Tag Archives: long run

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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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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Virtual 12athon: Month 4

So this was perhaps the hardest 12athon run I’ve had so far in this whole experience. It was entirely my fault, as I made several bad choices leading up to it.

Bad choice #1: On Tuesday, I decided to go for a hard 4 mile hilly run around UCLA, and then follow that run with a workout that included 50 pushups and 75 squats. When I haven’t done either of those exercises for at least 2 months. Ow.

Bad choice #2: Last night I decided to stay up until 2am working rewriting and formatting my portfolio, which is a requirement for graduation from my masters program. I also may have consumed things which included large amounts of caffeine, and small amounts of alcohol. Ow.

So, this morning, dehydrated, tired, and with screaming quads, I deferred running for awhile in favor of portfolio writing. And a tv show. And about 10 minutes where I laid on the bed and debated sleeping. I did not want to run. And I really didn’t want to run 12 whole miles.

But I got up and did it anyway. Not very happily, I might add.

My husband came along to be my bike crew, since his leg is still having some issues. I wore the Garmin, and now understand exactly how awesome all those little numbers can be. Having a countdown on my arm is utterly addicting. I also wore my usual running shoes, Vibram FiveFingers (KomodoSport).

I ran about 6 miles out-and-back on a bike path next to the freeway (I can run faster than the 5 freeway moves during rush hour…woo!) and then another 6 mile out and back from the house. I am working consciously to improve my fueling and test out foods during my longer runs now, so I had a banana at mile 4, a handful of Trader Joes pretzels at mile 6, and a hilarious pouch of what Starbucks calls baby food (really pureed fruit) at mile 8. It all worked well, although the Monster Rehab I cracked into with 2 miles to go won’t be making it into any race day plans. But by then I really needed the caffeine.

Thanks to the run and portfolio printing, I missed a work event, which was a bummer only slightly alleviated by the fact that I could earn points for it. My type-A personality revels in the virtual gold stars.

Final challenge list: Naturalist and Stung By Bees. Eyeing some big points for next month. Hmmm, 12 miles uphill can’t be too hard, right?


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Race Recap: Honda LA Marathon 03/18/12

So that didn’t go exactly as planned. My two goals going into it were: (1) Have fun, (2) Finish. (3) was a bonus goal (have a time beginning with 5) that was not really something I was going to think about during the race. It turns out that I only really nailed goal #2, but there was some of goal #1. Mostly though, it was just an intense and amazing experience.

We packed up all our gear the night before. We brought way too much stuff, but wanted to be prepared for anything. I was worried about my fueling, since on previous long runs I’ve had an issue with getting enough fuel without upsetting my stomach. This would turn out to be a valid fear.

That Camelbak also has a Gatorade/water solution in it, as well as two pairs of dry socks, rolled up in plastic bags. The day before the marathon poured rain, and last year, 2.42 inches of rain fell during the entire race. By the night before, forecasters still weren’t positive whether it was going to rain or hold off.

We got up at 5, had bagels and coffee before driving to Dodgers Stadium. Despite it being a point-to-point course, we opted out of the race shuttles, since my parents were going to pick us up in Santa Monica and give us a ride back to the stadium. Since I’d made us leave ridiculously early, we got to the race start around 6:15 after taking back roads and avoiding any possible delays on the freeways. So we sat in the car for awhile before having to hang out in the cold. After a little debate and discussion of the forecast, we had opted not to do gear check. Around 7:00, we got out of the car and headed towards the race start.

We found the bathrooms after a little confusion, but never found the mythical free food tent. We also had trouble figuring out exactly where the entrances to the corrals were, but ended up standing in a large group outside the corrals, which would get funneled in once other racers started.

We listened to the wheelchair and handbike racers take off, then the lady racers take off (followed by several minutes of the announcer making really awful statements about the ladies being chased by the men…awkward), and then heard one of the Pussycat Dolls sing the national anthem before everyone else got to leave. It took us about 15 minutes to cross the start line once the horn blew.

I LOVED the first part of the course. There were people on their roofs and sitting in their windows cheering, there were taiko drums and live bands at several points, and I didn’t really notice the slight hills, although I tried to keep my pace even and not get too caught up in the excitement. Unfortunately, I got really hungry (adrenaline and cold probably) and started eating way too much, way too quickly. By the time we hit Hollywood (around 13 miles), my stomach was not in a great place. That was when we started walking a lot, because I was just too nauseous to run any more.

That was when I really started to notice how amazing the spectators were. There were so many groups of people who weren’t affiliated with the race out there handing out oranges, bananas, pretzels, and tortilla chips. Whenever you walked up to take some, they would check your name on your bib and cheer you on. I saw a sign on a storefront that said, “If you’re feeling down about the state of the human race, go watch a marathon,” and I really did feel so encouraged that people were generally awesome. I was feeling horrible, but at the same time, it was really inspiring. I think the cross-dressing cheerleaders in West Hollywood were probably my favorite part, but the hundreds of people who yelled my name along the way were also helpful.

I kept trying to get slightly more carb-y things down, but I was having nausea and heartburn that kept me to a walk most of the time. We would get in a few short runs before I had to stop and walk again. Leo was being great, trying to keep my mind off of it, and encouraging me to walk whenever I had to. Despite having not run much for almost 1.5 months due to an injury, he was feeling great, and could easily have run this marathon a lot faster than we did. I was feeling really discouraged, because I didn’t know if it would be possible for me to finish feeling as awful as I did. Leo stole my phone and surreptitiously texted a few people, asking them to text me back some encouragement since I was feeling so bad.

At mile 18.5, everything got really bad and I threw up. But after that, I felt great again. Like, beginning of the race great. I ran the next 1.5 miles until we came met up with my parents at mile 20.

That’s me running towards my dad for a hug.

At this point, having only 10K left in the race seemed like a piece of cake. My body was really pushing happy chemicals into my brain, since I didn’t feel awful anymore, and I was very low on fuel and water. So it’s possible (read, totally likely) that I ran way too much during this point of the race. No Garmin, so no accurate splits, but I felt incredible up until about mile 23. That’s when I started feeling bad again, and our pace slowed to walking.

This section was a long stretch through a residential/small business area, and there were tons of people out on the course offering water, food of all types, and IcyHot massages by the side of the road. It felt like the longest 3 miles of my life, and I couldn’t believe that so many of us were running, walking, and limping down the road for what seemed like forever. Again, I felt like I might not finish, but I was so close I couldn’t sit down or stop moving. I just kept walking, trying to ignore the pain in my feet. Finishing a little faster would have probably helped my heels a little more, since walking did not do them any good.

Finally, we turned a corner and saw the ocean, and the wind picked up to the predicted 40mph gusts. We were still walking, and Leo kept telling me, “Don’t worry, we can walk all the way into the finish if we have to.” We saw the finish line in the distance, but I didn’t feel like trying to run until about .1 from the line, and we ran it in. I instantly became a marathon cliche by bursting into hysterical tears as we crossed the line. The pain, the distance, and the awesomeness of everyone out there on the course all contributed, and I was extremely happy that I could now sit down. I got my medal, my parents threw one of my old swim parkas over the fence to me, and I started choking down pieces of a plain bagel to try and get my system back in working order.

After finding a place to sit down and wait for my parents, we headed back to Dodgers Stadium, and then back home, where we proceeded to eat bread, bacon and eggs, and watch 5 episodes of Big Bang Theory before falling asleep. It was  a really, really amazing day. Although my time is incredibly slow, I’m still really proud of myself for feeling that awful and still moving forward. So it’s a win in my book.

I actually don’t feel all that bad today. My feet feel the effects of all the walking. but everything else feels pretty good. I’ll definitely be wanting to hit another marathon when I have my fueling better under control (experimentation!) and see how well I can do with more training and more carbs/protein/fat rather than sugar.


10K: 1:10:51

20K: 2:31:47

30K: 4:17:03

40K: 5:46:04

Finish: 6:06:52


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Virtual 12athon: Month 1

Because I am insane, love a challenge, and want to run way too much, I decided to join the virtual 12athon, conceived by the brilliant Stet That Run. In short, the goal is to run 12 miles on the 12th of each month (adding optional diabolical challenges to gain extra points.)

I began this morning with this:

And began my first 6 miles before sunrise in my local area, as determined by SunriseSunset.com, because there’s no way I know when the sun rises. Leo ran with me, despite only getting 1 hour of sleep, and we ran one of our usual 2.5 mile out-and-back routes, then tacked on a mile at the end for a total of 6.

After a breakfast of eggs and bacon, I grabbed my new coffee cup (yay!) and raced out the door to my internship, which was followed by a class on campus. After that, I headed out to run my second 6 miles, which turned into a loop and a half around the entire campus. (Note to other runners: don’t eat a kale salad before you go running. You’re welcome.)

I was really proud of myself for running most of my second 6 miles, because the route was really hilly, but really fun. My legs hurt less at the end than during my half marathon on the 7th, so yay for increased training.

I ended the run with this:

Sunrise and sunset in 1 day! Thus fulfilling the Sunrise/Sunset challenge. I also decided to document my footwear:

Thus fulfilling the Naturalist challenge. Also, rainbow socks, just because I’m cool.

The first 6 miles took about 1 hour 20 minutes, the second 6 miles took about 1 hour 30 minutes (I had to check 3 buildings for bathrooms…apparently they were all being renovated today.)

I’m so excited to keep completing challenges, and happy to have month 1 in the bag! 11 to go!


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