Monday, June 28, 2010

Week #2 of the "TTGFS" Training Plan Recap

I started out week #2 with the intention of hitting my 2-2-3 (2 swims, 2 bikes, 3 runs) goal for the week but knowing that we would be out of town over the weekend, it was going to take some manipulating the schedule a bit. I made some adjustments but still fell short of the goal. I was able to get in an 18 mile bike ride through Griffith Park on Wednesday and added a run on Friday (normally an off day) but did nothing on Saturday or Sunday.

Here is week #2 by the numbers...

Monday: Swim 1200 yds
Tuesday: Ran 7.37 miles
Wednesday: Bike 18 miles w/ hills
Thursday: Swim 1700 yds,  Run 5 miles @ tempo
Friday: Ran 5.34 miles
Saturday: Off - Out of town
Sunday: Off - Out of town.

Friday's run turned out to be one of the worst runs I have had in some time. I am not sure if it was because I ran 5 miles at tempo the night before or the benadryl I took to get to sleep. In any case, it took it's toll on me and I ended up doing some run/walk intervals just to get finished.

This week looks promising for hitting my goal, I will have to move this morning's swim to Wednesday, but not a big deal. My first triathlon of the season is just 12 days away.

Over the weekend, we took a Carnival cruise down to Ensenada Mexico with 2 other couples, one of which was celebrating his 40th birthday. We usually try to do this trip once or twice a year and it was great timing with Mike's birthday. It is always fun to have some "cruise virgins" along and show them a good time. We are long time Royal Caribbean cruisers and 2 years ago they left the 3/4 day market in Los Angeles to Carnival, so that is all we are left with. It's not the same level of service as on Royal Caribbean, but as I say...a bad weekend of cruising is better than a good week at work.

You can see the pictures here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week #1 of the "TTGFS" Training Plan Recap

It's done...Week #1 of the "Time to Get F*&king Serious" Training plan is in the books. I had planned on 2 swims, 2 bikes and 3 runs along with some stretching and core work. I came close to completeing that goal.

Here is week #1 by the numbers...

Monday: Swim 1200 yds, Run 5 miles
Tuesday: Stretching and Core
Wednesday: Run 5.66 miles
Thursday: Swim 1700 yds, Run 5 miles @ tempo
Friday: Off
Saturday: Run 10 miles
Sunday: Supposed to ride my bike, but Father's Day got in the way.

I was able to get 2 swims in and 4 runs, but failed to get a bike ride in. This week will be a challenging week as well as I won't be getting any running done over the weekend unless you call dashing between Papas and Beer, Mango-Mango and Hussong's down in Ensenada, Mexico...running. I will get a good bike ride in on Wednesday night when I head over to Griffith Park and ride there.

Over the weekend, I found that I have a new obsession...swim goggles. I ended up purchasing 3 new pair this weekend (helps having a son who works at Sport Chalet). I needed a new primary pair and found 3 that I wanted to try. I tested them all in my home pool yesterday afternoon and put them to the test in the gym pool this morning. I will report back on those in the future.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Time to Get F&%king Serious" Training Plan

Since finishing the LA Marathon back in March, I have not been able to shake this "funk" I have been in. I go through periods where I am excited to be training and then other times where sitting in front of the TV is more appealing. With 3 sprint triathlons on the schedule and the still to be determined Olympic triathlon looming in the future, I decided it was time to quit fucking around. I decided that starting Monday June 14, it was time to get serious about training. My goal is to get in 2 swims, 2 bike rides and 3 runs in per week along with some stretching and core work.

So far this week started pretty well.

Monday - 1200 yds in the pool in the a.m. and 5 mile run in the afternoon heat.
Tuesday - Stretching and core.

I am determined to break this "funk" cycle that I have been in and move on.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

RnR San Diego - The Bad and the Ugly!

Let me start by saying this was my first Rock n Roll event and I have heard both good and bad things about their races in the past. You can read about the race itself in my previous post here.

Let's start with the expo...crowded, very crowded but that is to be expected on a Saturday afternoon. After we got our bibs, goodie bags and t shirts, we were placed into the RnR "dump shop" where you could buy all sorts of RnR branded items. The area was about 1/3 the size of the hall, with lots of room to move around. I walked into the main part of the expo and it was set up in traditional trade show manor, booths on both sides of an aisle that was about 10 feet wide. I have borrowed these pictures from Glenn as I didn't take any pictures in the expo. The aisles were extremely packed and it was difficult to move around and see what the vendors had to offer. At one point, I needed to use the restroom and were told they were right outside the exit. I ventured out, found them and then ran into Linda, Glenn and a few other twitter folks. I chatted for a while and decided to head back in...I was told I had to go back through the entrance, which puts you right back into the RnR "dump shop". It took about 10 minutes just to get back and find the rest of my group.

 I like to be prepared and that probably stems from my time in the Boy Scouts, so getting to 2 weeks out until the race without any information from RnR was a little unnerving. My biggest concern was how were we going to get to our relay points. We finally got the "Final Race Instructions" email from RnR that detailed how to get to and from relay points. Even up until 9pm on Saturday night, we were still figuring out how to get our team members to the various points. We finally decided that our first runner would share a cab with another runner at our hotel to the start line. Leg 2 and 3 would walk 1/2 mile to a trolley stop and head to our perspective relay points and leg #4 would drive and park near Fiesta Island...FAIL, no parking so she had to park at Fashion Valley, take the trolley to Linda Vista and walk 1+ miles to her relay point. Point to point races are always a logistical nightmare for the race directors, but in this case it was made worse by having people park at Qualcom stadium and take the shuttle to the start or trolley to your relay point. Why not park at Sea World? Why not end the race at the stadium? More on this later...

At my relay point (#2) there was some semblance of organization. There was a tent setup with a PA system and a someone from the race staff. He did give instructions on what to do as far as the hand off was concerned and then said he would be calling out team numbers as they approached. Nothing was mentioned about any food/drink at the relay stations or that is where you pick up your medal. After a couple of relay team numbers were called, the computer system went down...and came back up in about 5-6 minutes. My team mate came in and I was off. I passed by about 4 water stops on my leg and I will say that they were all very well stocked, but we were early in the race. When I handed off the baton to my team mate, I looked around for some water. I found a table with bananas and Cytomax and grabbed one of each. I saw a girl giving out medals and I went over and got mine. I walked over to Penny's cheering station and Glenn had told me that he received instructions on how to get to the finish line at his relay point...I got nothing. I had decided beforehand that I would walk the 1+ miles to the next transition point. I had to stop and ask several police officers how to get where I wanted to go. They were all very accommodating with directions.

Melissa and I started walking towards the finish area and we decided to wait for Ann (leg #4) and run though the finish with her. Francesca (leg #1) took the trolley and then shuttle bus to get to finish area and met us. When we saw Ann, we broke through a couple of people and ran down the finish chute with her. One security guard was trying to wave us off the course and we just blew past him. We all crossed the finish line together and it made for a great picture. Ann got her medal and we waited in line to take the mandatory finish picture. We moved on and got some water and hit the food tables. I was really surprised not to see bagels out there, just chips. Side note: when I finished the LA Marathon, I got a bag of 6 bagels.  We then headed out into what we thought was the family reunion area...which it wasn't. We were finally told where it was and headed over there. When we got in there, it was a sea of people. Melissa and I went to the beer garden for our free beer. They were requiring photo ID to get in, the tag on your shoe has your age, what's wrong with that? Needless to say, it kept many people out since they didn't carry ID with them.

We finished our beer and decided to catch a shuttle back to the trolley stop. We saw the line and it was a HUGE line...we heard estimates of 90 minutes to get on a shuttle...ummm NO. We decided to make the walk back to the trolley stop. As we walked back (about 2 miles), I noticed that a lot of people had the same idea and many of them had just run 13.1 or 26.2 miles. When we got back to the trolley stop, there was about 2000 people in line. So got into line and waited a few minutes until someone said if you are going downtown, come this we followed and bypassed all of the people going out to the stadium to get their cars and got on the trolley. We traveled the one stop and walked back to the hotel. I have to think about those poor people that ran 26.2 miles, had to walk another 2 miles back to the trolley stop, wait in line for a trolley to get back to the stadium to get in their car to go home.  FAIL

So now that I have complained about the problems, how about some solutions...

Expo: Take 2 halls and spread things out, give people room the breathe and walk. Maybe limit the RnR branded items to a smaller area. I know it is a profit center for you but you are doing a disservice to the other vendors who you charged good money for a booth space and the customers cant get to see them because of the crowds.

Parking/Shuttles/Relay: How about multiple parking locations around the city and you could even do VIP parking at Sea World and charge a ridiculous price for the privilege. I'm sure Sea World would lease out a few hundred spots. Work with Taxi companies and allow them to pick up participants near the family reunion area...infuse a few more bucks into the local economy. Instead of using just the Linda Vista trolley stop, have shuttles go to the Old Town trolley stop as well. You must make it easier for the race participants to get back to their cars, no one wants to walk another 2 miles or stand in line for 90 minutes after running 26.2 miles. As far as the relay...if the relay transition point isn't fairly close, have a shuttle bus running to take them from the trolley to the transition...there were only 187 teams, that's 187 people that would need to shuttled.

I realize that the competitor group is in busines to make money and they have done a good job of raising money for the various charities they work with. They must understand that the participants in these races are what are supporting them and the charities they work with and if you alienate them, they will not come back and do another RnR event. Maybe because they added both the half marathon and relay this year, they werent as prepared as they should have been. Hopefully they will take the feedback they are receiving and make changes for next year. This race left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth concerning RnR events and I probably wouldn't run RnRSD ever again, but I am signed up for RnR LA, so I will give them a second chance. One of my motto's in life...I will try anything once, and twice, just to make sure I didnt like it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon Relay Weekend and Food Fest

Back in January when the RnR San Diego Marathon Relay was announced, I became excited for several reasons. I had never done a relay before and it sounded fun, I would run this race with 4 good friends and we would make a weekend out of it. From the get go, we decided we were going to run this race in costume and since it was a Rock N Roll race, what could be better than Elvis. Over the last few months, we have been putting the final touches on our costumes and purchasing wigs. As Bob Babbit, the original Running Elvi says, No Outfit, No Wig, No Glasses...No Running Elvi! So with the costumes set, the focus turned to food...when and where were we going to eat for the weekend. With that all set and reservations was time to get the weekend started.

I was able to score 4 tickets to the Dodger game and myself, Melissa(@xoxo_meme) Linda (@msv1959) and Mike (@mikedotta) met at Dodger stadium. Once we found our great seats, we went up and got Candy (@cowhateration) and Nadim (Hawaiianbound) and brought them down to sit with us...kind of a mini "tweetup".

During the game, the banter between Linda, a rabid Dodger fan, and Melissa, an anything but Dodger fan, grew more humorous. All of us were tweeting from the game. In the end, the Dodger's lost and the "rub it in your nose" tweets started in full force. After the game, we spent some time taking pictures. We had an interesting moment, Linda was taking a picture of the empty stadium, I was taking a picture of her, Mike took a picture of me and Melissa took a picture of all of us. We capped the night off with a picture of all of us in the Official Merchandise Booth. What a great night and it was a pleasure to meet several tweeps in person.


I left early in the morning and made my way to San Diego. I got checked in and met up with Melissa and Francesca. We had 11:30am reservations for lunch and proceeded to drive downtown. On our way, I tried to run a red light and make a wrong turn onto a one way street...I don't seem to remember any of that happening! :) Lunch was at the Karl Strauss Brewery and all of our meals and beers were pretty good. After lunch we made our way to the Health and Fitness Expo at the convention center. After we got our bibs, t shirts and swag bags, we (means Melissa) proceeded to do some shopping for a sweatshirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt, the end...she got both. I wandered out to the lobby and met up with Linda, Glenn, Mike, and Lori and chatted with them for a while. I made my way back into the expo and ran into Mike and Melissa G. at the Ecco booth and Melissa and I made our way to the MGD 64 beer garden. We met up with everyone and had a beer...cant beat a beer for a $1.  Since it was getting late and we were tired, we decided to make our way out of the expo and head back to the car.

Back at the hotel we were making last minute arrangements for getting our team members to the start line and the various relay points. Time for dinner...we headed to Little Italy and Bencotta for a great meal with Melissa, Ann, Francesca, Marcia, Marina and myself. It was nice to relax and enjoy a meal amongst friends.


I was wide awake at 3am but decided to lay in bed until the alarm went off at 4:30am. I got dressed in costume and waited until 5:30am and met Melissa. We walked over to the trolley station and went our separate ways. I talked with several other relay people on the trolley and we made our way to the transition point. As I stood there waiting, I had several people come over and ask if I would take a picture with them...of course I said OK. It was my first foray into stardom...I felt like one of today's celebrities that people want to take a picture with.
I met up with Josh (@speedysasquatch) and we talked for a bit as the Elites came by. I got ready for my team mate to arrive at the transition zone. When I saw her, I stepped out into the zone and waited for the hand off of the baton (a Drum stick). I took off heading up Broadway, the support of the crowd was incredible, especially dressed as Elvis. I made the turn at 10th street and headed up the 163 freeway. Leg #2 had about a 300 foot elevation climb in about 2.5 miles. I was laboring getting up the hill, but the support from the spectators and the other runners pushed me to the top. I made my way down to Friars Road and was tossing a cup of water on my chest and back at every water stop. The full rig (polyester jumpsuit, wig, etc) was taxing my body and the sun was peeking out from the clouds. I made it to mile 14 and ran into Penny (@southbaygirl) and @tiayas who setup a cheering section.

I stopped by and said Hi, and continued on. On the way to the relay transition, I ran into Glenn and got a high five from him. I handed off the baton to Melissa and headed back to Penny's cheering station. I hung out there for a few minutes and headed off to the relay transition zone #3.  I made the 1+mile walk to the relay transition zone, I found Melissa, Linda and Josh.

Melissa and I headed off to the finish to meet up with Francesca and wait for Ann. When we saw Ann, we jumped into the finish chute and ran the last 200 yards with her. We all crossed the finish line together and took pictures. Melissa and I grabbed a "free beer" and that's when the "clusterfuck"started. The line for the shuttles back to the trolley stop were terribly long...we heard 1-1/2 hour wait to get on the shuttle. We decided to walk back to the trolley stop, which added an additional 1.5 miles to our day. We made it back to the hotel for a quick shower and then off to brunch at the Tractor Room. We had a great brunch with lots of food and then headed over to Baby Cakes for a cupcake and coffee. All in all it was a fantastic weekend, spent with some great friends. Thank you to Melissa, Ann and Francesca for being a part of Team "Need 4 Speed" and to Melissa for putting so much effort into making sure things came together. As "Hannibal" Smith (A-Team) would say..."I love it when a plan comes together!"  This weekend will definitely make my "Highlight Reel" of my life. We rocked it! Official finish: 4:09:28 #57 place out of 187.

Update: Last night we found out our finish line picture made it into the San Diego Union Tribune's Photo Gallery from the race.

Here are a few pics from the food fest....