Team GSF SB Marathon: Hills, interval training, and the Montecito

July 12, 2011 by Bill Strong

Well, well, well... time really is flying around here. It seems like yesterday I did my first training run and made the decision to run a marathon. And now we're only a little more than 4 months out from the Santa Barbara International Marathon in November 2011. Yikes!

When I decided to train for the Santa Barbara International Marathon back in late 2010, I hadn't run or exercised in years. And I'd never done any organized or long-distance running. Ever. I knew I could do it, but I also knew that because I was starting from zero I was going to have to give myself plenty of time to get in shape.

My training has been going well. I'm sticking to the plan and doing whatever my trainer tells me to do. At this point, I'm doing three workouts per week -- two gym workouts with shorter runs during the week and one long run on the weekend. I'm currently running approximately 20 miles total via those sessions (5 miles for the shorter sessions and about 10 miles for the long run). My time on my feet in each workout (specifically for the long run) is increasing and therefore my mileage is also increasing almost weekly. You can check out my run tracking on RunKeeper here.

We've added in two new super fun (sarcasm) elements on my shorter running days: hill runs and interval training. Let me tell you, these are kicking my butt. Right near our house there is a street that literally goes straight up into the hills for three blocks. So, after my 15 minute warm-up run and a workout at the gym, I run California Street like a mad man going up 1 block, down 1 block, up 2 blocks, down 2 blocks, up 3 blocks, down 3 blocks, up 2 blocks, down 2 blocks, up 1 block, and down. Then I run another 10-15 minutes to cool down. It's really not all that fun, but I can definitely say that it has made running on normal terrain much, much easier. After only one hill run session I could already tell the difference the next time I ran. Similarly, the interval training is definitely getting my heart going and I can feel the difference in my normal running from these as well. It's awesome!

One thing I've been curious about since I started training is the logistics of an organized race. How would it work? What would it be like to run around other runners? Where and when would I get water during the race? Or nutrition? I've been looking for an organized event to run in this summer and I've settled on running the Montecito-Summerland Half Marathon this weekend -- Saturday, July 16, 2011. This has sped up my training a bit over the last couple of weeks and is sooner than I had planned, but it's right in our backyard and seemed like it was too good to miss. Only issue -- the course looks brutal (click here to see the course with elevation changes). You see, the seaside towns of Montecito and Summerland are no doubt beautiful, but they are extremely hilly. I'm hoping that my hill runs will pay off this weekend. I've also got to give a huge thank you to my good friend Mike Paskin for agreeing to run with me in this 1/2M. His quote after looking at the course and signing up (keep in mind that Mike has finished the IRONMAN and multiple endurance races) -- "I'd like to go on record and state that your entering of the Montecito Half Marathon is/was a very bad idea. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't let you slog through that hilly course alone." Thanks for running with me Mike. I owe you big time and I'm super pumped we'll be doing this together!

And... this makes it sink in that the marathon is just around the corner. Team GSF already has 20+ amazing people running the relay, the half or the full marathon in the Santa Barbara International Marathon in November 2011. But... we know there are many others who want to be part of ending the leading genetic killer of young children. It's a great time to make the decision to take the challenge, lace up those running shoes, throw on your headphones, get on out there, and help make a difference in this disease. If you are interested in joining us in November, please email me at Or if you can't join us in Santa Barbara, you can still dedicate your 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Triathlon, Ultra Marathon, etc. to raising awareness and funding for SMA. Over $40,000 has been raised by Team GSF members already. It's super simple, super fun, super effective, and super rewarding! As my friend Stephen says, "We run for those who can't."

13.1 I come!

Talk About It

Good luck Bill! You are doing AWESOME and inspiring so many along the way!! : )
Posted by Kristen on 2011-07-12 10:18:50
You are so inspiring, Bill!
Posted by Margaret on 2011-07-12 10:42:42
Ohhh!!! Good luck, I will be thinking about you on Saturday.
Posted by Cherisse on 2011-07-12 11:24:56
Good luck this weekend Bill! Running must be such an amazing for those of us that have never been able to run! Saying a prayer for you!
Posted by Tammy Duke on 2011-07-12 12:49:47
the hills are alive....with the sound of your running shoes!!! You are AWESOME......stay strong...we are all cheering for you!! smile be well, Lisa smile
Posted by Lisa Prokopetz on 2011-07-12 12:57:20
You are BOTH crazy! Us girls (plus Jack) will be at the finish line cheering our boys on!
Posted by Sarah Paskin on 2011-07-12 14:52:03
Wow! So inspiring. You're gonna do amazing, especially when you've got an wonderful little girl waiting for you at the finish line. Good luck! We'll be cheering you on from the Valley smile
Posted by Jennifer Calafiore on 2011-07-15 16:43:52
again and again over and over you and your family completely BLOW ME AWAY! You put many of us to shame, your most precious girl has taught you a lesson that many of us never learn........... There is NOTHING that you can't accomplish. Get into your groove and let the miles slip away...... we'll be rooting you on from Ohio!
Posted by Penny on 2011-07-16 07:57:44

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