Friday, November 21, 2008

Mount Baldy Hike

Last weekend, my friend Fred and I embarked on a journey to hike to the summit of Mt. Baldy. We met early in the morning for the drive out to the trail head. We we got there, it was a bit on the chilly side and the wind was blowing about 40 miles per hour. We headed off on our 8 mile round trip journey to the top and back. The first mile was on a paved road and then a dirt/gravel road with very little incline. Mile 2 was more of a hike and we were now on a trail. We seemed to be moving at a pretty good pace, probably a bit faster than we should but we were comfortable with the pace. We arrived at "The Hut" which is about the half way point in the trip. We stopped to refuel and get some more water before making our way to the summit.

Mile 3 was a bit more challenging as the grade became steeper and we were now moving along switchback trails. Our pace slowed a bit, but we were still ahead of schedule. We stopped for a quick GU gel and water and made our way up the last 3/4 mile to the summit. Once on the summit we sat behind some rock shelters and had a bite to eat. The wind was blowing about 50+ miles per hour on the top. After lunch we took a few pictures and decided to head down.

Going down is a lot easier than going up. We made record time getting back to the hut, where we stopped and had a cup of tea provided to us by the host from the Sierra Club. We then made our way down the last 2 miles to the car. Total time to hike 8 miles with 4,000 feet of elevation gain was 5:15...pretty fast by some standards. All in all, it was a great trip and look forward to doing it again in the spring. You can see all of the pictures here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My New Bike Trainer

A few weeks ago I ordered a bike trainer from Bike Nashbar when they had a sale and I had a coupon for 15% off. I decided to get a trainer as the only time I have to ride is either in the early morning or in the evenings and I am not really comfortable riding in traffic.

So I chose a Ascent Magnetic trainer with 3 levels of resistance and it arrived a few weeks ago. Last night I set it up and put the skewer that comes with it on my bike and got the bike on the trainer. I set up in the garage in front of the TV I have out there and aimed the fan right at the bike. I had the forethought to post a message over at the Runner's World Forums to get some help of what kind of intervals I should be doing. Another user posted an interval workout that he currently uses, so I thought I would give it a try.

1. Pedal easy for 10'
2. Drop a gear, maintain cadence for 2'

3. Go up a gear, Pedal easy 1'

4. Drop 2 gears, maintain cadence for 2'

5. Go up 2 gears, pedal easy 1'

6. Drop 3 gears, maintain cadence for 2'

7. Go up 3 gears, pedal easy 1'

I then repeat 2-7 maybe 3 or 4 times, then cool down for about 10'.

I did it twice on the lowest level of resistance and it was a good workout. The only problem was that my rear was getting a bit sore. I wore my good bike shorts, the ones with lots of padding, but I was still uncomfortable for the last 10 minutes or so. I am hoping that more seat time will cure the soreness. I am hoping to incorporate the trainer into my training regimen at least twice a week.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Santa Clarita Half Marathon Race Report

I have been looking forward to running this race for some time. I had my wife attend the expo and pick up my bib and chip as I had to work for a few hours on Saturday. Those few hours turned into 10 hours, but that is another story. Needless to say, after a bowl of pasta, I set the alarm and headed off to bed.

I woke up at 4:30am, at a Clif Bar and some peanut butter, took a shower and got dressed. There was a chance of rain but since it cam on Saturday afternoon, I figured it was slim at best. I walked outside to check the temperature and it was drizzling, OK I can deal with that. I grab a trash bag and cut a few holes in it and headed out the door. On my 25 minute drive to the race, the drizzle turned to rain...crap...I didn't want to deal with rain. I pulled into the parking structure and parked. I got out and looked down on the finish line area and there were a few people mulling around. I went back to the car and just sat for a while. While I was sitting there, the guy next to me got out of his car and headed to the start line, funny thing was he was wearing flip flops. After a few minutes, I noticed the dome light was on in his car. I decided to grab my stuff and head down to the starting line and see if I can find this guy and tell. As I was making my way to the starting area, I saw that gentleman and I stopped him to let him know his dome light was still on. (I'm a big believer in Karma) He thanked me and ran off to the parking structure. By now the rain had stopped and I could see some breaks in the clouds. I tossed my garbage bag and hit the porta-potty one last time.

After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, the starter's gun went off. The marathon, half marathon and 5 K all started at the same time. The first mile was uphill and other than being a bit crowded, everything was going well. My plan was to try to keep a 9:00/mile pace throughout and hit the downhill sections a bit faster so if I had to slow up a bit on the uphill parts, I would still be able to come in under 2 hours. Miles 3-6 took us through and industrial park and then on to the trail that runs along the dry riverbed. The trail had a slight incline all the way to mile 9 where we crossed over to the other side of the riverbed and headed down the trail. There were a couple of bands playing through miles 10 and 11. Around mile 10, I looked at my garmin and did the math in my head and thought there is no way I am going to make it in under 2 hours. At that point, I got discouraged and took a walk break. I figured if I could come in under 2:05:00, I would be happy, so I tried to get back to my 9:00/mile pace. At mile 11 I took my last Gu pack and some water and kept plugging along. As I passed the last water station at mile 12, I looked at my garmin again and re-did the math and figured if I could push myself, I think I can come in just under 2 hours. I was running along the riverbed and hit turn off for the half marathon to head to the finish line. I looked out ahead of me and I saw 2 paseos ( paths that cross over streets) that I would have to cross to get to the finish line...both were uphill. I got over the first one Ok and I could see the turn for the finish area. I got almost to the top of the second one and had to walk to the top, once I hit the top it was all down hill to the finish. I kicked had the last 200 yards with an all out spring the last 100 yards to cross the line. I grabbed my finishers medal and looked at my garmin...1:59:40 woo hoo...I made it under 2 hours. I grabbed a bagel and some water and walked around the finish line for a while. I headed home, took a shower and went for a massage, which as I write this, I feel it was great for recovery. Later that evening when the official results were posted, I got the added surprise of my official time: 1:59:30

All in all it was a great race and I will definitely put this one on next years calendar. The volunteers were fantastic and enthusiastic, many of which were kids. There were 2 downsides to the race, one is that I always forget to put vaseline on my nipples and boy did I feel it today in the shower. The second would be about setting the goal of coming in under 2 hours. That was always in the back of my mind and that is all I thought about, in a way, it kept me from enjoying the race. Maybe it was Karma that helped bring me in under 2 hours, who knows.

Here is a link to the data from my garmin 305:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

1:59:30...Woo Hoo

Official Results: Santa Clarita Half marathon: 1:59:30

Race Report coming later.