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.


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.


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?