Thursday, April 30, 2009

A byproduct of moving...

So as a byproduct of moving I have been able to consolidate books and the like and managed to nearly locate all my running and training books, I posted a picture of the almost complete collection on Twitpic and Facebook a while ago and several people asked what the were specifically, I have still to locate a few of them and some I have given away but this is about 90% complete.

I’ll spare going through them individually but here are a few highlights (click to enlarge):

The Anatomy of Stretching: at least one stretch for every muscle broken out into specific sports and presented in an easy to understand format.

Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes; provides an easy to read (and understand) insight into correct fueling and hydration broken out across various endurance sports.

Fixing your Feet; do you suffer from blisters; learn how to avoid them, treat them and tape them, black toe nail, Morton’s toe (or you want to know what Morton’s toe is) and the like, do yourself a favor and buy this book.

A Step Beyond; A Definitive guide to Ultrarunning; the clue is in the title, pretty much anything you ever wanted to know and were afraid to ask, want to run an ultra – buy this book!

50 Trail Runs in Southern California; written by Stan Swartz the founder of the Trail Runners Club that I run with, if you’re coming to SoCal this is the book to have (of course I'll always be happy to show you), covering many of the State Parks that surround LA this book really does have 50 of the best runs.

And yes there are a few cycling and triathlon books in there as well…what can I say, I like to keep my options open!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


There were a couple of questions in the comments about what I was doing as a detox and a couple of the more foolhardy of you wanted my 'before' pictures.

The detox is aimed and reducing and eliminating; red meat, gluten (found in bread and cereal), caffeine, candy/chocolate and dairy for one month, these will be replaced, where possible, with alternatives, such as chicken/fish, gluten free bread/cereal (gluten is a protein that is hard to digest) and soy/rice milk or in the case of caffeine simply eliminated. The reason for not going all out cold turkey, especially caffeine, is the predicted crash that usually accompanies it; I do drink a phenomenal amount of coffee and tea during the day and so to just drop it would leave me, I am sure, writhing in the corner. I am following a program that I found in this book, I like it as it is, simple, has some tasty sounding recipes which can form a base and it's less than 100 pages start finish with lots of pictures, none of this 500 pages nonsense that I have every intention of reading and end up using as a door stop!

So after a bit of hunting round I found gluten free cereal and bread (Wholefoods) we have soy milk in the house as our youngest does not do well on cows milk and I stocked up on fresh fruit and veggies, actually we were in pretty good shape; the photo above is of what we had the other night: Seasoned grilled salmon on spaghetti squash with peppers, brown rice and sauteed garlic spinach ; looks good, tastes good and on the table start to finish in 30 minutes! Served on a small plate its looks like a huge meal!

Ok so here are the other photos for this post the NSFW ones; yes I am all farmers tan and floppy bits; no I was not "pushing it out" it was just there! No I do not live in my Forerunner; I had just come back from a run. I also photographed the Tanita scale measurements which has a bodyfat analyzer, surprisingly I am not too bad and I am pretty lean overall but I am tall and that allows me to carry it well, I would not look so good (or less bad) if I was 5'6" tall.

The overall goal is to reverse the runners body, all legs and no top half, reduce the belly fat that I am carrying and tone up and become more flexible all round. I want to drop to between 165-167lbs and reduce my body fat to 7-8%

They're small if you want to create a screensaver click on them:

I wanted to put a caption but in truth could think of nothing positive to about nice shorts!
(The tan line on my back is from rolling up my shirt at LD!)

Ironically the black toenail is not from running!

So there you have it; up next the P90X fit test and body measurements...oh the shame!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Things that end in X!

Ah the joy of Express Post, with the pseudo ka-ching still ringing in my ears there is a knocking at the door and it’s the mailman with a very unassuming parcel. Yes my P90X has arrived, complete with 12 dvds that will, I have been assured by several people, kick my butt!

In addition I need a little calm before the storm; yes it’s detox time. Too much coffee, diary and all the things we mentally love but physically hate has taken their toll and so I start exorcising my toxin demons over the coming weeks; it’s not all brown lentils and fruit tea, how does spaghetti with pecans and herbs a side of wild rice salad with cucumber and orange followed by spicy baked apples grab you…sounds good to me!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Breaking new trails...

An easy start back, my first run post Leona Divide and I decided to explore some of the local trails, these are totally new to me so it was a case of just following my nose. I only had an hour or so as we were decamping to LegoLand en familie for the remainder of the day. The trailhead is a long mile away (more than one less than two by car odometer) from the house and has free parking. The Los Robles Trail area covers about 2000 acres and connects to the 27,000 acres of Pt Mugu State Park.

There was a trailhead map board with the usual info about local trails an critters, as best I can see there are approximately 40-50 miles of trails here including the back on any out and backs, the elevation is not so great but as a local resource its excellent. I didn’t make it over the hill so I do not know what lies the other side; next time I am sure I’ll find out.
Anyway here are a few photos I snapped and the MotionBased data:

Looking North along the Conejo Valley; some inviting and gnarly switchbacks
Looking South along the Conejo Valley, I've run up from about the middle of the photo

I love SoCal trails!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Downtime is relative!

I have 6 weeks until I start training for the AC100 and so I have partially hung up my running shoes, I’ll be kicking over 20-25 miles per week or so just to keep my hand (or foot) in and jumping on the bike for some fun rides; although he is somewhat neglected and needs a good service and clean. I also need to put together my training plan which is going to be a challenge in itself. In the meantime my focus will be on dropping some of the weight I picked up during my taper (and a bit more beyond that) and tightening things up in general.

It’s also a good time to reconnect with the Quad family, ultra running can be a selfish sport with a lot of time spent on the trails/roads alone. Not wanting to simply connect while sitting still I convinced my wife to commit to P90X. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and having actually met someone who used the program to great success (losing 100lbs+) as well as some of the results I have seen in the blogosphere; I need to lose 10-15lbs and get back to the emaciated long distance runner look...well not quite but you know what I mean.

It’s ordered and will be here next week, I’ll keep you posted and updated...maybe with some photos if you're unlucky enough!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leona Divide 50 Mile Run

This was a race of three halves. zero to twenty five, twenty five to forty and forty to the finish. I’ll spare you all the prerace shenanigans but suffice to say that the alarm went off at 3:00am, I was on the road by 3:45am and at the start by about 5:15am; it was cold and dark, the complete opposite of what was in store for the day.

The traditional saw blade was rung at 6:00am sharp and with a woot we were off. During the first climb the sun climbed over the far hills and with it’s ascent so the mercury went the same way, the first hour went by quickly as is often the case and with it the first six miles, I was running with Chris, a runner I had met via RunCastTV and then met in person at Malibu Creek in March, we lost each other at the first Aid Station. Shortly after this Aid Station we were directed onto the diverted section of the course and upwards and onwards we went. I played cat and mouse with Chris during this section and he eventually pulled away.

My pace was on target and I had set myself the target of covering fives miles in the hour, this would potential give me a ten hour finish; to achieve this I had planned to go through Aid Stations as quickly as possible, not stopping if not required and taking photos on the fly, I was carrying my voice recorder and recorded some sections on the way round. The next six miles clicked by in just over an hour and we climber higher and further along the first section, eventually we topped out and started on the downhill, of course being an out and back every step downward was a step up on the return. The was a degree of discomfort from not know the course and not knowing if I was going to fast or too slow! More discomfort was being offered by my stomach, I was feeling bloated, gassy and my drink was sloshing about in my gut…a bad sign of things to come!

I hit the turn around and started the climb back up, the sun was higher in the sky and the temperature was climbing. At the next Aid Station I refilled my third bottle with Perpetuem and my forth with ice water knowing that I would be at my Drop-Bag within the next hour. I was directed onto the Pacific Crest Trail, with the gentle reminder of “see you in 21 miles and don’t go too hard; the climb up is a bastard”, from this point on I was on the old course and with that came a level of comfort knowing what was in store; kinda! The downhill allowed me to pick up my pace and passed the halfway mark in 4:58. Around this point my stomach started to really go to town and took my legs with it and so heavy legged and gurgling away I made it to Aid Station five and my drop bags, I refilled one bottle and grabbed a new one from bag, also taking the opportunity to switch out gel bottles (one bottle contains 6 gels; I was taking one every half hour as well as the two gels in the pocket on my bottle sleeve) and packet of ShotBloks I had taken. I headed out for the long climb on the second out and back. The route follows a series of switchbacks taking you higher into the canyon and then you crest out, pass through another aid station and then the is a set of remorseless rolling turns, up, down, left, right till you reach the next stop, I was being consistently passed at this point not only by people who I had previously passed but by runners who I not even seen before! While it was hot the temperature had topped out and there was a cooling wind which things more comfortable. The next Aid Station had a Hawaiian theme complete with coconut bras and leis; I grabbed some coke and headed out.

Onwards and upwards to the turnaround which was situated in the relative shade under some bristlecomb pines which had the biggest pine cones I have ever seen! I actually passed someone on the way but he was looking pretty bad and asked if he was ok, he replied he was making steady but slow progress and how far was it to the next Aid Stationm I guessed a mile and half and he thanked me. I eventually reached it and gave them the heads up as this guy was in pretty bad shape, (as best I can tell he dropped) I about faced with 8:55 on the clock. On the way to the next Aid Station I hooked up another runner who was also having major gastric issues and we chatted as we passed the miles, I left him at the Hawaiian Aid Station and started on the descent, (he went on to finish about half an hour after me).

Around mile 40 my stomach threw the towel in and I stepped of the trail, without all the graphic details it will suffice to say I threw up. 30 seconds later I was back and feeling a whole lot better with 9:20 on the clock there was not a lot I was going to be able to do to make up the time and I new that of the remaining 10 miles at least five of it was uphill. I hit AS 9 the penultimate stop, refilled and pushed onto the climb. I wound my way back up the hillside, two hours later, or thereabouts, I was at the top and with 3-4 miles left it was plod back to start line, my time was shot and so I eased off in an effort to minimize my recovery, I was passed by another six or seven runners on the way to finish and that was fine I even stopped to record some video.

I caught sight of the finish and carried on down the hill crossing the finish line in a very unremarkable 12:07.

I met with Chris, who had had a great race and finished in 11:17; a new PR for him by some three hours! We stretched and chatted while we waited for the Drop-Bags and then said our goodbyes.

Ninety minutes later I was outside my house doing the hamstring crampy dance from my car to the front door…ouch!

So what went wrong? Well I am struggling to figure it out, did I over hydrate, take too many S-Caps (one an hour), was it something I ate that morning or night before, truth is I don’t know, I’ve been googling possible causes/symptoms to no avail so maybe it was just “one of those days”!?

Whatever the cause it’s not something I want to experience again, what I will say, and other ultra runners I am sure will agree whereas runners of shorter distances may (or may not) disagree is that it's never as bad as you think, this is not said out of hubris or bravado but only from experience. I felt bad and that's probably as bad is it got, was it life threatening; no, was it potentially life changing; no I simply felt bad, it was just a case of suck it up and get on with it. At Twin Peaks last year it was 30 degrees and I was in the dark and wet in a t-shirt and shorts, that was bad; but with hindsight and Goretex I could have finished, yesterday I was at worst sick; once and then felt better, there is no real comparison. So as I say it's never as bad as you think, most likely when you stop even considering the good bad equation then it probably is bad.

The good news is that I have my AC100 qualifying race in the bag; that takes the pressure off completing a race in the summer. Of additional comfort was that I was not overly impacted by the heat, it was hot, that is typically my Achilles heel but I seemed to manage that pretty well all things considered. My recovery today is a hundred times better than last year and I am up and about with no problems today (Sunday), this goes to the power of stretching, Of more concern is this weekend has reinforced a niggling concern that I have had that my local training trails are probably not going to be up to the job, the Santa Monica’s top out at around 3300’ and at AC I’ll be going up to 9000’.

For some reason while my Forerunner kept going all the way round the MotionBased data is a bit screwy, most everything is there except the elevation profile and it says it recorded only 18 miles but when you check out the laps they are all there! There are also a few pictures here but the best ones are included in the post.

Next up I have six weeks of relative downtime until the Ojai Century ride on May 30th which kicks off my AC training proper.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Taper schmaper!

Well race weekend is upon me, finally is all I can say! Mentally I am pooped! I was recording for the podcast and looking back through my training plan and with the exception of 2-3 weeks of reduced miles in January I have been in training mode for nearly 8 months, no wonder my brain is fried and my body not far behind; in that time I have accumulated 1500 running miles, 1200 miles on the bike, raced two trail half marathons, three 50kms and DNFd a 50 miler at mile 44! Like I say pooped.

Anyway we are almost unpacked, I found my trail shoes; it was touch and go for a few days, the house is finally settling down; the swingset and trampoline are assembled, and that’s the last thing I have to say about least for another couple of years!

My training has well and truly taken a back seat in the last two weeks, two runs this month, that’s it! No refined taper just a drop off the edge of a cliff full stop! Well as someone once said the hay is in the barn and there is nothing that I can do now except run!

So for this weekend’s race my goals in order of desire; (1) finish; that’s all I have to do to meet the AC100 qualifying criteria, so I am not taking any chances with that, (2) a new PR; last year I finished in 11:24, trust me folks this is not fast! (3) a sub 11 hour finish; last year I finished with a 13:59 pace, I need to go about 30 seconds per mile faster! Doable…yes, I think so!

So this time tomorrow I’ll be on the start line…see you at the finish!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Coming up for air!

So the last week has been spent moving house no need to tell anyone how much of a pain that is. Boxes everywhere, no internet connection (it's currently works on a wired connection only; can you say old technology!), a complete inability to find anything and two menacing children demanding the reinstatement of their swingset and trampoline; fortunately we're now within walking distance of the local park complete with swingset and sandpit!

We've moved into a slightly smaller house in a nicer area (and better school district) so we're trying to consolidate everything, I can kiss goodbye to parking my car in the garage, which is now destined to contain not only lots of stored items but also the treadmill; a scenic surround I think not, not that I'll need it anytime soon as Spring is in full flow.

Anyway this was just a quickie to say I am still alive but just resurfacing from the avalanche of brown cardboard, bubble wrap and packing tape!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gotta be in it to win it!

Guess where I am heading in October? St George Utah! A good friend of mine is running his first marathon (with his brother) and has decided to try for the St George Marathon in Utah, and I’ll be pacing him.

The marathon is super popular as it has a net elevation loss of 2500’ and is used a Boston Qualifier, neither of us are looking to run it that fast, for me it's three weeks after AC100, but we are looking for a solid finish and running through all that red rock scenery needs to be done at a relaxing pace to enjoy the scenery, right!

There’s a lottery entry required but we can enter as a group so like the three musketeers all for one and one for all! Fingers crossed!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Meet Serge & Nicole

This is Serge and Nicole Roetheli, in February 2000 they left their home in Switzerland to embark on a journey that I cannot even begin to comprehend; to run around the world!

Running the equivalent of a marathon every other day, Serge runs, over 25,400 miles in five years, while his wife Nicole rides her Yamaha motorcycle. Using their personal camera they captured the footage used in this film. Excerpts from Nicole’s personal diary reveal their experiences, adventures and accomplishments throughout their journey together and have resulted in the creation of this movie; "Beyond the Epic Run".

They traveled through 37 counties on six continents. Risking everything for this experience. It’s an amazing story of an athlete and his loving wife’s physical and mental strength.

The movie can be seen in selected cities check the website for more info, I will have a DVD giveaway for this soon so stay tuned. Here's the trailer and and an interview with Dean Karnazes talking about it. There are several more videos available at YouTube.

Friday, April 3, 2009

PCTR Sycamore Canyon 50K Redux

Something for your long run this weekend?

This week has been spent, packing, packing and packing, my goodness we’ve accumulated a load of crap! Hence the lack of posts!

So to be a lazy blogger and at least post something in a week here you go…as you might know I have embarked on a little side departure with the Quadrathon Podcast. The last episode was recorded entirely while running the PCTR Sycamore Canyon 50k last weekend.

As you are probably aware my expectations for the race were to treat it as a long supported run and finish feeling good both physically and mentally; it was my penultimate long run before I start my taper for Leona Divide which is on April 21st.

Chances are you know the outcome but if you would like a little more of an insight into race day it might make for an interesting listen.