Thursday, October 30, 2008

Half a mile at a time!

Last night was intervals, tomorrow night is tempo. Yesterday I parked at the beach and used the same path as last week; it was warm but not as warm as it had been in the week and my car said early 80s. I had wanted to run an interval ladder 400/600/800/1200/800/600/400 but found out that I can’t program anything so complicated through the watch and have to use GTC, so instead I settled for 7 x half mile repeats with one minute rest in between. I headed to the restrooms to change and realized that I had no socks; three choices; nix the run, run without socks or run in dress socks, I went for the latter thinking if I don’t care why should anyone else?

I set off on a warm up run for two miles and also used the time to measure out the half mile distance and try to find as flat a section as I could. After 2.33 miles I was set and headed off. Twenty five later I was done, although I confess to only managing 6 out of the 7 intervals, I had ridden for an hour before breakfast and my legs were feeling it. I finished off with a mile and bit for a cool down for a total of 7.5 miles...very neat! It wasn’t easy or pretty but I was pleased with results and I got a real sense of achievement when I loaded the data from my Forerunner onto my PC. The quickest half mile: 3:07, slowest 3:20, a 3:14 average. The full set can be seen in the picture below. Sunday I am back running with the TRC, I have not been out with them for nearly two months! They are planning a 14 or so mile run, I have a 26 mile run planned so I get there early and stay late, rain is forecast so at least it will be cooler than last weekend!

Good luck to everyone racing and especially Robin who will be completing her first 50 miler this weekend at MMTR!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Swap Beat...bring it!

After the recent success of Worth the Weight I was prompted to organize a second competition especially given that I received a bunch of prizes towards the end of the final round and so instead of dumping them in the mix I held them back. So I am pleased to announce the new competition Swap-Beat…bring it!

The idea here is to swap and beat and that you bring stuff...just in case that wasn't clear!

Here are the rules:

1. The competition will last from Monday November 3rd through Sunday December 20th
2. Enrollment will be from today through 12 noon PST Sunday November 2nd
3. Each competitor must “bring” a running related item with a face value of a minimum $20, please send me a photograph (quadrathon at gmail dot com) of it or failing that a link on the web where it can be found for sale, description would be useful including size, color etc
4. When you send me your photo of the item send me you name (that you want people to see on the ‘net) and your blog link.
5. Clothing must be new with tags, sweaty and grungy used items will be rejected.
6. Food stuffs must be unopened; that tub of PowerAde in Celery flavor that seemed such a good idea at the time, that you tried and hated…sorry you can keep it
7. Weigh-ins will be every Sunday please email me before noon 7pm PST
8. Weekly winners will be announced Monday, maybe Tuesday depending on how much “life” I have going on!
9. The Winner(s) then choose the item they would like. Depending on the total number of entries 10. I will just divide the number of entries by the number of weeks and then take that number of the top x people and they choose a prize in descending order and post their request as a comment i.e. 60 people /6 weeks = 10 winners a week, that way everyone gets something…hopefully!
11. If you are a winner three weeks in a row you forfeit and a name will be drawn from a hat of non winners from that week
12. It is up to the winner to contact the sender to arrange shipping and all that good stuff, I did get a raised eyebrow from my wife when she took all the parcels from WTW to the Post Office.
13. Weight loss will be calculated and illustrated as a percentage only
14. The usual stuff about consulting a Doctor and overly rapid weightloss etc, you're all grown ups, right!

Ok, I am sure I have missed something and I reserve the right to change or modify things but I think that all makes sense. So let the games begin.

Oh one last thing you probably want to know what I’ll be bringing, well thanks to some friends in high places (Nike Pro 16 aka Clover you rock!) I have the following:

2 Nike+ iPod Armbands for G2 Nano
1 Nike + chip (you’ll need a sensor, Amp or Sportsband)
2 Nike Prefontaine Posters
1 Pre; the Story of Steve Prefontaine book
1 Nike Women’s Drifit shirt (m)
1 Nike Men’s Olympic Trials Eugene Drifit Shit (m) it fits me fine 6'1''
1 Nike Olympic Trials Eugene shoe bag
A signed Sanya Richards poster and
A bunch of Nike+ “You Suck” cards!

So unless you are a complete knucklehead there is no need to explain where I got the prizes from. I run with a Nike+, and have done for the last 2500 miles, you can find me in the competitions and forums under the rather obvious moniker; SLB+ in fact it was the catalyst for this this blog and it's title comes from a Challenge that I did not start but that I now host. It’s a fun and easy way to track your miles and there is a great support forum with some excellent contributors and competitions going on, check it out at I’ll be posting some pictures of the prizes later.

I am going to batch these into two sets of prizes and an third for the overall Winner!

Finally I am only hosting this as incentive to drop to my desired racing weight during the next 6/7 weeks, with everyone watching it's more of an incentive.

So without further ado let the enrollment commence!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A missed run, a bad run and two great runners!

Friday I missed my tempo run, I left work late got home later, no biggie I thought I’ll get it done and by the time I looked at my watch it was 10:00pm, with a long run the next morning I knew it was too much. I prepped everything for the next morning and hit the hay. The next morning I was up and at them early but I knew it was a sign when my iPod decided to blow up; not literally but after a hard reset I was running late. Reloaded I headed out.

I was on the trail at Cheeseboro Canyon by 7:30am with a clear blue sky overhead I knew it was going to be a warm one. Twenty two miles was the distance of the day and so I headed along the canyon floor, taking a sharp left turn I pushed over into the next canyon, my plan was to tackle the long climb first and avoid the worst of the heat. I reached the Palo Camado trial and started to climb. An hour and half, 6 miles and 1400’ feet elevation change later I was at China Flats. I found a nice trail that took me to top of Simi Peak and I snapped some video of the view.

There was a helicopter buzzing around I wondered given the Red Flag Warning if they were looking for more wildfires? I finished up the loop and started back down the trail toward Shepherd’s Flats and the Ridge Trail, it was getting warmer now and despite having two handhelds and a UD Wasp (over 100oz in total) I was concerned that I might run out and so I changed the route in my mind to swing by the parking lot so I could replen.

The Ridge Trail, as per its name, rolls along the ridgeline of the southern side of Cheeseboro Canyon for six or so miles finally you take a connector which spits you onto the valley floor and the main “in and out” trail. By the time I reached this point I was out of fluids and feeling a little worse for wear, with another two miles to parking lot I was taking it easy. I reached the car a little after 3 hours and 16 miles and knew that, as usual, I would be racing the clock, I ditched my vest refilled a handheld and headed out to try and cover as much distance as I could in the remaining time I had in a simple out and back. Probably being too conservative I scraped another mile and half turned around and headed back to the car. The finally tally 19.38 miles, over 2.5 miles under my goal.

I threw my kit in the car and headed home stopping off at gas station to pick two 32oz bottles of Powerade that were drunk in the 15 minute drive! I guess I was a little more dehydrated than I thought, not surprising given that the temperature reading in my car said 96 degrees, ugh!

So I am putting these runs (or lack thereof in Friday's case) behind and moving on, this week will be better.

Finally, but by no means least, check out the shirt I am wearing. I have never been to Greenville SC, but I know someone who has, in fact some great folks who live there! How cool is this, it arrived in the mail Friday and I had to take it on the trails ASAP. Thanks Robin and Scott you guys are awesome!

I am putting together the rules for Swap-Beat and will post them tomorrow.

Here are some photos and the MotionBased data:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Red Flag Warning!

Trail Runners,

Due to the HIGH FIRE DANGER in the Santa Monica Mountains, we must postpone the XTERRA Boney Mountain Xduro. This is required by the California State Parks who closes the park when a RED FLAG WARNING is posted.

The new date is January 10, 2009. Similar to last year, ALL ENTRIES will be transferred for FREE to this new date UNLESS you fill out a transfer form by November 21, 2008. If you are transferring to another event, there is a $10 charge, so please include this check when you mail in your form. Transfer forms can be found on in the NEWS section and the BONEY MOUNTAIN event page.

We apologize for any inconvenience for this, but we are at the mercy of the weather and the managing agencies.

We’ll see everyone at one of our upcoming events:
11/1/08 SkirtChaser 5k
11/29/08 XTERRA Topanga Turkey Trot
12/14/08 XTERRA Crystal Cove Trail Run
1/10/09 XTERRA Boney Mountain Xduro (revisited)

The Generic Events Crew

Fire Season is really going on for an extended time this year and while some parts of the US and Canada have seen their first dusting of snow or even a bit more than that, we are still; well I hesitate to use the words “enjoying” or “suffering” as it falls somewhere in between, temperatures in the eighties and nineties. There was another fire in the Sepulveda Pass by the 405 freeway which I use to go to work Wednesday night night, it was closed all night, when I got there yesterday morning around 6:30 they were still working the firelines and helicopters were dropping water, it was quickly contained but still burnt 150 acres! Now this makes me so mad, I am driving behind a women as we are literally, literally driving by the fire, what does she do; throw a lit cigarette butt out the window, ugh stupid b***h! OK Rant over.

I quickly switched everything around to its usual (ish) state. I hit the roads on the bike last night around 9pm, like I said it’s warm so shorts and short sleeve top and arm warmers were all I needed for a quick 45 min/13 mile spin, then hopped on the treadmill for the first 10/10/10 session, the end target here is ten miles at 10 minute pace at 10% incline, this was to be a one mile effort and it’s unlikely that I’ll get to the full 10 miles but I will be increasing it weekly. I borrowed it from Davy Crocket and it is brutal; I managed .78 of a mile in 10 minutes or the full mile in 12:34 through a mix of walk, run, shuffle. Tonight I have my tempo run of 8 miles, which closes out week 9 of training and then tomorrow a 22 miler kicks off week 10 although with all the parks potentially closed that might mean some quick thinking!

I also got an email from the RD of Twin Peaks saying that she is adding a 100k distance to February’s race, December’s is a carry over from this February due to wildfires (notice a theme) and that next year’s is the last one, so I have changed my plans and will register for that instead, Coyote 2 Moons can wait till 2010, and I’ll also save $175 as the race entry for Twin Peaks is only $75 compared to $250. What this does mean is that I need to decide what to do in January; Calico Trail 50k or Catalina Island 50m…decisions decisions!

I'll be announcing the new competition over the weekend/Monday: "Swap-Beat". It will be starting November 10th and I have some excellent swag so check back and sign up, and Laura and Swimfan I promise to mail you your winnings; the wildfires and such got in the way, yeah blah blah blah, but I will!

Have a good weekend everyone, may you heels be clean, your pace fast and your taper sufferable!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Setting the bar..

Maybe a tad too high for day one! First set of intervals tonight. Two mile warm up, 3 x 1 mile repeats with quarter mile rest in between, 2 mile cool down (actually a mile and a quarter as it turned out). Also ran with my new racing flats Asics Gel DS Trainer XIII; first impressions, snug; I needed a full size up, light; 9.6oz (compared to 12.9oz Kayanos I normally wear) and while surprising comfortable to run in, not so for walking?

There is no local track available to me. I choose the beach path which has recently been resurfaced with new tarmac; which is softer than concrete, wide and less populated and therefore I could get up a fair head of steam without worrying about mowing down Aunt Edna who had gone for an afternoon stroll. I ran out a mile and back to warm up and get a feel for the shoes and then was off for the intervals. The downside was no shade and it was in the mid eighties.

I have to confess to being pleased, as mentioned before it has been a long time since I ran speedwork so I was expecting my mile splits to be slower than the final results. Above all I am pleased that I managed to get a limbo set of splits; as you can see (click on the image and it gets bigger) increasingly quicker miles. Tomorrow I am switching with Friday so I have a Tempo run and then a quick 12 miles ride on Friday as I want to save my legs a bit, the race is a half marathon and I am scheduled according to the plan to run 22 so I am going to run 6 milesbefore, then race and then another 3 miles afterwards which should net me out at 22.1 miles for the day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fly me to Cuba!

Someone has hijacked my legs and flown them to Cuba leaving me two hollow husks! Quite clearly a “recovery” run is a complete misnomer it’s more like a stumble or lurch, which is pretty much what I did for 7 miles tonight. I am now halfway through the program and I have six weeks training proper then a 12 day taper. Hopefully I’ll get my legs back by Wednesday as I start repeats: 20 min warm up, 3 x 1600m (1 min rest), 10 min cool down. It’s been a long time since I did any serious speed work so as an incentive I went out an got some racing flats and signed up for a 5k which will be in 5 weeks time. I am not looking for a PR but somewhere in the vicinity would be nice, as they say if you want to race fast, run fast. I am having to tweak my training mileage around the speed work and now having had my last long bike ride at the weekend I have four runs a week; long, recovery, repeats and tempo, although this weekend I am racing Saturday so Friday night will need to be revisited and then two cross training sessions. There is actually only six weeks of training to go and another 300+ miles to cover, it’s all coming up quite fast now and by the time Thanksgiving is over I’ll have one long run left and then I will be tapering!

I had an epiphany on my runs about finish times, I wasn't thinking about them at all but two sets of numbers just popped into my head; one for my 50k and one for the 50m race. I have to say I'd be pleased if they pan out, but so as not to jinx anything I'll keep them to myself...for now!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

4AM1 : SLB2

That was the score for this weeks training sessions. Tuesday and Friday the alarm had woken me with a start at 4am and had been up at ‘em before you could say "WTF is the time"! It had also been a week of swaps, Tuesdays 14 mile ride was swapped with Thursday 12 and was then carried over till Friday morning and ended up being 16 miles, then Friday afternoon I ran 10 miles at an average pace of 8:14, so the likelihood that I was going leap out of bed Saturday morning at 4am was slim to none and none won! And so at 6:20am, nearly two hours later then planned, I was finally on the road.

The sun was up and the clouds were all pinks and oranges. This was to be the last long ride and I was aiming for 90 miles, it was actually scheduled for next weekend but I have a race so it was another swap. After last week’s mountain ride this week I had planned, using GMaps Pedometer, what seemed a flatter route half of which was all new, a change being as good as a rest afterall, so with some mental juggling I decided to ride he new route, originally as a loop, backwards, see how far I could get in 2:30 hours (I had a total of 5:40 hours to play with instead of my original 7:00 and had to be home by noon) and turn around or if over halfway push through for the loop.

The route took me North through Thousand Oaks and into the Conejo Valley of which the flat central plain is a major farming area; I rode by miles of lemon and orange groves and other unidentifiable growing things! Well it wasn’t quite as flat as I thought and 2:30 later I had 38 miles done, average just over 15mph. So I about faced and headed home, strangely it took roughly to same time to come home even though it seemed to be more uphill and so I tooled around for another 40 minutes to push up the mileage arriving home just gone midday.

To be honest I was feeling it at this point and while I could have probably slogged out the last fifteen miles had I had the time my legs were tired and I was starting to feel a niggle in my calf that had appeared in the previous nights run so I was happy to call it then.

So the final stats 75.82 miles, 5:12 moving time and 5:41 total time, (this makes total sense as coming back through Thousand Oaks I hit nearly every red light I could find, I gave up counting at 23 in the space of five miles!) and just over 7000’ of elevation; so much for a flat route.

Blogger is loading my photos sideways but you can see them here. and the MotionBased data is here:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Powerful words!

There are certain quotes sayings and mantras that populate the running world, in fact Runners’ World emails a daily quote every day if so wish and often as not you’ll see a well worn phase or quote taken from a famous runner; Steve Prefontaine, Haile Gebrselassie, Alberto Salazar and the like. Now these runners are far more eloquent than I, have a deeper rooted understanding of the sport and can, with the a semi casual comment stir a deep, motivational and primeval lust to simply lace up your shoes and go run, far and fast.

But there are other less widely known and used quotes that have an equal effect. This weeks TIaRT from Runner Lounge asks what is your favorite quote. Until I recently changed my masthead my favorite quote was listed under the name of this blog:

There is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that” Oscar Wilde

For me this quote goes way beyond the norm. In these twenty three words is the simple notion that there is no predisposition, no salute, no assumption. Not knowing what lies ahead can be a scary thing but embrace that feeling, turn it to your advantage, use it to power you along on your journey. What these words tell me is that I can do what I set out to achieve; in the context of running, for me this is ultimately a 100 mile race, but for you that could be a 5k, a half marathon, or an Ultra.

I know I will need to push myself, yes it will be hard, yes it will hurt but if I really truly want it I can make it mine. And so can you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Driving down the average...

The weather was cool and it was just perfect running conditions. Nine miles was the order of the day and I started with a spring in my step, a bit too fast, it should have been an average of 8 minute miles, then I over compensated and floated around in the mid 8’s. Miles 6 and 7 I played tag with another runner; it’s amazing what a bit of competition will do. I took advantage of the last couple of miles to cool down and ease back. The end result average pace of 8:05, I am getting quicker and I’ll take it, speedwork proper starts next week!

On the fire front our life is back to normal. Thanks again everyone.

Local Wildfires; day three

Overnight the 2000+ Firefighters working the fire-line managed to contain 20% of the blaze and hope to have it contained 100% by this time tomorrow.

The winds continue to blow it West through Simi Valley and through the hills, mercifully sparing property. As of this morning 13,400’ acres had been burnt; you can see the extent of it on the map.

The air quality has cleared due to the change in wind direction and last night the moon was white again and the stars shone brightly.

The evacuations have been lifted and nearly everyone is able to return to their homes. 19 buildings were destroyed and two people were killed; a homeless person who lived in the hills and the driver of a car involved in an accident, possibly smoke related. One Firefighter sustained an minor injury.

It’s been a long dry Summer and despite being October little there has been little of no rainfall since March/April. Hopefully we’ll get a wet winter. It’s a stark reminder of the price we pay for living in such a beautiful part of the world..well that and the earthquakes.

Thank you all for you thoughts and comments. I hope to report tomorrow that normal blog service has been resumed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Local Wildfires; evening update

Driving along PCH there was a thin layer of smoke flowing off shore, there had actually been little coverage in the press during the day and I wondered what would be in store once I reached the San Fernando Valley. I was pleased to see or not see as the case was that there was no fire visible on the far hills, last night there were three distinct red glows.

As of 6pm there remains zero containment and we remain on alert for possible evacuation. The burn size now exceeds 13,000 acres; the burn has now extended South West, driven by the wind, away from us towards Simi Valley. As a result the quality of air has somewhat improved for us and there is no longer a taste to it.

The wind seems to be dying down, hopefully it will remain that way to allow the firecrews to get some form of cordon around the fireline during to coolness of the evening.

Local Wildfires; morning update

Quick update. As you may have seen on TV the Sesnon Fire, which is the one that is closest to us, doubled during the night to nearly 10,000 acres, to visualize that; an acre is roughly the size of an American Football field. There is zero containment and the winds reached 70mph during the night. They are forecast to ease later this afternoon. So far the evacuation area stayed at the same boundary as it was last night. There is an evacuation advisory for people living West of Valley Circle, which we do, my assumption here is simply that there is no vehicular access west of us, the road ends and becomes a trailhead and from there onwards is only acres of tinder dry parkland and my much loved trails. But so far for where we are nothing is mandatory.

When I left for work this morning at 6:15am the glow on the hillside seemed smaller than it was at midnight last night. As you would expect there is a large Police presence in the area and I counted at least 20 Police cars with sirens and lights on heading North as I was driving South on the 405 Freeway.

As you would expect there is plenty of coverage in the media, if you want to keep up with it I have found the using Google News and the keys words “Sesnon Fire” is the most expedient way.

Thank you all for you words of support, I am not a religious person but my thoughts and gratitude go out to the firefighters who are on the fire-line.

Monday, October 13, 2008

SoCal Fires strike again!

Right now we're one mile from the evacuation zone; the red area on the map, we live in the circled area, the air is pretty acrid and the moon has an orange glow to it from the smoke!

We've packed external hard drives, photos, documents and a couple of suitcases of clothes etc.

There are two fires blazing to the North and North East neither of which have any containment!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A problem with wind!

80 miles was the order of the day. I started early and was on the road by a little after 5am. I had thought about the route and instead of doing an out and back along Pacific Coast Highway I decided to throw in some hill work and ride a familiar square and add a short PCH out and back to top up the mileage. It was dark and cold when I left, the darkness was gone a lot earlier than the cold and my layering included a windjacket, tights, feet warmers and winter gloves, and I needed then all, the first downhill was bracing with tears streaming from my eyes as I grimaced in the dark. As I rode further out of town I went to check my back light and realized it was missing, I still had a least another hour to dawn and so I took the light off my handlebars (which was white) set it to strobe and mounted it facing backwards on my seat stem, this left me a headtorch and a small “to be seen by” not “to see with” light at the front end, Other than being pissed about losing the light I wasn’t too worried about seeing as I knew I had 10 miles of climbing ahead and by the time I got to top the sun would be up. An hour later I was at the top and the sun was setting the sky of fire as it blazed through the thin cloud on the horizon, see above.

I had been noticing that as I got higher and closer to the ocean the wind had been picking up and as I started the descent I was being buffeted across the road, from heavy sidewinds and then I encountered a headwind that actually slowed me down as I was going downhill! The wind was going to be a feature and mostly in my face what ever direction I followed for the next 45 miles, bleeding my average speed from 16mph to a pedestrian 13mph, and where only two weeks ago I was averaging 17mph! I pushed out for 9 miles on the out and turned around heading back south along PCH enjoying the rolling road when I wasn’t being blown from side to side or to a virtual standstill, finally after two hours I had covered the PCH section and turned into the final climb through Topanga Canyon, a mile into the Canyon the wind dropped and I was able to make good speed, speed is relative when you on a 10 mile climb, but I felt good and kept my cadence up. I had one eye on the clock, as always, as the decrease in average speed had meant a slower than anticipated journey time. I topped out 50 minutes later and enjoyed the 2 mile descent the other side. Five miles after that I was home and enjoy eggs, bacon, Belgium waffles fresh coffee and a liberal handful of RecoverEase!

I seem to be destined to not quite make the distance on these long rides and this week was no exception coming up four miles short; but I’ll take it, I easily had the missing four in my legs and in fact, time notwithstanding, I could have gone on for another 20 or so.

So the final tally was 75.77 miles. 6:04 total time, 5:48 saddle time and a smidge under 8000' of climbing, my average pace sucked due to the wind, a fact that was reinforced in the short periods of time when I was out of the wind. On the way round I got through 4 gels, 2 packets of Cliff ShotBlocks and a Cliff Kid's Bar as well as over 60oz of fluids.

I have one more long ride next week and then I switch up to weekly long runs. No significant photos this week but here’s the MotionBased data:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Be careful what you wish for!

Anyone who has been reading my blog for more than a couple of months will have heard me lament how long Summer was lasting. Despite being October we are still experience hot days, and during the week I found myself running in 90 degrees at five in the afternoon, well yesterday Fall arrived. I set out for my 10 miles last night at 8:30pm and stood on the porch thinking I was under dressed in a long sleeve shirt and shorts; the thermometer said 50 degrees! That’s a forty degree difference! A tad extreme and a bit more a change than I was looking for! I turned around and redressed in CR-W ¾ insulated tights (review to follow) and a thermal top…hmm toasty. Ninety minutes later I was back on my porch. The respite in the weather is short lived though, the forecast is for the Santa Ana winds to kick up next week, these are warm dry desert winds that suck the moisture out of the air and blow grit in you eyes, it also means that the parks will have fire advisories issued!

Last night's run finished off week 7 of the plan; 46 run/26 bike, tomorrow I have my penultimate long bike ride; 80 miles, I have had to switch around run/bike weekends as I am racing on the 25th so my last ride is next weekend and then the cycling is replaced with long runs every week until I start to taper on November 29th.

My wife totally rocked out her Tri last weekend, despite have 5’ breakers on the beach to contend with, she has signed up for the Pasadena Half Marathon in December and will be doing another Tri next year although this time she is promising to train for it...jeez at this rate she'll be starting a blog soon too!

Finally good luck to Billy racing at the Long Beach Half Marathon and Sara who is looking for a BQ in Chicago this weekend and of course to everyone else racing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Be inspired!

This weekend is the 30th Anniversary of IronMan, this is definitely one of the best videos I have seen, it’s enough to inspire you to lace up your running shoes, clip in your pedals or rinse out your goggles! There's a great interview with the 3rd place competitor, Dave Orlowski, from the very first IronMan on The Competitor Podcast.

I posted this last year and it still gets the hair on the back of my neck standing up; tough times pass, tough people remain! Be inspired!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A taste of things to come…

I skipped my bike ride yesterday, which only meant deferring it to this morning and so I was rudely awoken at 4:15am for 14 miles on the trainer. Fifty five minutes later I was done, stretching, showering, blog reading and breakfasting followed and I was on the road by 6:15am and at my desk by a little after 7:00am. At the other end of the day I am out the door at 3:10pm, parked changed and running by 4:30pm.

My legs felt pretty good and the miles were clicking by, tonight had 9 miles scheduled. I am nearing the end of the second month of base building in my plan which is followed by 6 weeks which focus on speed work; it’s been a long time since I ran any intervals or repeats but tonight just seemed right to remind myself of what’s in store and so mile 4 I revved it up some.

As you can see I wasn’t so bad for a mile but it’s a long way off my mile best of 6:16 or even my 5k pace of 6:43 but that’s ok it just gives me more room for improvement and I’ve got six weeks to work at it and by work at it I obviously mean hate each session!

PS thank you everyone for the kind words on the header.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review: Fenix 2LD Premium Q5

Fall is here, it’s not light until 6:30am and it’s dark by 6:30pm. This means that those long weekend runs will be starting in the dark and sometimes finishing in the dark. This is going to be good practice for Coyote 2 Moons 100k race in March where you guestimate your duration time and then you get placed in a starting group and start running Saturday some time with a view to completing around 10am Sunday morning.

The truth is I have looked at the race website five or six times and I am still confused, but somehow this is not surprising given the RD signs off as Chief Idiot, somehow I feel strangely reassured.

Anyway I digress. The Fenix 2LD is a torch (or flashlight depending on your poison) and as a picture is worth a 1000 words and I am tired here’s six, well two that are made up of three photos each.

The first three are a series of shots of an orange tree in our back yard taken at 9pm with a half moon being the only other light source from a distance of around 15 feet. From left to right they a 4 cell Maglite, a 3 cell Maglite and the Fenix 2LD. The photo is blurred but look at the illumination not the focus.

The second set, in the same order, are of just in front of my feet and while they do look eerily like the moon they are photos of essentially dirt.

I think the results are self explanatory and to be honest the camera does not show the extent of illumination from any of the torches but you do get the general idea from the side by side comparison. If you want all the technical info you can read about here. It’s probably way overkill for running around the streets, although at night I am in a fluorescent vest and Peztl headtorch; this is the land of lunatic drivers after all, but for running on trails at night it’s certainly going to shed some light on your chosen path. As you can see from the photo above do not be fooled by it's size; it packs a punch way beyond that of the Maglites and only uses 2 AA batteries not D cells. For the late night cyclist out there there is a bike mount available too.

I got mine from Zombie Runners and while it’s not a cheap toy, with a price tag of $59.50, using the code ZRTRAILS will ease the pain by 10%.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

20 miles in 20 photos

Twenty miles was on the plan yesterday. It is the first 20mile+ distance that I'll run, increasing steadily up to the final week before I start to taper and culminate in a 35 miler. Instead of taking off at the local trailhead I opted to drive 10 minutes to an alternative. I had a route in mind which would be a figure of eight, minimizing the dull factor of running loops and would give me an "add on" for when I need to extend it a bit further. Rain was forecast and while the cloud was mean and moody I managed to avoid the worst of it; it did rain more later in the day. What is nice about this run is the variety; you start out on the flat in a pasture like landscape, transition through some light woods into desert and then have the rolling barren hills. It was a good job the rain held off too as the trails are so dusty that any real rain is going to turn them in to porridge. So rather than babble on, here is 20 miles in 20 photos.

Mile 1. Starting at the Canyon Entrance; it's wide and flat

Mile 2. It's not as dark as it looks...really!

Mile 3. Coming out the wooded section

Mile 4. The trail starts to get rockier (and rollier)!

Mile 5. Note the use of the word "Flat"...very liberal!

Mile 6. Am I getting higher or is the cloud getting lower?

Mile 7 Definitely going up...

Mile 8. ...and up

Mile 9. The start of the rolling hills on the Ridge Trail

Mile 10. Rolling down and up...

Mile 11. ...and round and round

Mile 12. Need more use of the word "Cheese"!

Mile 13. Back in the woods, a bit brighter this time

Mile 14. Not much to say about this; it's dirt!

Mile 15. More hillwork

Mile 16. The long and winding road...well trail

Mile 17. Oh poo! Broken Lace

Mile 18. The final hill

Mile 19. Homeward bound

Mile 20. Well 19.87, if my shoes could talk the tales they would tell!

Overall the run went well and I felt I could have gone on further, I was actually .13 shy of 20 but it's close enough. My pace was still slower than I would like although I shaved 15 seconds off of it from my last long run so it's getting there. I am aiming for an average 10 minute mile pace. nothing super fast but like I have said in the past that's a five hour 50k and a 10 hour 50 miler. This week's plan has a me running another 26 miles and biking the same, I've two more long bike rides and then it's full on running for the rest of the plan till Twin Peaks in December.

There's no more photos any better than the ones above but here's the MotionBased data:

Friday, October 3, 2008

W/E6 W/B7

Another week of getting it done with some flexibility. Sunday’s bike ride was a little shorter than planned, the constraint of time, as mentioned before it was our eldest 4th birthday party and I had to be back in good time for that. Monday back on the road for a recovery 7 miles and the rest of t he week alternated between bike and run for a total of 91 miles on the bike and 25 run, Tonight turned it a bit of a mess as I forgot to pack my orthotics’ and had to scrap the run till I got home meaning that I finished my 10 miler around 7:30pm.

Tomorrow I have my first 20 miler, the first of seven runs of that length or longer over the next nine weeks, it’s always good to start it with less than 12 hours rest in between runs. Rain is forecast, ho hum!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Seven Lessons...

This week’s Runner’s Lounge TIART is Life Lessons I have learned from running. Here’s seven; one for each day of the week:

1. Races are like vacations; always have short, medium and long term ones booked, paid for and looked forward to.

2. You have to know the lows to enjoy the highs; injuries, bad runs and crap weather are all somewhere in you future, let the downs highlight the ups: great, injury free runs on perfect days.

3. Enjoy the journey as well as the destination; you’ll cover a lot of miles as a runner so sometimes just stop and smell the roses.

4. Be flexible: metaphorically and physically; learn to be adaptable – life happens and don’t forget to stretch.

5. A change is as good as a rest; do you always go out the door and turn left, mix it up and turn right for something different.

6. You get good at what you do; be it running, playing the violin or hoping on one foot, practice makes perfect, be tenacious and stick with it.

7. Be like the horizon; you’ll be faster than some and slower than others, just keep moving.