training with the lab.

In two weeks I’ll be on a flight home from Chicago. I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve never trained like a marathon the way I trained this time around. The Run with the Lab plan is absolute craziness. Blue warns us that many of the workouts are not designed to be completed. The purpose is to push you past what you “think” you should be able to run, and to shift you away from sticking to specific paces. Too often we’re limited by our expectations of what we believe we can do. When I wanted to break 1:40 in the half, I ran a 1:39. When I wanted to qualify for Boston for the first time, I needed a 3:35 and ran a 3:33. The first time I attempted sub-3 hours in the marathon, I ran 2:58. Blue’s philosophy is that we might be limiting ourselves when we set these goals, and he pushes us to train as hard as we can using % effort to gage the workout, rather than a pace.

Sidenote: this picture gives me chills…


A few of our workouts…

Here’s a 90 minute progression starting at 80% effort, moving up to 90% to 95%. I ran this at a 7:15 pace at the end of August, and 6:56 pace in early September (oddly a higher milage week with more work stress). I’ve found with this plan some days go beautifully, and on other days I fail miserably. I had several progression runs that regressed rather than progressed. 6:50s that turned to 7s and down to 7:30s.

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I’ve also never had a training plan that incorporates speed for every long run. Here we are doing 1K repeats after a long run.

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And no Yasso 800s this time around. I did a lot of sprints. Different for an endurance junkie. Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 5.32.27 PMScreen Shot 2018-09-23 at 5.32.02 PM

In the past, my confidence came from nailing race pace tempo runs. This time I’m drawing my confidence from the fact I know I have never had such specific workouts and worked this hard. I’m especially happy considering I did this training when there was  whole lot happening at school… IMG_0129.jpegIMG_0140.jpegIMG_0127.jpeg

What will this translate to on race day? I don’t know but I trust the lab and their plan, and I really hope the work translates to a marathon PR. It’s been 2 years. I can’t wait to see!

Ten Photos

Ahh! October 🙂 Most educators cringe when you say October, but I’ve been ready for it. Ever since we got back from Paris it’s been GO GO GO. Moving apartments, moving school sites, a public hearing for our permanent facility, the LAUSD Oversight Visit, neighborhood council meetings, challenging scholars, Back to School Night, doubling the number of staff and students…I could go on. It’s been a lot and I am excited for things to calm down a bit. This week I only have one after-school event! And tomorrow we have a training day so I don’t have to be at work until 7:00 am. What a treat! Hoping the chart below is inaccurate for the rest of 2016-2017 school year.


On to 10 highlights from the past two weeks…

  1. I finally did it. I finally bought magnets and super glue and made these out of some of my race medals.

2. Yesterday I went to yoga after a long hiatus. It was good for the soul.FullSizeRender_1.jpg

3. I babysat Carly last weekend while Alaina was in San Diego. She’s a fun cuddle buddy. 

4. After the LAUSD oversight visit it was picture day at EQ3. Here are our Mount Saint Mary’s cuties practicing their smiles.

5. Work meetings are more fun with pastries and snobby coffee from The Alchemist.
6. Thanks for the free Blue Apron, Alaina. The eggplant pita was my fav! Unlike other bloggers out there, I’m not paid to say that. 
7. There’s nothing like sister time. Yesterday Marta and I hung out at the beach and had margaritas and fish tacos from Provisions after. Seriously though these fish tacos. I’ve had them twice in the last two weeks. The crunch. The slaw. The aioli. Droool.

8. Last weekend Anna was visiting from San Fran, so Ellen, Anna, and I went to the Abbott Kinney Festival. Happy to report I got enough larabars to last me a week, got some new bamboo shades from Spruce. Fun fact that I didn’t know it at the time… Brent used to work with the guy who started the business. I also took a creepy stalker picture of Bruce Willis while we were at Erewhon. Gotta get your acai bowl. Top left if you want to zoom in. IMG_5413.JPG 9. My job is so random. A few days back I was called to remove a bee from a classroom. FullSizeRender.jpg

1o. Anything for my EQ3 staff and kiddos. I mean, who doesn’t want to work hard for first graders like Rodney. IMG_5395.JPG

Ellen’s San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon

She did it! After a less than ideal marathon about a month ago, Ellen ran a +5 Boston qualifier this weekend at the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon! The Tuesday after the Vancouver Marathon back in May, Ellen and I went on a lovely beach walk. We talked about the race, trying to figure out what went wrong. She’d trained well, fueled right, slept well, but she just wasn’t feeling it. May 1st just wasn’t her day. Being action planners, we talked about her options. Take a break or keep the momentum going? Ultimately Ellen decided to run the San Diego Marathon. San Diego is such a fun city so naturally Gisele and I joined along for the fun and turned it into a girls’ weekend. Check out this awesome view from our hotwire hotel…

We left Saturday morning, checked in, and hit up the expo. That expo was one of the best I’ve ever been to. The Brooks merchandise was high quality, Meb came and spoke at the powerbar station, and there were more freebies than I’ve gotten in a while. I got hemp seeds to last me a lifetime, a mini acai bowl, bars for days, kashi cereal, vitamins. Gotta love free stuff. Gisele, Ellen, and I were like kids in a candy store. Gisele, of course, was running into people left and right. I guess that’s what happens when you work in the running world! I also learned I get endorphins from running miles…and visiting expos. Check out our awesome Cali running hats below. And I really should have gotten that runner in training onsie for Rexetta.

IMG_4102.JPGRather than making a big deal about this being the race we tried to just have fun in the city, walk around, shop, and get some good eats! I’m still dreaming of this gnocchi from Monello in Little Italy. Spinach gnocchi, sage, brown butter sauce, and bone marrow. Poor Ellen had to hear me talking about how delicious it was during the late teens of the race. Brent, we need to plan a day trip to San Diego with a stop at Monello.

OK so the RACE! Ahh the stars all aligned. We woke up to a beautiful marine layer. Ellen had her typical rice cakes, almond butter, and banana for breakfast. She was so strong and confident, and started the race at 6:15 going out at a consistent 8:00 pace. Gisele and I chatted up a storm for the rough 16-26 mile chunk so that she spent more time thinking about how much she wanted to smack us vs. thinking about her legs getting tired. It was a conscious effort:) Sorry Ellen, I warned you before I’d annoy you when I was out there pacing you.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.05.02 PM.pngAt one point I could sense she was questioning if she could hold the pace for the rest of the race so I said, “Do you really want to have to do this again?” She could either quit now and sign up for another race, probably feel the same way at mile 20, and be stuck in the same dilemma…or just suck it up and do it now. She went for it and crushed it 🙂

San Diego Marathon is known for a NASTY hill at mile 22/23ish. I wouldn’t even call it a hill. It’s a never ending stretch. Because I’d run the course before I knew how bad it was, but purposely failed to mention just how intense it is. Ellen POWERED up that hill without walking. We were passing people left and right. It was so fun to watch her kill it! Some random guy at the finish festival even came to tell her how badly she crushed the hill. She was rewarded with a beautiful downhill to the finish line. 3:28:44. Gisele and I were screaming “She’s going to Boston!” I’m sure non-runners in the crowds were so confused, but we didn’t care. Boston qualification and life goal accomplished. Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.01.45 PM.png

Meanwhile Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg were off PRing in the half. We got to see them at the finish line festival! It was so cool to see Meb, Shalane, and Amy racing the same course!

Post-race eats included a gastropub in the Gaslamp district for fish tacos, sweet potato fries, and local brewed beer. Ellen has quite the sweet tooth, and so we had to go to the famous Extraordinary Desserts in Little Italy. Dorky name, but the desserts really are extraordinary. We pigged out on lemon bars, cookies, and cheesecake before heading back to LA. San Diego Marathon, you’re a good one. Three years ago I qualified for Boston at age 27 in San Diego. Yesterday Ellen, age 27, ran a 3:28 and is an official BQer. I’m so proud of her hard work, and I am so so happy.

Thinking of running this race next year?


  • Rock ‘n roll has their logistics down to a science
  • Cute shirt AND a finisher jacket
  • Expo with lots of great samples, elite runner talks, awesome merchandise from Brooks, and prizes. We spent almost 2 hours at the expo!
  • San Diego is such a fun weekend visit city. Love Little Italy, the Gas Lamp District, the harbor. Takes your mind off the task at hand.
  • Post-race festival.
  • Marine layer in June
  • Corral starting to avoid congestion
  • Early start
  • Website is super clear and finisher zone has photos, stats, badges, etc.


  • NASTY hill in the 20s of the marathon
  • Watch out for the cracks in the roads. It’s easy to trip.
  • The Fiesta Island section of the race isn’t great. Few spectators and in the rough miles.
  • WAY more half marathoners. This could mess with your mental game because they all start together and run the first 8ish miles together.

And last, I’ll end with I think (and I could be wrong) Ellen was so successful in this race because she stopped thinking so much, stopped obsessing over her goal, and stopped expecting a perfect day after a perfect training season and just RAN. Ellen had recently visited Peru and taken a full week off of running (granted she hiked and was on her feet all day) and didn’t obsess over the race for weeks leading up. She just went out there and did what she knew she was ready to do, and I’m so so proud. Boston 2017!!!