Category Archives: road running

Retreat Recap: Run Voyages, Sonoma

When Adam, the owner of Run Voyages, invited me to attend his running/yoga retreat in wine country this winter, I immediately jumped at the opportunity- a weekend of running, yoga, and wine, a midst a beautiful backdrop with people who also enjoy all the same things?!  Sign me up! With the running sessions being led by Magda Boulet (recent Western States 100 winner and Olympic athlete) and the yoga sessions led by Reba Gray (a very well known Bay Area yogi), I knew I was in good hands and happily packed all of my best active-wear and headed to Sonoma for a fabulous weekend filled with food, fitness, and friends.

Unfortunately, I was a little too carefree and careless during a trip to our cabin the weekend prior to the Run Voyages retreat.  I went sledding late at night, in the dark, and somehow severely pulled my right adductor muscle- very painful and I could barely walk on it so I knew there was no way I was going to be able to run at the retreat. Boo. Surrounded by fellow runners, however, everyone sympathized and understood (and only laughed at me a little bit- who gets a sledding injury?!?!?) and I was able to still really and truly enjoy the weekend nevertheless! And what a FABULOUS weekend it was!

3 cheers for our wonderful instructors, Magda and Reba! (PC: Jennifer Leahy Photography)

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Berkeley Bound!

Happy to announce that I am a proud race ambassador for the very awesome Berkeley Half Marathon in November!  YIPEE!!! This is the third running of this race and it has been on my “To Do” list since 2013. As a Bay Area native, I always thought Berkeley really needed a good road half- Oakland has a couple, SF has sundry and this is the One And Only in Berkeley- how cool is that?!

Yes, I am Berkeley Bound however, to be honest, I am actually always in Berkeley!  In fact, the course traverses the streets I grew up exploring and currently train through- from the urban jungle of the UC Berkeley campus, to the lusciously scrumptious Gourmet Ghetto, and the breezily peaceful Bay Trail… Oakland is where I live and work, but Berkeley is where I go to train and play!

The Berkeley Half Marathon offers not only the 13.1 distance but also a 13.1 relay, 10K, and 5K so pick your distance and join me in my City By The City By The Bay on November 22- not only can I promise excellent racing weather but I can also give you a sweet registration discount: $10 off with code BHM2015Laura (follow this link to register).

Even if you aren’t from the Bay Area, sign up for this race and get a fabulous tour of Berkeley’s hippest and iconic spots- from the most unique and diverse neighborhoods in all of NoCal, all the way to the waterfront, you’ll quickly learn why Berkeley isn’t a place but truly a way of life. You can go everywhere in the world and never find a place like Berkeley.

I am really looking forward to 13.1 miles along such familiar turf but I’m also looking forward to a DOUBLE MEDAL DAY thanks to the SF Marathon to Berkeley challenge! If you ran the 1st or 2nd half of the SF Marathon in July then complete the Berkeley Half in November, you get 2 medals when you cross the finish line!  And I know you know I’ll do pretty much anything for a medal… or two…

Smack dab in the middle of the Bay Area, Berkeley offers mild weather, natural beauty, proximity to the ocean, lush greenery, and beautiful coastal views all backdropped by a hilly upland- what’s not to love?  Register today with code BHM2015Laura and let me know what distance you’re running- I’ll see you there!!!

How to Race Without Training

To be clear, I’m not promoting running a race withOUT training but I think it truly IS a reality for those of us who love running and love living so I just gotta admit that often, life gets in the way of training and takes the front seat! Since I started racing in 2009, I commit to at least one race every month and sometimes I’m ready, sometimes I’m not. While I completely and totally respect the process and preparation that goes into the umpteen weeks of training, focus, and sacrifice towards Race Day, I often take it for granted and this year so far, I admit, I have definitely slacked off…  and guess what? I have the first half of the San Francisco Marathon, a very challenging 13.1, in 2 days.

Some people, including my coaches, husband, and non-running friends say, “You don’t have to do the race, right?  Why even put yourself through that? Just DON’T do it!” Sure that’s an option for normal people but I’m not normal and it’s not me NOT to show up. I said I would so I’m gonna and that’s just that. Stubborn runner, that’s me.

To get ready for the imminent pain and suffering that goes along with attempting to run a road race without training, I am trying my best to keep my mind right while prepping for Race Day as well as I possibly can…  Continue reading

Summer Sabbatical

Well, it’s summer- the kids are out of school, schedules are out the window, and relaxing has taken over… for the very first time, I am totally okay with that!  I love sleeping in and staying up late, and- to be completely honest- I also love taking this short break from road running.  I’ve been spending a ton of time with my kids, enjoying the outdoors, and reading lots of great books- often, the simpler life is, the happier I feel. Not to say that I can’t incorporate running into all this good summertime ju ju too, it’s just… I need a break.

However, I do have a fairly challenging half marathon this Sunday, the (very hilly) first half of The San Francisco Marathon. I just re-read my recap of this race from 2013 and now I’m officially worried. I tried to run while spending the past 3 weeks at our cabin but the elevation killed me and after every run I would fall sick for the next 36 hours so I gave up even attempting to train while there. And since we’ve been back home, here at sea level, my motivation is still seemingly on break too…

See, I ran that one time this summer!

See, I ran that one time this summer!

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Journey to 26.2, Part 3: The Reality

If you know me in real life or if you have read this blog for any period of time, you know that I aim to always be honest with myself. While I am elated that I finally overcame the 2014 Year of Injury and am back to successfully running the road, I know that I’m just not where I used to be nor where I need to be to tackle a full marathon right now. For these reasons, I decided to downgrade from the full to the half at this weekend’s SLO Marathon. I’m not at all bummed about this, however, I am happy that I am not allowing my ego to overrule good judgement and I know that I am making the right decision.

I started training for this full in January and got up to 16 miles, the longest distance I’ve run since training for my last marathon nearly 3 years ago.  The 16 was great!  I felt good, my injuries were just fine, it was slow (took just over 3 hours) but it was accomplished nevertheless- I was proud of my effort and ecstatic that I was mentally and physically able to finish a 16 mile run after all I went through, physically, last year. Totally planned on 18 miles the following week. I swear I did. The day-of-the-18 came and I just couldn’t wrap my head around 18 nor the impending 20 mile runs. I refused to give running all that time, I simply didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t. I ran 10 instead and thought, “Half marathons are awesome too, darn it.”  Continue reading

Race Recap: Oakland Running Festival (Half Marathon)

I admit my bias- I am born and raised in Oakland so I truly love this city and given that I love running, I HELLA LOVE the Oakland Running Festival! I had so much fun at this race since I successfully trained for it without injury!!! It went very well and I am proud to say I finally did it- after 16 excruciatingly long months of injury- I found the happy place within my pace, shaved off about 35 minutes, crossing the finish line of yet another half marathon with a huge, victorious smile on my face.

Given that I have lived here all my life and that my running community is based here, all along the race course, I ran (literally) into friend after friend and that really made a difference! Seeing my friends’ smiling faces and exchanging sweaty hugs and selfies- from the women who turned me into a runner, to my Team in Training coaches and teammates, to my BFFs- my soul was filled with joy and pride for the ability to run 13 glorious miles through the city I’ve always called home.  Continue reading

Journey to 26.2, Part 2: The Plan

Just about 5 weeks until The Big Day, until the SLO Marathon, until my third 26.2. I’m feeling okay about it… ish. My training has been going fairly well, save for the month I took off to grieve and eat all the carbs and all the sugar. Had to be done. 2 weeks ago, I accomplished a 3 hour and 15 minute 16 mile training run and it went surprisingly well after all that time off. Those 16 miles gave me just the boost of confidence I needed to get back to my training- I completed that run feeling surprisingly refreshed, very happy, and (after a long ice bath) not sore at all!

As a proud SLO Marathon race ambassador, I was lucky to be introduced to Greg McMillan of the McMillan Running Company.  After completing a very detailed questionnaire about my running history, strengths/weaknesses, and time/distance goals, Coach Greg crafted a training plan for me that included my upcoming races plus a lot of fantastic advice about recovery, increasing speed, and running efficiency. Since this marathon will be the first I have done without the support of Team in Training, having a (virtual) coach to guide me through plus a new, custom plan to follow really helps to increase my confidence about this impending 26.2. Continue reading