Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back on the bike

I had an easy training week following the Calico Trail Race as my legs were REALLY beat up.

I now have basically 8 weeks to train for Cali 70.3 at the end of March. After the couple months of increased run frequency, I feel I have a good run base and want to keep that up and sharpen it a bit. I do however need to raise the level of my swim and bike between now and race day.

I plan to keep my run at 5 days per week, swim 4 days a week and 3 bikes per week. If I can hit this consistently I think I can look forward to a good race in Oceanside.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Snow in Monrovia!

We had another major storm pass through here last night, which is good because we have had a really dry year.

I was on my way to the pool a bit before 6AM and about a mile from the house I noticed SNOW ON THE ROAD! It lasted for a couple miles to the Monrovia/Arcadia border. I guess there must have been a really cold cell that dropped down right there.

Of course, there were a number of accidents in that couple mile stretch - california drivers ;-)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Calico Trail Run

Kylie and I ran the Calico Trail Race yesterday with a number of friends from the Arroyo Trail Blazers (ATB). The race was held at the historic Calico Ghost Town between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Kylie has wanted to run an ultramarathon for a few years. Recently she was going to do the Ridgecrest 50km but switched to this Calico race, as a number of the ATB group she ran with on weekends were doing it. It was a great choice as there was over a dozen of us racing and it was always fun to spot a bright green shirt to cheer on.

We stayed with Jon and Sachico Pedder in their RV only a few minute walk to the race start. Which was really convenient and we enjoyed a pasta dinner and time around the campfire the night before the race with the whole group.

As I am not crazy like most of them I opted to run the 30km instead of the 50km ;-). the race started out pretty quick as we went downhill for the first mile or so before heading off road into the desert. Myself and another guy settled into the lead right away. We ran together for about six miles. As we started to climb a bit and get into some looser sandier areas he began to pull away from me. I am more of an efficient runner than a strength runner so the sand and the hills really slow me down. After that it was quite desolate and lonely as the only people I saw were at the couple of aid stations along the route. As the first half had been mostly climbing I expected it to be quite a bit faster. However, the terrain got rougher and rougher past this point. The footing became worse and worse, instead of the sandy terrain of the trail in the first half it became very rocky. At one point near the end we ran a couple miles down a slot canyon that I literally had to walk down as it was unrunnable. There would be all loose rocks of varying sizes, then deep sand, then gravel then drop offs into more loose rock, etc. It was quite beautiful but I probably would have enjoyed hiking it more than trying to run it ;-). As I left that canyon it fortunately became more runnable again for the last few miles.

I then noticed a runner a minute or so behind me, so despite being in a world of hurt I had to really dig down and push it to the finish. There was a loop above the campground where we had stayed, then we ran through the campground only meters from the RV. The final section was up a slight climb in the parking lot followed by a torturous steep climb at the end of the parking lot before running down mainstreet in the Calico Ghost Town to the finish. I had increased my lead on the next guy to over two minutes after I first spotted him coming out of the slot canyon.

It turns out that it was the guy I had been running with at the beginning and he had mistakenly done an extra out and back soon after I fell off his pace, so I won! I felt really bad, but since I had followed the proper route I'll take it. If I had run the course incorrectly I definately would have let him have the win. As a testament to the difficulty of the course, my time was 2:32 and I went in expecting to be close to two hours. At the half way point I was still well under 7:30 mile pace but despite the loss of elevation in the second half I ended up averaging 8:00 mile pace.

After the race, I went back to the RV, had a shower, some lunch and a beer or two with my feet propped up, watching a hockey game on TV (yeah we were roughing it alright) ;-)

Jon and I then headed out on our mountain bikes to ride the 50km route backwards and find Kylie, Sachi and the rest of the ATB'ers. It was tough to get my tired legs pedalling over some of the hills but I think it probably helped keep them loose. A few miles in we said OK we'll get to the top of that ridge, stop, open a couple beers and wait for them. As soon as we got there though, Kylie came running out of the canyon! Right behind her there was Sachi and a few more ATB'ers. So Jon and I headed back leapfrogging the runners, taking a bunch of pictures and cheering everyone on.

Here is a picture of Kylie coming out through some of the hills with about 3 miles to go.
Kylie ended up running 6:17 which is awesome! we expected her to be about six hours before realizing how difficult the terrain would be, AND her time included over a mile of extra running due to the extra out and back mistake that they had everyone run.

We cheered everyone into the finish and then headed to the RV where Jon BBQ'd a great steak dinner. We would have loved to stay and camp another night but unfortunately Kylie had school and I had to work today so we headed home after dinner.

All in all it was a GREAT weekend (although we are both limping around a lot today with very sore and tired legs) ;0)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hip Flexor Issues

My running had really been coming along with my increased running frequency and consistency. Unfortunately, a couple weeks a go I tripped on a branch while trail running and felt a bit of a pull in my right hip flexor. The next day while cycling I stood up to sprint over a small rise on the river trail and felt further discomfort in the same area. Although I eased off, I did keep running on it, thinking it would work itself out. 10 days ago I tried to follow up the prior days long run with and easy run but realized I was just doing further damage and realized I had to stay away from running and rest it so I wouldn't injure it to the poin that it affected my entire season.

The last few days I have finally been pain free and am looking forward to the Calico Trail Run on Sunday.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Good Ol Hockey Game

Kylie and I went to the Kings vs Maple Leafs game last night. Its only the second time Toronto has played in LA since I moved here almost 10 years ago. They played "Oh Canada" since there was a Canadian team playing. That was cool to hear, especially with the thousands of Canadians in the stands for the game. Unfortunately it was a bit of a blowout from the start, but we still had a great time.
Here's us after the game down at ice level.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wow, time flies. Its been almost a week since I posted. We had a big storm come through over the weekend which dumped a lot of snow in the mountains.

Last Friday I had a TOUGH swim workout (probably wouln't have been as tough if my swim fitness wasn't so bad - a lot of work needs to be done in the pool in the next two months before 1/2 IM Cali. That night I ran 6 miles in a DOWNPOUR. Saturday I got in my long run for the week (16miles), my longest run since Kona, it definately did not feel as easy as that route did this summer prior to my accident.
Sunday it POURED all day so we had a lazy day around the house which was nice.

On Monday morning I got all the way to the pool to discover I hadn't brought my backpack containing my swimsuit, goggles, etc ;-( Monday night we had a good workout at the track.
This morning I did another 16 mile run, my last long run before the Calico trail race next Sunday. I was going to continue with some solid running over the next week but I am having some issues with my right quad (where I got hit by the car) so I am going to go easy with the running until the race. I will keep up my run consistency but back off on distance and intensity.

Kylie is running the 50km race at Calico and I am doing the 30km. I think that Kylie is going to have a really good race. She has put in the miles and with a good taper over the next ten days she should do very well in her first ultra. Although I still think anyone who runs further than amarathon is nuts ;-)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Rode a solid 43 miles today. A rolling loop around Bonelli Park from my house in Monrovia. Averaged 183 watts. Made it a brick by doing a 4 mile run off the bike, legs were a little worked for the run after the last 3 days of solid training. Tomorrows run will be easy, so I have something in my legs for my long run Saturday.

Jan 2

Ran 8 miles at lunch in 57:30.

Felt pretty good. Legs are finally starting to come around and are feeling stronger from the increased run frequency I've been doing since the beginning of December. Another two months of this should really pay dividends for my run this year, hopefully bringing it back to being my strength in races like it was ten years ago.

When I first went to six runs a week my legs always felt sore and sluggish, now they are really feeling more durable (if that makes sense). This new leg strength on the run should allow for some much higher quality run training later this year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Years Day

After going out with Kylie to a friends house for New Years we each had rather epic workouts to ring in the new year.

Kylie ran 24 miles with over 5000 feet of climbing with some of her ultra running friends.

I met up with a couple friends for a nearly 90 mile ride that had over 10,000feet of climbing. We really appreciated how spoiled we are in Southern California to be able to be riding in shorts on New Years day and not see a car for miles. At the top of the climb we had some amazing views out to Catalina Island, probably a hundred miles of visiblity.

Dec 31

Swan 2800lcm in the morning before work and ran 6 miles at lunch

Christmas 2007

Kylie and I flew to Canada last week to visit my family. I haven't been home for over a year so it was great to see everyone again. It was Kylie's first white Christmas.

Here is Kylie at the beginning of her first run in the snow on Christmas morning in Aplsey, Ontario.

She got a picture of me about a mile later:

This sign on the side of the snowmobile established our goal of running 50km (31miles) during our 5 days in Canada.

We saw a couple of beavers at their dam on the side of the trail.

Here Kylie is skating with my brother and his two girls.

On our last day we ran around Niagara Falls.

We did manage to reach our 50km goal:

Dec. 25 - 15km
Dec. 26 - 11km
Dec. 27 - 5km
Dec. 28 - 10km
Dec. 29 - 10km