Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year End Round Up

As the final hours of 2008 slip away, I present you with a year in statistics, key moments in the life of a runner. Many of these statistics have been diligently tracked using Fitness Journal, and many of the memorable moments that have occurred with the West Side - Team in Training. Enjoy.

Totals for 2008:

Miles Run: 1670.65
Miles Cycled: 1326.60
Hours Exercised: 414.6
Number of Workouts: 486
Calories Burned (Approx): 609,882
Half Marathons: 3
Full Marathons: 2
Other Distance Events: 1 (An 18K Trail Race)
Personal Bests Set: 3

Memorable Moments in Exercise - 2009:

Breaking four hours in the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage, and more generally speaking, getting to travel to Alaska and see how amazing it is up there.

Running the Disney World Full Marathon for the first time, and then getting a massage the next day! And making my Mom run the 5K in the Animal Kingdom. Little did she know that she'd be doing the Half Marathon in '09!

Buying a bike in March. One of the best investments I've ever made.

Signing up and then running the Point Mugu Trail Run, and having no idea it would be so insanely steep.

Mentoring the Spring Season of Team in Training. And getting to hang out with these folks:

Celebrating my birthday by running 24 laps around my neighborhood (12 miles) before going to work.

Setting a personal best at Santa Barbara (with Lindsey!) at the half marathon there in October.

Signing up for the American River 50. Hopefully it's completion will be celebrated on next years list.

Have a safe and healthy New Year's eve. Enjoy the festivities! See you in '09.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Story of a Faceplant

I am known for falling when I go running. A couple seasons ago, I feel on my face during two consecutive weeks, and banged up my knee each time. But I argue that, for as many miles as I log each year, I have a very low miles-to-faceplant ratio.

This is evidence to the contrary.

Friday morning. 20 degrees outside. 8:00am.

Mom and I go for her longest (and peak) run of the season - 12 miles. It's a new course in a neighboring town. It's rural (no sidewalks, narrow streets, some without lines) and woodsy. The whole day is planned. We will run, go to breakfast and then I will go back and add another 6 miles on the treadmill.

About 1.5 miles into the run, I see a sidewalk. We should run on that. "Watch out, though," I say to her as I step up on the sidewalk. "It's slippery."

And, midway through the word "slippery" I fall. Sideplant. Right on the left knee and hip. But it doesn't hurt too much. We continue to run.

Although its freezing and I'm wearing shorts, I feel like the slip helped my left leg warm up. It feels a little warmer. We continue to run some more.

At mile 2.5 we climb to the top of a hill. I turn around to cheer my mom on to get to me at the top. But as I do, her face looks at me in horror. "Em, your leg!"

I look down. My whole left leg is a waterfall of blood. My sock is totally red and my shoe is soaking up some of it. I don't have a band aid or a napkin. All I have is our map. So paper product it is. I mop up, and we decide that the bleeding isn't stopping, we have to run back and clean me up. I was bleeding all over my cool new Christmas present, the Brooks Nightlife shirt.

So I don't stop bleeding until the car ride home. We bandage me up and head out to finish the rest of the 12 miles around our town. Less fun that exploring some place new, but a good run nonetheless.

Turns out the scrapes weren't all that bad. They're very shallow, but because I was flexing my knee and had no pressure to put on it, I just kept on bleeding.

Post Script - 15 miles this morning and no knee problems. Just a bloody shoe.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Top of the Mountain

7:30am - Going to do the final peak workout before the Goofy Challenge, and before Mom's first half marathon.

12 miles outside (its 20 degrees out!) with Mom for her final big run. Then picking up some produce at Whole Foods, then back here to finish the final 6 miles of my long run (I'm not going to peak at 20 - I've got enough miles on my legs this week).


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's bound to happen.

Transplant someone from 60-70 degree weather to 10-20 degree weather via a nightmarish three-flight redeye itinerary - a cold will find you.

Sinus headaches, congestion and runny nose have all befallen me over the past three days. Luckily, there is an exercising rule that has (so far) benefited me. If you are sick "above the shoulders" you are okay to exercise. So ENT stuff like sinuses don't have to hold me back. Anything below the shoulders (stomach, chest, etc) are grounds for copious amounts of rest. The only stomach problem I seem to have lately is being hungry. So onward with training.

The other setback I have experienced this week is rather junvenile. I hurt my shoulder and back playing Nintendo Wii. Yeah. I'm that person. I played all of the Wii Sports games, and I think somewhere between Tennis and Baseball, I got a little too into it. I'm still very sore. It's been two days.

Despite the grey and wet weather here in CT, I'll still get 50 miles in this week. I've got 14 thus far, with 9 more planned for tomorrow, 18 for Friday (12 outside with Mom, and 6 on the treadmill), and 9 for Sunday. Fuel won't be a problem - tomorrow night's Xmas dinner is an antipasta platter, salmon, vegetables and mashed potatos. Yum! Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Home for the Holidays

It's been a busy past two/three days as I made my way across the storm-stricken country back to New England. My itinerary was a gamble, I knew this ahead of time - two different airlines, three flights, including a layover during a red eye. It was a BAD gamble.

Original itinerary had me flying from LA to Vegas at 9pm at night, then catching a different carrier's red eye flight from Vegas to Cincinnati, and then Cincinnati back to New England.

Well, because it snowed in Vegas and it NEVER snows in Vegas, planes were delayed big time. My first flight was delayed almost two hours, causing me to miss my 11:55pm flight out of Sin City. And, thus, making me miss my connection in Cin City.

And would you believe that in Vegas, the airport basically shuts down after 11pm. I managed to catch an over-sold flight to Minneapolis that left at 1am. And by the grace of my SkyMiles points, also flew standby on a 7:00am from Minneapolis to our home airport.

But the ulcers caused by the journey may never heal! I'm a planner, and nothing went according to plan. Lucky for me, I got home Saturday midmorning. Had I been delayed longer, I may not be writing this from home. It might be typed from another airport in the midwest. Flights appear to be at a standstill.

So what was to be my "rest day" for training turned out to be unrestful, despite my lack of formal exercise. I did run through the Vegas airport carrying my 20 pound suitcase, so that has to count for something. And the stomach clenching I involuntarily performed while waiting to see if I'd get on a plane was the equalvalent to a two-hour ab workout.

Yesterday I got back to normal, if normal is defined by a long, mind-numbing treadmill run for three hours. 18 miles on the little hamster wheel. Music, CSI: NY and HGTV kept my sanity in a healthy range. Following the workout with Recoverite, which I am trying for the first time. Seemed to work because today I feel great. Hungry, yes, but great.

Looking forward to the "vacation" schedule at home. I can workout when I want to - I don't have to rise at 5am to get in miles before work. Although the departure from my routine does throw me for a loop (again, I am a planner), it's nice to take it easy for a couple of weeks.

And speaking of a couple of weeks - 3 weeks until THE GOOFY CHALLENGE!

Image: and

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Homeward Bound...

Once again I find myself on the precipace of another journey ... going home for the holidays. But not before wrapping up a week of lots of running!

After Monday's rest day, Tuesday-Thursday was filled with long, cold miles. Tues (9) and Wed (5) were pleasant, if not a little chilly. This morning's run (9) was a little wetter. I doubled up on shirts because of the weather (high 30s, FREEZING for SoCal) and only the undershirt was a wick-away. So I sweated through it, but the outer layer (a fleece) kept all that sweat on me. The results were fairly uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, tomorrow morning is another 9 miles, putting me at 32 miles for the weekday. Friday night's red-eye (with a layover in Cincinnati at 3:30am!) and Saturday's arrival give my legs a chance to rest before 18 miles on Sunday. I can't believe this is only the beginning of ultra training. It's going to be a long 16 weeks!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend Recap

Less than a month until the Goofy Challenge
Ultra Marathon Training Week 2

Weekly Mileage: 48
Cross Training: 80 minutes (40 only weights / 40 aerobic weights)
Total Workout Time: 9.1 hours

I’m getting more and more excited for the upcoming Disney Races. As you can probably tell from the title of this journal, the Goofy Challenge has been a year in the making for me. And it’s been a year of training for my Mom for the half marathon – I’m sure she’s just as excited to get the races completed as I am. And most importantly, I’m looking forward to spending a week in the parks! I don’t expect too many crowds, so we will be able to get a lot done in the days we are there.

Also of note, I completed my second of 18 weeks of ultra training for the Sacramento race. As you can see, I’m logging not only my mileage and cross-training, but the total time of my feet as well. I’ve read a lot that, beyond medium weekday and long weekend runs, it’s important to stay on your feet as much as possible over the weekend in order to simulate the race conditions. A 50 mile run will take me double-digit hours, but my peak training will only take me to 9 hours over two days (30 miles Saturday and 20 miles Sunday). So in order to condition myself for the day’s event, I’m really paying attention to staying up and active after my Sat/Sun workouts.

Outside of actual running, I spent a lot of time around the sport and around runners this weekend. Saturday, my teammate Seth and I tabled for Team in Training at the Santa Monica/Venice Holiday race. I squeezed in 16 miles before the evening. Saturday night I went to Brett's Going Away Dinner (the first of two), and all in attendance were running friends. After another LSD on Sunday (9 miles), I went to Sports Chalet to pick up a new hydration pack and some endurance food (Jelly Belly Sport, Shot Blocks, Cliff Z-Bars, Soyjoys).

Today is a rest day with a full week of workouts ahead. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday all consist of 9 miles runs, and Wednesday is a 5 miler followed by 30 minutes of weights. Friday night I head back east for two weeks, where both the temperature and the terrain will force me to adapt my workouts a bit. Some treadmill time, some more rolling New England hillsides.

Friday, December 12, 2008

That Remains the Party Line

Just finished up both BL Workout DVDs for today's cross training. The workouts are about 80 minutes, so its comparable to a 9 mile run. Popped right out of bed at 5:30 this morning. The early hours no longer tax me. Good thing, too, because I've got to be over in Venice Beach tomorrow morning at 6am to work a race for Team in Training.

And now more related to the title of this post. This week and next week are filled with a couple different gatherings and parties I'm attending. A TNT leadership meeting and a crew holiday party occupied two nights this week. This weekend is a going away dinner for a friend, and next week has two nights of dinners with friends/film people and another going away dinner for the same friend (different social circle).

For me, that's a lot of a gathering in two weeks. I enjoy the get-togethers, but they can be tiring after a while. Additionally, I am not drinking an alcohol (with maybe the exception of Christmas Day, New Years Eve and the day after the Goofy Challenge) until my ultramarathon is over.

I'm not a big drinker in the first place. Maybe a glass of wine here and there. Maybe half a beer when I go out to drinks with a coworker or friend. But those times are few and far between. So it's not much of a sacrifice. That said, holiday parties and the like center around alcohol (at least, the ones I attend do...what can I say, I have fun friends). But I am committing to drinking normal liquids (water, coffee, tea and such) free of any alcohol because I want to be at my best while training for this crazy race.

The exceptions to the rule are made with the certainty that I will only have a glass of wine or two at each. No more. And they are supplements to a celebration, not a way of getting through the evening.

I made it through this week's parties without even the temptation to grab a beer. Next week I plan to do the same. I consider this the mental and willpower side of my training - outside of the physical conditioning. Training well, training properly, is key to a successful race. And I need all of the perfection and clear-headedness I can get for the 50 miles ahead of me!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Consequences of Frequently Running Long Distances

...Laundry! I have a lot of laundry to do. I'm usually a once-a-week launderer, but working out 6 days a week in cold weather has left me a pile of sweaty long-sleeved shirts and pants.

...Food! I've run six 9-mile morning runs in the past two weeks, and I'm noticably hungrier. I've always had an appetite, but now I'm in some sort of survival mode. Last night I had a meeting across town after work (in LA, that means an hour away with traffic). I arrived a couple minutes early, and I immediately scoured the area for something to eat. Luckily the ubiquitous Subway chain had staked claim to one strip mall. Crisis averted with a veggie grinder.

...Sleep! The meeting went until 9pm. Lately, I've been getting into bed around 8:30pm, so this was past my bedtime. I got home at 10 and was out by 10:20. Tonight is a similiarly tight schedule. Holiday party with our production crew after work. Hopefully I can get in a hour of socializing before getting home and to sleep before 9:30pm.

...Rest! Today is my first real rest day in two weeks. I have been cross training once a week, and running various distances the other days. Today I've enstated a moratorium on physical activity. The legs will appreciate it, I think. Waking up this morning and not putting on workout clothes was a little weird, but pleasent. And now, it's time for work.

Monday, December 8, 2008

UPDATED: I'm not crazy ... relatively speaking

Despite my love of running and a general contentment with constantly being in motion, I'm not crazy.

This is crazy. The mad scientist, Harvard doctor Harvey Simon has run EVERY DAY since Oct. 30th, 1978.

I bet that day he didn't realize that he'd just keep going for 30 years.

Perseverance will out. And although it's probably not the healthiest thing for his joint, if it makes him happy and he's not hurting his family with the crazy miles, then keep on truckin' doc!

Article via ThatsFit.Com and Image via

UPDATE: The source article from the Wall Street Journal gives a little more humanity to this man. It's pretty awesome.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cross Training on PCH

After a week full of mid/long distance runs, I switched over to a 90 minute bike ride on Sunday. Brett and I went over to Pepperdine and road north along the Pacific Coast Highway. It was about 2pm, so the sun was on its way down. Nothing like some million dollar, beach front houses to distract you from to pretty steep hill climbs.

The sun along Zuma Beach, Malibu

Looking south toward Santa Monica

Not my apartment

Naturally, the sign I remember most clearly

Brett wouldn't let me take only landscape pictures

Heading's a bigger downhill (and uphill on the return) than it looks!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Quick Notes as the Week Winds Down

A semblance of random neuron firings before I go to bed:

--I've started my ultra training 2 weeks early because, hey, you can't be too prepared.

--I've also started a club (membership one: me) that gets up at 5:40am to go running for 5-9 miles. It's a jet lag hangover from Thanksgiving that I am trying to extend as long as possible - as is evidence by the reference to "go to bed" and timestamp of this post, around 8:50pm.

--There is something very peaceful about running while the world sleeps (either at night or in the morning). Riverside drive (and the Bob's Big Boy it houses) is all quiet until about 7:30am.

--I found three socks with holes this week. Two were good socks (Balega), and one wasn't, but I found the hole while I was on a run. Later, I found a blister on my heel.

--23 miles down this week. 9 or so more tomorrow morning. Going biking riding with my friend Brett on Saturday, then a long run on Sunday. It's a good schedule.

--Just over a month until Mom and I head to Disney for the races and then vacation!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mid trip recap

I am sitting in Vegas waiting to depart for los angeles, so I figured I'd catch up on the recaps I promised. Please forgive spelling errors, the keys on this phone are lilliputian!

Last sunday I returned to TNT for a 20 mile run with the group that is running the Honolulu marathon in a couple weeks. I've be reluctant to recap it because recapturing the run is not something I can accurately do. It was a great run, comfortable pace, good company ( me, chris, joe, and joe's friends dash and caspar). It took us about 3:10 to finish but it really felt like it flew by. The crude humor of 20something frat boys also helped.

I'm feeling pretty good about the Goofy race in 6 weeks. It will be a lot of miles in 2 days for me and consecutive 3am wake up calls. But I think my year long training plan will prevail.

Between now and Goofy I start my 50 miler program, but the training workouts that come before the Goofy race are not all that different from my normal routine. So it shouldn't stress my legs too much.

Speaking of not stressing my legs, today is clearly a travel day, no workout time available...nevertheless I am hungry!!

I wish Southwest offered sandwiches. Peanuts just don't cut it.

20 mins til takeoff. More posts later!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Updates on Sunday's 20 miles and today's Manchester Road Race with the family to come later tonight...

In the meantime, I'm strapping on the feedbag and putting down as much non-meat holiday food as I can.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Plan B

It's hard to be upset about a cancelled race when there are hundreds of people who have lost their homes to the fires north, west, and south of me. It's horrible, and gives a little perspective on life - running is just running.

I decided not to go back to sleep after reading the Cancellation email. Thought I might try and get in a long run down by the beach where the air might be clearer. Hopped in the car and headed west. Took the 405 south to the beach. It's a highway that climbs over the Hollywood Hills and connects the valley to the city. As I hit the top of the hill, I looked in my rear view mirror. Back in the distance, maybe 20-30 miles north of the freeway - flames. Terrifying. Bright orange masses glowing in the dark. For as hard at the media works to cover the stories (and lord knows they cover it incessantly), TV images don't compare to seeing it out your window.

Got to Santa Monica at 5:30am. Still dark. Took off along Ocean Avenue. Very quiet. One other runner, a couple valets at the hotel and the infrequent dog walker here and there. I felt the itchiness in my throat from the smoke I couldn't see.

As the sun started to come up around 6am, I saw just how pink/orange/brown and smoky the sky was. The smokle from fires in SFV, Yorba Linda, and (probably) Montecito still all converged on Santa Monica. So I was wrong - the beach was not the place to run.

Cut my run very short, only doing 4.75 miles. Back in the car and heading home by 6:30am. The sun was finally rising as I got back to Burbank. Skies were much less smoky, but decided to play it safe and run on the gym treadmill at my apt complex. I've lived here over a year and never once worked out in the gym. Too small. I sweat a lot. Took to the treadmill for another 8.3 miles.

All in all, a half marathon day. Not too bad, although since I did take it easy the whole week, I'm short on my average miles by about 8. Oh well, there is always another week ahead.

Hopefully tomorrow the skies will clear and I will have the motivation to wake up early before work and run a couple miles in the park.

Total Bummer

Total Bummer: 4:15am ... and I just got the dreaded email.

Marathon has been cancelled due to health concerns surrounding the wildfires in Los Angeles.

Tough to hear, but it's probably the right decision. I'm sure it's even more of the bummer for the organizers since this was their inagural event. I can go run another race next weekend ... but their work is much harder to replicate at such short notice on a different date.

Well, since I'm awake, I'm off to go running...depending on the air quality outside, I might hit the gym. I'll try and bang out 20 miles or so!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

20 Hours Til Pasadena...

And as if 90 degrees and windy conditions aren't enough, it appears that though we will contend with fire as well. North of Pasadena, the Angeles National forest in Sylmar is burning. Pardon my glibness at such a dangerous events, but ... there goes the clean air.

As Christine at SneakerStories remarked,

The forecast is for 90°F weather. In case you've missed tearing a few pages from the old calendar - it's November. The average high in Pasadena is 74°F; the record high: 90°F (1949). Yep, I'll be doing a half marathon in heat that Pasadena hasn't seen in November in 60 years.

One day I'm just going to get it over with and do a race on the surface of the sun.

If I hear of any more earthquake/hurricane/tornado/hail, I'll post.


Friday, November 14, 2008

On the Course

I'm Runner #785 out on the course.
For more information about the weekend events, check out:
Pasadena Marathon

(Thanks Dena!)

2 Days Until Pasadena - The LESS/FAST strategy

I realized a couple days ago that the Pasadena Marathon this weekend will be the first race I've entered that is so close to where I live, that I can sleep in my own bed, eat my own food and shower in my own place before the race. The normal traveling-settling down-pasta partying and nervous energy that accompanies past events is (thankfully) not present. Around here, it's business as usual + a long run on Sunday.

Every endurance race I run requires a strategy, and not just "run fast." Whether it's as simple specific mile splits or as complicated as factoring in hills, and water stops and walk breaks ... there is always a plan, and naturally, it's always related to aspirations for the day.

In examining my reasons for running this marathon, I find a conflict. On the one hand, I am running this race as an extension of my TNT season, to challenge myself beyond the normal one-season/one-race and (in doing so) shrink down my recovery time between big events from a couple months to a couple weeks. With this in mind, it would seem like Pasadena is an opportunity to lay it all out there and push as hard as I can to completed the second of two big events.

But, I am also running the race as a "long run" for the Goofy Challenge in 2 months. It is definitely too soon to peak for Goofy, but considering that weekend is 39.3 miles in a 24-hour time frame, its never too early to get in shape for it. So with this goal in mind, the Pasadena run should be nice and easy. Slow, steady and deliberately longer to adapt my body into being on my feet for long periods of time.

Therein lies the conflict - go all out or run it like a training run.

Since the Santa Barbara race was a PR time and a hard effort. I'm inclined to scale back Sunday's run. I believe that I am faster and fitter than I have been in also all of my other marathons (maybe with the exception of Alaska - I had better midweek runs during the summer season). So, my goal for Sunday is to run a race in which I exert LESS effort, but also run it FASTER than my other times. In other words, I want to run at about 65-75% of my ability, and run it between 4-4:30 hrs.

Now, this is all well and good on paper. But the weather appears as though it wants some attention paid, too. It is going to be 90 degrees and windy on Sunday. It's an odd forecast more appropriate for, say, the Golbi Desert, rather than Southern California. But you work with what you are given.

The race starts at 6:30, and I hope I can be done before the true heat hits. But as the morning passes, the temps will climb and bring my heart rate with it. So for safety's sake, the LESS/FAST strategy might go out the window.

And, the final caveat. This is the first marathon I am running without external aid or support. No spectators in the crowd for me. No coaches on the course. No mentors either. It's not as depressing as it sounds, don't worry! I really enjoying going it alone on the course. It's a man-vs-nature thing. But knowing that I only have the wonderful volunteers to rely upon for help, I will definitely be holding back a little. I had a great experience running the Long Beach half, in which I ran solidly but with restraint because, again, I was by myself. If I am beaten down at the finish line, I can't drive myself back to my apartment. (But I will have cab fare just in case).

So all of these little things are factoring into my weekend. I'm confident in my approach, I'm elevating my carb and protein intake today and tomorrow, and I'll be sleeping well tonight and Saturday.

I look foward to partying with my TNT teammates at South (Santa Monica) Sunday afternoon ... if I can still stand.

To follow me along the course:
Race Results

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Week Until Pasadena

The countdown is on for the Pasadena Marathon next Sunday. I spent this week wishing it were happening today. Tapering is tough, I prefer my worry-free running schedule, where adding or subtracting 5 miles doesn't fully impact my Sunday performance. I hope to be extra vigilant this week with my workouts. Nice and easy. A couple miles at a time, no huge runs. Rest the legs for Sunday's effort. I'll post the website to follow me on as the day gets closer.

Took it easier this weekend - two 8 mile runs and a 30 minute bike ride comprised the days off. Nothing too strenuous, although I seem to be running my longer runs faster than expected. This isn't necessarily a good thing since long runs are about getting time on my feet. After Pasadena I will be switching my training approach to accommodate this new philosophy - more time on the feet, less thought toward improving speed. I think it will benefit me during the ultra. That's a race that is truly about endurance rather than speed.

Morning running is going well. About 5 minutes after I get out of bed I wake up, so I'm only wrestling with myself for a short time. I've found that if I take my time and have coffee before I run, I feel much better during the workout. So I've built in a 30-minute bed-to-pavement cushion that takes some of the shock out of me when I start running. It means I have to get up a bit earlier to account for this time, but it's worth it.

Last random thought of the day - I crave coffee after I run. I think I've mentioned this before. Today proved it. Coffee, oatmeal a toaster waffle and a small granola bar before my 8mile run/8mile bike today. And when I got home (around 2pm) I made more coffee. It's Pavlovian conditioning I think. Coffee means warmth, sitting and comfort - basically the opposite of exercise. I've come to associate with post-workout rest so it signifies more than a caffeine boost in my head. And man does it taste good.

Around the Blogosphere - The Safety Edition

A look at what I've been reading around the blogosphere over the past week:

The New York Times takes a look at the truth behind stretching. For as long as I have played sports (going on 20 years now. Wow, I'm getting older...), there have been differing philosophies behind stretching. Before or after working out? How intensely? How long? The article concludes that dynamic stretching is the best way to prepare for a workout because it adequately increases blood flow to your muscles and warms up your joints (increases range of motion). I was never a fan of our dynamic stretching during college volleyball season (something about walking like a crab across the gym was more embarrassing than intimidating for our opponents), but it looks like you were right, Coach!

NYT also looks at Runner Road Rage, or when runners and cars almost collide. As an outdoor runner, I have hyper trained myself to be careful of cars, people, dogs, cracks in sidewalks, curbs, bikes and anything else floating outside of my personal being. Nevertheless, as a runner, you can't control everything out there. You can't give people the benefit of the doubt. You have to be alert. The article puts it aptly:

Changing this mind-set, for most runners, simply requires acknowledging the right for both parties to use public roads. “You have to remember the driver is another person,” said Dr. Stosny, which is sometimes forgotten because of the enclosed nature of most vehicles.

My hometown paper, The Hartford Courant, drew my attention to some sad news on the East Coast. Two deaths occured during the New York City Marathon. It's a scary reminder that endurance events may not be the safest hobbies. While running a personal best is thrilling and gratifying, you have to know your limits. After all, it's just running.

The Light and the Dark of It: seems to write articles specifically to me. The debate between night running and morning running. It's the soap opera of my life. I am in the midst of the transition (Three morning runs last week!!) but it's still a chore to roll out of bed. I'd rather run at night, but for safety's sake, I'll stick to the mornings.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Back from 2 Week Hiatus

Sorry to be brief, but I am in the middle of election coverage-watching at the moment.

To recap the 2 weeks I went MIA from the blog:

I completed the Santa Barbara Half Marathon in a personal best, 1:55:23 on Saturday! Thank you to all who helped me raise $1600 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Santa Barbara

In less than two weeks, I will completed my 39.3 challenge with the Pasadena Full Marathon event, Nov 16th.


I've gotten into the swing of getting up early for morning runs since the clocks have changed. This morning's 5 mile run will get an encore tomorrow morning, hopefully bolstered by the news of a regime change in Washington DC.

I've gotten back on a lifting program to balance out my running and biking. The Biggest Loser Power Sculpt DVD sometimes kicks by butt. I like to do all three workouts at once, for a 45 minute cardio-weight session. I'm usually really sweaty after. Hopefully it will make me stronger and less prone to injury.

As the months creep closer to The Goofy Challenge and the American River 50 miler, I have to start strategizing my workouts. I'm going to be hitting the pavement more and focusing on running rather than biking. Rest becomes a huge issue, because doing 50-70 miles a week in not currently in my schedule. After Pasadena, I will slowly start to ramp up my weekly mileage to 40-45 miles a week before beginning what I consider THE BIG TRAIN (ie. the 16 week session that leads up to the race)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Peak Week for the Pasadena Marathon

Although the Santa Barbara Half Marathon is two weeks away, my sights are set on the full race in Pasadena. So this weekend's workout as meant to be the final "long run" for preparation before tapering (or in my case, semi-tapering) kicks in.

After the 13.1 + 7 miles from last Sunday, I took it very easy this week. Only 11 miles of running and 11 of biking for the entire 5 work days. It was needed, too, since Monday-Wednesday at work was sort of insanely busy.

So this morning I woke up with the goal of completing my 20 mile peak run. And after 3:24:19, I finished it!! Miles 1 through 17.5 were fine. My legs showed some occassional tiredness. I got thirstier after multiple hours of chugging along the street. But I kept up a decent 9:20/mile pace and 15:00/mile walk breaks.

And then mile 17.5 came around and I unraveled like an old sweater.

My ribs hurt. My feet hurt. My back did not want to change angles. It was all I could do to trudge along, one hurt foot in front of the other. After winding through beautiful neighborhood streets, I found my apartment building at exactly 20.00 miles on my watch.

I left the apartment at around 9:30am. The clock read 1:08pm when I returned. I could not fathom having been running that long (even though I done it before). My math just wasn't adding up.

But nevertheless, I completed the run. Spent the rest of the day relaxing.

Headed to SCOOPS Ice Cream (712 N. Heliotrope Ave, Los Angeles CA) to get a treat and meet up with my teammate, Maia, to plan a fundrasier there. All worked out and we have the first ever TASTE FOR THE TEAM ice cream tasting event on Dec 6th from 3-6pm. If you are in the Los Angeles area I can provide more info.

Then, to the grocery store. Despite the miles, I wasn't hungry. Debated sushi, fish, eggplant, and came up with tofu for dinner. Eh.

Tomorrow I will be joining my boss and coworkers for the annual LA AIDS Walk down in West Hollywood. The 6.2 mile walk will be a good chance to catch up with friends who I haven't seen around the office lately.

More restng until Monday morning, when the taper week begins!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Race Recap: Long Beach Half Marathon

Sore legs and smiling.

Last night I slept on a mattress that had too much in common with a wooden box for my liking. At an Extended Stay America hotel in Long Beach whose named I proved pretty ironic since I spent less than 10 hours there.

After the expo on Saturday, I killed some time by going to the movies to see Quarantine. Worthless. Does little to further or challenge the zombie film genre. Wants to be Cloverfield. Wants to be Blair Witch. I just didn't get it.

But that was the only damper on a good Race Weekend experience. The Long Beach Marathon weekend events took over downtown Long Beach, and I participated in the Half Marathon. It was a scenic, flat course that traversed the the marina, the downtown streets and the long biking path along the sand.

The Queen Mary (Saturday Night)

I finished in an almost-PR time of 1:56:07, just three seconds shy of my Philly Distance Classic run last September. I was running at about 80% effort and very aware of not pushing it to the max since I was down there alone without support in case of emergency.

After an exhilarating race, I came back up to Burbank and finished another workout of 7 miles. A nice, round 20 miler effort for the day. I am really happy to get in a peak distance around this time - Pasadena Full Marathon is only 4 weeks away!

Saturday will see another longer run, maybe 20 miles, maybe only 16 or 18. But after that, I'll be "tapering" for Pasadena with the Santa Barbara Half (Nov 1) and a light weekend in between the races.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ankle Update

Ankle is feeling much better thanks to rest and recovery this week. Only 11 miles run during the week, but many more biked.

One biking workout today followed by a bit of packing. Then it's down to Long Beach for the half marathon tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

An Unfortunate Twist

Of my ankle last night, 2.5 miles into a 6 mile run. Negotiating an uneven curb in the semi-darkness. Curse my night runs!

I continued because the pain wasn't all that bad. But after the exercise endorphins wore off, my left ankle got stiff and sore. And this morning was no better. Hobbled to the store for an ace bandage before work. It seems to have loosened up through the day.

More Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation treatment for today and tomorrow. Hope this doesn't ruin Long Beach race for me, but since I am not totally wedded to the idea of running it, I'm not going to push myself.

More to come as the ankle heals...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

TNT Race Recap: Taper Week

After two weeks off from Team practice, I made my way back to Santa Monica at 7am this morning. Yawning ensued. Although it was a small group, I really enjoyed being back with some familiar faces. I didn't realize how much I missed my friends until I came back.

It was an easy 90 minute workout going south along the Santa Monica/Venice/Marina Del Rey boardwalk. It's a route I have run many, many times, but since I've been m.i.a. from the Westside of SoCal for a while, it was a welcome run. 9 miles of flat, easy terrain puts Mt. Mugu to shame.

And in other good news, I am closing in on my fundraising goal. If you are feeling generous, hit up my website.

Emily's TNT Site

In other news, tomorrow will be the first day of MRE, as known as the Morning Run Era. I look foward to reporting, two months from now, that I can't believe how easy it is to get up in the morning. Until then. Sleep Tight.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Operation Up Earlier - Phase One Concludes

In order to prepare myself for my new running schedule, I've spent the week getting up earlier than normal, forcing myself to adjust. And as successful as it was, I'll admit this was only the easy part. See, I didn't get up and go running. I just got up. And went to work. I did shorter, more frequent workouts at night.

But today is the last day for that. Come next week (Tuesday, since Monday will be a rest day after a hard weekend), I'll attempt a 6mile/4.5mile/6mile midweek run schedule with hopes of boosting it to three 6 milers after the Pasadena Marathon in 6 weeks.

Speaking of races, I've got the Long Beach Half Marathon coming up on Oct. 13th. I don't have a taper schedule to follow since I'm training for more than one race at a time. I'll run medium/hard during the race and use that as a predictor for Santa Barbara in a month. Pasadena Marathon will be used as a medium/hard 20 miler with a 6.2 mile cool down. And then, home for Thanksgiving, and the Manchester Road Race with my family minus one Dad-who-does-not-run. He balked at my suggestion that I get him a treadmill desk. I happen to think they are pretty cool. But I also have a skewed sense of coolness.

City of Angels Half Marathon and Disney are still a little too far off to gage my workouts, and of course the end goal, the ultra, is still looming in the distance.

But for now, one day at a time. Hopefully, a day with an early start.

And a quick dental snapshot of the tooth they bone sawed:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Benefits of Dentist Appointments

There are very few benefits to going to the dentist. The noisey drills, the rinse-and-spit, the awkward way a stranger cradles your head and pokes around your gums ... not how I like to spend my time.

But having a 9:30am appointment does have its benefits - sleeping a little later and still getting a morning workout in, as was the case today.

I've been sore from Sunday's 15.5 miles (11 from the trail race and 4.5 with Amie around the Silver Lake Resevior). I haven't logged a long run like that since my back-to-back 13 milers during labor day weekend.

So my legs are still shaking off the soreness, and my alloted 60 minute workout this morning, pre-dentistry, was cut short. I got in 4 miles before feeling bogged down by the pounding. Likewise, I am still struggling to adjust to getting up and running. Morning runs used to be my bread-and-butter. My cheese-and-crackers. But summer turned me into an evening owl, and the traffic-free paths at Griffith Park spoiled me.

Although I didn't complete the full workout this morning, I'm still pretty psyched that I got up and did it. I'll finish off 2-3 more miles tonight before dinner, and I hope that the heat breaks before I get started. It's about 6pm right now and still in the +90s.

And my teeth are healthy, shiny and now a bit cleaner. And my uneven front tooth has been filed down in its place. Thanks.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Race Day: Point Mugu 18K - XTerra Trail Run

The Empire State Building is 1250ft tall.

The peak of the Point Mugu trail run hits about 1190ft above sea level. And yes, we started at sea level. That sea level at the bottom of picture. And that peak you see at the top of the picture. All the way up. And down.
I signed up with my friend to run the 11 mile trail run but she got sick and I decided to brave the trip to Malibu myself anyway.

I've never run a trail race before, and that's probably a good thing because I would have be stressed out, knowing what I know now. That's not to say I didn't have a great time, I did! But there is a whole different psychology to the race. Let me explain:

The course took the group up Up UP into the La Jolla Canyon on the northern part of Malibu. It's a quiet, narrow (single person) dirt path that went so vertical at points that you had to use your hands to negotiate the rocks and creek beds.
In a trail race, as I've learned, the racing mentality sort of goes out the window. Because of the narrow path, you can only go as fast or as slow as the person in front of you. And in combination with the tricky terrain, you end up with inconsistent splits:
Mile 1 - 16:38
Mile 9 - 8:45

Basically, you just can't predict it.

Also - dirt. Everywhere. I got dirt on my toes. Which were in my socks. Which were covered by my shoes. ... Defies logic, I know.

The hills are not hills, they are mountains. The race is not a race, it is an extreme group hike. And the view from 1200 feet overlooking the La Jolla Canyon and the Pacific Ocean was not just a view, it was a humbling experience.

I really enjoyed spending the morning with other trail runners. They are a different breed of racer. It takes something primitive, maybe a little crazy, to run up into the woods, outside of civilization and take up the challenge of nature before you. Very inspiring. Always a good excuse to get out of the head space that is "LA" and "Hollywood".

Now it's back into the head space, at least for the next five days. Here's hoping to morning runs this week!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Look at the Weekend

A look back at the week and a prediction of the weekend ahead.

After today's longer run, I'll have tallied 18 miles during the week. Not great, but not poor either. Running about average. Tuesday's run was a nice and easy pace, which is hovering around 9:10/mile right now. Yesterday's shorter, faster workout was 4 miles at 8:14/mile. Tonight I am going to go for a tempo run with a slower warm up speed and a quicker end. When I run from work to the park and back, there is a flat 1/2 mile stretch at the beginning/end of the run. It's a great warm up strip and final push length.

Tonight, I believe, will be the last post-work run for a long time. The days have gotten shorter. The sun is no longer up after 7:15pm. And since I don't leave the office with enough time to get in a hour workout, I'm resigned to the fact that, starting next week, I'll be back to morning runs.

So the grocery list this weekend will include lots of coffee.

Also this weekend, I'm going to do a reverse brick workout - meaning I am going run and then bike with little transition time. I am planning on a 6 mile run followed by a 30 mile bike ride. It's about a 3hr 15min workout in total.

Sunday is an early morning at Team In Training. 8 miles with the team, although since my group is made up of full marathoners who are running 11, I may stick with them and do the full course. After that, I'm I'll have my bike in the car and will head out along the running route for about 20 more miles on Max.

I'm tired already thinking about it. But there are many miles to go before I sleep.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just Some Words to Live By

“Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
-Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes

Friday, September 12, 2008

Survivor by Errol Morris - A Little Motivation

Today's Friday. The end of the week. The night of rest and relaxation. A chance to unwind.

After work today, I have to run 8 miles. Yes, have to is a stronger statement that want to. I do want to, theoretically. And I really enjoy it once I get into the run. But starting up the workout after a long day at work, and a long week, can be a challenge.

But I've found some motivation I thought I'd share. There are many reasons I run, especially with Team In Training. This video explains one of them.

Survivor by Errol Morris (8 mins) courtesy of and YouTube.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

TNT Race Report: Week 4

I sit here with my jigsaw puzzle and a bowl of Kashi Good Friends (you know, the cereal with the two old people on it, proclaiming 50% RDA of fiber per serving...) and I can't help admitting my old-soul mentality. Last night I was watching Nick at Nite's TV Land ... That's right, I turn 65 next week.

My feet would tend to agree today. A moderate workout weekend has just passed. Friday was a post-work 10K around the park. My legs were still feeling the affects of a back-to-back half marathon experience from Labor Day, and I was a little frustrated with the 9:04 average pace.

So to remedy the leaded legs, I took off from running on Saturday, opting for a longer bike ride that usual. Finished almost 34 miles in about 2hrs and 15 mins, but the heat (90 in the valley) left me a little dizzy. Sunday I returned to TNT after missing last week's practice for Disneyland. Our pace group pushed pretty hard for a 7.5 mile run, averaging 8:30 on our runs, and 9:40 including the walk breaks. Too fast for a slow Sunday run. I am going to have to take a nice, slow jog sometime this week to make up today's pacing.

In other news, fundraising is up to around $450! Thanks all who contributed! Maia and I are working on two events, which will hopefully contribute a bit more to the cause.

Tomorrow I'll run home from work and bike back Tuesday. I hope to get in a couple more biking days in - I've grown fond of the clip shoes.

No more races on the immediate horizon, so I'll keep on trucking until Sept 26th!

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Registrations Update

A flurry of registrations over the last few days has given my upcoming schedule new shape. Here's a brief look at running life until Spring 2009, when I suspect I will be taking a nice long break for my birthday.

Sept. 28th: XTerra 18K at Point Mugu (Malibu) with Brett-as-Allegra (bib switching)

Oct. 16th: Long Beach Half Marathon with Brett and maybe Allegra

Nov. 1st: Santa Barbara News-Press Half Marathon with Team In Training

Nov. 16: Pasadena Full Marathon by myself for now

Nov. 27th: Manchester Road Race with my mom and sister

Dec. 7th: City of Angels Half Marathon with Amie and Melissa

Jan 10th: Disneyl World Half Marathon/Goofy Challenge with mom

Jan 11th: Disney World Marathon/Goofy Challenge alone

April 4th: American River 50 miler with Kelly P. Our first (and maybe only) ultra!

A couple days later, I turn 25, and I take some time off my feet!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Disneyland, Et. Al.

Labor day weekend brought on a week's worth of labor - a back-to-back challenge that began at 4:30am on Sunday in Anaheim and came to a close around 1:30pm on Monday.

The highlight of the weekend was the 3rd annual Disneyland Half Marathon that I ran with my friend, Amie. It was her first half marathon, a race she's been training for since June. This race was a unique experience for me, as I have been coaching Amie through the season, and Sunday was the culmination of our efforts.

We'd been training at an 11:30/mile pace, but Amie found something inside of her to speed up along the course. After 13.1 miles of cheerleaders, music, the Anaheim Angels stadium and two trips through Disneyland, we finished in 2:19:50. In split terms, that's about a 10:45/mile pace. To chop of 45 seconds for each mile of the race is pretty impressive and an amazing run for a first-timer!

The bonus for me was that it was my first trip to Disneyland, and since I ran the marathon at their Orlando location in January, I got an extra "Coast to Coast" medal for the effort. Yes, Disney, take my money.

We spent the rest of the day touring the Disneyland park - so much different than the attractions I am used to at the Magic Kingdom. Highlights include the Indiana Jones ride, Space Mountain (which is very different from Orlando), and a great dinner at the Orleans Cafe.

Amie, the champ and her boyfriend, Dan

Thanks to the holiday, Monday was spent in the usual fashion. Back in the Burb' (Burbank, that is), I thought this would be a good opportunity to test my endurance for the upcoming Goofy Challenge. So I ran another 13.1 miles.

I. Am. Sore.

Basically, I've put my body through a marathon weekend. On those occasions, I take off Saturday and run 26.2 on Sunday. This weekend, I took two days and ran 26.62 miles. Very tiring, that's for sure. There is plenty of work for me to do in the upcoming months to prepare for the adventure in January.

Since I've done 13.1 already this week, I think it's a good time to tally a 40 mile week. I think next Sunday's run with Team in Training is around 9 miles, so I've got another 17 or so to complete before then. Saturday's 9-ish and one or two tempo runs should help.

I'm looking forward to doing some more biking this week. Saturday morning's 25 miles went really well - the criteria being that I rode with my clips but did not fall off. And I improved my mph by about 1 mile...a decent amount in biking terms.

So that's about it for now. Tomorrow is a rest day with a little lifting. Wednesday I'm back on the trail.

Until then, consider my upcoming challenge!
Santa Barbara Half Marathon!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Form and Style

It is true, there is no one style in which to run. Distance runners know that, while there may be some more efficient ways to transfer your body's energy into a forward motion, at the end of many races, primal/survival/fetal position trumps perfect form. Sometimes its just about getting your crippling body to the end.

Gina Kolata takes a brief look at the various forms of running, particularly the strike locations of runner's feet. Midfoot strike is most efficient, but really there is no one way to run. As she describes:

But for every rule there are great runners who exemplify it and great runners who are exceptions to it.

Emil Zatopek, a Czech distance runner who won the 5,000, the 10,000 meters and the marathon at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, ran with his head thrusting upward and his arms flailing. He has been described as running like a man with his head in a noose.

Personally, I run like my feet or on fire, or like I am Kenyan, or have no heels. I run mostly on my toes, a habit I attribute to many years of agility practice in basketball and volleyball. It looks a little funny, but I enjoy it.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Some Snaps from Runyon Canyon

From the hike with Lindsey and Greg up Runyon Canyon on Saturday

Later that day, the three of us saw Eric Dane at brunch at Kings Road Cafe. Nice.

New Pedals, Bruises

My fault - I got more tired than I expected as of late, and my writing has fallen away. But just because I don't write doesn't mean I don't run.

A little recap of the weekend:

Saturday - a big workout day of 18 miles of biking, 2.5 miles of hiking and just over 10 miles of running. Left my apartment at 8:30am and didn't return until 6pm...well, it would have been a 5:30 return if not for my getting lost along the 2 miles between my apartment and Griffith Park. My lack of common sense still surprises me sometimes.

Sunday: 5 miles of running down at the beach. A light day, of sorts, and I embraced it after the +4 hours of Saturday's schedule. After 7:30am practice, I went over to Performance Bicycle Shop in Santa Monica to get new pedals and shoes for Max (my bike). Dropped too much money on the new equipment, but I'll survive. Went home and tried out the new clips.

For those unfamiliar with biking shoes: The shoes have a metal and plastic mold attached to the bottom. It locks into a groove (or multiple grooves) in the pedal and literally binds your foot to your bike. The benefit of this is a full powered rotation when your push the pedal down and around. Not only do you generate power from your quads when your foot pushes down, but you also generate power from your hamstrings as your pull your foot on the upswing.

The drawbacks of clip in pedals: Falling down. Becuase your foot is attached to the bike, and because it takes a little coordination to release the clip and step to the group (not to mention get back on the bike and clip in without falling over), sometimes you --- and by "you" I mean "me" --- will take a lateral dive right into the pavement. In front of your apartment. Where your neighbor is staring at you and feebly attempts to offer a gesture of concern. (Yes, I'm fine, thanks).

After mastering to the new clips, or at least not falling in the middle of the intersection of Riverside and Ledge, I took a quick 5 mile ride around the neighborhood. I may give it another shot in the AM before work starts.

Also, by the way, I've started my fundraising for the Santa Barbara/Pasadena weekend of craziness. Check out my site, and give a bit if you feel inclined. Thank you much.

Emily's Team In Training Site

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Fountain of Youth is...

Up and running! According to Reuters.

Looks like running makes you live longer than not running, at least when biology and genes are concerns. To play devils advocate, the article doesn't examine the increased risk of, say, getting hit by a car while running verses getting hit by a car while watching TV ... Oh those lurking variables.

I also think there is some sort of Einsteinian theory that objects in motion tend to age slower than objects at rest. It's the basis for a lot of time travel theories, in which people travel at light speed, only aging a bit, and return to Earth where hundreds of years have past.

A quick tangential explanation a la Brian Greene

Everything travels through space-time at a relative speed, and the constant we measure against is the speed of light. According to the article's little chart "Your head is moving through space and time at the speed of light. The faster your head moves through space, the slower it moves through time. ... Since you must travel constantly at exactly the speed of light, when you increase your speed through space, you decrease your speed through time."

Okay, I've managed to confuse myself a bit, but it all boils down to one thing - run faster, age slower .... relatively.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

TNT Race Report: Winter 2008 Week One

Back to Team for season 4! Woke up awfully early this morning (6:30am) to head over to Santa Monica for the first training session of the season. The group looks much smaller than the summer Team - there are about 50 people part of the group. The benefit of this is getting to know people better. I work better in smaller groups.

It was also great to reunite with some of my friends I haven't seen since Alaska. During the 40 minute run, I got a chance to catch up with Chris and pick his brain about running Santa Barbara and Pasadena back-to-back.

And now I am on my quest to raise at least $1800 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'll upload my promo video and website link tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Change in Schedule

Tomorrow is the first day of TNT for the Winter 2008 season, my fourth with the West Side Marathon crew.

I've made an adjustment to my schedule to accommodate my travel and training schedule. I will no longer be running on the Arizona Rock n Roll Marathon. Instead, I will be fundraising and training for the Santa Barbara Half Marathon in November. What's interesting about this schedule switch is that the half marathon comes a day before the Pasadena Full Marathon.

So ... I've been espousing the 39.3 in 2 days motto for the Goofy Challenge. But as it turns out, I will be doing this Nov 1 and 2. I will use the back-to-back races as a warm up for Goofy because, as it is part of my annual vacation tradition with my mom, I want to make sure both of those races go smoothly.

Within the week, I will have my TNT site up. I will be raising at least $1800 for the cause. For Al and Isabella Wilno especially.

Quick recap of the week:
10 miles today with Allegra and Brett. Great run around Silver Lake and Los Feliz. Look forward to moving to that area in a year or so.

30 miles of biking over the week. To and from work multiple times, and a longer ride this afternoon.

Tomorrow's TNT training is only 30 minutes, but I will supplement with 9-10 miles in Santa Monica, and maybe another bike ride. A good, productive week overall.

Also, this week I learned that I run by the Jonas' Brothers home on one of my well-trodden routes. 10 years ago, maybe I'd be enamored. Now ... staring at the cable bill ... I'm jealous!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekend Round Up

Saturday - I overslepts and missed the Team in Training kickoff event at 9am. Bummer, I was looking forward to catching up with friends. Instead, I took the extra hour to bike around the park for a nice 18-mile trip. After that, headed to Santa Monica for a hilly workout with Brett along the Sunset Boulevard hills near the beach. Topped the run off with a set of the Santa Monica stairs. (See the YouTube video I did not shoot below. Video courtesy of someone named "hotgymgirl" which is a better name than Going For Goofy, I suppose.

Santa Monica Stairs - video powered by Metacafe

My legs are sore from the hills and stairs (9 miles total), but that didn't stop me from completing another medium distance run today, 8.5 miles in the Valley. It's very hot here. I look like I jumped out of the shower by the end of the run. And all of this sun is doing little to rid my wrist of the white-striped Garmin watch tan.

Looking ahead to this week, I'm thinking of working out longer distances but on less days. An increase of of daily mileage but not days worked out might give my legs mroe chance to rest. We'll see what happens.

Also a goal: Get my Team in Training fundraising kickstarted. I need to set up my website and send out my emails soon. You'll be hearing from me!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Laps Around the Blogosphere

Before I barrel headlong into a weekend recap, here's a look at what I've been reading up on this week. Some good, some bad, but all beneficial to creating an effect workout ...

Over at Cranky Fitness, Cranky takes a look at the pros and cons of recording your workouts and diet. She hits the nail right on its little head when she discusses the fine line between recording progress and obsessive practice of a routine:
3. Obsessive, Perfectionist Thinking

The ability to monitor and track your performance can be a force for Evil as well as for Good if you have perfectionist tendencies. Food and exercise journaling takes long-term goals (like getting to a healthy weight, or running a marathon) and turns them into daily sources of pride or shame.

This is of course awesome when you're doing really well.

But you won't always be doing well, and you need to be prepared for that.

Depressing news comes out of the New York Times. GlaxoSmithKline is on the verge of developing a drug that transforms you from couch fungus to a model of muscular envy. But this isn't the effortless drug some might hope for. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him swim laps. The pills works in conjunction with exercise, not in its absence.
Researchers at the Salk Institute in San Diego reported that they had found two drugs that did wonders for the athletic endurance of couch potato mice. One drug, known as Aicar, increased the mice’s endurance on a treadmill by 44 percent after just four weeks of treatment.

A second drug, GW1516, supercharged the mice to a 75 percent increase in endurance but had to be combined with exercise to have any effect.

And finally, something that has been on my mind recently - trail runs! provides newbies like me some advice on trail running. Usually when I read these articles, I shrug off the guidance. After a couple years, I consider myself a bit more than a novice. But reading this has given me some perspective. I really don't know much about trail runs. And the points they make are valid, especially, "Think Time Not Distance":

Tough terrain and hills can double the time you need to cover a mile. So consider how long you want to be out. "Experienced trail runners cover about six miles an hour," says Scott Jurek, seven-time winner of the Western States Endurance Run. "Less-fit runners should target four."

Hear that?

That's the sound of expectations being adjusted for the Sept. 28 Pt. Mugu Trail Run.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back in Action on the West Coast

The pleasent 4-day weekend on the east coast has come to a close, and I made it back to Los Angeles just in time for the earthquake. That, coupled with some malfunctioning plane parts, made for a stressful couple days. But with the sky and the earth both settling down today, life returns to normal on the streets of the San Fernando Valley.

Last week's scheduling challenge was not as demanding as, say, trying to fit in 41 miles into 7 days. Having had a previously daunting mileage week, I took last week off by running when I felt like it and not being dictated by a schedule. The hills of CT over the weekend were welcome terrain, and I ran a couple times with my mom, which gave my legs a chance to recover from interval workouts. Ended up with 26 miles total, and 30 minutes of blueberry picking. 6 pounds of blueberries, yum!

My first run back at Griffith Park yesterday was a challenge. I averaged about a 8:30 pace, and my legs and core felt leaded. I think the travel on Monday took its toll. Additionally, I biked into work because I left my car in our studio garage while I traveled. I'm rested and up for one more long run workout for the midweek. Tomorrow is a day off and a chance to catch up with life, and Friday will be a biking day if I can scrape myself out of bed by 6:15am.

Saturday's hill run looks like a trip to the westside and a run around the mansions on Sunset Boulevard near the Pacific Palisades. It's a beautiful, hilly course called the Amalfi Superbad loop (coined by coach Chris). It will be followed by a set of the Santa Monica stairs. Sunday's plan is a long, slow distance, maybe 12 miles or so, followed by a bike ride.

It's good to be back tot he routine.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Goofy Goes Home

The title of this post reminded me of those Goofus and Gallant cartoons you'd find in the magazines in children's offices, Your big Backyard. I always liked the word searches and the stories about the Brownie family...

Speaking of regression, I am headed home today for a long weekend! 7 hours of travel await me. I leave LA around 2pm and get into Hartford at midnight. I'm there until Monday morning when I repeat the aviary abuse.

I will miss most of the $3.99/quart blueberry sale here, but we've got blueberry picking (and seeing The Dark Knight, again; and a wedding and shopping) on the schedule, so I don't think I will miss it too much.

As for running? I'd like to get 15 more miles into this easy week. I have 9 now, and 15 would but me at a marathon for the 7 days. Light mileage, but good for the knees. Also, I may go for a swim in the lake (shore is at our backyard, but I never appreciated that until I moved to LA, where the lakes are made of concrete, and the trees are made of concrete and peoples souls are made of concrete...) okay, that's harsh, but I am excited to get back to nature on the east coast.

Probably very little writing this weekend, so enjoy ungluing your eyeballs from my diatribes. I leave you with some inconspicuous shots of my home: