Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Next Chapter Begins

Hello inner-Mike and any stragglers out there. This is obviously not the follow-up that I had in mind after my last post about my Miwok destruction. Nor was it supposed to be this long for a follow-up. My next post will summarize what's been going on over the last couple months (plus put a ending on the Miwok stuff). Also, I needed to make sure I got something done because I (1) needed to light a fire under my butt and (2) wanted to say hello to the outside world.

Next chapter begins now. Here I come.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Under-Trained and Frozen = DNF at Miwok 100k

Reality struck big time this past Saturday (5/2) as I ended up taking my first career DNF in a race (my long 1-year history of ultra's) at the Miwok 100k. Lots of emotion for me on this day and much of it was positive. The DNF basically came down to two things: Under-trained due to nursing injuries and frozen due to wind and cold rain. The combination ended up being too much for my body to overcome. More on this later. Before I get to the details, here are the final stats for the day (I would show this if I finished so I have to do it for a DNF):

Distance: 28 miles
Time: ~6 hours
Core Temp: Frozen

I setup reservations at a hotel in Sausalito for the weekend so I would have a quick ride to the race and a nice place to stay afterward to avoid driving all the way to Stockton. Plan was for my wife (Kristin) and I to arrive on Friday and enjoy some alone time and then have my parents and boys come in on Saturday to see the late stages of the race. So far so good. Enjoyed a great pasta dinner in dowtown Sausalito and then managed to get to bed at a decent hour after getting my drop bags and race gear ready for the next day. Set two alarms for 4:30 AM.

[Insert that stupid alarm clock sound and some extremely annoying music] Got up with no issues and the wife and I headed out the door at 5:00 AM. I had easy directions to the race but of course, never actually checked the route the previous night. That would have been a great idea since of course we ended up missing the key turn (too dark) and were heading straight for the Golden Gate Bridge. "Babe, please flip a U-turn now or I'll never make it back here". That would be right as we're about to cross where it says "No U-Turns". That was close. As we turn around I pick up the directions but we've now added on an extra 15 minutes. After trying to see in the fog and dark, we eventually make it to the starting area, 15 minutes until start time. No problem - I didn't want to wait out in the cold anyways. Only thing I wanted to do was register, fill up my water bottles, set out my drop bags and see if I could find anyone I knew. Will Gotthardt came by and said hello while I was in line to register and I found Rick Gaston and Suzanne Carrier and said hello to both. I had never met Suzanne before but had seen her all over the place and knew who she was through my friend and pacer for the day, Victoria. Was nice to meet her finally and didn't realize it at the time, but she would be mixed up in my later events and memories from this race. The race director called everyone to the beach for the start. Kristin walked me down with the rest of the runners and within minutes, we were off.

On the beach - ready to roll. Just fog here but the wet stuff is coming.

To be continued. Next up: Unclogging the start, "Oh my God, I'm running in a race!", 1st 10k done and changing weather. A few pictures as well. (if I could find my camera cable)


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Time

It's been one hell of a couple months since my last race. After running Woodside, I felt great and had a feeling that my running would be going to the next level this year. Unfortunately, I may have jumped back in too hard the next week and paid the price over the last 2 months. And hey, just like that, the Miwok 100k has arrived this Saturday.

What I originally thought was strictly a calf-related injury, turned out to be more of an achilles tendinitis issue. Over the last few weeks I've been strengthening my support muscles and have learned some new techniques for taping and wrapping my legs to provide comfort. Up until this week, I wasn't sure what would happen this weekend. Now, I'm feeling much more confident and excited to get out there and just be apart of a race environment.

Looking out towards the Marin Headlands from the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley. I'll see you on Saturday.

Normally, I'll set up some nice goals for my races ranging from super conservative to "wow that would be cool". This time, I'm not going to do that (at least not use the word goal). However, here is what I'm looking forward to on Saturday:

  • Enjoy the race environment. The course, runners, scenery, etc.
  • Seeing running friends that I haven't seen since at least February.
  • Running with my pacer, Victoria.
  • Watching some ridiculously fast runners out there.
  • Finishing the race!
  • Post race festivities - beer, food, hallucinating, leg replacement
I'll be staying in Sausalito this weekend with my better half on Friday and then my boys and parents will be coming in on Saturday. We decided to stay another night on Saturday so we wouldn't have to drive back to Stockton after the race.

Looking forward to the weekend!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No Foolin'...It's Healin'

Happy April Fools Day. I think I can actually say that my leg is healing up. That's what not running on it will do for you (OK, I lied, I played softball on Monday night and was running). Here's what I've been doing to save my sanity and let me be able to run healthy soon...

  • Stretching - Three+ times per day I'm doing 3 types of wall push-ups and some other stretches. Looking to add some yoga days in here.
  • Rolling - I'm gonna unleash my dog on this thing soon and let him tear it to shreds. Just a big, blue foam piece of crap. Works and is less expensive than getting a massage (Oh yeah...I'm in the process of scheduling a massage). Great at getting those knots and junk out of the legs.
  • Not Running - Ok, this isn't really saving my sanity, but it's probably the #1 remedy for not re-injuring myself. (What an awful thing)
  • Cross-training - I've been all over the board with this but I've been working on a few different things: swimming & biking for cardio; weights for hamstrings and thighs; Core exercises for, well, the core. Need to support those calf muscles.
  • Positive Thinking - What good is it if I'm depressed and complaining all the time about not running? Since my training is going to be nowhere near where it should be for Miwok, I'll have to rely on mental toughness and positive thoughts to make it through. Good time to start is now.
Glorybelle (from Get Out There and Run Already!) had a great quote today about courage from To Kill a Mockingbird (excuse me for stealing this)...
“I wanted you to see what real courage is... It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
I don't think there is any better quote for me right now heading into Miwok. She's also having some of the same injury issues I'm having and has a nice entry today on basically starting over and rebuilding her base miles for a future of 100% healthy running (instead of 90%).

Good luck with your training and races everyone. Stay healthy!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Losing, But Not Lost

It's been rough for the past month and a half from the running front. My left calf continues to be a nuisance and I can't really figure out what to do with it. Just when I think I'm past it, the discomfort comes back the next week. "Think positive".

Last Saturday, after my boys basketball game (organized chaos), I headed out for an 11-mile run home. Running felt great and things were going well until the last mile - had the old junk in the calf pop up once again. I stopped for a second, wrapped the hell out of my calf, and then continued on my way home. What's really weird is that after icing and rolling and stretching, the leg is basically fine again. This is where I'm confused on this injury.

Yesterday, I decided to do a 1.5 hour treadmill hill workout. Strangely, running up hills right now is the only thing that really doesn't bother my calf (I guess that's a good thing for Miwok). I might just have to keep any outdoor running to 8 or less miles of maintenance. How can I not run in this weather?

Congratulations to all my running buddies who've been hitting the trails and performing in races. I've really enjoyed reading all the blog entries. I've been itching to get out there and can't wait to see everyone again.

I'm not doing any races before Miwok, but I'll probably head out to Diablo on 4/19 to volunteer. Lots of faces and fast runners to see there. Hopefully, I'll be healthy the next time PCTR is back at Diablo in June.

Happy training and racing everyone!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


OK, I never really make that sound, but if definitely explains how I'm feeling today. I've been icing the hell out of my knee and as I hoped, the swelling and pain are down considerably. I think I can safely say that it was just a good tweak on the ligament and no damage. I actually walked 2.5 miles today and it only really hurt me when I went down a step or made a severe right turn (which I tried to avoid). I'll keep icing it tonight and then hopefully it will be completely gone within the next couple of days. 

I managed to find my old knee brace and I've put that to good use the last couple days. It basically 
restricts the lateral movement at the knee. Perfect! The "good" thing about this injury compared to a muscle pull/strain/etc., is that I'm not really worried about re-injuring the leg when I'm running. (Nobody move or say anything). Gotta love the optimism.

Take care and happy training. Here I come.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Give Me a Break Already

I'm ready to drop-kick my computer right now creating this post. First the good news- the calf muscle is feeling good and passed the running & softball tests yesterday. Great. Now comes the bad part...As I was backing up the 3rd baseman on a throw, my right foot caught the ground and caused my knee to twist a little (and I thought I heard a pop). That hurt kind of bad but the pain went away after a few minutes and I didn't notice any swelling or soreness. It's the outside of the knee, which I believe is the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Last night when I got home, I put it on ice and it was still not swollen or very sore.

Fast forward to about 4:00 AM this morning and I semi-wake up to change positions ... ouch! That sucker tightened up and swelled up in those few hours from the previous night. It's now relatively painful to bend my leg and definitely painful to try and turn it in or out. (Insert swearing here)

Of course what this all means is no running again. Oh man. This is not what I planned on when I signed up for the Miwok 100k. I'm still planning on running but my goal is turning into pure survival at this point. Where I had once thought of breaking 12 hours, I'll be lucky to finish the damn race. Yes, this is the point where I'm extremely bitter and frustrated. Talk about your fluke injuries. All I can do is hope that it was just a stretch of the ligament and nothing else. You and I both know the routine...let it heal and then resume training. This probably guarantees that I won't be doing the Diablo Marathon now. I'll save everything I have until Miwok.

Still need to be optimistic because in the grand scheme of things it's just a race (I deleted this line 4 times already - go to hell optimism). I really want to just run. Is that so hard? 

Bye for now, happier entries soon.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shhhh...You Might Wake Me

Alright, time to come back from wherever the hell I've been. I still owe a race report from Woodside (and I'll get to it), but here's a quick summary of what's been happening.

On Monday (2/15), I managed to do "something" to my left calf and it has prevented me from doing any real running since. I think what it comes down to is the fact that I was a little hard on my training after the Woodside run (where of course I felt great). That's right, it's my friend the overuse injury. The "good" news is that this isn't the same injury bugging me last year (oh and the ITB is fine).

I spent the rest of that week stretching, icing, rolling, praying, and doing anything to get it heeled and feeling better. By the end of the week, I felt it was good enough to continue a lighter training schedule. So this past Monday, I did a 3-mile easy run and the leg felt ok. Problem is, I didn't have a chance to ice it or stretch it properly. Guess what? I played softball that night and after cruising around first base on my way to second base, I could feel it tighten up and bite me a little bit. So back to square one.

Returning to today, it feels ok again. I'll continue icing it and doing the normal voodoo stuff to make it better. Once again, I'll wait until Monday to test it out again. However, this time I'll ice it and stretch it properly before beating it up at softball again.

This definitely puts me behind on my Miwok training. I am an optimist so all I can say is "who gives a rat's arse". I'll  be fine. I'll continue to work on my leg strength and resume hill workouts once the leg comes back around. Motivation is still high and this unintential rest could be good for me in the long run. 

I've been reading everyone else's blogs so thanks for the entertainment. More to come soon. Good to be back.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Woodside Fun

Great time yesterday in Woodside for the 35k. Here is the brief summary:

Distance: 35k (22 miles)
Time: 3:22:52 (9:13 pace)
Place: 16th (7th in M30-39 age group)

Ran better than I thought I would run this early in the year. ITB is a bit sore but should be ok. Beautiful park. Great race setup (PC Trail Runs are the best). Great runners and volunteers.

Race report coming soon.


Thursday, February 5, 2009


We got some much needed rain today and it looks like it will continue on through tomorrow. I'm happy to see the rain because I'd like to be able to shower this summer (drought). However, I'm curious as to what this is going to do the trails in Woodside for the race this Saturday. I read some of the PCTR message board posts after the last rain and most folks seemed to agree that the trails don't get to that sticky mud condition. For me, only sandy trails are worse to run in than sticky mud. For a 200-lb guy, you quickly pack on another few pounds of mud on each foot. Regardless of the weather, I'm really fired up for the 35k. Time to see what kind of early-season shape I'm in. (Cue the bad news sound effect from Sesame Street)

So speaking of too much weight...I weighed myself at the gym yesterday and was not pleased with what came up on the scale. I think I gained back everything I took off after the holidays - probably all on Sunday and Monday. Sunday was obviously the Super Bowl party pig-out festival. "You mean I can stop eating and drinking at any time?" Then Monday, we had our softball playoffs (we had the #1 seed but our offense took a dump in the title game and we lost - sorry sponsor). We normally have our after-game beers but of course this time, we had to make a bigger deal and have more beer and food. Somebody shoot me. At least the motivation picks up after that.

Training has been going well...

Sunday: 8.5 mi tempo run
Monday: 6 mi. EZ
Tuesday: 6 mi. EZ with some small hill repeats
Wed: Into the pool...1600 yds (300 warm-up, 10 x 100 repeats, 300 cool down) + 300 double-unders

Today I'll probably head to the gym for some light hill-work and some weights. I'm trying not to do too much this week (ie. mini-taper). Even though I'm calling this a training run on Saturday, I still don't want to have dead legs heading into it.

Next Monday, I'll get back to the longer runs and continue the push to Miwok. Everyone have a great rest of the week. Happy training.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So Far, So Good

Monday was the start of the official training for Miwok. Sure enough, it happened to coincide with a new change in the weather once again - cold. Didn't stop me from what I had planned - 1 hour run in the morning and 1.5 hours in the evening. Total distance was approx 16 miles (7 in the morning and 9 in the evening). At this point, I'm worrying more about time on my feet than distance covered. Yesterday was an off-day for running so I hit the pool for a little workout. Today, I'll be going out for little LT (lactate threshold) run. These always make me nervous because my injuries tend to pop up when I'm pushing the pace. I'll be spending some extra time stretching following these workouts from now on. By the way, I'm basically following the training program that was in the Trail Runner race issue this past month. It's similar to what I wanted to do but it's based on time rather than distance.

I officially signed up for the PCTR Woodside 35k on Feb 7th. My first race of the year! I'm not sure if race is the right word here, but I'm really excited to be hitting the trails and Woodside has been on my list of places to run. I was looking over the entries for the races and noticed that Beverly Anderson-Abbs was running the 50k. She is a stud and I can't wait to see her run. Joining me on the 35k is Miss Flirty 'n Dirty herself. I'm looking forward to running with her since the last time we were in the same race at Skyline to the Sea, she ended up breaking a couple bones in her foot (Knock on wood).

Goals for the race? Stay injury free. That's the big one. Finish of course. Also, I'm looking to stay ahead of the 50k runners for as long as possible. They will be heading out 45 minutes ahead of the 35k runners and we'll all be coming back on the same route after they tack on an extra 15k. I'd like to see if I can make it to the turnaround point before they start coming back. Should be interesting.

Enjoy the day and week everyone. Good health to all...


Thursday, January 22, 2009

What is this Stuff?

Something weird is happening around here in California - it's raining! We've had some really strange weather over the past few weeks - really cold (again, using the California factor) and then really warm - 70 degrees this past weekend! The one thing that has been missing, and needed the most, is rain. Well yesterday and today it finally showed up. Thank God. Without a bunch of rain in the winter and a nice snow-pack in the Sierra Mountains, we end up having a serious shortage of water during the dry summer months. In case you didn't know, most of California is really a desert without the water. Getting dumped on by the rain is nice to see - let's try and avoid a drought this year - we have enough issues as it is.

Begin the random thoughts...

  • Last Saturday (1/17), I was out in Pacifica to volunteer at the PCTR Pacifica Trail Run (9k, 21k, 30k, & 50k distances). Unbelievable weather out in Pacifica (right next to the ocean). It was my first time that I've actually see the trails that are run on and they are amazing. Had a really good time volunteering and cheering on some friends - Christy, Victoria and JoLynn. They all did the 21k and seemed to be having a great time - well, maybe not Christy. Turns out she caught a branch or something and ended up taking a nasty spill. As of today, her arm is in a sling, she has a slightly blackened eye and some other various soreness. MRI is scheduled for today or tomorrow I believe.

Christy, JoLynn and Victoria after the 21k on Saturday - Christy looks better than she feels here.

  • Trying to figure out my next (or first) race is for the year. GB sent me a message saying she was doing the 35k at Woodside (Feb 7) and asked if I was going to run it. My plan was to either do Woodside or Sequoia (Feb 28). By the 7th, I'll be ready for the 35k but probably not the full 50k. I would love to do both dates but a certain thing called reality prevents me from doing that. I'm working on getting the boss to try out the 10k on the 7th at Woodside so I can go and run the longer distance with no questions asked (and no guilt) "Love you honey!"
  • Heading out in a few minutes to have a fun little 8-10 mile run in the rain. Should be fun unless I'm freezing at the end - next post will be describing the pneumonia process.
  • On a Mr. Mom note, child #2 has almost mastered going #2. The wife and I are almost ready to declare that our second boy is officially potty-trained. Yes, it's sad that he's growing fast, but wow, have you seen the price of diapers? I still have to wipe his butt so it's not like he's leaving the house or anything like that.
  • Ending with a clip my friend sent me. Ladies have their walk-in closets, but what about the guys?

Have a great rest of the week everyone. Keep the faith and get those runs in...


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rolling Along

Almost weekend time and for most people this means a 3 or 4 day weekend. For my company? Negative. Haven't really figured out why MLK day isn't a mandatory holiday. Seems to me that it sends out a rather interesting (in a bad way) message.

As for running, good week so far as I've been adding on to where I started last week:

- Monday: 7 miles @ 52 min
- Tuesday: 6 hilly miles on the treadmill at the gym (yes, this year a lot more emphasis is being placed on hills)
- Wednesday: 30 minutes on the stair climber (the rotating version). Wanted to swim but the aqua-ladies were in the pool at the gym (not a big pool) doing their water aerobics stuff.
- Thursday (today): Heading out for a 10-12 miler shortly.

The weather is freakin' amazing right now. Cold (by California standards) in the morning and warm during the day (65 degrees yesterday!).

Other goodies:

  • Scott Dunlap (A Trail Runner's Blog) has a nice interview with with John Trent from the Western States Board of Trustees. Scott and John discuss the purpose and duties of the Board of Trustees.
  • I'll be heading out to Pacifica on Saturday morning to volunteer at the PCTR Pacifica 9k/21k/30k/50k. I've been wanting to volunteer for awhile but haven't had a chance due to holidays, kids, wife, etc. I love the people at the PCT events - and I could use some discounted entries for future races as well.
  • I have started training for the 100k already, but my official crazy training will start on the 25th of this month. I'm breaking up the training into 3 4-week cycles - each time, cutting back on the 4th week (plus a 2-week taper before the race). Unlike last year, I feel that I have a good base to work with now so I just need to be careful to avoid any nagging injuries (e.g. IT-band & calf). So far so good...knock on wood.
  • Oh yeah...saw Rick Gaston in the latest Trail Runner magazine (Race Issue 2009, Issue 56, pg 49). They had a nice article on the Firetrails 50 race and showed him and a couple other runners charging up the MacDonald Grade.
Good luck running this weekend. Stay healthy everyone and keep the faith.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Baby Come Back

The hibernation is over and it's time to get the juices rolling again in the new year. First off, Happy New Year to everyone. As is the norm for me, once the vacation starts, I have a hard time getting near my computer for any sort of regular updating and reviewing of blogs. Oh well. That time is over and it's time to move forward in a brand new year - 2009.

I'll hold off on the extended recap of the break. Basically, it was a lot of time with my family and friends and limited time in the gym and on the road/trail. Let's call it extremely limited maintenance mode. In the end, that equalled 7 pounds on the scale.

So what's up for this year? Yes, it's going to be challenging again in all aspects of life - family, financial, athletic, spiritiual, etc. However, each success brings greater pleasure when overcoming such hardships. Last week, I got the lead out and started up the training again ("YES!"). Nothing huge, but accomplished what I wanted to:

Mon: 4 hilly miles on the treadmill + 5 minutes of Double Unders (~200)
Tue: 6 miles out on the levee @ 50 minutes
Wed: Into the pool - Swam 1 mile
Thurs: Deadlifts + 7.3 hilly miles on the treadmill @ 60 minutes
Fri: Off
Sat: 8 miles @ 1:10

So I got the cobwebs out last week and now will start increasing the miles and time on my feet. Body feels good (heavy, but good) and my motivation is flying off the charts. Go away holiday fat!

Got my first bit of good news on Saturday - I made it into the lottery for the Miwok 100k (May 2). That's right folks - moving up to the 62 mile mark. I'm so excited for this race due to many factors - amazing talent, historic race/course, incredible challenge, my first 100k distance. All things that are easy to utilize for motivation and inspiration. I'm looking forward to a great challenge.

My only other big running goal for the year (other than staying healthy) is to complete a 100-miler. Which one and when will be decided later in the year. I'll have to see what kind of shape I'm in after Miwok. For filler races, I'd like to do a 50k in later Feb or early March and maybe even one in April to get race-ready for the 100k in May. Enough for now. Good to be back!


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