COVID-19, Boston Marathon, and Quarantine Life

The other day I went on a walk with Jane and a woman from across the street shouted “Are you journaling? You’re going to want to remember all these moments after this is all over.” It got me thinking. I haven’t blogged in months! So here I am, on the Saturday before I was supposed to be running my sixth consecutive Boston Marathon, for a bit of a running/life update.


BC (before corona)

Oh 2020, what a weird year you’ve been. One thing I love about Boston is that the training starts in early January. It’s a great time to get back into a routine. After a summer of speed and a bit of a break, I was ready to get back into distance training. Training got off to an amazing start.

Side note: I’m realizing the 1 marathon a year thing works well for me. I love being hungry and excited for distance, rather than dreading the start to another marathon block.

I was motivated. I was hopeful to run my sixth consecutive sub-3 but made the choice not to train for a PR. Time with Jane is too precious, and the work and discipline need to train for a 2:50 is significantly more than a 2:59. I ran some solid long runs with Ellen and Rachel. On February 1st I ran a hilly long run to mimic the Boston course and imbedded 6 fast miles at a 6:35 pace. I felt GOOD!

2019 Boston.jpg

Boston 2019

Then, I raced Screenland 5K, and made it a goal to place top 3. I’d placed 4th two years in a row. The race was amazing. It was windy, which excited me as I tend to race better in worse conditions. I sat in 4th for the first half of the race, then ran side-by-side with my teammate Gwen. We encouraged each other throughout and mentally I was proud of how I handled discomfort and dug deep. With a half a mile to go I pushed hard to move into 2nd place, and my final .1 was run at a 4:26 pace.Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 10.24.36 AM.png

Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 10.24.49 AM.pngThe moment I finished and tried to walk with my normal cadence something felt off. I walked with a limp. I tried to shake it off with a jog, but nothing. It took a bit of the joy away from meeting my goal, but I got into action mode with massages, icing, time-off, etc. 1 week turned into 2 weeks. When I was feeling a little better I went for a short run while visiting family in DC and tripped on a root, and that then turned into 3 more weeks of no running. I tried to maintain fitness with the awful elliptical and completely adjusted my Boston goal to JUST finishing. Keeping the streak alive. Disappointing, but it was my 6th Boston. I felt oddly OK with everything. A few tears here and there, but mostly at the frustration of being in a boot and not being able to move comfortably. I did have a bit of FOMO when I saw Ellen on her 20 mile long run while stuck in the gym on the elliptical, but luckily it was confirmed I had no injury to the bone, and it was all inflammation. So I tried to get my cardio in and keep hope alive. Oh, I almost forgot about Brent, Jane, and I all getting the stomach bug in February. Along with the rest of the Johnson family after our trip to DC. Not being able to walk, and then getting a stomach bug. That was awful. Funny how that seemed like it would be something that stood out from 2020.

DC Visit, flying back to LA, and a fake half-smile with my boot

Late February I stopped elliptical “long runs” all together. I’d been following coronavirus, and there was just no way Boston was going to host an event with thousands of people smooshed together, sweating, throwing water cups, crammed into corrals. I wasn’t surprised when it was cancelled, and we’re supposedly running it in September, but now I’m not so sure about that. Around the same time Boston was postponed, school turned remote and my work from home life began. I am LOVING the extra time with Jane, but the work part is rough. Jane after my grade-level lead meeting ↓Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 10.33.35 AM.pngScreen Shot 2020-04-16 at 9.32.26 AM.png
↑But my teachers are amazing. They’re creating incredible content for our kids and are hosting social zoom calls so that they can see their peers, tutoring, reading groups, and creating virtual community meetings. It’s so inspiring.Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 11.05.04 AM.png

So what is running life like now? Oddly enough I started running the DAY we went on quarantine. I didn’t want to run until it was 1000% pain free because it just wasn’t fun to run with even the slightest bit of discomfort, and I didn’t want another set back from starting up too soon. Running has made this quarantine bearable, but we’ve had to avoid the beach and find new routes.Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 10.40.26 AM.png

March was all about the easy running. 4 milers at an 8:30 pace felt hard, but by April I was eager to add in a few strides to my weekly routine. I’ve done a few fartlek workouts the past few weeks. They’re the perfect way to re-introduce speed in a less intense way. I’m now hovering around 40-50 miles a week, and doing daily yoga to hopefully prevent injuries. As far as work/life balance, this is what a typical day looks like.

5:45: Naturally wake-up
6:30: Morning run
7:30: Breakfast with Jane
8:00: Mini-Walk with Jane
9:00-3:30: Juggling working/parenting
3:30-4:00: Patio Yoga while Jane naps
4:00-5:00: Play outside with Jane
5:00-6:00: Prep Dinner
6:00-7:00: Eat, Play, Read
7:15: Bedtime
7:30: Respond to all the work emails
9:00: Go to bed

Corona life definitely has its challenges. I miss my team and I miss my family. I miss going out to eat, running on the beach, walking the pier, and easy trips to the store. I’m disappointed I won’t properly say goodbye to our founding Kindergarten class as they finish their EQ3 experience and move to middle school and I’m disappointed at all the events I was scheduled to attend that got cancelled. But I feel guilty for loving this extra time with family. Spending so much time with Jane is a gift, and she is growing into an incredible person who I love more and more everyday. I love my new co-worker Brent, and am so grateful for all his support as I “try” to lead my school. I also have learned that I love the simple things. I love to run. I enjoy walking in nature. An outdoor picnic or yoga on my patio cures my cabin fever. As much as I want life to go back to normal, I’ll miss this part of my current life. It’ll definitely be a transition to go back to “reality” when that happens.

I’ll end with a few photos from Jane walks..

A few photos of all the bread I’ve made…

And some pics of what Covid life looks like in LA…yup, it all started with Love is Blind

And this Boston video that definitely made me tear up…Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 11.17.52 AM.png

Until next time…



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.

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 5.25.36 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 5.26.17 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 5.34.17 PM.png

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