Friday, September 26, 2014

No Triathlon For Me


Happy Friday to everyone in Blog Land. This weekend is looking like it would have been perfect weather for a run, bike ride, and a swim. The problem is that I am not ready. I haven't ran since my race last Saturday because of wonderful post race soreness for a couple days. Then I decided to just take the rest of the week off from running just to relax a little. It also was a little bit of me pouting because my San Francisco 49ers and my fantasy football team lost last weekend. It is now a week later and I'm 5lbs heavier from self treating my sadness with junk food. I knew the Apple Valley Reverse Triathlon was coming up fast but I just couldn't get motivated to bring my bike out from the garage and get it ready. So it does not look like I will participate in it this year.



I do have some good stuff to look forward to. The L.A. Dodgers have clinched their division and will be going to the playoffs, I will be ending my running moratorium tomorrow and running some trails, and I have the High Desert Half Marathon coming up in two weeks.



I am not sure if I ever announced it here on my blog but I have two big goal races coming up. In December I will be doing my very first marathon, the Hoover Dam Marathon. Then 6 weeks later in January I will be running in my very first ultra-marathon, the Calico Trail Run 50k. I do realize that the races do not have much time to recover in between but both of them look really fun and I couldn't pick one or the other. I will be smart and pay close attention to how my body is feeling and I also have the option of dropping down to the 30k at the Calico Trail Run. Anyways, I am looking forward to the challenge of new distances.




Tell me about your next big goal race.

Monday, September 22, 2014

2014 Xterra Aliso Canyon 16k Recap



I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I certainly had a great weekend and I am going to tell you all about it. But first I'll tell you about how my race went since that is probably the only reason you are reading this blog post.

(warning: the color orange is rampant in this post)

Before 

The Xterra Aliso Canyon trail run is held on a Saturday while all the other races of the Xterra So-Cal series are held on a Sunday. So on Friday after I got off of work I did some last minute packing and then my family and I headed off to Orange County. Of course as soon as we leave I start remembering stuff that I forgot to pack such as the food I planned to eat before the race and my Garmin heart rate monitor strap. I have only been really wearing and paying attention to my heart rate monitor for a couple of months so this was the first race I really planned on racing by it. But that was  not an option anymore. Thankfully I remembered my Garmin watch, which I have had actual nightmares of arriving at a race without. So it could have been worse.

Race Day

Our hotel was 10 minutes away from the start but as I have learned in some of my past races like Xterra Black Mountain and the OC Marathon that I should still plan on arriving extra early or I'll be late. Luckily for me, we had no issues with getting our free hotel breakfast, arriving at the race, and finding a parking spot. Mrs. Speedypants and the kids decided that they were going to volunteer at this race so they could be distracted from the excitement of waiting for me to finish wouldn't be bored. So they headed off to the volunteer tent as I went to pickup my race bib. Afterwards I met a blog reader of mine, Wally. He was very nice and of course I was awkward. Later I looked up his race times and our times are very close so I am looking forward to racing him again in the future.
Pre race selfie

The family that matches together, stays together.



At 7:45am the race started and I was stuck in the port-a-potty line. Of course I was going to miss the start, why wouldn't I?

At 7:48ish I started my race.

Miles 0 - 4 - The first mile was really fast for me. It was downhill, I had race adrenaline, and I was minutes behind everyone else. By 3 miles I realized I was still running too fast and going at my 10k pace. I actually caught up to the race though. This first part of the course was shaded and beautiful and I was feeling good.

Mile 4-5 - This was the big climb up out of the canyon. I just hiked as fast as I could up and I actually passed a few other runners.

Miles 5-8 - These miles were rolling along top of the ridge where we were exposed to the sun. It was a reminder that it is still summer in Southern California. I was able to keep a good pace but my legs were starting to feel heavy from the constant uphill and downhills.

Miles 8 - finish - Mile 8 was steep downhill back into the canyon. I bombed down as fast as I could safely. By the time I was at the bottom my legs felt like lead. Looking back at my splits I was still moving well but it felt like I was running in slow motion and the hot humid stagnant air in the canyon was like a sauna. I finally reached the finish and I was drenched in sweat, and water that I poured on myself.  I got to see Mrs. Speedypants at the finish line and my son and daughter were passing out the finisher medals.

Official Time: 1:38:45
Overall Place: 121 out of 225
Age Group Place: 14 out of 19

My Unofficial Time: 1:35:16
Overall Place: 102 out of 225
Age Group Place: 13 out of 19





Race Summary

I feel that I did the best that I could. I am very happy with my splits. My loose goals for this race was to finish in 1:30:00 and I was really close to that. My other goal was to finish top 15 of my age group so I would earn Xterra race series points. Earning Xterra points has been a goal ever since I started these Xterra events and this was the first time I achieved that goal. I really liked the t-shirt that was given out but the finisher medal was tiny. it is by far the smallest medal I have ever gotten. Other than that the course was great, and the family had a fun time volunteering.

After race selfie and photobomb from my daughter
Son hard at work
Mrs. Speedypants hard at work at the Finish line


Rest of the Weekend

After I showered and changed we went to Panera Bread for lunch. If I can't get my IHOP or Denny's after a race than Panera is the next most awesome place to devour all the things. I had sweated so much and ran so hard at the race that my leg muscles kept cramping up so we went back to the hotel and I did some self leg therapy by alternating time in the cold pool and the hot tub. 

In the evening we all went to Big Air Trampoline park. The kids had a blast jumping off the walls and it was surprisingly fun for us adults as well. 

Sibling battle royale

I'm the biggest kid in line.

Foam block pits are impossible to get out of.


Sunday morning we all came home to our normal lives. Mrs. Speedypants went to work and I lounged around watching Football and rested my legs. 

It was a great weekend.

Tell me all about your weekend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Run That Dreams Are Made of

Hello to everybody. Yesterday I experienced a perfect run early in the morning. It was a run that dreams are made of. Or is it a dream that runs are made of? I don't know. The point is, is that I was running on one of my normal routes and I felt fast and the run felt effortless the entire time. Even the hills felt easy. It was magical. I would have to compare it to riding a unicorn bareback through fluffy clouds.

Accurate representation of me and my magical run.
Today, I did hill repeats and it totally sucked, which is normal and expected. So until I get my next magical run experience, I'll have the fond memories of my wonderful unicorn ride run yesterday.


(source)
In three days I will be racing in the inaugural Xterra Aliso Canyon Trail run 16k. It looks like it is going to be one of the faster So-Cal Xterra courses. So in preparation for this race I have been making sure I don't miss any speed workouts at the track or any hill repeats. I took last month off from any races and so I am really amped up and excited for the race this weekend.  I also have to admit though that one of the reasons I signed up for this race is because it is the same weekend as the Xterra National Championships being held in Utah. This means all the fast runners that show up to these regional Xterra races will not be at the Aliso course and I'll become a middle of the pack runner to slightly better middle of the pack runner. It isn't much but it doesn't really take much to get me excited.


(source)

The Xterra Black Mountain race I did last April looks fairly similar in difficulty and I finished in about 1:30:00. So my goal for this race is to finish 1:25:00. It is hard to come up with a goal time with these trail races unless you have done them before. So I will be happy with whatever time I get as long as I know I ran it 100%. 

Now, I just need to call upon my magical unicorn steed to have a magical race this Saturday. Do I need a wand for that?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My New Shoes: Asics Gel-Exalt 2 & Hoka Huaka

With all the running I have been doing this year I was starting to really need new shoes. Hoka shoes have been known to go over 800+ miles but I was only able to get 500+ out of mine. Mostly because I have a slight overpronation in my gait. So my Hoka Mafate 3 shoes started to wear down and lean inward and was putting some strain on my ankles. So with the thoughts and dreams of all kinds of new shoes dancing around in my head, I started doing some research and pricing and decided on the perfect shoes.
This must mean that I am soft, and can take a beating. :) 

Asics Gel-Exalt 2

Heel to toe drop - 10mm
Pronation - Neutral to Overpronators
Weight - 10.7 oz
(source)


I decided on these shoes because I really liked the first edition of the Exalt and was really hoping they didn't mess anything up with the newer Exalt 2's. The price was right and I just needed another pair of shoes to alternate runs with. 

Asics Shoe Selfie
My initial impression with the Exalt 2's are good. I have worn them for about 30 miles and they work great for me. They aren't the lightest cushioned shoe but they are a great lower cost option. They do feel a half size smaller than the original Exalt and other shoes but that might just be me. 

Hoka One One Huaka

Heel to toe drop - 2mm
Pronation - Neutral
Weight - 8.9 oz

(source)


My first Hoka shoes were the Mafate 3 and I really loved them. So I knew I wanted another pair of Hoka shoes to do most of my running in. I decided on the Huaka because of a few factors. One being price, and the other being its weight.

Hoka Shoe Selfie
My initial  impression of the Huaka shoes is great. They are narrower than the Mafate 3 but I like the snug feel of them. They don't have as much cushion as some of the other Hoka shoes but they still have a really soft landing. I have about 20 miles on these shoes and I don't have any complaints so far.

Summary

This is the first time I actually have two newer pairs of shoes to alternate my runs with. I really needed two pairs because the Hoka shoes are perfect for long steady runs but are not so great for fast runs. Now I have shoes for every kind of run my heart desires. I do have some worries about the large difference between the heel to toe drop between the pairs of shoes. So far so good. but I will be continuing to pay close attention to how I feel to prevent any possible injury. 

I am a happy runner. :)

What are the factors that you use when purchasing new shoes?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Recap

August ended up being a great month of running for me. I didn't have any races so I was able to be more flexible and enjoy my running a little more. I do a lot of races during the year because I really like to challenge myself and I enjoy the competition. But sometimes it is nice to have a small break from those things that make running in races fun. I even was able to explore some more of the hills I have here locally and discovered some amazing views and an old abandoned trail.

A long ways up

Running and exploring some old roads.

My entire town in one picture.

August Stats

Total Miles - 134 miles
Longest Run - 13.5 miles

Total Time - 23:25:21 (hrs: mins: secs)
Elevation Gain - 10,547 ft.


Summary

The main goal for this month was to get back to cross training. I did not achieve that goal. The first week was perfect and I got all my workouts and swims in on schedule. The following weeks I missed more and more until finally the last week of the month I did zero swimming and workouts. So yea, major fail. Again, I need to work on this and it is a new month. The wonderful Jen suggested I do a monthly challenge, and I think that I will have to give that a try for this month.

Yes! That is a great challenge.

September Plans

September I have one main race planned, the Xterra Aliso Canyon Trail run 16k. It is a new race in the series and they haven't even finished publishing the elevation profile or maps for the course. So I really do not know what to expect. After that race, if I am feeling up for it, there is a small local triathlon that I am considering. I have never done a triathlon and have been wanting to try one for quite awhile now. I will have to pull my mountain bike from the garage and dust it off first though. I will find a monthly challenge to do and I hope that it will help me stay motivated.

Stat Total for the Year

Total Miles - 724
Longest Run - 15.9 miles
Total Time - 125:17:58 (hrs: mins: secs)
Elevation Gain - 60,267 ft.

Anyone else going to be doing a Monthly Challenge?