, around 630am and finished the run close to 10am followed by stretching and the usual shenanigans. Fortunately I had access to the gym which was close to work so I could get ready there and head in to work after the run.
However, it worked out well, best long run so far in terms of pace and timing and feeling goooood. Pumped but the legs beg to differ.
Run update - Good run today. Well, the leg Gods were not too impressed later but they are sometimes finicky.
Was able to finish it quicker than the 15 miler last weekend l, mainly because the weather was nice and I decided to run with the hand-held water bottle instead of the backpack. Big difference apparently.
This run was a little more challenging not because of the mileage increase but because I realized my headphones were not working just as I was about to get started. So I had to run without any music. *gasp*. Lesson learnt - always have a backup pair of headphones.
Thankfully found some company with the folks from the Asha training group for a few miles but I had to finish most of the miles on my own, listening to myself go huff and puff which was only entertaining for the first 10 seconds.
Today, I went for an outdoor run and ran the farthest I have *ever* run on our planet Earth, 15 it-was-so-hot-outside miles. But I felt good at the end of the run. Like not-destroyed but actually good (and more on that in a couple of paragraphs below)
So, I've decided, this year, on July 29th, I'll be running/moon-walking/whatever-it-takes-to-finish the San Francisco Full Marathon.
In 2007, I ran my first "official" run in La Crosse, the Maple Leaf run, 5 miles of total destruction for someone who never really ran unless for some good Indian food.
But over the next decade, I kinda got over the trauma of running, 'winged' a few half-marathon's without much training and as expected, they were not the most fun runs, reminding me that running is an evil activity.
A couple of months ago, I came across an opportunity to train for a marathon with a non-profit org Asha For Education - Silicon Valley Chapter with the mission of helping support change in India through education of underprivileged children.
In turn I will be helping them raise funds for the children's education projects they support in India.
It's a completely volunteer-run organization and literally they are all tech/few non-tech workers (I mean it is Silicon Valley after all) with full-time jobs who go the extra mile for the mission. The whole funding process is completely transparent with all records on the website and anyone can be a part of the bi-weekly chapter meetings and have their say regarding supporting various projects like Rescue Junction (http://ashanet.org/project/?pid=985) / Basera-E-Tabassum (http://ashanet.org/project/?pid=628) and many more.
Having a structured training program just makes you more accountable and ofcourse you pick up from other's experience too. This was an easy win-win opportunity and I most definitely was not going to attempt 'winging' a full marathon
For now, I need some ice packs. Let's do this.
tl;dr - I am now training for and running a full marathon in July this year and helping raise funds for underprivileged kids.