Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Treadmills

Too cold out there to run the normal 6 or 8 mile loop around the delta levees. Actually it was more of the fact that it was going to be dark that I decided to head to the gym and jump on the treadmill for a little workout. Came up with a fun plan for a hilly 5k. Started off at 3% incline and did 1-minute intervals followed by 1-minute 1% run (basically equivalent to flat outside) - did this up to 15%. After returning to flat ground, I decided to speed up the last part of the run gradually getting down to 6-minute miles on the last 1:00. Followed that up with 200 double-unders (jumping rope with two turns for every jump) as fast as I could go. Yowzers.

On Tuesday, the family headed out to get our Christmas Tree. We go to one of those lots in the parking lot - sorry not a go to the forest and cut our own tree down story - we go to the same place every year. The boys love going. However, it's also got 'lost child' written all over it. As soon as we walk into the rows of trees, the boys just take off. So now we have to spend half of our time trying to find a tree, the other half constantly in Stormtrooper/Power Ranger mode trying to find the boys (or play with them as they see it). Once we pick out a tree, they always give the boys an apple and they love it. Got all the lights on that night but we haven't had time to put ornaments on yet. I think that's scheduled for Saturday.

That's it for now. Time to go sit on the floor and stretch. Talk later...

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Foggy Monday

My brain doesn't seem to want to support paragraphs, complete sentences and/or other grammatically-correct blogging today so I'm gonna throw out random items in no particular order or fashion. Begin.

  • Congrats to my friends Lee and Glorybelle (GB) for tackling CIM this weekend. Lee was shooting for a Boston Qualifier (BQ) time but ended up hitting the wall and "settling" for 3:37:59. And of course, GB (Silly Lillie), had her own injury issues going into the race but still managed to finish up in just under 4 hours. They are both faster than this but circumstances were unfavorable for them this year. Great work anyways.
  • Nice work Rick Gaston on your 35th place finish at the North Face Endurance 50-miler. This just after finishing Quad Dipsea the previous weekend in 27th. You are one fast dude. Feel privileged to be able to call you a friend. Don't think I won't try and borrow your skills in the near future.
  • Jo Lynn and Victoria - I'm really getting jealous of all the places you guys are running. And now you go and run together. Come on, where's the love? Don't you dare run Diablo without me - I'll be free after 12/19. Looking for a good 25k fat-buster run with or without animals.
  • Nice to see the 49ers win a game yesterday at home. It was cold as hell at the game (oops, that's California cold - 49 degrees). I was a bit tired after a messy holiday cocktail party (think Jameson and Coke Zero) on Friday night and a birthday party on Saturday night. After the birthday party, we ended up watching Oscar De La Hoya get beat up and probably end his boxing career. I'm more of a UFC/MMA fan, but it was interesting to see how slow De La Hoya has become. He still made $50 million so screw him.
  • Had a blast in the gym last Friday - ran a very hilly 10k on the treadmill in about 53 minutes. No wraps, no slings, no pain - nothing. Legs are feeling great. Reading other people's race reports and adventures has kept the fire burning. I'll be more than ready to start charging towards 100 miles next year.
  • Softball tonight (old Detroit Tiger Stadium replica field). Always fun to get out and play - especially after having last week's game cancelled due to fog. Very strange.
  • Not sure if I'll be able to run today (softball, for one). My better half has also scheduled me for a lunchtime Costco run (replace aid stations for free sample stations). Then, our oldest boy (4), has decided that today, and no other day, should be the day to pick up the Xmas tree. (Cue Homer Simpson..."WHY YOU LITTLE S..."). Never a good idea to let the kids set any part of a schedule. These become funny memories right?
That's it for today. Don't forget to enjoy what you're doing.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Golly Bob Howdy

Holy Thanksgiving breaks!


I got an email yesterday from my friend Jo Lynn (Single Track Junkie) wanting to know if I was still among the living since I hadn't posted anything or left my comments on any of the blogs that we follow. To summarize...still living. Diagnois...computer-lazy over the past week.
I had last week off of work and since I spend most of my day in front of a computer, I tend to shy away from the machine when I'm off. Howev
er, I was still checking in and reading all of my favorite blogs (see the blog list on the right). I didn't actually leave any comments for anyone, but I was interested to see what people were up to.

Ok, now how about this running thing? First of all, I didn't end up doing the Thanksgiving 10k like I had planned. Apparently, nobody else was motivated enough to get out there. Ok fine. I headed out at 7:00 in the morning and did my own Delta levee 10-miler. What a great frickin' day it was. Clear skies and a little cool but perfect weather for running. Felt grea
t and got me ready for a fantastic day of food, family and fun (fun = drinking a sh!tload of beer). Since I do
n't have any actual races to detail, here's my Thanksgiving "race" report...

As previously mentioned, I headed out of the house at 7:00 AM and had a great 10-mile run along the Delta levees here in the Central Valley (about 1.5 hours). After getting home, it was time to prepare for the day. My wife and I host the family every Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday). This year that meant 38 people (31 adults and 7 
children). My job for the day was to cook the turkeys (2 of them) and make the stuffing (cooked separately). My method of choice for the birds is on the barbecue.  This year, since someone else was bringing ham, we
 went with a 20-pounder and a 14-pounder. (Last year it was (2) 22.5-lb birds) I put the 20-lb bird on the charcoal 
grill and smoked the hell out of it with hickory chips and put the smaller bird on the gas grill with very little smoking. While those were cooking, we watched really bad football and continously drank several varieties of beer. As more family showed up (and more people started drinking), we were approaching full volume. Good Times.

Now time for the stuffing. (This is usually the highlight of Thanksgiving). I stole the recipe from an old Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving book and I usually triple the recipe so I can feed everyone. I'll take a big turkey roasting pa
n (since it's not being used for the bird) and fill up the entire thing with bread crumbs/crouton/thingies and then pour all of the rest of the recipe (onions, celery, seasonings, etc.) on top and mix it all up - a giant portion of stuffing that gets thrown into the oven for about an hour and a half. Yum! (Btw, when did this turn into Food Network?)

Before sitting down for dinner, the youngest of the family usually do a reading of a prayer or something that inspires everyone else and reminds us of why we're doing what we're doing. Very cool stuff. (I just wish I could remember what it was this year - Warning: bad parent alert.)

The rest is all food comas and more beer. Older adults take off and the younger ones stay behind to be jackasses. Oh yeah, the kids did get put to bed at some point by a random grandma or aunt or nina. Like I said, I'm responsible for cooking and that's it. (Goodbye 'Father of the Year' award). I'm kidding, Child Services.

So that's done and I've put on the standard 4 - 5 lbs. I've been running and hitting the gym about once every 3 days. Not much else is going on as far as events. Sign-ups for some 2009 races that I want to do are approaching (Miwok 100k, Way To Cool 50k) so I'm in the process of registering for those.

I'll be throwing around my comments to my fellow bloggers and trying to update this blog more often. (Bad grammar and sarcasm are back!)

Thanks for stopping by. More to come...

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday and Feeling Good

Yes, it's Friday! I'm looking out the window from the home office (the room with the desk/bed combo - real fancy) and I see blue skies and no wind. I just watched the better half and the two crazies walk across the street to the park. What an amazing day. Come on...what global warming?


Look...it's a tree.

What could be better than today? How about yesterday? Finally got to a point where my legs felt strong enough to get out and run. Did the old faithful 6-mile out and back along the delta in the early evening. (I really wish I had my camera or cell phone with me). Heading out, I watched the sun drop and slip behind Mt Diablo (you can see it clearly from our house in the fall when the crap is out of the air). Perfect weather. I left my watch and ipod at home and went into Forrest Gump mode. On the return trip, I decided to up the speed a bit (I can't help it) and it felt great. Cruised the last half mile for my first run over 1 mile in 2.5 weeks. I'm back! Grabbed the dog and headed over to the park to let him chase the ball around for awhile. Damn I missed running. Today, I was thinking of running to the gym but I don't think I want to go inside more than I already have to. I'll probably take the dog out running and let him jump in the delta today.

Have a great weekend everyone!

BTW, I really need to shave today. I'm starting to get that Mutual of Omaha/Grizzly Adams thing going on. Working from home is bad for your hygiene.

Grizzly Adams did have a beard!

Some fellow bloggers are running the Javelina Jundred this weekend. Here's the link to the live tracker for the race. I put it here so I don't have to go find it later.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Reset

I needed a new post because I was tired of the last one already. I'm over that issue and it seems a bit too angry for here. Besides, tonight starts the new softball season in Manteca. We usually stay close to home to play, but when it gets late in the year, we move our team down to a new league, about 20 miles away. Check out these fields. Each one is a replica of a real baseball stadium. Very cool.

It's been 2 weeks now since San Francisco 1-Day and I'm ready to end my running vacation/recovery period. I can't stand it anymore and I feel like I've gained 5 pounds of Biggest Loser fat. My calf/back of the knee area still has some soreness to it but I'm able to stretch and roll it out. There's not a lot of explosion in that area so I think the best approach for me will be to start building up some support muscle in my legs (thighs, hammies) while going relatively easy on the running. In other words, it's Crossfit time again.

That's it for now. Good health to all...

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Friday, November 7, 2008

My Team = Dog Sh...

Brief detour from normal stuff to rant about my softball team. Last night, we had our playoffs scheduled for softball. We played at 6:00 and if we won, we would play again at 8. Well sure enough, game time comes and we're missing 4 players from our team (yes that's right - 4!). So we're sitting there ready to get up to bat (we're visitors) and we only have 7 guys. The rule is you can play the game until the end of the 2nd inning, and then you have to have at least 8 guys to continue.

We get up and end up batting around twice and go up 9 - 0, with our 7 guys. Of course, when we go out in the field, we're pretty much F'd because you have some big old holes in the field with only 7. Still, we "only" gave up 11 runs and the score is 11-9 after 1. No sign of anyone else. We get up again and this time only score 2 to tie. They get up one more time and finish us off 14-11 and the game ends due to not enough players. It was the funnest 2-inning game I've ever played. Super pissed at the no-shows.

If you're gonna be on the team, how about showing up once in awhile? Especially the playoffs! Damn!

Of course, we still had to have our post-game beers. Although, who in the hell brought the MGD 64's? That stuff is horse pee. At least give us the Belgian stuff (i.e. Bud).

Ok. I'm good. Next season starts Monday (minus a few people)...

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wash Me

As you can see, I decided to clean up the blog a bit. I figured it was about time to modify the look and feel and add a bit more organization. I wanted to use a different template than the standard ones provided by blogger. Since I didn't have enough time to create my own template from scratch, I found something I liked and could quickly modify at OurBloggerTemplates.com. I also found the header image there which I ended up having a little fun with. I extracted my picture from the end of the Skyline to the Sea 50k and added it to the background. Makes me look really mighty! Ha Ha! It is very Tongue-in-cheek.


As for actual running/training...I haven't done any! And I'm Halloween fat! Ok, yesterday I did a slow jog around the neighborhood to test out the leg. It's weird, I think my calf and knee have merged into a new kind of muscle-ligament injury-pain. I can't really tell where the source of soreness is coming from. I'll keep rolling it out on the foam roller and see what happens. I am definitely ready to fire up the training again - or at least get moving and start maintenance mode until next year. The only thing I have planned right now is for a 10k on Thanksgiving morning. Since I'll be pushing either a 4-year or a 2-year old in a jogger and not going for time, I'm not concerned about "training" for it. My only concern will be on keeping said 4- or 2-year old in a jogger for an hour. Tell you the truth, I'm not even sure the 4-year fits in the jogger anymore. Oh well. We do have our softball playoffs tomorrow (make up from last week's rain), so I'll find out if my leg wants to play games with me.

Take care everyone. Please let me know what you think of the new look and good luck to everyone racing this weekend.

Oh yeah two more things... Congratulations and good luck to Obama. Time to clean up 8 years of poo.

And speaking of poo, I'm a bit embarrassed and ashamed to say that my home state of California passed Prop 8, which denies same-sex couples the right to marry. I have no idea how to talk to my kids about these things, but I do know that everyone deserves equal rights. By the way, I hate politics.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

"Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?" - Adam Sandler on Saturday Night Live.


On Saturday, October 25th, I joined 130 other folks for PCTR's San Francisco One Day. The concept for this "race" is pretty simple - run as many laps as you can/want around a 1.067 mile looped course in 12 hours (or 24 hours for the really brave). If you had to pick any place to do such an event, Crissy Field in San Francisco is probably it. Every lap consists of the following: People watching down the street followed by a turn up the dirt path heading directly towards the Golden Gate and then running parallel to the Bay and seeing Tiburon, Alcatraz, Angel Island, boats, blimps, wind surfers, and all kinds of beachgoers (especially dogs & kids). Not bad at all.

First off, a couple of heads up for this post:
  • Any mention of the words "far" and/or "fast" in this blog should be considered relative. I realize that this is a training run for a lot of people and my fastest mile is average for others. Oh well.
  • Prior to this run, my PR for longest distance run was 31 miles (aka 50k)
  • Since I forgot to charge my camera battery, all pictures have been "borrowed" from Rick, Jo Lynn, Victoria or my friend Jason.
  • This could be a jumbled mess of a report.
Wake up time of 6:00 AM for the now routine bagel w/ peanut butter and banana pre-race meal. Officially left the house in Stockton at 6:45 with a goal of making into Crissy Field in San Francisco somewhere around 8:00 AM. Crossing the Bay Bridge into the city, I could already tell it was going to be a beautiful (and warm) day in the city. Made it to Crissy field a little after 8:00 and grabbed my stuff so I could setup along route. Said hello to Victoria and Jo Lynn, who were there to volunteer at the aid station all day.

Funny thing about this event is the path right after the start/finish line and aid station. Every runner has set out a chair and their bags for any extra items and each lap you get to run down the line of goods. Makes for some fun viewing each time through. I found a spot and setup and then went back to my car to get my cooler. Coming back, I finally ran into Rick who looked like he was ready to run (but just volunteering on this day). Another unique and wonderful thing about this race is that you can have people send you emails and they'll print them out and give them to you when you pass through the aid station. Gotta thank Tamara for being in charge of this all day. I think by the end of the race, she probably knew every single runner and when they had email. Very cool.

At 9:00, Wendell counted down and we were off. I had no intention of maintaining an even pace for the entire race so my only strategy was to see how long I could maintain at least 6 laps per hour. For the first 5 or 6 miles, I run behind/alongside Andy Kumeda, who tells me a few laps in that he's famous for going out too fast. Perfect. Since he's out here for 24 hours, he's takes an extra long aid break somewhere after the 1 hour mark and I'm basically on my own. I hit the half marathon distance at the 2-hour mark and I'm thrilled at my pace - although being on target for 72 laps is not what I had in mind. I knew I would be forced to slow down soon. At this point, I'm basically in and around the top 5 for the 12-hour runners. Not too shabby.

For the next two hours, I keep trying to maintain hitting 6 laps each hour. At the 4-hour mark, I came into the aid station with 24 laps, which was good enough for 5th or 6th place. I was very happy at this point - basically just short of marathon distance at around 4 hours. Obviously not a flying marathon, but since I'm going to run another one, it's fast enough.

Up to this point, each time I've come through the aid station, Victoria and Jo Lynn would give me some sort of encouragement and that would fire me up for the next lap. I would also see Rick and Sarah D shouting out positive thoughts to everyone all day. Can't tell you guys how much that helped out there.

So at the 4 hour mark, I realize that I'm way ahead of schedule and I can take a little bathroom breather. Also, my feet are starting to get a little sore so I switch into my trail shoes. Ahhh. Love those Cascadia 3's. They're a bit heavier, but the cushioning comes in handy. No signs of discomfort from the calf or knee. Time to head out again.

The 30's
I quickly hit lap 30 and felt pretty excited about it. This was equivalent to 32 miles and for me that meant - distance PR time! From here to the end, every step I would take would be the farthest I've ever run. You better believe I used that for motivation. I wish I could say I flew through the 30's into the 40's but it seemed to take me forever to get from 30 to 40 laps. Physically, I was doing fine here, but mentally...yikes. I don't know if it was the Advil or the laps, but I had to remind myself of what I was doing a few times and not to forget all the incredible scenery around me.

The 40's
Once I hit 40 laps, all doubts of hitting 50 miles were erased. The only issues left to decide were if my legs would remain in one piece and how many laps did I want to try and finish. I was still getting emails at this point and no matter what the email said or who it was from, I would find myself getting way too emotional. There was one email from my parents saying how proud they were of me and thought I was gonna burst out crying. (Ok, no more Advil from here on out. Focus.)

My pace had slowed down to 11-12 minute miles here but I wasn't really slowing down on the actual laps. I found that I would take a longer drink and food breaks after every lap. Sure enough at this point, I started to notice some aching coming into my knee - yes the old ITB area. Booooo. And I'm supposed to pretend that this wasn't expected? Alright - we're still ok, just a litte sore.

In my head, I'm figuring out the laps and mileage to think of what I have to do to reach 50 miles and also see how much time I have. 40 laps in, 4 hours to go. Time is not an issue. Even if I had to walk, I was going to make it to 50 miles. Just needed 7 more laps to hit 50 miles. Out I went..41, 42, 43, 44, and then 45.

[The following portion sponsored by Rick Gaston Pacing & Motivational Services] I see Rick at the aid station after lap 45 and he asks how I'm doing. I tell him I'm 2 laps away from 50 miles and after asking me if that's my goal, he's says in his pacer voice "If you're feeling good, go for it". Rick has some strange power of influence and it didn't take me more than a second to get the hell out of there. Laps 46 and 47 turned out to be my fastest since the early hours of the race. I think I ended up passing 30 - 40 people on those two laps. As I came around the back stretch on lap 47 I was counting every single landmark that I'd pretty much memorized all day..."First bench. Second bench...Last bench. Bridge. Last trail with the drunk ladies. The turn. And the Finish. Beep. 50 Miles!!" At a few minutes after the 9 1/2 hour mark, I had made the #1 goal for me in this race - get myself to 50 miles. After the long struggle through the 30's and fighting off the knee pain in the 40's, the relief set in. It was time for a break. Laps 46 and 47 had knocked me silly.

I sat down in my chair along the path and sent out two text message to my parents and wife "Just hit 50 miles!". At this point, I wasn't sure when I was going to get out of the chair, but it didn't even matter. After hitting the restroom, I came back and filled up on fluids. I changed my shirt for the second time and put on a small running jacket - it was now getting dark and a little cool.

I think I basically made up my mind at this point that my day was just about over. Yes I had plenty of time to get more laps in - heck, even make it to 60 miles. But my knee and calf would probably have paid the price and I didn't want to be a complete mess. However, I did want one more lap and a chance to go around once in the dark. I took off and shuffled around the loop (trying to not fall at the bridge) to finish my 48th and final lap - 51.2 miles. Not quite the full 12 hours, but 10 was plenty for this day.

The Aftermath
Before I get to my post-race crumbling, I have to say a few things about two cool dudes that I had the pleasure of running with out there. First off is Aaron Doman, the 13-year old son of RD's Wendell and Sarah. Not only did he run out in front of the pack for the first few laps, he managed to stay out there and finish with 26 laps for 27.7 total miles. At times, he ran by himself, with mom, with another girl (sorry don't have name) - but always just kept going. Awesome, Aaron!

Even more impressive to me and someone I looked for throughout the whole event was 9-year old Trevor Craig - he stayed out on the course for 10 hours running and walking with his mom and dad. Everytime I would see him, I wanted to make sure that he knew how proud of him I was and how great it was to have him out there. You could see how proud his parents were and I still can't believe how far he went - 25 laps, 26.7 miles - more than a full marathon. Way to go Trevor! Those two guys made me miss my boys more than anything.

Ok, back to post-race destruction. I originally planned to stay until the end of the 12-hours and relax a little bit and share a few beers with Rick and Victoria. However, a couple of things happened. First off, my body was beat to a pulp. With my knee aching and my mind just exhausted, I think I would have passed out after one beer. My wife was heading out of the city and basically insisted that she drive me back to Stockton (wives really do know best). I got in the car, folded myself up into a ball, covered myself with a blanket and passed out for 45 minutes. (Not a great recovery process mind you). I woke up in Livermore and told my wife "Please pull over as soon as possible - I need to eat". I realized I hadn't really eaten any substantial recovery food and my body was not liking me. Best we could do was McDonalds, but never before have two cheeseburgers ever tasted so good (or eaten so fast). I topped it off with a milkshake and passed out again until I got home. Filled up the bath with hot water (again, don't try this at home - I was a bit chilly) and some epsom salt and took a quick bath. After the bath, I stretched a bit and then plopped into bed - game over.
  • Winners of the race: (24-hour) Shan Riggs - 122 laps (130.1 miles!) and (12-hour) Juan Sanchez - 72 laps (76.8 miles!)
  • Thanks to everyone who volunteered - this race would be impossible without you.
  • Thanks to Wendell and Sarah for another great PCTR event!
  • Will I do this race again? Well I definitely would like to volunteer. I'll get back to you on the running part. I need to run in the hills first and then I'll come back to the city.
So here we are (as of this writing) 6 days later and I'm feeling pretty good. I haven't attempted any running this week and probably won't until next week. My knee and calf are back to normal (which is right on the brink of hurting). I'm not sure what's left for this year. It's always a busy time with family so SF might be my last big race/run for the year. I would still love to do one more PCTR 50k (Woodside - either running or volunteering), but we'll have to see. I'm really happy that I got a 50-mile run in before the year is up. That gives me the confidence for next year knowing that I'm able to go farther.

Happy Halloween and don't forget to vote next Tuesday! Thanks for reading and good health to everyone.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Look kids, there's Big Ben, and there's Parliament.

Race report from Saturday's San Francisco 1-day event will be coming soon. In the meantime, I'm still recovering mentally and physically. My one big goal for the race was to hit 50 miles - and I made it. Here is the summary:

Laps: 48
Distance: 51.2 miles
Approx # of M&Ms consumed: 138
Approx oz. of Coke consumed: 108
# of Salt Tablets: 10
# of Advil: 8 (maybe this is why I was hallucinating)

Beautiful day. Great volunteers, runners and spectators. One crazy event. More to come...

Hanging with my 2 superstar friends and volunteers, Victoria and Jo Lynn

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And Where the Hell Was I?

Good question and I'm not even sure what the answer is. Seems like I've been running around with my head cutoff this last week. Work's been busy, weekend's have been filled with weddings, kids' parties, etc. The blog has definitely suffered.

Coming up on the 12-hour race this weekend. I am super excited for this run. My training has been anything but stellar over the last 3 weeks. I've had some good runs but have had to hold myself back from going long distances, due to some mysterious tightness in my calf (can't quite figure it out). I've been rolling and stretching it and trying to baby it so it will be ready for Saturday. I'm not too worried though. I'll fuel myself properly and bring some extra pain killers for miles 20, 30 and 40. Heck, I don't even know if I'll survive that far. There's a good chance my left calf will blow up a la Forrest Gump's braces 4 hours into this thing. Whatever happens, I'm going to enjoy this race. I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and experiencing a very unique event (for me).

These last couple mornings I've been without a car (my friend, Jeff is borrowing it) and have had to ride my bike to the train station in the early morning (had to go into the Bay Area for a conference). It's a nice 11-mile ride which isn't bad - if it wasn't 5:30 in the morning and I didn't have my computer bag and extra clothes with me. Also, I've only been riding my "leisure" mountain bike for the past 8 months and only for 5 miles max at a time. With my "racing" bike, it's basically an ass torture device. Just not used to that. I'm just glad to get the exercise in and also, this might help save my running legs for Saturday.

Oh yeah, few more things. First off...F the Dodgers and Red Sox. Baseball's been over to me for months (I'm a SF Giants fan) so the only thing I was rooting for were those teams to lose. Done and done. Ok, now I don't care anymore.

And second, Rick and Victoria...I have some Black Butte's and Lagunitas coming for you guys on Saturday.

Last but not least...we'll be at the 49ers game on Sunday having another great tailgate. If anyone is heading out there please let me know so you can come say hello. We park by the RVs. I'll be the one sitting down.

Have a great day/week everyone.

Update: If anyone wants to track runners this Saturday, there will be a live webcast of the results, starting at 10:30 AM. From there you can also send email to the runners which they'll hand out every hour or so. If you can't make it, please send an email to heckle me. That could be very entertaining.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Fat Guy, Little Coat


Happy Friday to anyone and everyone. I've been doing some random medium-sized runs over the last week - even got the urge to speed up this past Wednesday. I like to play this game with my dog Miles - he hates to run behind me on the trails. So what I do is try to run out in front of him (basically cut him off) and drive him all the way to the side of the trail until he gets pissed off and then heads for the other side to take the lead. This forces me to pick up the pace big time so I can cut him off again. Repeat until my hamstring blows up or my lungs catch on fire. Btw, this only works after I tire him out for a few miles - he could blow right past me if he wanted to.

Miles in his younger days ->

Besides that, I've been eating plenty of food - some good (salmon, veggies), some bad (Del Taco, candy corn). I've backed down from training as much as I was for a couple of reasons -(1) my left calf (and probably knee) still needed to recover a bit from Skyline. I think the extra love and care has helped and (2) I'm being a little lazy (actually, we'll call it giving the body a breather. yeah.) Anyway, I'm not too worried about the SF 12-hr run. There are no hills and I can run/walk for a long time on flat ground (if necessary). I'll be out tomorrow morning for a 20-25 mile run and then head to a wedding later in the day for more abuse.

Good luck to everyone running races this weekend - especially the Firetrails crew. Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

San Francisco, Here I Come...


Yesterday, I officially signed up for the PCTR San Francisco One Day race, taking place on Sat, Oct. 25. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this race, instead of running a certain distance, the race covers a certain time - either 12 or 24 hours. I'm opting for the 12-hour time because, well, I'm nowhere near ready for 24 hours of running...yet. (Next year). The run takes place on a 1.067 mile loop course in Crissy Field in the city. Hopefully, it won't be too foggy and we'll have some killer views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz and the SF Bay. My goal for this race will be 50 laps or about 53 miles.

My recovery from Skyline to the Sea has been going ok. For some reason, I decided to pick up the pace on Tuesday for a little 8-mile tempo run - and my left calf maybe paying the price a little bit. It was a bit stiff and sore yesterday and a little tight today. I've been icing it and rolling it on the foam roller so I think it should be fine come this weekend.

Should be a nice test tonight with softball - nothing like a bunch of quick starts and stops to put some pressure on the calves.

Starting this weekend, I'll start piling up the mileage for a couple weeks (no more speed/tempo workouts) and then taper for a week or so. Should be fun to see how much I can handle in 12 hours.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Now What?

We're now 9 days removed from the Skyline the Sea 50k (Stts) and I'm suddenly trying to figure out what to do next. The runner's high from that race is still flowing big time. My original plan was to sign-up for Firetrails 50 if I came out of SttS injury free and feeling good (check to both of those). Oops. Forgot that we had a wedding for a family friend that weekend. Firetrails is out. These things happen and I don't have to remind myself that I'm fortunate to get to run at all. It's harder in this case because the fire (no pun intended) is burning bright and I really wanted to do this race. Ok. Moving on...

So what to do next? I know there are still a lot of races out there but there are some limitations as to what I can do. First of all, I don't want to have to travel too far (within the general SF Bay area). Next up is the type of race. After having so much fun on the Montana de Oro and SttS trails, it might be hard to run a race on a bike path or non-wooded trail (Helen Klein 50-miler, or PCTR SF One Day 12/24 hour) I'd rather be in the hills trying to figure out where the heck I am, than running down a bike path behind some businesses/homes (ooh sorry - I might have just stolen that line from Rick G). At the same time, I really want to take a shot at a 50-miler before the year ends. (We are playing with the house's money so let's have some fun).

Right now, I'm thinking of giving the HK 50-miler a shot - it's on a Saturday with no soccer game for my oldest boy and it's relatively close (within 45 minutes). If not HK, then I'll do the SF 12-hour race and stay overnight for the 49er game the next day. I love the PCTR races so I'll probably sign up for at least one more of those (Woodside) before recharging for the next year.

Speaking of next year, my goal is now about shooting for the 100-mile distance. I have the base miles under my belt and enough time to start building up to what I need. Plus, I've got some new friends that I can ask for (beg) advice from. I know it's only September, but I've already started thinking about races for next year (race sign-ups are coming up soon and family life demands early planning sometimes). Here's what I'm already thinking about...

  • Way to Cool 50k (3/14/09) or Rucky Chuck 50k (3/21/09)
  • American River 50 (4/4/09) or Diablo 50-miler 4/11/09)
  • Skyline to the Sea 50 (4/26/09) - Would love to run this again; a little too close to Miwok
  • Miwok 100k (5/2/09) - steppin' up to 62 miles
  • Ohlone 50k (5/17/09) - My first one! Looking forward to see how I've progressed
  • Diablo 50k (6/6/09) - Always wanted to do a Diablo event (will do this for sure if not the 50-miler)
  • (?) 100-miler in the fall (?)
  • Who cares after this (Montana de Oro would be great again)

Should have figured out my next race or two in the next post.

BTW, health is good. Did 3 recovery runs last week - 7 miles, 3 miles, & 6 miles. Legs were dead but after the 3rd run on Saturday, I finally felt like legs were ready for more action. Will probably run to the gym today and mix in a little weights (quick reps, low weight). Until next time...

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Monday, September 22, 2008

A Stinging Good Time at Skyline to the Sea

Last Saturday (9/20), I finally got around to running my second 50k of the year, the Skyline to the Sea 50k, put on by Sarah and Wendell Doman of Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR). It had been 4+ months since my first 50k and I was more than ready to go out and tackle this race. "The password is BUZZ"

Stayed with my brother in San Jose the night before so I wouldn't have to drive all the way from Stockton early in the morning. Woke up at 6:00 AM to eat the standard bagel (w/ peanut butter this time) and a banana. Drank 20 oz. of water and started getting my stuff together. Uh oh. Forgot my sleeves for my water bottles. That won't be good if I can't find someone to borrow from. Except for that fact, everything else is good. Woke my brother up at 7:00 to get us going. We head out and get to the starting area at Saratoga Gap at 7:50. There are about 15 people at the start. Brother says good luck and heads back for home (and his bed). First person I recognize there is Scott Dunlap. Since his blog is what basically started my fascination with trail running (especially the long variety), I wanted to make sure I went and introduced myself. After saying hello, registering and making a nature call, it was time to relax (and figure out where to get some bottle sleeves). Once I found Sarah Doman, she put my mind at ease and said she had some to sell as soon as Wendell arrived on the shuttle. Nice. Time for people watching.


Set my stuff down and once again discovered why trail running events are the best - coolest people around are running them. I ended up talking with Jo Lynn and Christy (both attempting and completing their first 50k's - congratulations!). They mentioned their husbands were out golfing in Seascape. (Gee, if I wasn't running 31 miles, that really seemed like a great idea). As we were talking I spotted another speedster friend that I've come to know this year, Rick Gaston. Rick is definitely not an ultra rookie and I knew he would be flying over this course today. Later on, another of my newest trail running buddies, Victoria Folks arrived looking anxious but ready to rock the trails today (check her link or hold tight for what happened). Catra was also there but I didn't get a chance to say 'Hi' until later at the Gazos Creek Aid station.

After grabbing my new bottles (actually just the new sleeves with my old bottles), we headed down to the starting area to get lined up for the 9:00 AM start. Wendell had us line up according to our projected finish times. "4 hours. 5 hours. 6 hours." My goal at the start was to break 6 hours so I decided to hang out right with the 5 hour folks. Plus I wanted to see how quickly the front guys took off on this course. At 9:00 on the nose, we were off and heading downhill.


Right away, the pace is fast (everything from here on out is relative when speaking of fast - wait until you hear what the winning times were). Of course, the top 30 or so guys immediately blast out of there and I get into as smooth a rhythm as possible. The first 10k to the first aid station is mostly downhills with random little uphills around every corner. To me, I feel like I'm going too fast but I like the position I'm in and want to see what happens. I Get into the first aid station a little after 50 minutes or so (not a blazing 10k time but fast pace for me for 50k). I top off my water bottles, grab a Payday bar and banana piece and head out for the next leg.

Out of the aid station, I latch on to two runners that I'll end up running with for the next 10 miles, Mike Nutall and Elizabeth McCleneghan. They were exactly the runners that I needed to pull me along and keep a good pace for the race (at least the first 25 - 30k). Mike had the lead, Elizabeth behind him and me bringing up the rear. A couple miles before the 2nd aid station, a runner caught up and asked if we had been stung yet. Say what? The three of us say no and start to wonder. Elizabeth mentions that she's allergic to bee stings and conveniently didn't bring any medicine along. We head into the 2nd aid station and I fill up my water and get some banana, payday and coke (yum).

We head out of the aid station and sure enough, within a mile or two, we run smack dab into a swarm of bee/wasp/hornet things - all three of us plus a couple other runners immediately try and swat away whatever number of "things" had landed on us. Three nice stings for me - top of the head, lower back and left calf. Decent little pain that actually made me forget about running for about 15 minutes. (My 3 stings are actually way below average in this race. Fred Ecks had 20!) Weird, wild stuff. In the meantime, we continue cruising mostly downhill on this incredibly amazing trail. Rock formations. Wooden bridges. Trees. Creeks. Awesome! Heading into the Gazos Creek aid station, I hear someone yell out "Hey Rookie!" - it's Will Gotthardt saying hello (referring to my Ohlone 50k male rookie award this year). I yell back hello and within a couple minutes, we're cruising into the aid station ready for our trip around the loop.

Mike N. heads out first up the big hill out of the aid station, followed by myself and then Elizabeth bringing up the rear this time. As I'm walking up finishing up my "meal", Elizabeth gets stung for the 3rd and 4th time (maybe 5th too). Not again. I wait for her to catch up and this time the sting is in her ear and can tell this one hurt. We get off the road and head up the steep portion of the hill and Mike moves ahead a bit. I follow and Elizabeth drops back a bit. After making sure she's ok I catch up to Mike near the top of the peak as we get ready to charge down back to the Gazos aid station. I tell him to go at his pace and I'll run behind. As usual, he keeps a great pace. About 2 miles from the aid station, Mike starts pulling ahead as my pace starts to slow down a bit. (This is right after the 25k distance in the race - where all my training runs have been ending so this is not a surprise). In another mile, Elizabeth catches up to me - this time with her ear swelling, chest turning red and slightly slurring. "Uh. Are you alright?" She's gives the thumbs up. She's fired up at this point and charges ahead to get to the aid station. I pass by Will G again and finally hit the aid station for the 2nd time. At this point Mike and Elizabeth have taken off and it's time to begin the solo portion of the race.

This is where I made the only fueling mistake of the race for me. Instead of filling both bottles with water, I filled one up with GU (I didn't even need the salt since I was taking a tablet every hour). I grabbed some food and tums, took an advil and started walking down the trail to head up and out of the basin. The climb out of here wasn't too bad. There were some parts that required me to power-walk, but I kept moving. After hitting the top of the hill, it was downhill time and despite the lack of speed, this was a lot of fun running down. I ended up catching 3 people before finally hitting the fire trails and long stretch to the final aid station. At one point before leaving the wooded areas by the creek, I stopped to dip my hat in the water before moving on. My water was getting dangerously low. At about 2 miles out from the aid station, my water and electrolytes hit empty. Damn! However, my pace kept steady. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I hit the last aid station along with four other people. Looking at my watch, I see that it's only a few minutes after 5 hours. "I'm gonna blow past my 6 hour goal! Yes!" I downed a full coke, loaded up the waters and then headed out with less than 2 miles to go.

At this point, I just wanted to keep moving at the same pace and not let anyone pass me. Finally saw the ocean and made a left turn at the mystery house on the hill. With about a 1/2 mile left, we're over in the marsh land and I'm actually wondering if I made a wrong turn. I finally see a ribbon and then hear some cheers up ahead. Nice, it's close. Round another few turns and then I see the cones. And my wife! And my mom and dad! Woo hoo! Across the finish in 5 hours, 23 minutes and change (42nd place), I hear Rick G yelling out "Good job, Mike" (he's been there awhile).

At this point I'm curious to see how the leaders did on this very runnable course.

  • Winning time: 3:38:33 shared by two runners (Lon Freeman & Leor Pantilat)
  • Four runners under 4 hours!
  • Scott Dunlap help off Rick G by 23 seconds for 7th place (4:24:30 vs 4:24:53) - impressive!
  • Elizabeth came in at 5:16:10 to win 1st in her age group (F21-29) - 34th overall - nice recovery from the beasts!
  • Mike N. came in at 5:17:40 to win 1st in his age group (M50-59) - 38th overall - thanks for the tow!
Headed over with my wife and parents to enjoy the post-race atmosphere. The weather was perfect and the racers are always friendly. Cracked open a beer and chatted with my family. Introduced Rick to the family and shared a beer with him (yummy Black Butte Porter). Thanked Mike and Elizabeth for letting me run with them. Last thing to do was see how Victoria was doing. Finally, she comes in not looking so great - beat up with 13 stings and even worse, a fractured foot! She managed to run for 10 miles on a broken foot! Great job finishing. I also later found out the Jo Lynn and Christy successfully completed their first 50k's! Great job ladies!

Final notes in bullet form (getting tired):
  • Knee felt great during and after race - can't tell you how excited I am about this.
  • Average pace for me was 10:30/mi.
  • This was my longest run (by 13 miles) since May
  • Day after race, my calves were tight - no injuries or major pain (as of Tuesday, feeling good and ready to run)
  • As promised to myself, I'm seriously considering the Firetrails 50 miler now. I'll do 6-8 miles today (Tues) and then work on a 20-miler on Saturday. If that goes well, then it's on.
  • Post-race Meal on Sunday night? Del Taco. We ordered pizza that never showed up so we said screw it and went to Del Taco. Nothing says "Go F yourself, body" more than burrito and fries.
  • Thanks again to all the volunteers, Sarah and Wendell and friendly runners.
  • Thanks Scott D, Rick G, Catra and Victoria for letting me "borrow" your pictures.
  • Speaking of Rick. He's a graphic designer and is starting to come up with some sweet logos and headers for his blog and race reports. Check out the one he made for this race:


Can't wait to run again. Hope to see everyone at Firetrails!

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Buzzin' in Big Basin

Had a great time racing yesterday at the PCTR Skyline to the Sea 50k. I'll work on the race report later tonight or tomorrow. The highlights were bees/yellowjackets, awesome trails, fast runners, perfect weather, great volunteers and friendly runners. Final numbers for the race for me:

Time: 5:23:18
Place: 42 (out of 210)
# of stings: 3 (head, back and leg)

Can't wait to do it again.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Feeling Good, Louis!


Thanks to Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) from Trading Places for the easy title for this post. We're at the 9-day out mark for Skyline to the Sea and I'm feeling good. Had a nice 14-mile run on Tuesday and ran around with my son's soccer team yesterday (actually it was more like me chasing the kids around - not great listeners those 3 & 4 year olds). All joints, muscles, bones, etc feel like they're in good condition (knocking on a giant piece of wood).

I'm excited for this upcoming race, my 2nd ultra for the year (or ever for that matter). It's a sold-out race with 210 entries. Lot's of fast runners and folks that I've come to know and admire. It will be fun to see how quickly most of them disappear right away. I'll try to remind myself to not get caught up in the early excitement and start out slow.

Goals? Started thinking more about this and I've come up with a few. (1) Finish. Simple one but it's not to be taken for granted. (2) Finish in 6 hours or less. A bit more aggressive but if I can keep a good pace and stay healthy, this could be attainable. (3) Stay healthy. This probably should be my first goal since it will affect the other two. With my longer runs restricted in mileage, I'll be praying after 20 miles that my muscles hold up for the rest of the race. (Especially my left ITB). It was a good sign that my legs felt great at Montana de Oro with the climbing/ascending, even though it was only 25k instead of 50.

Oh and it looks like bib #s got assigned today - #817 for me.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good Times at Monta de Oro


This past Labor Day weekend, the family and I headed down to Avila Beach for a little vacation at the beach. Along with lounging around the beach and pool in Avila, I was scheduled to run the Montana de Oro 25k (PC Trail Run 8k, 12k, & 50k also). I had been looking forward to this vacation and especially this run for a long time. 3 1/2 months had passed since the last race (Ohlone 50k) way back in May. After spending Friday and Saturday on the beach with the boys and wife, it was time for some fun early Sunday morning.

Normally, I like to make sure I have plenty of time in the morning so I don't have to rush before the race and can be sure that everything is good to go come race time. It was an 8:30 race (check-in by 8:15), so I set my alarm for 5:00 AM so I could get up and eat a bagel w cream cheese and a banana. After that, I set my alarm for 6:30 and went back to sleep. However, this time I went auto-pilot and didn't wake up. Somehow, I woke up at 7:05, freaked out and then jumped out of my bed straight into the shower. Thanks to my wife, the whole clan was out of the door at 7:30 heading for Montana de Oro. In the end, I was able to easily make it there by 8:00 and could stop worrying. Got signed up and started getting my stuff ready.

My plan originally was to bring my camera for some sweet pictures - only problem was the fog was thick and you couldn't see anything from the trails. Camera stays back, Ipod goes with me. This was the first race I'd taken my Ipod and it worked out.







Weather at the start was perfect for running - overcast, foggy and a little cool, but not cold. With all the running I had been doing in the heat, I was super excited for this weather. Had two 20-oz bottles of water, my ipod & a couple of gels as we started out at 8:30. We ran cliffside along the ocean for a couple miles before heading left up Valencia Peak. I was running with a guy from Alaska who was mentioning that he had just run a 100-miler a few weeks back. Turns out, that was the eventual 50k winner, Evan Hone. Heading up the first peak, I wanted to see how much climbing I could do without going into a power walk. Surprisingly, I was able to get up a couple miles before I needed to shift down into a fast walk. Legs still felt good but I knew I needed to make it to the top before I went all out. Good thing because it got pretty steep towards the final half mile or so. Getting close to the top, we start seeing the front-runners coming back down the hill. I shout "good job" to everyone that goes by. I only recognize Adam Blum from his blog. Once I got to the top of the peak, I took a couple of breaths and then headed back down for the funnest part of the whole race. I was flying down the hill and caught about 4 people before running up behind Molly Friel, who ended up pacing us down to the last 1/4 mile before we cruised into the aid station (12k) together at 1:16. At this point, I was already happy about my time but wasn't sure what I would have left for the next 13k+. Filled up the bottles, had a quick drink of coke, and walked out with a Payday bar.

Started up the next trail and noticed that Molly and some other runner were headed backwards up the trail, so I signaled them over to the right trail (I'll correct them again in about 2 miles). We headed right to start our run to the Hazard Peak and I'm cursing the ground - it's basically sand. I feel like I'm wasting a lot of energy trying to run on this stuff. I do my best to find the firmest ground and start running as much of the hills as possible. At this point, I'm needing to take more frequent power-walking breaks. Molly and the other runner are up ahead and my goal is to keep them in range and run as much as possible (100% of the flats and downhills, and intervals on the up-hills). After finally making it to the peak, we start heading down. At this point, I'm feeling good. Legs are tired of going up, but I feel great running down. I end up passing Molly and the other guy and we hit the fire road with about 3 1/2 miles to go. After another mile on the rolling fire trail, Molly catches up and she is looking good. I ask her our distance and she says we're at mile 14, so about 1 1/2 miles to go (we ended up running 16.1 by her calculations so we really had 2+ miles to). She's ready to pick up a gear I don't have right now so I tell her to get movin'. My only goal at this point is to not let anyone catch me and keep moving at a decent pace. I notice one lady up ahead of me, about 1/4 mile away. It looks like I'm reeling her in but I just don't know if I have enough time and/or another gear to bring her in. Finally, I see the cars and trees near the beach and know I'm close. As I head into the parking lot, the lady in front of me reaches the finish line 11 seconds ahead (thanks for the pace). I finish in 2:48:48 (last 13k in 1:32), good for 14th overall (of 48) and 3rd in age group (of 8). Best of all, my knee felt great!



Ate some soup and drank a coke and a Gatorade and then headed back to Avila Beach with the family. Had a nice big Roast Beef sandwich and a giant Anchor Steam Porter to celebrate the good race and then headed back to the beach for more vacation time.

I'll take it pretty easy this week on the run paces, but I'm already looking forward to a couple more weeks of training before ramping down for the Skyline to the Sea 50k.

Good times.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gold Medalist of Something

This blog has been running on fumes lately. No, I haven't lost interest. I actually just haven't been all that excited about my training lately. The good news is that my knee hasn't been bothering me at all over the last few weeks. I've been capping my longer runs off at only 15-16 miles but it's better than where I was at only a short time ago - couldn't run over 7 miles without the IT ouch.

But the excitement is building over my upcoming races. I'm 11 days away from the Montana de Oro 25k and 1 month away from the Skyline to the Sea 50k. It's about time. I've been going crazy reading other blogger's race reports - 50 milers, 100k's and 100 milers. I really want to get back on track for upping the miles and hopefully getting to the point where I'm able to do these races as well. One thing at a time. Every once in awhile I have to remind myself that I wasn't running any long distances at all coming into this year.

So am I tapering right now for the 25k? Not really. Since it's more of a training run than a full blown "race", I won't alter my workouts too much up to that weekend. Of course, I won't do any hill training (what's a hill?) but I'll try to keep the miles up remembering the ultimate target is Sept 20 for the 50k!

Happy training everyone and good luck to everyone who has races coming up (especially you Bob).

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Decision '08

The presidential race? Uh, no. I'd rather chew on my toes (if I could) then talk about politics. I'm talking about my upcoming race decision. I've decided to do (and just signed up for) the 25k race at Montana de Oro - a good distance for me and it makes sense at this time - (1) will be able to run and see the entire trail anyways (50k is 2 times around), (2) it will be good training run for the Skyline to the Sea 50k, and (3) I'll be able to enjoy the SttS 50k a little more knowing my legs aren't duct taped together in a makeshift fashion. I can't wait to get back out there and run those trails!

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Monday, August 4, 2008

About to do Something Really Stupid?

Hello again. Well I think I'm on the verge of doing something incredibly stupid for my current endurance status - two 50k's within 1 month. I've already signed up for the Skyline to the Sea 50k on September 20th. I'm really excited to run this race - seems likes such a great trail run - out to the ocean! Here comes the stupid part...


So lately my wife has been really wanting to take a quick trip with the boys somewhere. Most likely somewhere that has a beach - they just love it and it's easy for us to kick back and/or play with the boys in the sand. So what area of California does she instantly think about they we both love? Pismo beach. We met each other when we were both going to Cal Poly and we love coming back to the surrounding area for R & R. So kind of jokingly, I mentioned that the Montana de Oro 50k is on Aug 31, so we should go that weekend. (In case you don't know, Montana de Oro is an amazing state park in California. It's about 15-20 minutes north of San Luis Obispo - check it out on Google for details, maps, etc. The scenery there is amazing - cliffs, beaches, hills. Can you imagine how fun it would be to run a little bit of these trails?) Sure enough, she says OK, takes off and comes back 30 minutes later with reservations. Oh Sh*t.


Here's the thing. Way back in May, after I completed the Ohlone 50k, I was thinking about running this race. Again, I just couldn't imagine how cool it would be to run around the park area. So now that I'm here, not in the best long-distance shape, I'm a bit concerned. It all comes down to one thing - if my knee holds up, this won't be a problem (relatively speaking of course - it's still 31 miles!) There is a possible compromise here that I'm thinking might be better suited for me right now and that is the 25k race (8k & 12k races also available for that event. The 50k is basically doing the 25k loops twice). I'll make a decision in the next couple of weeks. Either way, I'm going to enjoy the run and have fun doing two trails that I don't want to miss. I may have to tie a log to my knee to finish, but it's gonna be a great experience. More on this to come...

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lost in Space

My plane is crashing, my ejector seat is malfunctioning and I have no idea where I'm at right now. Alright, enough of that. Athletically, I've been drifting a little bit over the last couple weeks. I think I've let my knee issues get the better of me. Last week was ok. I was able to get some consistent mid-range running in and even hit the gym for some good Crossfit workouts. On Wednesday, I attacked the filthy 50 workout from Crossfit:

For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders


I really love doing this workout. It's tough, but it's so rewarding when done. Took me 40 minutes to complete it. Most of the time was on the knees to elbows. (Apparently, my abs are weak). My gym only has a 3 foot box to jump on so I get off to a fun start that way. On about my 12th jump, I ended up smacking my right pinkie finger into the box - it still hurts today (1 week later). Fun stuff. I'll probably do a run-swim double today to get my self going again. Talk soon.

One more thing...Today I officially registered for the Skyline to the Sea 50k (on 9/20). No more excuses!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hi. How's It Going?

If I've been sniffing glue, this would be a great time to stop. The last 10 day period (basically everything after my last post) has been one of my best tapers ever. The only problem is, I'm not tapering right now. After my nice 12 mile run on that Friday, I've done approximately 2 Crosffit workouts, two 6-mile or less ez runs and 1 tempo run that knocked the crap out of me. That means there were 5 days that I did nothing (morning/night push-ups don't count). I'm so tired of not running in the morning (my own fault). The noon/afternoon runs have been beating me up and taking their toll - physically and mentally. I've lost all my confidence on these runs because my legs get filled with lactic acid and get so damn tired too quickly. I run through fluids like theres no tomorrow. No good.

So last night, I'm basically yelling "pull yourself together" to myself ("allow myself to introduce myself"). Before hitting the hay, I set the alarm for 5:00 AM and had my running clothes ready to go. Let's just say I allowed a couple of Snooze operations, but was successfully out of bed, dressed and eating a banana at 5:20. Filled a bottle with water and one with Gatorade and headed out the door. 2 hours, 10 minutes later I was done with my 15-mile run! Finally, I was able to get a decent run in. It's amazing how much better I feel in the morning (and when it's not 90+ degrees outside). Wasn't all good though. Did have some pain in my knee at the end of the run (not totally unexpected. I was mad at myself for not wearing my knee wrap). I'm bouncing all over the place on my runs right now so I had a feeling this might happen. I'm not gonna worry about this now since I'm not running Skyline on August 3rd. Despite the knee pain (and general leg soreness), I'm really happy that I got this run in this morning.

I'll be ready for a lunchtime nap today.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Where Are You Hiding, Mr ITBS?

Quick post today. Ran easy 12 miles (1:42) in the smokey, afternoon sun (actually not too hot today). And the knee? No pain! Nothing! Yes! First time I've been able to go 7+ miles without the pain. Funny thing is when I was approaching the magic 7-mile marker, my knee kind of gave me a little tingle and then went away. Hello mind games! Afterward, my body seemed to have forgotten what it's like running over 7 miles. I'm gonna need to do some serious stretching tonight along with some tennis ball-leg loving (whatever the hell that means).

Previous workouts:
Yesterday was softball night so I decided to take a rest day (our team was terrible, although our beer drinking was very impressive)

Wednesday I did the following Crossfit workout (from a few weeks back):

7 rounds of:
135-lb Sumo Dead Lift High Pull (7 reps)
30" box jumps (7 reps)

I forgot to save my time but it was 14 minutes and something. Box jumps were fine but the SDLHPs were pretty tough at that weight.

Please don't wake up my knee.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Breakthrough Perhaps?

So I'm in the middle of this training period and I'm just kind of rolling along, but not really training anything. In lieu of getting in my longer runs, I've been working on Crossfit trying to improve my overall strength and work on some core conditioning. Well yesterday, I had to go into the Bay Area to meet with some folks at work. I brought my workout clothes with me so I could get in a workout at lunch. Since it’s hotter than hell right now and I can’t breathe outside with all the smoke in the air, I decided to see what kind of workout I could get on the treadmill. My plan was to warmup for about 12-15 minutes and then do some 800s followed by 2:00 minute recovery jog/ez runs. After that I would ease it down for a few minutes and then crank up some 1-minute hill climbs (at 15%) and then run “downhill” for a 3-minute recovery. Turned out to be the best workout I’ve had in a long time – and no knee pain whatsoever! Here’s how it went:

  • 14 minute warmup ranging from 9:00/mi to 8:00/mi pace and then...
  • (4) 800’s @ 6:35/mi followed by 2:00 minutes recovery @ 8:30/mi and then...
  • 3-4 minutes @ 8:30/mi and then...
  • (4) 1-minute hill climbs @ 15% @ 8:30/mi followed by 3:00 minutes @ 8:00/mi and then...
  • After the last hill and recovery, did the last ¾ mile @ 6:35/mi. (sweat was dumping).
  • Totals => 7.5 miles in 60 minutes (added .25 in cooldown)

I was excited to see a Concept 2 rower in the room so I did that for 5 minutes afterwards. Whew.

Monday’s workout:

Did one of the Crossfit workouts from the Crossfit Games:

  • 30 reps of 155-lb Squat clean-and-jerks for time – didn’t bring my watch, but it was around 15 minutes – a blaster of a workout.

(If you want some inspiration, check out this video of a 14-year old (103-lb) Kallista Pappas cranking out the same workout from the CF Games (100-lb for the ladies). She is competing against the adults. If this doesn’t inspire you and make you want to tear up at the same time, then God help you.)

Sunday: Off

Saturday: Golf (walking 18) + 4 miles with the dog at night

Friday: Ran a 10k from my house to the in-laws at hot/smokey time (time: 48:14)

Overall, my health feels pretty good. I think yesterday was the first day my knee didn’t hurt when I went over 6 miles on a run. I’m still not really sure if I’ll be able to run Skyline or not. I’ll shoot for a nice 6-8 miler tomorrow (early AM) and then try to crank up the miles this weekend. I actually got a tennis ball out this morning so I could start rolling around on it to break up the trigger points in my legs and try to get rid of the ITBS for good (for now).

On a side note (and another reason why I love working at home), the train (ACE) coming back from the Bay Area to Stockton yesterday had to stop on the track before Pleasanton because the track up ahead had buckled due to the heat. Are you kidding me? This is the 2nd time I’ve been on the train in the last two weeks and it’s the 2nd time I’ve been delayed in the exact same spot. This time, we had to sit there for 3 hours!! If the AC wasn’t working, I probably would’ve jumped off and ran home (give or take 40 miles). Sheesh. That stunk because I didn't get to spend time with my boys when I got home last night.

Have a great rest of the week!


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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ultra...Painting?

Whenever I'm out of work for for more than a couple of days at a time (a week off in this case), I have a tendency to get far away from the computer and everything that exists in computerland (the blog, other people's blogs, email, news, etc.). In other words, I feel like I drift away from the world for awhile. I really start to miss reading the blogs and I feel like I missing out on certain events.

This week has been even more of a "where the hell am I" phase. For the last few days, I've been painting most of the downstairs of our house (kitchen, family room, office) and I today my body feels like I've been pressing 500 lbs over my head for a week. Holy sore muscles! Yes, I am definitely a sissy office worker these days. Oh well, the house looks great and now I can do something else for the rest of the week -- like run.

With the wife working today, I took the boys to the gym so I could blow off some steam (i.e. do something other than paint). They get to play in the kids area and I did 30 minutes of a random workout that I made up - 5 rounds of: 45 double-unders, 20 walking lunges, & 10 push ups. Then I followed with 5 minutes of death on the stair climber (basically, as hard as I could still go without falling off). Due to the knee, I've only run once in the last week & a half (a fun little five miler on Sunday from my house to my in-laws). Since I haven't been proactively treating my knee, I'm hoping the time off will help it out a little.

Tomorrow is my oldest son's 4th birthday so we'll be doing whatever he wants to do- probably bowling (real, not Wii) and the park. I'll be shooting for a nice 6 miler in the morning. I'm ready to start beating myself up again. Hope all is well in the connected world.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fire Down Below


Yes, it's the title of a bad movie starring Steven Seagal (actually, I never did see this but ever since "Marked For Death", I just couldn't take him seriously anymore - wait a second - I never took him seriously. I just wasn't entertained anymore). However, the title for this post refers to other "fires" currently going on in my world.




The first intended meaning for the title refers to the incredible amount of fires that are currently burning all over California. This is causing the central valley (a notoriously bad air quality area to begin with) to become filled with ash, soot and smoke from all over the place (the winds push the air in but can't push it out over the Sierra's). That means no running or swimming outside right now. I went outside this morning and I almost couldn't see the sun. Yuck. Add this to the out-of-nowhere allergies that have hit me and I'm a complete wreck on the inside. Good day to head into the gym for some Crossfit.



The second intended meaning of the title is the ongoing BS that is going on in my knee - the previously mentioned ITBS. The fire being the burning pain that comes on at the 7+ mile mark on my runs. Yes, I've become a bit lazy on my stretching and I still haven't gotten a foam roller for massaging the heck out of my legs ("you dumb bastard"). I guess I was really hoping for the injury ferry to come and take my pain away in the middle of the night. Maybe leave me an entry fee for an upcoming race under my pillow. I think at this point, I might need to just take a complete week or two off from running and concentrate on Crossfit and swimming to keep me conditioned. And just when my body feels fresh again this crud keeps me down.

Ok, no worries right? Time to readjust the priorities, reset the focus, modify the goals, reset...(cue noise from record needle scratching off the record) Alright, shut the hell up Mike. I'm pissed but I'm not giving up on the Skyline 50k in August just yet. Since I can't run for long distance right now, I'm gonna blast my insides away in the pool with some killer workouts from triathlon-land and hit the 3 days on, 1 day off pattern of Crossfit. This will actually improve my conditioning overall and at the same time, strengthen my core and upper leg muscles, which will be beneficial to my knee issue down the road. Will I actually stay off my legs? Probably not. I will probably stick to low mileage and wait to start ramping up the miles again.

These guys make me forget about ITBS

Last T-Ball game for the year. Way too hot for these little guys.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've Got a Dart in My Neck

Some random thoughts...

  • What an amazing finish to the US Open golf tourney. I like rooting for the underdog as much as the next person, but WOW, watching Tiger Woods win that tournament on Monday in a playoff was something else. Turns out, he was playing with a torn ligament and will need to miss the rest of the season.
  • On a recommendation from Bob Gentile, I've been reading the book, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. It's basically a book on self-treatment for pain relief, using trigger point therapy. I just finished reading about the essentials and techniques of the practice and I'm starting to get into the actual sections that focus on specific pains and treatments. I think this is gonna be one of those books that I start wearing out the pages. Thanks for the tip, Bob.
  • I've been running in the late afternoon/early evening for most of my runs lately and I really need to stop doing that. Yes, it's great for heat training but what the hell heat am I training for anyway? I'm feeling so beat up after these runs. I really need to get back to running in the AM or I'm never going to get any significant miles in.
  • I'm still not sure if I'm going to enter the Skyline 50k on Aug 3rd. This Saturday, I'll attempt to get in a nice 2 - 3 hour run and see if my body holds out. I'm really hoping this sluggishness I'm feeling is due mostly to the heat and running early will allow me to get out further and test my knee a little more. I've been wearing a strap above my knee for the ITBS and I'm already sick of that thing. If I decide to jump over something or squat down low, the stupid band comes ripping off. Lame. However, my knee hasn't hurt yet and that's saying something.

Workouts since the weekend:
Mon (6/16) - 8 miles @ 8:30 pace (turned to 9+ final two miles due to heat) - No problems with the knee again. I wanted to run a couple more miles, but I was completely out of fluid. The normal water cooler on the golf course by the trail was unfortunately empty, so I couldn't refill my bottles.

Tues (6/17) - Decided to head to the gym to avoid running in the heat again. Did the 6/16 Crossfit WOD:
(For time)
50 Sit-ups
50 Double-unders
50 Sit-ups
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Sit-ups
50 Burpees
50 Sit-ups

Ended up taking 20:54 to do this. I can't remember the last time I did 200 situps...and it showed.

For Today...
Since I didn't bother to get up early in the morning to run (for the 30th day in row), looks like I'll be out in the heat again. Think I'll do a little swim-run brick workout--> 1 mile EZ swim followed by 6 mile EZ run up the levee. Should be a severe butt kicking since I haven't done any double duty since last year. (And of course it will be hot outside again). Lessons learned: none.

Have fun out there.

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