Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Not the best of runs, head wasn’t in it and my body was in shock but I plugged through the heat and slalomed around the weirdoes of Venice beach to finish with a surprisingly decent time of 58:01, that’s only 30 seconds off my 10k race pace (which I feel is my worst PR) but even so not bad all things considered. I managed to pull it together for the last mile at least!
So some foam roller action tonight and a quick repack of the bag ready for tomorrow’s 8 miler. Hey it’s nearly Wednesday!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
overall time and speed; I averaged 16.8 mph, it was 17.2 right until the last hill which pushed it down and covered the distance in a moving time of 3:41 and a total time of 3:57 (10 minutes or so for Pavilions’, a couple of sets of traffic lights and crossing the road to turnaround), that’s the quickest I have ridden this route and while I have not gone this far I am ahead, pace-wise, than my previous best ride, so there is a measurable improvement. Despite that though I still managed to get overtaken, and in spite of my efforts to at least keep the other riders in sight they seemingly effortlessly passed me and pulled away. I am amazed at the speed that these riders maintain and I wonder what I need to do to keep up a average speed in excess of 20mph, stop being a runner and become a cyclist would probably be the first step so let’s put that on the back burner for now.
For this ride I fitted a Profile Design Aqua Rack twin bottle holder behind my saddle and with some jigging about I managed to get it to fit my rear light (I have a light for those early morning starts) and saddle bag with spares (inner tubes CO2, tire levers etc) and while it’s not the prettiest set up it works, report to follow in the future. These are my Polar bottles that I fill and freeze the night before so they are cold when I come to drink them later, I use the same principle with a half filled bottle for long runs and that works well keeping the fluid cold/cool for up to two hours.
And so this afternoon we faced 15 over sugared children, a faux swimming pool that kept collapsing and spilling its contents, the worlds largest outdoor GeoTrax trainset; at least it felt like that while I was crawling around on my knees on the concrete yesterday assembling it and the rantings of a Mad Scientist children’s entertainer, all in all a priceless afternoon; the sugar crash has happened and I think I can just manage one more slice of homemade ice cream cake before packing my running bag and heading to bed.
No real photo action it was mostly foggy and cool which was just fine by me, but here's the Motion Based info:
Saturday, September 27, 2008
On the running front it has been a week of just getting it done; I rounded out the week last night with a 9 miler giving me a total of just over 40 miles for the week and 27 on the bike. I am working on improving my cadence while running in an attempt to just be a faster runner and assisted with my Garmin Footpod and setting the cadence alert my 305 it’s having some positive effects. The best run was surprisingly my recovery run on Monday, six miles at an average pace of 8:03 (about 5 mins slower in total than my 10k race pace) the worst not surprising was last night, I was pretty worn out come the week’s end and it crossed my mind to nix it but then the Feet-to-the-Fireomerter shame was too much so I headed out late and averaged 8:41. Here’s the GTC data for both.
Monday night 6 miles
Today’s a rest day; tomorrow is our eldest’s fourth birthday, I am scheduled for a 70 miler on the bike and have to get back in time for the set up and festivities; so it’s an early start, although my wife has things planned out with military precision.
Talking of my wife she’s signed up for her first Tri and is as I write she is attending a women’s Tri clinic learning the finer points of wetsuit escape and how to avoid transition trauma! Rather her than me is all I can say!
Finally everybody except Laura and Swimfan have had their Worth the Weight swag dispatched; email me you address’ and I get the remaining packages out next week otherwise they will be added into the next competition which will start soon. Watch this space.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The run itself was uneventful just a steady plod around the well worn trails, to mix it up I went clockwise (rather than counterclockwise) wahoo I am so adventurous at times, to give me a long slow climb rather than a short(ish) sharp one and conversely to get good practice on the downhills and a nice quad mash. I had aimed for 10 minute miles and came up short with just over 11 minutes, not fast by any stretch of imagination but an average 6mph is a 5 hour 50k and an eight and half hour 50miler some 90 minutes and three hours faster than my current PR’s respectively, of course neither allow for the exhaustion and deterioration factor.
And so Saturday’s long run signaled the start of the second four weeks of base building, you can see (if you reading this on the web rather than in a reader) that I have switched out the Worth the Weight Sponsors and replaced them with my Feet-to-the-Fireometer, after analyzing my last plan I was horrified at the variance between the plan and the reality so I am relying on public scrutiny to keep me on the straight and narrow. If you want to see the plan in all it's glorious technicolor Excelness click here.
Talking of Worth the Weight I have been woefully delinquent in sending out the prizes and will be doing so this week, however I only have addresses from Gotta Run, Marcy and Ms. V, if you sent it to me and I lost it I apologize just send it again and I send you your swag, you earned it after all. The next competition will be coming soon so stand by.
I left my camera in my desk drawer over the weekend and so there are no photos but here’s the Motionbased data.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
DCRainmaker: triathlete, chef and gadget whiz are but a few of his talents, he recently completed IronMan Canada (his first) and has his sights firmly set on his upcoming marathon. Oh yes and ladies, he's single!
RunningShorts: she fills her full-time by being a part-time student, intern, triathlete and Tri team manager; she lives in a time zone where there are 28 hours in a day! Currently on the road to recovery following a horrendous bike crash.
GottaRun: mother, wife, and ultrarunner; went from zero to 50k in 18 months, threw down a Half IronMan for fun, shes tried to break the 50 mile mark twice before and is now fast approaching her third 50 miler, which I know she’ll crush! Third times a charm!
Zanne Runs & Rides: another hardcore mother, (literally with 2??? kids) a former marathoner she was lured to cycling and has just finished her first road race season and will be racing cyclocross this winter!
Run 50 miles: actually a misnomer it should be Run 100 miles as that’s what he did last weekend, his first and I am sure not his last. He's a proponent of Crossfit and recently became an instructor.
LARunner: my first fellow blogger meet up and the catalyst for me joining the TRC, recently ran the San Fran Marathon and will be running the California International Marathon; he has a BQ in his sights.
As mentioned these are just a few, (if I can get the Blogger tool to work I’ll add them all) of the folks I follow, check them out and tell them I sent you!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The planned ride was a simple loop a nice square that took me over the coastal ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains and back by way of two canyons, I had added a squiggly bit (a technical term for “extra miles”) to the furthest point to pushing mileage up to 60 and had estimated 4-4:30 would be the time needed. I had ridden it before but not since the Spring and my cycling legs are a little slow in returning.
I set out later than planned waiting for a full sunrise, rather than riding laden with blinking lights, and the first 10 miles rolled by easily with some small climbs and descents. The weather was partially co-operating in as much as the sun was kept at bay by a very low layer of cloud which would at time bathe me in a moist blanket fogging up my glasses and leaving everything covered in a fine but discernible layer of wet!
After a steady climb through Kanan, I surfaced through the cloud layer, was in sunlight and felt the warmth of the sun. Going over the top a swift decent plunged me back into the gloom. It’s a long decent, over 4 miles, reasonably twisty and very fast, I hung on with hand and knees and tried to stay off the brakes - but failed miserably, despite this I topped out an 42mph, plenty fast for me right now!
The flat(ish), straight(ish), fast(ish) section of PCH was the third side to the square, rolling along PCH is always a pleasure and this morning was no different, slightly lighter in traffic due to the weather I was alone for some miles and was only passed by one other cyclist, had there been more I am sure the would have passed me too. I saw a few bobbing heads of seals in the ocean, their migration south has started and the dolphin and whale populations will follow soon. After the last big downhill section I noticed a thwamp thwamp noise and looked down to see my rear tire gone flat. A flat tire is a pain and a rear flat doubly so, and it was here that the mistake of Latex Gloves was realized. Now don’t get me wrong, my bike is cleaned regularly but road gunk, lubricant and the black powder generated from the brakes gets everywhere and when you change a flat everywhere includes your hands. I gingerly went through the mechanics of switching out the old tube and replacing the new, reveling in the ease of compressed air! 15 minutes later I was done, I spent another 5 minutes waiting to cross the road to the gas station so I could clean up and another 5 cleaning up, and so 25 minutes I was back on the road. Not the fastest of pit-stops but my last flat tire was over 2000 miles ago!
With one eye on the clock I crossed off the squiggly bit and pushed through the second canyon; Topanga, just under an hour later I was at the top and it was pretty much downhill from there to home to enjoy a breakfast of champions: egg beaters, blue cheese and salsa omelette, turkey bacon and left over garlic and onion roast potatoes and toast!
I finished up with 52 and change miles on the clock; 7 less than I planned and my speed was slower than I hoped but blame that on the 6400’ of climbing.
For you pleasure the MotionBased data and photos:
Saturday, September 13, 2008
The downside of switching it was instead of running by this:
I ended up running by this:
Yeah it sucks I know, the only consolation was it was dark and everything was closed! I am sure Nitmos is reveling in this scenic route! So I managed to get the prescribed mileage covered; 38 miles run and 24 miles biked, albeit with some flexibility.
I am having a few issues with my Garmin; the footpod cadence has me going at a pace that would erode my hip joints to blunt nubs in 6 months and on the bike I am struggling to get the right resistance on my trainer, the 4 mile ride was actual 10 according to my Cateye, any suggestions anyone? PS Good luck Jes who is racing in the Nautica Tri tomorrow.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Anyway back to tonight’s ride, where I live is quite hilly and there is a nice just under 14 mile ride which has an almost 2 mile climb at roughly the halfway point, it’s a steady climb and you gain about 800’ it’s also a good benchmark ride, by that I mean it’s long and hilly enough that if you ride it you get a decent workout and you can also measure any improvement the more you ride it, last year I was polishing it off in an average of 1:03. Tonight I was feeling pretty good and I tackled the climb with a high cadence and some aggression trying to set the bar high enough that the next time would be a challenge, the first mile clicked by in 7:20 and pushed a little harder for the second section and got to the top in 6:07.
I stopped to grab some photos of the view and then pushed back off to enjoy the down, it’s been a while since I rode any serious downhills and this is so twisty and turny and is always busy with traffic that I was feathering the brakes to the very bottom; but I was pleased that both miles were sub 3:30 (2:15..phew that’s a bit quick and 3:27) well just sub 3:30 but I did max out at 35mph!
On the next little hill I am up on my hoods and just powering through when I hear a familiar twang, flutter-flutter-flutter, I didn’t even need to look down to know that I have broken a spoke; again! Bother or something close to it I thought! I back off and start the 4 miles at pottering speed to home, I’ve switched off at this point and I am just tooling along listening to my iPod, the flutter of the spoke and rubbing of the rim on the brake blocks as the wheel slowly becomes less and less true. I arrive back home and turn off my Garmin, as I do I catch sight of the time 59:36, 59:36 now there’s a surprise with the last 4 miles in neutral I managed to shave off 3-4 minutes from last years time…wow! And so there’s the challenge for next time!
Anyway so now I have to drop off my wheel and have it fixed at the not so local bike shop, (the LBS is not a dealer for the brand of wheels and they need special spokes) and hope that they can fix it in time for a Saturday afternoon pickup otherwise I’ll have to mix it up and long run this Sunday and ride next, it’s not really a drama more of an inconvenience, and so like the hill it’s just part of life’s ups and downs.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
With a staggering loss of nearly 7% in five weeks Scott, who took the lead in week 4, goes on to win in week 5. In a toughly fought out second place Lily on the Road edges out Nick who picks up third for his efforts. Laura who, despite moving apartment and, after spending 2 hours on elliptical machine retains fourth, Swimfan13 moves from eighth from fifth in the final week nudging out Kevin and Ms. V in a photo finish who take sixth and seventh respectively. Bringing home eighth place is everyone’s favorite New Yorker Marcy.
Congratulations to all our winners, well losers actually if you know what I mean, and to everyone else who participated. A big, nay huge, thank you to our sponsors: Marianne at Headsweats, Xy at Dirty Girl Gaiters and Julie at Wicked Fast Sports for there extremely generous prizes which will be winging their way to our winners very soon, please email me your mailing address etc. Don’t forget to post photos, comments and links back to the sponsors once you get your goodies, it’s the least we can do. A big congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated, as javamom said…“it's amazing how motivating it is to have someone waiting to hear your weight at the end of the week”, well I couldn’t agree more!
The final prize for the potty mouth goes to Marcy! Who else? Her delightful ditty of, when referring to javamom…“hopefully her GI tract will hold onto everything she eats and then unload itself the day after the contest ends :P…” really merits a mouthful of carbolic soap and so Marcy you get some extra goodies that I am sure you’ll find useful, I know you love your camera so remember; photos please!
OK and so now we move on. As noted last week I have a whole new bunch of prizes and another competition to put together, but I am going to wait a few weeks before posting the details, so don’t consider that time an excuse to go crazy on Dunkin or Crispies depending if you live in the East or West.
So once again congratulations to everyone and I look forward to looking at the photos and reading the reports from our "Worth the Weight Eight"...hey I just made that up, pretty cool huh!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The Wings replaced my well worn Asics 2120 Trail shoes which bit the dust literally and metaphorically after Leona Divide in April. I had been trying shoes for several months including models from Merrell, Asics, Brooks, Montrail and Vasque before deciding on the Wings. I wore them around the house for a few days just to be on the safe side and wore them with my running socks, before taking them on a trail spin, which you can read more about here as well as some of the technical info.
So having put some mileage on the shoes here are my thoughts. The first thing I did was to pull out the inserts and slide my custom orthotics in, they fitted no problem. The shoes are positioned in the market for pronantors, such as myself but there is nothing overtly motion controlling at least more than you would find in most trail shoes. The toe box is roomy enough, I went a half size up, and there is plenty of wiggle room without having the feeling that you're slopping about in them. The asymmetrical pull lacing system creates a snug fit that contours well to your foot, although I found I needed to start to pull from half way up and put my finger on the cross in the same way you would tie a ribbon on a gift. The tongue fob works well for tucking the excess laces into, but can create a lumpy profile with gaiters. Talking of gaiters, I previously suggested that a small D ring would be useful for looping the gaiter hook through but hooking through the laces works well enough and the fact that the laces are made from Kevlar means there is, so far, no fraying. The heel offers a snug fit, with no rubbing or slippage; it's reasonably well padded and has a low profile, as I always wear gaiters I can't really comment on keeping dust and trail debris out of the sides.
The trails that I run are typically dusty; think desert rather than woods, sand rather than soil and rocky trails rather than rooty singletrack. I am not prone to having hot feet so the temperature of the shoe seems fine to me. The ventilation from the outside in is another matter, even after a short run the quantity of dust that has entered the shoes, particularly around the toes is high this could be a problem for some folks with blisters etc. I have managed to dip my toes in a couple of stream crossings and the drainage seemed fine, there was little or none ongoing “squelching” after a mile or so.
Overall the fit I would for me is about as close to perfect as I have found, I have not had one blister or hot spot but I should caveat that statement with the fact I am yet to break 20 miles in a single run in them.
Externally the shoe is robust; the rubberized toe cap offers some protection as does the extended sole line around the sides and heel. The cushioning has proven to be effective, although a few missed steps had me wishing that there was a solid soleplate but then that’s a trade off against the weight of the shoe. The weight is erring on the side of heavy but personally I would sooner have the cushioning and protection over the minimalism that shaving 2-3 ounces off would offer.
In terms of grip and purchase the tread pattern I would describe as moderately aggressive, rather than have bold lugs the pattern’s grip seems to come more from indented grooves that are in relief, the benefit of this is that on fireroads or the occasional blacktop that I have had to run along the soles of your feet are not being pummeled.
And so the final issue is the price. Of course given that they are the newer (est) Salomon onto the market that attract a premium price, but after all the trial and error I am, to be honest, happy to pay the price which is; $120, personally I got mine from onlineshoes.com, (NFI), why there you may ask; free shipping, free returns and a 90 day unconditional returns policy I’ll answer.
In conclusion the shoe is well made, comfortable, robust, effective and good looking; it does come in black if you’d prefer a more muted color choice. The downsides are it’s a bit heavy, and lets a lot of dust in. I expect I get another 200-250 miles or so out these so I write an in memoriam review when these bite the dust probably around November time.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
It was forecast to be another hot day, Saturday had reached 105 degrees and Sunday was expected to be the same. With that in mind we met early and were on the trail by 6:30am. We had planned 15 miles and had three hours on the clock, a nice easy pace. The run I had in mind I had last run as a longer loop back in March; a figure of eight with a tail, there is some pretty varied scenery and some nice rolling hills. The first three miles follow a well worn trail; at the end you then take a goat path up and over the valley side until you’re just below the ridgeline in the next valley. In March the grass was shoulder high, lush green and still damp with the morning dew, six months later it was still shoulder high, dry, scratchy and determined to make you “wait a while” as you untangled yourself, after a couple of miles of bushwhacking we popped out onto the trail and spent a few minutes picking all the burrs and grass points out of our clothes and shoes. From here we followed the rolling hills of Cheeseboro Ridge Trail, slowly gaining altitude as we went, I kept telling Jes and Carol that we were heading for the pylon, it wasn’t till later that I discovered that they didn’t understand what I meant and both had their own interpretation; it is apparently a “power tower” as they are known as there parts!
And so we continued until reaching the highest point, we had done quite well with the heat running mostly in the westerly lee of the ridgeline and avoiding the direct glare of the sun, it was warming up but there was a nice breeze that cooled us and we pushed on the downhill. The variety of Cheesboro Park never fails to blow me away, one minute you running through a dry sandy, rock, strewn desert landscape and then round a bend and you skipping over a lazy stream under the welcome shadows of trees and so it was for the next four miles. We picked off our fair share of wildlife; a deer crashed through the foliage just off the trail, we heard busy bees doing their thing and as I was running along with my brain in neutral I came across a rattlesnake minding his own business and enjoying a sunny patch of ground, he moved off without any trouble. It’s easy to tell when your approaching civilization, more bikers and runners appear looking fresh and clean, we by comparison looked, after our pathfinding expedition, were disheveled, dirty and a little frayed around the edges and so we earned a few odd stares from other runners heading in the opposite direction.
We took the connector trail that would take us back through to our original starting canyon, Carol wasn’t feeling it so she headed back to a nearby parking lot and Jes agreed to collect her and return her to her car, Carol is running Rocky Raccoon in February and is just starting training, so 15 is a big jump straight off the bat!
Jes and I plugged on, through the connecter and made it back to the original starting trail, with 15 miles on the Forerunner and the sun now high in the sky, I decided to walk the last mile to cool down, enjoy the scenery and not overdo it, I flirted with over training last year and so I know going over, even if I feel good, can only lead to bad things. So the last mile was walked in, a quick cool down in the parking lot and we bid our farewells.
Overall I felt pleased with run; the pace while not fast had a solid average. I ended up a little dehydrated at the end and forgot to take my Endorolytes with me, but this is only the second long run for the base build so there is plenty of room and time for improvement both for my body and memory! This kicks off week three and I have another 22 miles to cover before Friday making a total of 38 for the week as well as some cross training, it’s a gentle ramp up to the 60mpw target but small solid steps is the preferred way forward.
I had complete technical failure with the MotionBased data; it's just hanging and won't upload, added to which Blogger is loading some but not all pictures sideways but here is the Photobucket album of photos.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I also have a Gorilla Grip tripod knockoff, sourced from eBay and made in, you guessed it, China and cost me the enormous investment of $1.99. While not as robust as the original made by Joby, at the price and for what I use it for; plonking onto the dusty trail or wrapping around a tree branch, I have even wrapped it around my handlebars and videoed a 45mph downhill on my bike (note the wheelbuckling impact at a 1:30)!
In summary this combination does exactly the job I need it to do. A quick search on eBay revealed that you can pick up an A400 for the potential budget breaking cost of $2.50! So for less that the price of three gels you too could be snapping your runs for posterity!
I just heard that a new Sponsor for Worth the Weight has come on board! They agreed a while ago but have only just sent me the stuff; they've been pretty busy with an event last weekend (hint), it’s yet to arrive but unless there is a royal disaster with the USPS it should be soon, it’s only coming from
However with one week to go it feels a little unfair to dump a load more prizes in the mix, afterall that’s part of the motivation, so I am thinking that I will have a “Worth the Weight Too Challenge” or "Sum of Worth the Weight" or “Thanksgiving it’s Gone Challenge!”; (yeah I need to work on the marketing), reopen enrollment; there were some disappointed folks who missed the start date and run another competition.
As soon as it arrives I post up the swag, start date, rules etc…just when you thought it was safe to go back to the fridge!
Friday, September 5, 2008
For the week, number two in the plan, I am a mile shy of my running target of 22 and three miles over the cycling plan of 72 miles, nearly a hundred mile week. This weekend the bulk of the members of the TRC are away running trails in Yosemite, Saturday’s my rest day and so on Sunday I am running locally with some of the folks who are still in LA showing then some of the trails in my back yard.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Ms V comes into 6th place hot on Kevin's heels with jkrunning not so far behind and swimfan bringing home 8th place and the last of the prizes!
Finally we have everyone, who has reported at least, in negative territory.
Everyone should be sending Second Chances get well vibes; she managed to give herself a stress fracture and is hobbling around in a air-cast, and she spent her birthday last weekend volunterring at the Duathalon that she should have been racing in; she will hit a karma payout big!
One week, well half a week to go, and a sprint finish is on.
Good luck everyone and remember to post your weight as per my last posts details, yes that means you will have to go to the actual blog to read it!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I have also sorted through the swag and this is how it will play out, consider this your incentive for a sprint finish:
1st: Nike Tailwind SDM (thanks Nick), Headsweat's Supervisor and Race Hat, a bottle each of Recover-Ease and EnerG-Ease and a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters
2nd: Cateye Astrale 8 bike computer, Headsweat Race Hat, a bottle each of Recover-Ease and EnerG-Ease and a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters
3rd: Headsweat Race Hat, a bottle of Recover-Ease and a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters
4th: Headsweat Race Hat, a bottle of EnerG-Ease and a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters
5th: Headsweat's Race Hat and Visor a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters
6th: Dirty Girl Gaiters and Headsweat's Supervisor
7th & 8th Headsweat's Supervisor
Conditions for acceptance is that you need to write a short review and post of photo of you wearing the aforementioned prize(s).
There are some Hammer and Gu bit's that I'll throw in as I am packing and there is also the secret prize for the smakiest smack mouth!
The finish (measuring) tape is in sight...dig deep and go for it!
Monday, September 1, 2008
She had recently picked up her new bike and this would be her longest ride to date: good mental training for her race. We met early and were on the road by 6:30. The sky was grey and flat as was the ocean and in parts it was hard to discern where one stopped and the other started. The weather remained much like this for the whole ride with the occasional ray of light but no real sun as such; perfect conditions.
The ride is deceptively rolling with very little actual flat, you’re either climbing or descending proper or you’re on one type of an incline albeit gentler. We rode independently without waiting for each other, I reached the turnaround and headed back south, there was a rather brisk headwind that, to be honest, I had not noticed as a tailwind earlier but it probably goes to my average pace and clicking off eight of the last ten miles at a sub three minute mile pace and with an average speed of just under 20mph. After only a couple of miles I saw Jes making good progress, and despite her self proclaimed nervousness, she was making good progress, I circled round and joined her so she knew where to turnaround. We stopped for a minute so she could dig out some food and then both headed south. We rode together for a while and then she was an uneventful 90 minutes later I was back at the start, I unclipped, and racked my bike, while I was stretching Jes rolled in, and despite her pain, (her words not mine) she put in a thoroughly solid performance which hopefully will put her in good stead for her he Tri.
I finished up with a total 53.12 miles and a moving time of 3:21:25, a little slower than the last time I rode this route back at the end of June, albeit this time it had four extra miles, but my average was speed was a little slower (0.7mph) and my average heart rate was 10 bpm higher, nothing too concerning as my HR will settle down and drop some as my base comes back up and my speed will increase as my fitness level rises.
This week my wife’s away so it’s going to be all about the treadmill and trainer, deep joy, at least she’s back in time for next weekend when I am back out on the hills with the TRC.
I snapped a few pics along the way and here’s the MotionBased data: