Friday, March 28, 2014

A Bad Week

Hello everyone. This week's training has not gone very well.  On Saturday I went for a planned easy 8 miles but my garmin watch froze after a couple of miles. So I ended up running randomly in the desert and I have no clue how far or how long I ended up going. Monday I ran a loop with several hills for a total of 4.5 miles in gusty wind. That run was no fun and was not my favorite. The rest of the week I haven't ran or worked out due to a combination of having a 24 hour plague and having self evaluations due at work. I actually can't tell you which one I enjoyed less. Needless to say, I am glad to put this week behind me and am looking forward to next week.

I have some news to share. I have signed up for my next couple of races. The first being the Xterra Black Mountain 16k Trail Run on April 13th. This race is supposed to be one of the easier Xterra races in the SoCal series. This is because it doesn't have the amount of incline as the other races but that also means it is going to be faster. I don't have much time left to really work on my speed, especially after not doing any training this week, so I am not sure how I will do. The race is in San Diego though and is sure to be a fun weekend nonetheless.

The second race I signed up for is the OC Half Marathon on May 4th. This will be my second half marathon but my first road half marathon. So I am excited to see how I do. Another fun fact is with the over 23,000 expected runners between the 5k, half marathon, and full marathon events at the OC race, it will be the largest race I have participated in. I probably should practice flailing my elbows around during my runs to ensure I have some running room during the race.

The OC

Thousands of claustrophobic runners

Tell me what your weekend plans are. Mine are nap, run, repeat.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Downhill Running

I really enjoy running on trails and because of this I have multiple trail races planned for this year. I have found that running on trails and trying to run them fast requires some unique training. One running skill that I have been avoiding until just fairly recently is running downhill. Running uphill seems to come easy for me, I have to thank the fact that I used to run while 100lbs heavier for that. Actually, losing weight has helped every aspect of my running except for the downhills. Since downhill running is my weakness and I have gotten tired of other runners flying past me on the downhill portions of races, I decided to do a little research.

A few tips that I found useful with Coach Google:

1. Don't lean back or over-stride.
2. Quicken your cadence and land mid-foot.
3. Keep your shoulders and arms relaxed.
4. Look down the hill and not at your feet.

I practiced these tips a few times in my training for the Sheriff's 10K trail race last weekend. I found that practicing the downhill technique was helpful but I believe that the biggest benefit was the increased confidence it gave me. Every trail race I have ran, I have witnessed several runners fall during the downhill portions. While falling down the mountain is a way to get down it, I remained very conservative with the downhills in hopes that I would stay on my feet. But now that I have added a little downhill training I have more confidence in my ability to stay off of my butt.

Downhill running does do a lot of muscle damage. This is because running downhill is an eccentric contraction. Meaning the muscle elongates while under tension. So it is recommended that you allow your muscles adequate time to recover.

Here are some pictures that I found from a study showing the damage caused from downhill running.

Muscle before downhill running. No Damage.
Muscle immediately after. Damage is present.

Muscle one day later. Damage is still occurring.
Muscle 14 days later. Back to normal. 

I, of course, am not an expert on running. I just did some research for myself and am sharing the information I have found. I will end this post with a list of some of the more useful links that I found below.

Perfect Your Downhill Running Form -

Downhill Running LIVE from Miwok -
This link has video from Miwok of one of the fastest downhill runners, Ian Sharman.

Don't Let Downhills Be Your Downfall -
This link also has strengthening exercises to help your downhill running.

Is anyone else also afraid of running fast downhill like me?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2014 Sheriff's 10K Trail Run Recap

Last weekend I ran in the Sheriff's 10k Trail Run in San Bernardino, Ca. I had some big goals for this fun local event (read them here). I wasn't able to reach all of my goals but I still am very happy with how it turned out. Here is how the race went for me.

The race start was at 8 am which gave me and my wonderful family plenty of time to drive the hour to the race. We arrived before 7:30 and was able to pickup my race bib and use the restroom all before the Color Guard presented the colors and the singing of the national anthem. The race director then had a few announcements and described the course change. The race start and finish area had moved so the course turnaround would not be on top of the ridge but on the other side of it.

The strategy I had for this race was fairly simple. I wanted to average about a 10 min/mile pace until the turn around which would put me at about the 32 minute mark. Then I would increase my effort on the second half and then the last two miles where I know its all downhill I would use everything I had left. Hopefully finishing the second half in under 28 minutes so my time would end up being under 1 hour.

Miles 1-2: The entire first couple miles are at an incline. I ran at a comfortable pace and had to remind myself that all the runners passing me would be hurting later in the race. I was able to run most of the inclines but I did have to power walk up some of them.

Miles 2-3.1: The course runs along the top of the ridge and then drops down on the other side. I was able to maintain my good pace and continue running most of the inclines. This is where I was able to pass a lot of runners. Coming up to the turnaround I counted 16 runners in front of me. I reached the turnaround a couple minutes slower then I wanted at 35 minutes.

Miles 3.1-4: After the turnaround at 3.1 we had to climb back up the ridge. Now my concentration was on trying to catch the runners in front of me. I was able to pass one runner and I was getting closer to another.

Miles 4-6.2: This is the last two miles and it is all downhill. I picked up my pace quite a bit but I was still somehow passed by a little old man. I told him "great job" as he sped past me because I knew he had me beat. I was able to keep a fast (for me) pace of 7:50 min/mile for the last mile and sprint the last .2 mile at a 7:20 min/mile pace.

Finish Time: 1:05:33
Overall Place: 17 of 177
Age Group: 5 of 26


My "A" Goals

Finish under 1 hour. I did not succeed with getting under an hour but the course was harder than last year. So I am OK with not reaching this goal.

Podium for my age group. I was a distant 6 minutes off of third place. I am in a tough age group so I still have some aging work to do to be competitive.

My "B" Goals

Beat my last year time. I did succeed in beating my time from last year even with a tougher course, so I am very happy with this victory.

Beat my Brother. I did beat him. I don't think he brought his A game though so I don't feel this was a full victory.


Overall I was very happy with my time and how well the race went for me. First half of the race was 35 minutes and second half was 30 minutes. Which means I had a negative split of 5 minutes. Woo-hoo!

I liked the course change, somehow the race director was able to make a hard course even more tougher. The Color Guard and national anthem was a great touch for a small event. The volunteers were great and there were several aid stations along the course.

My Unofficial "C" Goal

Be more photogenic. Big fail.

At least I was smiling but I think I need a new shirt.  Source

Any tips on being more photogenic? I obviously need some help.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ready to Race

I am really excited for my race this weekend. I am participating in the Sheriff's 10k Trail Run on Sunday. The course has steep rolling inclines and declines and is a real challenge. Last year I surprised myself with a 4th place age group finish even though I was still new to the 10k distance. This year I feel like I am in much better shape because of my 20x20x20 routine, and some MASH up workouts (DVD I won from this great blogger) that I have been doing a couple times a week. My running has also been going really well. All of this is giving me a lot of confidence and so I have set some ambitious goals for this race.

Last years stats:

Finish time 1:08:01
Overall place 27 out of 139
Age group 4 out of 16

My "A" Goals

Finish under 1 hour.
Podium for my age group.

My "B" Goals

Beat my last year time.
Finish before my Brother.


Yikes, that is a bad photo. What is wrong with me? I think my third goal will have to be, "be more photogenic" 

I have a race strategy in place and have done my training. Now I just have to wait till race day.

Wish me luck :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quest of Quests was a Success

The Quest was a success! It was harder than what I had expected but my coworker and I completed our hiking journey of 24 miles in only 8 hours. I don't have as many pictures as I would have liked because my phone died. Also, my Garmin watch died half way through as well so I don't have any good data to post. So this will probably be a very boring recap.

The beard gave him super human strength to walk 24 miles.

We wanted a very early start so we could get done at a reasonable time in the day. We met at the cemetery (our destination) and left a vehicle there and drove the other vehicle 24 miles to where our journey would start. I had some concerns with my choice of foot wear because I hadn't worn my hiking boots in several months and they were feeling a little stiff. So I decided to go ahead and create a full drop bag with water, socks, shirt, and shoes to leave at the half way point, just in case.

I may or may not of had a pack full of beef jerky and candy.
We started walking at 6 am. The temperature was about 50 degrees and it was overcast all day so the weather ended up being perfect. We each carried a gallon of water with us and I had brought plenty of snacks. I made the mistake of purchasing my supplies while I was hungry so the result was that I over packed a bunch of junk food. The first half we were both feeling good and we did a lot of talking and joking. We made it up the first and highest pass with no problems. When we finally made it to the drop bag area we were still feeling strong so we only took enough time to refill our water and rearrange our packs. Then we were off walking again. Because of the canter of the road we decided to switch sides of the road we walked on periodically. This plan really helped me out and I believe it is why I made it with no injuries or blisters. My coworker started to get some ankle pain though during the last half and as we continued walking he would get quieter and quieter. I knew he must have been hurting so I ended up telling him my whole life story in hopes of keeping him distracted from the pain and discomfort he was feeling. I just hope I didn't tell him anything that he could use to embarrass me at some office get together in the future.

First pass we have to reach and hike through
Here is the manually added route on my Runkeeper.

In the end we both made it. I had a lot of fun and hope to do something similar again in the future. Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) thru-hike anyone?

Interesting finds on the hike:

26 wire hangers. (in bunches of 4-7 hangers every couple of miles)
1 boot
1 shoe
1 pair of loafers
1 shirt
1 pair of dirty underwear. (sadly, they weren't my size.)
$1.20 in change.
1 20 cent euro coin. (biggest surprise)
1 dirty diaper
20 giant empty cheese puff containers. (somebody really likes their cheesy poofs)

We also found a scary amount of beer and liquor bottles along the road. It is unsettling knowing that I am sharing a road on a daily basis with people that think its ok to drink and drive.

Now back to running and training for Sheriff's 10k trail run.