Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Here I sit on the last days of 2011 reflecting on  the past year and thinking about 2012. I realize that I haven't blogged since August and I hope to change that in the coming year. 2011 turned out to be a busy year, even though I tried to scale back the amount of races/events I participated in.

2011 Races:
Firecracker 10K
SRLA 18 Mile Friendship Run
LA Monsoon (Marathon)
Vineman 70.3
Castaic Sprint Triathlon I & II
Roadchickie's Almost Flat, Mostly Smooth Century Ride
Disneyland Half Marathon
Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon
Bike The Coast 50 Mile
Run For Her 5K
Say No To Drugs 10K
Holiday Half Marathon

The 3 highlights for me were A) Running Swimming the LA Marathon with my running partner, Melissa  B) Vineman 70.3  C) Flying to Albany, NY to surprise our friend Veronica and run the Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon with her.

Here is 2011 by the numbers:

Running: 640 miles
Biking: 1,828 miles
Swimming: 47 miles

Looking forward to 2012, I only have one race on the calendar which is the Hollywood Half Marathon in April. I'm sure my wife and I will do the Disneyland Half Marathon again next year. I decided that I wouldn't run the LA Marathon again this year with Coach Craig and his SRLA group since the LA Marathon falls on my daughter's due date. Yup...we are going to be grandparents and we are excited. I need to set a goal, something to train for next year, so I am looking at Ride Around the Bear or the 100 Mile Tour Of Big Bear.
The second half of 2012 will be spent training for the 2013 Disney Goofy Challenge in Orlando, Fl. on January 12-13, 2013.

2011 was a great year for friendships, both old and new. I met some amazing new friends (thanks twitter) and strengthened my relationships with old friends. Thank you all for your support! I couldn't have done it without you.

Happy New Year!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Vineman 70.3 Race Report

**Warning** This race report is rather long, so grab yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, relax and enjoy my Vineman 70.3 Race Report

Let me preface this race report by saying that this was my first attempt at the half iron distance, I had previously done only Sprint distance triathlons. I decided last summer that I wanted to try a 70.3 race in 2011. After doing some research, I decided on Vineman as my first 70.3. I waited up until midnight on November 1, 2010 and signed up...and got in!


We left Los Angeles at 5am and made it to Windsor by 12 noon. Since I wanted to get in a swim at the river before the race, we made the 15 mile drive out to Guerneville. Once we got down to the river, I put on my wetsuit and waded into the water. Temperature was very comfortable and I headed upstream. I decided to swim to the bridge and back (about 300 yds) and once I got to the bridge, the water was waist deep. I stood there and talked with a few other swimmers and headed back. I decided to do 2 more swims (both with and without the wetsuit) and we walked around Guerneville a bit.We headed back to Windsor, checked in at the hotel and then decided to go find a place to eat dinner.


Tina and I went for an early morning walk around Windsor, eventually walking by the high school where workers were setting up T2 and the Finish line. After breakfast, we headed to the school for the mandatory meeting and packet pick up. The "meeting" was nothing more than a 22 minute video talking about safety and rules including "drafting" (remember that for later). I got my race packet, timing chip and t shirt and headed for the Vineman merchandise tent to buy some hats, etc. I had to drop my running gear at T2, so I found a spot I thought I could remember fairly easily and claimed my space. We left the school and headed back to Guerenville so I could drive the bike course. Just a few miles into the bike course, I noticed that the roads were not in great shape. These are lightly traveled, county roads and with California's current financial crisis, they don't get a lot of attention. I knew I was going to have to pay attention on the bike and dodge a lot of crappy road. The bike course has some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. During this time, I was munching on a bagel and noticed something in my mouth that didn't feel right...I broke a piece of tooth off. Fortunately, there was no pain and I didn't think it would affect my race. The course took about 2 hours to drive and once we got back to the hotel, we headed out for an early dinner, then off to bed.

Sunday - Race Day

We were up at 4 am, so we could be on the road to Guerneville by 5 am. We made it out to Guerneville just as T1 was opening. On the way in, I got body marked and luckily, my wife was standing next to me as I forgot my age. I found some space and started to lay out my stuff. I was going through a mental checklist and hoping I didn't forget anything. I got into my wetsuit and waited for my wave to be called. I was in the 5th wave and didn't have long to wait...before I knew it, I was in the water waiting for the horn to blow. My strategy in the swim was to start in the back to avoid the "washing machine"and take it easy. The horn sounds and I let the group go ahead of me. I start swimming at a nice, easy pace. About 200 yards into the swim, I am now in the crowd...WTF? How did this happen? Either, I was swimming fast or they were swimming slow, in any case, I didn't want to be on someones feet and get kicked in the face. I slowed my pace a bit and headed towards the shore a bit until I got some clean water ahead. At the turn around, the water was about knee deep and it was easier to walk the turn than to swim it. On the way back, there was a bit of a current that made the 2nd half of the swim a little quicker. Before I knew it, I saw the swim exit right in front of me...out of the water I went.  
Swim - 41:24 

I grabbed a cup of water on the way in and decided to take my time. I didn't want to forget anything and I needed to pack up all of my swim items into the plastic bag so I could hand them to my wife on the way out. I saw Rebecca on the way out and stopped for a quick picture. I took the advice of every Vineman race report I read and ran/walked my bike to the top of the hill before getting on it. That was great advice!
T1 - 7:39

I started out at a comfortable pace while I got situated on the bike. I was really conscious of the drafting distance and I spent a lot of energy and time focusing on that. I made it to the first turn off which was pretty hairy and sure enough...someone had already crashed and was being tended to. The bike course was beautiful and I started passing people and increasing the pace while still focusing on drafting and potential penalties. About 20 miles into the course,  a group of guys on tri bikes, basically forming a pace line, wheel to wheel, passed me and right behind them was a course Marshall. The Marshall didn't even bat an eye at them, so at that point, I decided to pick up the pace and not worry so much about drafting. Things seemed to be going well and I thought that a 3 hour bike was possible. I stopped at the last aid station for a potty break and then hit it pretty hard until Chalk Hill. It wasn't that it was that big or long of a hill, it was just at mile 45 and I was getting tired. I ate the last quarter of a PB&J sandwich (I ate 1/4 every 10 miles and supplemented it with Gu) and tried to pick up the pace for the last 10 miles. No such luck...I watched the 3 hour mark slipped by and then 3:15. I pushed hard the last couple of miles and reached the high school and T2.
Bike - 3:21:14 (16.70 mph/avg)

It was quite a distance from the dismount line to the bike racks and it seemed like it took forever to run that distance. I racked my bike and emptied my run bag onto the grass. I sat down and put on my compression sleeves and shoes. I talked with another racer who offered me some sunscreen, which was a reminder to grab mine and apply it liberally. I put on my water belt and visor and headed out with a quick stop at the porta potty before leaving transition.
T2 - 8:09

As I headed out on the run, I saw my wife taking pictures and seeing her smile gave me bit of energy that I desperately needed. The run course was made up of rolling hills (some challenging) and some flats. (I wish I would have driven the run course as well)  The first 6 miles seemed to go very well, I hit every aid station (there were 12) and took on fluids and a gel. I also ate a few pretzels each mile from a bag that carried with me. The course was changed a bit this year, it ran around the perimeter of the winery and that was on dirt and gravel. By that time, the sun had finally made an appearance and it was getting warm. I started feeling tired so I started breaking down the last 6 miles by mile. I would run to the aid station, walk while taking on fluids and gels (about a minute or two) then run to the next aid station. It worked well and before I knew it, I was at the last aid station with 1.1 miles to go. My pace picked up a bit since I could sense the finish was near. I hit the finish chute and had the finish line in my sights. I crossed the finish line, hands raised! I finished!! 
Run - 2:20:12  Finish Time - 6:38:38

I saw my wife behind the barrier and posed as she took a couple of pictures. The finish area had a lot op people mulling around and eating. Vineman puts on a pretty good post race meal (chicken sandwich, pasta salad, fruit, etc) all of which was fine and dandy, but how about some gatorade??? None to be found...they had water, iced tea and soda. I grabbed some fruit and a water and headed over to the transition area to meet my wife. I gathered my bike and we walked back to the off site parking lot where she had parked the car. Once back at the hotel, a quick shower and a beer and we headed out for some wine tasting. After all, we were in Sonoma and I could leave without wine tasting. One of my twitter peeps suggested Truett-Hurst Winery, so we decided to give them a try. They had some very nice wines, they specialize in Zinfandel's and syrah's. Since it was so late in the day and most wineries close at 5pm, we decided to go right to dinner. We tried KC Downtown Grill in downtown Windsor. Once back at the hotel, I decided to head down to the hot tub, where I sat and chatted with other racers about the race. It was interesting to hear what they thought about the race, course, etc.

Since this was my first attempt at the half iron distance, I really didn't have any expectations other than finishing. In the back of my mind, I said I would like to come in under 7 hours, which I did. It was a great experience, one I will never forget, but the journey to get there was even greater. I have met so many wonderful and supportive people over the years. There are so many people I need to wife and family, my coach, my running/riding partners, my friends, my twitter/facebook friends,  and A Runner's Circle family... I couldn't have done it without all of from the bottom of my heart...THANK YOU!

So what's next you ask??? Nothing! Actually, I have the Disneyland Half Marathon on the schedule and that is it. I'm not going to do much the rest of this year, I need to give my body a break and I need to take care of things in my life that I have put on hold for the better part of the last year. In the coming weeks, I will sit down and figure out some kind of maintenance plan so I can try and stay in shape. I will also try and figure out 2012 as far as this point, I am leaning towards "not much", since I am shooting to run the Goofy Challenge in January 2013. I need to decide if I want to run the LA Marathon again, but at the very least, I will volunteer with Craig and his SRLA kids once again.

Oh yes...the broken tooth...I had it looked at on Tuesday morning and fortunately, it was only a wisdom tooth, but it was beyond saving and had to come out.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Time...A Precious Commodity

I keep looking at this blog and thinking I really need to write something. After all, it has been over 2 months since I last posted anything, but I really haven't had much time to write. So today...I am forcing myself to write!

The last few months have been crazy as I have been training for my first half ironman triathlon...Vineman 70.3. The race is next weekend and I have been preparing for the last few months. I have 9 workouts over 6 days with Friday being my only rest day. I'm not going to has taken it toll, not only on me, but those around me. I tend to be a bit cranky at times! I get home after 8pm 3 nights a week, spend most of Saturday on a bike doing my long rides and several hours on Sunday doing a long run. My wife has been a real trooper when it comes to my training, but I think she is glad it's almost over. In a way...I am too...I can get my life back. There are so many things (projects, honey do's, etc) that I have pushed aside during this training plan, and after next week's race, I must deal with them.

Over the last few months, I have met some amazing people and done some really good training rides/runs with. I was really fortunate to meet @roadchickie and she took me under her wing and showed me how to embrace and love cycling. "Ride for Food and Beer"is her motto! You can read about most of our rides on her blog:  As she says...I have drank the cycling kool-aid and now I am thinking about doing a century ride later this year. I also got to do a couple of rides with Ron and Rebecca and we all did a Sprint Triathlon today, which was a lot of fun. The last few weeks, I have been running with Craig Moss and some of his Mt Gleason Runners in the hills of Griffith Park. Some serious trail running with lots of elevation gain.

Recently, I was asked what are my plans after Vineman? I said I am taking a break from training, although I still want to get in a good bike ride and run every other week or so. I only have one race on the schedule and that is the Disneyland Half marathon in September. I still need to decide if I want to run the LA Marathon again next year or take the year off. I may just volunteer with Craig and his SRLA kids working water stops and doing some of the shorter runs. I dont know...I probably wont make that decision until late September.

This week is a pretty light training week, although I will put in some extra workouts in the pool. I was not pleased with this mornings swim (Sprint Triathlon) so I need to get it figured out before next week. We leave on Friday morning for Sonoma and the race is Sunday.

Thank you to everyone for your support!, especially those of you who has put in training miles with me either on the bike or by foot, it means everything to me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Under-Promise and Over-Deliver!

I have been is sales for almost 20 years and when I first got started, one of the old timers told me about the phrase.."under-promise and over-deliver" and it has stuck with me all these years and I still practice it to this day.

This week I had the opportunity to finally meet and ride with @roadchickie. We have been talking about doing a ride for sometime, but with my LA Marathon training, it just didn't happen until yesterday. She had mentioned on her blog that she did a 50 mile ride to the Rose Bowl and back and that peeked my interest. I told her this would be my longest ride yet and that I wasn't all that fast and a poor climber as well. Mind you, this was coming off of last weeks ride where I felt a bit overwhelmed at 35 miles. I have followed her on twitter for some time and have read her blog regularly, so I know she is the "real deal" when it comes to cycling. She agreed to take me on this trip with only one condition...that no pictures could be taken of her (remember this for later), but she could take pictures of us  and we made plans for Saturday. We took off from her place in the Valley and cruised along at a nice pace on into Burbank where we met up with a couple of her other riding friends, Randy and William.

William, Randy and I

Once we met up with William and Randy, we headed up into the hills of Glendale. The climbing wasn't bad and I was feeling pretty good. Winding through the neighborhoods of Glendale was nice and we were all chatting as we rode. M.E. would ask if I had ever done "such and such" a ride and when I said nope...I could here the wheels turning in her head, she was eventually get me on those rides. When we got to Verdugo, which would be our biggest climb, William and I started out at a nice pace. We were talking about beer and just kept cruising right along. All of the sudden, his cell phone rings and he answers was M.E. and Randy, we had missed the turn off and need to go back to was about 1/2 mile, no big deal...who couldn't use a bit of extra climbing? We got back to them and headed down a side street that led us to Verdugo about 1 block north of where William and I turned around. WTF? I guess it was payback for my smart ass comment to M.E. as we were riding to meet the guys. She asked me what I did for a living and I told her I was a stunt double on adult films...for 1 second she took me seriously and didn't know what to say...then she just laughed. I guess I deserved the extra climbing.

We started descending into Pasadena and M.E. warned us that we needed to stop at any stop sign as the police were giving tickets. Sure enough, there was one sitting at an intersection just waiting for cyclist to blow through the stop signs. Fortunately, none of us got tickets as we all stopped. When we arrived at the Rose Bowl, there was an event going on but we were able to make it to the bathrooms for a quick break. While we were getting ready to leave, a women cyclist approached and M.E. and Randy knew her. Her name is Dorothy Wong and she does/has done a lot for women's cycling. I must admit I didn't know who she was until I got home and googled her. We chatted for a few minutes and then we stopped over to take a few pictures with her and her cycling group. While M.E. was taking pictures with them (remember that "no picture" clause) Randy, William and I were making jokes about her "no pictures of me" clause and how it didn't seem to apply now. Dorothy decided to ride out of the Rose Bowl with us and head home.

Dorothy, William and Me
We started back up the hill to Verdugo and it really wasn't that bad of a climb back out. We headed in Montrose and M.E. and I decided to eat lunch, while William and Randy decided to keep going. I was glad we stopped as it broke up the ride a bit, but it was fun chatting and getting to know M.E. After lunch it was either downhill or flat (my kind of ride) as promised and we made our way through Glendale, and Burbank. We hopped on the Chandler bike path and then on down Chandler. I thought we were keeping a pretty good, but comfortable pace, it turns out that maybe it was a bit fast???  Sorry!

We were cruising along and my Garmin dinged and we had just hit 50 miles...woo hoo! We made it back to M.E.'s place and she introduced me to Boo...her dragon. What a cool creature...I have never seen, nor been able to touch one in person.

 When it was all said and done, we did 50.63 miles, moving time: 3:54:01 with 2,086 feet of climbing. Drove home thinking about my accomplishment and my new friends, unloaded my car and had a well deserved beer or 3.

I had a great time and can't wait to get together and ride again, although I get the feeling that M.E. wont be going so easy on me the next time! So in the end, I under-promised my riding ability, but by the end of the day...I definitely over-delivered! Thanks again!!!!

"Sandbagger Bob"  :)

Check out M.E.'s account of our day, she is a much better story teller and has all of the pictures she took from the day. Here's the link

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vineman 70.3 Training is in Full Swing

I cant believe it's been so long since I have written anything, probably since I have been so busy with real world stuff. I started my Vineman 70.3 training plan on April 5 and so far it has been going fairly well. I am doing 9 workouts over 6 days with Friday being my only rest day. This is what my typical week looks like:

Monday - A.M. - Swim,   P.M. - Bike
Tuesday - A.M. -Long Swim
Wednesday - Brick Workout with the LA Tri Club
Thursday - A.M. - Swim,  P.M. - Run
Friday - Off
Saturday - Long Bike
Sunday - Long Run

I feel as if things are coming together, but the July 17 race date is rapidly approaching and I still have a long way to go until I feel confident about this race.

I have been fortunate enough to have meet some great people on twitter and we have met up for some longer bike rides. Last week, I finally got to meet and ride with Rebecca, her husband Ron and Stuart out in the Conejo Valley. It was nice to be able to ride with some new faces and Rebecca took us for a nice, not easy 35 mile ride. TheWhen it was done, I felt that I had gotten a great workout and up to then, that was my longest ride. Thanks again for not dropping me! Can't wait to do it again...hopefully soon.

Becca and I rolling to a quick water stop...a much needed break for me!

 Me, Becca and Ron

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moving Forward

After the LA Marathon, I have taken the last 2 weeks off of training. Other than a couple of 3 miles runs and a 4 mile walk with my wife, there has been no biking or swimming. Over the last 2 weeks, I have tried to figure out what went wrong, once again, at the LA Marathon. I have talked with several people, some athletes, some in the medical profession, about my issues....hunger at mile 9 and having no energy later in the race. Two theories have come up, one being the lack of protein I ate in the days leading up to the race. I have a PB&J sandwich for lunch on Friday and another one at the stadium before the race but that was it for protein. For the most part, Friday and Saturday was all carbs. Second was the fact that my body was using more energy to counteract the cold/rain/wind, makes sense, although I had a poncho on, but I was still wet and at times, cold. Time to move on, I have bigger things in my future...Vineman 70.3 on July 17th.

I received my training plan from Craig Moss the other day and have been studying it like crazy. I will be making some adjustments to the swimming portion by adding more distance to some of the workouts. I will also add a few longer bricks, later in the training cycle. I am also looking forward to meeting some people I follow on twitter and doing some bike rides and bricks with. With that starts Sunday with a 5 mile run.

Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 LA Marathon Race Report

Melissa and I arrived in Santa Monica by 4:15am and walked right on to a shuttle by 4:30am. Once we arrived at Dodger Stadium, we found a couple of seats in the stands to sit in. The stands were a lot more crowded this year, but given the weather, it was understandable. We tweeted our location and soon, Candice and Kristy(her first marathon, by the way) came by to say hi. We saw Chris and he took a picture with us and we chatted for a while. We hit the bathrooms and headed for the corrals. We were fortunate to be in the sub 5 corral and it was much less crowded. The race started late, which was a bit frustrating since it was cold and windy and I wanted to get going.

Melissa, Chris, Bob

Bob, Candice, Melissa ready to race

The race started about 15 minutes late, but once we got going, we got warmed up. We stuck with our 8/2 run walk interval from the beginning. At mile 2, we shed our warm up jackets, but kept our plastic ponchos on...something we were thankful for the rest of the day. This year the course wound it's way through Chinatown and Little Tokyo before heading up towards Silverlake and Hollywood. By mile 9, I was hungry, which was a strange feeling since I had breakfast at home, a PB&J sandwich at the stadium and a Gu at mile 6. I felt like I needed some solid food in me. We made it to mile 12 and the Mount Gleason Runners tent and picked up our Gatorade and Gu, but I was not feeling so great.  Melissa's garmin ran out of juice about this time and her watch was timing the intervals, so we had to adapt using my garmin and mile markers to try and keep the 8/2 intervals going. We stopped at A Runners Circle tent at mile 15 for a quick chat, some much needed pretzels and a few pictures and then off we went. By this time, I was completely soaked, even with the poncho on and was starting to feel some discomfort in my left knee. I thought of popping one of the 800mg Ibuprofen I had with me, but thought with the stomach issues, that may not be such a great idea. I saw Glenn, actually he saw me on Rodeo Dr, got a high five and exchanged a few words and we continued on. We now came to the section of the course that I had trouble with last year...the section of Santa Monica through Century City. Melissa kept telling me we were going to break through the wall and kept cheering me and everyone else on. I actually saw a side of her I have never seen before. I couldn't figure out where all of the energy was coming from. At one point I asked her..."Are you sure those were Advil's you took?" She said yes and kept on high fiving everyone on both sides of the road. We made it past mile 20 and I felt relieved that we made it past that section of the course. We got into the VA hospital grounds and all of the sudden I had some cramping starting in my left Achilles. We stopped, stretched and walked a bit, it seemed to get better but when we stopped at the Start Training LA tent, I took on more gatorade, popped a salt tablet and had some more pretzels.

I felt a bit better and off we went to conquer the last 5 miles. It seemed that the weather was worse those last few miles with the wind really picking up as we got closer to the coast. We passed so many people, some SRLA kids, that were wearing just a tank top and shorts and walking like zombies, most likely suffering from the onset of hypothermia. We made it onto Ocean ave and the finished seemed so far away. We pressed on and finished strong...or at least as strong as I could. We crossed the line with a finish time of 5:05:15. That was a 9 min PR for me over last year's race, although it fell short of our original time goal of 4:30-4:45. Given the conditions, I am very pleased.

We got our medal, mylar wrap and some food and headed for the exit. There was a jam up at the exit and we couldn't figure out why, but then we could see the problem. People that were waiting for their loved ones were crowding the exit of the finish chute and essentially, it became a single file line to get out. After about 100 feet, I grabbed Melissa and we busted through about 4 people and made it to the sidewalk and continued our journey to the car. Note: LA Marathon, you need to get that exit figured out, rain had nothing to do with it, barriers, fences would have helped. The rain and wind continued and as we walked to the car, it came down even harder. We skipped the finish line festival because it was too cold and we wanted to get into some dry clothes. We made it to the car (almost 1.25 miles from finish) and changed into dry clothes. Once we got warm, we headed out to The Griddle Cafe for brunch. They had a huge wait (45-60 min), but since we walked in wearing our medals and told the guy we just finished 26.2 miles, he sat us right a way...which was very much appreciated. We got several congratulations from some of the patrons in the restaurant, which was kind of nice.

There are so many people that I would like to thank for their support and love through out my training but here are a few that have made a huge impact. My wife, who has stood by me every time I tell her I want to do another race and puts up with my crazy training schedule. Craig Moss, for allowing me to come and run with the Mt Gleason Runners every Saturday and your advice/coaching/friendship. Melissa, my running partner, who pushed me to a new PR...I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you to all of the volunteers and those of you that braved the weather to come out and support us!

I am taking a couple of weeks off of training and April 1, I will start my Vineman 70.3 training plan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Showtime Again

So here we are, one year later, going through the same "taper madness" once again. It seems that this year, like last year, I have been plagued by an injury along with a busy schedule that has kept me from completing my Higdon marathon training plan to it's fullest.

Between work, travel, and injury, I was only able to get one, 20 mile run in this cycle, but it went fairly well. Melissa and I tried a 10/2 walk/run interval on our 20 miler. I thought it was working out well until around mile 18, where I was feeling "the wall" rapidly approaching. The last 2 miles were tough but we got through it. This week, we decided to do 14-15 miles and try a 9/2 walk/run interval. I think it definitely worked better for us than the 10/2 did, so we will use it during the LA Marathon. We also discussed a nutrition plan for the race, Gu every 6 miles or as needed. I think that with the Run/Walk interval, we should be able to power through the wall and finish least that is what I am hoping for.

This week I have been adding extra carbs and salt to each meal along with staying hydrated and cutting out alcohol and coffee the last few days. I have been trying to get to bed an hour or so earlier to get some extra rest, although I have been waking up at 2am (the time I will get up on Sunday) every night this week, but go right back to sleep.

Saturday will be a busy day with the expo in the morning and the Mt Gleason Runner's annual luncheon in the afternoon. The rest of the day will be spent resting.

This year, I don't have the fear of the unknown...I have done the distance and know I can do it again. I've learned from my mistakes (going out too fast) and will try and not repeat them. I am hoping to stay strong to the finish and set a new PR along the way. I am excited to be running with my RP, Melissa and all of the other "tweeps" that will be out there as well. Rain...well, we will just deal with it. I ran 20 miles in a downpour last year during training, and while granted, it sucked, I survived it.

Good luck to everyone running, especially those running their first marathon!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 Firecracker 10K Race Report


A little late on this report, but I have been busy with work and travel. This is the second time I have run this race and granted, it is a tough course, it is one of the better 10K races in my opinion.

I'll spare you all of the details and give you the Readers Digest version....

The pre-race entertainment is spectacular, the dragon dance and the lighting of 100k firecrackers is truly a site to see. (Last year's race report and video) The 5k kicks off first and the 10k about 30 minutes later. I had one goal for this race and that was to PR the course. The one thing you should know about this course is that the first 2.9 miles are uphill and a good portion of that is a very substantial grade.

I started out the race thinking I was going to try and keep a 9:30/mi pace for the first 3 miles and an 8:30/mi pace the last 3 miles. With all of the congestion of the start and the narrow road up the hill, I averaged 9:40/mi pace the first 3 miles. I tried to stay strong up the hills, but ended up taking a couple of walk breaks towards the top. As I started down the hill, I started to pick up the pace a bit. Made it into the Dodger Stadium parking lot and back towards Chinatown. I turned the last corner and kicked it up a notch and sprinted the last 200 yds. Average pace for the last 3 miles was 8:15/mi. Finished in 55:09 which was a 4:30 PR over 2010.

I met up with the rest of the runners from A Runner's Circle and we headed off to the beer garden for a celebratory drink. I highly recommend this race to anyone in the Los Angeles area, but be prepared for hills!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Sunrise Over the Mississippi  2/20/2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Students Run LA Friendship Run Race Report

The Students Run LA 18 Mile Friendship Run is a qualifier for the LA Marathon, they must complete the course in 4:50:00. Fortunately, SRLA allows the public to take part in this race, which is also what I did last year. (2010 Race Report) The course is two 9 mile loops starting and finishing at the Hansen Dam Park.

I arrived at Hansen Dam around 6am and headed over to find Craig Moss and the Mt Gleason Runners. We got things set up and then I headed over to get registered and drop off some old shoes at the Nike tent. I did a bit of stretching and then it was time to walk over to the starting line. I stood there for a few minutes and without any fanfare or the like, the race started and we walked up to the starting line. My goal for the race was A) finish under last year's time (3:20:00) and B) try the run/walk strategy that Melissa and I will use when we run the LA Marathon. My plan was to run the first 9 miles at a 10:00 min/ mile pace and then use a run/walk strategy of, run until the garmin beeps at a mile, then walk for 2 minutes, then resume running. I tried to start out slower and not get sucked into the crowd at the start. I think I was pretty successful although my first mile was the fastest. By mile 2, I was settling into a comfortable pace and continued on through mile 9. I ran until the garmin beeped 10 miles and then I started the run/walk plan. Miles 11, 12, 13 and 14 seemed to go by ever so quickly and using the run/walk method was working. At mile 15, I was starting to feel fatigued, probably from the heat, so I took my 3rd GU and continued on. The last 2 miles I changed from basically running 9/10 mile/walking 2 min, to running 1/2 mile and walking 1 min. I hit the end of the dam and the last water stop and headed for the finish. I was concerned about my foot and calf since this would be the longest run I have done since the injury occurred on January 1. I had absolutely no issues...until the last 100 yards. I started to feel my right calf cramp a bit, but it wasn't the normal tightening was like the muscle was loose and flopping about inside my calf. Very strange feeling. I hobbled my way to the finish and crossed the line in 3:03:37 (Official Time) 795 out of 3138, 32 out of 64 in the 40-44 age group...and a 17 min PR over last year.

Garmin Data:

I got my medal (handed to me in the plastic packaging it came in) and headed to get some post run food and a t-shirt. I made my way back to the Mt Gleason tent and hung out for a while before heading home.

I really enjoy this race and running with the kids. SRLA puts on a good race, it was very organized, the water stops were well stocked and manned with some great volunteers. The finish area was organized and the post race food was better than at some races. I do have some issues with this race, first off, the course was 3/4 mile shorter than advertised. (17.34 vs 18 miles) When I looked at the data from last year, the turn around on Wentworth Street was about 1/4 mile further last year making the race 18.36 miles. Second, I believe that the National Anthem should be played before the race, which I don't believe it was last year as well. Lastly, it would have been nice to have the medal placed around your neck as opposed to being handed to you in the plastic packaging they came in. There is something special about someone placing a medal around your neck and I think it is important for these kids to have that feeling, after all 18 miles is an accomplishment.

Again, thanks to SRLA for putting on a good race...see you at the LA Marathon.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Update

Things got a bit busy for me last week and I didn't have a chance to update the blog but here is a recap of last week.

I made an appointment to see a physical therapist who specialized in A.R.T. (Active Release Technique) which is a soft tissue/movement based massage technique to treat muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. I arrived and Dr. Nagar took me through a few tests to check my gait and dorsi flexion. He then began to massage my calves will stretching some of the muscles. He then worked on my ankles to increase the dorsi flexion. What I really liked about him, was that he explained everything he was doing, why he was doing it, and what the expected result would be. He then showed me a few stretches that he wanted me to do before running. He then suggested that I try the Kinesiology tape on the right calf for my next 2 runs. I have always been a bit skeptical about the K Tape but I agreed to try it.

I did my first run in 2 weeks on Thursday night. We did our usual 5 mile loop, at a very easy pace, actually a bit slower than I wanted but that was OK, I didn't want to re injure myself. Saturday morning was to be the big test, I had 11 miles on the schedule with the Mt Gleason Runners. We set out at easy pace, but picked up a bit on the downhill section. We made it to the turn around and started to head back. As we approached the 7 mile mark, I was a bit nervous as that was the point 2 weeks ago where I started to feel pain in my foot. We crossed the 7 mile mark and continued on, pain free. We also tried a strategy that we will use during the LA Marathon. We ran until the garmin beeped at the mile, then we walked for 2 minutes. We continued this for the remaining 4 miles and it worked fairly well. We finished 10.69 miles and the foot/calves didnt bother me one bit.

I had planned a bike ride with my neighbor for Sunday, but at 8am he sent a text saying it was too cold and the weather was too crappy to ride, so he was going to bail on me. I decided that with pending rain, riding was probably not such a good thing, so I put on my running gear and headed out for 6 "easy" miles. About 1 mile into the run, I was feeling so good, I decided to push the pace a bit. When it was all said and done, I turned the easy run into a tempo run...but again, completely pain free. So was it the A.R.T. therapy or was it the K tape or a combination of both? I don't know, but when I see Dr. Nagar this week, I will have him tape me up for next weeks Students Run LA Friendship Run (18 miles).

Here is what week #12 looks like:

Week 12:
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 8.25 mi, 7 x 800
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 18 mile SRLA Friendship Run

Today's weight: 207.2 Dropped another pound this week. I've really been watching what I am easting and keeping the beer down to a minimum. Looking for 200 lbs on Marathon Day (March 20)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Workin' on the Water Stop Gang

(Hooh! aah!) (hooh! aah!)
(Hooh! aah!) (hooh! aah!)

All day long they're singin', mm
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my, my work(out) is so hard
Give me water, I'm thirsty
My work(out) is so hard
~ "Chain Gang" ~ Sam Cooke

Since I am rehabbing my foot injury, I decided to work a water stop for Craig Moss and his Mt Gleason Runners this past Saturday. When I run with the group, I notice that it is always the same parents out there volunteering their time working the water stops for the kids. Tony, Jenny and I worked the second water stop, we had water, Gatorade, and gummy worms and snacks, along with band aids, tissue and moral support. The route for Saturday was a 5 mile loop done 3 times, so we got to see quite a bit of the kids. Each time they came around, they looked a little more worn out than the last, but we offered them words of encouragement, they thanked us and pressed on. After the last of the kids came by, we packed up and headed back to Mc Donald's to drop off the supplies. I really enjoyed seeing the kids from the other side of water stop, and getting to know some of the parent volunteers.

LA Marathon Training Week # 9 and #10

The last 2 weeks, training has been limited to the pool and the bike trainer, although I did get a 17 mile bike ride in on Sunday. It was a very tough ride as I was faced with 30-40 mph sustained wind and gusts up to 60 fun when riding a bike. I wondered why I didn't see more cyclist out on Sunday...they were smart and stayed home! 

This week, I will attempt 5 miles on Thursday night and if all goes well, I will try and get in 11 miles on Saturday. I was given some advice from Leigh at Athletes Treating Athletes in regards to my situation with the Peroneal Tendonitis. She suggested seeing an A.R.T./Graston Technique person to help speed up the recover process. I have sought advice and recommendations from twitter and hope to find someone good here this week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

15 Miles Forward, 2 Steps Back

Things seemed to be going very well this week in regards to the "Peroneal Tendonitits" in my right foot. I have gone 10 days without any discomfort and felt that the healing process was moving along well. I did an easy 5 mile run on Thursday night that was pain free. My schedule called for 12 miles on Saturday, but since I was running with the Mount Gleason Runners and their schedule called for 15 miles, that is what I did. About 7 miles into the run, I started to noticed a bit of discomfort in my right foot. I slowed up the pace and walked a bit. I made it to the second water stop and knew I only had 5 miles left and I could make it back. What I hadn't planned for was that the route back was a dirt and grass trail that is used by horses in the area and most of the trail was very uneven. I spent a lot of mental energy trying to focus on where to place my feet as to not twist an ankle or trip. At that point, I was hot, tired and in I decided to walk the rest of the way back. At one point, I did something I have never done before....I wanted to give up! I thought about crossing the road and seeing if I could hitch hike back to the McDonald's parking lot. I decided that A) I have never quit anything, and I'm not about to start now and B) it was not a good example for these kids, so I HTFU and kept walking. I did end up running about another 1/2 mile on the way back to the parking lot. When it was all said and done...15.4 miles in 2:57:50 Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but considering the pain and terrain...I'll take it.

Immediately upon returning to the parking lot, I soaked my foot in the ice bath for 10 minutes before heading home. I spent Sunday, icing, stretching and staying off of my feet as much as possible.

Now comes the hard part....waiting for my foot to heal. How long will that take? Who knows, but I did stay off of it for 2 weeks and it didn't completely heal.  I will swim and bike most of the week and evaluate how I feel later in the week before attempting another run (short run).

I want to give a shout out to all of the parent volunteers of the Mt Gleason Runners. Every week they are there manning the water stops in all weather conditions (rain, cold and heat) and providing much needed support for hours on end. Thank you very much! I appreciate it and I know the kids do as well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

LA Marathon Training Week #8 and What I learned This Week...

Week #8 was spent either in the pool or on the bike, no running what so ever. The peroneal tendonitis kept me off my feet so to speak, but I was able to keep up with some training by swimming and biking. I am hoping to resume running on Thursday night with a short, easy run and get back on track for the LA Marathon.

Here's how this week looked: (Actual)

Week 8:
Monday: 3 miles (Rode 30 min on bike trainer)
Tuesday: Rest (1200 yd swim)
Wednesday: 8 Miles  ( Rode 30 min on bike trainer)
Thursday: 6.75 mi 5 x 800 (Swim 1500 yds, Rode 30 min on bike trainer)
Friday: Rest (Rest)
Saturday: 17 miles long  (25 mi bike ride)
Sunday: 8 miles (marathon pace)  (Rest)

Here is what week #9 looks like:

Week 9:
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 9 miles
Thursday: 7.5 mi , 6 x 800
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 12 miles long
Sunday: 9 miles Marathon Pace

Today's weight: 210  Not sure why I keep going the opposite direction, I need to be diligent about what I am eating.

The first week of 2011 has not started off all that great, not only am I dealing with an injury, but I lost a friend unexpectedly on Thursday. This week taught me some valuable lessons...this is what I learned this week...

Our bodies are probably the most technologically and complicated pieces of machinery on earth. With that being said, they are susceptible to breakdowns now and again and sometimes for no clear reason even though we maintain and properly lubricate them. We have to accept that and let them heal...even if we don't like it.

Our time on this earth is limited and life can end at any moment, most of the time, without notice. Cherish the time you have with people and tell them that you love them, don't assume they know it.

I leave you with this quote from a dear friend...

Live life to the fullest, be happy and have no regrets!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The January Curse Strikes Again!

One year ago today I was boarding a plane bound for Orlando to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon followed by a 7 day Caribbean cruise with some new friends. We ran the WDW Half in less than stellar conditions (Race Report) and then headed out on the cruise. We had a great time and I spent a ton of time on one of my favorite things...the Flow Rider. Day 6 of the cruise, on my very last ride of the trip, I injured myself...pretty badly. I had pulled a muscle in my groin called the "adductor longus" and it was quite painful.  Of course, this came at a very bad time as I was preparing to run my first marathon about 8 weeks later. I took a few weeks off of running an focused on swimming to try and keep my level of fitness up and did run the LA Marathon on March 21, very much under trained.

This year, I have been working out with Craig Moss and his Mount Gleason Runners since November and was preparing to set a new PR at the LA Marathon this year. Training has been going very well and have stayed injury free. Last Friday, I ran my scheduled 16 miles without incident, and other than being a bit tired toward the end, I felt pretty good. Spent a nice New Year's Eve at home with my wife and went to bed fairly early. On New Year's Day, my wife and I decided to go for a long walk to start the new year out right. About 1 mile into the walk, I noticed some discomfort in my right foot. As we continued walking, the pain got progressively worse. We stopped at Starbucks for a cup of coffee and I massaged it for a bit, but I could tell something was wrong. We made it back home and I immediately started searching the Internet for possible problems. I didn't feel it was urgent enough to go to the ER, but I did stay off of it until Monday. I was able to find information and it was confirmed by my massage therapist to be "Peroneal Tendonitis". Reading up on it, I found the treatment to be R.I.C.E., so after my massage on Sunday morning, I stayed on the couch all day long and iced it several times. It was very painful to walk, especially in bare feet. Upon reading further, I found that it can take several weeks to heal before you can resume activity. At that point, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach...the LA Marathon is just 11 weeks away, am I going to be able to run the race?

I got very depressed thinking about it and ever time I took a step and it was painful, I got more depressed. I guess for me, I just can't point to a specific point when the injury occurred, and that bothers me, although it can be an overuse injury and the onset can be over time. I sought advice from twitter and I got a referral to a good foot doctor here in LA, some good information on aqua jogging and a PT that has a lot of good info on her site, Athletes Training Athletes 
I have spent this week, icing and doing stretches on both the foot and the calf in hope of loosening things up a bit. I rode the bike on the trainer twice this week and got in the pool to not only swim, but try aqua jogging. I have to say that I think this program is working as I am no longer in any pain while walking. I will keep riding the bike, swimming and aqua jogging for the next few days. I may try an easy run late next week, but I don't want to push it right now.

So back to the it just a coincidence that I get injured in January, or is it that the "running Gods" don't want me to run the LA Marathon?? I don't know, but as I write this, I am more confident that I will be running the LA Marathon and return to training in the near future. I found this quote and I thought I would share it...

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter. With the laughs, comes the tears…” – Walt Disney.

Monday, January 3, 2011

LA Marathon Training Week #7

Week #7 went fairly well, I was able to get back into the pool twice this week and managed a 16 mile long run on Friday and a 6.5 mile walk with my wife on New Year's Day.

Here's how this week looked: (Actual)

Week 7:
Monday: 3 miles (Rode 30 min on bike trainer)
Tuesday: Rest (1200 yd swim)
Wednesday: 8 Miles  (1200 yd swim, Rode 30 min on bike trainer)
Thursday: 6.75 mi 5 x 800 (Rest)
Friday: Rest (16 mi long )
Saturday: 16 miles long  (6.5 mi walk)
Sunday: 8 miles (marathon pace)  (Rest/injured)

Here is what week #8 looks like:

Week 8:
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 8 miles
Thursday: 4 mi Tempo
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 17 miles long
Sunday: 8 miles Marathon Pace

Today's weight: 209.2 Up a bit this week, I am a bit surprised, but now that the holidays are over, it's time to get serious about the weight loss.