Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February 2007 Numbers

So far this week, Monday was a planned rest day. Tuesday and Wednesday had 6 scheduled. Tuesday I shut down the computer at 5:02, changed and drove over to the dam by 5:22. I was able to get the 6 miles done by the last little traces of daylight. It won't be long before I'll be able to get home, changed and over to Bonelli for some midweek runs before the sun sets. Am I excited about that, you bet I am. Wednesday I made it home and back out the door by 6:08. There was still just a little bit of daylight left when I got started.

These past two days have been on the chilly and windy side. While I can't exactly say that the winds are howling and biting, this is SoCal after all, but the weather was a little less hospitable than usual. So true to the old adage about March; "in like a lion, out like a lamb", it looks like we'll be getting the lion this year. I remember that saying from growing up in OH where it seemed to ring fairly true. Here in Covina, I think March will come in more like a mad alley cat than a lion, oh well.

My legs are definitely still feeling the effects of last weekend's 20 mile - 8K combo. I've got speed work scheduled for tomorrow. At this point I'm not expecting too much with the way the legs feel, but I'm set to go give it a try.

Because I'm a slave to the numbers, here's how February ended: 184 miles in 21 days of running. This is slightly higher than last month and not bad considering the shorter month and that I took 2 extra unplanned days off.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 8

Friday ended up being a rest day after all. The only really good time to get the run in would have been in the morning. That meant getting up early and getting it done before work. It is a rare occasion when I do that.

For Saturday's 20 miler I was pretty much on my own. The Cruisers were all running short due to a race on Sunday. I headed down to Huntington Beach for a run along the bike path. The motto for the day was - Cruise Control. My only goal was to finish the 20 miles feeling strong and with some gas in the tank.

The run actually starts about a mile northeast of the beach. The training program from the Fountain Valley Snail's Pace running store has marked the mileage from there. The parking lots and bike paths at the extreme south end of the the beach were slurry coated sometime last fall so the first mile mark is at 4. My time at that point was 36:14. This put me smack dab in the middle of McMillan's long run pace. I hovered between 8:45 and 9:00 miles for the next 7 miles. On the way back I ended up clocking two miles at 8:15. My last four miles came in at 34:47, faster than the first four. Mission accomplished. I finished the 20 feeling strong. None of the dreaded 20 mile slow down on this run. I actually very slightly negatively split the run without trying, 1:29 out, 1:27 back, for a total time of 2:56.

I had a couple of reasons for wanting to take this run at a stress free pace. The first was that I had signed up for that same race that all the other Cruisers were running on Sunday, the Brea 8K. I ran this race last year at a pretty conservative pace. I was fairly certain I could better my time of 39:38. With the 20 miler on my legs I wasn't really sure what I would be capable of. The McMillan running calculator predicted a 35:30 time for an 8K. All the paces are based on the goal of a 3:30 marathon.

At the starting line I ran into this guy, Sam, who I run a few other races with. The first race I remember him, I beat him. At the Jingle Bob he was the second male, I was the third. At that point I really didn't give him much thought. Whereas last year I had no idea what to expect on the course, this year I knew exactly what I was in for. This course is pretty much rolling the entire 8K.

Mile 1 has its share of ups and downs. We started out heading west, circled the Civic Center and ended up passing the starting line heading east. I hadn't seen Sam since the horn sounded and hadn't really expected to. I finished Mile 1 in 7:32. I was pretty happy with that.

Mile 2 had a slow climb up Birch. I clocked 7:42. I was still OK with that, all things considered.

Mile 3 we turned left on Associated, and then another slow climb up Country Hills Rd, followed by a left onto Kraemer which includes the real uphill of the course, significant enough that it is marked on the course map as "up hill". Just after cresting the hill and turning left on Lambert, I hit the 3 mile mark in 7:51. From this point on the course was mostly downhill, with a really nice downhill back down Associated to Birch, so the 7:51 didn't completely demoralize me.

Mile 4 was at the corner as we turned right back to onto Birch and I missed it. Last year this mile came in at 7:22. I was pretty confident that I had at least gotten that his year.

Just around the corner, I came upon Sam. He was walking and obviously struggling. No big deal, I just kept running my race. Sam ended up running again and passed me. Soon he was coughing and breathing really heavily and had stopped to walk again. I just kept chugging along. It was then that I thought we've got a little challenge going here, I knew he had seen me go by. I ran the next half mile and had turned the 2nd to the last corner to the finish line when I heard really heavy breathing coming closer and closer. I picked up the pace on the home stretch. The breathing kept getting closer as did the pounding of shoes. I picked up the pace as much as I could. I was sure that Sam was hot on my tail. I don't think I've ever kicked as hard at the end. Sam passed me with about 5 feet before the finish line. At least I had made him fight for the win. It was a fun little adrenaline rush to end the race that way. My time for the last 1.97 miles was 14:11 for a 7:12 pace.

The unofficial finish time was 37:16 for a 7:30 pace overall and a pretty significant improvement at the 8K distance.

The rest of the weekend was filled with bike riding with Bryan. He is very into training for the bike tour next weekend. I guess I might be able to consider these sessions as reverse interrupted mini (RIM) bricks. Saturday after 20 in the morning, Bryan and I rode 9 in the afternoon. Sunday after the 8K in the morning, we rode 16 in the afternoon. So although I didn't hit my running mileage number for the week, I think I put in some pretty significant efforts combined.

Miles for the week: 44

M: Rest
T: 5 miles, Speedwork
W: 6 miles, 53:12 (8:52 pace)
H: 8 miles, 1:04 (8:04 pace)
F: Extra Rest Day
S: 20 miles, 2:56 (8:49 pace) and 9 miles bike
S: 5 miles, 37:16 (7:30 pace) and 16 miles bike

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stubborn Streak

I derive a lot of inspiration from reading others peoples trials and adventures in running. At least two of my runs so far this week were made a little better thinking about some of you. After the frustrating week I had last week, the feedback was pretty unanimously in favor of more rest. I decided that this week I was just going to concentrate on the miles and not worry about the time. Does this sound more than a little bit familiar to anyone? I'm beginning to sound like a broken record even to myself.

Tuesday I headed on over to the track. Bryan joined me. He wanted to run some laps as well as part of his training for the bike tour in less than 2 weeks. David is my current inspiration for speed work. He busted out 12-400's this week. Man oh man, I'd be thrilled with 6 or 8. But now I have a goal. The old track had just gotten a fresh layer of new dirt. It was nice and soft but pretty rutted up due to the rain on Monday. I was forced into what is probably lane 3 to avoid the worst of it. I put in a 400, 800, 600, 800, 400, and one last 400. The 600 was supposed to be an 800 but I pulled up short with a side stitch. I don't remember having a side stitch since running as a kid. All my times are about 5 to 8 seconds slower than the McMillan calculator.

Wednesday I headed out for 6 miles. I fell into a very comfortable pace that I felt I could keep up for a long time. The main goal was just to stay relaxed, not pushed or hurried or stressed over speed. My final pace was nearing 9:00 and I felt refreshed afterward.

Before heading off to bed last night I mapped out an 8 mile route beginning at our church. My plan was to put in the miles right after the meeting, stop at home to shower and head into work a little late. When I got up, I started thinking about how it has been staying light until nearly 6:00 p.m. When I leave the meeting I get to work early so I decided push the run to the afternoon, leave work a little early and take advantage of the longer days. Only one obstacle lay in my way. The forecast called for rain. I don't pay much attention to the forecast, but at 4:00 the rain began. I was initially bummed and wished I had run in the morning. It wasn't raining then. But then I thought about Steven. He has commented often on his blog that if you won't run in the rain, then in his area, Oregon, you'll miss a lot of runs. I decided that if he and Mike could run in the cold rain in Oregon, I could run in the relatively balmy 60's in what we call rain.

I was out the door at work 4:45 and off to the Santa Fe River Trail at the dam for 8, in the rain. I had at least packed my baseball cap to keep the rain off my glasses. I pulled into the lot and lo and behold I was the only car there. I headed on up on top of the dam, fell into a groove and rain be damned. Luckily the weather was just showers, no winds or lightning. I was just one solitary guy out enjoying the weather. By mile 3 I was about as wet as I was going to get. You guys know what can happen running in a wet shirt. I've suffered through this before and bloody, sore nipples are no laughing matter. As a preemptive strike, I flipped the shirt up over my head. I'm usually too self conscious for this but I wasn't likely going to be seeing anybody else in the next 5 miles (I didn't) and any possible embarrassment on my part or theirs would be worth not suffering the dreaded rawness. Running bare skinned in the rain is not such a bad thing. I felt downright primal and the best part is I'm sitting here now pain free.

The pace for the romp in the rain, 8 miles in 1:04:32, 8:04 miles per minute. Where that came from I can't quite figure out. I was just out for a easy run and got rewarded with a near 8:00 pace and it felt easy. Last weekend I couldn't keep up an 8:00 pace for more than a few feet without feeling as though I was going to die. Running is such an unknowable thing sometimes.

I've been chasing a mileage goal for a while and this was supposed to be the week to get there. But with the extra biking I'll be doing with Bryan and the 20 miler on Saturday, taking Friday off is probably the prudent and wise thing to do. Thanks for the advice and the inspiration and hopefully we'll all keep learning something together.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Boy and A Bike

Once upon a time a Dad and his son handed out water to marathoners of all ages, sizes, abilities, speeds and levels of committment. The Dad and his son had a wonderful day at the 2006 City of Los Angeles Marathon at the Mile 25 aid station, in March of that year.

The day started bright and early, nearly 30 minutes before the official start time of 8:30 and nearly 2 hours before even the fastest runner would get to Mile 25. So early that the Acura LA Bike Tour riders were still on the course. The son thought that was the coolest thing and vowed to do the ride next year.

The Dad had run the marathon in the two previous years and determined never to run it again. The father had already checked off California from his list of states. LA was the Dad's least favorite course. Then in a move the Dad hadn't expected, the powers that be changed the course for 2007. Oh, the dilema! Would the Dad run the new route or ride the Bike Tour with the son?

There were two perfectly good mountain bikes in the garage at the house where the Dad and son lived. One bike, a hot little red number, fit the Dad perfectly. The other bike, a heavy blue and white model, was far too small for the son. The heavy blue and white bike was purchased years before for the boy's older brother. Both boys now being full grown and exceeding their father in both height and weight had outgrown this little blue and white bike.

The boy's mother had the notion that a new bike could be purchased for $200 or less. The boy's mother doesn't know much about bikes. A week and a day before today the boy's family was enjoying lunch at a shopping center in which a bike shop was also located. The father wanted to show the mother just how much bikes really cost so decided to take the family into the bike shop. The mother was shocked to see the stickers on the shiny new bikes.

As is likely to happen when one enters a sales establishment to peruse the goods, one leaves with said goods. The boy became the proud owner of a brand spanking new KHS Flite 300 road bike. The Flite is an entry level bike and although the Dad is not very knowledgable about bike specs, the bike was within the price range the Dad was willing to pay and was able to convince the Mom that it was really a reasonable price for a shiny new bike.

The bike is a beautiful color of blue, darker than robins egg, lighter than navy. The boy was exceedingly happy and proud of his new bike. The Dad took the boy over to Bonelli that very afternoon for a little spin on the new bike. The Dad rode his red hot mountain bike. In the past the Dad always led the way when the son rode the old heavy, too small bike. Now the son was unstoppable. The Dad could not keep up with the boy no matter how hard he pedaled. What a difference the right equipement can make. The pair rode for 8 miles around the park. The boy said, "that was so much easier than the old bike!"

The pair took another spin two days ago, again in Bonelli between preparing the lasagna and the arrival of the guests. The Dad had run 15 miles that morning as well. Again the boy was thrilled with the new bike. The following day the pair headed over the the Santa Fe Dam Bike Trial to cover the same 15 miles the Dad had run the day before. The boy rode farther, with less effort, not complaining and with nothing but enjoyment. The Dad was left behind by about half a mile while the boy flew down the trail.

Tonight the price was paid for the entry to ride the traffic free streets of Los Angeles on March 4, 2007. The boy is very happy. The Dad wants a shiny new bike too. (He secretly doesn't like trailing that far behind the boy.) The Dad is happy too, riding with the boy is a very good thing.

And that good and faithful readers, is the story of a boy and a bike.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 7

The week in which Darrell finally has a meltdown.

Upon returning from PA for the New Year's family vacation the first week of January, I began my new 6 day a week training program for the Eugene Marathon. I had tried this last summer for St. George and made it 3.5 weeks before my hip pain rearranged my schedule for me. After having taken the end of 2006 relatively easy I was ready to go again. From the beginning of Week 2 on January 8, I haven't missed a run, although I did cut one short by a mile. My weekly mileage has increased every week since week 1, from 30.2-36-38.4-40-42-47. This week was scheduled as the second half of another 10 days in a row and an cut back week. I judiciously swapped my day off from Friday to Wednesday (Valentine's Day, remember that?), giving me an 8 day streak instead. It had rained again early in the week so I had "saved" speed work till Thursday. But...

Thursday when I got home I was just spent; mentally, emotionally and physically. It wasn't just the thought of speed work either. My energy level had been lagging for a while, my legs were like lead and people around me have been pissing me off all too easily lately. I guess I should say I've been reacting to people negatively (my fault, not theirs). I was also increasingly frustrated with nothing but 6 mile runs mid week. Other training plans I've used have mixed distances up a little. Bottom line - I took Thursday night off and after 5.5 weeks of near perfect schedule I put a big fat goose egg in my log.

Ever since I discovered running I've loved it. I really like the marathon distance. I like knowing that pretty much on any given day I could cover the distance. What I'm not enjoying is the work required to get to a faster time goal. At least recently, that goal has sucked the joy out of running. What little God given ability I have has gotten me this far and now it just seems like work trying to get to the next level. I guess it should feel like work, but I'm not sure I have the mental or even physical capacity to get there.

Earlier in the week my runs hadn't really gone that badly. Friday evening, I tried to take it easy knowing I had a 15 miler on the schedule for the next morning. I was going to try to give the "last 4 miles at MP" thing another try. I had already planned this and Phil suggested using the medium long runs as a good place to insert this bit of training. My planned route for the day was the Santa Fe Dam Bike Path. From where I normally park at Mile 30 to the terminus of the bike trail at mile 37.5 makes a perfect out and back 15 miler.

The day was clear, sunny and warm. I got started about 8:00. I fell into a pace that I thought was easily sustainable and would still leave something for the end of the run, hovering just above 8:30 pace. I hit the half way point at 1:05; 8:40 pace overall. I could tell that the trip back was going to be a struggle. I was already running low on umphh. I had plenty of fluids with me and took half a gel at 9 and 12 miles.

At the 11 mile mark I picked up the pace to attempt my 8:00 miles and only made it a couple of steps before I decided that maybe I'd give it a try at the 12 mile mark. At 12, I walked for a minute to finish off the gel and still didn't have the energy to speed up. At mile 13 I didn't even give it a try. I was moving along at a somewhat faster pace but it was obvious to me that I wasn't going to be going very much faster for very long. That mile was my fastest since Mile 6. For the last mile I gave it one last shot at MP. I made it maybe the 100 yards before I was reduced to a walk. I thought to myself, "this shouldn't be this hard", but it was. One positive note from the run was my final time of 2:10:48. I had nearly even splits. So although I wasn't able to pick up the pace, I hadn't slowed down either.

All in all, I'm not sure I'm cut out for a 6 day a week training cycle. I definitely crave some variety in distances as well. Next week looks a little better on that front with 2-6's and 2-5's. It also has the added bonus of an 8 miler midweek. The first 20 miler on Saturday should be an interesting experience based on recent history. I'll deal with that next weekend.

The week by the numbers: 37 miles (43 scheduled)

M: 6 miles, 49:04 (8:11 pace)
T: 6 miles, 51:03 (8:31 pace)
W: Rest
H: Mental health day
F: 6 miles, 51:10 (8:32 pace)
S: 15 miles, 2:10:48 (8:43 pace)
S: 4 miles, 36:45 (9:11 pace)

Other notable happenings during the week were having my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for dinner on Valentines Day. I grilled steak. I made lasagna (my MIL's recipe) for 12 friends on Saturday night. We played Pictionary, Battle of the Sexes. The guys won once, the girls won once. During Saturday's long run I was passed by over 100 bikers and saw at least 3 pelotons of 20 or more people. I love the sound of all those bikes going by. A lone bike pulled up next to me at mile 12 and stopped. It turned out to be the marketing brand manager for the project I'm on at work. Even that 10 minute chat break (off the clock of course) wasn't enough to improve the last 3 miles of the run.

I still owe you the story of the boy and the bike. Sorry, it was a tough and busy week. Let's just say it has a happy ending. I'll try to get to it this week.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 6

Like a kid!

I snuck my run in on Friday by taking a half day vacation. I'm very lucky to have a large vacation balance. I stopped off at the Santa Fe Dam before going home. My intent was to keep the pace up, but not as crazy as Thursday's. I could feel the effect on my legs already from that effort. I was able to put in the 6 miles in 49:13. I took the rest of the afternoon as a chance to get the checkbook updated. Now that's some fun use of vacation time!

Saturday morning I was scheduled to meet the CA Cruiser at Rio Java for a jaunt along the Santa Ana River Bike Path. Our group was me, Dorothy, Renee, Kathleen and two of their friends. Dorothy was fresh from her 3rd place AG finish at the Pacific Shoreline Marathon last weekend. John was missing as he had arthroscopic surgery on a torn meniscus in this knee on Thursday after having also run Pacific Shoreline. He is supposed to be out for 6 to 8 weeks, but being a doctor himself, I'm not sure he'll be the most compliant patient. Pacific Shoreline was his 110th marathon.

After having a couple of hard efforts the last couple of days I decided to enjoy an easy start to Saturday's long run and ran with the "girls" for the first three miles. Our pace was nearing 12:00 per mile. I would have made it 4 with them except for having to stop at the bathroom. The girls turned back at that point.

On my own, I dropped down to around 9:00. I ended up having to stop twice more during this run for bowel related issues. I'm not sure what the exact problem was but I was able to run comfortably after the final stop. My route took me east along the trail for 5 miles and back, then west for 4 miles and back for a total of 18. This is the first loooong run of 5 for Eugene. There are 2-20's and 2-22's yet to come.

During the week I had thought about trying to run the last 4 miles at marathon pace, or 8:00 miles. This is something I was borrowing from Jeff. I completely forgot about doing it when I was out there running until I only had one mile left. I tried to kick up the pace, but soon realized that this was probably not the best mile to do so as there are a couple of little whoopty dos in this mile. I probably let that get to me too much, besides my legs were definitely feeling Thursday and Friday's efforts. My pace had stayed steady for the last 15 miles but there was not speeding up to be had. Mile 18 was faster than 17 but just in line with the rest of the run.

The final time for the run was 2:52:39, an overall pace of 9:35, which is just on the upper limit of my recommended long run pace. The pace for the 15 on my own was 9:12.

And finally the kid part. Sunday's forecast called for rain. My schedule called for 5 miles, so you know where I was headed; B-O-N-E-L-L-I. The rain was going to make it all the more fun. I awoke Sunday morning to the sound of rain. I was a happy camper. I made breakfast for the family as usual and planned my run for immediately after church. It was still raining nicely when we walked into church, but by the time we walked out the sky was clearing. I pulled out the 500 mile shoes I had worn at Tecumseh and Otter Creek. I wasn't ready to christen the newer ones. So although I didn't get wet, I did have plenty of mud to play in on the trails. There's something about running in the mud that brings out the kid in me.

Miles for the week: 47

M: Rest
T: 6 miles, speed with 3x400 and 2x800
W: 6 miles, 57:29 (9:35 pace)
H: 6 miles, 45:32 (7:35 pace)
F: 6 miles, 49:13 (8:12 pace)
S: 18 miles, 2:52:39 (9:35 pace)
S: 5 miles, 50:12 (10:02 pace)

I've got a story about a boy and bike, I'll tell you next time.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Pickin' Up the Pace

I’m going to try to keep this short. It seems like my last few posts have gotten much longer than intended.

Monday: Rest day (2 in a row, woohoo! After juggling last week a little to make room for Twin Peaks.)

Tuesday: Track day. I actually went there willingly and looking forward to it. My first 400 was 1:40, my best time since starting these 4 weeks ago. I followed that with 2x800 and then 2x400. My longest track session to date, but it pales in comparison to David’s 8x800.

Wednesday: I put in an easy 6 miler, 57:29, 9:35 pace. I felt very relaxed until I calculated my final pace. I worried that I was getting too used to this slower pace. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately in the 9:00 plus time frame. If I’m going to hit my goal of a sub 3:30 marathon I need to spend some more time at 8:00 pace.

That brings us to today, Thursday. I had 6 on the schedule again and decided that I was going to kick it in gear and see if I could get reasonably close to 8:00 miles. I chose a straight out and back route down a long street with a wide bicycle lane. I took off considerably faster than the pace of late and was able to keep it up, even picking up speed as I continued. I would slow a little at the lights to catch my breath and then ramp it right back up again. I finished the 6 miles in 45:32, a smoking 7:35 pace. I’m not sure how much longer I could keep that up, but it sure felt good while it lasted. It felt really good to know that I’m not “stuck” at 9:00 plus. Does this count as a tempo run?

310 words, short enough?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 5

Another week in the bag. It turned out well, I think. I made it to the track, I got in all my runs and my new shoes came in the mail. On Saturday I finished up my week with a 13 mile run. I stayed close to home.

Nearly all the Cruisers were running in one of the races associated with the Pacific Shoreline Marathon, thus no scheduled run on Saturday. I woke up on my own around 7:30 and just hung around the house, lingering over my oatmeal and banana, waiting for the sun to warm things up a bit. By 10:00 when I finally got myself going it was nearing 70°F, another absolutely beautiful day. I headed over to Bonelli for a leisurely 13 miles. I ran my perimeter loop and doubled back for most of my 5 mile loop as well.

I was greeted by a family out for a hike at about mile 5 after reaching the top of one of the longest climbs in Bonelli. The wife was carrying a baby in a backpack and the dad was keeping his eye on a couple of 3 or 4 year old boys. The wife commented to me that they had watched me run up the hill and jokingly thought to themselves "show off", at least I think she was joking. We talked about how nice the day was. They asked me how far I was going. When I told them 13, the Dad said, "Well that explains the shirt then." I was wearing my new Marathon Maniacs singlet for the first time. I guess to a lot of people anyone running 13 miles is a bit of a maniac. I came across some horse riders who actually pulled over to let me pass. I thought that was funny. It turned out to be a really enjoyable run, with no major issues and I felt great when I was finished. 13 miles in 2:12; 10:10 pace was OK with me for a laid back run in Bonelli.

Miles for the week: 42

M: 6 miles, 54:49
T: 6 miles, 50:32
W: 6 miles, 55:11
H: 5 miles, with 3x400 & 1x800
F: 6 miles, 53:31
S: 13 miles, 2:12
S: Rest

Rest, yeah right! Well I didn't run but I'm not sure it was really a rest day. I volunteered at what may be the most blogged about race ever, the inaugural Twin Peaks Ultramarathon. My official duties were at the Holy Jim aid station at mile 27 of the 50 mile course. The day was a veritable who's who of Southern California blogging, with a little Tuscon thrown in. I knew a lot of people were going to be there but I wasn't sure who I'd actually get to meet. I signed in at 8:30 which was earlier than required but really quite late considering Jessica and Angie among others had been there since something crazy like 4:30 or something. Soon after checking in, I ran into Anne (Run-DMZ).

I still can't quite get over that "Hey, I know you!" feeling the first time I meet a blogger in person. I always instantly feel comfortable with them and as though we have a connection even though we've never met. That feeling was repeated several times that day. I didn't get to chat long with Anne before I had to leave the starting area to report to Holy Jim, about a 30 minute drive away.

We arrived about 45 minutes before the first runners came through. Carol and I, a new trail runner from Santa Monica, got the food set up and mixed up the electrolyte drink. Heiko manned the radio. While we were setting up a truck pulled up and I hear someone say, "I hear Darrell's around here somewhere." I turned around to find Angie (onepinkfuzzy). I got a big hug and just marveled at what a little dynamo she is. She was having a blast driving all over those mountains delivering water and supplies. She dropped us some more water and was off to her next stop. Carol and I were joined later by Patti, Sarah and Linda.

It wasn't long before the lead runners came into the aid station around 10:30. They had been on the course for about 4:30 when they reached us at about 27 miles. These two had run more than a marathon over some pretty tough terrain and looked as fresh as two guys out for a 10 mile training run. The each had a drop bag and were pretty much self sufficient. One guy was Dean Dobberteen, who's name I had seen at other trail races. The other guy turned out to be the eventual winner David Goggins. I didn't find this out until I got back to the finish hours later. Dave has an awesome reputation as well if you care to Google him.

The runners came through one or two at a time for the next 4 hours, 48 of them in all. Greg came through in a group of about 6 runners. He was just grinning from ear to ear and having the time of his life. His energy level is pretty infectious. The other runners with him were obviously having fun as well. A little while later, Mike came through. I had run with Greg and Mike on this trail back in November. Mike changed his shoes, filled up his bottles and off he went. The next thing I know he was back at the aid station. He had decided to call it quits with foot issues.

Another runner, Mike Kennedy, got to the aid station just as his sister in law and three nieces pulled up. It was quite a coincidence and had to have brightened "Uncle Mike's" day to see all the familiar faces. His brother, Tom, was out there walking the course.

One guy came through near the end that had never run 50 miles before. In fact he had never run a marathon before. He does run 10 miles with his dog. He had seen the race announcements and decided that it sounded like a good idea. He was in his 50's and looked pretty healthy. He seemed to be in pretty good condition for just having run 27 miles for the first time. He did say he wasn't sure he would ever to this again. I wish I had gotten his name to know how his race turned out.

Tom, the walking brother, finally made it to the aid station after 11 hours on the trail. He was the last one through. He looked fine and said that he felt good and was really enjoying himself. Unfortunately he ultimately DNF'd.

Before Tom got to us, Nattie (accounts of madness) came in. It had been quite a while since anyone had come through so I decided to walk back up the trail to see if I could meet Nattie. I didn't get very far before she was there. She of course greeted me with that big Nattie smile. She walked in but went about getting resupplied and was on her way. She seemed a little disoriented to me, but determined to go on. Later, just before I finally left the finish line I heard that she had passed the Santiago Peak aid station just before 6:00 p.m. which meant she still had 15 miles to go. I wondered for the rest of the night and most of today how she had fared. I know now (the official results are up) that she DNF'd. I will be interested to read her story of the day.

After the last runner came through, we packed up everything in Patty's SUV and headed back to the finish line. I unloaded the drop bags for the first finishers along with all the leftover food and supplies. I found Jessica and asked her about Matt (igotblistersonmyblisters). He was running the 50K so didn't go through my aid station. He is the one SoCal blogger I hadn't had a chance to meet and I was hoping I wouldn't miss my chance. Jessica wasn't sure if he had finished yet. I did some miscellaneous stuff that needed to be done and had just decided to walk up the trail to see if I could meet up with Matt on the way down. Just before I did, I hear Jess call out my name and there was Matt. It turns out he had been finished for awhile and was napping on the picnic table the entire time I was there. What a pleasure it was to meet Matt. He and I chatted for probably nearly an hour. He's a very unassuming, genuine guy. I love Jeff's description of him. I'm hoping to meet Matt again at a couple of races we are both planning on doing, Malibu Creek and the Great Race of Agoura. Matt has a great story about how this race almost didn't happen for him, I'll let him tell it if he chooses to. After having met him, I think it personifies him completely.

With all those meet ups, I didn't get a chance to catch up with Jeff or to meet Kim or Ashley. But on a rest day, I had a great day out there supporting the 50 mile runners and meeting some old friends. Maybe next year, I'll work up the nerve to try the 50K. By all accounts Twin Peaks is a great race. So what are you doing next year on SuperBowl Sunday?

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I was tagged by Bob back on Tuesday. Ever since then I've been trying to figure out just exactly to respond to this particular tag. Bob has threatened Mafia hit men so I'd better figure it out soon. And just why is this so hard? I'm supposed to list 6 weird things about myself. I always considered myself pretty a middle of the road, go with the flow, status quo, don't rock the boat kind of guy. What could there possibly be weird about me. I'm sure I could poll the people around me, but I'm not really sure I want to know. So here goes:

1. The fact that I agonized over a "6 Weird Things about You" tag, makes me weird.

2. My kids think its weird that when I was a kid I carried my lunch to school in a brown paper bag. I wasn't really that weird in the 70's, except that I had to use the same bag for a week. Everyday I would fold it neatly and carry it around for the rest of the day in my back pocket.

3. In grade school we had to use measure different body parts to use as estimations of length in some math exercise we were doing. It turns out my ear is 3 inches long. I still use that as a point of reference.

4. In my closet all my shirts are hung facing to the left. When I wash them I hang them back up on the right end of the rod and I when I'm getting dressed in the morning I almost always chose a shirt from the left end of the rod. This assures that every shirt goes through the rotation the same number of times. Same thing with my underwear. Its stack in the drawer, the just washed stuff goes on top and I pull from the bottom of the stack every morning.

5. When I was a kid I had a lot of dreams in which I was able to float up into the air. Or alternately I dreamed that certain body parts, say one leg or arm, swelled up supernaturally.

6. I love to do the laundry. I like to watch the clothes go round and round in the washer and dryer. We just got those new high efficiency machines from LG. I could stand there for hours watching them.

OK, tag fulfilled. I'm sure there's even weirder stuff, some too weird to share here, and probably some so weird I won't even admit it to myself.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I spend a good portion of my drive time home thinking about the run I will be doing when I get there. I already know the mileage to cover, I just have to decide what route I want to take. Today was no different.

Friday was a planned rest day, but because of my weekend plans I was considering moving the rest day to Sunday. I was even thinking of taking today off as well. I mentioned last week that Thursday is my long day. By the end of the day I'm tired. A day off sounded like not such a bad idea. I was thinking about my training in January. I've had a pretty good month. My mileage came in at 162.6, not the highest ever but right up there in the top 5. I had completed 3 weeks of 6 day/week runs and was well on my way through the fourth week. I had run 26 of 31 days, an 84% completion rate. I'd even added track workouts back into the mix.

I had been talking to my wife on the cell on the way home and we talked some more when I got home. All of a sudden she said, "I know why you don't feel like running today. It's track day!" Ah, she knows me well. I had put the track off on Tuesday due to the rain. I had no real excuse today. I was shamed into getting out there and over to the track by my non-running wife.

So I got ready to go but I had already decided that if the first 400 sucked, I would give it one more and then if it still sucked I would call it a day. Not exactly the best attitude going in but...

I made it over to the track after a 2 mile warm up. I hit the starting line and off I went. The first 400 came in at 1:43:54, not exactly stellar, but it didn't totally suck so I held my ground at the track. The second 400 came in at 1:41:77. Dang it all, it still didn't suck. I guess I was in for the long haul.

During my recovering lap I entertained the idea of going for an 800. It must be that elusive runner's high. How else do you explain going from "I think I'll take a day off" to "Let's try an 800." The 800 felt better than I expected it to. I got it done in 3:34:05 and didn't fall on my face at the end. My target pace for 800's is 3:18 to 3:27. I've still got some work to do but I was closer to the target than I expected I'd be. I ended the session with one last 400 at 1:42:40. All in all, not such a sucky effort after all.

I did only get in a total of 5 miles, when the schedule called for 6, but 5 is better than a DNS. Thanks! for busting me Dear .

Just in case you hadn't seen this comment way at the bottom of my last post, I'm reposting this from my wife: "...thank you Bloggers for the get well wishes. I am feeling much better now, thanks to the prayers and good thoughts sent my way."