Marathon Training Week 3

Marathon Training Week 3

My week three of marathon training hit a bit of a snafu.  Originally on this week’s plan, I had a long run of 12 miles.  Next week (Week 4) I was only supposed to do 10 miles for my long run.  I forgot, didn’t plan out, that I actually am doing a half marathon race next weekend.  I wasn’t sure if I should alter week 3’s plan of 12 miles and ended up compromising during the actual run.  Week 2’s 10 miler felt really good and easy.  This last week’s 11.45 miler was extremely tough. I wonder if it was related to the fact that the night before the run I had a few cocktails.  I am still learning about my own body and what alcohol does for it.  In the past I used to have a beer the night before a race and then I did a few races without having beer the night before and noticed that it was a little easier.  I’m by no means going to abstain from all alcohol during training, but maybe see how my body does by not having alcohol the night before a long run.

Here’s a summary of last week’s running.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 0 (3)

Thursday – 4.13 (4)

Friday – 11.45 (12)

Saturday – 5.3 (6)

Sunday – 3.0 (3)

Weekly Total – 23.89 miles (28)

This week’s long run took me along the American River Trail.   I used to live by the river the area that I ran this week.  It was nice to be back in my old running haunts.  The day was nice and warm (high 50s).  I saw some good wildlife on this run.  I didn’t get a picture but there was a very white bunny with a few brown spots.  It did not look like the normal wild jackrabbits that are along the river.  I wondered if maybe someone had freed their bunny or it had actually escaped its home and was exploring.  Later on I saw a legit jack rabbit along the trail.  I also came upon this heron that was standing regally by the bike trail.  As I approached, it would spook and fly away – but only about 20 feet ahead and then we repeated the process over and over since I was heading in that same direction.


The rain has stopped for a while now and so the river levels are definitely lower than they were previously.


There is still evidence of the previous rains/winds as there were quite a few trees that had toppled over.  You can see that some of these trees actually obstructed the bike path along the river.


It’d been awhile since I ran on the bike trail.  There’s one section that is covered by trees on both sides and it is very peaceful.


Overall my body felt good at the end of the week.  I had some pretty serious soreness the morning after my long run.  However I don’t know if that was also due to some heavy lifting I did the day before the long run.  I still managed to do my medium length run (5.3 miles) the day after the long run.  So overall I’m happy with how things are going.  I have been using my foam roller more to try to stave off any injuries.  So far so good…*knock on wood*.



Pita Bread

Pita Bread

So I’ve definitely struggled with what I can make to help us get through the week for lunches while at work.  In the past I’ve done tortillas, loaf bread, and sandwich bread rolls.  D suggested I could make pitas.  So I looked up some recipes and in true me fashion tweaked it to create my own version of things.


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour

I started by adding the yeast and sugar into the water and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.  Then I proceeded to make a poolish with the water/yeast/sugar and whole wheat flour.  I mixed this up thoroughly and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.


You can see that it is a pretty wet mixture. To the poolish I added the olive oil and the AP flour.  This dough is less water % than many of my breads so came together fairly easily and I hand kneaded for about 5-8 minutes.  I formed the dough into a ball and coated it with olive oil and let it rest for about 1.5 hours.

Before rising

After the dough doubled in size, I punched down the dough and deflated it.  The dough was then divided into 8 balls.


Each ball was then placed on a floured surface and a rolling-pin was used to roll out the dough into about a 6-8″ disc shape.  I had read that there are two different ways to cook pitas.  The oven method creates a great “puff” but the downside is that you don’t get the nice brown spots from the stove top method.  I elected to try both to see which one I felt was better.  I didn’t get the nice separation of the pita as I expected with the stove top method.  I used a cast iron pan for stovetop.  The oven I had at 450 F and a baking sheet (pre-heated).

Rolled out dough

For the pita in the oven, I palmed the dough disc and flipped it onto the baking sheet.  These I cooked for about 3 minutes (sometimes a little more).

The stove top pita stayed flat but I cooked them for about 45 seconds on the first side and 1-2 minutes on the second side.


Here’s a side-by-side comparison of stove top vs oven-baked.

Stove top on the left, oven on the right

Overall they came out decent, though a little dry.  Not too bad and something that may go into the rotation for lunches.



Marathon Training Week 2

My second week of training is complete.  I continue to fine-tune my training plan.  I had 3 miles on the schedule for after work on Tuesday.  However, I was feeling some soreness with my right lower leg (below the knee) on Monday and somewhat into Tuesday.  With my history of injuries, I don’t want to take any chances with hurting myself, especially this early into the training cycle.  So I decided to skip Tuesday’s run again.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 0 (3)

Thursday – 5.01 (5)

Friday – 10.03 (10)

Saturday – 6.05 (6)

Sunday – 3.26 (3)

Weekly Total – 24.35 miles (26)

Overall I feel good at the end of the week.  Today’s run I did with my wife biking alongside me (she’s been doing this for some of my shorter runs and it is great having the company).  Compared to the run last Sunday, this one felt easier and my legs felt better – even though I did more miles this week than last.  Hopefully that is a sign my body is actually adapting to the miles.

I’m excited for this coming week as hopefully will be getting a fun delivery, we shall see and I’ll update as things unfold.

We had some crazy rains/winds here with more of the latter than the former.  These last few nights I’ve actually been awoken due to the high winds outside.  Somewhat scary as there have been multiple trees in the neighborhood that have either have large branches fall or even entire trees (as seen below).  Here are some shots from this past week’s training:

Broken branch on the river trail
River is slightly lower than previous but still fairly high
More daylight under the bridge than last week


Crazy crushed truck!


McKinley Village

On today’s run, I went to check out a  new neighborhood, McKinley Village, that is being constructed just outside of the midtown/downtown Sacramento area.  Many in the East Sacramento neighborhood were very resistant to the introduction of a new houses because they were concerned of the increase in traffic and congestion.  The location of the site is interesting because it sits between a freeway and some raised train tracks.  They actually had to create a tunnel under the train tracks for a road in and out of the neighborhood (as below).

Entrance underneath the railroad tracks

That means there’s only one way in and out.  Eventually I believe they are supposed to create another ingress/egress from another part of the neighborhood.  I guess within the “Village” there is supposed to be like 5 different sections.  So far they only have model homes built and sales offices open.  You’ll see from the pictures below that the designs of the homes vary greatly.  With the space being so open right now, it looks a bit strange having a contemporary condo next to a more traditional looking home.

Lake – yet to be built-up homes
Picture right after entering McKinley Village
Looking south from the entrance of the Village
Close-up of some homes – look how closely they are to one another
Contemporary condos?
Front of the condos
Community clubhouse

Another unique feature of the neighorhood is that there is supposed to be an art walk within a park area.  So far they have a few pieces up already next to what looks like a bocce ball court.

Rabbit Ears or leaves? (juxtaposition of a billboard by the freeway in the background)
Leaf shaped bench

There is also a clubhouse and I guess a community pool.  As you can see, there’s a ton of sitting water as it has continued to rain a good amount the last few days.

Beyond the wall is the Business 80 freeway.  I will say that the sound barrier is not that bad but you can definitely hear the hum of the cars going by.

Freeway right behind the wall

One huge negative (at least in my own eyes) are that a lot of the houses actually sit in front and behind each other – like those apartment parking spaces where it is one long space and you can park two cars but need to move the outer one to get the inner one out.  I can’t imagine having a house so close to another home and also having absolutely no yard whatsoever, but to each his/her own.

The house in the back is all squished in there
Picture of the exit

And finally, a silly dog:




Marathon Training Week 1

Marathon Training Week 1

So my first week of marathon training (Big Sur International Marathon at the end of April) is done. It did not start off well.  We’ve been getting some pretty crazy rains and rainfall totals here in northern California lately.  My first run was supposed to be last Tuesday.  We had some historic rains last weekend that continued into the early part of this week.  My original plan was to run after work on Tuesday.  By the time I left work, the rain was still steadily coming down and I was just tired.  So I skipped it.  I definitely want to follow a plan more closely this time (considering I’ve never followed one before), but I am not going to be a slave to it.  I am going to listen to my body as well.  Overall I’m still happy with my week.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 0 (3)

Thursday – 4.2 (4)

Friday – 8 (8)

Saturday – 4 (4)

Sunday – 4 (4)

Weekly Total – 20.2 miles

Injures/aches – mild right Achilles pain after the last run of the week.  Some mild soreness of right knee also present.

My first run on Thursday I purposely ran over to the American River to see how it was looking.  Various parts of Sacramento have been flooding with the recent rains.  I know it is very unlikely for the American River to flood but I wanted to see how much it had risen with all the water we’ve been getting.  Boy I was impressed.  Here are some pictures of the river.


Normally there’s a lot more air underneath that bridge
The water plant (structure) typically has many more feet of white building underneath it


There’s supposed to be a dirt pathway  you can walk on at the bottom of the greenery


Flooded golf course across the river