Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making a Few Adjustments

So now that things seem to be on track, I need to make a couple adjustments to the program.

Training Volume: This past week has reminded me just how tough consistent 40 plus mile weeks are for me. My right knee is starting to flare, my body is sore, and I have been in a constant state of fatigue. Since I have no marathon in the foreseeable future, I am thinking about cutting back *just* a tad so I don’t run the risk of injury in the coming weeks. My thought is to try to maintain a steady 40 miles per week with long runs in the 14 to 16 mile range. AND to take an extra rest day every week. I *really* *really* want to get to the point where a 16 miler is not a problem. Once I’m there, then running a 20 miler (or even further) will be that much easier.

Calorie Expenditure: So, I’m sitting here two weeks after starting the pain called calorie tracking. I’m at the same weight I was last week. And that is after gaining a couple of pounds last week. That can only mean two things – my intake is too high and/or my burn is too low. And, since I can’t physically put more hours into my workout day (there just aren’t any left), that means I’m just going to have to throttle down the intake.

Soooooo…. Here’s the plan for this week:

  • Monday: Off the erg and extra rest day
  • Tuesday: HIlls with Cal Coast in Shady Canyon. 6 miles or so.
  • Wednesday: Four easy miles. Resistance workout consisting of 1 sets each of single leg squat, oblique bridge, lying draw in, quadruped, split squat jump and 2 sets each of box lunge, stability ball leg curl, forearms to palm bridge, dead bug.
  • Thursday: 8 miles on the trails of Laguna Coast
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 17 miles long run.
  • Sunday: 8 miles easy. Resistance workout consisting of 1 sets each of single leg squat, oblique bridge, lying draw in, quadruped, split squat jump and 2 sets each of box lunge, stability ball leg curl, forearms to palm bridge, dead bug.
  • Total: 43 miles

Also, I am dropping my BMR calorie allowance from 2012 to 1762 – as defined by my calorie tracking program, LoseIt!, on my iPhone. Time to get the show on the road!

Monday, June 28, 2010

For the First Time Since March

I’m pretty sure for the first time since March I put in a whole weekend of running per the plan.

ETP Day 13 (Saturday): 16 miles around the lower Back Bay. I successfully kept my pace in my long run range. Everything was fine right up through about mile 14. At that point the humidity started conspiring against me and I wilted pretty quickly once the sun started breaking through the marine layer. I toughed it out though and completed on target.

Calorie wise – BMR of 2012 plus exercise allowance of 2280 for a total of 4292 calories. Total consumed of 3818 for a deficit of 474 calories.

ETP Day 14 (Sunday): Things got a little interesting here. I woke up absolutely *exhausted* from Saturday’s run. Muscles that I didn’t even know about were sore. I wanted to hit at least 40 miles for the week, so I needed to put in at least 4 miles. It was also our monthly Trailheadz meeting*, so I rolled out of bed and headed up to Ridge Park. I decided to keep it easy on my body and stick to the ridge tops (reducing the amount of hill climbing) and to go out 2 miles, see how I felt, and then decide whether to finish the 2 additional miles. Long story short, 2 miles became 3 miles became 4 miles before I turned and headed back to the trailhead. Eight miles in the books.

Calories – 2012 BMR plus exercise allowance of 1204. Total consumed 0f 3140 for a deficit of 75.

  • Training variance week to date: 1 mile less than plan. Total mileage for the week: 44.
  • Calorie variance week to date: 530 less than plan. Should equate to about a pound of weight lost. I will be up on the scale this evening to check.

* And it’s a good thing I went! I ended up winning a some sweet socks during the raffle!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some Company for a Change

I enjoyed my Friday rest day. I was feeling pretty fatigued, and my body was pretty sore after Wednesday’s resistance workout and a Thursday trail run/walk in El Moro. On Thursday I had some company for a change! My son and niece joined me (it took some arm twisting on my part), so instead of sticking to the wider fire roads (which I do when running alone for safety), we dropped down into Emerald Canyon and Emerald Falls, before hoofing it back up the relatively steep hills back to Bommer Ridge.

Running Bommer Ridge-El Moro 6-24-2010, Elevation - Distance

It was a nice evening in the canyons. The only problem was the fact that I had to eat dust behind a couple of young rabbits all evening. Yikes!

ETP Day 10 (Wednesday): Ran four miles. Calorie budget – 2012 BMR plus 652 exercise allowance for a total of 2664 calories. Total consumed 2335 for a deficit of 328 calories.

ETP Day 11 (Thursday): Ran 6.1 miles – 1.9 less than plan (had to compromise to get the two young’uns to come along). Calorie budget was 2012 BMR plus 1014 exercise allowance. Total eaten 3120 for a surplus of 95.

ETP Day 12 (Friday): Scheduled rest day. Calorie budget of 2012 was exceeded by 328. Damn that slice of Banana Cream pie!

  • Training variance week to date: 1 mile under plan
  • Calorie budget variance week to date: 19 calories over plan.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Fooled the Old Brain Yesterday!

It all started back in late March. A sit down at mile 22 of the L.A. Marathon. Fatigue post race. Then days turned into weeks turned into months of burnout. Of making excuses to not run. Of me convincing myself that it would be okay to skip a run here and there.

Well, last night, for the first time in a while, I felt a twinge of guilt as I sat on the couch. I had been home for an hour and a half, when the intent was to just drop by, change clothes and head out the door. Finally, as In Plain Sight came on the USA Network, the guilt overwhelmed me, and I scooted out the door and over to Crystal Cove.

I put in an easy easy four miles (average pace – 10:06, average heart rate – 73% of max). The only reason my heart rate was that high was the hill that I climbed leaving the Shake Shack (this picture from last Christmas).


I grabbed some dinner and then hit my exercise mat for a resistance workout*. In addition to the old stability exercises, on tap were four new exercises:

Box Lunge: This exercise trains the hip abductors to maintain stability when single leg movement. It involves standing on a box and  taking a large step forward, landing on the floor, and then driving the leg back to the start position. Then repeat for the other leg. Complete 8 to 12 repetitions.


(Note: I didn’t have a box that would remain planted on the floor, so I just did a set of lunges)

Stability Ball Leg Curl: This exercise is supposed to train the deep abs to maintain stability while the buttocks and hamstrings generate backwards thrust. All I know is they were T  O  U  G  H  and they H  U  R  T! Lie face up and place your heels on a stability ball. Contract your buttocks and hamstrings and roll the ball toward your butt. Roll the ball back. Repeat eight to twelve times.


Forearms to Palms Bridge: Another exercise to help maintain pelvic stability while performing alternating arm movements. Start in a plank position. Move from plank position to push up position. Reverse the motion. Repeat four to ten times.


Dead bug: Another exercise to train the deep abs to maintain stability during alternating arm/leg movement. Lie flat on the floor, extending one arm above the head. Bring the opposite knee up to your chest. Extend the other arm toward your toe, and the opposite leg down and slightly off the floor. Then, drawing your navel toward your spine (to engage the deep abs), reverse the position of your arms and legs for 20 to 30 seconds.


All this while watching Family Guy and Spaceballs. It was a great Wednesday evening.

* Note: I had to sack the split leg jumps. My quads are *very* tired from miles and from a little hill climb I did on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A New Week

With my fragile running psyche apparently on the mend, I am eager to get on with this week’s training schedule while it thinks that everything is good to go:

  • Monday: Row 4 miles.
  • Tuesday: 5 mile hill workout with Cal Coast.
  • Wednesday: Easy 4 miles. Resistance workout of 2 sets each of single leg squat, oblique bridge, lying draw in, quadruped, split squat jump and 1 set each of box lunge, stability ball leg curl, forearms to palm bridge, dead bug(looks like some new exercises to check out).
  • Thursday: 8 mile easy run.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 16 mile long run.
  • Sunday: 8 miles at race pace. Resistance workout of 2 sets each of single leg squat, oblique bridge, lying draw in, quadruped, single leg box jump and 1 set each of box lunge, stability ball leg curl, forearms to palm bridge, dead bug
  • Total mileage: 45 or thereabouts

ETP Day 8 (Monday): Hopped on the ergometer for 7 kms (4.34 miles), .34 miles over plan. Calorie wise – BMR of 1992 (program must be increasing based on higher activity level) plus 597 for exercise for a total of 2589 allowed. 2724 consumed, so over by 134 calories.

ETP Day 9 (Tuesday): Workout with Cal Coast in Shady Canyon. 5.6 miles (0.6 over plan) at an average pace of 10:06 (although middle 12 minutes done at 8:00 pace). Got heart rate above 90% of max for only 4 minutes this week, but ran at an overall faster pace. Food budget shows 2012 for BMR plus 896 for exercise. I ate 2697, which resulted in a deficit of 210 calories.

  • Training variance week to date: + 0.9 miles
  • Calorie variance week to date: – 76 calories

On plan today – four easy miles followed by a resistance workout.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finishing Out the Week*

*As it seems with most things going on these days, I’m a day late and a dollar short. This post *should* have been yesterday’s post. Perhaps better late than never.

I woke up Sunday as sore as I’ve been in a long time. Even my arms were sore. But, I had some more miles to go to wrap up the week. I realized Saturday that I better get used to the heat. We’ve already received an email from the Race Director of the Harding Hustle to be ready for temperatures that may be close to 100 by the finish. So, I waited until high noon, and headed over to Bommer Ridge for seven miles in the sun. Other than some sore blisters (from Saturday), the run was uneventful. I kept the pace slow (12:00 per mile). And drank about a liter of water.

That put the wraps on a good week of training (finally). Total mileage – 40.75 – a quarter mile short of plan.

ETP Day 7: Ran 7 miles per plan. Calorie budget of 1979 plus 1115 for exercise was eclipsed by Father’s Day dinner (buffet). 600 calories over budget.

  • Training budget variance week to date: – 0.25 miles
  • Calorie budget variance week to date: –684 calories

It was also time for weigh in – weight is up to 228 pounds (maybe water from Saturday’s workout?) but fat percentage is down to 25.9%, which means



169 pounds of quivering protoplasm, and





59 pounds sinking the ship this week.


(These number bear out my hypothesis above, since fat weight is actually going down. Whew.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Went to a Race and a Hill Broke Out

Here’s my video recap. Got rid of my Heeby-Jeebies (thanks Little Richard!)

Since my little escapade called the Laguna Hills Half Marathon, I’ve been itching to get a longer race under my belt that I could finish on my terms. So, on Saturday, I was looking forward to my next little adventure – The Billy Goat Half Marathon Hill Climb.

I left the house at 6:45. Forty five minutes later, I arrived at my destination under bright sunny skies. I checked in, grabbed my Ink n’ Burn race shirt and bib, and joined the rest of the throngs of people milling around the start line.


I grabbed half a muffin and checked the official race clock. Damn! 35 minutes to wait until start time. Eat your heart out Rock n’ Roll.

P6190047I downed 3 Endurolyte caps about 30 minutes prior to the start. Unlike Laguna Hills, I *did* have a race plan this time. There were two aid stations on the course – one at around mile 3 (going up)/ mile 10 (coming down) and one at the turnaround point. I had a gel and 3 Endurolyte capsules for each stop. My pacing plan was to average a pace of 15:00 on the way up, and around 10:00 on the way down.

Finally, 5 minutes before start time, the Race Director climbed onto his podium and delivered his stirring pre-race briefing.

P6190051Then we were off. The climb started pretty quickly. After all, we *were* climbing 2400 feet in 6 and a half miles – right around 360 feet per mile. If you ran the Orange County Marathon, that’s like climbing the hill that comes out of the Back Bay – constantly for 6 and a half miles. Or if you’ve run the AFC in San Diego, it’s the equivalent of the final hill. For 6.5 miles. The climb was just that – steep and consistent. It wasn’t long before the pack (all 100 or so of us) started stringing out along the course. I took my place toward the back of the pack and slowed down as my heart rate raced. While I wanted to finish in 2:45 or so, I also was not interested in blowing up in the early stages of the race. I pushed forward in a slow jog/walk and pulled into the first aid station at 49:08.

P6190059P6190061 P6190063 P6190057

The aid station was like a desert oasis. Gatorade and water. In cups. With ice. Cold. Soothing. Endurolytes. Hammer gel. Pretzels. Candy. I could have stopped and spent the rest of the morning there. But, I had a hill to climb, so after three minutes to bring my heart rate down to a manageable level, I took off and headed up the hill.

The climb was never ending. How some of these people do it is beyond me. I passed through four miles and ran into the first vestiges of trees. Finally shade! That also meant that we had pretty much climbed around 1700 feet. Yikes! Then I saw them. Absolutely sick. The leaders were on their way down. It was absolutely amazing. Here I am huffing and puffing my way past four miles, and they were at mile 9. How do they do it? How do they make it look so effortless?

P6190069 P6190068

Of course, what’s really sick is when you see the old people coming down. Like Doug Malewicki, who just celebrated his 71st birthday. That’s right – that’s not a typo.

P6190067I continued plodding up the hill. By now the dry scrub and brush had turned into  pine forest. It was pretty hard to believe that this was less than an hour from the beach.

 P6190071P6190072 P6190073 P6190075

I pulled into the aid station at the top at 1:48. Nine minutes behind plan. Not bad at all. The setup here was the same as the previous aid station. I quaffed copious amounts of ice cold Gatorade, and downed probably four to five cups of cold water while washing down my Endurolytes and Gu. Eight minutes later, it was time to head back down the hill. It was such a shame to leave such a beautiful spot on the mountain.

The way down was pretty uneventful. Or maybe just like any other race, I was ready for it to be done. A small uphill (translation – walk) at mile 8, and then a steady pace downhill. I never reached my 10:00 plan, because somehow I ended up with blisters on my way up. One on each foot made it painful as I headed on down. I pulled into the aid station at mile 10 at 2:34, grabbed some cold water, downed my last three Endurolytes, inhaled some salty snacks, and looked forward to dropping the last 1400 feet to the finish. Except for maybe the beehives. You could hear them buzzing. No pee stop here!

P6190081I headed past the finish line in 3:14 (Garmin time) for an average of 14:09 per mile. That was about 1:30 per mile off my planned pace, but frankly, my 4 minutes at aid station 1, 7 minutes at aid station 2, and 3 more minutes at aid station 3 did that goal in. If I wouldn’t have stopped, I would have been :30 off my planned pace. But then, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the company of my fellow Trailheadz at each of the stations. If you ask me, it was well worth the extra minute.

Then the best part of these small friendly races. The grill was going and the burgers were smelling mighty good! I inhaled a cheeseburger (Hey! I was allowed!) and some super delish green tea ginger ale. Finally, I fought the non-existent crowds, waited in the non-existent line for the post race shuttles, and put the top down for a beautiful drive home on a Southern California Saturday afternoon!

P6190083 Oh yeah – it *was* “Just One Hill”!

Running Indian Truck Trail 6-19-2010, Elevation - Distance

ETP Day 5 (Friday): Scheduled rest day. Did my scheduled rest. Calorie budget of 1979 was over shot by 321 calories. Dang that extra (but tasty) lamb burger!

ETP Day 6 (Saturday): Ran 13.76 miles, .25 short of plan. Calorie budget of 1979 plus 2106 for running allowance for a total of 4085 allowed. Total eaten was 3580 for a deficit of 505.

  • Training budget variance week to date: –0.25 miles
  • Calorie budget variance week to date: –1284 calories

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Dangers of Trail Racing – Part 3

To celebrate what normally would have been an evening on the trails, I present to you the third (I’m sure your hoping the last) in my series on the dangers of trail racing.

I started by checking the mission log of a local Search and Rescue organization, the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit to see how often they had to respond to assistance calls. Most of them read like these:

6/5/2010: At approximately 10:15am RMRU was called to aid a woman who had been hiking the Skyline Trail and who had run out of water at approximately 5,000 ft. elevation.

In fact, looking back through all of the archives, I couldn’t find one where RMRU was called out for a medical evacuation due to snake bite, animal attack, etc. Here’s another:

12/26/2009: At 16:25 on December 26, 2009 Mount San Jacinto Ranger Station at Long Valley was contacted by Riverside County Sheriff's office reporting that two hikers had telephoned in by cell phone that they were stranded on the Skyline Trail between Palm Springs and Long Valley. They reported being unable to move up or down due to bad snow and ice conditions. The two hikers were reached after two hours at about 1,400 feet of elevation below Long Valley. The temperature was in the mid 20 degrees F. One hiker was wearing shorts and the other was in cotton jeans and tennis shoes.

Are you getting the drift here? No mountain lion attacks. No snakebites. But, a great deal of not being prepared for the trail and weather conditions.

This really points out what I feel is the #1 danger to us on the trail. OURSELVES! Running out of water? Dressed in shorts and tennis shoes in December? iPod blaring and not hearing the mountain biker coming up from behind? I would bet that if you talk to anyone in search and rescue, the theme that you see in the posts above are repeated over and over.

It’s because as runners we tend to be minimalists. We cringe at the thought of carrying a water/fuel belt. We worry about where to stuff a cell phone. We try to get away wearing as little clothing as comfortably possible. All of these (along with the ever present mp3 player) are the type of things that can get us in big time trouble on the trails. Many of you won’t like what I am going to say next – but to be a safe trail runner, we *have to* carry a few essential items:

  1. Water. Three to four times what you think you’ll need. We need to stay hydrated. You might be surprised how much water we lose just through perspiration.
  2. Compass/GPS and map. Yes. Even if you are just out for a quick stroll. Grab a map from the interpretive kiosk. Or print one before you get there. It won’t be funny if you take a wrong turn. All those ridge tops look the same when you’re at the bottom of some canyon.
  3. Food. Carry an energy bar or two. If you need to hunker down for the night, an energy bar can provide a little bit of energy to help keep you warm
  4. Emergency blanket. Honestly. Just like the ones they hand out at the end of a marathon. They weigh a few ounces, but provide a huge benefit in the middle of the night at the bottom on a canyon. Until you’ve been there* you don’t realize how cold air actually does flow downhill to low points. Along with any moisture. The emergency blanket can be the difference between an uncomfortable night of terror, and being able to look back at your uncomfortable night of terror.
  5. Firestarter/matches. Can be the difference as well on a cold cold night. Always grab the strike anywhere kind of matches.
  6. Whistle. Unless you are a hermit with absolutely no redeeming social qualities, someone will be out looking for you. They *will* find your car at the trailhead, and they *will* start looking. Have you ever tried to see much further than three feet off a trail though? Pretty tough. And if you’ve been out a day or two, you may not have a whole lot of energy left to yell. But that whistle? They’ll hear that from a mile away.

I *did* leave one item in particular off this list – cell phone. If you are plodding around town, then there is no harm throwing it in. BUT (and a big but) – you should not rely on having cell phone service if you are not in an urban area. Heck – I can take you places less than 3 miles from the Bommer Ridge trailhead that has no cell service.

Before you get all uppity and start complaining about how you’re going to carry all this stuff, let me show you how I do it. Matches, compass, whistle ($2.95):


Emergency blanket (out of the box, $3.95):

blanketAll fits into the top pocket of my trail running buddy (70 ounce water bladder, $85):

nathanI either pick up a map or print one out of the area that I’m running. I throw in a couple of Clif bars, and I’m good to go.

But, even though I’m pretty well geared up, I still consider myself guilty of taking undue risk. Why? Because I violate rule #1 – NEVER GO ALONE!!! The best way to stay out of trouble and to insure that help will be nearby should something happen is to have a buddy! Remember back in Part 1 of this series? The mountain lion that attacked two people in a local wilderness park? The reason one person lived and one person didn’t? The person who lived had a buddy. And how do you make sure you’re going to survive that rattlesnake bite that happened when you had your iPod blasting? Why – your buddy is going to head for help while you lay down and relax. And how are you going to avoid being abducted or attacked by others of our species? By having someone with you. Safety in numbers! If you are thinking about trail running as a serious sideline, look up a local trail running club. I belong to the So Cal TrailHeadz. A calendar is maintained for the benefit of its members. Looking for a partner? Post a run. Someone will answer!

The bottom line is every outdoor activity involves some risk. Even road running. Take a few precautions though, and you can enjoy the outdoors in a way that no road runner can!

Oh. ETP Day 4: Ran 7.4 miles at Crystal Cove. Kept it slow and easy at 10:50 per mile, average heart rate of 74% of MHR. BMR of 1979 plus 1133 activity allowance for a total of 3112 calories allowed. 2721 eaten for a deficit of 391.

  • Training budget week to date: 0 variance
  • Calorie budget week to date: - 1100 calories (one third a pound).

* Note: I was lucky enough to spend a night out lost in the wilderness back when I was a teen. My hiking buddy and I found our way out the next day. It certainly added to a sense of adventure!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Man Am I Sore!

Three days in a row. I’m still skeptical that my brain isn’t going to cramp and decide the TV is a better option next week, but hey – I’ll take it while it’s here.

Oh the soreness? Not from the four miles last night. But from the resistance workout. No weights. No machines. Just me and my body. To tell you the awesome shape I’m in, just holding my body up for some side planks has resulted in sore arms. Yikes! No wonder I need to do these things.

Final stats for last night – four miles on the lower Back Bay. Average pace 9:45. Average heart rate 77% of max. And then a bunch of resistance exercises. A bunch. Took more time than the run….

Normally today is a trail run day – but with my looming trail race on Saturday, I think I’ll lace up the road shoes and put in a nice slow and easy seven miles on a paved trail.

ETP Day 3

  • Training budget: +/- 0 miles
  • Calorie budget: -539 calories

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Hill or Two … Again

Wow. Has it really been four weeks since Cal Coast started running hills in Shady Canyon? Yup. And yesterday I ran my second session. Hmm. Last year I was the poster child for consistency. This year not so much.

I’m *not* a person that is gifted with a lot of natural athletic talent (in elementary school my teachers nicknamed my the Walking Encyclopedia). The *only* way I am going to get better is through consistent training. It doesn’t matter how many intervals I whip out, how many hills I run, how many miles I tackle – if I’m not consistent I’m not going to get better.

Last night – 4.3 miles. Got my heart rate above 90% of max for 8 minutes. Oh. And I got to run with Tea Time. Yea!!!!!!

ETP Day 2

  • Training budget: –0.7 miles
  • Calorie budget: –150 calories

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Executing the Plan

No secret - I’ve been having trouble with execution. Ever since the L.A. Marathon back in March, execution has not been my strong suit. The L.A. “experience” left an “I’ll get even with you” taste in my mouth. But it also left an “eff you” feeling in my body. Maybe that was the sign to take some time off (you’re right Danica). But taking time off leaves an “HTFU” feeling in my brain. So I tried to work through it. I tried to convince myself that training was fun. I tried to put in the miles and hours. What was the result? The consistency in my execution looks like an elevation profile from a trail run. Peaks. And valleys. Deep valleys…

In my daily (okay – weekly) catch up with everyone’s blogs, several have little “tricks” to keep themselves accountable to a plan. Kerrie documents her training day by day. JoLynn has here “MED2010” accountability ticker. Wadia documents his runs – mile by mile, and his weight – pound by pound. All of these folks have been *wildly* successful in meeting their goals. Soooooo….

Starting today I’m going to start my “ETP” (Executing the Plan) counter at the bottom of each post. This will be my little way of holding myself accountable to my plan and ultimately, to the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Maybe, just maybe, I can get this big battleship back on track (Hmmm. Aren’t battleships obsolete?) One thing though – I *am* reserving the right to change the plan though. Why would I want to run in the heat and humidity if I can exchange it for a romp in the hills? The point is I need to avoid more weekend mulligans….

As far as execution – I hopped on the rowing machine last night. I chose a random “workout of the day” from Concept2’s website. 5 minute warm up, 30 minute steady state, 5 minute warm down for a total of 7980 meters (4.3 miles). On top of that, I consumed 2600 calories of my 2580 calorie budget (1980 base plus 600 exercise budget) So far so good. Onward and upward!

ETP Day 1

  • Training budget: +0.3 miles
  • Calorie budget: –20 calories

Monday, June 14, 2010

Taking a Mulligan

Maybe racing twice in one week was too much for my delicate psyche. Maybe it was the dang English goaltender Robert Green allowing Team U.S.A. to stay close. Maybe it was the Lakers needing to put the hurt on the Celtics. Whatever it was, I need to take a mulligan for last week. Grand total – 10 (count’em 10) miles. FML.

One thing for sure – if I’m going to get a long run in I *have* to do it in the morning before everyone gets up. Otherwise, running just does not have the priority in life that ensures it will occur. Especially on a weekend.

As a result of my mulligan, I’m going to take last week’s plan and move it over to this week:

  • Monday: Erg 4 miles.
  • Tuesday: Hill with Cal Coast (around 5 miles)
  • Wednesday: 3 easy miles. Resistance workout consisting of three sets each: Single leg squat, oblique bridge, lying draw-in w/ hip flexion, quadruped; Two sets each: Single Leg Squat Jump
  • Thursday: 7 easy miles.
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 13 miles. One hill. Billy Goat’s 1/2 Marathon Hill Climb. Yikes!
  • Sunday: 7 miles at race pace. Resistance workout consisting of three sets each: Single leg squat, oblique bridge, lying draw-in w/ hip flexion, quadruped; Two sets each: Single Leg Squat Jump
  • Total: 39 miles.

Now to Just Do It…..

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Dangers of Trail Running - Part 2

I got out for a seven and a half mile trail run last night. It was blissfully cool and a little drizzly by the time I finished. That’s not always the case here in Southern California. Spring is usually the time of year when we start seeing a warm up. It’s also usually the time of year that animals that have been hibernating for the winter come out of hiding. For us in Southern California, that means reptiles.

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the danger of trail running that makes most people real nervous – animals. I talked  about some of the typical wild life we might run into in Southern California – bobcats, coyotes, bears, mountain lions. A few folks from other areas of the U.S. chimed in with one other animal that causes havoc – moose. We have no moose in California, but I have seen them in Wyoming/Montana. Those are some HUUGE beasts! And I’ve heard of moose attacking people. So – if you live around moose – be careful – evidently Bullwinkle is a little more temperamental than he appears on TV.

Today, I want to talk about a few things that can be much more problematic for trail runners than the mammals that we rarely if ever see. Today’s problems are all smaller than a shoebox, but a much bigger issue than a mountain lion.

So let’s start with the biggest (by size) of these problems. Reptiles. For most of us this means snakes (although those of you in the desert southwest need to keep a wary eye out for Gila Monsters too). With only a few exceptions, snakes are completely harmless. You can outrun them. And in general, they do not want to have a run in with you. In fact, there are only four species of poisonous snakes in North America – rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, and coral snakes. And keep in mind - we are much more likely to run across one of these bad boys in the woodpile or while clearing weeds from the yard than we are on the trail.

Fortunately for me, we have only rattlesnakes here in Southern California, and they give us plenty of audible warning. Of course, if you’re clipping along with an iPod blasting, you may never hear the warning.

As far as dealing with these guys on the trail – two words – PAY ATTENTION. Watch where you’re running. Scan the trail. Look for obvious signs of snakes that have crossed. Really – something like this:

IMG_2609(Thanks for the snake photo Rachel!) Is going to leave a track across the trail:


Consider turning your iPod off if you’re in rattlesnake country. That way at least you’ll hear the familiar buzz of the snake. If you can’t see where you are putting your hands or feet (e.g., reaching up for a rocky outcropping when climbing, or running through a grassy meadow, or shuffling through leaves in a swampy area) DON’T DO IT! The majority of poisonous snake bites occur on feet and ankles from people stepping on a snake, or on hands from putting their hands where they can’t see them, but unfortunately, next to a snake. Stick to the trails.

Finally, if you are unlucky enough to get bit, don’t panic! The disadvantage that most of us runner have is that we are already moving around with an elevated heart rate. If you get bit, stop. Sit down. Relax. Get your cell phone out and call for help. Or, if you heeded my advice in Part 1, have your running partner get help. DO NOT GET UP AND TRY TO WALK OUT ON YOUR OWN! Modern medicine and antivenin can do wonders. But it can’t if you have pumped the stuff all over your body.

Next up on the list of things smaller than a shoebox are our favorite little arachnids – ticks. It doesn’t matter where you live, ticks are around. The problem with ticks is they are vectors for numerous blood borne diseases including Lyme Disease.  As runners we are a little more susceptible because most of us would not dream of running in long pants. Hah! If there is one thing I *don’t* mind showing off it’s my legs. Of course that means they are also pretty attractive to The Tick too!

The-Tick-the-tick-145562_800_1038Of course, if the tick we pick up on our bodies looked like that, they wouldn’t be a problem. But in reality, a tick looks like a spec of dirt:

lyme_tick_1The bottom line is anytime that we are in an area of grass, single tracks, brush, etc., we should always do a little chimpanzee gathering afterwards and check our extremities for any of these little pests. Dust your clothes off  before climbing in the car. It would be a real bummer to have one of these bad boys crawling around on your shirt only to end up on your seat and then your leg (or other nether regions). Also, a liberal application of deet based insect repellent before running also helps. 

Now, all that said and done, if you’ve been trail running and a few days later come up with something you suspect is an insect bite, check it out closely – Mr. Tick could be hiding there in the middle.

tick1If you *are* this lucky, please please please go see a doctor. You need a course of antibiotics at a minimum.

Bottom line? If you are on the trails, take some time and check yourself afterwards. Ticks are little bastards that can be quite a problem if not taken care of. And if you ask around, I bet you’ll be able to find someone who has had a tick bite. I’m not so sure you’ll find someone who was attacked by a mountain lion….

Next up – Part 3 – what we should really be worried about on the trails.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time to Get Caught Up

It seems like this is an ongoing theme of mine. Getting caught up. I spend a weekend getting caught up on my reading, only to fall waaayy far behind by the middle of the week. To all my loyal readers – thanks for remaining loyal. And thanks for putting up with the once a week comment floods!

Speaking of getting caught up, it’s time to get back to running. I took Monday and Tuesday off after Sunday’s race, and then even with all the good intentions last night, had to postpone that run as well. So, this will be another short week of running. I’m hoping I can hit somewhere around 30 miles or so after last week’s 33.5.

  • Thursday: 7 easy miles.
  • Friday: 3 easy miles. Resistance workout consisting of three sets each: Single leg squat, oblique bridge, lying draw-in w/ hip flexion, quadruped; Two sets each: Single Leg Squat Jump
  • Saturday: 14 long miles
  • Sunday: 7 miles at race pace. Resistance workout consisting of three sets each: Single leg squat, oblique bridge, lying draw-in w/ hip flexion, quadruped; Two sets each: Single Leg Squat Jump
  • Total: 31 miles

This weekend’s running will be interesting as my youngest son will be graduating from High School (congratulations Kyle!) So we have Friday night Baccalaureate, Saturday Commencement, and early Sunday AM pickup from Grad night. Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze a few hours of running in. Heaven knows my waistline needs it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Now That That’s Done…

(This is part 2 of my report covering this past weekend at the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Click here for part 1.)

So there I was. Standing outside the trolley stop. Dripping wet from the humidity. I’m sure I must have smelled a hard seven mile effort too. It was time for me to head off to wherever I could to cheer on my relay teammates and others that I knew were doing this marathon, unlike me, in an unwimpy way. In a minute or two, the trolley came rolling up and I was off.

In the light rail car, I realized why San Diego must welcome the Rock ‘n Roll with open arms. It was 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning. Standing room only. I can only imagine the coffers of the hotels and restaurants around town.


I hopped off the trolley and recognized that I was near the half way point of the marathon. Penny had mentioned that she was going to set up near the half point on Friar’s Road, so my next adventure was walking down a few hundred feet to where Penny and Yas had set up. Penny had her signs out, Yas and the Bean were enjoying the (now) sunny and pleasant weather, and even Velcro was getting into the swing of things: 

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Penny had picked the perfect spot for spectating. I saw soooo many of my fellow blog/twitter friends as the waves of humanity crested the rolling hills that make up this part of the course.

P6060106First, Bob had finished his relay leg and came walking up to say hi. Way to get into the spirit of Rock ‘n Roll Bob!


I got to yell at I Love Steaks (Emil) as he went running past. Next up was my niece, still looking strong at mile 14:


We saw Kimberly looking strong:

P6060111I ran (yes – Slomohusky - ran) about a quarter mile with Slomohusky, who was all smiles despite having trouble on the big hill on the freeway a few miles back. Then came someone who I hadn’t been able to find in the start – RunningLaur! She was all smiles when Penny told her that she had some Nuun in her bag of tricks!

P6060116I bid Penny, Yas, The Bean and Velcro adieu so I could make my way to the finish. I was hoping to catch the MsV as she ran the final leg of our team into the finish. I walked back to the trolley stop and boarded a shuttle to the finish line.  I had planned on running some circles over by the finish to help out any of my fellow runners who might be lagging in the late stages of the race, but believe me – at this point *maybe* half a mile. I set up just beyond the 26 mile marker.

P6060118First person I saw was Tea Time. She was hauling ass! I pulled in next to her and ran (no jogging for that girl!) with her. She just kept on repeating “I’m dying! I’m dying!” All while clipping along at an 8:30 pace. I tried to lift her spirits and ran her right up to the 26 mile marker, uttered something about how she had less than a lap around a track left and sent her on her way (her final finish time – 4:00 – outstanding!)

P6060119Next up was Wadiasoft. Like Tea Time he kept repeating the mantra. “Man – I’m dying! It’s so hot!” When I mentioned a picture though, he managed to crack a smile. I wish I could look this good at mile 26! Obviously all his training and weight loss was paying off!

P6060121Then MsV came running down the trail doing Team Twitterati justice! Way to represent the final leg Linda! In her normal fashion, she had picked up a straggler along the way (read her story here) and was running him into the finish. I ambled up next to her and we ran into the finish chute.

P6060124There must have been something on the course that had infected the runners, because next up was my niece repeating over and over “I’m dying! I’m dying!” I ran her into the finish chute and sent her on her way for her inaugural 4:41 marathon! Woo hoo!

P6060130 Finally, Ms V and I found Alicia and ran her into the finish chute to cap her first marathon in less than  five and a half hours. And despite what she kept repeating the last half mile – she never did stop and walk. Congrats Ali!

And then, just like that, another marathon weekend was done. Except for the lines on the shuttles and trolleys. But I’ve already talked about that.

Postscript – I wanted to thank all of my fellow runners who allowed me to bug and photo them during the race. These blogs posts would be meaningless without all of you. Also, I wanted to say hi to everyone I knew who was at the expo and race that I wasn’t able to cross paths with, especially Irene (see you at Shelter Island?), and Adam (sorry I couldn’t make it up another 3 or 4 corrals!)

Next up for me – a couple weeks of training (again) and then the Billy Goat Half Marathon Hill Climb on June 19th. Six and a half miles and 2400 feet up, then six and a half miles and 2400 feet down. As the Race Director says - “It ain’t but one hill!”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Marathon the Easy Way

So after yesterday’s cathartic session, I am ready to give you all an upbeat step by step on how to enjoy a Marathon – the easy way. Leave it to me to figure that out!

The journey actually starts on Saturday. My original plan was to ride the train from OC to San Diego on Saturday for the expo, and then drive early Sunday morning for the race. But, if there is one thing L.A. is *not* known for – it’s our public transportation network. Sure enough – when I went to buy a ticket Friday night, there was a “Service Alert”! No trains on the weekend due to track maintenance. So I punted late Friday night and ended up booking a room in San Diego for Saturday night. I was lucky enough to find one with a shuttle to/from the race. I was set!

My day began on Sunday with my 4AM wake up call. I packed up my room and made it out to the 4:45 AM shuttle. Fifteen minutes later we were at the start line.

P6060043The first thing that struck me was the humanity stuffed into the northwest corner of Balboa Park. This was going to make my most important task of the day very daunting – finding my blogging and twitter pals. Yikes!

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But, it wasn’t long before I heard the sounds that akaAlice had told me to listen for – the coach on the bullhorn. I wandered in that direction and score! Heffers!

P6060053_0002 It was shortly after that the highlight of my day occurred. San Diego’s history is steeped in the military. There is a large Navy/Marine presence in the city, and we were honored with the USMC marching band to kick things off:

I was hoping to make it to the 3:30 pace group to meet Adam, but the crowds were just not moving forward, and time was getting tight. Sorry Adam!

By this time, there were about 30 minutes to the start of our little run. Time to make it down the corral line and find some people I had been dying to meet! First stop – corral 9 for Tea Time and her sister!

P6060059Then corral 20. All the way from Kansas. Hannah! I hope Southern California treated you well!

P6060061Next was corral 34 to meet up with Slomohusky. Great seeing you again Slomo! By this point it was time to get back to my starting corral. As a relay participant, I was free to choose whichever corral I wanted, but I decided to move into corral 19 to give my niece and her friend a few last minute pointers before their first marathon.


Then, it was time for the National Anthem, followed by the “buzz”:

And then we were off. Another start. Another marathon! Well. Not really. It took us around 15 minutes to make it over the start line. But soon enough we were running.


I was lucky enough to have pulled the straw to run the first leg of the relay. It was overcast and in the mid 60’s but INCREDIBLY humid as we headed around the neighborhood and into Balboa Park. I dove into the first water station at mile 2 and grabbed some liquids. Soon enough we were in Balboa Park and on some of the new, realigned course. I need to say this – this part of the course was AWESOME!!!

P6060080 From Casa del Prado’s distinctive Moorish architecture, to the statue of El Cid:

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And past the Spreckles’ Organ (too bad Phantom of the Opera wasn’t playing when we ran past!):

P6060086On a side note, the more I run, the more I realize what a small community this is. I ran into a gentleman who I saw at Laguna Hills the weekend before. He is making an attempt to run 50 half marathons by the age of 50. San Diego was #29. He was looking real strong at mile 4!

P6060084Soon, we were leaving Balboa Park and back into downtown San Diego:


Next stop was Petco Park in the Gaslamp Quarter, the home of the San Diego Padres at Mile 5:


Then, we made our way through the streets of the Gaslamp and down to Seaport Village and the U.S. Naval Reservation past mile 6. At this point I was starting to hurt. I thought that my leg was around 7 miles in length so I had sped up at mile 5. We were on  a short out and back along the harbor when I realized the transition point was *not* at mile 7. In fact, it was nowhere to be seen. Thank goodness about that time Allison came bounding up! She was all smiles and provided a huge lift for me. She had come out from Atlanta to enjoy San Diego with Team in Training. We first met at Surf City, and will be meeting again for the San Francisco Half. Thanks Allison!


I pulled it together and rounded a corner to head back into downtown. My Garmin was saying 7.5 miles. Then – there it was. Runners standing around with nothing to do. That could only mean one thing – TRANSITION ZONE!!!!


And just like that, my race was over! Woo hoo! Speedy Sasquatch released!


Final stats: 7.6 miles in 1:10. Splits:

  • Mile 1: 9:09
  • Mile 2: 9:33
  • Mile 3: 9:31 (Miles 2 and 3 - I kept having to slow down as I ran into the back of waves that had started before me).
  • Mile 4: 9:25
  • Mile 5: 8:41
  • Mile 6: 9:43 (Photo stop at Petco! Have I told you I’m a baseball fan?)
  • Mile 7: 9:27
  • Mile 7.6: 6:06 (9:28 pace)

I gathered my wits and went off to wander the streets of San Diego. Before I left though, I plastered a high five to my niece as she passed the relay transition! Woo hoo! Go Patricia!

P6060100 Up tomorrow – time to turn into a spectator and cheerleader.