Friday, December 31, 2010


This year is done, the good, the bad and the in-between…let’s look forward. The Top 10 30,000' hit list for 2011;

  1. Keep it real, fun and with the family!
  2. Drop 20lb and get back on the good food bandwagon
  3. Pick up 4 minutes on my 10k and 7 minutes on my Half Marathon
  4. Plan the work…then work the plan
  5. Consistency is king and that's where the results live
  6. Cross Train; I got the bike now I need to use it!
  7. Do the good stuff I am supposed to; foam roll, stretch, yoga etc
  8. Transition to Mid/Forefoot
  9. No new kit in Jan, Feb or March!
  10. Sleep…get more than I get now!

There’s probably some more…but this will do for now!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

PSA; Bears, Beans and Popcorn

I sometimes get emails about upcoming events etc and general newsy things, most of them are spam based but these three I thought may be of interest…

13.1 Marathon® – Los Angeles Invites Karhu Bear to set 5K Pace on Race Day

imageBecause Karhu mean’s ‘bear’ in Finnish, The Karhu 5K, a division of the 13.1 Marathon® – Los Angeles invites racers to come out on January 16th and try to "Beat the Bear". Any runner who "beats the Karhu bear” during the 5K and crosses the finish line before the bear, will be presented with a ticket good for a FREE pair of Karhu running shoes of their choice from the Top to Top specialty run store.

The Karhu 5K will share the same start and finish as the 13.1 Marathon® – Los Angeles, beginning on the Venice Boardwalk and ending at the historic Windward Circle in Venice for an unforgettable race experience. Amidst ocean views participants will enjoy a Tinseltown themed half marathon and Karhu 5K celebrating the best of Los Angeles.

First-timer friendly and perfect for avid runners, the Karhu 5K will offer a scenic and festive run along a closed course with fully supported aid stations, live entertainment, and medals for all finishers. Participants and spectators are encouraged to wear costumes and enjoy a race “Where the Party Meets the Pavement”.

New this year – racers can look forward a selection of gourmet food truck grub provided at the Finish Line Party by The Sweets Truck,Streets of Thailand, Get Shaved, Dogtown Dogs, and more.

Racers are invited to join the official benefiting charity, Team World Vision to raise funds for clean water projects in Kenya and Malawi while training with local team groups. There is no fundraising minimum and team members will enjoy a Pre-Race Team Dinner, Pep Rally on race morning, and Post-Race Celebration Cookout. For more information on Team World Vision please visit

Registration is currently open. Karhu 5K registration is $20 through January 9, 2011. Week of registration will be $25.

To register and for more information on 13.1 Marathon® - Los Angeles visit

Want to run Boston? (my title)

Hi Stuart,

I love your blog - it is so inspiring. (I should point out that  flattery will get you anywhere)

imageI manage a charity marathon team (from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary) that will participate in this April's Boston Marathon.  There are still a few spots left on our 50-member team.  Would you be willing to mention this opportunity to run the Boston Marathon on your blog?  It’s for a great cause and is a great opportunity to run the Boston Marathon!

Team members will raise funds to bring new hope and a healthier future to people everywhere who face loss of sight, hearing, voice, balance, taste and smell, as well as head and neck cancer.  Team members must commit to raising a minimum of $5,000 for research and patient care at Mass. Eye and Ear.  Fundraising and training support will be offered.  The team coach, Fred Treseler, is recognized as one of the best in the country.

Interested runners can contact me at or (617) 573-6364.  More information can also be found

I appreciate your help!!


Hood to Coast…coming to a theater near you

Dear Stuart,

This January 11th, runners and athletes nationwide will make their way to see the world’s largest relay race in movie theaters for a Special, One-Night Only screening. Each year, 12,000 runners make the journey from the top of Oregon's tallest mountain, Mt. Hood, 197 miles to the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon.

HOOD TO COAST is an inspiring new documentary that follows four teams with various levels of athletic ability on their epic journey to conquer the world’s largest relay race. Some run to test their personal limits, some to overcome personal obstacles, and others leap in blindly looking for a way to shake up a complacent life. As we follow these four teams, we realize that winning isn’t everything in a film that takes a celebratory look at personal motivation and attempting the extraordinary. Tickets are available at now!

NCM Fathom and Film for Thought are thrilled to bring this feature length documentary to your local movie theater and show it on the big screen in stunning HD. Immediately following the documentary, movie theater audiences will hear from a distinguished group of expert runners, Olympians and running world giants as they discuss their experience of participating in the Hood to Coast relay and its unique place in the history of American running. Panelists include but are not limited to:
·       Mary Decker Slaney—Olympian and HTC Women’s Course Record Holder
·       Bart Yasso—Editor, Runner’s World Magazine, Author: “My Life On The Run”
·       Kenny Moore—Olympian, HTC Runner, Sports Writer & Author: “Bowerman & the Men of Oregon”
·       Bob Foote—Hood To Coast Founder, former Men of Oregon runner
·       Director Christoph Baaden
·       Characters from the film
*Talent subject to change

In addition, the event will feature LIVE red carpet interviews, reactions to the event and more, as running legends like Bart Yasso and Mary Decker Slaney make their way to the premier.

Seats are limited so don’t miss your chance to see Hood to Cost on 1-11-11 only. Also, check out to see the Hood to Coast trailer, additional video content and to learn more about the film and this one-night event.  To download banner ads, a countdown widget, and other sharable content visit To find a list of participating theaters near you and purchase tickets, visit

We would love for you to help us spread the word about this great event!  Let me know if you have any questions and I look forward to hearing from you.



Normal service is now resumed…

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

QuadCast Episode 43; A catch up and a chat with old friends

So it's been a while...uas usual. Anyway I give a round up from a couple more races I ran and chat about my transition to mid/fore foot running.

Also something special in this episode, I get together with Barb from KelownaGurlTris, Matt from RunDiggerRun and Mike from Dirt Dawg's Running Podcast, we have all been podcasting from nearly two years although these guys are way more prolific and professional than me! We chat about this year, net year and generally shoot the... well you know!

So sit back and enjoy the fireside chat.

You can listen to the Podcast through iTunes by clicking here or stream it in the widget on the right hand margin.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May you get what your wish forGeseënde Kersfees,Een Plesierige Kerfees, Rehus-Beal- Ledeats, Gezur Krislinjden, Milad Majid, Feliz Navidad, Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand, Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun, Selamat Hari Natal,Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!, Vesele Vanoce, Feliz Natal, Shubho borodin, Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat, Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo, Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!, Feliz Navidad, Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun, Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan, Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito, Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo, Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth, Pace e salute Rot Yikji Dol La Roo, Mitho Makosi Kesikansi, Sretan Bozic, Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok, Glædelig Jul, Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak, Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast, Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!, Gajan Kristnaskon, Ruumsaid juulup hi, Melkin Yelidet Beaal, Rehus- Beal- Ledeats, Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!, Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad, Hyvaa joulua, Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar, Joyeux Noel, Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!, Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!, Bo Nada, Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!, Froehliche Weihnachten, Kala Christouyenna!, Juullimi Pilluaritsi!, Froehliche Weihnachten, Jwaye Nowel or to Jesus Edo Bri'cho o Rish D'Shato Brichto, Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar, Shekara!, Mele Kalikimaka, Mo'adim Lesimkha, Chena tova,Baradin ki shubh kamnaaye, Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!, Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou!, Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket, Gledileg Jol,Selamat Hari Natal, Idah Saidan Wa Sanah, Jadidah,Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat, Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut, Ojenyunyat osrasay, Buone Feste Natalizie, Shinnen omedeto, Kurisumasu Omedeto, Mithag Crithagsigathmithags, Sung Tan Chuk Ha, souksan van Christmas, Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!, Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!, Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto, Priecigus Ziemassvetkus, Linksmu Kaledu, Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi Nijaar, Sreken Bozhik, IL-Milied It-tajjeb, Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa, Meri Kirihimete, Shub Naya Varsh, Merry Keshmish, God Jul, or Gledelig Jul, Pulit nadal e bona annado, Bon Pasco, Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu, En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!, Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo, Maligayan Pasko!, Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie, Feliz Natal, Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha, Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi, Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua, Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn, Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!, Craciun Fericit, Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom, Buorrit Juovllat, La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou, Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou, Hristos se rodi, Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce, La Maunia Le, Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou, Nollaig chridheil huibh, Hristos se rodi, Subha nath thalak Vewa, Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa,Vesele Vianoce, A stastlivy Novy Rok,Vesele Bozicne Praznike Srecno Novo Leto or Vesel Bozic in srecno Novo leto, God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År,Maligayamg Pasko, Masaganang Bagong Taon,Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal, Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!, Sawadee Pee Mai or souksan wan, Christmas Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun, Srozhdestvom Kristovym, Naya Saal Mubarak Ho, Chuc Mung Giang Sinh, Nadolig Llawen, E ku odun, e ku iye'dun! and Cestitamo Bozic!

May your God go with you!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Remember these, the blog meme of a year or so ago, well like the 80’s it’s all coming back, I like the 80’s and Rio tagged me last week. So here we go…

1. What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?

Well all things considered it’s been a funny year, with hindsight (of course) I totally underestimated the damage to my leg last year, in fact it’s still not really right and quite possibly may never be. I had big goals that never came to fruition. That being said there are some simple things that went well I bested my 10k by nearly four minutes and won my AG, but that was way back in February. I managed to dig myself out of a funk mid year and I shaved 10 minutes off of my 30k PR last month and then ran a really sensible Half Marathon early this month. But probably my proudest accomplishment, getting my kids interested in running and that leads me nicely into the next question…


2. What are your running goals for 2011?

Next year is all about the family on race day, expect to see me merrily running plenty of kid’s fun runs either as warm ups or cool downs. This will also mean that I am running shorter races Half's or 30kms will probably max me out distance wise. The good thing about that is that I can focus a bit more on my speed, so I hope to shave some time off some of my PRs, I would really like to get close to a 40:00 10k and a 1:30 Half Marathon…we’ll see! Maybe in the second half I’ll go a bit longer? Non running but athletic I have a gleaming gloating bike calling my name as I walk by it each day and I need to tick off the Century ride thing, I got close a couple of years ago, I also won a wetsuit this year so maybe I will have cause to use that at some point. Non work well there’s the family and work and in that order. Oh and dropping those extra pounds that have crept back on!

3. What is your favorite race?

This is easy although it’s not a race but a series and that’s the PCTR race series, I hold these very close to my heart, my first Ultra, my fastest 50k, fabulous fun times and always with good friends and that includes the Race Directors; Sarah and Michael. Next year they are expanding their races to include some in Lake Tahoe and I am sharing some ideas to create something that will include a large portion of the Santa Monica Backbone trail and may extend out to a 50 miler. If it’s your first trail race or your 100th PCTR is always one to keep at the top of your list.

ocean view

4. What is your most embarrassing running moment?

Strangely not too many of these to be honest, puking at Leona Divide…always a bonus! Getting caught shot on a trail run…got TP? Ending up in an ambulance at ‘the Hood? Ok maybe I have a few more than I thought?

So there you go another little slice of me, you can find my other tagged posts here, here, here, here and here, this is what happens when you have been blogging a while!

Your turn now and so in no particular order; Penny, Bootchez, Wes, Barb and Tran.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review; Clif Bars – Seasonal variety

P1010075As is the usual way I am behind the curve, in other words late but I really need to do this and so much as I dislike back-to-back reviews I need to put this out there before it’s too late…truth is it almost is but not quite!

Anyway let’s get on with the review. So we have all heard of Clif Bars right, chewy, yummy goodness, great for on the go, road, trail, good for pre run, post run, day time night time any time! OK enough of that.

So apparently this time each year Clif releases it’s seasonal flavors, I say apparently because I am living under a rock and had totally missed this until my special mailing list kicked in and they arrived on my doorstep…and whoosh they were gone!

In a nutshell this was what was sent to me:

Spiced Pumpkin Pie; A little late for Halloween in a pack, even so it’s not too sweet, not too tart, and luckily for me not too pumpkin either but very yummy and not scary either!

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread; Thanksgiving all over, a cross between an artesian bread and an energy bar, zesty, tart and chewy, my least favorite but the others are so good that’s not saying much

Iced Gingerbread; OMG, put simply this is the best energy bar I have ever had period! I love the taste of ginger and this delivers! So much so that I have just about bought up every bar that I have seen in my local area!

Ok now as I mentioned in my other Clif giveaway I have another giveaway for 6 bars, 2 of each…and giving away the ginger flavor was a close thing, this is a consolation giveaway for the folks who did not win the monster Clif box, and so after plugging in all the names thanks to the winner is Scatman, send me your mailing address and I will send them on their way…and do it fast so I don’t eat the ginger ones!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review; Saucony Kinvara

P1010073I was approached by the good folks at Saucony a few months ago and asked if I would like to try their newest shoe the Kinvara. I had seen them advertised in the usual places RW, Triathlete (yes I get that too) and had wondered what they were like. I did a bit of online research and spoke to a few folks who wear them including Pete who wore them to qualify for Boston. So with that research under my belt I said yes…a few days later they arrived.

Now this all happened around the time I was running the Long Beach and Catalina Island Eco Marathons and so under the rule of nothing new on race day they sat in a box for a couple of weeks before I broke them out and inhaled that new shoe smell…you know the one and now I have around 65 miles on them in the last 2-3 weeks.

The first thing you notice about these shoes is that they are light, weighing in at 7.7oz (compared to 11.1oz for my Brooks Adrenaline 10s and 13.4 for my Salomon XT Wings 2), it’s relative I agree but racing flats are often in the 6-7oz range and so these are definitely on the lighter end of the scale. The uppers are constructed from two layers, the inner is a lightly padded waffle which extends over the front two thirds of the shoe, the remaining third is lined with Saucony’s “Hydrator”, there’s not much info about it that I can find, but it has caused me no issues in the heel area. Also noticeable in the heel is the lack of build up, it’s very flexible. Covering the waffle liner is the top mesh, this is a very fine mesh with some bracing around the mid foot area. The laces are attached to this and the closed end of the tongue is too. Saucony considered weight reduction here and some of the “brand” graphics are printed on. The mesh is folded into the half heel cup (it only goes up half the shoe) and the toe cover which are the only real structured parts of the upper of the shoe.


The outsole is you ever present EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate), the difference is inside the heel where there is the addition of the what Saucony calls ProGrid Lite, this builds on Saucony’s proprietary ProGrid which can be found in every shoe that they make and is designed to add cushioning and not weight. The sole shows some respect to shoes from years gone by with the inclusion of the triangle pattern, however there is some newer technology included as they act as a shock absorber as they are absorbed into main body of the sole. There is no posting as you find in most shoes for structured running. Finally the sole has some wear resistant areas on the heel and toe.

So how do they feel, well they are best described as running with cushioning glued to the sole of you feet. they are as mentioned very light, it’s easy to forget that there is no real upper to them, the cushioning is very effective. I worked my way up in distances and the longest I have run in them was the Santa to the Sea HM earlier this month without any issues. I have noticed that they can get a little warm but that may be me being too picky. One thing I did notice is that they were a little tight when I started running in them, I am a believer that running shoes should fit and you should not need to “break them in” but after 10 miles or so they were fine. Fit wise I sized up half a size as I always do with running shoes and due to the tightness I reduced the volume of sock I was wearing to very thin, in fact I am wearing mostly cycling socks, which have zero padding, without issue and I am really liking the stripped down feel.

This shoe is also piling up the awards since it’s launch, Runners World Best Debut of the Year, Outside Magazine Gear of the Year and in the Top 10 Gear Picks from Gear Junkie

So where does this leave me, well if you were to ask me 3 months ago I was a die hard Brooks Adrenaline wearer, nice solid shoe right, you can read my review here. Now, well, I am journey to lighter shoes and better form and I firmly believe that these shoes will help me get there. You can see some more photos below:

These shoes were provided free of charge by the good folks at Saucony. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Photo fail; the economics of pile them high!

I was interested to see the photos from last Sunday’s race, if nothing else so I could see what my form looked like given I am trying to transition to forefoot style. They posted pretty quickly 61 pages of 48 prints per page, that’s 2928 prints, now how may of me are there do you think? Well having looked through them all, yes there was no cataloging by bib number, I can tell you, a grand total of two and a half, the half is of half of me and blurred!

Santa 1


santa 3

The first one is pretty good, I am moving so fast I am leaning into the corner, but he’s nipped my feet, the second shows very little heel strike and a whole lotta palm trees, the third well it’s a bit of a miss! Now having looked at the photos there are some good ones, some really good ones!

path park bridge

Now by my memory there were 5 maybe 6 photographers on the course…not a very good ratio me thinks, one photographer gets two and basically the others miss! Oh well!

Now the next thing on the fail-list, the cost. They start at $12 for a teeny tiny 5 x 7 print…a digital download, which lets be honest is what we want; Facebook, Blog, Twitter and the like a whopping $49.99 can you say daylight robbery!

Let’s look at the business case here, as best I can tell each photographer is independent, that is they contract to the company that sets up the photography of the race, somehow they divide up the course and select their location, as you can see there were some pretty good vantage points. From there they take the photos…lots and lots of photos, zero editing and in this case zero sorting (IMHO #fail) and then they get posted to a website from which you can order prints or download.

Let’s assume that a photographer takes 500 photos, of which 20% are duplicates that leaves 400. Of that 400 how many runners buy a digital download, remember they are basically $50 each, maybe 10%, that’s 40 photos, which is $2000 not bad for a day’s work. but let’s look at it a different way, what if they were $12 each how many would be sold then?

Well ask yourself how many would you buy, two maybe three and that maybe opens up 50 of the duplicates to choose from. So now we have a pool of 450 photos of which 20%, (because they’re cheaper more people by them) buys two photos, that’s 180 photos at $12, or $2160.

Of course this is all based on assumptions…but it makes you think, maybe pile them high and sell them cheap does work?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winning Wednesday

This was a closely fought contest but alas there can be only one winner and that person is….drumroll! Solo Runner!  Drop me a line and I will get the goodies on their way to you, thanks to everyone who entered. I will have a consolation Clif giveaway coming up shortly and it’s going to be a closed entry open only to those who entered this one so stay tuned!

Also, and hopefully third time will be a charm, the winner of the 13.1 is Brittny.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review; Nathan Magda 1.5L (aka HPL #008)

Way back in the Summer I started to review hydration packs…well Summer never really arrived and I never really finished so with Christmas and the end of the year in sight I am making an effort to wrap up all my outstanding reviews this is probably the penultimate one on hydration packs. So I present the Nathan HPL #008 also known as the Magda named after the Olympic marathoner Magda Lewy-Boulet for whom it was designed. From Nathan’s website, the features include:


  • 2-way Propulsion Harness
  • 1.5 liter Hydration Bladder with bite valve
  • Dual front pockets – one mesh holster, one zippered
  • Power Stretch Mesh back pocket for jacket or gloves
  • Vertically adjustable sternum strap with tube clip
  • Lightweight, breathable Wall Mesh with soft perimeter binding feels great against skin and won’t damage technical apparel
  • Weight: 5.5 oz.

So how does it stack up, well first of all it is really light, even when filled you don’t really notice the weight, the pack also includes the new and improved Platypus bladder which has a wide mouth screw lid, previous versions had a slide closure which had sealant issues, it’s easy to fill and is definitely one of the less plastic tasting bladders I have used. It contains 70oz or 1.5l so it’s plenty big enough a long run in the hills. The hose has a bite valve which also has a locking mechanism…it’s so simple it took me 10 minutes to figure it out and a really simple but nice feature is a clip on the front strap that the hose locks into to stop it from floating about.

The pack storage is pretty stripped down, there is not a lot of room left in the pack once the bladder is full, there is a second pouch in which you could get a pair of gloves or armwarmers but not much more. On the front of the vest you have the choice of two pouches; one zipped, one laced, both have a mesh fabric. Both are a good size, big enough for 4-5 gels or a camera, an iPhone or Blackberry easy fits in. They are mounted on a more solid breathable mesh fabric which is also the same on the back pack section, it’s not hot and seems to breath easily enough. The front fastening buckle has plenty of give and to allow you to get a really comfortable fit it also slides up and down up and down your stenum. In a similar way the straps to the rear are adjustable and affix to a large rubber figure of 8, this allows you to dial in the fit and also absorbs the bumping around.

So how does it fit, well it’s, to be honest it’s ok, not great just ok, had I not been spoilt by my UD Wasp I would hold it in higher opinion. Why well it’s just a bit small - I think that this is a much better pack for a smaller person, I am 6’1” and this is just a but too dainty for me. The strap at the front and the side straps were a bit high and I found myself fiddling with them while running on a 10-12 mile run which is usually a bad sign for a 25, 30 or 50 mile run.


Now don’t let this put you off, I really do believe that for a smaller frame this would be a really good pack. The pack is usually listed for between $65-85. The good folks at WRC have an end of year sale and it is listed at $60, click here and use quad10 at the check out will get you another 10% off. There a bunch more photos below:

You can read my other Hydration product reviews here:

This pack was provided free of charge by the good folks at WRC. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa to the Sea Half Marathon

I hadn’t planned to run another race this year I really hadn’t but when Penny asked me was I , and when I looked it up and saw how close it was and when I asked and my wife said “sure”, well it was game on!

I’ll spare you all the pre run hoopla, I am pretty good and getting all my crap in one place in time, the only difference here was I picked up my number the day before, it seemed easier than running around in the morning.

I met Penny, Jordan and Kirsty the first two were resplendent in Christmas Tutus, Bob and Melissa joined us and armed with our Toys for Tot’s donation we boarded the school buses that would take us the the start, the race was a point to point. As is always the way online conversations are easily continued IRL (in real life) and after a short drive we were there.


One Tutu and a two throwaway sweaters

The start was busy with the usual portajohn lines but I managed to get in and out in time for the start. I started further back than I had hoped but it not like I was in contention so timing was fine, I had in mind a strategy of 8:15 for the first 10 miles and then to pick up for the last three and to finish around 1:45-1:50. And so I ran, the course was basically across the farmland of Oxnard which is pancake flat, the biggest climb was up and over a bridge around mile 6ish. I chiseled away at the miles and when I noticed my pace dropping off I picked it up. After 53:52 I was at the halfway point. The landscape had changed from farmland through industrial park and we were now running through residential and shopping areas so there was a little crowd support as well as some bands on the sidewalk and the compulsory Taiko drummers.


Mostly I was just focused on keeping my pace and running down people up ahead. At the 10 mile mark I had 1:21:47 on the clock and was ahead of the game by 4 seconds per mile. By now it was getting pretty warm, unseasonably warm for December with temperatures in the mid 70’s and no cloud cover or breeze, it’s not that hot really but we have had such a mild summer and fall that no one is acclimatized to the heat, in fact I saw one runner who had either suffered from the heat and fallen or had tripped. The last three mile I picked up the pace, well actually I left it a bit late and it was the last two where I was sub 8:00 pace and with a sprint finish I was over the line and done. Unofficial 1:45:54 with a 1:50 negative split for the second half. I hung around the finish hoping to see some of the others finish but I had other commitments so I had to leave without saying goodbye, sorry guys!

I have to say that I was really pleased with my strategy, this is the longest “run” by far in a long time so it is a nice way to end the year…I think this really is the last one. As you can see my splits are pretty even and the only variation is probably drive by the subtle ups and downs of the course. My HM PR is 1:37 so with some solid training, given that my focus next year is on the shorter distances it should be under threat.


Overall this is a great local race, there were plenty of volunteers, the fluid stops only had water, fine for a HM, a nice finish line set up, tech shirt and medal, although I understand they ran out as the race was oversold :-( oh and there are a ton of a presents go to under privileged kids.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review; Clif Shot and Shot Turbo

clif-energy-gelOne of the benefits of blogging for any period of time is that you start to develop some credibility ability to construct a really good begging letter and when you approach a company they are more inclined to send you something to review, way back in the summer I did this with Clif Shot drink. Somehow I have ended up on a very cool list and so now and then I get fantastic boxes of goodies from Clif, most recently it was their new and very yummy Clif Crunch, reviewed here.

More recently I received a box of the new and improved Clif Shot and Shot Turbo gels. I have been slowly using them up and finally had the last of the eight flavors at the PCTR 30k last month.

So on with the review;

From their website; “CLIF SHOT® Energy Gel provides quick energy to athletes while racing and training. With our new formula and flavors getting energized between breaths has never been easier. Athletes and foodies in the CLIF Kitchen created six base flavors: new Citrus (25mg caffeine), plus Razz®, Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry (25mg caffeine), Mocha (50mg caffeine) and two TURBO flavors in Double Espresso (100mg caffeine) and Chocolate Cherry (100mg caffeine) that contain the highest level of caffeine of any gel. The flavors are made with organic fruit and chocolate — tasting like delicious real food, not a science project”.

All sound pretty good right, well let’s get into the nuts and bolts…the taste!

  • Citrus – not too sharp and not too sweet, surprisingly quenching aand doesn’t line the inside of you mouth, a little reminiscent of Lemon Curd!
  • Razz – this is your basic berry flavor, and it is exactly that; berry, a little tart but very palatable and always a good standby as it is always easy to eat
  • Vanilla – zero chemical taste here (which I have found to be an issue with other Vanilla gels), you can almost taste the vanilla bean, I am a Vanilla fuss pot and this passes muster
  • Chocolate – a little thicker than the other gels, it comes out in a ‘plug’ which lets it dissolve in your mouth, doesn’t get too melty – another real word, on hot days!
  • Strawberry – a little sweeter than the Razz flavor but it is very Strawberryey – is that a word? A little taste of summer in a pouch, would go well on a scone!
  • Mocha – my least favorite flavor but I generally don’t like mocha anything and that ‘s exactly what this is!

Now the Shot Turbos are boosted with extra caffeine 100mg each and come in two flavors;

  • Chocolate Cherry – luxurious and rich, think fresh cherries covered in rich dark chocolate, I could pour this all over vanilla ice cream!
  • Double Espresso – coffee thick and strong enough to melt the spoon! Take only in need of extreme boost, do not get it on your fingers and hide from children!

Now consistency does vary between the gels; at the thin end are the Cirtrus and Berry flavors, then Vanilla, thickening through Mocha, Chocolate(s) and then at the other end of the spectrum is Espresso; why do I mention this well I prefer something a little thicker, not thick enough to chew but I really like the way the chocolate ones come out as a plug (the best analogy I can think of is chewing tobacco which I am sure you have all used!) and you can pop it into the side of your mouth or under your tongue and let it dissolve, this can avoid consuming the gel too fast and getting GI issues. I have found recently that I can take up to 15 minutes to get through a pack and I am taking one every 45 minutes on runs of 90 minutes and longer.

The packaging has the innovative “litter leash” stops the top of the packet messing up the road or worse the trail, I use it to wrap the packet to stop it oozing out in your pocket! Ingredients –wise Clif has made a change too organic maltodextrin replaces the brown rice syrup and the gels contain at least 85% organic ingredients as well as being suitable for Vegans! The gels do contain electrolytes; with 50% more electrolytes than the previous formulation and calories wise they vary between 100-110 per pack, it’s worthe checking the labels to note the variables.

As mentioned I used them up over several runs but I had the most in one go during the PCTR 30K a couple of weeks ago, one every 45 minutes and taking about 10-15 minutes to eat it, did it work, well I think so, no signs of bonking and no hunger.

Now for the giveaway, well as mentioned I am the recipient of these super Clif boxes and this week I got another, now I want to share in my good fortune and to that end I am going to regift it!

In case you are wondering; it has basically some of everything that Clif makes; Mojo, Bar, Kid, Crunch, C and Builders, there are Clif ShotBloks, Roks and of course Gels!


So here’s the competition, much along the lines of my others…

Like, follow, become a fan of or whatever they’re calling it this week on Facebook of Clif Bar

Follow them on Twitter gets you one entry

Post about it on your blog and you will get another entry

Leave a comment on this post telling me you have done the above gets you your possible fourth entry!

Finally all you folks on Twitter tweet the following will get you one more entry per day, this contest runs for a week so between now and next Wednesday, that’s six more for a possible total of eleven ten! Hey this is an excellent box of goodies so you need to work for it!

I just entered the win a free @clifbar giveaway on the @quadrathon blog

Pretty simple really, watcha waiting for? Oh and if you win, why not write a review…that seems only fair right?!?

This products was provided free of charge by Clif Bar. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Monday, December 6, 2010

There’s more to the outdoors than trail running!

I was reading Kovas’ blog and he mentioned the Outdoor Blogging Network and how they were setting up a portal of outdoor blog where the focus is to establish it as the “primary site on the web for writers and readers of Outdoor related blogs to come and peruse a vast listing of the best Outdoor blogs in existence”…sound goods to me I thought! So I shot over filled out a quick form and submitted my application…and was accepted under the Trail Running category; yay! Now further inspection of the site is that this really is an outdoors site and caters to some pretty esoteric activities; bird watching, target shooting and bushcraft but there are more mainstream activities including hiking and fishing, by comparison trail running is at the more tamer end of activities!

So check them out and if you feel you fit send in an application and you never know!

Also I have had to draw another winner for the 13.1 contest as the last winner never contacted me, I am always amazed at the lack of follow through but hey whatever…so drumroll Part Duex, congrats EricaH drop me a line to get the entry code!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mojo + Motivation = MoJoVation

So with one eye on the future, only one eye mind you, my mojo and motivation has flamed on to coin a phrase of the Human Torch!

It would seem strange that I was not motivated when running the best part of three marathons and a 5k in a little over 4 weeks, don’t get me wrong I was, I always aim to leave it all out there although with the races so close together there was a little conservatism employed. But while the motivation was high the mojo was low. I was lacking that float that I get from running trails, that sheer joy of chasing the horizon. I cheated Long Beach; I went in knowing I would finish if I ran smart, but I didn’t really race it. The Eco Marathon was a real ball buster made better with good company. Come PCTR the fun was coming back and by the time the Turkey Day Dash came around it was all about family shits and giggles.

The main driver of the loss of mojo was a niggling injury, I don’t know what caused and more frustrating I don’t know why it went away, it’s impact was to knock my training out by 2 nearly 3 months, needless to say it was insanely frustrating, I tried ice, heat, massage, electro-stim, yoga, crossing training and this thing that finally made it go away was good old fashioned rest. It’s not reared it’s head lately (hopefully not famous last words)! The lingering effect is a big hole in my base which only now I am able to start to shore up.

So enough of all that gloom and doom, I currently I have a real spring in my step and it’s only be added to due to these; Saucony Kinvaras, it’s early days they only have a week in them but so far so good and yes there is a review in the works.


So the one eye has me looking towards the 13.1 race in January, yeah it’s only 6 weeks away but the hopeful plan is to have transitioned through the Kinvara’s back into these, Newtons while adding miles to the bank. I got them back in February, ran in them a couple of times and then they lived in the closet ever since.


I am a lazy heel striker, that is when I am tired I resort to heel striking but when I am ‘fresh’ I am a pretty good mid foot striker. So it’s a double edged sword, one being a thin base and the other and the bigger challenge; never really a break in the racing schedule to fit the transition fully in, (at least one without injury), so hopefully this will give me the window to effect the change. One of the challenges has been the actual planning of the transition and beyond everyone saying to only run in them for a mile or so and ramp up from there there is nothing specific…until now. I picked up Danny Abshire’s, the founder of Newton’s, new book Natural Running which comes complete with an 8 week transition program, yeah the race is in 6 weeks so hopefully I can get up to speed pretty quickly…I’ll obviously be documenting the process as I go.

Let the fun begin!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Inside the mind of an Ultra-runner

My iPod is full of all sorts of things from Avril Lavigne to The Zencast. Through iTunes I have created playlist that carry me along the trail or propel me along the road. There are a fairly solid stable of podcasts that I listen to. Recently a couple of the ones I have listened to have some pretty insightful interviews with two luminaries of the ultra running world; Karl Meltzer and Scott Jurek.

Mike, an accomplished ultra runner himself and the host of Dirt Dawg’s Running Diatribe spends an hour chatting to Karl. Fresh off running the Pony Express Trail, Sacramento CA to St Louis MO, some 2000 miles. They talk about UTMB, Karl’s odds, nutrition and a whole bunch of other good stuff.

At the other end of the spectrum are Ray and Jason and two relatively new runners with their sights set on their first marathon sometime in 2011 and hosts of the Geeks in Running Shoes podcast. They spend an hour with Scott where they peel back the layers of what goes through your mind when running 100 miles and discuss the famous Green Magma!

There are a few other interviews or ultrarunners out there mostly on Endurance Planet, which is on hiatus at the moment including Anita Ortiz, Duncan Callahan, Nikki Kimball, Hal Koerner and the Gran Daddy of Ultra Running Gordy Ainsley

Got a long run planned this weekend and need some company why don’t you take one of them on a run with you…

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving…better late than never!

I am a bit behind on this so here we go.

Thanksgiving is a bit of a non holiday around these parts. My wife and I have no family in the US and the grand tradition of travelling cross country to see relatives is a bit lost on us due to that. PK (pre kids) we would just disappear; trips included driving from Portland to LA, driving around New Mexico (including Four Corners), skiing in Mammoth and the like. Now our kids, both born in the US have a deeper heritage as it were and so with our eldest asking about Thanksgiving we decided to outsource the whole thing and we went to a local hotel for lunch, no cooking, no cleaning, no muss no fuss! We had planned for a walk in the afternoon but it was so cold we ditched that and all went home for a nap!

Friday I headed to Huntington Library with the kids (wife was working) and we spent a great afternoon playing in the jungle and renaming all the cacti.

cactus 1

Spiky Cucumber

cactus 2

Killer Beachballs

cactus 3

Fuzzy worms


The Zen Garden, one of my favorite places

Saturday I returned back to Franco Bikes to complete my fitting, a month had passed and races on weekends had gotten in the way so it just had to wait. I rode the 6 miles to the shop and we set the bike up on the platform. It was a lot quicker this time around as most of the work was done the first visit. I had fitted the new seatpost and seat, and even used a level and everything! I discussed that when I was putting the power down (this is relative I assure you) I was sliding to the back of the seat, Julian moved the seat back and up a little and boy did it all feel weird, it is best described as sitting in a chair with my legs out in front of me while pedaling. He explained that he was trying to create series of right angles between my arms and torso and torso and thighs, this would allow for the maximum power per stroke, think of it like doing a leg press, when you have a 90 degree bend you are balanced and have the max power to push through.

You can see in the photo Lance Armstrong in the photo above captured using the Retul system, clearly his bike has a more aggressive geometry and he is not fighting his belly like I am but the angles are very similar. It is also important from a power perspective to have a zero or negative heel to ankle measurement (the red line) the helps with the power in the stoke, again Lance’s is well into a negative angle, mine was –2degreees.


So now I am fitted it’s simply a case of getting on and doing the riding so with the fact that wife has been out of town since Tuesday and is not back till next Wednesday…well let’s just say when the cat’s away!



Tuesday Night Sufferfest Revolver


Thursday night Glee and Office ride (per photo)

And that kinda wraps up my week. I am waiting for the winner of the 13.1 draw to contact me, but if I have heard nothing by end of Saturday I will draw another name out of the hat.

Have a great weekend!