Sunday, March 25, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 12

On Wednesday I titled my post "Winter Returns" and just like that Summer Came Back, well at least very warm spring. I thought I left the Midwest fickle weather behind 20 some years ago.

With my friend John's memorial service on Saturday and the fact the I've been blessed with a sizable vacation balance at work, I took Friday off to put in my 22 miler. After I dropped my son off at school I headed down to Huntington Beach. HB seems to have become my long run destination of choice lately. I hopped on the freeway expecting Friday light conditions. The trip to HB takes 3 freeways. On the first I listened to the traffic report and all was clear. Once I made the transition to the second freeway, things began to slow down a little. Then they got even slower. The next traffic report told of an accident several exits ahead. I was already committed so I just chugged along at 10 mph. After I got passed the accident it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. Because it was a weekday and not yet spring break finding free parking was not a problem.

I parked at the north end of the route again like two weeks ago. This turned out to be a pretty good choice this day as I ran into the breeze on the way out and had it at my back on the return. Although there were far less people out on a Friday than on the weekend, there were still more than I expected. I saw some interesting sights on this run. I saw a Mom running with a triple wide running stroller with 3 kids in it. I saw another running Mom, pregnant with a full double stroller. I saw a lady walking her cat on a leash and a man sitting on a park bench with two very large dogs, one an either side of him. He had his arms around their necks and a third smaller dog nestled at his feet. They were all just seemed to be enjoying watching the ocean waves breaking on the beach. In Newport Beach, just as I got to my turnaround point, I saw a fishing boat that had run aground. Crazy stuff.

Overall the run went fairly well. On the way out the sun was mostly hidden under cloud cover. By the time I turned around to retrace my steps the sun was mostly out. I hadn't gotten started with this run until about 9:30 so the return trip from about 11 to 12:30 was borderline high sun times. I hadn't thought to use sunscreen, as usual, so my neck got a little burned as did my left arm. I stuck to my hydration and gel schedule from the 20 miler, using all 28 ounces of fluid and 3 Clif Shots. The double espresso was particularly tasty. Last year I would have only taken 2 gels during a 2o-22 miler. I think the extra one is helping.

Unlike the last two 20 milers I did experience a slow down at the end especially after the 20 mile "wall". I started out mile 1 at 8:57 and hovered around there for the first 16 miles. I was pleased that mile 17 came in at 9:07, at exactly the same time as the same mile (6) on the way out. By mile 18 I was at 9:04 then then proceeded the slow down with 9:10, 9:14, 9:38 (yikes) and 9:08. Again I was pleased that at could at least kick it back up a little bit for the last mile. My final time was 3:18 for a dead on 9:00 pace overall.

As far as long run paces go I should really be happy with that one. For my goal marathon, McMillan suggests 8:31 to 9:31 long runs. I would be happier with that if I could manage a few more of the weekday runs near or below actual marathon pace, 8:01. I'm going to finish out this training schedule for Eugene and then adjust as necessary depending on the outcome there.

Saturday afternoon, around 4:00, I was able to get over to Bonelli for an easy recovery run of 4 miles. I chose the north-south trail on the west end of the park. I wore my brand new Brooks Cascadia trail shoes. I've never had dedicated trail shoes before and really was looking forward to this inaugural run. Although I had admired the red/orange color scheme of the previous model, this years is dark gray and blue. This Cascadia is one nice looking shoe. During the run I immediately noticed more room in the toe box and felt the extra traction on the toe off and a little extra cush in the heel area during a short asphalt section.

Sunday, I took Bryan down to HB again. This weekend was the annual NPPL paintball tournament. This was our third annual trek for him to watch some paintball matches and check out some vendors. I only had four miles in the plan, so I decided to give it a go and was rewarded with a 32:17 or 8:04 pace, not bad two days after a 22 miler. True to form I soaked my legs in ocean post run. The water temperature is about 60 degrees, so not really ice bath quality but it does feel pretty good to get the cool water on the legs. I spent the rest of the morning catching up on my crossword puzzle back log and Bryan talked me into lunch at Ruby's Diner on the HB Pier.

With all that I finally reached a goal I've been pushing for since I started this training cycle, a 50 mile week. I was supposed to have hit it two times previously but those weeks ended up being 5 day rather than 6 day weeks. This week was my second 6 day week in a row. The longest I've made it so far with 6 days is 5 consecutive weeks. Next week calls for 6 and the following week cuts back to 5 so I think I'll be alright. After that the miles drop during the taper. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Next week will be somewhat of a challenge to get in all 6 days because I'm traveling to Calgary for 2 days. I may need to use some creativity to get it all done.

Today my thoughts were with my friends running the ING Georgia Marathon. I had four friends from the CA Cruisers running; Ena, Kitty, Margaret and Arcy. We also had Wes, David, and Rae and Brent of the RBF. Congrats to all for finishing what sounds like a hot and hilly race. The bloggers have already posted reports. Whew!

At one point I had considered joining this little group. The lure of another state and an inaugural marathon are hard to resist. Kitty and Margaret fueled the desire on this end and Wes had even volunteered to host me for the weekend. (I wonder what he'd have thought if I had actually taken him up on it?) When I mentioned weeks ago that I really wanted to run Georgia my wife asked me "Won't that mess up your chances for a BQ at Eugene?" Smart woman, my wife. My son then chimed in with "Couldn't you just run it as a training run?" Smart kid, my son. They've both been infected with the marathon mentality. What more can I ask for? In the end I probably made the wisest choice and skipped Georgia, but reading about it today really makes we wish I had been there.

Miles for the week: 50 (and the crowd went wild - at least in my head)

M - 6 miles, 50:54 (8:29 pace)
T - 6 miles, 50:13 (8:22 pace)
W- 8 miles, 1:07:36 (8:27 pace)
H - Rest
F- 22 miles, 3:19 (9:00 pace)
S - 4 miles, 41:56 (10:29 pace)
S - 4 miles, 32:18 (8:05 pace)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

For Juls

When a friend, even a friend we know only through a little thing called a blog, especially a friend who shares a passion for life, family and this crazy little activity that brought many of us together suffers such a loss, I think we all hurt a little too. I know I do. My prayer for you Juls is to take the time to heal and the time to feel. I hope that you will be able to come to terms with the questions that seem to have no answer. You are strong, and remember you are not alone.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Winter Returns

I've shuffled the plan around a little bit this week. It reminded me of one of these 15-puzzles that I used to have as a kid in the 60's. The plan has Monday off almost every week. I've mentioned before that Friday works better for me, at least every other week. Friday would definitely be my preferred day this week with a 22 miler on the plan for Saturday, so I slid everything over a day to accommodate this.

I mentioned last week that I visited a friend in hospice. On Friday, 3/16, John went home to be with the Lord. John was a LA County Sheriff. The chaplain wrote these words about John in a newsletter for the Ten Four Ministry - "I count it a great honor and privilege to have known John in this life; and I look forward to seeing him in the life to come. John was a man who loved the Lord deeply, who loved his wife and children passionately and sacrificially, who cherished prayer and fellowship, and who deeply cared for other people. I knew John to be not only a gentleman, but a gentle man. My one regret is that I did not meet John sooner than I did. But thanks be to God that I was blessed to call John my friend, my brother in Christ, and my brother behind the badge." A service for John will be held on Saturday at 11:00. With that in mind I did some more shuffling and moved my long run to Friday - I took a vacation day.

Last week the advent of DST and summer-like weather brought many people out into the streets for some exercise. The gloom that began during my run Saturday in Chino Hills has deepened and continued so far this week and the temperatures have cooled considerably. I guess last week's warm weather was just a little teaser. As might be expected the streets are barren of people again. The extra daylight, although hidden under cloud cover and 30 degrees cooler temperatures, wasn't enough to keep the bears from returning to their hibernation.

During Monday's 6 miler I saw only one other runner and only a handful of walkers. Tuesday I had a local travel day scheduled. I went out to Rancho Cucamonga in the morning to visit one doctor and then traveled down to Escondido with my boss and another engineer to see 7 patients at another office. Escondido is about a 2 hour drive from our office. We didn't get back until 6:00 in a drizzle.

I had planned on running the Bradbury horse trail near work, but with the late return I would have ended up running at least part of the run in the dark. That particular route in the dark and drizzle didn't do much for me. I was a little worn out from the car time so decided that if I was going to run in the dark anyway I would go home first, relax a little, maybe even have dinner and then go out later on a familiar, tried and true, route.

I finally got out at 8:45. Because of the late hour I had mentally prepared myself to run a shorter run, 4 miles, and save the planned 6 for the weekend. A little more shuffling of the puzzle. As I was changing I realized that the furnace was running. By definition that meant that it was cold outside. I wore shorts, but I wore an under armor snug fit shirt and a long sleeve shirt. About a half mile into the run I realized I had over dressed. By two miles I couldn't take it anymore and took off the long sleeve. I was glad I was running under the cover of darkness as those under armor shirts don't do much for camouflaging the spare tire and love handles. Also at this point I decided that since I was already out here and I didn't really know exactly where the 2 mile turn around was, I might as well just get the 6 miler over and done with. The puzzle was shuffled back a move. As it turns out the temperature was in the low 50's, perfect for a run (the drizzle had blown over, too). Predicting the outside temp based on the furnace running wasn't very reliable.

Tonight, Wednesday, I headed over to the dam right after work for 8. I wanted to keep the pace easy. At each mile marker I realized I was doing around 8:30 miles. I would try to slow it down a little but would end up at the same pace by the time I hit the mile mark. Once I get into a groove, I am nearly powerless to change it.

Barring any other change in plans the puzzle is set for the rest of the week at 0-22-4-4.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 11

This past week felt like a really relaxed week in terms of running. A few reasons for this are the “long” for the week was only 13, my legs had seemed to finally recover from the Ridge Run (2 weekends ago) and recovery from the 20 miler went smoothly. Although the running seemed less stressful and I was expecting a cut back week due to the shorter Saturday run, I still ended up with decent mileage because I ran all six days rather than five I had been getting in recently.

Tuesday night was my first after work run post-Daylight Savings Time. I was pretty happy about that. I ran my usual 6 mile loop around the neighborhood. I was surprised at the number of people outside. I saw 5 other runners. My thought was, where were these people last week, in fact the last few months. I ran this same loop last week in the dark and didn’t see another runner. I’ve run the loop lots of times over the last few months and have sometimes seen no other person on foot. Is it possible that I just missed them in the dark? I think not. We’ve also been blessed with summer-like weather, so the combination of warmth and light brought a lot people out of hibernation. The best part about this run for me is that I finally busted out an 8:00 pace run. It didn’t feel that hard. Did I mention that my legs finally felt better.

Wednesday right after work my wife and I went to visit a friend in hospice. He is at the end of his journey with brain cancer. He and his family have handled this whole ordeal with such grace. It is natural to be sad after leaving there, but at the same time we left with such a sense of peace. I just know that he is expecting a greater reward in heaven. Since it was later than normal, I still had the desire to run but not quite the need to get in the scheduled 6. I headed over to the equestrian trail in Via Verde and put in an easy 4 miles.

Thursday had been reserved for speed work. Call me easily influenced (OK, I know I am and it’s a flaw) I had decided to give Eric’s ladder session a try. When it comes to speed I need all the motivation I can get and trying something new seems to be the trick. The challenge for me was just where was I going to get this thing done. Earlier in the week I had driven by the track near my house. The out of hibernation effect was in full force there as well. People were apparently drawn to it like ants to a picnic. I just couldn’t see myself trying to get speed done while weaving in and out of all those people. I need a place with fairly wide open straight aways. Running one my loops on the streets seemed like it would be too daunting with traffic and street crossings to contend with. I headed over Bonelli and stayed on the roads and the asphalt trail around the picnic loop.

The Eric’s plan had called for 800 speed, 400 recovery, 400 speed, 200 recovery and 200 speed, lather, rinse, repeat shooting for 6 to 8 reps. I wouldn’t have mile marks so I modified the workout for time, fartlek style. I did 3 minutes speed, 3 minutes recovery, 2 minutes speed, 2 minutes recovery, 1 minute speed, 3 minutes recovery, repeat as necessary. I did a warm up mile first and then got started. The entire picnic loop is less than 2 miles so rather than just keep going, I double back and forth multiple times. I ended up doing 4 repeats. This gave me 24 minutes at roughly 10K pace interspersed with 32 minutes of recovery. I’m pretty sure this is the most speed I’ve ever done. Another side effect of the lack of mile markers (and my lack of a GPS) is that I ran by total time, 71 minutes. I later recreated the route as best I could on gmaps and came up with 8.3 miles including warm up, speed and cool down. Not knowing for sure how far I would go and the many changes in direction help keep my interest up and made speed work less of a chore.

Friday I put in 6 miles at the dam. At the end of my run I ran into Able. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while. He had the LA marathon a couple of weeks ago. His training hadn’t been adequate and his finishing time reflected that. He was getting ready to dive into the next round of training for Rock-n-Roll San Diego in June.

Saturday, there was a possibility of a run in Chino Hills State Park with Jeff and Matt, but for various reasons that didn’t work out. I had considered joining Jessica’s OCTR. After reading on her blog that some of them ended up doing 21.5 instead of the planned 14, I’m thinking I’m glad I didn’t. The lure of a run in Chino Hills was too great so I headed over there and put in 13 on my own. It was a very foggy morning. I didn’t get started until 8:00 a.m. and the fog was still pretty thick. I parked at the back end of the park near Carbon Canyon Regional Park. I pretty much ran the same loop I had run back in October (alone) and in June with Jeff, Jesse, Jim, Michelle and the Cruisers/642. I ran for about 3 miles in the fog. Visibility was about 100 feet or so. Around 3 miles I finally climbed above the fog and saw the sun. It was cool to look down on the canyons and valleys full of fog. My route was a simple loop UP Northridge, a quick drop down McDermott and then out Telegraph in the valley between Northridge and Southridge. It was cool down there but the fog had lifted and hung somewhere up the side of the canyon. On Telegraph I really tried to take advantage of the continuous slow down hill, keeping the turnover high and the pace up. I know that I still felt really good at the finish.

Sunday, the schedule called for 6, so I ran Robert’s Loop. It is a 6.5 mile loop that starts and ends at my front door. I’m not ready to kick Bonelli to the curb, but since I had gotten my trail fix yesterday and I hadn’t run this loop in quite a while it seemed like a good choice. The weather today is very overcast and cool so it was a really nice run. I actually really like this weather. I’m hoping to get Bryan out later today for a bike ride. We haven’t ridden since the bike tour 2 weeks ago. This may also have something to do with my legs feeling better, now that I think of it.

Miles for the week: 43.8

T: 6 miles, 48:03 (8:00 pace)
W: 4 miles, 35:25 (8:51 pace)
H: 8.3 miles, 1:11 (8:33 pace) including 24 minutes of speed work
F: 6 miles, 50:50 (8:28 pace)
S: 13 miles, 2:06:43 (9:45 pace)
S: 6.5 miles, 1:01 (9:24 pace)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 10

The good news - only 7 more of these weekly posts.

I shifted my whole week up a day so I could have Friday off. Friday just works better for me and I really like having the day off before the long run; 20 miles this week. My legs were dead, my quads were especially sore after the Glendora Ridge Run. Its funny that Rob mentions this as well but Monday afternoon I noticed that the soles of my feet were sore. I wondering if this is because the Adrenalines have less cushion than the Trance I've used for so long or if it is just due to the rocky loose conditions in places along the ridge causing my feet to grip more.

Monday's six miler was not really a struggle, but there was definitely no umph in the legs. My pace was 8:59. Tuesday my legs felt only a little better. I ran the same loop just for comparisons sake and was still relatively sluggish at 8:47 pace.

Wednesday I intended on running 8 miles at the dam. I was ready to walk out the door at 5:00 which would have given me almost an hour of daylight. I would have finished up before the sun completely sank behind the horizon. Unfortunately the phone rang and I took the call. I then made the mistake of sticking my head into my boss's office on the way out. That particular conversation left me with a knot in my stomach. The two things together chewed up thirty minutes of prime sunlit running time. I wasn't in the mood after that to run the dam in the dark, or to run at all. I drove home frustrated and without running.

Thursday I still wanted to get the 8 miler in and I did make it out the door already changed and ready on the dot, 5:00. I did feel a little bad leaving like a clock puncher but I had gotten in a little early. Sadly my legs were still not feeling refreshed. The first mile was at 9:00, which is pretty typical including the little climb on top. Mile 2 is where I usually pick things up, but not Thursday. 8:45. Discouraging. When mile 3 came in at 8:38, I called off the attempt at 8 and headed back. There was no sense slogging out 8 at this rate, with the anticipation of 20 miles looming out there on Saturday. The last three miles back went slightly better. I finished up at 8:30 overall. At least a little bit of vitality finally found its way out of those logs attached to my hips.

Saturday morning I headed back down to Huntington Beach for pretty much a repeat of the run two weeks ago. Just for varietie's sake, I started at the NW end near Warner and the 11 mile mark and headed SE towards mile 2 and up the river trail for that extra mile to make it 1o out and back. I wasn't expecting much out of this run. Well actually I was expecting it to be pretty much a death march.

When mile 1 came in at 9:12, I started thinking this is going to be a long day. As the run progressed I started feeling better. At mile 7 I took my first half pack of Razz Clifshot. I'm not sure if the Clifshot had anything to do with it but I began to feel a little more energized. I was running around 8:30 by then. I took half packets of Clifshot at 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 after that. Although I never came close to my target marathon pace of 8:00/mile I was encouraged that I never slowed down. In fact my last mile came in at 8:22, 50 seconds faster than the first mile.

Sunday morning I headed over to Bonelli at 7:00/8:00 a.m. for my popular Sunday 5 miler. The schedule only called for 4, but since I'd already missed 8 miles this week I didn't think the extra mile would hurt. Although it was a slow recovery run, I felt strong even on the hills at the end that sometimes really kick my butt.

At this point I have little faith that I will be able to pull off a 3:30 marathon. Six days a week (even though I've missed the last four) and chasing the 50 mile week are taking more of a toll on me than I imagined. My long runs have been respectable but not at the level necessary. My overall times even on the shorter runs aren't where I think they should be. But then again I never thought I'd pull off last years 3:52 and 3:40 either, so I haven't given up all hope. Next week includes a relatively short, 13 mile, long run (there's an oxymoron a runner can appreciate) so I'm redoubling my resolve to run all six days scheduled no matte how slowly.

Miles for the week: 43

M: 6 miles, 53:56 (8:59 pace)
T: 6 miles, 52:40 (8:47 pace)
W: knot in my stomach day
H: 6 miles, 51:04 (8:30 pace)
S: 20 miles, 2:53:23 (8:40 pace)
S: 5 miles, 51:14 (10:15 pace)

Biker Boys

Here a couple of pictures of Bryan and I at the bike tour, last weekend.

"myspace" photo, at the starting line, in the dark.

watching the fireworks, the sun is almost up.

view of downtown LA from the 6th St. bridge, a marathon first. A pretty impressive view, but where's Bryan?

Together again at the finish line.

Glendora Ridge Run

This post is only a week late, but it was kind of an interesting run and I wanted to share it. This is the run I ran last Saturday, March 3. Joe took note of my pace (12:15) for the run and commented on it. This is just a little slower than I usually run. The followings will help explain that.

Tuesday of that week I had put in a run up on the Santa Fe Dam Bike Trail. It was a particularly breezy day so the skies were crisp and clear. Although the foothills and mountains are visible during the entire run, around the 2 mile mark heading NE, I had a really great view of the foothills above Glendora, the city just north of my own. Because of the clear skies and the angle of the sunset I could clearly make out a road along the ridge of the first set of foothills. Curiosity got me and I remembered by commitment to run more trails up in those hills.
That night I determined that the road was the Glendora Ridge Motorway. It is a dirt road, closed to traffic that traverses the ridge of the foothills. From the map it looked like the road took off in Azusa (the city just west of Glendora) and headed along the ridge ultimately meeting up with Glendora Mountain Road (GMR to the locals), a paved road, also closed to traffic and a popular destination for road bikers. So I mapped out the route with gmaps-pedometer. The plan was to follow Glendora Ridge from end to end, about 5 miles, tack on another 2.5 up GMR and back for 15.

Saturday morning I drove over my predetermined starting point only to be met by a 12 foot high chain link fence with No Trespassing Private Property signs. Fortunately I had a Plan B. Unfortunately, it included running up the Garcia Trail to get to Glendora Ridge. I found parking just as described on the link and headed up the trail. According to the site Garcia Trail climbs 1,040 feet in 1.2 miles. It took me 20:31 to get up the trail. I was forced to take a few walking breaks. This new starting place also threw off my route. I wasn't completely sure at what point the Ridge Motorway met Garcia. I was rewarded with some great views of the valley below.

I decided to head west back toward the original gate on Glendora Ridge. I eventually came upon a sign again warning of private property. Later I determined that I had gone 1.2 miles west. By this time I had nearly descended back down to the elevation I had started. I turned back, uphill to Garcia and continued on my original goal of completing the Motorway. The trail climbed for over 2 miles and then gently rolled along the ridge. It took me 1:10 to get to GMR about 7.25 miles. GMR was a slow steady climb for about 2 miles and then a slow steady descent back to the Glendora Ridge Motorway. It took me 23 minutes to go up and 19 come down.

Along the way I had come across deer twice. I tried to take photos but I couldn't get very close. This shot shows 3 of the deer and the trail along the ridge. The trip back down the Motor way and then down Garcia took 1:03. Down Garcia was pretty difficult. It is definitely single track and steep. The trail hugs the hills with a steep drop off on my right as I descended. Downhill is not my strong suit by any means so at the top steepest part there was more walking than anything and some pretty easy trotting the rest of the way. My final running time was 3:16. Afterward I plotted it all out on gmaps and came up with about 16.25 miles. (I plotted up Garcia, the out and back going west and just the out going east). This is the kind of run that really makes me wish for a Garmin or Polar, some kind of GPS so I would know how far I'd gone rather than guessing and trying to map it out later. How about a Father's Day, Birthday, Anniversary, Christmas gift? Are you reading, dear?
So climbing up from 840 ft to 1880, back down to around 1100 and eventually up to 3033 and back to 840 put me at a 12:15 pace. It has been awhile since I've run trail for that distance. I did enjoy myself immensely. The next few days, my quads and my times for the rest of the week were effected by the run. The only other people I saw were on or at the summit of Garcia, one guy hiking on the Motorway and 20 or so road bikers on GMA. I'm glad the Glendora Ridge Motorway revealed itself to me while running on my old familiar "dam" route.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 9

Sunday, March 4, 2007 the 22nd running of the City of Los Angeles Marathon and the 13th Acura L.A. Bike Tour.

Bryan and I got up at 4:00 a.m. I was happy that I didn't get much argument from Bryan. He, like is mother, is NOT a morning person. We were on our way a few minutes after my planned departure time of 4:30. I had put the bikes on the back of the car the night before and our bottles were filled and in the refrigerator ready to go.

The contrast on the freeway was incredible. We had driven down the the Convention Center on Saturday with the usual crowded freeways. On Sunday morning we had our pick of lanes and speeds. The start of the bike tour was the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. I heard the other day that LA is considering a bid for the 2016 Olympics too. Just after were made the connection to the 110 freeway from the 10 we were stopped by a half mile long line of cars, all with bikes. There are two off ramps for the Coliseum. Rather than sit in the line for the first ramp, I made the decision to take the next one, MLK Blvd. As soon as I passed the point of no return on the freeway we saw a sign saying "next exit closed". Now I would have to take the following exit, turn around and come back. This would add time I hadn't really planned into the schedule. Fortunately the road crew was just in the process of coning off the lane and I was one of the last people to get to exit at MLK. MLK would be closed as it was the beginning of the bike tour and mile 15 of the marathon.

We found parking easily and unloaded. At first Bryan was cold, but I think it was mostly nerves. I did wear my gloves but I might have been OK without. We both had on tights, shorts, a long sleeve shirt and our bike tour t's. Bryan told me at home that no one better mention that we matched, although it was originally his idea to do so. We lined up about 5:40 in a line that extended at least 1/4 in front of us and eventually that far behind as well.

After a fire works show over the Coliseum the tour began at 6:00. The crowd caused us to walk our bike basically to within feet of the starting line. And then we were off to the sounds of Randy Newman's "I Love LA", just like the marathon.

The crowds were pretty thick early on, much like in a marathon, except that finding a space and passing was complicated by the piece of equipment we were rolling down the street. Bryan was a little more fearless about weaving. I had cautioned him against doing so reckless for fear of causing crashes. We were able to hang together about 2 miles, although Bryan was obviously holding back. On the first little down hill he took advantage of the smoothness of his road bike and before I knew it he was out of my sight. From the back everyone wearing t-shirts with the word Acura printed on it all look the same. I was certain that he would go ahead but I'm not sure it would be this soon.

I enjoyed the ride from the perspective of a runner. I thought about the turns, the sights and the general downhill and longed to be running. Before the 6th St bridge I saw my first serious casualty of the race. The biker was down and being attended to by EMT's. The had a neck brace on the guy and there was a lot of blood on the ground. Prior to that I had seen a couple of little pile ups but nothing too severe, with the early crowds the pace was too slow to cause any real damage to bike or human. This was obviously a different story.

The other side of the bridge was a nice long downhill. I knew Bryan would be flying down that hill. This is when I started worrying about my son. At the bottom of the hill I witnessed another crash involving 3 people. They seemed to be shaken but not hurt. I pulled over a little later to check my cell phone. No call from Bryan so I had to assume he was OK. A few miles later I saw another pretty serious chain reaction crash. Bikes and limbs were flying every direction. At that point my worry level for Bryan went crazy. I thought this isn't any fun. I'm worried that he could be involved in one of these crashes due to his excitement over going fast and his inexperience in riding in crowds.

For some reason the saying "no guts, no glory" came to mind. I decided I would rather keep my guts, skin and bones in tact and rode on conservatively, checking the phone once or twice more. Finally while I was approaching mile 18 my phone rang. It was Bryan. He was back at the Coliseum, finished, elated and in one piece. He had ridden 20 miles in about 1:30. By the time he called me he had already picked up his medal, had some gatorade, some snacks and called his Mom. I got the the finish line about 20 minutes later. Within a few hundred feet of the finish we passed another down biker. The paramedics were performing CPR. I heard later on the news he had suffered a heart attack and died. It wasn't the best way to end a race.

Bryan had a great time, so did I really. We loaded up the bikes and were out of the Coliseum just about the time the marathon started at Universal City 14 miles away. We made it home by 9:00 and watched the local coverage of the race on TV. It was quite the finish.

Bryan is looking for other rides to do. I think he's found something he really enjoys. We talked about my marathon schedule and how I wouldn't be able to ride with him a lot for the next two months. He was willing to for me to drop in off at the trail and he'd go. "It's not like you can keep up with me anyway!" he said.

Later today, I was feeling pretty tired and took an unplanned nap. Later my stomach was feeling queasy, so I opted out of today's run. So that makes the third consecutive week that I've fallen short of my six day per week plan. The rest of the week went down like this:

Miles for the week: 41

M: Rest
T: 6 miles, 49:59 (8:20 pace)
W: 6 miles, 51:45 (8:38 pace)
H: 7 miles, 1:03:22 (9:03 pace), Fartleks 1-2-3-2-1
F: 6 miles, 50:20 (8:23 pace)
S: ~16 miles, 3:16 (12:15 pace)
S: 0 miles

I'll have to tell you about Saturday's run another time. It's late and I'm beat.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Steal Shamelessly

I work for a small division of a huge corporate entity based in Minnesota. Our previous chairman/CEO was a huge advocate of Six Sigma. All most everyone throughout the organization went through what is known as green belt training. One of hallmarks of the six sigma methodology is that everyone across the corporation would be using the same tools and language to make continuous improvements and most importantly to share holders, cut cost. One motto of the training was "steal shamelessly", not in the unethical, criminal sense but in the sense of why reinvent the wheel. There was a huge corporate database that tracked all the projects. We were encouraged to search the database for projects similar to ours and to replicate and use the best practices.

Running blogs are a huge database of training ideas and techniques. Rather than learning everything the hard way we can learn from others what works, or not, races to try, routes to take, and training plans for every distance just to name a few. You name it we write and read about it daily.

Today was my planned speed work day. At spend at least part of my lunch hour most days reading a blog or two before heating up the days leftovers or frozen lunch. I read Steven's approach to speed work this week. He ran fartleks in some pretty tough conditions. As much as I "love" going to the track I decided to steal shamelessly and give the fartleks a try today. To replicate Steven's run, I planned on doing the 1-2-3-2-1 minute speed session, but separated with 3 minutes of slower running, which is closer to what I would get during a 400 meter at the track.

I wanted to figure out a fairly straight out and back 8 miler. When I got home from work, I spent about 2 minutes mapping out a route on gmaps pedometer. My route started out on the equestrian trail on Puente, left up the hill on Via Verde the left again down Raging Waters Drive. That made a 6 mile round trip so I quickly added some more on the end of the run with the gmaps. The warm up included getting all the way up the hill. I set my watch for one minute intervals and off I went. The fartleks went pretty well and were actually kind of fun. I had to double back on Raging Waters to get the last 1 minute speed in before I headed back down the hill and on to the extra add on to get me to 8 miles. My heart was sure beating in my throat and the 3 minutes seemed to last an eternity.

When I got back to the car my watch read 1:03. I was shocked. I had taken the 1.5 warm up pretty easy and it had included the hill. This meant a sub 8 pace. That just didn't seem right. After getting home, having dinner and showering, I sat back down at the computer and checked out the route I'd done before I left. I then realized that my add on was only 1/2 mile out and 1/2 back. My run was only 7 miles not 8. The new pace of 9:03 was in line with the way I felt. Other than the speedy 9 minutes, I had taken the run easy, even walking for a bit after each speed segment.

All in all it was a more enjoyable way to get in some speed and my Six Sigma coach should be happy that I learned at least something. Steal shamelessly and have some fun.