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.

Image - turnerpedatricdentistry.com

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.

Image - splashpress.com

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 ShowHype.com 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!

Image - thebetterhealthstore.com

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!