Saturday, August 30, 2008
I think the only change is that I'm going to take it easy today to conserve some energy for Monday's assault on Baldy.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Today is a five miler. Ol' Hal wants me to push it a little - so I'm going to try to push it down toward the bottom of the steady state range according to McMillan - down around 9:45. Saturday and Sunday will be rest days in preparation for Monday's race. I can actually use some rest - my legs and hips are a little sore from this week, even though the mileage is down. There were three days I pushed the pace. The good news is yesterday's easy run really was easy and had an opening mile pace of 9:16 - at a heart rate of about 130! Looks like I'm making progress.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I'm sore today, so am looking forward to a short and sweet 3 miles today.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Crystal Cove is a California State Park that exists because the State made a deal with the Irvine Company for development rights. Basically, the Irvine Company gave California the land to the south of Pacific Coast Highway and the land in El Moro Canyon in return for the rights to develop the land to the north. The land to the north is now known as Newport Coast, where folks like Kobe Bryant live. What was left for us though, is a gem in the city. There are about 3 miles of beach and tide pools, and the wilderness of El Moro. I've camped up in El Moro, and once the sun goes down, you would never know that you were less than 5 miles from civilization. You can read more about El Moro here: http://therunningfatguy.blogspot.com/2008/07/el-moro-hike.html.
The catch for us runners is that it costs $10 to park. During off season, the parking kiosks close at 4PM, and entry after that doesn't require payment. But, now during the season, the kiosks are manned until late, so it would cost $10 for a 30 minute run. But - there is a little trick. Just before getting to Crystal Cove, there is a community known as Cameo Shores. Tun right into this community, and you can park on the street right along Pacific Coast Highway for free. It adds 1/2 mile each way to a run, but so what? I can see where it is a deterrent to weekend beach goers with a lot of stuff to take down to the beach, but for runners it's a good deal. The other good deal is to purchase an annual parking pass for $120. It's good at all State Parks - so if you go to other places (San Onofre, San Clemente, etc.), this is a really good deal. At $10 a day for parking at those places, it doesn't take long to break even! Last year I even used it at all the State Parks and Beaches along the Central Coast (Big Sur, Pfeiffer Beach, etc.)!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I'm also starting to get a little excited about my race on Monday - to the Top of Baldy. I'm going to try to finish in 2 hours. What makes me nervous about this is I know that the final half mile is a real tough stretch of trail - lots of switchbacks at altitude. My plan right now is to power walk and/or jog where possible, and then see where I am as I get closer to the top!
Monday, August 25, 2008
I was targeting 4 miles. Only got in 3.85, but my pace during the fast pieces was good. At one point I ran a 7:32 pace for 1/4 mile. Overall I was pretty pleased with the workout.
The best part of yesterday is that my back was completely fine! I woke up without any pain or discomfort, put in my workout, and had no pain or discomfort in the afternoon. I hoping that it was a muscular thing and not something more serious, but right now it's feeling pretty good.
I'm not travelling for the next couple or three weeks, so I should be back on track with the training plan. I am also about to start a new marathon training cycle with Cal Coast. I guess I need to decide which marathon I'm going to train for....
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I woke up with a very sore back though, and was questioning my ability to finish the workout on my way to CDM. The pain was almost like sciatica - sharp pain in the right side my lower back right above the gluts. The longer I sat (even in my car), the worse the pain got. However, once I got on the trail, things seemed to loosen up and I was able to finish the seven miles without any pain. My goal pace was 10:45, and I think I finished in something like a 10:10. Considering all the hills I was satisfied.
But, things were just starting to get interesting. Once home, I was practically unable to move. My back stiffened right up, and to even stand was a chore. My wife has been pointing out all of these little things that I have been seeing since my cycling accident, and this is one of them. I hope I haven't done anything more serious! This is a strange malady though. There is no other pain, stiffness, or numbness associated with the presenting symptoms. If there was, I would be very concerned about sciatica. On the plane, I was reading about some of the other common running injuries. One that was described was a Piriformis strain. Turns out there is this muscle (the Piriformis) that when strained (running lots of miles on hard surfaces) presents symptoms very much like sciatica. The link here is the change in shoes - perhaps this is the problem. Looks like I'll need to see my doctor soon if the symptoms don't go away.
First off, my connectors got messed up Tuesday, so instead of getting into Atlanta in the early evening, I ended up getting to the hotel at 11:00 PM. Next, Wednesday was hot and humid - 94 degrees and about 60% humidity. It took my breath away the first time I went outside about 4 in the afternoon. Then, since I hadn't had lunch, I was famished and wanted dinner. One of my favorite Tex Mex chains (Pappasito's Cantina) has a restaurant in Atlanta, so it was off to dinner. I grew up on the East Side of Los Angeles on food from places like El Tepeyac. I *love* Mexican food, and don't often consider the food at the chains as authentic in any way, shape or form. But, Pappasito's has a Chile Relleno that is worth the trip! I also had a very good "Ceviche" appetizer ( in quotes because there wasn't any conch in the salad). So, once I got back to the hotel, the last thing I was in the frame of mind to do was to get on a treadmill for 5.5 miles of hill work. So, I made Wednesday a write off.
Finally, Thursday was a travel day. I do my flying almost exclusively on United, and I'm a semi-regular on fight 473 - which gets into Orange County from O'hare at 10:23PM (give or take). Thursday was my scheduled rest day.
So, it looks like this week is another partial training week. I'll put in my run on Friday, along with the weekend workouts to salvage what I can!
Yesterday was supposed to be an easy 5 mile run. Strange thing was it was anything but. I don't know if it is back to back to back hard workouts (even though Saturday's and yesterday's weren't supposed to be), or just the heat and/or humidity, but I plain ran out of gas during the third mile. I did my normal north from the NAC run. The first mile was a bit fast (9:40 pace, including the hill). Second mile I was trying to slow down, so did a 10:00 pace, but by mile 3 I was spent. As in spent some time walking. My heart rate was fine, breathing was fine, but my legs had nothing left in them. The last two miles were very slow, but I got the five in.
I am wondering if some of the issue here is that I am not spending any time in the gym after a run stretching and doing core strengthening. Since I ran out of the NAC yesterday, I did spend some time in the weight room afterwards. During my last marathon training cycle I did stretch at least twice, if not three times a week. I also had started the Runner's World core workout before vacation, but haven't done any of those exercises for at least three weeks. Time to recommit to those....
Monday, August 18, 2008
I'm starting to feel stronger and faster these days. Which means that I am pleased with my progress on this Higdon training plan. This week, I'm supposed to enter a 5K or 10K race, but there really isn't anything close to home that sounds inviting. So, I looked out one week and entered a race I've been looking at for a while - the Run to the Top at Mt. Baldy. I am a little nervous because it is about 8 miles with a 4,000 foot elevation gain according to the website . I'm hoping I can power walk and finish in 2 hours. What am I doing?!?!?!?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
It's also time to start looking for a race. My plan has me racing next weekend (5K or 10K), but there isn't anything local that looks interesting. My original thought for this training cycle was to do the Run to the Top at Mt. Baldy on Labor Day. That is looking more and more inviting....
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Today is a long run of 8 miles. The marathon training folks are no doubt going really long at this point, so I'm sure todays run will be up San Diego Creek.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I was looking forward to my day off Friday today, but I guess I was too smart for myself before leaving on vacation. I moved my rest day to Wednesday (flight day) and the hill workout to today. So, this afternoon I'll lace up the shoes and do my workout. Talk to you later today!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I have to say that all in all, it was a fun vacation. New York was definitely the highlight of the trip. Looking at some maps today, we probably walked about 10 miles or so the two days that we were there, saw some interesting stuff. I personally enjoy the active around midtown and downtown.
We are setting our sights on next year already. I am proposing we go west from Niagara - Detroit, Chicago. We have votes to go back to NYC. What it means is that we'll be going somewhere!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Today, we got a late start (around 11 AM). We checked out of the hotel and grabbed a bagel. The Jonas Brothers were still around, so we had to make our way through the throngs outside of MTV.
We grabbed the #3 train and went down to Chamber St. We walked around Ground Zero. There is a *ton* of construction in the area, but there no where to really get a look at anything. We continued down to Wall St. Since 9/11, all of the stock brokerages are closed to the public, so there was no way that we could get in for a tour. Hmmph.
From Wall St., we walked down to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty out on Ellis Island.
Next was what we missed yesterday - pizza in the Village. We made our way to John's Pizzeria on Bleecker (in most surveys, #1 pizza in New York City) for some original New York pizza to draw our visit to New York to a close. We caught a cab back to the hotel, got our bags, and made it to Newark, where we are spending our last night.
Newark is not without surprises though! Tonight we were looking for somewhere to go for dinner. There was a card on the desk for a restaurant called Spanish Tavern, and they supply a shuttle. So I called them, and we went over for dinner. I had the *best* seafood Paella tonight! Wow!
Well, we are off to home tomorrow. And looking forward to it!
Monday, August 11, 2008
We started out a little late today. The plan was to walk to Independence Mall, then to the Rocky Steps. Eventually we need to get over to 30th St station to get a train to NYC. We spent time wandering around Independence Mall. I wanted to take a tour of Independence Hall, but the next available tour was 3:45 PM. So, we ditched that to roam around for a while. We saw the Liberty Bell, then went over to Ben Franklin Court. Eventually we found ourselves at Carpenter Hall, where the first Continental Congress convened and where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech. It is cool to be around all these places where this country has its roots.
There is one thing that this little tour made quite clear to me. All of those guys who started this country - they weren't your normal guys like our history books have us think. They were the Bill Gates of their day. I didn't know - but Ben Franklin was able to retire by the age of 43! They were all wealthy, and I'm sure a lot of the motivation to declare independence was to save the fortunes that they had amassed here in the New World!
We were going to go over to the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but with the rain coming down harder, and the time approaching 2 PM, we made it as far as Love Park, and then decided it was time to go back to the hotel, grab our bags, and get to the train station.
Our last adventure in Philly was riding the subway (the "ghetto train" as my younger son put it) to the Amtrak station, where we caught the Keystone Express to Penn Station in New York City. Penn Station happens to be Madison Square Gardens. When we got off the train, we saw hordes of teenage girls. Turns out the Jonas Brothers were playing at MSG! We grabbed a cab and got over to the Marriott Marquis in the heart of Broadway and Times Square. Finally, it was off to the Carnegie Deli for Rubens, Cheesecake, and Lemon Chiffon pie!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The morning started as a muddy mess as the skies opened up. Kyle rowed his heat and did well - bettering his time from earlier this week by almost 20 seconds. But, the times in the Junior B event were simply blazing. Heat times in the 7:30 range were not uncommon. So, we are done rowing this year.
But - we took advantage of his early exit to do some more touristy things in Niagara. We headed over to the Whirlpool Jet Boats to run the rapids in the Niagara River in a 1500 horsepower Jet Boat. Absolutely fantastic! Like to log ride at Disneyland on steroids. At one point, we were plowing through 10 to 15 foot waves in the boat (http://www.whirlpooljet.com/). We left absolutely soaked! And had a blast doing it!
This also gave us a first opportunity to roam Clifton Hill. The boys and I had a great dinner at the Keg Steakhouse, then went to the Fudge Factory, walked the shops of the Hill, enjoyed a couple of games of pool at the midway, and relaxed in our room. A nice day for us to do some bonding.
There are a number of bridges over the border from Buffalo. The bridge closest to Buffalo is the Peace Bridge, accessible from downtown Buffalo. This bridge drops you into Fort Erie, where there is an easy drive from the crossing to Niagara Falls. The bridge closest to the Falls is the Rainbow Bridge, which is within view of the Falls. Trucks are not allowed over this bridge and because of its proximity to Niagara, this is the busiest of the bridges. The third bridge is north of Buffalo by about 20 minutes at Lewiston. I headed over the Peace Bridge, got to my meeting, and went back over the Rainbow Bridge later that afternoon.
Tuesday afternoon gave us a little weather too - afternoon thunderstorms were keeping things wet and rowers out of the water in the afternoon! Little did we know what that would bring in the next couple of days.
My older son and I got to rest a while longer and start transitioning our body clocks to Eastern time. We eventually made it out to Henley Island in St. Catherines where we were able to watch our guys practice. This is the second year that we have rowed in the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, considered the end of the season Championship Regatta in Canada. Last year we were here with two rowers (both under 16), one coach, and a couple of dads. This year, our club, the Newport Aquatic Center, has sent over 30 rowers, so we are well represented this year. This is no minor commitment too, as we have to trailer and send boats across the country to compete.
I'm going to go back and reconstruct some of my vacation here - for posterity. These aren't running related entries, but so what!
We left last Sunday, August 3rd from LAX. My daughter was going to France for a few weeks and flew out of LAX, so it was a convenient trip for my wife to drop everyone off at once. We left the house at 3 AM and got to the airport at 4. Lines weren't too long yet, and we made our way through check in and security in a reasonable amount of time. One of the great things that United Airlines has done at LAX is to have a person with a microphone guiding people to the next available kiosk. Also, being a Mileage Plus Premiere level helped as we were able to bypass the security line. I got my daughter to her gate a little before 5AM (yeah - Starbucks was not open yet), and the boys and I went over to the Red Carpet club, where we had to wait 30 minutes for the club to open. Our flight was not scheduled until 9AM, so we had some time to kill in the club. The boys settled down for a little nap.
Our end goal for the day was Buffalo NY, right across the border from Niagara Falls Canada. We had to fly through Philadelphia, so we settled in for a lengthy flight on the small plane. As a frequent flier, I am used to the little glitches that can hammer plans, and this day was no different. As I was trying to resolve a seat problem with my son (I had asked us to be seated together in Economy Plus), the agent notified me that the plane to Philly was bein delayed due to mechanical problems! So, I got the seating changed and settled in for what I feared was going to be a long delay. To my amazement, the problem was fixed and we were still able to board on time! We got off about 30 minutes late, and were on our way across the country.
Once in PHL, we had to change carriers to USAir to make the quick flight to Buffalo. It's been a long time since I've flown an airline other than United or Southwest. I was absolutely flabbergasted to find that you had to pay for drinks on USAir! Let me mark in my book that I want to avoid that airline!
The rest of our flight was uneventful - we picked up our car in Buffalo and drove across the border to our hotel - the Courtyard in Niagara Falls. We were comfortably in our room by 11PM Eastern. In total, we spent 17 hours in transit to get to our destination - hmm.... we could be in Frankfurt by now!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
What I've been doing has been attending the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in St. Catherines Ontario. Yeah that's right - up in Canada. My youngest son rows a single, and was in a couple of races here. I'm going to post my stories that have been going back home and have been posted over at http://newportaquaticcenter.blogspot.com/ here as well.
I thought I would have time to run each day, but we've pretty much been on the go almost the entire time here:
Sun 8/3: Fly LAX to PHL to Buffalo NY. Pick up car in Buffalo and drive over to Niagara Falls. We got to LAX at 4:30 AM, and got to Niagara a little after 11 PM.
Monday through Thursday: Stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario and commute back and forth to St. Catherines Ontario (about a 10 minute drive). Also, I had to spend some time working (able to do so remotely).
Friday 8/8: Drive from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Ottawa, Ontario. Traffic was horrible through Toronto! Leave Niagara about Noon, get into Ottawa about 6:30 PM.
Saturday 8/9: Do some sightseeing around Ottawa (capital of Canada) then drive to Philadelphia for Cheesesteaks. Turn in rental car.
Sunday through Tuesday: Independence Mall, Rocky steps in Philadelphia. Train to NYC. Sightsee around NYC.
Tuesday: Spend our last day in NYC. Move to hotel at Newark airport late.
Wednesday 8/13: Fly home!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
The run was a nice Lower Back Bay out and back. My Higdon training plan called for 6 miles at LSD pace. But, at the halfway point I was feeling pretty good, and since I put the kabosh on yesterday's speedwork session, I decided to go the extra two that was on the plan for all the half marathoner's. I ended up doing an eight mile at slightly faster than LSD (10:17 instead of 10:40).
So, after three weeks on this Higdon training plan, I am feeling pretty good. My times seem to be getting better and my fitness (at least to this layman) appears to be getting better. Today I was even able to continue jogging up the hill on the last mile of the Lower Back Bay trail - something that I had never done on long runs before today.
I am now off for the next week and a half on a mini-vacation. My youngest son (the rower) is in a regatta in St. Catherines, Ontario. So, my older son and I are tagging along. We will be staying one week in Niagara Falls, Ontario, followed by a day in Ottawa, Philadelphia and two days in New York City. I am planning on following my training plan at each of these spots - even if it is just a treadmill session. I'll be providing some reports (sorry - no pics) as I melt in the heat and humidity.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Thursday was an easy 3 miler followed by some time in the weight room stretching and working on some core strengthening.
Today is a planned six miler. Tomorrow's workouts will be pre-empted by my flight to Buffalo for vacation. IN fact, it looks like my next couple of weeks will be heavy on the travel, so I'm going to need to flex my training schedule accordingly.