URL Change

Sometimes, when starting a blog, one does not think about the blog name.

For example, what was I thinking picking a name with “Grad Student” in it when I knew graduate school was only 2 years long? I guess I had no better ideas, but still.

Follow me over to: Book of Life to continue to read my ramblings about running and life in general.

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Griffith Park Half Marathon Training Plan

Aaaaannndddd….I’m type A. I like training plans.

I enjoyed my summer of free-form running, but I was feeling like I tended to slack on runs because I wanted to “save” energy for some undetermined future run. I also have a weird mental block with runs over about 8 miles, and when Leo asks, “So, how far do you want to run today?” I immediately answer, “Ummmm, 3. Or 4. But not more than 4. Unless I feel great. And then maybe 6.”

So I started putting together a training plan. And because I enjoy Excel spreadsheets and running math, it took forever. But it’s done!

Training Plan – Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon (I don’t know why you’d want this, but feel free! However, I am not a doctor, and have gained all my running knowledge from the internet. Don’t be stupid)

Yeah, it’s color coded.

I threw in a day of swimming (or cross-training) because I’ll start having access to a pool when my new job starts in August. I’ll also have access to lots of big heavy weights, and a track, hence the weights-only days and speedwork. I’m going to try to do all of my other runs at least partially on trails, which is pretty easy around here. I kept the long run mileage relatively high, and added some back-to-backs because I may want to run another marathon in December or January (I will actually run a marathon).

I’ve already noticed that I’m putting more effort into my runs, since I know exactly what’s on the schedule for the next day. Yeah, I could have just sucked it up and pushed myself harder, but I like this way better.

Of course, it’s still all subject to change, based on day availability and whether I feel like running more. We’ll see how it goes! Saturday is already looking fun, there’s a training run on the Griffith Park Trail 10K course, and it’s just far enough from my house that if I get a ride there, I can run home and hit my 10 miles. Runmuting!


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Summer Training Plans and Realities

I didn’t have any set training plan heading into summer. I knew I was going to lose access to my school gym, so I didn’t want to tie myself to a weights training plan that I couldn’t complete. And I didn’t know how well I’d handle the hot weather of summer (sweating is not exactly by best skill), or how much time I’d have to run with my summer job.

Luckily, not having a plan has worked out pretty well. I have kept my run mileage pretty steady over the past 5 weeks, and have even started to increase it a little bit. I generally pick a rough mileage for the week and keep track of what distances I’m running, but I don’t plan which days I’m doing which runs. I tend to focus more on monthly mileage, which I’ve gotten back up after it dropped in April and May during the end of grad school.

Summer Weekly Mileage

Summer Weekly Mileage

2012 Monthly Mileage

2012 Monthly Mileage

I also participated in the Runner’s World Run Streak from Memorial Day to the 4th of July, and managed to run (or walk) at least a mile every day during those days. But I’ve started to feel the effects of not strength training consistently, mostly in my knees and in my calves. The only strength program I’ve found that really seems to stabilize everything really well for me is The Female Body Breakthrough program, designed by Rachel Cosgrove. It focuses on heavy weights (for you), and low reps, and is pretty brutal. I haven’t made it all the way through the program yet, but her focus on hamstrings, glutes, and functional core training really seems to work for my running.

So my new summer plans are:

Start the Female Body Breakthrough program again, 3 weights workouts per week.

If I decide to run on weight days, stick to short sprints.

Increase run mileage gradually, hopefully peaking at 40-50 miles per week.

Start my 15 week training cycle for the Griffith Park Half Marathon on August 5th (I’ll post a training plan closer to the start date…it will include lots and lots of trail runs!)

Griffith Park Trail Run

Griffith Park Trail Run

It’s been really nice to not stress myself out about a specific summer training plan and just do what feels right in terms of temp and time.


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12athon: Month Seven

We’re more than halfway through the 12athon!

Today was the hardest 12athon I’ve run yet. There weren’t any particularly gnarly challenges, but this is what the forecast looked like when we headed out:

The temperature had gone down about 3 degrees by the time we started, and it was very very cloudy. Almost no direct sunlight, which was nice, but we’ve had humidity like this all day:

So the run was very slow. About 3 hours for the full 12 miles, which included running, walking, breaks in air-conditioned stores to buy water, and general whining stops.

I am claiming the Naturalist points (6) for my fabulous shoes.

And many thanks to my ever fabulous running partner and husband for his water carrying, food encouraging, and ability to talk while running up hills skills.

I thought about doing the RUI (Running Under the Influence) challenge, but didn’t want to risk it with the heat. So now I’m going to go enjoy this:

and some salmon, bacon, avocado tacos. Mmmmm.

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Wedding Anniversary – Year One

1 year ago today I married a man who is my friend, my workout buddy, and my partner in all things both nefarious and non. We met in high school, when he was a freshman and I was a sophomore, and dated for a year before going our separate ways. We got back together in December of 2007, and have been together ever since.

Our wedding was like us, non-religious, full of family and friends, and relatively unfussy. It was held in his parents’ backyard, with homemade mexican food, homemade bouquets, and a friend as a photographer. It was a perfect day, and the only party I can ever remember enjoying from start to finish (as an introvert, parties and I have a tenuous relationship).

For our first wedding anniversary, we decided that we would give each other a traditional gift (paper), which would by necessity reflect our tight financial situation. We also made each other homemade cards (made while sitting across from each other at the kitchen table and watching The Daily Show). We decided that a fun anniversary tradition would be to do something old (an activity we usually do), and something new (an activity we haven’t tried before).

Leo gave me a book I’ve been wanting for my collection, and the most hilarious card I’ve ever gotten. He also got a handmade card, and a guide to some of the best trail hikes and campsites in our area.


Card Front

Card Interior! I love it.

Then we went for a run (which we do all the time) to the new Crunch gym in Burbank! They let us participate in a group fitness class as part of a free trial. The gym was beautiful, and if I had the money for a membership, I’d be in there every day playing with the kettlebells and the nifty treadmills (you can go uphill, or downhill!).

At Crunch post-workout

We went to an “Ultimate Conditioning” group class, which used to be my mainstay back in college. I didn’t enjoy it as much this time, as I’ve gotten way too used to Crossfit style workouts, and this was way too high-rep, instructor speed. But We enjoyed working out together, and then ran home.

Bacon! And wine.

With a quick stop at Trader Joe’s first. Wine and bacon for dinner!

While not fancy or elaborate, it was the best first anniversary I could ask for, since I was celebrating it with my favorite person. Here’s to many more years!

First Dance at Sunset

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12athon: Month Six

Because we’re halfway through the 12athon, and because I wanted a challenge, I decided to tackle Macchu Picchu (Machu Picchu: 12 miles up a hill. Can be the same hill, but the distance you travel downhill to run back up doesn’t count. 24 POINTS), and the Slacker’s 12-Hour Race (Slacker’s 12-Hour Race (AKA The 12 MPH): Run 1 mile during every hourly increment for 12 consecutive hours. 24 POINTS. 4 more points if you end at 12 p.m. (noon).). And because I was doing it anyway, I claimed points for Sunrise  (Sunrise: See the sunrise during your run. Find your local sunrise time on SunriseSunset.com4 POINTS).

Because we live very near a straight 1-mile stretch up a hill, my husband (who is awesome) came up with a great plan. We staggered the runs so that we started one on a “40” increment, and then started the next one on the hour. This allowed for around 1:20 between running legs, and still made sure I was running each leg within the allotted hour period.

During the Night Legs (first 6 miles) my husband took our car to the top of the hill, rode his bike down, and then rode the bike back up with me. This arrangement meant that I ran 3 extra miles (down the hill between legs) but felt safer in the dark.

During the Day Legs, he’d drive the car to the top, meet me there and drive me to the bottom, drop me off, and then drive to the top again. He was great about stopping partway up the hill to see if I needed water or any assistance.

Mile One


Mile Two

Mile Three

Mile Four

Mile Five

Mile Six

Mile Seven

Mile Eight

Mile Nine

Mile Ten

Mile Eleven

Mile Twelve

I managed to pull out a great split on the last leg, and it was pretty amazing to be done. It’s not that the 12 miles are hard (although the uphill is pretty killer), but being awake and having to run so frequently is mentally draining. We came back after every set and watched Big Bang Theory or Iron Chef America while snacking, so I wasn’t tempted to fall asleep and give up.

Elevation Chart for the Route

I’m so glad I tried these two challenges, and I hope I’m not too sore tomorrow! Video from my support crew will come when we’re not too tired. 🙂


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12athon: Month Five

May 12athon started off odd, but was a smashing success!

I had planned on doing various different challenges. I was going to attempt the Slacker 12 Hour challenge, the uphill challenge, and was looking for a 3rd. But then I decided to go home for Mother’s Day at the last minute, and forgot my (husband’s) GPS, my hat, my handheld water bottle, and most of my running food. Oh, and my light and pepper spray, without which I was NOT running at 1, 2 and 3 am (even on Coronado Island).


So I just started out this morning, no hat, weird water bottle that I carried, my phone in my other hand. My sister ran with me for the first two miles, then handed off her Nike+ GPS, which we weren’t sure would keep working. Our first two miles were 10:19, and 10:08, which included some walk breaks, so I just kept running a comfortable pace around the island.


Until the voice from my armband said “3 miles completed, last mile split, 9:28.” I don’t usually run 9:28 anythings. So I kept running the same speed, or so I thought, because my splits kept dropping. I kept checking my phone to see if the time was right, and it was. When I hit 5 miles at 45 minutes, I knew I was in for a huge PR.


I stopped at my parents house at mile 7 to use the bathroom, grab some ice, and get my bottle refilled, and then kept running, hurting but determined to see how fast I could run 12 miles. When the little voice on my armband FINALLY told me 12 miles, my time was 1:42:19. That’s HUGE! My Half Marathon PR is 2:28. I can definitely drop an incredible amount of time next time I run a race.


So only 12 points for me this month, but I am so incredibly happy with the run. It was amazing.

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