Workout Recap: Half Marathon Training Week 4, 1/13 – 1/19

It turned out to be great timing to have an extra stepback week for this week. Work picked up after the holidays, and it was nice to be able to come home and indulge in a nap instead of pushing for the mileage.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3 miles, 11:10 min/mile.

Wednesday: Walk with Pita, rest

Thursday: Walk with Pita, Rest

Friday: Rest (notice a trend here?)

Saturday: 3.49 miles, 14:29 min/mile, trail run. I’m loving my new “backyard”. It’s so awesome being able to walk out the door and hit dirt in just a few.

trail run bay area

After I got my run in, the rest of the day was spent with good company and good food. That was the first plate of many, and we even shared with the coots. True story: Safeway makes delicious fried chicken.

Picnic lake merritt

{top pic courtesy of Sho}

Sunday: Guys, I’m struggling. I finally subscribe to a newspaper, and love it, and what happens? Unreliable delivery. I walked out my door this morning hoping to see a big fat paper to indulge in over breakfast, and nada.

Le Sigh.

The only solution was to console myself with pancakes. Denny’s has a new “monthly specials” menu and I went with the Baja Skillet. Pretty tasty and not too horrible nutrition wise. I had to sub the egg whites for real eggs tho – the yolk is the best part!


Pita and I headed out for a hike in the afternoon.

sunday hike

A slight breeze kept it from getting too toasty, and the only thing I regretted was forgetting my binos on the way out the door. I’m loving the gorgeous weather, but all that brown grass means trouble come summer.

sunday hike2

We covered 3.64 miles, 23:53 min/mile.

Running miles: 6.49

Total miles: 10.13

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Always, Sierra

What’s your favorite picnic food?

Workout Recap, 9/9 to 9/14

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful day here, hope your weekend’s going well!

Monday: 2.67 mile hike, 530 feet elevation gain. Fun morning jaunt with the pup.

hiking boots

Tuesday: 5 x (almost) 400 meter repeats. 3.14 miles, 11:46 average pace (includes warm up and recovery). Dynamic warm up. Skipped foam rolling/hip strength due to dinner plans (whoops, may have paid for this later).




Avg Pace





















This is my first time tackling repeats not on a treadmill. I found a relatively flat quarter mile stretch and experimented with knocking them out. The only time I actually hit 400m was the first repeat. I’d like to blame it on my lack of planning to mark where my 400m ended (excuses, excuses), but really I think it was because I was busting out of the gate a bit too fast (my current PR for a mile is 9:47).

Wednesday: off

Thursday: off

Friday: 6.66 (what a coincidence) long, achy, discouraging miles, 12:27 min/mile. Dynamic warm, 10 min foam roll.

My long run for the week and it felt ridiculously hard. I don’t know if it was my body not yet recovered from the new speed work on Tuesday, the couple glasses of wine on Thursday dehydrating me, or the fact that I was constantly running into or perpendicular to the wind, but the only good thing about this run was when it was over. My hips were aching so bad I wanted to cry (this leads me to think it was too soon after the speed work).

Since I’ve started running farther distances and over an hour, I thought I’d give one of those handheld water bottles a try. I picked one up at Marshall’s on the cheap for around 10 bucks…fail sauce. I felt like I was carrying lead in my hand, even after I dumped a good portion of the water out. Maybe if I had a smaller bottle? Are the waist belts any better?

long run horibleness

I also failed by not bringing along fuel for this run. I’ve just built up to running for over an hour in the past few weeks, so my fueling technique is pretty much non-existent at this point. By the time I made it home, had a quick snack, showered, and was able to make myself dinner, my stomach was so empty that trying to eat food was making me nauseous. Lesson learned!

Saturday: 2 mile leisurely walk with the pup to keep things loose. Was still feeling worn out from yesterday, but comforted myself with a tasty treat…or two.

breakfast at cafe M

Sunday: 2 miles, 11:21 avg pace. Short, easy shake out run. My legs felt fresher than Friday, but not 100%. 

Run total: 11.8 miles

Hike/walk total: 4.67 miles

Overall: I’ve been feeling so confident and capable after increasing my long runs by a half mile to a mile every week for the past month or so, that I think it went to my head this week. I wanted to throw some speed work in, plus do a longer long run, plus shoot for four days of running, and in the end maybe all that was just too much! My head is usually leaps and bounds ahead of what my body’s ready for, and walking that fine line between pushing myself just enough to see continual improvement but not so much that I totally wear myself out is challenging. Next week I’ll be focusing on hip strength, hamstring stretches and IT band foam rolls to try to prevent those achy hips from getting any worse.

Always, Sierra

Do you carry a water bottle or wear a hydration belt when you run? I’m thinking I’d have better luck with camelpak than something handheld.

Hiking Redwood Regional Park

I spent maybe 30 minutes yesterday evening preparing for today. I figured out where I wanted to hike and the trails I was going to take. I fleshed out a few blogging-related tasks, and I even made a grocery list for the kitchen projects I’ve been wanting to work on but never get around to because I don’t know what I need.

grocery list

With all the decisions made last night, my day has been smooth and productive, and I’ve avoided being sucked into Netflix or my phone. It’s amazing what a little preparation does.

I promised Pita a hike yesterday, she was feeling particularly moody and cabin fever-ish. It’s been hot here in the Bay Area (our summer always seems to come in September/October), so we ate a quick breakfast and headed out.


Greek yogurt, half a banana, handful of blueberries, flax seed, shredded coconut

Redwood Regional Park is one of my favorites in the East Bay. It has an extensive trail system spanning its 1830 acres, making it easy to create hikes of all lengths and to explore new trails as often as you’d like. I usually park at the Skyline staging area because there’s no fee (it gets super crowded on the weekends, so get there early!). If you park at the main staging area off Redwood Road, there’s a $5 fee for cars and $2 for dogs on holidays and weekends.


Check out what I saw at the staging area, I didn’t think payphones existed anymore!

pay phone

From Skyline Staging Area, we headed out on the West Ridge Trail. West Ridge is mostly exposed, but I was surprised by how warm it already was at 9 a.m.. This trail is really popular with trail runners, dog-walkers and cyclists, so be prepared for a busy trail in the evenings and on the weekends.

Redwood Regional Park, West Ridge Trail

We followed West Ridge until the junction with Tres Sendas, which we turned left onto. Tres Sendas is all downhill in this direction (my knees were a little grumpy about this after my long run yesterday), and it takes you down into the under-story of the Redwoods. When you cut away from West Ridge Trail and into the middle of the park, there’s usually fewer people on the trails. This is the part of the park I love the most, the cool stillness of the woods.

Redwood Regional Park, Tres Sendas Trail

We continued on Tres Sendas until we hit Stream Trail. The spot where the two trails join is a lovely place to sit for a while, enjoy lunch and listen to the flow of Redwood Creek (which is all dried up this time of year, womp womp). When the creek is running, it is one of the most peaceful areas in the park. It’s also a protected habitat for rainbow trout, so dogs need to be leashed in this area and no fishing allowed.

If it had been cooler, I would have turned right here to make a longer loop, but since it was already heating up, we turned left and took Stream Trail back to the staging area. I love the smell of pine needles warming in the sun, but Pita is not her best in hot weather.

Redwood Regional Park, Stream Trail

The entire loop was about 2.67 miles, and took us just over an hour at a meandering pace. I’d call it easy, with the down-hill portion of Tres Sendas possibly challenging for those with knee/hip/back problems, and the majority of Stream Trail being gently uphill. Bring water and sunscreen if the sun is shining.

Redwood Regional Park, 2.67 mile loop

At a few spots along the trail I saw bags of dog poop left on the side.

Redwood Regional Park, dog poo

I generally carry Pita’s poo bags back to the staging areas and toss them there, but every time I see bags on the side I always wonder, do people do that because it’s accepted? Does someone with the Parks Department come and pick them up? Turns out not so much. Don’t forget to pack your pup’s poo out! Extra points if you pack all the poo out.

Even though it’s hot as a monkey’s bum, I’ve been craving cold weather food and I’ve got a mixed-bean, lentil and ham soup simmering away in a crock-pot. If it turns out delicious, I’ll be sharing soon.

Happy hiking!

Always, Sierra

Weekly Workout Recap and How About Those June Goals?

I was hoping to wake up early this morning (6:30) for a trail run to beat the heat that’s struck California in the past few days but that didn’t happen. Instead, I moseyed out of the house around 9, and the weather was already brutal.


I know, I know, I’m a wimp, but it was in the 80s by the time I finished! I debated about skipping the run, but knowing I had a draft of my first weekly workout recap waiting for me pushed me to stick it out. Accountability? Thank you blog!

I headed to Crockett Hills Regional Park. It seems to be one of the more unpopular regional parks in the East Bay (you mean you don’t like refinery views and the sound of traffic when you run?), but it’s got a lot of gently rolling hills which make for good training.

Crockett Hills Regional ParkCrockett hills trailCrockett Hills trailCrockett hills trailCrockett Hills trailCrockett Hills trail

It also has a special place in my heart because it’s the first place I had a Shut Up + Run moment. TMI?

What I had planned on being a trail run ended up being a hike/trail run combo because of the heat. That’s okay with me though. When things get warmer than what I’m acclimated to, I switch to running on effort instead of running for pace. Mostly because I like to avoid things like chills, dizziness and fainting.

The smartest decision I made was wearing my Brooks D’Light Mesh Tank. I was worried that it was too thin when I first got it but today it really helped to keep me cool. I know your day wasn’t complete until you saw my fancy hair and flared nostrils.

trail run

Even though it wasn’t the run I had planned, any run is good in my book. Here’s what my week looked like.

Monday: 1 mile warm-up on the treadmill (5.5 mph @ 2% incline) and 45 min strength

Tuesday: 3.55 miles street running, 11:21 average pace

Wednesday: Unexpected rest

Thursday: 3.93 miles street running, 12:54 average pace and an exercise in getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. It was so freaking hot!hot

Friday: 35 min strength

Saturday: rest

Sunday: 3.22 mile trail run/hike

Total Mileage: 11.7

Overall: The past 2-3 weeks were scaled back in terms of mileage due to travel and general life busyness. I’m working on building my mileage back up, so I’m good with these numbers. Especially since two of the runs were in weather  hotter than I’m used to running in. It’s the summer, time to suck it up and acclimate!

And what about those June goals? How’d I do?

June Goals

  • Set a PR in See Jane Run 5K – Accomplished!
  • Find a one piece bathing suit so I can start swimming laps again – not accomplished but really I’m fine with that. Rocking a few new two pieces though!
  • Try to get a little ahead of the game with my blogging content – not really accomplished. I was hoping to generate content a little more ahead of the game than the day of, but time crunchiness hasn’t allowed that to happen…yet!
  • Experiment with 2-3 new recipes (probably some type of vegetable/bean/grain salads) in prep of July camping trip – I’m calling this one done! I’ll be making them this week and telling you all about them soon enough.
  • “Break in” my new hiking boots (I’ve taken them out once and they’re so comfy I don’t think they’ll need much breaking in!) – My hiking boots have been lonely and neglected. Moving this one to July.
  • Stay active on my girls trip to Mexico – Accomplished!
  • Volunteer at the Special Olympics – Accomplished, post coming soon!

Always, Sierra

Are you facing the heat where you live too?

What did your weekly workouts look like?

Do you set monthly goals? Yearly? Not a believer in setting goals?

Hiking Angel Island State Park

One of the advantages of having a birthday awesome friends is being able to persuade them to do crazy things like wake up at 8:00 am on a Saturday, take an hour-long ferry ride and go on a 5+ mile hike just for fun.

Angel Island group pic

{at the end of the day}

We stuck mostly to the primary trail on Angel Island, a 5 mile Perimeter Road that loops around the entire island. From the Perimeter Road, there are lots of side excursions and secondary trails, including some that will lead you to the top of the island, Mt. Livermore.

angel island map


Our first order of business was an impromptu photo shoot.

angel island

{borrowed from Y}

Angel Island is sometimes called the Ellis Island of the West. In the early 1900s it was used as a processing center for immigrants coming to the United States, primarily from China. The immigration station has been turned into a museum, and tours are available to detail the experiences of the immigrants.

Immigration Station

The museum is about a mile from the ferry docking area. As you continue farther along the Perimeter Road, there’s no shortage of views…

angel island


…or spooky ruins. Could you imagine camping here?! It’s got B-horror movie set written all over it!


Halfway through our hike, it was time to refuel. White wine and salsa verde Doritos, because we’re classy like that.


There’s a cantina and a cafe on the island for lunch offerings, but there are so many awesome picnic opportunities on the island, it’s worth it to pack in your own food and drinks.

Refueled and ready to go, we found a nice little beach that we had all to ourselves.


Going off the main path to explore all the nooks and crannies Angel Island has to offer is a must, but be prepared for inclines and stairs of doom to get back to the main trail. Buns of steel!

stair masters

If you do eat at one of the places by the ferry dock, it’ll be overpriced and nothing to write home about. The quinoa salad at the cafe was a win, especially with chicken added to it.


A couple of ice cold beers later, and we were ready to sail off into the sunset.


RouteWhen you get off the ferry, you’ll see a sign for the Northridge Trail, and 140 lovely, steep steps. Take these steps (and feel the burn) until you get to the second paved road with signs for the Perimeter Road.  You can go left or right around the Perimeter Road, or follow signs leading to Mt. Livermore. If you choose not to go up to Mt. Livermore at this point, there are trails further down the Perimeter Road that will also take you to the top. The summit of Mt. Livermore is at 788 feet.

Details: The Perimeter Road is a paved, easy, 5 mile loop with a few gently rolling hills. If you plan on going up to Mt. Livermore, or connecting some of the inside trails to the Perimeter Road for a longer hike, difficulty will become moderate to hard.

Rules: Bikes are allowed on the paved Perimeter Road, but not on other trails.

Tips: Angel Island is only accessible by ferry or private boat. If you’re vacationing in the San Francisco Bay area, taking a day trip to explore Angel Island is a great way to add an active day to your vacation. If you’re not up for a hike, there are other options including bike rentals, segway tours, and tram rides. The island is mostly direct exposure, so sun screen is a must and hats/sunglasses are a good idea. We had gorgeous weather, but it’s easy to see how a windy day could be miserable. Be sure to bring layersThere’s a ton of history on Angel Island, so check out the state park website to figure out what spots you want to explore in-depth.

A shout out to my peoples for being up for an adventure and making my birthday unforgettable! Happy hiking!

Always, Sierra

fun times

{borrowed from J}