We start with Boston Marathon training, a good half marathon race, a bad 10k race and what can be learned when you don’t run as well as you would’ve liked. We get into the Boston Marathon race itself, the course and what you should and shouldn’t do. We end with our commitment to running and how we sometimes find all kinds of ways to run, including waking up WAY too early.

Berlin Marathon Training Week #11 Day 3 A Long, Humid Tempo Run

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 81 degrees, 55% to 61% humidity

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 8.72 miles

Type of route: gradual incline to start, downhill descent followed by gradual incline and decline around Rose Bowl 5k loop then uphill climb on Rosemont Drive followed by mostly flat back home

Time: 56 minutes, 30 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:29

Average heart rate: 165

Reason for Run: A tempo run builds strength, endurance, speed and mental toughness. The goal is to run comfortably fast. You want to train your body to run hard all the way through so it can adapt to the pace. This way, it’ll be ready for the intensity of a race. Interval workouts are usually done at a faster pace but there are rest periods. There are no rest periods usually during tempo runs. It’s hard from start to finish. Again, you want to mimic a race. How can your body handle the intensity of a race if you never run hard for long periods of time? I chose the length because I want to build endurance at a hard effort to prep for both my upcoming half marathon and the marathon.

How did I feel? So-so. The humidity and sun bothered me today along with fatigued legs. The data on my GPS watch indicated as much. My average heart rate was 165 with a max heart rate today of 179. That’s quite high especially for my average mile pace today. The data also told me my performance compared to my average fitness level was way down. No surprise. It wasn’t the worst run though. The pain in my left thigh seems to be going away. My pacing wasn’t terrible although I did want to go faster. I wanted to slowly increase the pace to mimic a marathon.

I chose this route because the first 3 miles are uphill and the first 6 miles of the alien-themed half marathon I’m running in a week-and-a-half is uphill. My first mile was 6:39 which was about 5 to 10 seconds slower than what I had wanted. My second and third miles were 6:32 and 6:35, respectively. My miles after that were all faster which was good but I did start to feel fatigue, not just in my legs but overall. The humidity and warm sun just got to me today. I did sleep enough and my hydration was adequate so I’m chalking it up to one of those days. Conditions just weren’t right to have a great run so I’ll have to settle for a so-so run and move on.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #10 Day 6 Up and Down the Interval Ladder

Location: Burbank, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 81 degrees, 58% to 64% humidity (yuck!)

Type of Run: Intervals

Length: 6.98 miles (4 x 1-mile, 800 meters, 400  meters)

Type of route: 400-meter oval track

Time: 39 minutes, 46 seconds (5:42, 2:47, 1:19; 1:20, 2:50, 5:47; 5:50, 2:51, 1:20; 1:22, 2:49, 5:49)

Pace per mile: 5:42

Average heart rate: 160

Reason for Run: This is what’s known as an interval ladder workout. Like a ladder, I went up and down in distance. The goal of any interval workout is to improve speed endurance and running efficiency. You improve leg turnover and your body learns to use energy better. Since intervals are done at a fast pace, you get your body used to the feeling of running hard and used to the exhaustion. The more you do interval workouts, the more your body will adjust and you’ll find yourself less fatigued after each session. This means it’s working and you’re getting in better shape.

For this particular workout, I wanted to challenge my body by running different distances. My pacing would be different for each rep. This would force my body to adjust itself. Gains are made when the body can’t get into a routine. If it has to keep working hard, you’ll improve your fitness. I started the workout by doing a mile then went down to 800 meters then 400 meters. I then did 400 meters, 800 meters and a mile followed by another mile, 800 meters and 400 meters. Then I did my final 400 meters, 800 meters and mile. I went down, up, down and up again. I rested about 1:30 to 1:40 between each rep. I found that rest time sufficient.

How did I feel? Generally good. It was warm and humid again. It always seems warmer on a track because there’s no shade and the sunlight reflects of the reddish rubber. The conditions don’t make for very fast reps but that’s ok. It’s about effort. I thought I handled this workout well. My legs were definitely worn out from runs earlier in the week. I was pleased my final rep, which was a mile, was faster than my third mile rep (5:49 vs. 5:50). This was the first week in this training cycles I ran more than 60 miles. Actually, I ran a little over 62 miles. 60-mile-plus training weeks will be the norm from mid-August to early-to-mid September. I’m hoping to reach at least 70 miles for two or three weeks but we’ll see how things go.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #7 Day 4 A Quality Tempo Run at Night

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Clear evening sky, 66 degrees

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 7.68 miles

Type of route: Gradual inclines and declines with some flat areas, one downhill descent and one uphill climb

Time: 47 minutes, 52 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:14

Average heart rate: 154

Reason for Run: A tempo run is designed to build speed, endurance and strength. It helps the body get used to a hard race effort. The goal is to run comfortably hard. I’ve been slowly increasing the distance of my tempo runs to build endurance and speed at the same time. If you want to race hard, you need to run hard during training. My pace was faster than my goal marathon pace but slower than my half marathon pace. This is good because I want to be able to complete long tempo runs at a pace slightly faster than or around my goal marathon pace of between 6:20 and 6:30. My body can now get used to the pace and distance and make adaptations. If I run too fast, I risk injury because I’d be wearing out my legs.

How did I feel? Good. My mile splits were generally consistent except when I had to hill climb up Rosemont Street from the Rose Bowl 5k loop. Anytime you climb a hill you’ll slow down so this wasn’t worrisome. It was nice running as the sun was setting. The temperature was cool and I felt I had a solid groove throughout the run.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #7 Day 1 A Sunday Run With Some Hills

Location: Pasadena, South Pasadena and Highland Park, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 85 degrees

Type of Run: Easy but with some hills

Length: 8.41 miles

Type of route: Gradual declines with one long gradual incline and two fairly steep hill climbs with two downhill descents

Time: 1 hour, 13 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:10

Average heart rate: 143

Reason for Run: This was a weekly maintenance run meant to add mileage. The goal is to run long enough to maintain endurance and strength. I picked a challenging route with a long incline and two fairly steep hills climbs to build leg strength and test mental toughness.

How did I feel? Good. This was a run I took easy and at a comfortable pace. It was a day after my 8 x 1-mile interval workout so I didn’t want to push things. My run took me up Avenue 64 from below York Blvd. in the Highland Park/Garvanza area of Los Angeles to La Loma Road in Pasadena. The climb was nearly two miles and more than 250 feet of elevation gain.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #6 Day 6 A Challenging Interval Workout

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Partly Cloudy, 68 degrees

Type of Run: Intervals/Speed

Length: 8 miles (8 x 1-mile)

Type of route: 400-meter oval track

Time: 46 minutes, 13 seconds (5:47, 5:46, 5:47, 5:47, 5:45, 5:48, 5:47, 5:46)

Pace per mile: 5:47

Average heart rate: 163

Reason for Run: This interval workout is designed to build both speed and stamina. Mile repeats can also improve running efficiency. The rest between each mile was between 1 minute and 1:30. I purposely kept the rest short to mimic a longer race in which there would be no breaks. My pace was a bit faster than my half marathon pace which was by design. I wanted to push myself to see if I could sustain a pace under 5:55 for all 8 miles.

How did I feel? Good. First, the weather was nice compared to what it has been. Of course it helped I ran in the morning so it was cooler. 8 miles is a long interval session but one that will prepare you for a half marathon or marathon both physically and mentally. The mental part comes with having to push yourself to sustain a fast pace for all 8 miles. I was pleased with my pace and the consistency considering I usually give myself a longer break in between each mile. Again, I limited my break to mimic a long race situation. The workout was a success as I felt like I had another mile or two in me. That’s always a good feeling when you finish an interval workout.

I just felt like the blog needed a pic again. Here’s a flashback to earlier this month at the Fontana Days 5k in which I won! Yay me!


Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #3 Day 3 Tempo Run Fun

Location: Pasadena, CA

Temperature: Overcast, 61 degrees, 80% humidity

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 6.9 miles

Type of route: gradual declines and inclines with one hill climb and one descent

Time: 42 minutes, 39 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:11

Average Heart Rate: 158

Reason for Run: Tempo runs are meant to be done at a comfortably hard pace. This is not quite race pace but a pace that pushes you. The idea is to get the body and legs used to running hard so you’ll be better prepared for a race. Tempo runs can build both speed and endurance.

How did I feel? Good. I felt the pace was what it was supposed to be which was comfortably hard. My watch didn’t record mile splits this run but I didn’t feel any significant slowdown at any point in the run. My goal was simply to just run hard. I put no pressure on myself to hit a certain per mile pace. I learned from Monday’s run to better prepare myself mentally.  Also, the cooler weather helped despite the high humidity. Yes, I was drenched in sweat again following the run with the 80% humidity level but it wasn’t bothersome due to the marine layer providing cover from the sun. Running in cooler temperatures will make almost any run feel easier.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #3 Day 1 Lessons Learned From a Humbling Long Run

Location: Pasadena, CA

Temperature: Mostly sunny, 72 degrees with 50% humidity

Type of Run: Long

Length: 16.38 miles

Type of route: long gradual inclines, long gradual declines with two hill climbs and one hill descent

Time: 1 hour, 53 minutes, 4 seconds

Pace Per Mile: 6:55

Reason for Run: The long run is a staple of half marathon and marathon training. It builds endurance, muscle strength and increases energy production in cells. By building endurance, your body is getting used to running longer distances which is obviously critical to successfully completing a marathon or half marathon.

How did I feel? NOT GOOD! Yes, the per mile pace and overall time were great but I had to stop twice. Once was at a stoplight around the 11.5 mile mark that I normally can avoid but I was too fatigued to pay attention to the light pattern and adjust my pace based on that pattern. The second time I stopped was with one mile left up the steep Holly Street hill. This was due to fatigue. I needed to stop for a few minutes and rest. I rarely flat stop during runs but this was one of those days. Fortunately, I did finish the final mile.

I believe several factors were involved in this run not being up to par despite the time and pace looking good. First, I was in my own head with this run. As I had mentioned in previous training blogs, my per mile pace has improved over the last several weeks. Also, I’ve done this particular route numerous times and since long runs are usually run at a very easy pace, I’ve rarely run this route under two hours. I was determined this time to run this under two hours which meant the pace would have to be brisk. Why? Mostly because I wanted to prove I could. This was the wrong mindset. This long run should’ve been at an easy pace. There was no reason for my ego to get in the way of a proper easy-paced long run early in marathon training. This bad mindset caused some anxiousness before and early in the run. That anxiousness led to a nervous feeling around my stomach which is uncomfortable. Long runs can humble the best of us if you approach them with the wrong mindset. Time was not important today. It was simply getting the run done. Simply put, I put too much pressure on myself to perform to a high standard when it wasn’t necessary.

The second thing affecting this long run was the weather. It was mostly sunny and only 72 degrees. However, the humidity was around 50%. For southern California, that’s significant. Humidity greatly affects running performance. Your body cools itself down when sweat evaporates. However, humidity prevents the sweat from evaporating so your body isn’t cooling itself off like normal. This keeps your body warmer than it what it would be normally at a certain intensity. If the body is warm, it’s going to slow you down because..well…it doesn’t want to die. The humidity definitely added discomfort. When I finished my run it looked like I ran through a car wash. My shirt and visor were almost entirely soaked and my arms, legs and neck were wet. Yeah, it wasn’t pleasant. Since I haven’t run in more humid conditions like this since last summer my body wasn’t used to it. I have noticed a pattern of my first runs in warmer weather and/or more humid weather after running in cool weather have been difficult. I suspect my body will adjust as it has been doing the past several years.

This is how I felt today. D’oh!

The third thing that I believe affected this long run negatively was slight dehydration. I didn’t drink enough water over the weekend. With a long run coming up, I should’ve prepped my body better by ensuring my fluid intake was appropriate. Any distance run will be negatively affected by dehydration. Your body needs enough water to regulate itself properly and when it doesn’t get that, it reacts by making you feel less than yourself.

Bad runs will happen just like bad games happen to football, baseball and basketball players. The best things to do are to reflect on why the run was bad and do your best to ensure things you can control, such as hydration and mindset, are in control. This will minimize the amount of bad runs you’ll have. Accept those bad runs are part of the training cycle, you still are capable of accomplishing your goal and move on because tomorrow is another day.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #2 Day 5

Location: Pasadena, CA

Temperature: Overcast, 58 degrees

Type of Run: easy

Length: 6.28 miles

Type of route: gradual incline, gradual decline, one hill climb

Time: 43 minutes, 42 seconds

Pace Per Mile: 6:58

Reason for Run: This was an easy run. The goal is to take it easy before mile repeats tomorrow.

How did I feel? Good. Pacing was good and my legs felt fine.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Week #2 Day 3 Tempo Run Fun

Location: Pasadena, CA

Temperature: Mostly sunny, 62 degrees

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 6.31 miles

Type of route: Long gradual incline, shorter gradual decline,  one longer and one shorter hill climb with a downhill descent.

Time: 39 minutes, 16 seconds

Pace Per Mile: 6:13

Reason for Run: Weekly tempo runs can improve the body’s ability to sustain hard efforts for long periods of time. A tempo run is basically a high-intensity run. The pace is generally described as comfortably hard. You’ll feel the increased effort during the run but shouldn’t be exhausted at the end like you possibly would following a race.

How did I feel? Decent. This route is not easy for a tempo run due to the roughly 3-mile length of the gradual incline. (Remember, hills increase leg strength.) It’s a tougher route than last week’s tempo run which partially explains why my pace was slower. My legs were also a little worn from the long run on Monday and 7-mile run yesterday but that was not problematic. It was also a little humid due to southern California standards (roughly 60%). That was probably because I ran shortly after the marine layer burned off.

Running With You,