Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The gloves are off!

The Oven Gloves!

With the start of 2010 literally round the next corner we’re on the cusp of what was eloquently described as resolutionism in Lora’s blog. And so here endeth the excess, as if to reinforce it I answered the question posed on Twitter…



And back on the straight and narrow I’ll be going! I am a realist, holidays are holidays, what’s the point in guilting yourself out of something and them having it anyway, better to enjoy it!

So cometh January 1st I am upping the training ante, part of which is to re-incorporate core work, for my ‘Hood training program I used the ‘pushruns’ (10-15 pushups every mile) which worked really well, but in this cycle it’s all about speedwork so I need to fit it in elsewhere, additionally I need to drop back to my racing weight; especially if I need to hit some of the targets I have set myself. I had a great interval track workout the other day and I am starting to see some real improvement in my speed and I am getting a glimpse of what’s ahead!

Intervals So using the principles I discussed in this post I’ll be using the 100Squats/100 Pushups/200 Sit Ups challenge over the next 6 weeks, I threw it out on Twitter to anyone who was interested, there are no prizes only the motivation of acquiring washboard abs, rock hard quads and double guns to set you up for the Spring, you can sign up here, follow the instructions on the second tab and fill in your results…easy peasy well apart from the squats, push ups and sit ups! Sign up and join in the fun!

Lastly the winner of the 13.1 Los Angeles is Lindsay, Lindsay let me know your email address and I’ll send you your entry code!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I am no marketer…but I know what I like!

It’s that time of year, January’s editions of Runners World or Trail Runner have hit your door mat or maybe Triathlete or UltraRunner or any combination of them, you’ve read the shoes reviews, the interview with the celebrity runner, the 101 training tips that you’ve never tried before (but you vaguely remember seeing around this time last year) and made a mental note to try the healthy post run meal. Now you’re at the end of the magazine, you find yourself flicking through the last half a dozen pages and looking at the ads for races; some catch your eye and some don’t.

Now as the post title alludes to I am no marketer but I am a complete sucker for marketing, make it appear difficult, unique, a bit hair-brained or just plain hazardous and I am often found merrily figuring out how I could get there and even punching my credit card number into my keyboard. Here are a few that appeal, excuse my cropping:

DSC_0015 DSC_0016

Artful, eye catching and simple, a bit dangerous and strangely both Canadian!

At the opposite end of the spectrum you have some that are over worded, poorly photographed home crafted versions, I have actually run the Calico race, (report, photos etc here ) it’s a beautiful high desert race that  really could have such a better advertisement!



It actually gets worse with Marathons:

DSC_0019 DSC_0020 DSC_0021

Now I am not saying I could do any better but if a picture is worth 1000 words, please use the picture in fact use two or three!  Although I suppose if all else fails we all know sexy sells right!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hello my old friend…it’s been a while

Ah the holiday week, I am forced to take a week off, seriously where I am contracted closes for the week; no work till January 4th the downside is no work equals no pay though.

Saddle Peak So when my wife suggested a hike I thought what the hell! I confess I am not a big hiker, it’s too…pedestrian. But I’m pretty pedestrian right now and so to a local section of the Back Bone Trail we headed. I’ve not been on a trail since 100 in the Hood, not that I was nervous but, well, it’s been awhile.

The Back Bone trail runs the length of the Santa Monica Mountains and is approximately 70 miles in length, we’re lucky to live close enough to it to be able to hit one of six or seven trail heads within a 20 minute drive so I suggested a nice section slap bang in the middle; 3 miles up and 3 miles down. It was also a chance for my wife to off road her new Salomon XT Wings…my recommendation, her conclusion they rock! Ladies you can get yourself a pair from WRC, use Quad10 for a 10% discount. In fact WRC is having a killer sale, check it out and grab yourself a bargain!

We parked, we hiked, we chatted, we laughed and before we knew it, well I knew it as my Garmin is almost an implant I wear it so much, we were at the top and treated to this view;

P1010225widescreen Looking west across the Pacific towards Catalina Island

P1010224widescreenLooking east across Topanga Canyon and the snowcapped San Gabriel's in the distance

Worth the work I would say, we about-faced and ran and walked down, round trip time; 2:17, distance 6:76, reconnecting with old trails; precious, doing it all with my wife; priceless!

There’s till time to vote for me in the Endurance Blog of 2009 one click is all it takes follow this link and if you want to throw your hat or visor into the 13.1 lotto add a comment to this post!

Hope you’re all enjoying your holidays!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tweet Up, Cards Down!

Last Tuesday I had my first Tweet Up! Yeah I know it sounds a bit silly but whatever the name it was an opportunity to meet up in person with people whose blogs I follow or who I know through Twitter (hence the name) and it was also a chance to catch up with Billy who I had not seen since November. After a bit of a disastrous swim session (more on that later) I found my way to The Shack in Marina del Rey, known for it’s quality burgers, I ordered a garden burger and settled in to catch up in person with everyone.

Shack1L-R @ianreyerson @notorias @larunr @quadrathon

The conversation as you would expect circulated about running, races past and current states. I caught up with MsV from Gymnotes and Jen from and all too briefly spoke with Glenn from The Running Fat Guy as well as Billy; LARunner. Billy and I are both recovering from injury, him from a stress fracture and me…well you know all about that.

After settling in the conversation turned to future plans, Billy threw out the question of why was I training for a sub 3:00 marathon? His point being, and let’s be honest to which I am the first to agree, it’s a lofty goal, to which my answer is a simple why not. But to put my cards down on the table and not to sound glib or too confident there is some basis for this:

1)    I am, apparently, by body definition predisposed to be fast twitch
2)    I have a half marathon PR of 1:37; this in itself may seem non relevant but I would confess that it wasn’t a hard race

Now this is itself is perhaps not enough and in reality I might never achieve it but the truth is if I don’t try I’ll never know and as a firm believer in time time, training and tenacity should allow you to really achieve any realistic goal. To that point here is the GTC data from yesterday’s tempo run;

12-26-2009 tempo

I am the first to admit that I am ways away from where I need to be but considering this ends Week 5 of training after coming back from injury I am not that far away from where I was a little over a year ago and then I had a solid base shown below:


Anyway am I aiming to high, is my goal too lofty, well maybe…but it’ll be fun finding out and that’s that point right?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

P1010033Geseënde 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!

I think that about covers it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

‘tis the Season of giving

This week I was contacted by the folks at 13.1 Marathon to introduce their race to me and ask if I would be interested in running it? This is a series of 13.1 mile races, similar to the Rock’N’Roll series, from the producers of the ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon®, ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon®, and the Chicago Half Marathon and 5K.

I thought about it and consulted my plan…I am a stickler (sometimes to my own detriment) for sticking to the plan. That weekend; January 10th, it called for a 10 miler so after some consultation I figured it could be done! Woot! The race is in Venice and starts on the beachpath finishing on Main Street, I know the course and it’s pretty flat…this is obviously of concern to a rufty-tufty ultra runner!

Anyway the other thing the email mentioned was that I could give a free entry away! So here’s the dealio. Leave a comment on this post and I’ll pull a name out of the hat on December 30th and don’t feel obligated to run with me, I am not good company…seriously just ask Billy or Lori!

The voting continues for my place in the Top 10 Endurance Blogs, it seems I went out too fast and peaked too early and have fallen back into the mid pack! That being said it’s still an honor!

Over the next 8 days, your votes will narrow down the list to the top 3. The best part about this voting is it takes one click. No registration, Clickerty click and you’re done.

Like I said ‘tis the season of giving!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Karma Withdrawal!

Tenbestblog09 I have been nominated and selected as one of the Top Ten Endurance Blogs of 2009 by the folks over at It’s a real privilege that my rambling diatribe has been placed in the company of such luminaries as UltraMan (that’s UltraMan; basically two IronMan races over three days) Rich Roll, Eldon; The Fat Cyclist who just came back from a weekend training with Team Radioshack and Lance Armstrong and professional triathlete Bree Wee! There are six other outstanding athletes and bloggers and little ol’ me!

Now this is where it’s time to make a withdrawal from the karma bank, I am hoping I have made enough deposits into it in the last year!

Please visit the voting page of here and vote (for me), online voting for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Blogs will take place the last two weeks of December of 2009 until December 30th. Winners will be announced on December 31st of 2009, and prizes and “Best Blog" ribbons will be awarded to the winners. Thanks in advance!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Hills have Eyes!

'I' for Interval that is!

I am babying my left heel, it’s sore, like it’s bruised rather than it’s injured and so after Wednesday’s run I decided to push back Friday night’s long Tempo till the weekend, I had a Christmas party to go to as well which started at 6:00pm. Anyway Saturday came and went and so Sunday morning I was up and at them. It was feeling better but not 100% so I decided on hill intervals, why not; I had ridden them on my bike (see below) them on Thursday so it seemed fitting enough!

Marsala Hill

There’s this hill near where I live called Tarantula Hill; I am not sure why it’s called that other than the obvious! It’s about a mile away, well actually it’s 0.78 of a mile away, it’s more than a hill it looks kinda like a mini volcano, it’s small, sharp and steep; half a mile and about 200’ gain, there’s a service road that winds around it like a corkscrew. Three intervals I thought, and the end of the second one I was done, but I stripped of my second shirt and left it at the top…I’d have no excuses for not going back up when I got the bottom.

Spider hillBy the third ascent I really was done! I wound my way done and headed home! Here ends week 4 of training, for some reason I am feeling pretty beaten up, not enough sleep is a huge contributing factor to this, something to address in the new year, other than my ankle my recovering knee/quad is sore and I can feel a cold coming down the pipe – time to think myself healthy! Trust me this works…I don’t have time to be sick!

With Christmas looming I need to get out the last of my 2009 reviews, so watch out for them this coming week including POM, Smootie Selector, Tangerine, some Sugoi clothing and the Sufferfest’s Downward Spiral, talking of which I picked up this little pain-pill earlier today, is it bad that I like the pain!

Brett over at Zen and the Art of Triathlon is having a giveaway this week for three free copies…enter at your own risk!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Be Smart!

It’s that time again, you’re reflecting on this year’s triumphs or learning opportunities (‘cos they’re the opposite of triumphs), you’re thinking about next year’s schedule, race plans and where to improve. You’ve probably read or heard something similar to this post already; well I always said I was a mid packer! Having paid tens of thousands of dollars in business education I thought I would impart some well worn wisdom to consider when constructing you’re 2010 plan.

Firstly here’s how not to do it;

I want to run faster than I did this year, in fact I want to shave 5-6:00 minutes off my 21:00 5k PR and I want to do that by Valentines day and it’s ok that I haven’t run since October because when I start training in January I’ll be fresh!

You might want to consider using this framework;

1. Specific – Objectives should specify what they want to achieve.
2. Measurable – You should be able to measure whether you are meeting the objectives or not.
3. Achievable - Are the objectives you set, achievable and attainable?
4. Realistic – Can you realistically achieve the objectives with the resources you have?
5. Time – When do you want to achieve the set objectives?

So you may come out with something like this:

I want to reduce my 21:00 5k PR by 3 minutes, that’s a reduction of 1 minute per mile. I’ll use the XYZ 12 week training plan, which if I start training January 1st means I will be ready by March 3rd but I will also run a race mid February with a target time of 20:45

It’s all kinda the same but you can see that the 5 points listed above are all specifically addressed. Adding these checks into your training objectives will keep you on the straight and narrow and also keep you motivated to continue, wars aren’t won in a single battle they’re won in a series of skirmishes.

Setting yourself up for success is halfway to achieving that success!

….c'mon Haime!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

0.95238095238 mile per hour!

Well I would hate anyone to think that I was inaccurate! So you’re probably wondering what the hell is this, Stuart’s gone (more) bonkers! Well that was my speed to swim a mile, yes a mile, I swam a mile, that’s 1609 meters, 64 laps! Can you tell I am excited! It took me 1:02 and change, I would have had a more accurate time but my watch died; when I got home no less!

Let me let you into a secret though…so I had this dangling toe nail, trust me it bought hang-nail to a whole new level! Every time I kicked I could feel it pulling on its last vestiges of skin, then after the 22nd lap it stopped mostly, at lap 28 it stopped altogether and I looked and it was, yep, gone! Hooray! It’s been hanging on for a week at least! Then on the next lap I saw it lying at the bottom of the pool, no probs I thought I’ll pick it up when I have finished. After the last lap I went to pick it up and, oh the horror, it wasn’t my toenail it was just a mark oh the tiles…ooops, sorry Mr Pool Cleaner!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Let you legs do the leg work (Pt 2)

A quick video on using Pre-programmed Intervals on you Garmin Forerunner, it's Part Two to this one.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stock up on stuffers!

Yeah we can all spend $5000 on a bike or pack our loved one off to a training camp for a week and look after all the domestic mess, bliss at home and get a gazillion brownie points in the process. But the real trick at this time of year is remembering those hints that have been dropped during the previous 335 days, it’s about remembering all those little “oh I wish I had” comments and getting them under the tree asap. So here’s a list of super stocking stuffers all for around $30:

For the swimmer in the house help them with their stroke and consider these Speedo Hand Fins, I have been using them for the few months and while I do not look like Michael Phelps my upper body is starting to resemble his 10 y/o brother!

Accessorize your trail runner with a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters; a firm favorite among trail runners, these keep the crud out of your shoes and let you splash some color around, you can do likewise with some arm sleeves from Moeben, Sugoi or Primal.

Nothing says I love you more than a big tube BodyGlide, chaffing sucks! Of course if the mood takes you you can start applying it to each other!

For you aches and pains invest in The Stick or a foam roller, I little self loving goes a long way! Seriously make this part of your training routine, be proactively preventative rather than regrettably reactive!

This Sugoi Swag-o bago is great for keeping a standby bag full of running stuff or your soggy swim stuff, big enough to carry an a load of kit it folds down to nothing and costs almost that as well, use quad10 at the checkout to keep a little cheer in your pocket.

If you are like me and run on the way home from work you’re exposing your car to all your glorious funk and crud, even worse if you’ve been on the trails, save your interior with this car seat cover, a little more than $30 the 10% discount you’ll get from using quad10 at the checkout get’s it pretty darn close.

If you’re looking for something to tickle your tastebuds check out these awesome gels from Chocolate #9, I used them during my 100 miler; there’s a review here and I’ve hooked you up with a discount, you have to call them to order, their website can’t handle coupon codes yet so call 1-866-999-1909 and mention my blog for a 15% discount! Remember never try anything new on race day...try this on your ice cream first!

Even in these winter months there’s sometimes a need for sunglasses, personally I never leave home without a pair. These Tofosis come with three interchangeable lenses; clear; for night, red; for flat and smoke; for the sun to cover most of your running/cycling bases, with a bag and cloth thrown in these are a steal again and there currently half price quad10 will take another 10% off the price!

So with a little time left till the big day consider one, some or all of the above for the athlete in your household or if that person is yourself…well treat yourself!

Friday, December 11, 2009

It'a not cross training; it's very, very angry training!

The clues really in the name here I think!

The Sufferfest; I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow

The Downward Spiral; Killer intervals, clear instructions, thrilling footage and great music! Featuring Paris-Roubaix and Fleche-Wallone, it's the most exciting (and freaking hardest!) 60 minutes you'll spend on your indoor bike! ('Pick of the Week!" - Velocast, "4 stars" -

Let’s see if I can walk come Saturday morning!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Haiku Gu, aloha ok!

Well the votes are in, counted and de-chaded and the winner, by somewhat of a landslide; 64.5%, due to a cunning and devious marketing campaign, is Frayed Laces!

Here is the winning haiku and visual proof!

bonking on trail run
I just tried to kiss a tree
time to take some gel

Tree hugger

Treehugging at its finest!

Email me your address and I’ll send them on their way!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pun overload!

Golds There’s a scene in Friends where Chandler is overwhelmed by the jokes he could make about Joey. I felt he same way about the post title…so I chickened out. Tonight I joined a gym, Gold’s Gym…can you see what I mean! It was kinda weird watching people all exercising in a row, I’ve not been in a gym in over three years!

Now there’s a rationale here, it goes something like this. My pool closed..for renovation work…for a month! All is not lost, here’s the dealio, it actually costs in to join the gym, by my math, I am actually $40 a year better off as long as I go at least once a week and I get free sunbeds…err hello Southern California, but that is a third of a pair of running shoes!

There are a couple of side benefits I can work on general leg strength and it’s half a mile from my house; can you smell brick training. Obviously the main advantage and appeal was its pool; (who thought I would ever Ever EVER say that!) which while not very wide; 3 lanes! Is a bit too hot; 83f, is, I am assured, underused, two other swimmers tonight followed by class; one of two a week. So I managed to get in a quick for me 750 meters (820 yds) before I had to go but did manage to cover it 15 minutes faster than I could a scant 5 weeks ago! Progress indeed!

There is still a few hours to vote in the Haiku Gu contest…but it does look like a Frayed Laces sweep, I hope some of her followers stick around and follow me!

Monday, December 7, 2009

No long run Sunday!

Oh the things you can spend your day doing do when you have no long run...

I am really loving the psychedelic hue from the energy efficient LED lights!

Don't forget to vote in the Haiku Gu contest!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Haiku Gu; and Cliff, Hammer, Stinger, #9 and a few others too...

So the entries are in, please vote for you favorite an incentive for the entrants here is the line up of prizes (told you it was worth a little pressure on your creative fruit for some juice) for the winner to get their friends and families involved:

In keeping with the required Haiku structure of 5, 7, 5 there are 5 ShotBlock strips, 7 gels and 5 drinks (well actually 6 as the Hornet Juice is two together) but who's counting. Voting Closes Wednesday Midnight PST.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Windy splits!

As I have mentioned in the past I am using the FIRST training plan, specifically a 10k plan, to build up my fitness from having had two months off. Unusually due to the requirement for only three runs a week I do not have the typical “Long run” at the weekend. Friday night is now my long tempo run; this is the longest run of the week. Most of the three runs have you either running overspeed; faster than race pace or over distance; longer than race distance. Tonight’s run was a prescribed 7m at Long Tempo pace, the goal range for this to reach my goal of a 3:00 marathon is 6:50 - 6:55, right now I am way off pace but that’s what I am aiming for.

I headed to my faux track; the beach path, got changed and started. The run was going well although I went out too fast. I was off pace (as expected) so my Garmin chimed at me every minute to “speed up”…hey give me a break is my usual response. I hit the three mile turnaround point and was hit in the face with a blast of wind; that’s the thing with a tail wind you only notice it when you turnaround!

Head down I ran the three miles back and then did a loop for the last mile to cool down jumped in my car and headed home. I had programmed my Garmin and when I synced with GTC I realized I had messed up the splits and was faced with the not so useful data readout of:

Not really useful if you want to analyze your splits! This is where Sportracks comes in handy as it will break out the mile splits. After I uploaded my data into SportTracks and could really see where I took the wind full frontal, around Mile 5, no negative splits for me;

Suffice to say I *heart* SportTracks, it’s feature rich, great for Garmin or non Garmin users and best of all free (or you can make a development donation)! For a great write up on some of the features on SportsTrack check out this post by DCRainmaker.

And so now with exception of a tomorrow’s ride here ends Week 2 so far so good; although my knee is a little sore. I tweaked my Buckeye Outdoors blog sidebar which also syncs to SportTracks and in fact to Twitter too, to show you my exact workouts and comments if you’re interested.

Good luck to all my friends running at CIM, Las Vegas or the North Face Endurance (or any I have missed) races this weekend!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You know you're an ultra runner if...

Your wife tries to introduce you to your three children and you reply "Three?"

You spend more time in the drug section than the food section of the local market.

You wonder why they don't make all running socks a dusty brown color.

You have more dirt on your shoes than in your garden.

You think that flagel and ibuprofen belong on the breakfast table.

You get more phone calls at 5:00 AM than at 5:00 PM.

You don't recognize your friends with their clothes on.

You have more buckles than belts.

You postpone your wedding because it will interfere with your training.

You keep mistaking your boss for Norm Klein.

6am is sleeping in.

Your feet look better without toenails.

Your idea of a fun date is a 30-mile training run.

You're tempted to look for a bush when there's a long line for the public restroom.

You don't think twice about eating food you've picked up off the floor.

You can expound on the virtues of eating salt.

You develop an unnatural fear of mountain lions.

When you wake up without the alarm at 4AM, pop out of bed and think "lets hit the trails".

When you can recite the protein grams by heart of each energy bar.

You don't even LOOK for the Porto-sans anymore.

Your ideal way to celebrate your birthday is to run at least your age in miles with some fellow crazies.

Your ideal way to have fun is to run as far as you can afford to with some fellow crazies.

You know the location of every 7-11, public restroom, and water fountain within a 25-mile radius of your house.

You run marathons for speed work.

You have more fanny packs and water bottles and flashlights than Imelda Marcos has shoes.

You visit a national park with your family and notice a thirty-mile trail connecting where you are with the place your family wants to visit next, which is a 100-mile drive away, and you think "Hmmmm".

Someone asks you how long your training run is going to be and you answer "seven or eight ... hours".

People at work think you're in a whole lot better shape than you think you are.

You actually are in a whole lot better shape than you think you are.

Your weekend runs are limited by how much time you have, not by how far you can run.

You always have at least one black toenail.

You buy economy-sized jars of Vaseline on a regular basis.

You tried hashing, but felt the trails were too short and easy.

You think of pavement as a necessary evil that connects trails.

You rotate your running shoes more often than you rotate your tires.

Your friends recognize your better dressed in shorts than in long pants.

You really envied Tom Hanks' long run as Forest Gump.

You carry money around in a zip lock bag because store clerks complained that your money's usually too sweaty.

Any time a plain old runner talks about her aches and pains, you can sympathize because you've already had that at least once.

You put more miles on your feet than on your rental car over the weekend.

You don't need to paint your toenails; they're already different colors.

You start planning the family vacation around races, and vice-versa.

When you start considering your next vacation location on the merits of its ultras only.

You spend you entire paycheck on running gear, ultrabars, and entry fees.

You miss a work deadline cause you just had to have that "one more minute" on-line writing to the list.

You become a quasi-expert on different detergents so as to not "hurt" your tee shirts.

You leave work early to hit the trails.

You wear t-shirts based on if you've had good work outs when you've worn them before.

Have a trail shoe collection that would make Imelda Marcos envious.

You walk up the stairs and run down them.

Peeing in the toilet seems unnatural.

You start wearing running clothes to work so you're prepared for afterwards.

Running trail is better then sex. (even if you don't get any)

Vaseline isn't just for fun anymore.

When the start of a marathon feels like a 5K and you're wondering "Why is everyone in such a rush? Where the ##@@**!! is the fire?"

As an infant you were dropped on your head.

Nobody recognizes your power T's. Met a guy at the market the other day who was wearing an AR50 T. So was I. I gave him a hearty, "Ta-da." He said, "Oh yeah, I tell people we were all acquitted and the charges were dropped."

You sign up for a 10K and you strap on your fanny pack because you never know where the aid stations are.
You bring your own drinks.
You bring potatoes and salt.
You start fast and a six year old passes you.
You are the only one walking the up hills.
You run it a second time because its not far enough to call a training run (and you were racing the first time through).
You are the only one around who is eyeing the bushes THAT way.
You punch the lap button on your watch instead of the stop button at the finish.

When "NEXT GAS 36 MILES" signs start sounding like tempting runs.

Your pedicure kit includes a pair of pliers.

Your number of toes to toenails doesn't match.

You drink from a water bottle at the dinner table.

You consider the mold and mildew in your bottles extra electrolytes.

You just found out Poison and Oak are words by themselves.

You see a 1 quart water bottle colored like an Advil bottle, and don't realize that it's not in fact an Advil bottle.

You know you're married to an ultrarunner when Valentine's gifts come from Ultrafit.

You know you're married to an ultrarunner when she helps you up and says, "Come on, suck it up, keep moving!" and you know she means it in love.

You know you're an ultrarunner when a prospective employer asks for a photograph and all you have is race photos.

You know you're an ultrarunner when the races you enter end in a different area code. -and pass through several different Zip codes enroute.

You know you're an ultrarunner when your crew tries to keep you motivated by saying, "You're in second place and only 6 hours behind first with 25 miles to go!"

You know you're an ultrarunner when you go to your 8:00 a.m. college geology class and you can use the salt crystals, still caked on your glasses frames from your early morning run, in your talk on the category of sedimentary materials called evaporites (and I'm not making this up).

You know you're an ultrarunner when, on the night of a bad thunderstorm and downpour, you ring for a cab, and your announcement that this is the *first time* you're not getting home under your own steam causes a stunned silence in the office.

You bother to argue about (discuss the meaning of) what an UltraRunner is!!!

when you don't finish on the same day as the winner.

your dogs can drink out of water bottles

When you meet the opposite sex you see:
A possible crew.
A possible pacer.
A possible search and rescue team.
A possible race director.
A possible source of race entry fees.

You ask advice of hundreds of people on a list, looking for answers you have already determined to be correct, taking hold of only those, and running with 'em.

Your wife asks you the morning after your first 50 miler if you're still planning on that 100K in five weeks, and you say "Sure!"

You strap on your water bottles and walk the hills... in a 5 K race and consider that your 10 minute pace is a blistering pace.

People praise you to the high heavens for being able to finish a marathon, and you feel insulted.

You do a triathlon and it is your RUN time that is slower than the years when you specialized in triathlon.

You are told *not* to run another marathon during the next few months (because that would be bad for your health), and you really follow that advice - by immediately sending off the entry form for your next 50/100 miler.

Somebody asks about the distance of an upcoming race and you, without thinking, say, "Oh, it's just a 50K."

You're running a marathon and at mile 20 say to yourself, "Wow, only 6 more miles left, this is such a great training run!"

You know you are a clumsy ultrarunner when after running headfirst into the trail for the third time get up and continue running even though you are bleeding and covered in maple syrup where your gel flask exploded and you have another 20k to go.

You go for an easy 2 hour run in the middle of a Hurricane and think it is fun to get wet, muddy and run through the rivers that were once trails.

You get to the 81 mile point of a 100 miler and say to yourself, "Wow, only 19 miles left!"

You try to tie double knots in your Oxfords.

You pass a swamp towards the end of a run and think 'How bad could it be?"

Livestock salt blocks look good after a run.

You're embarrassed that you've only done 50K's...

Your wife/girlfriend/significant other asks you if you want to have sex on any particular night and you respond with:
"sorry, I don't have time, I have to go running"
"sorry, I'm too tired, I just went running"
"sorry, I would rather go read all my messages from the ultra-list"

You go down a flight of stairs, uh, backwards, after an ultra and everybody laughs.

No one believes you when you say "never again".

You refer to certain 100 mile races as "low-key."

You number your running shoes to distinguish old from new, since they all look dirty.

Prior to running a difficult race, you check to see if local hospitals and urgent care centers are in your PPO.

The only time major household projects get done is in a taper or race recovery.

Everything in your life, everything, is organized in different sized zip-loc bags.

You call a 50-mile race "just another training run".

You think a 100-mile race is easier than a 50 miler because you don't have to go out as fast.

You say, "Taper? Who's got time to taper? I have a race coming up this weekend."

You're tapering/recovering, and you'd rather drive 50 miles to watch Ann Trason's heavenly running style for 20 seconds than the Super Bowl.

You have to rent a car to drive to a major event because you and your pacer own stick shifts and neither will be able to drive them on the return trip.

You actually DO drive a stick shift home with a severely pulled left hamstring

You meet someone of the opposite sex on the trail of a 100 and all of conversation is about what color is your urine, can you drink? and were you able to dump.

Ya know you're and ultra runner when a girl changes her tank and her bra in front of you and all you do is take another drink of water, look at your watch, get up and tell your pacer "Let's hit the trail."

On a long drive you see the road signs listing various mileages to different places and think of how long it would take to get there on foot rather than by the car your driving.

You've started a race in the dark, run all day, and finished in the dark (if your lucky).

Your non-Ultrarunning running friends look at you strange when you tell them that 10:00/Mile is a fast pace for a 100 mile race (not to mention most ultras).

You don't hesitate to lie down in the trail (anywhere) when you are falling asleep on your feet during the early morning hours on the second day of a 100 miler; and it feels so comfortable.


You know your an ultrarunner when you actually sit down and read all of the postings about, "You know your an ultrarunner when..." and can laugh and relate to all of the comments.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sugoi, So far, So good...

So earlier this year I applied to Sugoi to become a Brand Champion. I had seen someone I follow on Twitter announce they had been accepted, I looked it up online and read the following:

…..The main criterion for inclusion to the program is not always the people who are fastest in the competition, but it is the person who inspires other by chasing their own personal bests. Many SUGOI Brand Champions are podium finishers in major international events; many others are everyday athletes whose personal bests come in different forms other than winning. All athletes are successful at what is important to SUGOI: the ability to be inspirational and to make a difference.

This appealed on so many levels the least of which was the requirement to inspire, this is something I really hope I do, I am at best a midpack runner who is at an age which is past the halfway mark, but at the risk of sounding clichéd if I can inspire one person that with some training and time and tenacity their goal can be achieved then my clumsy rambling writings will have been worthwhile!

To be honest I forgot about my application until sometime later I got an email saying I had been accepted! Then I started a new job and new training plan for 100 in the Hood, got injured and every thing went on the back burner and before you knew it six months had gone by…fast forward to November and I am starting a new training cycle; my leg is more or less rehabilitated and it’s Winter. Now I know that a SoCal Winter is relative to someone who lives in say, Kelowna or Metro Detroit (you know who you are) but even so it gets a bit chilly and so out came the credit card (as a Brand Champion you qualify for some discounts) and away I went. They are still taking applications, you can apply here and you can read the Brand Champion's Blog here, it makes for a good read as there are a variety of sports covered; running, cycling; road, mountain and 'cross and triathlons and the writers are the Brand Champions themselves and whose abilities really span the spectrum, so it's 'written from the trenches' as it were!

I have owned a few Sugoi bits through the ages and was accustomed to their quality, both fit and function is good as well the attractiveness...gotta look good as you hunched over puking on the side of a trail (been there) or bleeding in a ditch or on the side of the road after an endo (done that)! After looking through their website I selected, with the colder temperatures in mind, a pair of conservatively (not!) colored armwarmers (one of the silliest and yet most practical garments ever invented), a skull cap to fit under my cycling helmet (cold ears are no fun) and a pair of Piston 200 compression tights (I love compression clothing!). Ten days later free shipping, yay!) they arrived, I tried everything on to make sure it fit and I love love love the tights, I can’t wait till it gets really cold; for here…today was 75f, yesterday was 62f so it’s a bit variable right now but in another month or so it will be down in the 50’s at run time...seriously, I can't wait!

Talking of running, Week 1 just ended and it proved to be an interesting one. Not surprisingly my conditioning is for crap! What does surprise me is that CV-wise I am a lot better the muscle-wise, I looked online and the consensus was in 3 months you could expect to lose 50% of your fitness; I did nothing for about 5 weeks and them swam twice a week for another 4 so my best guess I am down by at least 40% maybe more? I certainly felt it during my three runs this week; Monday; Intervals, Wednesday; short tempo and Friday; long tempo, done on a track! My pace is slow and it generally hurts, I am way off my prescribed paces, but, I can only get faster. Cross training-wise I got in my 1000 meters swim and I hit the bike for a pedestrian ride yesterday, I am about 3-4 minutes slower than I was during the summer on my regular timed loop. To be honest right now I am struggling to reconcile that during July, August and September I ran some 20 half marathons, 6 marathons and raced 100 in the Hood, now I am dying at 6 miles! It’ll come back I know but even so…

Anyway the good news is that in general my recovered leg is holding up to what I am putting it through, I need to be smarter as do some general strengthening as well, squats, lunges etc as well as some plyometrics and stretching and also be proactive about my ITB and runners knee that I had back in the Summer, but while early days so far so good! Oh yeah and a toenail fell about delayed reaction!

Don't forget to enter the Haiku Gu contest

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Haiku Gu, do you?

So if you read this post you’ll know I have a bit of a surplus of Gel, Drinks and Blocks! So in an attempt to share the wealth and in the spirit of the pending holiday season...and to be honest if they don't get eaten they'll go off, I thought I would hold a little contest to test your creativity and to give some away.

Somebody suggested that the best bonk story should be the criteria but I thought that that would be a bit wordy so I went to the other end of the spectrum and decided that a Haiku would be a good way to go.

So here are the rules.

* The contest will start today; Saturday 28th and run through to midnight December 4th
* Over the weekend of the 5/6th I’ll post a poll where you can vote for your favorite, voting will last through to Wednesday midnight PST
* The winner will receive a real mixed bag of stuff but trust me it’s gonna be worth winning!
* One entry per person…and if you enter you should vote even if it’s for yourself!
* All entries must be posted as comments to this post, no emails, Tweets etc please
* Oh yes and the Haiku must contain the word ‘bonk’ or real variations thereof i.e. bonked, bonking however bonkette, bonkodacious, bonkallisious, bonkdamndiggerdy or bonkcofragailisticexpealadocius are not allowed…well I don’t want to make it too easy!
* And finally I needs to actually be a Haiku; that is three lines, comprising 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables

For more info on Haikus click here. Here are my feeble attempts:

Momentum is lost
Death shuffle I am bonked
Empty barely moving

or on lighter note...

Wall I hit it hard
Solidly it hit me back
My head fell off bonk!

Go on and have some fun!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for the Inspiration!

As we start the Thanksgiving Holidays here in the US, in addition to my wonderful family and friends, here are some of the things that I have seen and have been thankful to take inspiration from...

...what inspires you?

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let you legs do the legwork (Pt 1)…

…and let your Garmin do the headwork, or put another way how to program your Garmin 305 with Intervals. As mentioned in a previous post this training cycle I am using the FIRST plan which calls for a Short Tempo, Long Tempo runs and Intervals. Programming your Garmin reduces the room for error i.e. forgetting how many you have done etc (been there done that!). I am assuming this will work with a 205, 405 and 310xt as I am using Garmin Training Center to create the workout. And so on with the show.

First you need to make sure you have the right pace zones in your profile, to do this Select User>Profile. Here you can confirm all your personal stats are correct etc. You need to adjust the settings in the Speed Zones, to calculate the setting you should use a Pace Calculator; the one at Cool Running is easy enough to use.

The First Plan gives you a HXX:MYY setting for the intervals so using the calculator convert this to a pace, mine is 5:40 for the 400 meter (that equals a 1:25 @400) intervals. My interval sets call for a Rest Interval (RI) so I also created a slower set; between 10-11:00 pace (2:40 @400m).

Once you changed the Speed Zones settings in GTC select New Workout. Here you are presented the blank template in which to create your workout. First name the workout and enter a description. I tend to use the obvious. Next select the first entry in the window, then in ‘Selected Steps Options’ give it a Custom Name; mine is ‘Warm Up’. Click the ‘When will the step end’ menu and select ‘after a certain time, then mark off you time; 10 minutes in my case.

Highlight the ‘Warm Up and click the big ‘+’ button to get the next step and name that one; mine is ‘Cool down’ repeat the above steps to enter the duration.

Ok this is where it can get a bit confusing so I have numbered the steps:

1. Highlight the Warm Up and click the two “++” button, this insert Step 2 and renumbers your Cool Down to #3.
2. Rename the interval, mine is 400m Int
3. Click the big ‘+’ button to get the next step and name that one; mine is ‘RI’
4. Highlight #2. and change the number of intervals to what you want; for me it’s 8
5. Highlight #2.1 and click the ‘When will the step end’ menu and select ‘after a certain distance, then mark off you distance I selected 0.25 miles (FYI 1 mile = 1,609 meters).
6. Click the ‘What is your target for this step” and select your Interval target
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for #2.2 remember to select your Rest Interval
8. Click ok

Now in the workout file structure in the left panel you will see your newly created workout, simply highlight it and drag it to the desired day. The final step is to connect your Garmin and sync. Once the connection is established click “Send to Device’, and you’re done…well, you still have to run them!

Up next; “Intervals; they’re on my Garmin somewhere…now what”?

Monday, November 23, 2009

OMFG! Every journey starts with a single step...but Intervals, really!?!

Well today I started the FIRST 10k plan; it was somewhat of a rude awakening. Tonight I had 8 x 400m intervals, easy to say, easy to type…just plain painful! Still the scenery made up for things! Without access to a track I use the beach path.

Obviously conscious of my leg I tried to walk the line between not overdoing it straight away and enough effort to make it worth the while. It’s given me a good baseline on my splits which are repeated in some form for the next 12 weeks. I also put the first 6 miles on a new pair of Asics Kayano 16s, so far so good, I'll be reviewing them in the future; probably at the 100 mile mark.

You’ll see below that I was averaging around 1:50…I’ve got some work to do I need to get it down to 1:25!

Afterwards I headed off my Chiropractor afterwards who spent some serious time working on my shoulders which were as locked up as Harry Houdini; must have been carrying all those gels and blocks around at the weekend! Talking of which I am putting together a little Holiday contest to share the this space!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

PCTR Santa Monica Mountains (Volunteer)

Today I was up bright and early a’ la race day, but for me no racing. I was heading off to Pt Mugu to spend the morning volunteering at the Pacific Coast Trail Runners Santa Monica Mountain’s race. This is the site of my very first ultra, a 50k, a scant two years ago!

As a runner PCTR races always have such a good vibe; friendly, welcoming and as much as a run with friends than a race. Being behind the scenes today proved no different plus it was a good opportunity to catch with some old friends; Billy and Sara and make some new ones; Evan, although I am sure the reason everyone else wanted to know me was the fact that I was in charge of the soup and chili rather than the quality of my conversation.

Anyway I always knew that being a Race Director was hard work but I have a new found respect; Sarah and Wendall are at it pretty much non stop all day, in addition to this race they put on another 30+ up and down the California coast and they’re talking about bringing more to SoCal; today was sold out; a first!

Other than the chili it was very rewarding for being thanked for 'being out there' something I try to always do to volunteers and the folks who man the Aid Stations and without whom a lot of these races would fall flat.

All the volunteers were kept busy so there are not so many photos; thanks to Billy for the ones of me and in fact most of those below.

As I posted on my Facebook profile; "....I was given a stark reminder of how I miss the trails...still I caught a good whif of runners funk and some salt air at Point Mugu this morning and that will have to do for the next 6 or 7 months while I pay my tarmac dues!"

Lori & RD Sarah

Three pieces of banana and one finger later!

What's not to like!

Soup or Chili or Chili or Soup?

Local runner Dominic Grossman took first in the 50k with 4:3o something...blazin' fast!

Great friends. Good times!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Today my wife and I sorted through our garage, when we moved in in March we kinda threw everything in there with the intention of sorting it out at a later date…well that date came today. In the garage I have a little plastic tray thing that I keep all my gels etc but during the course of the year they have been dispersed into the kitchen, my running vests, my running bag and so today during the course of the tidy up I consolidated them…let’s just say I am banned from buying any more until I have used these up!

I dared not count them and this doesn’t include the three tubs of Cytomax, the tub of Amino Vital, the really large tub (albeit nearly empty) of Perpetuem in the kitchen and the three flasks of gel in the fridge!

And I don't even like Heed that much!

This is after sending Aron her Chocolate #9 as well!

My name is Stuart and I am sports nutrition junkie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Well it would be rude not to!

Given that I live about 10 miles away I have no excuses! Hopefully October will be the date...

In case the picture does not enlarge this is the text underneath:

It's going to happen!!! Moeben will be putting on a trail 1/2 marathon, full marathon and 50 mile run in the early fall of 2010. I'm working on it so that the 50 mile can be a qualifying race for WS 100. I will announce the official date once we are certain, but we are looking at Aug 14th, Sept 4, or 18th or 2nd weekend in October. I don't want The Moeben "get dirty" trail races to conflict with others, i.e Mt. Disappointment 50k & 50 mile, Bulldog 50k and AC 100 so we are just waiting to hear back on race date confirmations. We will be doing something new with this race, and it will benefit a special charity, so more news to follow!

I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First things FIRST!

Once again I am using the FIRST training plan. I really like the FIRST plans and I have used modified versions of them for the last two years with some measurable success, I reduced my 5k time by over a minute this time last year and my 50k time by over an hour using their speed drills in March of this year. Their premise is pretty simple; three quality runs a week; Track Intervals, a Short Tempo and a Long Tempo Run, with two cross training sessions in between and a day off a week, I really like the ability to have cross training included and with my propensity to ITB issues and the couple of triathlons scheduled I’ll still be able to keep up my swimming and re-start cycling which is my preferred form of cross training.

Looking at my schedule and looking at how they plan out their plans it looks like I’ll start training using their 10k plan next week for 12 weeks and then switch over the their 16 week marathon plan around the middle of February. My 10k time is pretty crappy (47:53) and while using their plan I unofficially dropped that during a 10 miler to around 42:00, so following this plan means I can pick off some low hanging fruit on the PR front. FIRST base each run's speeds on your current best 5k race which I am sure, for me now, is heinously slow, even if I use my current PR (19:42) I am still slow, I need to get it down by another 1:20 to hit my 3:00 marathon goal. A 19:40 gives me a 3:11 projected finish.

I’ll be starting in one weeks time, so that means I should be able to shake off this lingering cough…I’ve got a sneaking suspicion this is going to hurt; bring on the pain!