Thursday, July 31, 2008

Start your engines...

On the grid we have:

Lily on the Road, Jess, jkrunning, swimfan13, Jenn, Gotta Run, Nick, Kevin, Viv, Run for Life, Second Chances, Non Runner Nancy, Mendy, Wendy, Marcy (edit) and Laura.

If I have missed anyone just ping me again at quadrathon at gmail dot com.

The competition starts Sunday the 3rd, to ease you in the first week I need a starting weight emailed to me by the 10th and then you new weight each Sunday, updated standing will be published the following Monday or Tuesday.

We also have a new prize to enter into the pool, donated by Nick there is a Nike Tailwind Speed and Distance Monitor! Thanks Nick, that's awesome. There’s still plenty of time to sign up, just get to it!

Finally good luck to Billy and Kenna from TRC running at RunSFM this weekend, along with everyone else in blogland.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Churn and Burn!

I was thinking about my beach path run the other day and how I managed to knock out three miles in 22 minutes. I wasn’t really trying and I haven’t put in any speed work lately, as a percentage it’s a fair bit slower than my 5k PR of 20:47 from last year, about a minute a mile slower in fact. Then I started to put things together, I had been watching YouTube lately and some of the videos from the recent Hardrock 100 and one thing lead to another and ended up watching clips of Anton Kuprika who it has to be said is the antithesis of me as a runner, he is stripped down, often literally, lightweight and quick, he won Leadville last year and American River earlier this to name but a few. Anyway I digress, check out the videos and look at his cadence, pretty quick huh! Then I thought about my run, from memory my cadence was pretty quick…I think. Of course I had forgotten my HRM strap and everything so all I actually have is the Garmin miles per minute data to refer to.

So then I see in a running forum the a RBF discovered that you can use the Garmin Footpod with the GPS running as well, up until now I had assumed that one would usurp the other, apparently not. I have had a Footpod for nearly a year and have only used it on our treadmill but it would seem that you can use it outdoors. The neat thing about the Footpod is that it measures cadence.

Ok so the final piece of the puzzle is that if you want to run faster you have to increase you cadence; I knew this and had it filed away mentally somewhere in the poorly illuminated cavern that is my mind. It’s more than tempting especially if you’re tall like me to simply increase your stride length but this is not the way to do it, more so there seems to be a correlation between your cycling cadence and your running cadence, this I can bear out from looking back at my Garmin data where I have a natural comfort level in the mid 80s for both, compare this to an elite runner whose cadence is in excess of 100 and Lance Armstrong whose cadence was around 120! I have actually been trying to increase my cycling cadence and move more into being a spinner rather than a masher.

The way to set up the Footpod and GPS is as follows: Connect your GPS signal then let it detect the Footpod. Once you get the “Footpod detected use indoors” question just say no. It will use the GPS for pace and Footpod for cadence, pretty easy huh!

The next step it dig out my Footpood and see what sort of numbers I can generate on the street…I am such a data junkie!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Did the earth move for you?

California; sun, sand, the ocean, mountains, trails, landmarks, natural beauty and earthquakes!

Yes we had a earthquake today, a shaker: they come in two flavors; a shaker and a roller. The epicenter was about 35 miles from the ocean and centered on the Chino/Diamond Bar area. It measured 5.8 on the Richter scale, that's quite considerable. There were and continue to be aftershocks.

There is a lot of talk that we are due for the big one; the last big was in Northridge a 6.7 in January 1994, hopefully this “letting off of steam” will delay or better still eliminate that. Here’s hoping that any and everyone in SoCal is ok.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Review: RECOVER-ease

I first came across RECOVER-ease through; pitched as "as used by Michelle Barton and Keira Henninger" two Southern California ultra runners who are tearing up the local 50k and 50 mile trail races and Rob Cowan who had a monster 2007 race season completing 27 races of marathon distance or longer (in fact most were longer!) as well as the eternally attractive offer of "Free Samples",(Marcy!) I fired off a quick email. Within a week my freebies were delivered and I was good to go. I received from memory about forty tablets split into blisters of four.

So first here’s the sciencey stuff. RecoverEase is a proprietary blend of L-glutamine, L-leucine, L-valine, L-isoleucine, papain,bromelain, beta-sitosterol and bioflavonoids, the serving size is 4 tablets and equals 2900mg. And here’s the marketing blurb: Accelerates tissue repair, Reduces muscle soreness, Reduces muscle breakdown, Improves hormone function. Also it contains no stimulants hormones or USOC/IOC/NCAA banned substances. Of course as a supplement none of this has been evaluated by the FDA.

Here's the science pitch:

  1. BCAAs & Glutamine: The proper 3:1:1 patent-pending balance of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) with Glutamine (in a patent-pending research-proven 3:2 total AA ratio) benefits athletes by maintaining immune function and reducing URTIs (upper respiratory tract infections).
  2. Beta-sitosterol: Normalizes the ratio of cortisol (a stress hormone) with DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), to reduce muscle breakdown & accelerate connective tissue repair (muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage).
  3. Proteolytic Enzymes & Flavonoids:Reduce inflammation and oxidative free radical damage, resulting in less exercise-induced tissue damage, accelerated rates of tissue repair, and reduced post-exercise pain & stiffness.

Ok so this is my translation based on some web research:

  • L-glutamine is a non-essential amino acid it has for the last 10-15 years been associated with muscle growth and development
  • L-leucine is an essential amino acid which has been shown to slow the degradation of muscle tissue by increasing the synthesis of muscle proteins
  • L-Valine is considered critical to glucose metabolism, protein synthesis, and regulation of the immune system. It is needed for muscle metabolism and tissue repair
  • L-Isoleucine is important in hemoglobulin synthesis and in the regulation of blood sugar and energy levels. It also increases endurance.
  • Papain is a protein-cleaving enzyme derived from papaya and certain other plants, it has multiple uses but for our purposes it effect on inflammatory processes are the more pertinent
  • Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found naturally in the juice and stems of pineapples. Called a proteolytic enzyme, bromelain is believed to help with the digestion of protein
  • Beta-sitosterol appears to reduce cholesterol levels by blocking absorption of cholesterol, the purported benefits of Beta-sitosterol include boosting immunity and normalizing blood sugar, relieving inflammation, healing ulcers, enhancing uterine tone, and alleviating cramps. However, these health benefits of beta-sitosterol have not been substantiated by scientific evidence.
  • Bioflavonoids are a class of water-soluble plant pigments. While they are not considered essential, they do support health as anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic, and anti-viral agents

Some other information: there are 8 essential amino acids + 14 non-essential amino acids that can be fabricated by the human body from the eight essential amino acids. From these 22 amino acids, being combined & arranged into varying specific chains, all amino acids are fabricated by the human body. Simplistically the distinction between essential and non-essential amino acids is that the human body can produce some amino acids from other amino acids. There are also conditionally essential amino acids that under certain conditions (hard exercise) that cannot be fabricated in sufficient quantities from other aminos. All essential amino acids may be obtained from plant sources.

So if you read through the list of ingredients there is an emphasis on amino acids; good for muscle development and recovery, protein digestion, boosted immunity and anti inflammatory properties.

My usage: I have slowly used up my free batch. I took 8 tablets after my century (read 88 miles) bike ride and the next day had zero aches and pains the same for several 50 mile bike rides. I have typically taken 4 tablets after long runs (which in fairness aren’t that long) ranging from 1015 miles and have had little or no soreness etc the next day, having said that I do make an effort to stretch before and after a run and have been giving my foam roller some summer lovin’.

My conclusion: I have to say I am impressed, while there is no golden bullet for recovery; this seems to come pretty close, minimized soreness, aches and pains after long runs/rides is always a benefit allowing you to turnaround quickly and get out training again. Previously I was taking Recoverite from Hammer Nutrition which I think is a great product with the exception that its taste is really, well to be honest, not good, additionally there several other advantages of tablets; easy transportation, no need for refrigeration and quickness. I definitely recommend that you check them out, at a minimum to see if they are still sending out samples, to see if they will work for you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Clockwise or's all good!

The Trail Runners Club, met today to run the Ray Miller trail in Pt Mugu, just south of Oxnard/Ventura and north of Malibu. The trail has been described as such…“if you only can only run two trails in Southern California one should be the Ray Miller Trail and the other should be the same trail in the opposite direction”… I have had the pleasure of running here twice before, last October for an XTerra Race and last November for the PCTR 50k so I was a little familiar with the trail but time plays on the memory and I had forgotten what a beautiful part of the world this is.

The weather was co-operative from a running perspective, not so from a photographic one, call me selfish but I’ll admit to preferring the former over the latter and the clouds were low and wrapped over the peaks like a shawl over your grandmother’s shoulders. The group congregated at the trailhead to make sure we picked up any late stragglers, I stretched everything that had decided to contract overnight, retied my shoes and with an unceremonious “try to regroup at the fireroad” we were off.

The trail, in much the same fashion as last week, went along for oh…about 3 yards and then headed up. It was a single track path the hugged the contours of the hillside gentle in places and more steeply in others pulling us higher and higher, within a mile we were 500’ up and within three just over a 1000’, this section was actually the final 8k out and back for the PCTR 50k and I remember having to walk more than I ran from last year, this year I was able to reverse the ratios and found myself not at the front but within sight of the faster runners, we were by this point pretty spread out but with a few minutes were all together in a sweaty, puffing, gaggle; I am not sure what the collective of runner is. We regrouped made sure that everyone had a rough understanding of where we were heading and set of on the final push up to the highest point, about 1130’ at the 3.25 mile mark, here’s a 20 second panoramic video clip shot just over the peak. From here we were running down through the rolling meadows with bone dry shoulder high grasses I ran with another club member, Jes, through this section and we chatted away several miles with the topic of conversation mostly about running and races past and future, Jes has her sights on running 50 miler and will be racing the 50k here this November, she has also, like me, been working on getting Billy signed up for his first ultra. We left the meadow and started on the section of trail that contours around Mugu Peak and would lead us back to the start/finish, I had run this section twice before as mentioned above but from the opposite direction and it looked familiar and different all at once. We picked up the singletrack again and as we rounded the peak were treated to a stunning view of the coast. I pulled ahead of Jes but she caught me up while I was faffing about taking photos, I grabbed the almost compulsory group (is two a group?) snap, you can just make out the sand dunes behind us and we were off again. The trail wound its away back around the peak losing altitude at every turn, eventually reaching a rocky section that is best taken at a gentler pace as there are some big(ish) drops if you misplace your footing. Once at the bottom the trail flattened out and within half a mile I was back at the parking lot with another 10.79 miles under my belt.

Another great run and while a bit shorter that most it is possibly more challenging than some you may find further south and well worth the drive out to.

As for the rest of the day; with the kidios doing kidio stuff and then we had a good old fashioned steak dinner!

For your pleasure the Forerunner data and photos.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The best damn $8 you'll spend next week, period!

I managed to snag some tickets to this back in February, well now you have the opportunity to go. It’s on limited release for July 31st only. Trust me it’s well worth money, check out the website to see which theater near you is showing it.

Like the man said…“sure it’s about running, but mostly it’s about life”…

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And now a message from our sponsors!

Not my sponsors but the sponsors of:

The Quadrathon;
It’s Worth the Weight Challenge!

First a little background. Last month I partook in Viv’s weight challenge and managed to drop 6/7lbs which was great news and put me under 170lbs for the first time in a, well, long while, and I even got a free T-shirt for my efforts (thanks Viv, Tom and Amy). The competitor in me realized that this was the perfect way for me to get to my race weight to where I want it to be for the Fall/Winter racing season and to achieve that the best way would be to throw down the gauntlet and pull in some competition.

So now I present to you your generous sponsors who have all donated the prizes:

First you’ve seen me wear them, you heard me talk dirty to you about them, yes; Dirty Girl Gaiters. Handmade by the dirtiest girl on the trail herself; Xy, these are the best things to happen to trail runners since, well, trails! I have four pairs of mens and two pairs of womens to give away; receipt of these is conditional on you providing a photo of you wearing them, either posted on your blog or sent to me!

From one end of your body to the other. Tired of sweat running down you nose? Need to keep the sun out of your eyes? Want to look the sharpest runner at Sunday’s 5k, HM, Ironman or ultra marathon or just be the cool kid on the block, well now you can with the one, the only, Headsweats; I have five SuperVisors and five Race Hats to give away .

On top of that I have some Hammer Nutrition bit’s, some Cliff Shot Bloks, and a Cateye Astrale 8 bike computer.

Prizes to drool over!

I hope to have a few other sponsors coming on line (one has agreed and I am awaiting the arrival of the swag) I will announce them as the prizes arrive; of course if anyone reading this wants to pitch in please do so. I am not sure how I am going to divvy it all up but it looks like the awards will go at least 5 deep for men and women the more stuff I get the deeper they will go.

I am sure you will all agree that these are some excellent prizes and will be worth the blood, sweat, tears, gears, lengths, leks, hills, laps, loops, miles and pain. And I am sure you will join me in thanking the sponsors for their generous support a link to their websites is in the right column.

So here’s the skinny on the competition, the rules, all the other important stuff and the small print:

1. The competition will start Sunday August 3rd and will finish the Sunday after Labor Day; September 7th , winners will be announced shortly after
2. Email me your name, blog url and current weight before August 10th to: quadrathon at gmail dot com
3. Email me your new weight every Sunday, I will update and post the results every Monday or Tuesday
4. Weight loss will be calculated as a percentage, to level the playing field and maintain some privacy
5. Feel free to blog about the challenge to share the love and drive up the competition
6. Winners must post a photo on your blog or email it to me of you in your winner’s garb for publication here or by the Sponsors
7. This is the small print!

So that’s it, whatcha' weighting for? Let’s get to it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Getting my ducks in a row!

Between now and the end of the year I am actually only registered for one race: Twin Peaks, I have pretty much fleshed out the training plan which starts in a couple of weeks.

While it's been a nice change of pace bimbling along the last month or two I am actually looking forward to having the structure of a training program although I am sure I’ll be saying something different when I am running hill repeats in November in a headtorch!

I've not ridden my bike as much as I would have liked and the century ride I wanted to do in August is sold out; I am waitlisted, still, I could do my own I suppose, a'la this lunatic!

Anyway I digress, because my wife and I “divvy” up our weekends; she does her thing; hiking, one morning and I do mine the other and we each look after the boys on the other morning, my long run day is going to be Sunday and then when I start to run back to back long runs the second day will need to be Monday, (sorry that's kinda obvious), not the best day in the week but what can you do? Previously I had gotten up to 35 mile weekends, along the line of 20/15 or 22/13 and that’s what I’ll be aiming for this time around alternating every other second long run for a bike ride a’la trainer. What this does mean is that I’ll need to tag on extra miles to my Sunday runs with the TRC, so I guess I can either get there early or stay later; I going to have to get used to running trails in the dark at some point and at least all the rattle snakes will still be in bed!

The next piece of the jigsaw is to throw some races into the mix and so I have lined up, but yet to register for the following:

Now assuming all is well this is where the fun really begins, if I can keep the momentum up in January I’ll shoot for the Catalina Island 50 Mile run, if not I’ll head back to Calico to run the Ghost Town 50k like I did this year, then February ease up the racing, regroup and in March take a shot at Coyote 2 Moons 100k hence the running trails in a headtorch comment. It’s going to be a push as that actually has me running four ultras and a marathon in five months, but if I go at it sensibly I think there is a real chance of pulling it off, I wanted to ramp up to 100k next year so bearing in mind that there's nothing round here in the summer getting it in either early or late (or both?!?) is the way to go.

Stick around, I think this going to be fun!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Review: Asics Gel Kayano 14

I have been running in the ever popular 2000 series from Asics for over 10 years. Last year I switched models. After a long winded bout of ITBS last year and the realization that despite whichever model I was wearing I was wearing the uppers through faster than the life of the shoe, (it was the same spot everytime; the right foot by my big toe where the toe cap met the fabric) and they were only lasting 250-270 miles. So after some consultation I moved from 2120s to the more solid Asics Gel Kayano.

Having got closer to 350 miles through rotating two pairs of “13s” I was looking forward to trying the new and improved “14s” and so with 100 miles or so on my first pair here is a short review.

The Kayano falls under Asics “Structured Cushioning”, that is it provides support to pronators, like myself, without that clog like feeling that you can get with motion control or stability shoes. There is a noticeable improvement in the ride over the 13s; the heel gel pad is 25% larger than its predecessor and is combined with a resin plate that prevents over compression in any particular heel strike area. Asics have loaded up this shoe with their proprietary Solyte across the midsole and the last (the yellow thing in the picture) which provides a good trade off between weight and bounce and the heel offers a special molding fabric/material that is designed to stretch to fit your foot without pinching or binding.

So enough of the technical blurb, how do they work? Well there is a noticeable improvement over the 13s, the 14s offer a significant improvement in cushioning without going all mushy in both the heel and especially the midsole; the 13's felt "flat" in the forefoot after a couple of hundred miles so we'll see if that happens here. It feels like that the support is, well, just a little more supportive; that is you get the feeling that you feet are tracking on rails rather than flailing about like an over talkative semaphorist! The heel fit is snug and overall the shoes provide a comfortable fit with no tight spots, the toe box is roomy and as per usual I got these a half size up. The shoe comes in three colors, the following are the mens choices; dull as you like blue and white, racy red and silver (pictured above) and my favorite, being the conservative soul (no pun intended) I am and just in time for the Olympics the newly introduced Gold and Silver. Available across all sizes, several widths and in a ladies variant the only real downside is the RRP of $135, although you can shop around and get them a bit cheaper. I picked mine up from for around $110, I am a member of RoadRunners so after my fifth pair of shoes in a 12 month period I get a $100 voucher and with the membership discount it pushes the average price down to below $100 a pair; which is about the same price as the 2130s.

So two big toes-up from me, right now I am just about to introduce my second pair into alternation and hope to retire these at around 350 miles.

I have a bunch of other reviews to write up: Salomon XT Wings (100 miles), Ultimate Direction Wasp hydration system and RecoverEase if anyone has a burning need for one over the other just leave a comment and I’ll get it done.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Extended Play!

If you standing at the beach or are close to it and intend to do a trail run anywhere in the Santa Monica Mountains you’re pretty much guaranteed that the first few miles of your run will be uphill, today’s run with the Trail Runners Club was no exception. The weather actually looked like it was going to co-operate, that is if you like low cloud, a high dew point and no sun…perfect running conditions! The group met at the Los Liones trailhead which is an entrance into Topanga Canyon State Park off Sunset Blvd and after a quick brief we were off and running.

The first miles were on pleasant single track not too different than sections of the PCT. We wound our way slowly up along the trail with high foliage either side occasionally getting a glimpse of the ocean below and the peaks ahead through the low cloud. After a mile and a half and about 900’ of climbing we broke out onto a viewpoint and stopped for the obligatory group photo, I was running with Billy and Sarah and we played cat and mouse throughout the run. This was the second and last photo I took as the batteries decided to conk out at this point. From here it was fire road all the way up and we journeyed further into the park gaining altitude as we went and getting slowly damper and damper from a combination of sweat and cloud. We topped out a made our way along a rolling section for the next few miles. The organized run was to turnaround at Trippet Ranch (the point where I started this run earlier in the week) with the option of a quick 2 mile out’n’back to a view point. I suggested to Billy and Sarah that we push on for an extended run and add another 2 miles or so and make it up to Eagle Rock, they were both game and so we set off. Twenty minutes later were at the top and were enjoying the panoramic view of all of 30’ so after a quick chat we about faced and headed back the way we came.

An uneventful run (with a few walk breaks) and an hour and twenty minutes we were back at the parking lot enjoying the goodies supplied this week by Mieko. Mieko’ is running Mt Disappointment in a few weeks; and I think I am convincing Billy to try his first ultra, it’s nice to be in company of other lunatics!

So another great run in the company of great people, I am really getting used this iPod free life!

As mentioned there are no photos but in the spirit of my last post here's the Google Earth View and the MotionBased data:

Los Liones to Eagle Rock

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Bigger Picture!

One of the features I really like about my Garmin Forerunner is the ability to create, download and view my runs using Google Earth. To do this you need to load your run (or bike or swim) into MotionBased. Once you have uploaded you file and named it etc, you simply go to the Inbox select the file and drop the “More Actions” menu and then select Google Earth KML (kml is the file extension), from here you are prompted to download and save the file, save it somewhere accessible; the desktop. The next step is to download Google Earth if you don’t already have it on your pc.

Google Earth comes in three flavors; a free basic version, Google Earth Plus for $20 which you’ll need as this version adds GPS support functionality and then a Pro version for $400. Google Earth is pretty feature rich with users uploading photos through Panaramio as well as places of interest; cinemas, churches museums etc and buildings including the Empire State Building, House of Parliament, Eiffel Tower, you can fly through the Grand Canyon, along the Danube or over Sydney Opera House. Of the multiple layers that you can lay over your image one I really like is terrain; I always get a real sense of satisfaction looking at the hills

Once you installed Google Earth and downloaded you files you simply launch them and enjoy the fly over of the route you just ran (biked, swam), here are a some screen shots from some races/runs:

The first quarter from the PCTR Pt Mugu 50k

Leona Divide 50 Mile Run

Greenwich Park & Blackheath in London

So as you can see there is lots of fun to be had, it's a easy way to while away an me I've done it!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Six Shooter!

This was a repeat, timing-wise at least, of Tuesday. Destination-wise I decided to head to the beach, well, to start near the beach. A nice easy run through my old stomping ground of Palisades Park on top of the bluffs over looking the ocean, then dropping down to the beach path just past Santa Monica Pier from there its a short hop to Venice Beach and then back again for a round trip of 6 miles, nice and easy. I was a warm evening and all I had was my Garmin, no water, no gel and no shirt, just nice easy running.

I must be unaccustomed to running on the flat as I shot off with a real spring in my step; 22 minutes and change later I was at the half way point; a 7:25 pace, the return was not so speedy and I took my time taking in the sights. There was a concert or a video shoot on Santa Monica Pier and it was pretty thick with people by the time I had made my way back. It has to be said that if America is the melting pot of the world then Santa Monica is one (I am sure there are others) of the melting pots of the country, every shape, size and shade was there, from wanna-bes to never-was-is and the diversity never fails to amaze me, however having moved to the ‘burbs I now find it too busy, too populated and too much, maybe I am just getting old(ish)!

Anyway, no Forerunner info, it was a straight line and flat and I left my camera in the car, but here’s a few photos from the same run taken a while ago.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Early start, early finish...

…at least that’s the plan, well yesterday it actually panned out that way and I was able to get a quick run in on the way home.

As I drove along the freeway I had three choices; two trail and one road, well beach path actually. They were a hilly loop around Temescal Canyon a short sharp up and down at Eagle Rock in Topanga Canyon or a nice flat run along Santa Monica beach. Well call me a sucker for punishment but I went for the middle option.

Actually there were two options at Eagle Rock; the up and down or a longer loop, I choose the up and down as time was still pressing. I haven’t run here for nearly a year and I had memories of having to break into a walk on the final stretch which is pretty steep. I set off at a slow and steady pace, with a few photo stops on the way and within 20 minutes or so I had made the top, just less than 2 miles and 1100’ gained. I was pleased that I managed to get up in one go as it was also pretty hot; 85f according to my car. Another photo op (see above) took up a few more minutes and I was heading back down, pushing it a bit along the steepest section and giving my quads a good work out, you can check that out here.

Seventeen minutes later I was back at the car and it was all done. A nice run on the back end of the day using what felt like stolen time.

As always here is the Forerunner data and the photos.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Running Late!

This morning I was scheduled to join the TRC for a Sunday morning jaunt. The route was to be a point to point was to meet at the local High School at 5:45am and then drive some cars to the finish and some to the start so at the end we could shuffle everyone about at the end. You’ll, I am sure, have noticed that everything is in the past tense, well despite my alarm functioning perfectly alas I did not and the next time I opened my eyes after hitting snooze, snooze, snooze, off and looked at the clock it read exactly 5:45am…oops!

I did think of leaping in the car driving like a lunatic and trying to catch them but the stress factor and the potential speeding ticket were deterrent enough, so I mentally reshuffled my plans and decided to head “out the back” to my local trail head at Las Virgenes Open Space (LVOS). After a long drive of oh maybe three ok maybe four minutes I was there. After parking my car and stretching I hit the trail at 6:20am and free formed a 12-13 mile route in my head. I was going to try for a figure of eight and use some trails that I had discovered earlier this year that link through to Cheeseboro Canyon in the next Valley.

The first four miles were pretty uneventful, I chugged through the familiar rolling landscape amazed at how dry everything is, I actually had a discussion with my wife last week on had it rained this year, we concluded it had but it was sometime in February! All the grass is tinder dry and it’s like that for pretty much as far the eye can see. The weather was threatening to be clear blue and hot, but from nowhere clouds appeared, joined ranks and socked me in with a nice level of humidity.

After four miles I picked up the connector that would take me through to Cheesboro Ridge Trail, this rolled along, mostly up for another mile. I hit the Ridge Trail and turned left, a mile along and I got to where I thought I needed to turn and started down the faintest of trails, it was barely a goat path, I saw the barbed wire that had cut up my legs earlier this year and then the path just stopped dead, I turned around and saw that I was about 100 yards in, I turned back and I could see the pylon that I would pass going down back into LVOS but there was no trail to be seen. I did consider bush whaking it across but this is prime rattlesnake season (April-October) so I thought better of that idea. I about faced and headed back to the Ridge Trail with doubts in my mind whether I was actually at the right place, (I concluded later I was), I carried on down the Ridge Trail with a faint understanding of where it would take me, I tried a couple more “maybes” that turned into busts, by this time I was shedding my elevation gain, had covered around 7 miles and had about 90 minutes under my belt, turning round is always an option but not one that I really entertained at this point. I eventually came to a Y junction; I knew the right hand fork would take me the wrong way for sure so a calculated choice had me turning left. This was a new route and it wound its way down the side of a revetment. I could see houses on my left across the other side so I was not overly concerned about being in the “middle of nowhere”. Finally I was ejected onto a road…not quite what or where I was expecting, I looked and felt a bit like a fish out of water! I had a rough idea of where I needed to go and a mile and a half and a few odd looks later I was back on the trail. Three miles later I was back at my car. Not quite the route I had planned but an adventure, albeit a small one, nevertheless.

Here’s the Forerunner data and some photo here.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cereal Killer!

It’s not often that I am inspired to put fingers to keyboard to discuss recipes, in fact this is the first time, previous posts of any culinary content have been discussions of how much gel I have consumed and the like. However I wanted to share this one with you as it is a favorite of mine; it’s dead simple and simply delish! So as you wander along the cereal aisle in the store frustrated with all the HFCS and/or sugar added to these supposedly “healthy” cereals and if are you bored of plain old oatmeal, why give this a try and see what you think.


  • 1 18ox box of Quaker Oats, “Old Fashioned”
  • 1 16ox bag of trail mix, my personal preference is Cranberry Trail Mix from Trader Joes
  • 1 10oz box of Uncle Sam also from Trader Joes
  • 4 oz of golden raisins, you can use dark if you prefer

The key to this is to toast the oats, empty the whole packet of into a microwavable bowl and microwave for 6 x 1 minutes stirring in between, if you zap them for 6 minutes in one go you’ll just burn them. You may need to zap them another minute or two depending on you microwave settings, but you’re trying to remove the moisture content and dry them out. Once they’re nice and dry, simply add the other ingredients and stir it all together, let it all cool and you good to go. Store some of it in the original Quaker box and the rest in a Ziploc baggy and you’ve got enough for 2-3 weeks. Serve with a large cup of Peet's Major Dickinson coffee and you're good to go until lunchtime. Here’s my nutritional math:


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Google saves the day!

We all have them, some are large, some are small, some private, some in the open, some are personal, some are shared, they contain various bits and pieces, that spot where all our daily junk ends up, in our house we have several, but typically all my “stuff” tends to congregate around my laptop which lives on our dining table. It’s accompanied and surrounded by multiple USB cables and gadgets; iPod, headphones, Nike+ chip, Forerunner, camera, HR strap and cases for everything; you know the general running, blogging, life stuff that we use on a day to day basis and then drive ourselves nuts looking for when it's not in our stuff spot

Anyway I am usually pretty good about syncing my Forerunner up when I’ve finished, if nothing else to keep it charged up. So it was with some concern that I noticed I had a blank screen, no mention of “Charge in Progress” or “Charge Complete”, several different USB cables and a second charging cradle later I still had nothing, nada, zip!

I remembered reading through the ultralist of a handy reset but I had recently emptied my ultralist folder in Outlook so there was nothing to be found there, a quick search on Google and I was sorted. So I present to you the reset procedure for a blank or locked screen, no pay attention it's pretty complicated, ready? OK here we go; press the Mode and Lap button at the same time, press the On button, revel in the cheerful chirp as it powers on and you good to go! That’s it, thank you and goodnight!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The ups and downs of Ernie!

Sunday I met up with the Trail Runners Club. The original scheduled run was at Malibu creek, but a small fire, set off by some duphass (pronounced du’fas) welding on the outside of mobile home (the fire actually consumed 20 acres; that’s 20 football fields before it was extinguished) meant that we relocated back to Westridge, the same starting point as last week. We were told that this would be a new route recently discovered by “Ernie” and would offer a few hills and some nice trail time at the bottom of Sullivan Canyon. Also this week we had a change in time to an hour early to accommodate the heat, I, of course got it all backwards and turned up thirty minutes earlier than that; 5:30am, after a 4am alarm call, still I saw a nice sunrise and had a nap in the car.

We set off at a leisurely pace and I was chatting to a few runners when we suddenly took a sharp right turn and headed down the backside of the ridge, we meandered along the trail which was a little overgrown but nothing too onerous. After a while the trail started to climb and we were soon on the ridgeline enjoying some spectacular views of the low cloud washing in from the Pacific and the long morning shadows thrown by the rising sun. I caught up with Billy (my photog) and Kenna were both running strong (they’re running the San Francisco full and half respectively next month) and then they shot off and I stopped to grab some panoramic video footage. The trail then dropped us back down to the Westrige trail heading back to the start. I was thinking this was going to be a very short run until I followed the flour arrows into a sharp right turn and what, if covered with snow would have been a Diamond if not a Double Diamond, it got so steep in parts that someone had tied a rope to help arrest your decent and drag you on the ascent.

A half mile later we bottomed out in the canyon. Sun glinted through the trees breaking angel-rays onto the trail and the temperature was a good 10 degrees cooler. After a short distance another hard right turn had us climbing up the other side to Sullivan Ridge from here there was a short stretch of hardtop and we were back on the fireroad. Being on the other side of the canyon we were fully exposed to the sun which was rising fast and heating up equally as quickly. Billy and Kenna pushed on and I made it up with a walk/run strategy. From here it was a three mile climb gaining about 800’, multiple mountain bikers whizzed past and all were very courteous. I reached the second turnaround point and had to double take as a I something I had never seen before; a mountain bike unicycle! Hardcore!!!

After a short decent I was back on the canyon floor knowing that I had to climb out again at some point again, after a slow decent of 1000’ over four miles that point came, and I plodded up the side of the canyon, check out the elevation plot and you’ll see how steep it was. I topped out just after the 11 mile mark and from here it was a short and easy downhill back to the parking lot where goodies lay a’waiting, along with a good stretch and some welcome cold fluids. Another great Sunday morning adventure running trails that I have never run despite living here for years, thanks Ernie!

With a five miler of Friday and another five or so this morning; I dropped my car of at the dealers for a service and ran back home (perfect multi tasking) that made a little over 23 miles for the holiday weekend, it’s been a while since I clocked that amount of mileage over a weekend. Lots of foam roller lovin’ and my handy-dandy IT strap meant that it was all under control and I fully intend to keep it there.

Here's the Forerunner data and the photos:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Looking backward moving forward!

I am a lazy blogger, I apologize; I can barely keep up with the reading/comments without even thinking about putting fingers to the keyboard for anything substantive. The past month has been a bit of a blur but things are starting to settle down, sort of.

My day starts around 5:15, initially with a start but after four weeks it’s become a habit (a'la Jess’ 21 Days) and now I am up before the alarm around 5am. Breakfast is spent going through personal email, forums, blogs etc and then it off for a shower and all that good stuff and I am on the road around 6:15am. The traffic is mercilessly light and I am usually at my desk around 7am. I plow through the morning till noon, nip off to the cafeteria, yes it’s a big office, well site really there are 22 buildings and a gazillion employees. I grab a salad, usually DIY Cobb and head back, spend the time it takes to eat it doing personal stuff and then I am back in the groove by 12:45. To get home in decent time I can leave at either 4pm or 6pm, if I leave at five I arrive around the same time as if I had left at six; Thursday was a pain; it took two and a half hours!!! Usually I walk in between 7 and 7:30pm, just in time for a bedtime story with our eldest and phew that’s it. Fitting a training plan around will be tricky but doable, early morning runs are best for me but that’s a 4am or earlier start and I am pretty crap at going to bed at a reasonable time…at least for now.

Looking back I’ve pootled around the last month or two runningwise and while the freetime is nice my base is eroding and after a couple of runs this week I am getting the itch to get going again. After last weeks ITB issues I spent the last weeks evenings with some pretty full on one-on-one action with my foam roller along with some extensive stretching and that’s helping.

Right now the weather is a little bothersome, I am officially bored with summer; yes I now its just started but another week of triple digits is forecast and it’s not uncommon for it to be 80+ when I leave my house for work. Fall is another three months away but the summer can drag, hopefully it won’t this year. I would like to drop a few pounds also, thanks to Viv’s challenge I am now south of 170, somewhere I have not been for a few years, I want to get within the 160-165 range.

So now with half the year over it’s time for mid-year resolutions and thoughts about training again. My second A race; Twin Peaks is December 13 so I have to work out the training plan to back into that date, that sets me on the path with a start date for late August, the plan will envelop some race dates along the way, provisionally these will include; the Long Beach Marathon (Oct), PCTR 50K, (Nov) the Eco Marathon (also Nov) on Catalina Island, and I’ll probably throw in some Xterra races along the way as well as some cycling miles.

Objectives for this half year; a faster PCTR race (sub 6:00); this was my first ever 50k last year so I know what to expect this time around, a sub 11 hour Twin Peaks, (sub 10 would be awesome, but lets not get carried away, there’s a reason it has a 15 hour cut-off!) I want to hit my target weight zone as I start the training cycle so I need to drop just over a half pound a week for 7 weeks, wean myself of the Coke Zero and Popsicle habit (not consumed together) I seem to have developed and get a decent nights sleep, well anything more than 6 hours would be a start, and with that I hope everyone Stateside had a good fourth and has a good weekend, I am off to grab some zzzs!