Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year in Review

I hope everyone enjoyed their Holidays. I actually got some good training runs in during the week and was able to spend some quality time with the family. Now it is that time to reflect on 2013 and plan for 2014.

2013

I had a goal of running 400 miles for the year. This is how it went.

January - 43.4 miles
February - 26.1
March - 34.2  -  Ran 1:08:07 in Sheriffs Trail Run 10k
April - 44.7 - Ran 1:03:23 in Xterra Lake Las Vegas Trail Run 10k
May - 47.9  - Ran 31:07 in Barstow Mud Run 5k
June - 57.0
July - 23.2  - Ran Barstow Freedom 5k. Start of my pleurisy injury 
August - 0 - Still recovering
September - 35.1
October - 46.4  - Ran 2:02:30 in Xterra Point Mugu Trail Run 18k
November - 66.7 - Ran 51:04 in Apple Valley Turkey Run 10k
December - 52.2

Total for the year was 476.9. Beat my goal, woo-hoo!

Best of the Year

I would have to say that my favorite race of the year would have to be the Xterra Point Mugu Trail Run. It was a tough and beautiful course. It also was my first race after my pleurisy and was the longest distance race I had ever done. So it meant a lot to me.

Had a great time at Point Mugu

Worst of the Year

Would have to be my pleurisy injury. My running had been going really great up until then. The pain in my lungs from the pleurisy was intense and felt like it never was going to end. During the entire recovery period I had worries that my lungs would not be the same and my running would not be the same. It definitely was a tough injury to overcome physically and mentally.

My Unhappy Lungs


2014

I have a couple goals for the new year and new experiences planned.

Primary Goals
Run 700 miles for the year.
My first Half Marathon.
My first Triathlon.

Secondary Goals
Run 1000 miles for the year.
My first Full Marathon.


I want to thank my Family for enduring the boredom of waiting around at races to support me and putting up with my expensive, time consuming hobby. I have the best Family ever!

My Awesome Wifey

 My Awesome Offspring


What was your favorite moment of 2013?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dang Holidays

Are the Holidays over yet? What's a guy to do to get some workouts in around here. Just kidding, I love the Holidays but it does make it hard to start my training. As I have mentioned before, I have signed up for my first half-marathon the Xterra Boney Mountain Trail Race 21k on Jan 12, 2014. It probably wasn't my best idea to have my very first half-marathon a tough trail race right after the Holidays, but I believe if it is worth doing than it must be worth overdoing, right?

Umm, yea. Looks easy enough.

With the Holidays and the cold weather the last couple of weeks have looked kind of like this.

Saturday - Long run. Up to 9 miles now.
Sunday - Rest
Monday - Cross-train.
Tuesday - Easy run. 4-5 miles.
Wednesday- Cross-train.
Thursday - Hard run. 3-4 miles at 10k pace.
Friday - Cross-train.

As you can see, my training is seriously lacking in certain areas. I am really going to hurt if I can't get some hill repeats in during the week. I probably also need to do some speed work but I will survive without it.



I am still trying to commute with my bike and this week I think I have found a schedule that the bus will always have a bike rack. The problem now though is I have to wake up at 3:30 in order to do my runs in the morning. I am a morning person but 3:30 is pushing it, even for me. So as soon as I solve one issue, another problem occurs. So I will update everyone when I figure out this new dilemma. (I am sure everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting for that update. ha)

I created my race wishlist over on the sidebar of the blog. It took me a couple of days to take the list down from 100 to the current list. It looks like 2014 will be the year of the half marathon for me. Later I will put together a list of races I have done and probably make a PR list as well.

How do you fit running and working out in during the Holidays?


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Never Thought I Could Dislike Jillian Michaels so Much

The day had started innocently enough, until Jillian Michaels kicked my butt and made fun of me.  For me, a day off from running usually means doing random exercise stuff whenever I feel and however long I feel like. I can talk myself into doing something such as a couple sets of push-ups in between bites of dessert or a few crunches or planks while watching Spongebob Squarepants something intelligent on television. But this day was going to be different.


Hello Jillian, of course I'll go on an adventure with you.
I pulled the Jillian Michaels Fitness Adventure XBOX 360 game out from the bottom of the game stack. I dusted it off, put the disk in the system, setup the kinect sensor, and rearranged the furniture around to make sure I had plenty of space to get sexy. The game started and Jillian was nice and polite and I told her my name, height, weight, age. You know, the normal conversation that I have with all strangers I first meet. She than asked if I would like to learn the exercises or go straight to an adventure. Of course, being a man and trying to show off a little I told her that I didn't need to be told how to do the exercises. The next question Jillian asked was whether or not I would like to warmup or to start the circuit right away. I knew she would need the warmup so I went ahead and did it for her sake. After the warmup Jillian and I started our adventure. The adventure entails a lot of running (in place) through ruins and jungles, than doing exercises to get past obstacles.

Watch out Cobra Kai, I'm learning karate
Everything was going well until I needed to do some side lunges to get past some spikes that were blocking our way. I only had to do a total of 10 but Jillian kept telling me I was doing them wrong. I politely replied that I am doing them exactly like she is. After I did 20 she only gave me credit for 5. By now her patience with me was growing thin and she was getting more and more vocal about how I am not doing them right and how I needed to hurry up. I started arguing back with her that I didn't know what she wanted me to do. After I did a total of 50ish lunges and more yelling at each other, I decided I did enough lunges and wanted to skip the exercise. I started waving my arms around to tell the kinect sensor to quit or skip the exercise but the game was not going to let me. I had to continue with the exercise no matter what. Eventually after what felt like an eternity I was able to pass the obstacle and we continued on until the end of that portion of the circuit workout. I apologized to her for my behavior and we agreed to be nicer to each other. I told Jillian I was ready for the next portion of the circuit workout. We started and everything was fine and I was running and doing the exercises to pass the obstacles until I needed to do 10 walking pushups. Great! I can really show off my awesomeness with an exercise I know. I got down and did them with perfect form and then looked up and saw 0 completed. I figured she liked watching my excellent pushup form and perhaps wanted to see me do them again. How could you blame her for wanting to witness perfection. I did them again and looked up and saw 0 completed again. "What the heck Jillian? I thought we were going to be nice to each other". I tried doing a couple differently, still nothing. Did a couple more, again nothing. Jillian than starts getting louder about how I need to hurry up. I promptly started telling her how she must be blind and I was doing the exercises right. Of course our arguing started escalating and I told her how her game is stupid, her adventures are stupid, and her exercises are stupid. After I couldn't do another pushup I got up and was about to turn the system off when I realized the kinect sensor looked a little high to "see" anything low such as pushups or lunges. After I adjusted the kinect sensor everything was fine again. I was able to finish that portion of the workout circuit but decided that I had enough adventure for the day. I was drenched in sweat, and my legs and arms were exhausted from all the "extra" working out so I headed to the shower feeling emotionally and physically abused.

So yea, I am not happy with Jillian and I'm sure she isn't happy with me. I hope the next adventure we can act more civilized and actually get along with each other.

Has anyone else played a "fitness" video game?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hoka One One Mafate 3 Initial Review

I have completed two runs so far with my new Hoka One One Mafate 3 shoes so I believe I am ready to give an initial first impression review. I guess I will have to start from the beginning though.


I first saw an advertisement for Hoka a couple of years ago and I immediately took no interest in them. They look crazy heavy and they are ugly. Also, Hoka was a really new company, so I am sure I wasn't the only one thinking that this company had no chance and would not last very long. I was wrong and not only have they survived, but they have converted several elite athletes to their super cushioned shoes.

If Hoka could gain the trust of elite athletes than I decided that they earned the interest of a simple amateur hobby runner such as myself. I did some research and read probably a hundred testimonials and reviews and the end result was a vast majority of Hoka users reviews were positive and recommended them.

I ordered and received my Hoka One One Mafate 3 shoes and took them out of the box. I wear a size 10 in Asics so I ordered size 10 and they fit great. The shoes are much lighter than they look which is a huge plus. Just walking around in them you can immediately feel the cushioning. They are also noticeably taller which I don't really like. I guess the cushioning had to go somewhere though.

New shoes! Woo-hoo!

My fluffy moon shoes


My first run was 3.5 miles on pavement. It took me a while to get used to the rolling rocker action of the shoes. Even after I thought I was comfortable I realized my toes were all clinched trying to hold on to something. Another thing I noticed was my running form was a little off. I found that the extra cushioning was actually kind of bouncy, so I kind of was just bounding down the road. I really had to concentrate on relaxing and letting the rolling action of the shoes take over while trying to keep proper running form.


My second run was 5.5 miles on dirt. This time I had more confidence and felt more comfortable. I still had to concentrate on form and I suspect that I will have to for several more runs before it becomes natural with these shoes. I did notice that towards the end of the run my calves were tightening up a little which is really out of the norm for me.

Lots of cushion but really tall

Speed laces

Lots of traction and surface area


A day later my calves were still sore but there really was no pain. My theory is that the rolling rocker action is identical to (if anyone remembers these) the Skecher Shape Up shoes. So hopefully I will start getting a toned butt.

Advice: Just like any other time you are making a change with your shoe choice, be patient and take it easy at first and ease into the longer runs. My bouncing issue could be because the Mafate 3 shoes are the trail model and have extra cushioning. If you run only on paved roads than perhaps the tarmac model shoes with less cushioning would work better.

Pros
Surprisingly light
Lots of cushion
Lots of traction
No surprise with shoe size

Cons
Ugly
Takes a while to get used to
Price

This quick initial review ended up being much longer than I had planned. I will post another review after a couple of months of use.

About Hoka One One
HOKA ONE ONE has engineered a unique performance midsole geometry that features a higher volume, softer density, and greater rebounding foam than standard running shoes. Along with maximal cushioning, this provides runners of all types with an energizing, stable ride. HOKA ONE ONE understood from the beginning that natural foot motion was extremely important for uniformity of stride. HOKA ONE ONE incorporated minimum drop geometry along with a rolling rocker design to promote consistent rhythm in the runner's foot strike.

As word of mouth spread through thousands of testimonials, it inspired countless runners to keep running. HOKA ONE ONE footwear is designed for recovery runs with its oversized, increased forgiveness. The faithful swear they have been saved.

HOKA ONE ONE is a shoe for all runners, from joggers to elite athletes looking to improve their performance. We continue our pace, leading the running revolution. Please join us on our journey and keep running. 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts are my own.



Friday, December 6, 2013

My First Half-Marathon and Other Things to Look Forward to

This month I have a couple of good things planned for you awesome readers. I got my Hoka One One Mafate 3 this week so I will be doing an initial review on those.
Hoka One One Mafate 3

I will also be doing a final long-term review on my Asics GEL-Exalt that I replaced with my new Hoka's.
Asics GEL-Exalt

I will also be giving my old Asics shoes away to a lucky winner! Just kidding, I'm a running shoe hoarder and my wife will attest to that. I still have a lot of my old running shoes because "I might need them one day". Maybe I can craft together a Christmas tree out of my old stinky shoes.
Nothing says Merry Christmas like a tree of shoes. (Pinterest)

Also, because I had a lot of fun marking the Xterra Pt. Mugu trail race I volunteered to do it for the Xterra Crystal Cove course Saturday tomorrow which is the day before the race. In other race news, I signed up for my first half-marathon and my first race for 2014. It is the Xterra Boney Mountain trail race on January 12th. It is going to be an adventure trying to train during the holidays and with the cold weather. I can't wait till the winter solstice on the 21st of December, it is hard to get anything done with it being dark most of the day.

So yea, I have a lot of stuff coming up and I will try to keep everyone updated on my training and progress.

(Edit: just found out this weekends race at Crystal Cove was postponed due to rain)


Does anyone else hoard shoes that are never going to be worn again?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Apple Valley Turkey Run 10k Recap

Wow. It is already December. I guess I should get around to posting my Apple Valley Turkey Run that took place last Saturday. Yes, I am doing a 10k race recap. I'm sure all you marathoners are laughing at me, but I'm still new at racing so deal with it. :)  I was really excited for this 10k because I haven't done one in a while and I knew that I would get a personal record (PR).

My goal for this race was to be under 55 minutes.

The course was fairly flat and had a few dirt road portions. Because of the rain we were having all of Thanksgiving week they had to change some of the dirt road portions so it wouldn't turn into a mud run. The changes actually made the course a perfect 6 miles instead of the 10k distance of 6.2 miles.

Mile 1 - 8:30 min/mile pace
I started off fast and was feeling good. I knew I would have to slow it down a little though.

Mile 2- 8:45 pace
Mile 3- 8:46 pace
Slowed down and felt surprisingly comfortable at this pace.

Mile 4 - 8:31 pace
Race was more than half over so I started to speed up and try to pass a few runners I had been following.

Mile 5 - 8:17 pace
I caught up with a young speedster, he must have been embarrassed that a fat old guy caught him so he picked up his pace and I hung on for as long as I could.

Mile 6 - 8:30 pace
Pushed the last mile but had no chance of passing anyone else.

Official finish time: 51:04
Place overall: 9 out of 34.
Age group: 2nd place

Projected time if it were full distance is 53:10 so I would have beat my goal.

I got 2nd 30-39 age group my Brother got 3rd in 20-29

I always look goofy. I really am not photogenic.


I had an awesome race. Especially the 2nd place in my age group. There was a 3rd place so I know there were at least 3 of us out there.

The great thing about local races in the community is that they usually are cheaper and they usually benefit the local area directly. So I recommend everyone to participate and support your local races.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Struggling to Add Fitness to my Commute


This week I have been trying to get more use out of my bike. Its half way through day 2 of this experiment and it is really not working out that well so far. Normally I drive and park at the bus stop, ride the bus, than proceed to walk to the office. My great plan for this week is to ride my mountain bike to the bus stop, put bike in bus bike rack, than proceed to ride my bike to the office. With a plan that simple, nothing could go wrong. Well, I'll tell you what could and has gone wrong.


Monday Day 1- Bus does not have a bike rack so I ask the driver what she wants me to do. She tells me to go to the far back of the bus with my bike. I am now blocking 5 seats and as more passengers fill up the bus I can feel that I am irritating the already very irritable early Monday commuters. After what felt like an eternity, the bus finally arrives at my stop. Somehow I was able maneuver through the aisle with my bike without injuring anyone or anyone injuring me. I than proceed to start riding to my office but soon realize that my tire pressures are still set low for riding in sand. When I finally get to my office I am out of breath and my legs are burning. The day ended good though when I was able to get air from a coworker's air compressor and the bus on the ride home had a bike rack. So I was optimistic for this morning.

See how much fun I am having?
Tuesday Day 2-Ride to different bus stop. The bus that arrives doesn't have a bike rack. The flashbacks from yesterday started flooding in and I freaked out and took off riding as fast as I could. After I had calmed down I headed over to my plan B bus stop. After sitting on the sidewalk for half an hour in 30 degree weather at the new bus stop, the bus arrived and had a bike rack. Which I was grateful for because I did not have a plan C.

Yep, like I said. It is not working out very well so far.

On a better note, I am excited for the Apple Valley Turkey Run 5k/10k this weekend on Nov 30th. It was actually supposed to be on the previous weekend but the rainy weather caused them to reschedule it. I was looking forward to running a 10k last weekend though so I ran the distance around town in the rain. Even though there are a couple long tough hills and my wet shoes were heavy I ran it in a fast for me, 57 mins. So I am confident of getting a PR this weekend.

Other things going on this week is I am going to have two Thanksgiving meals because my Wife and I don't want to choose who's family to celebrate with. Besides, who can have too much Thanksgiving. The downside of course is that according this article the average Thanksgiving meal is 3,000 calories. So I logged into my lately neglected Myfitnesspal and found out what I would have to do to burn off the equivalent of two Thanksgiving meals.

Activities that would equal 6,000~ calories
-Run for 7hrs or 42miles
-Walk for 21hrs or 63 miles
-Swim freestyle for 10hrs
-Household cleaning for 28hrs.

Looks like my week just got real busy.


What do you do to make your commute more healthy?
 Maybe I could try butt clenches on the bus ride. :)

Admin note- I have fixed the comments. If anyone is still having trouble leaving comments let me know at captain.speedypants@gmail.com


Monday, November 18, 2013

Bleeding Man Nipples


I feel your pain Andy. (The Office)

Let's talk about an embarrassing but not so uncommon issue for men, the bloody nipple. The cause of this very emasculating infliction is the friction of the shirt and the nipple. Usually and especially in my case, sweat and duration of the run can make the issue worse. So I will share my triumphant story of overcoming this issue and share some tips that I have learned along the way.

It was a little over a year ago when I first came home after a long run and had some bad bloody nipples. It was kind of freaky and it was painful. My shirt was sanding down my nipples for over an hour using salty sweat as lubricant. After that first time, it started happening with clockwork precision at exactly 6 miles into my runs. I tried a few different products but eventually what ended up working for me is just giving my nipples a break. I had stopped running for a couple weeks because I started to get IT band issues and when I returned to running my nipples didn't bleed anymore. My nipples were able to heal completely and were a little tougher and less sensitive than before.

A few products or tips that may help.

1. Run shirtless. This is a sure fix to the issue if you are confident enough to do it.
2. Wear synthetic or tech t-shirts. These materials are lighter and help wick away moisture and sweat.
3. Wear a tighter/looser shirt. If you are having the issue with a tight shirt than try a looser fitting one or vice versa.
4. Anti-chafe products. These work by reducing the friction.There are many out there, Bodyglide being the most common.
5 Nipple covers. These work by covering and protecting the nipple. NipEAZE is one I recommend but band-aids, tape, super-glue, mole-skin, and many other products have been found to work.

Here are a couple articles that I have found on the subject.

Runners World
Running.About.com
NY Daily News

The trick is to just keep trying something until you find something that works. Good luck.


Disclaimer 
This is NOT a sponsored post. Actually with all the nipple and 
lubricant talk I probably will never get advertisers now.
 All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are mine. 


Friday, November 15, 2013

Blogger #Fail

Hello again. I am totally failing at being an awesome blogger by not posting for awhile. I am going to pretend that perhaps it was a planned "cliffhanger" to keep all you readers wondering what and when I am going to post again. As witnessed by the hash-tag in my blog post title, I have been starting to get the hang of Instagram and Twitter. So if you want more and quicker Captain Speedypants updates than you can follow me on those unsocial media sites as well.

My training has been going really well. I have been getting some running, swimming, mountain biking, stationary biking, and some strength training in. Although I still haven't been able to drag my butt to the gym yet. I have no idea why I dread going to the gym so much.

Here is a list of how my fitness training has been going.

Running
Saturday- long run, currently around 8 miles and going up in half mile increments. (11min/mile avg)
Tuesday- moderate run, usually 4-6 miles with hills at a fast but maintainable pace. (9:30 min/mile avg)
Thursday- Speed run, 8X400's or 4X800's (7:20 min/mile pace or better)

I hope running near  power lines doesn't cause cancer

Swimming
My swimming has been sporadic but am trying to get a schedule in place. Eventually I would like to try to get to the pool 2-3 times a week.

I love smelling like chlorine


Mountain Biking
This is just for fun but would like to get one ride a month in. My last ride was a little over 8 miles and I discovered that running fitness and biking fitness do not transfer over. I was really struggling to get up the hills. I believe it took me over an hour to make it up to the highest point and then it was a very fast but fun 10 minutes back down. The ratio of 6/1 between pain and fun almost doesn't seem worth it.




Stationary Biking
Monday- 30 mins
Wednesday - 45 mins

Strength Training
Have been mostly just doing pushups at home. Nothing fancy but I figured it works out my core and my neglected upper body. My family makes fun of me when I do random pushups during commercials of the shows we watch. So at least I've been entertaining. I no longer have the excuse that I can't find my weight bench in the epic adventure known as my garage because I finally have it cleared out. Hopefully I can get some other strength training started soon.


As you can see I am back up to a full week of fun and activities. Everything revolves around my running. I am really flexible with everything else and go by feel. If I am having an off day than I will cut back, If I am having a good day than I usually increase my workout. It is all about finding a good balance and doing what you enjoy when you can.


Do you go by a strict schedule or do you do what you feel?

As you can see, I do not go by a strict schedule. I go by a general plan for my running and everything else kind of falls into place.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Zombies and Weirdos

Lately my running has been fueled by fear induced adrenaline. I have been running away from zombies and have been dodging weirdos in the early morning darkness. I purchased the Zombies, Run! app for my phone and have been trying it out. Usually I don't take my phone with me or any other device besides my Garmin watch. So wearing earphones during a run is brand new to me and has taken some time to get used to. But running in the dark, not being able to listen to my surroundings, and the app playing ominous noises has made me a very fearful and nervous runner. I'm sure that I look like a skittish, shaking chihuahua to anyone who sees me. It also doesn't help that the app will have sporadic "radio transmissions" as soon as I am running past a parked vehicle causing me to instantly jump out of my shoes or fall off the sidewalk. Not only am I afraid of passing parked cars now, people have been putting up scarecrows and other decorations in their yards. So now there are dark figures standing in lawns at 4:30 in the morning to be afraid of. All I am thinking as I see these silhouettes is if it's a weirdo that I need to avoid or just a friendly decoration. So, needless to say, my heart rate has been too high for the training I have been doing.



The Zombies, Run! app is actually a fun motivator. Basically you are a "runner" in this exciting zombie infested apocalypse story. You are "Runner 5" and your job is to go out and collect supplies for you and the other survivors living in Abel Township. Through a series of missions, and listening to various audio narrations you uncover more of the story. The more you run, jog, or walk in the real world the more stuff you will collect. The collected supplies can be used to build and expand your base. Don't forget about the zombies either, they will chase you and you must speed up to escape them.



So other than running for my life. I have finally gotten back in the pool this week. Just mostly splashing helplessly around working on my form for now. Because of the cooler weather I have had the pool all to myself. It is nice having that chlorine smell on me once again.


What do you use to motivate yourself?


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Race Recovery

My official race recovery is finally complete today. The general running rule is to take it easy a day for every mile you raced. In my case I need to take 11 days off. Although I hate to admit it, all the evidence shows that I am injury prone. So I decided to take it easy for the entire recovery period. I don't know about other runners but I know a couple of days after a race I feel great and I am in that post race honeymoon feeling. Which means the last thing I want to do is take it easy. What I do want to do is start running further, faster, and sign-up for 10 races to run the following weekend.

While the general rule says to take it easy. It does not mean you can not do anything. So this is what I did for the last 11 days whether you want to know or not.

Monday 14th - Day 1

Played miniature golf with family.  (I'm counting that as cross training)

Friday 18th - Day 5

Ran an easy 2 miles. (Nice and slow)

Saturday 19th - Day 6

Hiked for 1.5 miles with kids searching for geocaches. (Again, fun cross training)

Tuesday 22nd - Day 9

Ran 2.6 miles. Short distance but pushed the pace a little.

Average min/mile pace- 9:34

Thursday 24th - Day 11 ( Race Recovery Complete )

Ran 3.4 miles. Ran a little further and faster. I must have been excited because I started off way too fast.

Average min/mile pace- 9:11


I also did some real cross training mixed in but I realized that I haven't been posting often enough to include it and not have this post unnecessarily long. I have become more motivated to include more cross training because of the jealousy I have of my brother's arms in this picture.


I hate you and your arms!

Future races that I am considering right now is a local Turkey Trot 5k and than possibly the Xterra Boney Mountain 21k on January 12th. So until then I have to work on my arms running.



What feature or skill are you jealous of from a friend, or family member?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Xterra Point Mugu 18k Race Recap

I know I have kept all 2 of my readers waiting a little too long for this race recap. It was a full, fun extended weekend and I'm still trying to recover from all the awesomeness. I was told that the Xterra Point Mugu race was a beautiful course and it certainly didn't disappoint. This is how the weekend and race went for me.

Saturday

Today was course marking day. I was informed that I would be going alone and that I would be doing the shorter 11k course. This turned out to be better in the end anyways, because I didn't know if the other volunteer would want to run the course as we marked it and the shorter course ended up being the perfect hike. Before starting I met up with Daniel from Generic Events who had the task of trying to explain the route and duties that I had volunteered for. Daniel was awesome, I was totally over thinking everything and he had the patience to answer all my questions and concerns. "Do mile markers need to be spaced every mile?" "What's this unmarked bag of white mystery substance? I'm not being part of some elaborate drug smuggling operation am I?" "What happens if I do a horrible job?" Daniel assured me that I was going to do just fine and that the white stuff was flour to mark lines and arrows. Then he made sure I was supplied with all the water and snacks I wanted and sent me on my way.

It ended up being a very pleasant 3.5 hr hike. Other than answering a few questions from curious hikers and mountain bikers it was fairly uneventful. The views were amazing and I will be making an effort to try to visit the area again.

Didn't know my hat was crooked, I must have looked like a goober all day.


Sunday

Today was race day. My legs were a little sore from hiking the short course the day before but I was glad that I did it. The beginning and the end of the 18k course shared the same trail so I had a preview of the insane amount of elevation changes I would be up against. According to the official race page elevation profile you start at sea level and climb to the highest point at nearly 1200 feet. Which is higher than the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, U.S. Bank Tower which clocks in at 1,018 feet. The amount of accumulative elevation gain is over 2500 feet. Which is taller than the tallest building in the western hemisphere, the One World Trade Center which clocks in at 1776 feet.

Enough bragging already. My plan was to run conservatively. I knew I hadn't quite prepared myself for this race so I mostly was going to be happy to just finish. Who am I kidding? I always have some goals. My dream goal was to finish in the top 15 of my age group so I get Xterra event points. My other goal was to beat my Brother's last year's time. He totally crashed and burned last year by starting out too fast, not eating any calories before and during, and dehydrating because the first aid station is nearly half way through the course. Last goal was to finish without falling or injuring myself.

 Because the beginning of the race would be single track, the start was split into a couple of waves to spread out the runners. I decided to start at the very back of the first wave so I knew I would finish in front of at least one other runner and so I wouldn't feel pressured into running faster than I should.




Mile 0-3 - 13:27, 12:39, 14:17

I was taking it slow and easy, alternating between walking and jogging. Lots of steep uphill and I knew there were plenty of miles still ahead. Mostly single track through here with some technical parts. Along with some amazingly beautiful ocean views.

Legs were feeling heavy and the constant climb was already taking it's toll.

Mile 4-6 - 10:02, 10:14, 10:37

This section was mostly flat with a slight decline. Trail started to turn inland and go from single track to a fire access road. This was where the first aid station was and I got to say hi to Daniel there.

Was able to start lengthening my stride a little and pick up the pace.

Mile 7 - 13:30

Another uphill section so I just kept trying to keep my legs moving because I knew it would start getting easier from here.
 
Mile 8-9 - 10:11, 10:43

Mostly flat with some incline and declines. Amazing views of the Boney Mountain range. Almost like being in a painting. Only I was sweating and I was some crazy color of red.

I was feeling exhausted but was still able to keep moving at a decent pace (for me).

Mile 10-11 - 8:40, 8:25

All steep down hill and single track. I was mostly just trying to not fall off the mountain.

Finish - 2:02:30






Compared to the other runners I did bad, 246 out of 332 runners. But I am actually very happy with how I ran and with my time. I felt that I gave it everything I could and I ran a smart race. I hope to come back next year.

Goal 1 - Sadly I got 23rd in my age group. No points for me.
Goal 2 - I did beat my Brother's last year's time, woot!
Goal 3 - I did finish unharmed and uninjured. Which is more than I can say for some runners I saw at the finish line. Quite a few runners with scrapes and bruises from falling on the trail.

I want to say a big thank you to my wonderful Wife and Kids for supporting me and putting up with me. I know it sucks to hang around for a couple hours while I'm running the course but these race weekends would not be as fun without my personal cheering section.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

As Ready as I am Going to Get

This upcoming weekend is the Xterra Point Mugu race. I have been only able to do limited training for this event for the last couple of months because of my recovery from pleurisy. I have had some worries about a setback but have not encountered any. So I guess that means I need to stop being a baby and letting the worry of re-injury hold me back.

Tuesday was my last real training day that I am attempting before the race on Sunday. I did some uphill fartleks to work on my speed and hill running ability. Uphill fartleks are an evil combination and I think I'll "forget" to add them to any future training schedule I come up with. Total distance ended up being about 3 miles.



This evening I'll do an easy run. I believe I'm as ready, or in this case, as unprepared and not ready as I'm ever going to get. Also this week I'll be getting my before race haircut. Nothing makes me feel more faster than a fresh haircut a couple days before a race. I'm not quite sure why. I just feel more aerodynamic and lighter somehow. I'm also still in search of that very allusive race day picture that actually turns out acceptable.


Saturday I volunteered to help mark the course. So I better drink a lot of water. OK, that was a cheesy joke. I will be marking the course though and I hope I do a decent job. I have never run this course before and I'm not even familiar with the area. So I apologize in advance to any runners that get lost or confused.


What before race rituals or superstitions do you have?
 
I always get my haircut because it makes me feel like a superhero.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Normal Aches and Pains

This past week has got me a little worried about a setback with my pleurisy. I knew I was going to be pushing my luck a little because when I work on my speed my lungs and body hurt anyway. So it is hard figuring out what aches and pains that are normal and what is something I need to worry about. This is how my week has gone.

Tues - 160 meter sprints   1. 32 sec
                                          2. 32 sec
                                          3. 32 sec
                                          4. 35 sec
                                          5. 35 sec
                                          6. 34 sec
                                          7. 37 sec
                                          8. 36 sec

Had originally planned on doing 10 sprints but I was getting too weak to keep proper form. I really need to do more core work. Now where did I put that Xbox 360 Jillian Michaels workout game?

Wed - 1.3 miles at 8:52 min/mile pace.

Had to cut it short because my lungs starting hurting. It was a cold morning and I was going at a real fast pace. My lungs would hurt in that situation anyway but I decided to play it safe and not do the full 3 miles.


My lungs are impossible to please.


Sat - 6.2 miles at 10:39 min/mile pace.

I had originally cancelled this run because I was worried about a setback with my pleurisy. I woke up this morning though and really wanted to run. So I ran at a real easy pace. I did feel some tenderness occasionally in my lungs/lower back/ abdomen. The tenderness would come and go and never really turned painful. So I pushed it the whole way.

Now, I just have to wait and see what happens. I will either have a setback with my pleurisy or I will prove to myself that it was just normal aches and pains. It probably wasn't my best idea to test myself the week before my race. But I never claimed that I was smart though.


What races or events is everyone looking forward to this running season?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Time to get Training

This last week has been fairly uneventful training wise. Last weekend and next weekend are the last before my Xterra race on the 13th of October. I had signed up for the 18k way back when I was much more optimistic of my recovery. Now that time is running out I still have to decide on what distance race I would like to do. So my training has not been very specialized to either the 11k or the 18k. Here is how last weeks training went.

Wednesday (Sept 25) - 6.10 miles at 10:27 pace.

Saturday  (Sept 28) - 7.31 Miles at a 11:28 pace. Was supposed to be a 6 mile run but was exploring a new route and it ended up a little longer than I wanted.



Nice Sunrise for my Saturday Run.
Mornings are starting to get cold in the High Desert.


Well anyways, the title to this post is about my training. I have come up with a loose training plan for getting me to the Xterra Pt. Mugu 18k or 11k. I don't really have much time left so I aim to do a balanced running regimen with speed/hill/mileage.

Tues- Sprints
Thurs- Fast 3 mile
Sat- 8 mile long run
Tues- Hill sprints
Thurs- 6 miler
Sun- Race

So there you have it. I hope to be race ready but will have to feel it out as I go along.

Would you run 18k non-competitively but a more pleasant/scenic run, or 11k competitively?
I love to compete so I'm leaning towards 11k.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Mountain Training

Last week was a good week for running. The weather is finally starting to cool off a little and I'm getting some confidence in my body back. Still worried that at any moment I'm going to have a set back, but so far so good. Here is my runs for last week.

Monday: 3.2 miles at a 10:42 pace. Still slow but extended my mileage.

Wednesday: 1.3 miles at a 10:30 pace. A run just to run.

Saturday:  Wrightwood Acorn Trail
                 3.2 miles up doing 2 minute run and 4 minute walk intervals.
                 3.2 miles down at a 11:49 pace.
                 Total running time for Saturday was 1hr 53 mins.

I even thought ahead and took a few pictures of the trail. Which ended up being a good excuse to stop and catch my breath without admitting that I needed to. Plus it means no meme nonsense for my readers this week. Some real life pictures! No need to thank me, just doing my job.

Me, unbrushed hair, unaware of the punishment I'll be receiving in Trail form.
Finally reached the trail after running 1 mile through town
Attempt #2 at a view

Attempt #1 at a view
Finally reached the top
Me, feeling fat and wishing I stayed home and watched cartoons instead 


Running back down, my brother leading the way
Near bottom of trail, by here my legs were quivering from exhaustion.

That was my second time running the Acorn Trail and it was harder than I had remembered. It was most likely too much for my lungs but it was a real final test. If I don't get a relapse of my pleurisy in the next couple days I believe I should be good. I don't know of a harder run for lungs than at high altitude and running up 2600 feet.

My legs are crazy sore and I can barely walk around. I probably should look into those foam rollers and/or compression socks everyone is talking about. So I'll take a couple days off from running again and I will be in regular training mode by middle of this week. Xterra Point Mugu Trail Run is in 19 days.

Has anyone done something that was probably too advanced for them?
This mountain run was too advanced for my current fitness level and I'm definitely paying for it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Running Again!



Good news everyone!  I have been able to run with no setbacks so far. OK, maybe it's just good news for me, and bad news for my loved ones who have gotten used to seeing more of me (or vice versa?). I have been nervous about announcing my comeback because I am still convinced that something bad will happen. So far I have been good, I have waited a long time for my body to recover from pleurisy and I have been slow and careful with the little fitness that I have done. So it feels good to finally be making progress again.

Last week I was able to do three 1 mile runs, not sure of time because I refused to wear my Garmin. I still felt good, even though it felt harder than I would like to admit even at a slow pace.

This week I upped my mileage and time. Probably way too much, but hey, I was excited to be running again. Don't judge me. :)

Monday: 2.62 miles at 11:52 min mile pace
Wednesday: 2.45 miles at 11:00 min pace
Friday: 2.71 miles at 10:37 min pace

My numbers are all over the place because I still was running by effort and a loose goal time of 30 minutes.

Forgive me, I am bad at math (probably worse with grammar) but I believe my mileage went up 250%.  Well above the tried and true runner common knowledge benchmark of only increasing by 10%. So before the runner gods punish me with injury, I'll punish myself and will take a couple of days off from running until next week.

Happy Friday the 13th Everyone!


What running rules do you break?
Any Friday the 13th superstitions?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Baby Steps to Running

Hello everyone. I realize I haven't posted in a while. Being sidelined with pleurisy has really not given me much to do in the workout category. A couple weeks ago I was cleared to start doing easy exercise as long as I could control my breathing. So I started with walks, then have progressed to a walk/shuffle, and this morning I tried running a mile at a slow steady pace, really concentrating on my breathing. Because I am often finding myself obsessed with my time and speed, I decided to leave my Garmin at home so I could just base my speed off of my effort. Baby steps.

Just Say No to Speed


It is 39 days till the So-Cal Xterra Trail Run Series starts with Point Mugu. I am still hopeful that I will be able to run in this event. At the very least I have volunteered to help mark the course the day before so I will participate to some degree. I have been wanting to volunteer at some of these events for a while but like many other runners find it hard to find the extra time to do so. So anyways, if I can find the time than anyone can.  :D


Some famous people who have had pleurisy (besides my awesome self):

  • Ken Griffey Jr was diagnosed with pleurisy in 2007.
  • LeBron James was diagnosed with pleurisy in 2005.
  • Ringo Starr had chronic-pleurisy at age 13.
  • Mahatma Gandhi suffered from pleurisy during WWI while in London.
  • Francis Scott Key died in 1843 from pleurisy.
  • Benjamin Franklin died after an abscess in his lungs burst from what is believed to be a case of pleurisy.
  • Charlemagne died in 814 of pleurisy.



Did anyone do anything this Labor Day Weekend?