Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I am the Cool Kid



I have come to the conclusion recently that I must be the cool kid around town. I have been running for a couple of years now and I have noticed a significant increase in the amount of runners that I come across on a daily basis now. I remember the days of going out for a run and being the only one out on the track. I remember being able to run out in the desert and being completely alone aside from the occasional dirt biker or the helicopter flyby when I wandered too close to the U.S. Marine base. But now when I go to the school track there are several other people wandering in circles on it. When I run around town I cross paths with other runners on a regular basis. And now when I seek the solitude of a run out in the desert I am greeted by other sweaty runners doing the same thing. So there you have it. I am too popular and cool for my own good. I take the responsibility of the running craze in my town. :)

Stay off my running paths!

OK, maybe my head is too big. Just maybe, I didn't start the local running craze. To set the record straight, for the most part I actually like that I am seeing a lot more runners around. Eventually I might actually meet some of them and make a friend. There are a few things that I am going to have to get used to now though. First, I can't just go run shirtless in the desert to work on my tan without being seen. Secondly, it can get quite crowded at the track sometimes and I have to be prepared to not be able to do speedwork, unless I want to do zig-zag dashes between strollers, and walkers.

So there you have it. I may or may not be the trendsetter I think I am, but people are getting out and running and working on getting healthier. Which is a very good thing.

Has anyone else experienced the increase of running popularity?

Monday, October 13, 2014

High Desert Half Marathon Recap

Last Saturday was the High Desert Half Marathon. I am surprisingly sore from the race in all kinds of places. Which is one of the reasons that I like doing races as training. You end up pushing yourself harder than you normally would and it is a great way to see how your training is doing. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you would have heard that I had a half marathon PR at this race.  Even though my race went great, the race itself had a few "new event" issues.

The race is only 30 minutes away from my home so I had the luxury of sleeping in my own bed the night before the race. I had missed the Friday race expo because it closed at 6pm, so I had to wake up extra early on Saturday to get there in time to find parking and pickup my race packet.

Sunrise before the start.

Parking and packet pickup was easy and fast. I even had a little time to look around at some of the vendors that were setting up.

Vendors setting up.

Pre-race selfie.


The race start was scheduled for 7am but was delayed 10 or so minutes for an unknown reason. Everyone was standing around at the start until all of a sudden without notice people started running. Little confusing but at least we were moving.

Miles 0-3 - Pace 8:47 - Course was slightly uphill and I took it easy as my legs were warming up.

Miles 3-7 - Pace 8:10 - The course leveled out and I settled into a nice pace. The course started taking some turns that I was not expecting but I was feeling good.

Miles 7-11 - Pace 8:30 - Mile 7 there was a good hill that took me out of my rhythm. There were also several more unexpected turns so I soon realized that the course was different from the course map that was posted on the website.

Miles 11-13.1 - Pace 9:33 - The course went off onto a soft dirt road for a mile which made me feel like I was running in slow motion. After I got off the dirt road it was all uphill with an especially mean hill at the very end. I was totally spent and ended up going into survival mode and just wanted to finish.

Just chillin' and drinking a cappuccino after the race.


Official Time: 1:52:17
Overall Place: 39 out of 155
Age Group Place: 12 out of 24



Summary

This was the first running of this race and so I was expecting some issues going into it. I was surprised at how many issues there were though. Here are some positives and negatives of the race.

Bad Stuff 

Aid Stations - I believe there were only 3, maybe 4 aid stations on the course and they only had water. The aid stations had sponsors so I was expecting a little more from them.

Course - The course was not the same as the course map that had been posted for months.

Start - Start was late and there was no audible or visual signal for start of the race. I was paying attention and wasn't far from the start and didn't notice anything.

Finish - The post race water wasn't near the finish. It was hot and there was not enough aid stations so I was in need of hydration and found it hard to find the water at the end.

Good Stuff 

It is the first event of its kind in the local area.

Race price was low.

Pre-race stuff was great. Parking, packet pickup, bathrooms, etc. were quick and easy.

Course - The course has some potential. I believe the course map that they posted would have been better with less turns and more lake views.

Post-race stuff was good. There were plenty of vendors and they had a D.J. making it a fun atmosphere. I like the medal and the shirt is O.K. 


Overall the problems can all be fixed. I am sure the race directors learned a lot from this year and will turn this event into the great race it can be. I really am glad that someone is finally trying to get some distance races started in this area. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Getting Ready for the High Desert Half Marathon


This week I have been taking it easy and making sure that I am rested and ready for the High Desert Half Marathon tomorrow. This evening the event is putting on a fitness expo and I will be there to pickup my bib and check out the vendors. This is the inaugural year for this event so I really don't know what to expect. I just know that this is the only local running event longer than a 10k in the area so I had to sign up for it.

The course has a number of 90 degree turns but doesn't look too bad.

As you can see the aid stations are sponsored by various companies. I just hope they get my orders right so I don't have to turn around and go back through the drive-thru aid station again.

Besides supporting a local race with my registration money I have only a few goals for this race.

Goal #1 - I need to see where my road running fitness is currently. I have my first marathon coming up in December and all I have been doing is lots of slower trail miles. This half marathon will give me an idea how well I can keep a fast sustained pace.

Goal #2 - I would like to PR. Currently my PR for a half marathon is 1:58:46 which I set at the OC half marathon earlier this year. The website has a map of the course but no elevation profile so hopefully not knowing about any hills will be a good thing.

Race day temp.

The weather around here is still hot and sunny.  The impending heat will give me plenty of incentive to run fast so I can finish before it gets too hot. So if I survive this hot race I will tell you all about it next week.

Does anyone else have a race this weekend? 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Post That Didn't Post: September Recap

September was pretty amazing. The month was full of wonderful training runs in some great areas and I even had a great race. I didn't get as many running miles in as previous months but I am really O.K. with that. The quality of the runs were higher and I even had a couple runs that felt fast and really effortless. I did miss the one and only local triathlon and I am a little bummed out about it. I enjoy running, biking, and swimming so eventually I will get my butt out there and try a triathlon. Well, here is the month in pics and numbers.

Running on the PCT

It is nice to get away from the desert to run in some trees

Running isn't so bad if you run with views like this

Getting swallowed up in the foam pit at the trampoline park


September Stats

Total Miles - 99 miles
Longest Run - 16 miles

Total Time - 19:17:42 (hrs: mins: secs)
Elevation Gain - 11,485 ft.

September Races

September 20th - Xterra Aliso Canyon Trail Run 16K (recap)

Mrs. Speedypants is the best crew/supporter/fan a runner could ask for :)
Here is me trying to recover from the race at the hotel.
Official Time: 1:38:45
Overall Place: 121 out of 225
Age Group Place: 14 out of 19

Summary

Every month I have the goal of getting more non-running activities mixed in during the week. As always I failed at getting a routine in. I have started to return to doing small things such as push-ups or sit-ups during a few commercial breaks in the evenings. So it is better than nothing. On some of my long runs I have had some soreness in my shoulders and back so I do have weaknesses in my core that definitely need to be worked on.

October

In October I have one race coming up. It is a new local half marathon and I am looking forward to it. My last and only other road half marathon was the OC half marathon back in May. It will be nice to see if all this slow running on trails has effected my speed any. 

In other news I have been selected to be an Armpocket Ambassador. So stay tuned for discounts and me telling you all about the good, and the bad as I try their products out. In the mean time you can check out their website at Armpocket.com


Stat Total for the Year

Total Miles - 818
Longest Run - 16.1 miles
Total Time - 143:50:40 (hrs: mins: secs)
Elevation Gain - 71,418 ft.