Sunday, March 20, 2011

2012 filings!

I knew coming back to work it was going to be a long week, I got a call while away telling me that, I also knew that most things would take a back seat, I carried a gym bag to work Monday morning and I carried it home again Friday, it hid under my desk all week. Not once this week have I finished before 1:00am I worked most of yesterday and a couple of hours this morning, add in my commute and my work week was north of 100 hours. Training time zip! Don’t get me wrong I love my job, after several career changes I have found my niche, but doing something you love that much will grate after a while!

Conspicuously absent online I even got a couple of pings from folks wondering if I was ok…gotta love this online community!

The good news is I managed to crawl out from under the rock, the bad news is that it’s going to be a pretty like this through to the end of June!

That list of races on the right…that just got filed under 2012! It’s going to be back to the drawing board for the second half of the year, in the meantime I will be fitting in what I can when I can.

Finally big kudos to everyone who ran the LA Marathon today…rain, rain and more rain!


Correctly the rain is this weather map is actually depicted in the way it was falling…sideways!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

From the sublime to the ridiculous!

Alternative title…From the Slime to the Re-d-ice-colous…yeah it’s a stretch! So today was our last full day in Zion (sublime) and we’re heading back to Las Vegas (ridiculous) We had a lazy start and headed out to the Emerald Pools, three pools fed by a waterfall, we hiked to the top pool but encountered the slime, no biggie; a hop skip and jump later we were clear. We climbed up reached the waterfall, too big to get into the lens except sideways!



P1010743 Sideways upper fall

Middle falls

One thing that keeps catching me off guard is patches of beach! Not real beach but just areas of the trail that are completely sandy, I suppose it’s inevitable given the amount of sandstone there is here…the place is pretty much made of it! After this trail we headed over to the Trailhead to Aspiration Point, we started but within a mile were foiled by sheet ice, Ms Q was really nervous and without, Kahtoolas, Leki Poles or an Ice Axe to cut some steps it was too treacherous and to prove the point I slipped over on the way down!

Sandy soil and slime evidence!

Ice beateth the hike!

So we backtracked to Zion Lodge to regroup and grab a coffee…with the day fading we headed out to an parking lot overlook which was a short quick hike to an outlook as the sun was heading out for the day! And it paid dividends!

last hike view

So long Zion…we’ll be back!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bryce Canyon…all snow no go!

Nada hiking today, we headed out to Bryce Canyon and the snow was deep and crisp and even, so much so that discretion ruled, so here are the best of the photos…


Sunrise Point


Sunset Point (N)


Sunset Point (S)


Inspiration Point


Garmin altitude check…check!


Natural Bridge

ZZBryce view

Happy Feet!

Some things are just plain wrong…

Here are a couple of them that I saw just today…


Would you like cream to go with that Ho?


Don’t be afraid to make an ass of yourself!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Zion National Park; Angels Landing

We arrived late last night, checked in, ate and hit the hay, this morning we weren’t the liveliest birds in the nest and that only got worse when we realized we had moved to Mountain time and lost an hour! Oh well. Today we managed three hikes, Goldilocks bear sizes; large, medium and small, well none of them were that large, but the first one had some elevation gain about 2000’ feet over three mile and topped out at just under 6000’ just on the snowline, I did wear my Garmin but it had a total brainfart, it kept dropping the signal in the canyon and then spiked to 10,000’ and added 2 extra miles!

This photo is from Angles Landing which takes you from the bottom of Zion Canyon up through to the Landing, which has a hair raising final climb using some chain handrails to the summit, I got so far and stepped back due to the ice. From there we pushed onto the West Rim Trail for another mile or so until it got too snowy so we turned around, the weather is perfect as you can see from the photos.

image photo (55)

After this we left the park grabbed a coffee and headed back in to do a couple of smaller ones, Weeping Rock and the Temple of Sinawava. We had a complete camera fail on day one, I left my battery in the charger and my wife’s was dead, luckily I had my iPhone so we got some pictures, there will be plenty more but I am on the slowest of internet connections and I am emailing photos on the Edge network and well life is to short!

Oh and I picked up this shirt…well it would have been rude not to, right!


Tomorrow Bryce Canyon, cold and snowy is the forecast, oh well that’s why they invented goosedown jackets!

Nearly three months late!

imageIn much the same vein as most of the this and last month I am catching up.

So with my head held in shame I am writing this to acknowledge and thank Jake from the Broken Hearted Runner blog for his kind words and acknowledgement of my little blog in adding it to his list of the Best Running Blogs of 2011

In fact the shame only gets deeper when I say that I was also on the list last year and I virtually missed it!

Anyway click on the image and you’ll be whisked to Jakes blog where you'll find the list the 57 blogs he choose, 56 of which have far better manners than mine.

Cheers Jake!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review; Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp


It’s a bit of a standing joke in my house that I am fixated with headlamps…it’s not so much that I am fixated with the lamps it’s more that I am fixated with not running into things, tripping over things and now I can add being run over by a car to that list! Previously I have reviewed the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp and the Fenix 2LD Flashlight

So allow me you present the Black Diamond Sprinter.

From their website:

The urban-inspired Sprinter opens up the dark for those whose running isn’t restricted to daytime hours. This rechargeable streets-to-trails runner’s headlamp features excellent fore-aft balance and a super low profile, which minimizes bouncing and shifting with your stride. A red rear strobe offers safety around cars while a strong, ovalized beam keeps your vision focused on the path ahead”.

  • DoublePower LED with 68 lumens (max setting) projects a strong, ovalized beam optimized for running
  • Red taillight strobe for visibility in urban areas with on/off switch
  • Powered by a lithium polymer rechargeable battery (6-hour charge time)
  • Settings include full strength, dimming and strobe
  • Regulated for constant illumination on max brightness setting
  • Sealed waterproof to 1 m (3.3 ft)

Sounds good right..any questions! Nope ok, thanks then, seeya! Seriously this is one smart headlamp, so let’s translates some of this:

68 Lumens, you know what a lumen is right? Well one lumen is equal to one foot-candle falling on one square foot of area, so 68 is equal to 68 candles, this is not being very illuminating is it, so a picture is worth a 1000 words so here you go:


My garden shed at 20 meters: L-R Petzl Tikka vs. Black Diamond Spot vs. Black Diamond Sprinter

So you get a sense of how bright this thing is. As the description says there are dimmer settings but let’s be honest when your running through the woods in the middle of the night chances are your going to be being chased by like minded lycra and bib wearing folks, not AK47 brandishing, Korean speaking nationals bent on stopping you from escaping to the south with their nuclear secrets…of course if you were you could use this to guide in the rescue chopper! According to the specs the highest light setting is good for up to 50 meters, I think that’s probably a stretch but who is looking that far ahead when they are running, I think that is much more of a “be seen with” than “to see with” feature, that is someone will see the light but you won’t see the someone. Now as best I can tell the constant illumination means that it will not dim but I am guessing that means it will just stop!

Ok now I will focus on the other two big features, the rear light and the charger.

One of the big appeals of this lamp was the rear light, I have lost numerous red clip on blinkies without knowing that they have fallen off and the fact that this is built in had some appeal, you can turn it off independently of the front so if you don’t want to be followed or are not running where there is traffic then you won’t need it, I have yet to do a distance test, my yard is about 40m wide (it’s wider than deeper) and it’s works fine within those constraints, I am guessing that there is probably another 10 meters of range on that.

The real downside of all this power is that the battery life on max brightness is only 5 hours, on medium it is 10 hours and on low 64 hours.

imageAnd so onto the charger. In this picture you can see all the bits that come in the box, and as you can see the charger is rated for international use, from top to bottom, USA, EU, UK the forth I don’t know I have never been anywhere to use this…answers on a postcard. The charger takes 5 hours to fully juice it up and it plugs into the bottom of the red blinkie, I was a bit worried about those connections being exposed to the elements but this does haves an IPX Rating of 7 which means it is good for up to 30 minutes submersed in 1 meter of water, so let's be honest your running in the wrong weather if you need to rely on that!  But with one eye on the environment if you’re not having to throw batteries into the landfill every week that’s a good thing in my mind.

The last thing is that this lamp comes with an over the head band which is a good thing as it is not lightest lamp in the shop weighing in at 100g or 3.5oz, that’s twice the weight of the Spot which comes without the rear lamp. Comfortwise it’s fine, it’s easily adjustable, you can wear it with a beanie, visor or a bare head without issue. It’s well balanced and doesn’t slip and slide even on the shiniest of heads a’la mine! It comes in a lime/black or red/black color coding.

So conclusion time. Well I am really torn, I really like the illumination power and I am struggling to reconcile the photo above, my  2009 Spot is rated at 47 Lumens (the 2011 model is 75 max Lumens) and should be a lot brighter? So I am going to redo the photo test with new batteries in the Spot and repost it, I am in Las Vegas as I write this so that’s probably not the best environment for a dark test so I will wait till I get to Zion this week! I really like the fact that there is a bright red blinkie at the back and that it is rechargeable it is also a bonus, eventually this will pay for itself (approx 29 sets of 3 AAA batteries would be the break even point) of course you could but rechargeable AAA batteries I suppose!

This would seem like a good time to mention the price, $79.95, I have seen it on line for as low as $70.00 + S/H.

But for actual usage I see two potential arenas for my own use; running the roads early morning/late night or during an ultra at night. Due to battery life this, in my opinion, self selects out of the second group and it’s unlikely for most people that they will be putting in 5 hour+ runs before breakfast or after dinner. The perfect scenario I see is keeping the charger base plugged in next to your Garmin so you just walk in the house and plug it into the charger for the next run, it’s very much rinse and repeat, is low maintenance and is good to go every time, when you look back at BDs own description they call it “urban inspired” so it does all make some sense. Personally for the longer night time runs through the woods I will be taking my Spot and a set of extra batteries.

This headlamp was purchased from my good friends at Wilderness Running Company, (I do actually buy some of my kit) if you would like to pick one up from them don’t forget to use the Quad10 coupon code for 10% off and free shipping, you can also get a 2011 Spot headlamp from WRC, the same coupon code will work, which has the bargain price of $40.00!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Remember me?

Hi, remember me, I use to blog a bit and I used to read others and leave witty and insightful comments! Well maybe they were just witty? Either way I used to leave them and I used to write a bit too! Oh well, therein lies the problem of having a vacation, it’s not like you stop work you just do half a week extra before you go and half a week extra when you come back, oh and then there’s the 2-3 evenings you work when you are away..modern life right. Anyway as I write this I on the 60th floor of the Encore Hotel in Vegas, we checked in yesterday after leaving LA around 4pm and getting here about 4 hours later. And so far we have not left the hotel, sleep, massage, spa, monster workout in the gym, in room dining, big tv, nice view…sold!


I am officially too lazy to stand up to take the photo!

Now that being said I have been hitting the gym and today I started Week 4 of the Natural Running Transition, things are improving and despite having a crappy start to the first two weeks of February with the Flu/bronchitis I am getting 4-5 of the 7 a week workouts done, I am actually running three times a week for a whopping 25 minutes! (yeah it’s kinda sad really) but I am really focusing on my form, I am running in my Newtons exclusively and I do actually seem to be getting a little faster. Most runs are sub 7:30 minute pace and a few miles last week were even sub 7:00! So it would seem that there is something to backing off to focus on form, I am also pretty much injury free; at least nothing that a bag of ice doesn’t fix. So there you have it. I have to say that it does not make for interesting reading  and to be honest it’s not that interesting to write! It’s not the yomping adventures of a trail runner that I was writing about two years that’s for sure. So what’s next.

Well the four week mark is half way through the transition plan, from here the focus is on longer runs and keeping up the in between strength and stretching forms I have to say that I have one eye on the calendar, the FIRST Half plan is 18 weeks which is about 4 weeks longer than I can focus for and about 8 weeks longer than my target race! So it might be time to look for an alternative, the problem here is that there is nothing in the Summer as it’s too hot! The Simi Valley Half in June is a maybe but the organizers took a pasting over last years Camarillo Marathon or there is the modestly names America’s Finest City race in August but that’s so far away!

I have also come to the conclusion that I really do like to race and that’s a lot of the drive to run, I have always been goal orientated and without a race at the end of the pipe it seems very easy for the interest level to drop off. So I need to get some things firmed up but until then things are a bit up in the air. I really would like to nail things down for the next 6 months or so so I can broach the subject at home of doing another 100 miler next year!