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!!