Crossfitting for Half-Marathon

I ran 13.1 miles today, on the trails, with an elevation gain of 2190 fts. I had not run a single time past 6 weeks or more. Suffering from a calf muscle injury, I was only on bike, swimming, and cross-fitting (avoiding the run workouts). I spent time working on my glutes, core, squats and used to row more. Workouts dealing in squats are the best overall workout for your body. Continue reading

It’s Cold !!

Guess it was the coldest day that I had to pick for swimming. Morning temperatures 34 F and evening 42F.

Woke up to go swimming for an hour, but looking out the window it was chilly cold, and a little windy :(. Took me 30 mins to decide, to hit the pool. I made it for the last 20 mins before the pool closure. This pool visit was after 2 months, and wasn’t bad given I did 1000 yds in those 20 mins. So begins the swim part of the Ironman training.

The hardest part in the morning, especially during winters, is to prepare mentally to dive into the pool. Water is always warm, so once I dive into the pool, I remain underwater for the first 25 yds, coming out just twice to catch breath.

Anyways, post swim feeling was great !!

Evening, I skipped the crossfit session, it was Angie’s workout (100 pushups – 100 pull-ups – 100 sit-ups – 100 squats), and went for a run. There weren’t any two thoughts about doing less than 10 miles, till I felt an awful pain on my posterior lower calf muscles. Its called  ‘Gastrocnemius’ muscle strain. Whatever the hell it is, you can read it and understand it over here.

Had to stop a couple of times. A little before 4 miles, I almost gave up, but walking was more painful than running. So I started a slow jog back, and at about mile 5, I picked up the pace. Thanks to crossfit sessions, that I was maintaining my pace for a good .75 miles at around 7:30 min/mile.

Check out the pace analysis-  A sense of achievement, so I am continuing with Crossfit.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 9.34.39 PM

Track Workout with Chris Hinshaw

What a workout, and I was able to maintain the form during the last round. This workout was coached by Chris Hinshaw, 1985 Ironman World Championship runners-up.

After some warmup drills, and bringing the body to exhaustion, we started the following-

  1. 800 m (@ 3:30) – 3 mins rest
  2. 400 m (@ 1:45) – 1:30 mins rest
  3. 200 m (@ 0:45) – 0:45 secs rest
  4. 100 m (@ 0:22) – 2 mins rest
  5. Repeat for 3 rounds

Basically this workout will make you maintain the right speed, and make you workout at your anaerobic capacity. You will use the 800m to basically settle down in a pace.

If you plan to do this workout, then the 800m pace will be based on your mile PR time.  After that you will select your pace for the 400s, 200s, and 100s.  However, the tempo for each of these intervals must get progressively faster.  As example, my 800 pace is 3min.  My 400 tempo would need to be faster than 1:30.  My 200m tempo would need to be faster than my 400m finishing tempo.  Finally, my 100m tempo needs to be the fastest tempo.

It will be good if you can keep a tab on your pace through the 800 m and 400 m, by using a watch.

Here is my workout-

Round 1 :

Round 2:

Round 3:

Cooled down with a 400m at a 800m pace.

The Ultra Recap

My first ultra marathon.

Wikipedia states that, an ultramarathon (also called ultra distance) is any sporting event involving running and walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi).

I picked my first ultra distance, as the ‘SMALLEST ULTRA’. A distance of 50Kms, or 31.25 miles. Really not much, if you have completed a marathon, but when most of the minds shut down after 20 miles of running, and you only need to push for another 6.2 miles, the 50K calls for another 11.25 miles of running. Added to it, the obstacles of hills, elevation, and rugged terrain.

I signed up with CoastalTrailRuns, who organize trail races, across the bay area, by the California coast.

Coming to the course description, this is what the 50K looked like:

50Km course profile

50Km course profile

Elevation gain – 6320 ft

Single Track – 42%

Dirt Road – 44%

Asphalt – 14%

I would say this was my first event, where I wasn’t feeling any butterflies in my stomach. I infact slept well for two nights. I was not at all thinking or looking at the course. Rather, for the entire week I was actually logging 40 miles per day on my bike, and 5-6 miles on the run on alternate days. Remained calm and composed, I would say.

A night before, I had set up my bag with all the things I would need, like- extra clothing, running clothes, body glide, and some gels, and water bottle.

The start time was 8 am in the morning, so I left home around 5:45, enough time to reach Marine headlands. Whether I enjoy the workout in SF or not, but driving their early morning is always fun :).

Reaching Rodeo beach, the parking was around a mile away from the start point, so we got a shuttle drop to the location. The weather was cloudy, and quite cold, that I had to wear layers. I was expecting the weather to warm up, and so I wore a make shift arm warmer, made out of cutting the closed end of used woollen socks :). They serve the best, and just incase you want to get rid of them you can trash them.

Reaching the registration tent, around 50 mins prior to the start of the race, gave me enough time to move around, sink with the weather, use the bathroom, and call my parents as I had nothing else to do during that time.

Runners picking up their race packets

Runners picking up their race packets

The race start was right on time. The course starts with an elevation gain of 800 ft. Without letting my running emotions get over me, I kept my nerves, and started slow, even walking the steep sections. Being my first ultra, I thought I will pace myself on my own, and as I feel good.

After the steep section, I started to pick up a little pace. My running form was – smaller steps, quick rotation. This always helps me get into a rhythm and I eventually start passing people on the way.

The first food-aid station was at mile 4, just ate a 1/4 PBJ, some M&Ms, and nuts to keep me going. Beyond this, at every aid station, I consumed a salt capsule, and PBJ with some table salt. And consumed 20 oz of electrolytes every 4 miles. And I never cramped throughout the run.

The course was amazingly beautiful, incredible views


It was awesomely windy, and cold.

As much as I loved going uphill, the downhills were quite demanding. The rugged terrain, had lot of gravel and stones, which need focus and patience while coming down. By the end of 30K, the downhills had almost taken a toll on my quads.

This is me at the 30K aid stop, stretching before starting on a half marathon :).

Stretching, and you can see me wearing socks as arm warmers :)

Stretching, and you can see me wearing socks as arm warmers 🙂

I piggybacked on a runner for the second part for a good 2 miles, she was doing her marathon. And this helped me with some company and pace.

After the 36th km aid stop, I almost walked the 2 mile climb, which had a grade of +10%.

Once the 2 mile climb was over, I picked up the running pace, and enjoyed the muddy trail –

muddy trail

muddy trail

You can see from the picture above, how foggy it was in the woods. Looks like it had a good rainfall.

The last stretch was either downhill, or flat. And let me say, after running a big distance, your quads will not like you running downhill.

As the finish was getting closer, the happy emotions were setting in. If you would have asked me how was I feeling, the honest reply I had was ‘I AM JUST FEELING HAPPY’.

This is me crossing the finish line. Finish time was over 6 hrs, but now when I look back at the whole course and my run, I definitely can get the same course done in under 6 hrs. Even, 5hrs 30 mins won’t be an overstatement.

Happiness !! You can see the smile :)

Happiness !! You can see the smile 🙂

Strava link-

Feels good to own this –

My first Ultra badge

Feels good to own one !!

After the finish

Won’t let it be my last

Memories of the Memorial Day weekend

Ok, this post comes out late !!

  While everyone was either traveling, or spending time on the high traffic lanes. I chose to spend my weekend,      putting in some mileage, lots of house cleaning, some cooking, and reading. And it was also rewarded with a  nice SF bike outing with friends.





Saturday was more of a cleaning day, setting up the wardrobe, reading and biking 35 miles. Check the strava post

Top of Hicks Rd

Sunday – day for a long run, and explore more trails at the San Antonio Rancho park. My earlier post ‘My 10 miles of love affair with the trails‘, describes my long run.

running places

running places

And then my failed attempt at making Egg frittata 😦 …

egg fritata

Monday – was just awesome. Riding on the streets of SF, and exploring the better and cleaner residential

parts of SF was just amazing. You can’t expect much out UN Plaza, SFof the weather in SF, but rides though the Golden Gate park and to the Bakers beach, made a great weekend. I must say, if you live in the city, atleast a run on this route will be amazing. Especially, when part of the route is blocked for vehicular traffic.

Thru the GoldenGate Park

Bakers Beach

Bakers Beach