Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Video impressions…

It’s amazing really, we are so hyper-connected that you can basically think of something and find it online, if one of my boys wants to look at anything as diverse as fire trucks to tree frogs you can find it at the end of your fingertips. And so seeing as I have not much to say so I thought I would share some Videos that caught my attention during the week, each left me with a different impression on my face and I am sure they will do so for you to.

First up is some footage from Josh’s blog of the Angeles National Forest post Station Fire, if you remember this was the fire from last summer that was the precursor to the AC100 being cancelled, it’s not 100% that the race will go ahead this year, see for yourself the devastation is widespread and nearly eight months later the road is still closed! 160,000 acres are like this…it’s enough to make you cry.


Next up and on a more cheerful note is the Artemis Quadrathlon Challenge, it seems that there is an ever growing Quadrathlon movement, think triathlon plus kayaking, this one in Scotland looks just like too much fun not to do, even I could manage the swim! I love the British understatement “I got cramp in my finger” and of course the green green grass of home is always a welcome sight as well as the Fish-n-Chips Aid Station! In case you’re wondering what the hell a Munro is there’s a good answer here. It’s a bit long but stick through to end and you have a smile on your face!


Lastly and a bit geekily, this was shared by Ray. Remember that Volcano in Iceland, all those cancelled flights! Here’s some great footage of the quiet skies above Europe during that period, now of course there is all the fallout, excuse the pun, about if there ever was an ash cloud, blah blah blah…raised eyebrows in amazement at the video!

Ok that’s it, there's nothing more to see here now, move along!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Review; EliteSport SeatShield

image It’s that time of year, now the snow has gone and the ground is thawing. April showers are in full flow, or pour I suppose that would be. Add in the occasional warm spring day and pretty much it’s all a recipe for getting a bit funky. Something you want to leave behind and not in your car.

Enter the SeatShield. From their website:

SeatShields are designed to protect your car seats after sports, exercise and outdoor activities. By protecting your car seats from sweat and dirt, you'll keep them nice-looking and odor-free for the life of your vehicle.

The SeatShield uses a patented design and special fabrics to make it waterproof and very odor-resistant, as well as quick and easy to use. SeatShields are soft and comfortable so they feel good when you sit on them in your running shorts, tennis attire or swim suit.The EliteSport provides our best protection for dogs and pets.

- Completely Waterproof
- Odorproof & Sweatproof
- Machine Washable
- Soft and Comfortable
- Lighter weight to stay cooler in hot weather

P1020204 Sounds pretty good right…so lets’ bring on the stink! I’ve used  this now for about eight months, albeit with injury break in between, beach runs, quick trips to the gym, trail runs (from last year and last weekend) and even a couple of trips to the beach with the fam’.  It  has pretty much taken it all it’s stride. I’ve sweated on it, wiped mud and dust all over it and smeared copious amounts of Factor 50 over it. End result…pass!

Now the tricky bit installation….(1) open bag, (2) hook over headrest (3) unfold and cover seat (4) err sit on it!

Comfortwise the fabric is a soft with a velor peachy feel, the back of it is grippy to stop it slipping around on leather although it’s also works on fabric too, size-wise its fitted in my Passat, Explorer and Aerio with ease. If it starts to take on a life of it’s own, throw it in a the washer and just leave to air dry…voila!

And that’s it, to be honest for anyone who ever gets into their car after running, biking well anything that’s going to get you a little funky and you want to save your interior it’s a bit of no brainer, get one!

Available in black, gray or beige the SeatShield retails for $34.oo, easily the price of a valet you could spend defunking your car!

This product was provided by Wilderness Running Company, for 10% off this or anything else they offer click here and use ‘quad10’ at the checkout. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Teaching an old dog new tricks…

I seem to have forgotten how to run! Well on trails at least, six months of recovery and road have left me with joints that only go in movements of forward and back! And that was the take away from today’s hour or so on the trails; my knees and ankles are decidedly wondering WTF is going on! You see when I started running trails, they were the gentle fire road type near our old house, months went by with me pottering around them as I ventured further and graduated onto more technical terrain. Of course I conveniently forgot that as I headed to my local trail head at our new house, super technical it ain’t but it’s no groomed fire road either.

Anyway this starts of the great base build of the summer and also the relearning of trail running. Last week was a wash but now I have nearly tamed the back to work pile of crap that I had to climb over to even get into my cube so it’s time to start lacing them up again! I’ve a trail marathon to race in November and I am pacing a friend to her first 50k the following weekend (right Penny!) so I need to get my not so skinny butt in gear!

Right now it’s all about time not speed, running for hour(s) not miles and back to running pushruns and the like…and as much of it on trails as I can; today was a real reminder of why that’s where my heart lies. Here are some pics from today…enjoy.

P1020203 The Ultimate Direction…usually up (hidden joke!)

P1020144Blue skies and spring flowers

P1020179 Technical…ish!

P1020190 Scary, well he would be if he was more than 3” long!

P1020197 Chaparral color

P1020183Sign on part of an interpretive trail…it made me chuckle!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

The end of the trail…

P1010764So yeah you’re probably sick of Hawaii by now, well if you are sorry, this is the last one, I promise, and it was prompted by looking at the quality (lack thereof) of the iPhone photos and I really wanted to share this one trip with you.

During the week my wife and I left our boys with their Grandparents, yes we all went together, and headed to the west side of the Island to Waimea State Park. Part of the park is taken up with the Waimea Canyon. Also known as the Hawaiian Grand Canyon is runs for about 10 miles as is 3000’ deep.

We headed passed that after a photo stop and parked at the Koke'e Ranger Station which gave us our start point for the Nualolo Trail.

The hike is just under 8 miles for an out and back, although it can be extended into a longer loop We had grand plans to do the 11 miles but time got the better of us. Like most of the Kuaui the area is littered with chickens, they’re pretty much everywhere, there are several theories why which I won’t go into but here’s some evidence:

P1010761 And so on with the hike. After a short sharp uphill for a quarter mile you’re treated to some broad technical downhill. There are lots of fallen trees and plenty of roots to navigate: P1010767This then opens up into a tropical lushness. The hike has an elevation change of 4400’ unusually you go down first and then up on the return; you are basically hiking towards the coast.

P1010776Around the 2.5 mile mark the trail gets decidedly tricky and you’re hiking down a mini canyon using the roots as handholds.


After 3 miles you find your self back out in the open and the views start to open themselves up. At this point we were also hit by the wind which was blowing a gale. The trail gets narrower and narrower and at some points you’re on a knife edge ridgeline.


This comes with a 2000’+ drop off on one side.


Finally you hit the end point you know it’s the end point ‘cos there’s a sign! Handy that!

P1010815 You get a grand view along the coastline, we didn’t linger as (a) it was cold and (b) rain clouds were heading our way.


Another two and half hours later we’re back at the start point and like the chickens we were pooped. 7.75 miles in 4:15 hours.

P1010826 There are more photos of chickens and cliffs here, enjoy!

Now I am woefully behind in my reading so hang in there, I’ll get to you this week, promise.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Let down by the weather on the last day, we still managed to spend a few hours on a blusterly beach!

Lava rocks sit patiently on the shoreline.

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

It's not all beaches and blue skies!

Windy, grey skies and a 70% chance of rain...and we're on the sunny dry side of the island!

Is that a smile I see?

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hips don't lie!

This is way harder than they make it look, maybe another Mai Tai will loosen my hips up...maybe!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Buying local...

Grown about 15 miles from where are staying! Seriously good stuff!

I wahi kope nau? Will you have some coffee?

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's a British thing!

Don't let this picture fool you, high winds blowing sand in your face, cold sea and the occassional shower!

But we will enjoy ourselves...of course the soon to follow ice cream helped!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thank you Mr Garmin!

Mr Garmin: ding ding ding mile alert
Me: Oh that's mile 5, only 3 more to go
MsQ: No that's not the way to play!
Me: Oh...[thinks for a second] that's another mile...yay!
MsQ: That's better...

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wailau Falls

Breakfast, beach, lunch, falls, fish'n'chips, Pina Colada, bed!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Verdant vistas....

Lush, humid and green! I guess that's why the coffee tastes so good!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Sounds like a solid plan to me...

Now this is something I could get used to!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone


Breakfast, beach walk, Costco, beach, dinner, blog, bed!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Saturday, April 10, 2010


An early start, uneventful flight and we're here!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Going mobile...

This is just a test post. I am off on vacation this weekend and will be spending a week on a beach in Hawaii, Kauai to be precise, yeah it's gonna be hell!

Anyway I'll be blogging little and often care of my iPhone.

Please don't hate me!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Running the numbers!

One of the joys of being a Garmin owner is the mass of data you accumulate through the year, although it can be a curse as well I suppose. After last Sundays shenanigans I wanted to compare myself to last year when I ran the 50k and PRd for the distance. Here’s a comparison exported into Excel and made to look purty!


So what’s the analysis? The easy things first,

  • I was over 30 minutes slower running a shorter race which should have been at a faster pace
  • My quick miles last year were not that this year, they’re in yellow!

Now the splits:

  • 17 of the 19 miles were slower this year vs. last year
  • 4 miles where <2 mins of last year’s mile times
  • 11 miles were >2 mins over last year, 2 of which were >3 mins!

Ok let’s look at Heart Rate, green is average, orange is max per mile

  • 9 miles had a higher average HR than last year –11 miles had a higher max HR than last year
  • Those that were lower were also some of the slowest but also had the highest max

I also looked back at my training log for the previous 6 months 9/1/08-4/4/09 (right) vs. 9/1/09 – 4/4/10 (left) it looks like this, cycling on top, running below , :


Also and what you can’t see here is the recovery, this year I am really feeling things, last year I was running 50k and then running the next day, this year I am your classic next morning marathoner, something akin to an ironing board!

So what are my conclusions…well I am no expert but hmm, well what springs to mind here…base! 157% more base the year before, well it’s no surprise, October November and most of December of last year were a wash due to injury, January and February were spent working through a 10k plan and March was the first month of a marathon plan! So guess what's on my agenda…yep a solid summer of base building, and as much of it on the trails as I can!

I am looking at my fall agenda and building things out around the Eco Marathon and PCTR Pt Mugu races in November, it maybe back to the drawing board but I like to think of it as a clean slate to start from!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

PCTR Sycamore Canyon 30k

P1010711 I have said it before and I’ll continue to say it that PCTR races are some of the best on the block, well organized, friendly people, good challenging courses and beautiful locations, I mean c’mon what’s not to beat. This weekend was going to be extra special as I was hoping to meet up with some of the folks I know through blogging, Twitter and in person and with the exception of a couple of people I missed it all panned out, which is more than can be said for my day.

Unlike me I managed an earlyish night 10:00pm and unlike our kids I only got woken once at 4:00am and so by the time my alarm went off at 6:00am I was in pretty good shape, my cold/cough thing was still lingering and it had settled into a night mucusy hacking lung thing, but the shakes and aches had gone and my head felt clear. Breakfast was my usual and the drive was uneventful other than spotting dolphins swimming in the ocean which along with the fact that I was meeting friends and running on trails was enough to put a smile on my face like I had slept with a coat hanger in my mouth!

4-4-10 003 L-R Me, Andrea, Dave, Billy, Josh, Emil, Kristen, Colin and Andee (photo Billy…well his camera and a stranger)

I checked in, got my number and hung out chatting until the race announcements started, shortly afterwards I along with another 100 or so folks were off. Today there were four distances; 8k, 18k, 30k and 50k. Everyone except the 8kers started in one go and I soon lost sight of everyone I knew, which was fine; there is an unspoken rule that you run your own race. I hit play on my iPod and got on with things. My expectations for this race where really to treat as (a) and good long run and (b) time on my feet, I had in mind 3:30 for a time so fairly conservative I thought. Last year I completed the 30k of the 50k I raced in 3:33 but was running at a 50k pace.

image I’ve run this course before so I knew to expect, up and down and not much in between. For the 30k it’s basically three hills, three miles up, three miles down for each. I managed to run the first two miles up and resigned to walk the last one. I stopped to take some photos and was recognized from this blog which is always nice and surprising at the same time, I am sorry I never got your name.

I hit the top and started the three mile decent, around mile 4 my ego got he better of me and I started clicking off some pretty quick miles ; 9:14 and 8:11! Stupid me! I reached the bottom at mile 6 and blew past the Aid Station, I had two 26oz bottles and had hardly touched them.

The second climb is trickier, once you’re into it proper it’s a lot of steps cut into the rock face and some narrow single track, added to which all the rain we have had this winter has accelerated the spring growth, although the upside of this is all the spring flowers that are in bloom and this trickle of a waterfall I have never ever seen before!


The climb goes on interspersed with a slight down and here I was overtaken by Dave who was racing the 50k but who kindly stopped to take a photo of me, thanks Dave!


Once you top out you left running through an elevated plateau, as you can see the cloud was low and it was a bit breezy which was welcome after all that huffing and puffing to get to the top. From here you loop around and basically run back down the first half of what you climbed up.


I was mostly being overtaken and while a bit frustrating I kept reminding myself of my job. My nutrition was good; I took a swig of Chocolate#9 gel, about 2/3’s of a pack, from a bottle every half hour, my hydration I screwed up and while there was no noticeable impact during the race I ended up really dehydrated; in total drank about 50oz of a Cytomax/Nunn mix, that’s it…not good!

I hit the bottom, skipped the Aid Station and started on the last 3 mile climb, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty and it was just a case of getting it done. I trudged up the hill until I got to the top…and then I trudged along the top…and then I ran a bit, trudged some more down the other side and ran a bit, stopping to grab the occasional picture.


I was spent by mile 15 my legs were done along with thoughts of 3:30…then 3:45. Crapola I’ll be damned if I was going past 4:00 hours I am was a friggin’ ultra-runner! Finally I reached the final straight and I bumbled across the finish in 3:54 and change!

I met up with Andrea who ran the 18k and Billy and Josh who ran the 30k, Josh came in 2nd overall and Billy was about a half hour ahead of me. We swapped war stories from the day and as you would expect the conversation got round to what’s next, I mentioned RNRSD and Billy said it was sold out! Shit, I hadn’t registered! Shit really? Well kinda, but more on that later. I bid my farewells and set off home.

The quick after race round up is that my base is close to being non existent, I am nowhere near as fit in my body as I am in my mind, this time last year I was knocking in two 50ks in three weeks SUB 6 houring them and PRing in both! This year my longest run is, well, today’s and that gave me a good ass kicking, in fact it’s my longest run in 6 months.

And so I am heading back to the drawing board to regroup and replan my return, suffice to say it involves a lot more dirt and a lot less tarmac!

Garmin Connect doesn’t work with Windows 7 and Chrome…at least I can’t get it to work so here’s a ST screen shot….no laughing please and today’s photos all jazzed up!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

The right place at the right time…

If I wasn’t a runner I probably be a cyclist, I have always had an on/off love affair with cycling. I used to ride to school, I got my first mountain bike over 20 years ago! When I moved to the US I even raced mountain bikes a bit, I was rubbish but I had a lot of fun doing it. More recently (last 3-4 years) I’ve been back on the road. I try to watch the Tour de France when it’s on, it’s one of the few sporting events that actually holds my interest. psss here’s a secret while I love to run I find watching running i.e. the Olympic Marathon insanely boring.

So this year when they announced the Tour de California I hit paydirt! The Tour is the largest cycling event in the US and this year the finish is right by my house…well not quite but very close.


“There is nothing easy about the 2010 Amgen Tour of California and Stage 8 will be the exclamation point for this year’s race. Starting at the upscale “The Oaks” shopping complex, the riders will roll neutral to the start of four 21-mile circuits. The cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills host the final 84-miles of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. What starts as a beautiful rolling stage gets a bit challenging at Mulholland Highway. Long regarded as one of the most scenic climbs in southern California and a favorite haunt of motorcyclists, Mulholland Highway features steep climbs and numerous switchbacks, making it a great place for spectators. As the riders pass the Malibu Family Winery, they will start a dangerous and technical descent on Westlake Blvd. In less than an hour, the riders will be back at the finish line and bracing themselves for three more laps. If ever there was a chance to see the leader and sprint jerseys change on the final day, it will be here.”


Somehow that weekend I have a feeling my long run will be on the Saturday!