Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

Ok.. not to be all "mooooshy" but this year is ending on an amazing note thanks to all of YOU.

I have connected with old friends, made incredible new ones and built even stronger friendships with those around me. It's been a year of unfathomable challenge and yet equally amazing promise of new opportunity. Through a new job, a change of priorities (and all that entails) new doors have been opened and new acquaintances made that make me look forward to the coming year with an astounding vigor. Through all of it, friends old and new, family close and distant have rallied, supported, cheered and counseled, coached and cajoled me to my own triumphs and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I have been amazed at the way technology shrinks our world and brings us closer together despite the naysayers who espouse that it takes us apart. With my view from the electronic "cheap seats" I have been party and privy to all of your own hurtles, and triumphs; your heartaches, accomplishments and successes and for that, I am eternally grateful. I can't wait to see what the new year brings each of us. Perhaps it is the challenges we face as society that drive us to reach out and connect during what is arguably the most difficult period of our current history. I don't know, but what I have experienced and witnessed is an astounding array of compassion, caring and old fashioned good heartedness that gives me absolute belief that we will triumph... always.

And after all, what fun would it be if this were all easy? To paraphrase a somewhat infamous quote about life:
"The goal is not to arrive at the end with a perfectly preserved and pristine body but to slide in sideways, beat up, totally worn out and screaming.. WOW.. what a ride!"

There is no way I can tweet and tag, email or call each of you when the circle of people who have made this last twelve months that incredible ride has grown as it has.. So, as this year draws to an end I count my blessings, and they are each of you.

My thank you, and warmest wishes to all of you for a safe, happy and prosperous New Year; may you each be half as fortunate as I am, for then, you are wealthy beyond measure.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Agony and the Ecstasy (Or why is a PR Never Enough?)

I set out to run the California International Marathon over six months ago, initially setting my sites on a “BQ” (Boston Qualifying time). Soon realizing this would mean cutting over 20 minutes off my previous best at the Paris Marathon earlier this year I scaled back just a tad. Aiming and training for the 3:45 mark I felt was a respectable advance on my Paris time and would be a full 40 plus minutes better than my first marathon.

Race morning dawned crisp and cold, around 35F. The busses to the start were unusually chaotic for C.I.M and the sweat check was like a scene from a third world country with people yelling, bags flying and a general sense of disarray quite uncommon for this event. I have run C.I.M as a relay team previously and the organizers usually have this event down to a science. Ultimately my sweat check bag would go missing and someone somewhere now has a really nice Brooks NiteLife jacket and a pair of ASICS warm up pants. But as any race participant knows, and is informed, this can and does happen in the best of events. I really couldn’t bitch. The rest of the event went off flawlessly, the volunteers, literally in the hundreds were friendly, helpful and with only one exception, a credit to the event and get my heartfelt thanks.

But we digress! Lined up at the start after a brief warm up but couldn’t find the 3:45 Pacer, Grant Carboni. C.I.M has a cadre of really amazing pacers and while I have never run with a pace group before, talking to Grant and Rae Clark at the Expo I was sold. The gun sounded and I headed off figuring I would be on my own pace wise. Shortly after crossing the timing mat I spied Grant and the pace group about a half mile ahead and spent the next couple of miles slowly reeling them in and right after that caught up with my running partner Bill E. and we settled into our group, our pace and started clicking off the miles. Grant is an amazing pace leader and knows the course like the back of his hand so I could just settle in and run.

C.I.M starts in Folsom CA at the base of the Folsom Lake dam and winds its way into downtown Sacramento to end just shy of the steps of the state capitol. It is a net downhill and advertised as a fast course and top Boston Qualifier but don’t let that fool you. It is still 26.2 miles and at times the “rollers” are still a challenge! Throw in a nice headwind that we turned right into at mile 10 and again just past the half way point and it tests you just like any other marathon.

Bill and I stayed with Grant and the pace group, sometimes even slightly out ahead, clear through to mile 17 or so. I had a couple of minutes in the bank from starting behind and reeling them in so I was feeling ok to drift back a bit and try and draft behind the group to stay out of the breeze but that was the start of my wrestle with “The Beast” as I have come to call him. The Beast, that insidious in creeping of aches, pains and second thoughts daring to become doubt and misgiving that we distance runners know all too well. The Beast gnawed at my hip, pushed a sock down to crumple and threaten a blister and called upon the cold to assist in never giving me a chance to take off my gloves and beanie.

The Beast stayed with me through to the end of the race, threatening to turn into the full fledged “Wall” and daring me to stop and walk right up to mile 22. At that point that old ally Determination finally lent a hand and from 22 to 26 I was able to call up the reserves and claw my way back to my pace. Those where the toughest miles of the race and my wife would remark later when she took this picture just 200 yards short of the finish she could only yell out “almost there” instead of her traditional “Looking good”.. that would have been such a vast overstatement!

I finished just over three minutes off my goal, and for a

time it looked as though the official time was actually further off than that. Later I would confirm that was the gun time and despite that even that time was a personal record, I had on what has been described by my lovely bride as my Cranky Pants. Later I would confirm my official chip time as 3:48:14, more than ten minutes better than Paris and a new personal record. The Cranky Pants have come off, my training saw me through to the end of arguably the toughest race I have participated in. I am uninjured and setting my sites on next year. So, why does it bug me that this guy beat me by 13 seconds? Maybe its the name thing? Or that we look so much alike? Maybe next year. ;-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Search of the Perfect Run

As Viper said to Mavrick "A good runner is compelled to evaluate what's happened, so he can apply what he's learned. Up there, we gotta push it. That's our job. It's your option, Lieutenant. All yours."

I love that quote, and the movie. It came out at time when I was younger and could recover from just about anything overnight. I was not a runner then. I was a Marine, we didn't walk anywhere, we ran, or did push ups. I ran when
told and didn't really enjoy it though I ran much faster than I do now. The fastest and easiest run I ever had was in High School.

I remember it, a crystal clear spring day in Boulder just before graduation. I would run in gym class with my friend Mark. We ran with the ease of teenagers and paid no attention to running. It was about horse play and not sitting in a class room. It meant talking about girls and what we would do the following summer. I was off to boot camp, he was a year younger and his summer would be spend hanging out with friends and deciding what the future held in store.
We would power down the hill from the school and out for a couple miles oblivious to the altitude and effort. But the perfect run, the one that I remember to this day came at a cost.

I still remember getting the call that weekend. Mark and another friend, Jeff had been in an accident. A drunk driver ran a stop sign landing Jeff in the hospital and Mark gone from our lives. The following Monday, I found myself in the locker room without my running buddy. Lacing up my shoes I headed out with the class, but alone. I flew down the familiar hill and out away from the school and to this day, 30 years later I know it was the fastest and furthest I ever ran. Everything clicked and it was the easiest run physically I have ever known despite the angst and the tears. Just over a week later I was standing on yellow footprints being yelled at by USMC Drill Instructors and the running was never without urgency and purpose

It would be ma
ny years before I ran again for pleasure, for clearing my head, reaching a goal, or just to enjoy a beautiful day. But that run after Mark's death has never been far from my thoughts. It's hard to express the feeling that memory evokes and I have backspaced and edited this last paragraph much as much as I rolled over in my head what was it about that run, how do I recreate it and apply it forward. Maybe, like the MiG in Top Gun, I just need to relax about it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bachus and the Numbers (or, an unscientific study of the effects of hydration on running)

I am a pretty diligent runner when it comes to the numbers. Negative splits, hitting my pace targets, training to Lactate Threshold, Easy Pace, Marathon Pace, Tempo Pace etc. Once I have my training plan in place I work to stick to it and I have seen my speed and endurance increase.

I have read with some detachment the effects of hydration or rather dehydration and pride myself on keeping well hydrated. Here in Chico we "enjoy" some fairly blistering summers and you get pretty acquainted with the need to hydrate.

I had a bit of an epiphany during this last weekends long run though. My friend Bill E. is a great guy, solid runner and a great sense of humor. We are pretty evenly matched and I enjoy running with him when I get t
he chance. Bill has been telling me of late that he has been reading up on training better along in your heart rate zones and had been feeling that he wasn't giving his ole ticker the rest it needed at times. He got me thinking about it and I have begun wearing my heart rate monitor and paying a bit more attention. Of course I was not the least concerned; those who follow my blog know I have wrestled with going on statins and have done a cardiac stress test and according to the sage Doc M. I have "the max heart rate of a 32 year old." But we digress.

Saturday dawned a bit cloudy as the marathon and half marathon training groups I am helping coach set off for our weekly
long run. Today's workout: half mile warm up, plyo's, stretching then off for a 10 mile loop round Bidwell Park. First mile at easy pace then step it up to race pace and hold it for the remainder.
Bill and I fell into an easy rhythm and trotted out our run talking about heart rates, the weather and our target times for C.I.M. I noticed that while I felt pretty normal for the pace, Bill seemed to be having a bit of an easier time of it and finished looking obviously more at ease than I.
In comparing our numbers we were dead matched except for the heart rate. His was a solid 20 BPH lower than mine! I had done everything I normally do before a long run, same breakfast, same amount of sleep, same basic type of meal the night before and I didn't feel bad, just my hea
rt rate seemed elevated and it took a bit longer to get back to normal.
The only thing different was a couple of glasses of wine the night before. I felt no effects from the wine, went to bed and woke up clear headed and got roughly the same amount of sleep and had essentially the same diet.

Conducting a bit of an experiment I went out after a good day and a halfs rest for a recovery run and really kept an eye on my heart rate. After a couple mile at easy pace, with my heart rate solidly where it is
supposed to be I stepped it back up to where Bill and I had been running and low and behold, almost 20 beats lower than the same pace just 36 hours previous!

Doing a bit of math, this whole debacle translated to my heart beating 2400 time more in a two hour period than normal. Extrapolating that to my marathon race pace that's roughly about two miles more that my heart runs due to the dehydration effects!! Not to mention the recovery time now needed at exercising my heart at 80-85% max as opposed to where it should have been, about 70%.

Now no one in their right mind has a couple of glasses of wine before a marathon, and candidly, the only reason I had any was because I planned on a leisurely long run not doing any race pace work. But we do frequently underestimate how hydrated we are and I certainly didn't realize how much harder my heart has to work to pump that thicker blood until I got to actually see the numbers and compare to someone who is in the same shape as I am.
Fall racing season is upon us and I for one, don't need to add these ghost miles to any of my upcoming endeavors!
Hydrate, pay attention to your training heart rates and enjoy the fruits of lord Bachus AFTER your accomplishment!
Tight Laces,

Friday, August 28, 2009

Follow Friday

There is a little premise in the "Twitterverse" where on Fridays one lists those followers for the week who have stood out to you, or were of note for the week or something. If you new to Twitter, or Facebook or social networking in general this can seem somewhat odd. Some of my friends and family don't really "get" Twitter and Facebook and voice concern over why someone would care that another is "drinking coffee and waiting for the day to be over" (a not untypical posting). If that all that one does on a social networking site they are missing an incredible opportunity.
And, while I certainly see my fill of somewhat nonsensical postings on Twitter or odd little quizzes on Facebook I have become amazed at the breadth and reach of my new friends and their impact on my own world.

I joined Facebook ostensibly to see and share running related pics with my running community and Twitter as a networking tool during a foray into perhaps landing a job in the running and fitness world. A huge amount of my "followers" and those I follow on Twitter are in the running, fitness or multi-sport world in someway, yet we exchange info on those topics only part of the time. My Facebook friends now far exceed those only related to running and I have connected to friends from the past including prior jobs, high school and family. Even my college daughter has decided that its not such a bad thing to let dad see what a good time she is having enjoying the college experience.

All of these new found, or reconnected friends have enriched my life of late and contributed to an increased understanding and connection to the world around me that just isn't possible via traditional communication. I have been able to experience the joys and trepidation of many friends sending their youngest off to school for the first time, marriages, deaths of loved ones and even a friend from the UK as she experienced a vacation through Wyoming and Montana. I have a local friend wrestling with divorce and a far flung friend wrestling with supporting a sister going through the same thing. Through their sharing of their experience I hope I was able to lend a supportive ear to both. I was virtually able to attend my 30th high school reunion and connect with those who I was close to then, and people who I became close to via the months leading up to it and almost feel I was right there.

A great number of these amazing people I have never met or even spoken to over the phone and quite likely we never will. But almost every day I hear some great story, learn something new, make a new friend from as far away as the UK and Singapore, and as close as Toronto, Annapolis and right here in Chico. They have supported me in really tough times, and rejoiced for me in good ones. I can only hope I have been as good a friend as they have been to me. I have read amazing blogs, learned new recipes and had my faith in the human spirit renewed during the tough economic and political times over the last few months. And yes, there has been the running.

I can't possibly list the myriad of people in the constraints of 140 characters in Twitter or a pithy Facebook status update. So this is my "Follow Friday"...
thanks to each of you for enriching and contributing so positively to my experience, I hope you can say the same about "a13pt1runner"
Tight Laces

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That Which Inspires Us

One of my favorite quotes comes from one of my favorite runners, Deena Kastor. In the opening scenes of “Spirit of the Marathon” we hear Deena opine that “sometimes it’s the moments that challenge us the most , that define us.” I have used that thought as a mantra to get through really tough times and as inspiration to get back to that place where my life and my running are on track.

Those words took on new meaning this last weekend as I watched some amazing people race in this years “Summer Sizzler 10K” many of them running that distance for the very first time. There were standout athletes from Chico State University that as my friend Pat says were “stupid fast!” As impressive as they are, the stand out runners for me, were the local Fleet Feet training group completing their graduation run. The 10K is a tough distance. Just about anyone, with a modicum of effort, can get through 5K as a recreational runner. Getting through 6.2 miles requires that you recognize the challenge, prepare for it, and spend some time getting to that starting line. These runners took that challenge some 12 weeks ago and got themselves out of bed early on Saturday mornings and did the quick change on Tuesdays after work so that come that bright Sunday morning in August they could don their bright red and pink Fleet Feet Training Team shirts and run in the footsteps of some of the finest middle distance runners in northern California. Everyone ran their race and met their challenge and everyone came across the finish line. No one dropped out or couldn’t finish which is both a testament to their drive and desire and, in no small measure, the strength of the coaching and preparation they got from Fleet Feet Chico’s coaches David Mosier and Susan Zepernick. I am continually inspired by these beginning runners who work so hard at a sport that let’s face it, is the very definition of tough love sometimes.

Among the first time 10K’rs this weekend was one woman who 7 months ago was knee deep in finishing her Bachelors degree and couldn’t run a full minute without stopping much less a whole mile. Juggling a full time job and finals she somehow found the desire and determination to take on yet another challenge and got to each of the training sessions for both a 5K and the 10K program. I don’t know at what moment this woman decided, or why, to undertake becoming a runner with that full plate. It seems though that it was one of those moments Deena Kastor speaks of; the challenges, that define us the most. It’s evident because two weeks ago this woman received her college diploma, the first one in her family to do so. On Sunday she ran her first 10K race and knocked two minutes off her previous best time trial for that distance. I am not sure what label applies to that kind of accomplishment but if it doesn’t say something about the person I don’t know what does. {Now in the interest of full disclosure I do have to admit to a certain bias towards this particular runner, she is my wife Teri and in addition to everything else she has certainly had the challenge of dealing with my amazing breadth for flexibility, understanding and consistency ;-)}

This fall I am helping coach a marathon group preparing for the fall season and at last nights first meeting there were fresh, expectant, and yes hesitant faces...Sometimes those challenges that define you, are what inspires those around you the most. Congratulations Teri and the Fleet Feet Chico Summer 10K program runners for inspiring all of us this weekend.

Tight laces,


Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm Sorry I Didn't Believe in You

Well, I must come clean.. I strayed.. I ran in a pair of another brand of shoes this morning. Their name is not important and before you storm out, never to talk to me again. Know that I am back and solidly in my Brooks Adrenalin 9s .. well sort of.

I am a die hard Brooks Adrenalin fan. Being wearing them since the 6 model when they helped me overcome my over pronating tendencies resulting in a back injury and some rehab and a bit of break from running...but I digress.
I also have to add in Superfeet such is my pronation. I developed a serious affection with the 7's until the 8's came out and then there was no turning back. The 8's were amazing and perfect and of course a newer younger model. The 8's took me through my first half marathon, and the next six after that, Countless 5K's 10K's and training miles were logged in my beloved 8's. I rotated pairs of course and even got a pair of ASR's. My closet was filled with Adrenalin 8's with various levels of miles as I prepared for my first marathon (Eugene 2008) and then when I set my sites on my personal holy grail, The Marathon de Paris in April of 2009.

Along the way there adventure relays; Reno Tahoe Odyssey, The Relay, Whiskeytown Relay, Redding Marathon Relay and a couple of California International Marathon Relays. My Adrenalin 8's and I were inseparable and we logged each training and race mile as a happy couple collecting bibs and finishers medals all over the place.

Until of course the 9's came out. I was forced to come to grips with the break up but was happy in my confidence in the tried and true Adrenalin line.
..but it was not to be. The 9's just didn't ride right. They felt sloppy and the support seemed "off." The Napa to Sonoma Half came and went and while it was ok.. I longed for my beloved 8's and even tried to run in an older pair but they were just too far gone. What was I to do? The fall marathon training season has realistically begun and I have started my run up to C.I.M this year with an eye towards a Boston Qualifying time. With heavy heart and credit card in hand I visited my faithful Fleet Feet and broke the news. I had to try something else, the Adrenalin 9's just werent working out.
After much hemming and hawwwing. (They really thought I should stay with the one who brought me to the dance) we settled on a shiny pair of another brand of shoes with similar features in stability. I set out for my first run in them this morning and they felt good... for about half a mile. By one mile I was in honest discomfort and turned back. by 1.75 miles I felt like there was a steel plate under my heel, my shins were on fire and I opted to walk the remaining couple of yards home.
I removed the Superfeet and did another couple of miles. Big difference but I could tell I was missing out on the stability I needed.
Despondent, I trudged back to Fleet Feet with the new shoes and my Adrenaline 9's as well as my last pair of 8's.
There had to be something amiss. The whole staff gathered to watch me run up and back along the running path. We tried other shoes, and suddenly a bright eyed young staff member asked; "what if its the Superfeet? what if they aren't the right size?"
SHAZAM!! Checking my new 9's the Superfeet were just a tad short. But wait, they are exactly the same as the Superfeet I wore in the 8's As a matter of fact, the exact same Superfeet from the 8's fit differently in the 9's. How can this be? I have faithfully and confidently ordered my 9D Adrenalins for years without even having to bother with trying them or the Superfeet on such was the consistency in fit.
Seems that the new 9's are just a tad longer than the 8's even though they are both a size 9. The changes made from model year to model year were enough to throw things off such that I developed a wandering eye and strayed from my tried and true partner. I thought of the Adrenaline's the whole time I was with the other brand, really I did. I wanted things to work with my Adrenalines but something was different and I figured we had just grown apart.
It took a competent third party to help us find our way back together and see that I just needed to adjust the fit. My 8 1/2D Adrenalines' should be here any day and I am anxious to feel that familiar feel and partnership as we head into the fall racing season and I can once again, "Run Happy!!"
Next year I have the 2010 Athens Marathon in my sites and I am sure the Adrenalins will help me celebrate the 2500th anniversary of that crazy run that started all this!

Tight laces!
Howler Monkey

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Muscle Pain, Statins and Running Oh My!

The last three weeks have been HORRIBLE.. I don't know what the deal is but legs have felt like wet bags of sand, achy and my desire to run waning because of it. NOT a good combination as I have begun my run up to C.I.M and am smack in the middle of a 10K training program. At first I thought it was due to the new schedule at work (first having a job.. good thing, and three day weekends every week.. VERY good thing). Perhaps the 10 hour days and heat??? But, alas no. I have settled in and the heat wave is gone. Hmmm, what else? Ahhh. the hydration culprit?? Typical symptoms.. but I hydrated like a crazy person getting ready to run the Marathon De Sables across the Sahara and all to no avail. So, like a good runner I turned the thought process inward and let my monkey mind worry the problem during some rather painful runs. Suddenly last Wednesday I had a true ephinay. Seems the only thing that had really changed over the last three weeks was the cholesterol lowering statin medication I am on.

I have the dubious "honor" of some genetically enhanced cholesterol levels that stubbornly refused to bow to my running, diet regimen. Enter in the local cardiologist, a slew of tests and a nice prescription for Lipitor earlier this year. I will add, err brag, that I have the max heart rate of a 32 year old, and at 48 plus.. I'll take that!!

I was aghast! How could my cholesterol numbers have remained unchanged (by even one point) from my pre running days three years ago to post marathon, half a dozen half marathons and all the miles in between??? After much hoowing and hahing I submitted to the doc (and treadmill tests and blood draws) and began the regimen of those like me, a statin and a baby aspirin a day. Those of you who know me know I was NOT a happy camper and made the doc explain ALL the variables, natural approaches (red rice yeast) etc. We settled on one and I started all this hoopla back in January.

The good news was that once on Liptor my "bad" cholesterol plummeted, and the good stuff went up. Total numbers are now at 137 where I was over 200 before!! Good stuff and all was good with no side effects.
Enter in our corporate America and immutable health care system. Seems that Lipitor is expensive and my current health care insurance provider felt that something else was in order. The doc put me on "Simvastatin" and upped the dose cause apparently it takes more of the synthetic stuff to do what Lipitor does.. ok my first thought is "isn't this ALL synthetic??".. Come on anytime I put a foreign chemical in my body to raise or lower anything (keep your minds out of the gutter) it seems that's synthetic, but I digress.

The possible side effects of statins are widely published, albeit downplayed by the pharmaceutical community, but seriously in comparison a heart attack, quadruple bypass or memorial service hardly seem worth NOT addressing the issue of high cholesterol. But, chief among the side effects is muscle pain, known medically as "myalgia." And lets see.."muscle weakness, weakness in the legs".. yeah DUH... There are a lot of other possible side effects, one of which comes much more quickly to the attention of my male readership but you can investigate that one on your own! :-)

Well this monkey quickly stopped taking the Simvastatin and contacted my medical professional who put me back on the Lipitor (which IS covered under the new jobs insurance). Today's speed workout was markedly better. Even I imagine there was a tad bit of psychosomatic involvement here but after frustrating and painful runs the last couple of weeks I finally felt somewhat back to normal.

There is lots of information out there about fat soluble and water soluble statins and the relation to muscle pain and whether tests for elevated CPK ( creatine phosphokinase) levels are a good indicator. Generally fat soluble statins are thought to be at an increased risk for muscle pain and water soluble not so much. Bottom line is that all the manufactures say it can happen, there can be damage and should be reported to your health care professional right away.

My point fellow monkeys is BE INFORMED.. (Here comes the fine print) Do your research and know what you are putting in your body, the potential side effects and benefits and discuss thoroughly each of your options with your doctor, P.A., Shaman, Wiccan High Priestess or whatever. What works for me, might not work for you, and vice versa. Statins can be actual lifesavers and I had pretty dramatic results. My comments are not a condemnation or recommendation for any of the products listed. All us monkeys are different and your mileage may vary. This advice is worth exactly what you have paid me for it.
Stay tuned and lets see if going back to that little white oval tablet does the trick.
Tight Laces and happy running.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flying Monkeys go national!

Well gang it was an amazing weekend!! First trying to stay cool in 100+ temps in NorCal!!! One of the best ways I have found is to get some altitude and some water.. Mix it with a little mud and you have the Mudskipper adventure relay!! Kosmo and I headed up to Magalia this last Saturday with our trusty "Mojo Monkey" photographer, Kosmos's very nice mountain bike and my new FitCity singlet. I have been following Pamela LeBlanc on Twitter and her blog for the Austin Texas fitness oriented crowd. Pamela "tweets" some excellent articles on the fitness scene in general and on goings on in Austin. I was able to cajole a "FitCity" singlet from Ms LeBlanc and promised to wear it so we could do a Where's Waldo-ish "Where in California is the FitCity singlet?" Look for future posts and check out Pam's blog and tweets.. great stuff.

Kosmo and I.. humbly.. KICKED BUTT up in Magalia.. sorry.. can't be too humble cause we took second place in the long course group!! Kosmo was on fire on the bike and was tearing up the bike course. All total we each had to do a mix of 13 miles of trail running and mountain biking. Twenty-six miles in 1:30:28 (yes of course we were running/riding at the same time).. but we gave those young 2o year olds who took first place a run for their money and we heard that they were asking "where are those old guys"..throughout the race. Not bad for a could of ahem.. 40 something guys. Trailhead Adventures puts on a really great event to benefit California Vocations so in addition to a great time they raised some money for a good cause. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events. These folks are all heart and there was a BBQ afterwards too.. :-)

The Fleet Feet summer 10K program continues and HUGE props to those runners who are braving the current heat wave to get their training on.

My training for C.I.M continues and is going well.
Stay tuned next week for a reviw of the new Omega juicer and some great recipes.
Follow on Twitter : a13pt1runner
Tight Laces and Happy Running

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Sizzler and onward

Well it seems I have rested enough.. time to set some new goals and get back in the swing of things. During Reno Tahoe Odyssey I met some fantastic new friends and one of them, Brian Hamilton graciously built me a fantastic training plan for the California International Marathon. This week also started the Fleet Feet Chico Summer 10k training group so I will be chronicling the progress toward the goal for that program's goal, The Summer Sizzler 10k here in Chico as well as progress into the fall half marathon season as all of that goes into my build up for C.I.M.

Todays run was a "easy" 6 miles with the last mile at 10K pace. Weather was perfect and logged negative splits 8:46/8:36/8:09/8:03/7:58 and 7:04 for that last mile. That puts the total for the week at 24.5 miles and keeps things right on track. Switching my long runs to Sundays or Fridays for a few weeks and tomorrow will be a 10miler with some of the group.

I have recently been trying out the Cwx compression shorts for Fleet Feet and I have to say I love these things. VERY comfortable to wear and really support your upper leg muscles. I still swear by my "Skins" for recovery but check out the Cwx shorts. Their website advertises 26& less energy expenditure than regular tights and 36% less than regular shorts. I don't know if I can calibrate them that closely but they do feel like I have more energy during the run.

Next weekend is the Western States 100 miler and since that is still quite a ways off for me... yours truly will be competing in the "Mudskipper" bike/run obstical race here locally. Sure there will be some hiliarous pics from the finish line mud pit up on my Facebook page!

Keep Running! Enjoy your summer and stay tuned and hydrated!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Journey of 26.2 miles

I wanted to let some time pass after the race to reflect on the experience in Paris and, so I can comment on the other marathons my friends have done this spring.

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.. Arguably the, the journey of running a marathon means about 42,000 steps just the day of the race. And, if one factors in (at least my own) training miles its something in the neighborhood of 694,400 steps to get to race day. A daunting amount of preparation for some three odd hours of running.
But, if you have run any distance event one knows that it is not just the training nor the amount of time on your feet.. for me.. it was at mile 23 when my brain told me that this was complete madness and it was everything I could do to focus on keeping my feet moving and moving fast enough to hit my goal.

I did it, I broke the 4 hour mark while dealing with water bottles and their caps, wet pavement, cobblestone (don't get me started) and dare I mention them.. orange and banana peels! And it was while I was grumbling to myself at about mile 19 when the crowd was thick and I was absolutely prevented from running any faster that I came across a runner who had a profound effect on me.
I don't know his name, or even where he was from; but there he was, blind, navigating the same streets, the same hazards, surely the same mental and physical fatigue. He had the aide of a guide runner, joined by a small tether. That was the image that got me past my "wall" a few miles later when my brain urged me to stop, and the image that prompted me to reach out to organizations like the USABA and CDifferent when I got back home. What had he had to overcome to get to that point? How many "steps" to prepare?

It was that entire experience that made me even more excited to cheer on each of my friends as they each ran, and turned in incredible times in Boston and Eugene and Oklahoma City over the last few weeks. Everyone overcoming their own challenges, accomplishing goals; running to beat cancer, in memory or in honor of others, or to raise money for causes they believe in.
There is a passage in John L. Parker's sequel to Once a Runner, "Again To Carthadge" where the main character, Quentin Cassidy tries to explain why he runs. Cassidy explains that when he runs he is always moving up, improving.... silly me, I thought he meant getting faster.

Friday, March 27, 2009

436 Miles, 8 Days

WOW! I am just 8 days out from the Paris Marathon! Had a nice little jaunt round Upper Park with Tina and "Cindy" this morning and that brings my total mileage preparing for Paris to 436 miles since the first week of December. We leave next Wednesday so I can have a few days to get over jet-lag and do some sightseeing before the races. Saturday is the UNESCO 5K or "Course de l'Unesco" and then the marathon on Sunday the 5th.
The pre-race expo looks to be fantastic and I am sure some of my tourist dollars are going to go to some memorabilia. I can't believe the race is upon me; seems like I have been training since forever for it. I feel great and ready. I had a terrific run at the Shamrock-N and set a new PR of 1:44:57. If I am able to hold that kind of pace for Paris then I should be able to hit my goal of breaking 4 hours. If anyone is actually awake here in the U.S. you can check out and plug in my bib number (32292) and see me run past the cameras they have set up along the course. Don't worry.. you can go in later and look. The race starts at quarter to 1 in the morning west coast time so most everyone I know will be snoozing during the race!
My next post will likely be after the race so look for some pics here and on Facebook. Thanks for all the support over the last few months! Bon Voyage!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Log Your Run

Hey Monkeys,
Got turned on to this great site "Log Your Run." You can find routes others have submitted, track your own runs including which shoes you wore, the weather, all kinds of cool stuff.
Check it out! Great way to keep track of your routes, mileage on your shoes etc.
You can find the Google Map of wherever your ran, or want to run and plot out the route to see how far the mileage is. I think it will be great to use to plan out H3 runs!

Friday, February 20, 2009

44 Days, 311.5 miles

Wow.. its been a hectic few weeks. Through the layoff and job searching I have still managed to keep pounding away at the miles and I am still hopeful Paris is going to happen. I havent had much chance to keep the blog going but hoping I can really chronical these last few weeks.
I finally got tired of rebuilding iTunes, and my Garmin logs and all my personal docs and took advantage of Circuit City going out of business to get a great deal on a new Lenovo laptop. I am huge fan of ThinkPads but I digress.
Today I got all the logs for my Garmin rebuild and totalled everything up. I am sitting 44 days out from Paris and have a total of 311.5 miles logged to date in this training program. I have an 18 miler slated for tomorrow so now we are getting to some SERIOUS long runs. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

I did a 16 last weekend with SZ and TTD in a howling, driving rain storm that had all three of us questioning our own sanity. We decided when it was done that from this point on that run would simply be know as "That Time." As in, remember "that time" that it took three days for my shoes to dry out.. or "that time" drowned rats looked better than we did.. you get the picture.

Contrast that with a run while I was down in Walnut Creek. Running along the Contra Costa Canal Trail to the Ignacio Canal Trail and ended up with a steep climb on to the mountain at sunrise. It was clear, and brisk and much as I love Bidwell Park in Chico, the run that morning in Walnut Creek was really special.

All in all things are going well. The heels are a little sore and I have to keep on the stretching to ward off that PF thats nagging at my left foot again. :-( Going to try some Arnica Gel that I hear is great for the stiffness and aches we runners seem to get.
But, the mileage is up to about 35-40 miles a week and I am doing pretty well at holding a pace that should help me meet my target time. No injuries, staying clear of all the creepy crud all my fellow runners in Chico seem to be coming down with. I swear, its those "kettle bells" they are all going on and on about. Everyone I know doing them is getting sick.. maybe its the kooties being transfered off them!
Onward! Tight Laces and Flat Trails

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Ok.. I had to put a plug in for "Skins" compression apparel. I got a pair of the half tights before CIM and have been using them for post long run recovery. My friend, coach, mentor Alan R swears by them and I am a new convert! I cant say enough about the benefits of wearing these after a long run. Now Alan says he wears his (the long ones) for 24 hours after a long run.. I just cant go that far.. BUT.. I have found they help the recovery incredibly. I did 21 miles during the CIM Relay, wore the half tights the rest of the day and Monday I felt like I hadnt run at all! Amazing stuff. To paraphrase my good friend Ferris Bueller "I highly reccomend picking one up if you have the means" :-)


Well.. I am 7 weeks into the ramp up for Paris and have two hundred twenty five miles and some change logged.. if your doing the math.. thats averaging 32 miles a week.. which puts me pretty much on target! So far so good.. If I can just stay away from all of you coming down with the creepy crawly crud I should be fine. Seems all my friends are into this "kettle bells" work out.. hmm but the same ones are all sick.. what are they puttin on thos kettle bells? Anthrax?

Todays run was 12 miles with a fast 10K stuck in the middle up. It was beautiful today.. up through One Mile out along the levy and into upper park and back. Got to run a bit with some of of you who started the half marathon training group today. GO GIRLS!

Next weekend is the Redding Marathon Relay. Tracy TD and Susan and I are signed up. See the rest.. or most of the rest of you in Sacramento on March 15th for the Shamrock-N Half which is just a few weeks out from Paris (what? you thought I wouldnt mention it again? :-P )

Friday, January 2, 2009

Holiday and end of year wrap up

Well it was a crazy year.. and crazy busy holiday season.. jingle bell runs

and a great turn out for the Flying Monkeys Hash House Harriers 1st Annual Charity Run!

We garnered a TON of stuff for the local homeless family shelter The Torres Shelter and had a great turn out that ended up with everyone at Cafe Coda.. and great new eatery in Chico.
And the years ends with 1,073 miles under my belt and right now I am just 12 weeks out from "Le Marathon de Paris!"
I have made a ton of new friends through starting the Hash House Harriers group in Chico, new "busmates" from C.I.M, and really made special friends out of those "acquaintences" at the start of the year and ended 2008 on a upside pretty much all around.
Special thanks and hugs to everyone who supported me, befriended me and all around made my life terrific. You are too many to mention without worrying about leaving someone important out.
Stay tuned for tales and tribulations as I ramp up for the race in April.
Happy New Year.. and happy running- Ed