Thursday, August 30, 2007


Tuesday I headed to Bonelli yet again. I went out my usual route for 2 miles out, 2 miles back. I do a lot of my midweek runs here. I sometimes think about switching things up a little and running elsewhere, but then I think why? I'll be back on the roads in the fall.

The way these runs usually go, I walk to the freeway overpass, hit the watch and take off. For the 4 miler I get to turn around point and head back. Once I'm back over the freeway overpass I hit the watch again to see how long I was gone. I can't get much simpler.

I usually have the roads to myself. I occasionally see mountain bikers, other runners, hikers and even horse riders. Tuesday within a couple of hundred yards of my turn around point I came upon 2 horse riders. If I turned around as usual I would be running right back past them in a minute or two. So instead I decided to keep going. At the far end of the park or about half way around the 5 mile Sunday morning loop version of this run I am very near the main road through the park. I decided just to head back via the road.

About a half mile down the road I began to notice a trail just off to my left. Upon investigation I found a sweet little single track. Three years ago when I started running Bonelli much of it was singletrack. As I've mentioned before most of those have become wide fire roads due to extremely dry conditions. The little single track was a whole bunch of fun to run. It was more technical than the fire roads, although still really easy to run. All the rocks gave the eyes and ankles a nice little work out. The singletrack eventually came to an end on a little section of fire road I usually don't take. That particular road is a short cut of my normal loop.

Tonight I headed back over there with the intent of finding where the single track really begins on the opposite end. So I took the short cut fireroad to where I had ended on Tuesday and ran the singletrack in the opposite direction. One cool thing about tonight's run is that I was the first person to run the trail today. I know that because it rained last night (yes we had a freak thunderstorm overnight, believe it or not) so all the previous tracks were wiped clean. Mine were the first prints on the trail. It was kind of like being the first person to walk through fresh snow.

It turns out the singletrack comes out at about the 3 mile mark of my usual route. The trail connects at an acute angle over my left shoulder so I wouldn't really notice it. There is even a sign that says Parkside Trail 1.0 mile that I've never really noticed before. I guess I was just focused on going where I knew I was going and not really paying attention.

Wednesday I took the day off due to another commitment. I may on Friday night, I may not. We are in the middle of the hottest week all summer, 110 degrees Wednesday, so skipping the run isn't very hard to do. 9 miles so far this week.
So the big question of the week is what did I bring for goodies last Friday? Nothing too terribly exciting. My wife happened to be making a trip to Sam's Club that evening so she picked up a couple of trays of those big muffins for me. They usually have a variety pack. Each muffin is probably a good 400 or more calories. I bring them on most of my days because not a lot of other people do.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Squeezin' Em In

No matter how hard I try I can’t seem to manage more than a weekly post these days. Maybe that is enough.

Last week was just like every other week, 5 days of running with Monday and Friday scheduled as the rest days. But it didn’t exactly turn out that way. I made my mileage goal (almost) but not in the way it was originally on paper.

Monday – I enjoyed my rest day.
Tuesday – I put in 4 miles O&B (out and back) on part of my Bonelli Sunday Loop.
Wednesday – over to Bonelli again for 5 miles on the Cottontail O&B.

Then things started moving around a little. I already knew that I wasn’t going to be doing my long run, a relatively easy 11 miler, on Saturday because we were scheduled to go on a bike ride/beach outing with friends. My original plan was to get up about 30 minutes early on Friday and head over to the Santa Fe Dam, lay down the 11 and get to work a little late. But, on Wednesday I was reminded that I had Friday Goodies this week.

Friday Goodies have been a department tradition going on at least 10 years. We rotate around weekly for treats. With about 2 dozen people in the department you get the honor of bringing in the eats about twice a year. The treats run from the predictable donuts, on up through bagels, muffins, even frozen waffles with fruit, syrup and whip cream. We often get homemade goodies and a couple of times a guy brought in an electric skillet and made omelets for everyone (haven’t had that one in a while). On your Goodie Day is not a good day to be late to work. The masses descend on the coffee area at 8:00 on the dot and there had better be something there. It doesn’t have to be good; it just has to be there!

I really didn’t want to get up earlier to make sure I was there when the vultures landed. I already had other plans Friday night. So, when to do the 11 miles?

I decided on Thursday night right after work. I had originally planned another 4 in Bonelli like Tuesday. The question was how to turn the 4 into 11. I finally realized that Bonelli is 3.5 miles from home, so I ran there, did my 4 miles and ran home. 11 miles just like that. I thought I was pretty smart for figuring that one out.

Friday – I had just enough time between work and my other commitment to get 4 miles done at the Dam.

Saturday we had fun riding “The Strand” from El Segundo to Redondo Beach. I’ve lived in California 23 years and had never been on that particular beach. It is truly a west facing beach. Many of the other So Cal beaches face more southerly. Our group rode back and spent the night at a hotel near the beach.

Sunday – I got up early and ran down Manhattan Beach Blvd about 2 miles and then ran north on The Strand. I had quickly devised this route at the business center in the hotel and turned around at what was the 3 mile mark rather than the 3.5 mile mark I intended. (I had notes in my pocket but neglected to check them.) So I got in 6 instead of 7. It was a beautifully cool morning that left me with a longing to move to the beach. 30 miles for the week.

David and others have asked how my foot is feeling. I am happy to report that it is nearly completely better. I get an occasional twinge and soreness now and then but it doesn’t seem to bother me much on the run.

Sadly this week the hip decided to act up in a big way. I find this rather peculiar on a cutback week. It started bothering on Wednesday when I was trying to push the pace a little and then would act up in each subsequent run. Since Sunday it has ached nearly non stop. It has been a year that this thing has been nagging me. This is especially frustrating since I am now at the point that the schedule really begins to ramp up in preparation for MCM. I may need to scale back the mid week runs just as I did last year before St. George. I’m sure you know how much I don’t like that thought but as someone else said recently, “you’ve got to listen to your body” and “think long term.” I missed my last chiropractor appointment nearly a month ago and haven’t rescheduled. It may be time to do that, too. Grrrrrrr.

On a totally unrelated non-running note; has anyone seen the new Lewis Comfort Tiffany stamp? It is way too nice of a piece of art to stick on the cable bill just to get thrown in the trash. I used to collect stamps as a kid. This one makes me want to get into First Day Covers all over again.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Change of Pace

By the end of last week I was decidedly tired but not so nearly mentally and physically fatigued as the week before. All my miles this week, except for my Saturday long run, were accomplished on the trails and roads of my favorite little park, Bonelli.

I did my runs there for a couple of reasons. The lack of mile markers removes a lot of stress and the rolling hills dictate a slower pace. So mostly I just ran by time knowing that I at least covered the minimum mileage specified each day.

Monday and Wednesday I did the same out and back on part of my Sunday morning loop for 4 miles each. Tuesday I put together the trail along the 57 N with part of the Cottontail Trail for a 7 miler. Sunday morning I did my usual 5 mile loop, clockwise, preceded by the Picnic loop for a different 7 miler.

Saturday I headed back down to Huntington Beach for my 15 miler. I was hoping for a better outcome than last week's 14 miler. Saturday morning coincided with a big race event in HB, the Huntington Beach Distance Derby, 5 and 10 mile races. I had run the 5 miler back in 2003, just a couple of months after getting started running. My goal was to come in under 50:00. I know I was close. One thing I remember about that race was that I turned on my final kick too soon and struggled to get the the finish line; lesson learned. After the race me, the wife and both boys went to Ruby's on the end of the pier and got in just in time to order breakfast.

Saturday I parked near my usual spot near the 4 mile mark but rather than heading north into the congestion of the Distance Derby I headed south toward Newport Beach. Another big reason for heading this way was the lack of mile markers. I had pre-mapped the route the night before. The route was from Beach Blvd in HB south past the jetty, into Newport Beach, down Seashore Drive behind the first row of beach houses, then hitting the bike path at 36th Street past the Newport Beach Pier and Balboa Pier and then getting dumped onto Balboa Street when the bike path ends at D St, and following the alley between Miramar and Ocean Blvd to where it ended at Channel Rd near the Wedge. The out and back made a nice 15 miler. The lack of markers meant all I had to do was run, stress free; no obsessessing over splits, no mental fatigue.

Although I had gotten started 4 hours earlier than last week there was much less of a breeze and the temps were warmer. This run was a nice change of pace from the HB run I'd done several times recently. The only real downside of this run is the nearly 5 miles of concrete on the Newport Beach bike path. I finished the run in 2:13:26, just 3:26 more than last week for an extra mile and a pace of 8:54, sub 9:00, woohoo.

I ended the week with 37 miles. This was the 2nd week of the mileage build so this week will be a cut back week again. This weekend we've got a bike ride and overnight stay planned with some friends so getting in even the shorter mileage on the weekend will be a challenge. I'm thinking some vacation time on Friday may be in order.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stick a Fork in Me

What happened to the lazy days of summer?

Since I last posted, 8 days ago, I've run 6 times for a total of 40 miles. 36 for last week (right on target) and 4 tonight. Remember my post of July 22? Well I'm still feeling that way; sluggish, always tired, etc. At the risk of getting whiny, my frustration level with my running is at an all time high. My paces are all around 9:00 or more, even on the best days. As my son would say in an instant message, meh or bleh.

Let's start with this weeks long run of 14 miles. Bryan wanted to go paintballing again so I took the day off on Friday to get the run in. This turned out to be a good idea that meshed well with the plans for the rest of the weekend. Normally I drop him off by 9:00 and then I'm at the Huntington Beach by 10:00 and on my way before things warm up too much.

After we got to the paintball fields, we found out his friends weren't going to be there until 11:00. He asked me to wait so that he could have a place to keep all his gear until they got there. Of course I did. That big S on my chest doesn't stand for Super Dad, it stands for Sucker.

By the time I got to HB and started running it was 12:40 p.m., not exactly the ideal time to be starting a 14 mile run. The temperature was in the low 80's and luckily I was blessed with a cooling breeze directly off the ocean so I was cooled in both directions of this run.

Since this was a long run I decided on an easy pace. The pace the first few miles ranged from 8:50 to 9:00. By mile 4 I was considering walk breaks but I managed to hold them off until I got out the the turn around at mile 7. At that point I took half a ClifShot and walked for a good 2 minutes before getting going again. I ended up taking a walk break every two miles on way back at 9 and 11 another short one at 13 before I talked myself into just getting this thing over with. The last 4 miles felt like mile 22 to 26.2 of a marathon. When I was done, I was D.O.N.E. DONE.

My final pace was 9:17, which is really where my long runs should be, but 14 is not really long and I felt like it was a huge effort to keep up that pace. I can point to a few things that may have attributed. The temps were warm. The run got started late. I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast at 7:00. I don't know. If I feel like this now, what I am going to feel like when I hit the mid 40 weeks? I put my 13 mile time into the McMillan calculator and ended up with a 4:17 marathon, Yikes!

Some may say that I'm overtraining, but I have a hard time believing, or maybe just a hard time accepting, that line of reasoning. There are plenty of runners out there doing may more than 36 miles in a week, with some significant interval and speedwork added in. I'm just slogging along. I averaged 37 miles a week for over 20 weeks last year training for SEAFAIR, my sub 4:00 break through.

The mileage was all put in as planned the rest of the week. 4 on Tuesday and Thursday. 7 on Wednesday and Sunday. One bright spot in the week on Wednesday I headed over to the dam right after work for the 7 miles. I wanted to put in 3 x 1 mile repeats. I warmed up for about 2 miles and then took off. My goal pace was 8:00 miles. I got the first one in at 7:37. I ran an easy recovery half between the intervals. The second and third repeats came in at 7:45 and 7:41. So there is some speed in these poor tired legs after all.

On to this week. The schedule is pretty much identical to last week except that the long run bumps up to 15 miles. I have considered taking an extra day off, but I really don't like that idea much. It is late (AGAIN) and my to do list doesn't get any smaller sitting here. I'm off to bed.

Thanks for reading through my little rant.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Where Oh Where?

My schedule called for 9 miles. By Cruiser buddies were planning on a long run at Huntington Beach again. They were hoping for something longer than 15 so were planning on getting started at 6:15. We usually get going around 7:00. I was OK with the early start but my inner tree hugger started questioning the logic of a 90 mile round trip drive for a 9 mile run.

I thought I'd check with my work buddy Terry to see where she and her friends were running. They too were meeting at HB for a 20 miler, but they were getting started even earlier at 5:30. It looked like I'd be on my own for the 9.

I had several options but in the minimize the carbon footprint vein I wanted to stay as close to home as possible. The obvious choice was the San Gabriel River Bikeway or possibly the service road up to Cogswell Dam. Ultimately I decided to go back over to Glendora Ridge Motorway that I had run back in March. I did a quick view of my map from then and figured out that up Garcia and then east on the motorway to Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) was about 4.5 miles.

I overslept some and started up Garcia at 8:00 on the dot. Garcia is just a crazy run. I had woken with a headache and running up that hill wasn't making it any better. Luckily as I went along it improved and before I made it to the top it was gone. That mile up Garcia was once again the longest mile ever. It took me 21:04 to "run" up Garcia. You can bet there were plenty of walk breaks up that thing.

Once I hit the motorway things smooth out considerably. The first mile is a long slow uphill and then the road continues it rolling nature all the way to GMR. I felt pretty good, but lacked any real umph to get up some of the hills. The 7 miles or so out and back on the motorway took me about 1:22. During the run a deer crossed the road about 20 yards in front of me. I didn't have my camera but I doubt I could have gotten it out quick enough to get a shot.

I knew that all the way to GMR was more than 4.5 miles, but less than 5. When I'm running I have a mental block about turning around except at a known landmark. The point that the motorway meets GMR is a perfect turn around point. I just ran the route and figured out the mileage when I got home with gmaps. The route ended up being 4.8 miles for a 9.6 round trip. Close enough to the 9 on the schedule but that 0.6 is getting written into the log book too.

My final time for was 2:00 on the dot. For 9.6 miles that means 12:30 pace. I can't really figure out, except for the climb up and down Garcia, why this run takes me so long. My pace last time on a 16 mile run was 12:15. I don't get near this pace in Chino Hills. There's just something about this route that takes it out of me. All in all, slow pace not withstanding, the run along the ridge is a keeper. The views down into the San Gabriel Valley to the south and the rest of the mountains to the north and the challenge are worth the trek up Garcia.

Miles for the week: 26.7 (on a cut back week)

Next week things ratchet up just a bit more. The short runs mid week become 4 milers and the long run becomes 7. I've got a 4 miler down pat. I will have to go looking through the logs for a 7 mile route. It has been a while since that distance has been on the schedule.

Today I got good news from Joe. He's officially entered into Rocket City. So Wes, are you in yet? Anybody else care to join us in Alabama in December?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The IPP, Yeah You Know Me

Monday morning a woke to the sounds of the alarm at 6:30 a.m. But it wasn't my own alarm. It was the Hampton Alarm Clock Radio (you can actually buy these things!). I was in Naperville, IL with plans to visit a customer later that morning. I had flown out Sunday afternoon. As you would expect I had done some Internet searching and found what I thought would be a good place to get in my run.

What I found was the IPP (the Illinois Prairie Path). The IPP is over 40 miles of rail trail throughout Dupage and Cook Counties. I drove over from Naperville to Warrenville and parked at the Warrenville City Hall just steps from the IPP. I jumped on the path right at the 5 mile marker and headed west. My schedule called for 3 miles. Running west from City Hall to Ferry Rd was just a little over 1.5 miles. The out and back gave me a nice little 5K.

The thing I like about these rail trails is that it gets me off the road on a well groomed easy running path. It is nice to be away from traffic, although Warrenvill is not exactly congested.
The IPP is a mostly hard packed dirt and crushed limestone path about 6 feet wide with 3 feet of grass on either side. The trees and undergrowth were thick on either side. It was like running down a green hallway with the sky as the ceiling. At times the trees converged overhead for a run through a green tunnel.

My first mile came in at 8:28. I hit Ferry Rd (0.55 miles) in 4:35 and then headed back. On the way back I started feeling pretty good so I pushed just a little. I finished the last 1.55 miles in 12:19 for a 7:57 pace. That sure felt good. I haven't seen sub 8:00 since I don't know when.

The customer visit went well. The new product was removed successfully. All parties involved; doctor, assistant, patient and patient's Mom and of course me; were all pleased. Mom was so happy in the end with the braces that she had them put on her daughter as well. I was back home before the clock struck 12:00 midnight.

My 5K on the IPP ended the month of July for me with 115.8 miles. Although the hip and foot aren't without their moments of complaining things are coming back together slowly, ever so slowly. I'm about a third of the way through the schedule for MCM.