Training at altitude!

Song I ran to today: Creator, Santogold
Distance: 14 miles
Time: 2:08
Route: Mountains in Arizona

I’ve landed in Arizona for the holidays.  Originally from Seattle, and now a San Franciscan, I am not used to the altitude.  I’m here for the holidays with my family, and as usual I am battling the altitude.  Luckily, this weekend my long run was only scheduled to be 12-14 miles, so I figured it would be manageable.

I headed out the door with my Garmin Forerunner, iPod, and a hopeful attitude.  I have never lived here, so I wandered down the road towards one of the many mountain ranges.  The run was steadily uphill for the first several miles.  It was so slight that I didn’t really notice until I was on my way back and it felt a lot easier like I was headed downhill.  Early in the run, I was focused on keeping up with my typical pace, but remembered a few words of wisdom Karen (our runner of the month) had told me last week after finishing the Tucson Marathon.  She told me to slow it down a little bit, relax, and let my body adjust to the altitude change.  That is exactly what I did.

Sometimes I forget why I love running so much, it is the best way to see the world around me and look at beautiful scenery.  Today’s scenery was totally different from my San Francisco adventures.  There were mountain ranges in all directions, very few cars, cactus plants, colorful shrubs, and a lot of small family owned ranches with horses and other animals.  It was the perfect way to explore the city.  I felt good for most of the run, but my knees and arches of my feet started to hurt at the end, which is unusual for this distance of a run, but I am overdue for new shoes so my feet were just reminding me that I need to go shoe shopping.
On the run, I thought a lot about my 2010 race plans.  I have already decided to run Phoenix, but I have been thinking about planning the whole year.  It’s best to plan the year out in advance to get best pricing, get in to the races I want to run, and be able to train appropriately for all of the events.  So I sat down with a pen and paper and laid out my options. This is what I came up with….

Women’s Running Magazine (January issue) reccommends selecting races in descending distance, so I started with full marathons;

Phoenix-January 17, Napa-March 7, San Francisco **I will choose my own race day :), Fall- NYC (if I get in) or PDX

I want to run Napa since a friend of mine will be running her first marathon there, so it’ll be fun to run with her, and I have decided that I need to run the SF Marathon course.  I always have runners ask if I’ve run the course, but since I’ve worked every race weekend, my answer has been no.  So this year, I will wake up at 5:30 in a different weekend in July, head out to the start line and run the course on my own.  Finally, for my fall race, I thought it’d be nice to travel, and if I get in to NYC, I will go since I have friends there.  If not, I’ll go to PDX, it’s a fun big-city race, with great West Coast weather, so both sound like fun.

Then I thought about half marathons…

See Jane Run Half-June 5, Big Sur Half (November 14th), and probably a spring half…

Our race director, Libby found the See Jane Run half and thought this would be a fun local race.  I went down to the Expo at the Big Sur Half last month and the event looked awesome-  so I’d love to do it next year.  My sister also wants to do a half marathon in Colorado in the spring, but she gets to choose.  My thoughts on half marathons are that since it is a little shorter, it can be fun to run with another person and do it for fun while training for the full marathons.  Racing, or participating in events consistently can keep runners from plateauing or getting burnt out, since there is always something fun coming up.

Shorter races I want to check out in 2010:

Big Sur Mud Run (we have a team for this event, it looks like a LOT of fun, and I’ve always wanted to do a Mud Run!), Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5k (this is a tradition I do with a group of friends-it’s for a great cause)…

2010 should be a very exciting year!

What’s new at The SF Marathon?  We’ve been doing a lot of planning to kick off the training program in about a month, and designing the official merchandise which will go up for sale early in the year for the first time!  What I’m most excited about- We just ordered some SUPER comfy plush blankets which will go on sale online in a few weeks.  I have one at my desk and it is so soft, sometimes I don’t want to go home, haha!

My dad and I are cooking his famous Chicken Tortilla Soup tonight so time to get to chopping!  It’s healthy and a favorite in our family.


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