Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MY first, uh, three marathons

So I've been reading a bunch of running books this year - Karnazes' book, this one on the 100+ marathons, one about Boston earlier, plus a few others, and I'm in the middle of one on New York. It's been pretty cool reading about all the big-city races, crazy uphill marathons, races in Antarctica and ultras in South Africa and all.

Thinking back to the marathons and one ultra I've run, I realized - they've all been within about 30 miles of each other! Way back in 1999, I did the Silver State Marathon, which went around Washoe Lake. I've done the Lake Tahoe Marathon twice now, on the west shore of the lake. And the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K was pretty much right in between those two, on the east shore of Lake Tahoe. In fact, looking back at my spreadsheet of race times, the only two races I've done outside the Reno/Tahoe area were the Clam Beach run in January of 2007 and the Haulin' Aspen in Bend, OR in August of the same year.

I really do like doing the local runs - The Marathon de Mayo and Rock-n-River Half in Reno have been two of my favorites, because they were run on streets and trails that I see almost everyday. I was disappointed when the Run Thru Reno was cancelled this year, because it would've started right across the street from where I work. I hadn't realized that I was such a non-traveling runner, though, until I looked at that. I guess my "running travel carbon footprint" is better than some...

My First 100 Marathons (book review)

My First 100 Marathons: 2,260 Miles with an Obsessive Runner My First 100 Marathons: 2,260 Miles with an Obsessive Runner by Jeff Horowitz

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wasn't expecting it to be such a quick read, but this book flew by - I finished it in a night and a half. Very inspirational, basically a biography of a marathoner. Horowitz takes us from his first marathon experiences running through 100 marathons, a couple of ultras and beyond - in all 50 states and around the world. He has a very healthy and sane view of what running is and what it can mean to people, some of which comes from his own experiences but also from coaching others. As much fun to read for the running talk as for the travelogue. Experienced runners will find the tips at the end of each chapter to be pretty common-sense, but I wish I'd read some of them before I ran my first marathon...

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A few TRT extras

I got so involved in putting up the pictures and video from the TRT run on Sunday, I forgot to include the map and other Garmin data goodies. Not that they're all that important, but I went to the trouble of prepping them, so I might as well throw them up here.

The map's kinda boring, actually - I've got to find a better way to get map data up here. I wish Mapmyrun's beta tool worked with the Forerunner 405.

Love the elevation profile on this run. And it feels like there are even more hills than that!

My splits, for what it's worth. I think that one sub-9:00 mile was when I was actually trying to keep up with everyone.

Oh, and Peter - it was a farmer, a fox, a goose and a bag of corn.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Shopping karma

I've been in the market for a pair of trail running shoes for awhile now - the Salomons that I did the Tahoe Rim Trail on in the summer of 2007 were pretty much thrashed even before this year. I bought a pair of Asics trail shoes in June of this year, ran just a couple of times on them, then did the TRT 50K with them. The sole had started peeling off after that, though, and Sierra Trading Post was nice enough to let me return them. I really liked the Salomons, though - the fit, the lacing system and all, and have kind of been biding my time until I thought my wife would let me get away with buying another pair of running shoes.

Just happened I was at REI last Saturday, looking for some shoes for my son - couldn't help drooling over the rack of Salomon trail runners. But wow, the ones I liked, the XT Wings, were $120! Even more for the Gore-tex version. I think I'd still be in trouble for that. A couple of racks away, though, was their "garage sale" shoe rack - stuff that had been returned and was marked down. And what do you think was there?

Barely used - the clerk remembered that the customer had said he only wore them to the gym, and they looked it. (Weird place to wear a great pair of trail shoes, but whatever.) Size 13, perfect. Marked down from the new $120 price to $59.95, then down again (!) to $29.95.

OK - when does that ever happen? The exact thing you were just looking at is two racks away, at 75% off? Awesome.

So that was Saturday. Sunday was the 24-mile run from Tahoe Meadows to Spooner, and of course I tried them out. Probably tempting fate to do such a long run for the first time out on them, but I don't think my old worn-out pair were up to it, and I was pretty sure about the fit. Wore them around a little on Saturday night, popped them on Sunday morning and headed out.

They felt a little funny under the left toes after about 3 miles, but nothing too serious. At about the 9 mile mark, I could feel a hot spot on my right heel, but I didn't have any first aid stuff, so I thought it best just to ignore it. It was worst on the uphills - it was a relief when we finally started the last big downhill, 4 miles from the end. I could feel my toes pushing to the front of the shoe and my heel pulling away from the back. Ahhh...

There they are, covered up by my dirty girls...

After finishing, I found a good quarter to half-dollar sized blister right on the back of my heel. Unfortunately, my only change of shoes was back at the trailhead, so I hobbled around in a very loosened pair of shoes until we made it back to my car. Wow, the shower at home was painful, too - salty, soapy water pouring into the blister. Shudder. Here's how it looks now - wearing Birkenstocks with no heel around for a few days. I guess that's shopping karma - such a good deal, I had to pay for it with some pain and skin. Oh well...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blue Planet run on the Tahoe Rim Trail

Headed up to the Tahoe Rim Trail this morning to do a 24 mile section from Tahoe Meadows to Spooner, as part of the Blue Planet Run 30-mile challenge. Here we are ready to start: Peter, John, Chris and I (the one with the belly, on the right.) Plus Chris's dogs, Merry and Pippin, who didn't come along for the run.

As we got started, it became pretty clear that the other three guys were pretty fast. I knew that about Chris, but hadn't met John before today. I managed to get a couple pictures as they pulled away...

I ran by myself for a little while here, and was able to get some great shots of Tahoe like this:

I caught up with the guys at a potty break, and we ran as a pack for awhile. Pretty cool feeling, that. This is a pretty good picture of it, but I can't figure out why John's shadow is flipping Chris off...

Got some video of the pack running together, as well:

The hills got to me and I dropped back a bit again - here's Peter heading on up one hill:

At the top of which we found a little family of deer:

Chris and John were waiting for us at the top of that hill, and we ran together for awhile again. Here's an over-the back shot of Chris that actually turned out kind of cool:

One of the most scenic spots on the whole TRT. Here's the group running above Marlette Lake.

Here's a runner's eye view of the trail above Marlette:

Peter slowed a bit and hung back with me - here he is just after rounding a downhill switchback:

A great shot of how it feels to run the TRT: on top of the world, with Lake Tahoe spread out in front of you. That's Peter again.

And some action shots of him:

It was a totally beautiful day - in spite of snow up there a couple weeks ago, we all ran in shorts and t-shirts. Apart from a couple of new shoe-related blisters (that's another post) and the fact that I'm not really in the shape to run like that, it was a great time. Thanks to all involved.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Intervals cut short

I was kind of surprised at how sore my legs were Monday, after the half marathon on Sunday. Headed out for an interval workout this morning anyway, but only got 2 of my planned 5 4-minute intervals done - legs just weren't there. Maybe I need more recovery time from a long run. Have to remember that for next week; got a planned for Sunday...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Colors videos

While we were running on Sunday, I took a few videos just for fun. Amber got to be the star of them, since she was the person in front of me...

This was a fun downhill section, where I was having trouble keeping up with Amber - even when I wasn't trying to hold a camera.

Great section ducking and weaving through a colorful aspen grove. THAT was fun.

I bombed ahead to get this stream crossing on video...

And a little switchback on the back side of the hill.

Fall Colors Half Marathon

Did the Fall Colors Trail Half Marathon yesterday morning, up in the hills on the south side of Reno. I used to work down that way, and knew there were trails up there, but have never really been on them - it was cool to get out and experience them. Managed to bring a camera along, so I took lots of pictures of the fall colors and my running buddy Amber.

Pretty chilly at the start - everyone stood around shivering and waiting...

Getting started - it wasn't actually snowing, but this was kind of a cool picture anyway.

Sun just peeking through the trees...

Some of the fall color sown below us - we would run through that canyon later in the race.

Amber on one of the stream crossings.

And another...

And the last.

Crested a ridge to find Mt. Rose staring at us.

And this hawk sitting there watching us.

We dragged our way through, took our time and plenty of pictures (obviously.) It was just after 10 am and warming up nicely by the time we finished. Imagine my surprise when, after the finisher's medal was slung around my neck, someone handed me an age group award! I finished second in the Mens 30-39 division - I think there were only two or three of us. Actually, the race probably had less than 60 people running, so it shouldn't be that much of a surprise.

Pretty good elevation profile here - as you can see, our pace wasn't very steady. Very nice day, though, and I'm really glad I got a look at the course. Thanks, Amber! More pictures here at Flickr if anyone wants to see...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stoker Hill and bonus invisible hill!

You know, the Garmin is a pretty cool tool. Sometimes, though, I have NO idea what it's thinking.

There is a hill in the neighborhood that I've been wanting to run. (I know - that sounds weird, even to type.) So, since I've been bored lately by my standard routes, I headed off this morning to run it. It's just under a mile and a half from my house to the bottom of the hill, the hill itself is about half a mile long, and just under a mile back home, for a total of just under three miles - about what I wanted to do this morning. And it went pretty well - the hill wasn't as hard as I'd expected, and I seemed to hold my pace pretty well throughout.

So I was a bit surprised when I got home and downloaded this from Lumpy:

I had trouble picking out which hill was the one on Stoker. That first one that looks so impressive actually took place on a COMPLETELY flat section of 4th Street, from Keystone to Stoker. And the continuation of the elevation rise after the Stoker hill? Not so much - just a gentle slope going up 7th Street.

So, yeah, weirdness. Gonna have to do this run again sometime to see if the elevation profile matches up.

Trail half marathon tomorrow - going to take it easy, run with my friend Amber, and take some pictures. Should be a beautiful day for it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Garmin test on stationary bike

Wanted to see what the Garmin would do if I changed the "Sport mode" to Biking, turned the GPS off, and wore the footpod while on the stationary bike at the gym. Not much, turns out:

The red line is my heart rate - if I hadn't been wearing the monitor, this graph wouldn't have made ANY sense. IT looks about right. The blue line is pace, in min/mile - why bike mode would measure pace and not speed, I don't know. The yellow (orange?) line is cadence - measured from the footpod, I guess. That's probably where the problem lies; it wasn't measuring right. I'll have to do a little research into how to get Lumpy to work on the stationary bike...

I decided to get back on the bike a couple days a week for a few reasons - to try to knock some of the running-related pounding off my knees and hips, for one. I hadn't been to the gym for most of the summer, while I was running outside, and was feeling like I needed the overall strength that comes from my (admittedly fairly basic) lifting program. And, I really enjoy doing 45 minutes on the bike, simply because it's extra time I can read. I've got a STACK of books I'm working through right now, and need all the time I can get. Started Katherine Neville's "Fire" this morning, sequel to her classic "The Eight."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tempo? What tempo?

My little training plan called for a Tempo run this morning. Since I don't have a specific pace I'm training for, I just did a mile at 9:00 pace, two miles at 7:00 pace, and another mile at 9:00. Felt pretty good.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Early intervals

I've been kind of missing the speed that I had earlier in the year when I was training for a spring half marathon - I haven't really done intervals since before the TRT ultra in July. So, for lack of a better plan, I'm restarting the same training plan I was doing then. I'm SO much better if I have a plan to tell me what to do. Anyway, this morning had me doing 3-minute intervals with 2-minute jogs, and I made it through 5 of them. Oh, this was on the treadmill at the gym as well - still haven't come up with a good way to to intervals outside at the time that I run. So, I parked it in front of Sportscenter and watched sports I don't care about - baseball and football. Better than CNN Moneyline or the Married With Children marathon that were on other TVs...

What a pretty little graph, too.

Oh, and I think I need to recalibrate the footpod on Lumpy - speed seems a little off...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Easy like Sunday morning

Had some company for my Sunday morning long run today - Amber and I met down at Idlewild Park and did a ten miler along the Truckee River. I'm gonna be in huge trouble for posting this picture of her, but here you go. Wonder how she got her headband to match her car so well? :)

We ran on the south side of the river out to the Patagonia warehouse, pretty much paralleling the Reno Rock-n-river half marathon course that we both did this spring. We took a little detour, though, on a nature trail on Dorokstar Park - nice break, running on dirt right by the river. Then we crossed the river and came back on 4th street - a few more cars, but not too bad.

It was pretty chilly starting out at 7:30, but by the time we got back to the cars, we were both pretty warm. NICE day now, low 50s and sunny. I got in the shower when I got home, though, and was surprised at how cold my hands were - they stung for a while in the warm water.

Nice conversational pace - I'm not used to running with people to talk to, so I think I burned more calories just gabbing away. Thanks for the run, Amber. We should try to organize Team Library Dork...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cold front

Man, it would have been nice to stay in bed this morning. Cold front moving in for the weekend, and it just felt like a snuggle-udner-two-quilts kind of morning. Made myself get out for a run, though, and completed the same easy run route that I DNF'd on last week.

Chilly but not windy this morning, so I got away with shorts, a long sleeve shirt, and light gloves. Felt pretty good out there. Oh, except for the part where I had to stop and dry heave like 7 times. That was different - NEVER done that before. Not like I was pushing hard or anything. Oh, and the sideaches - two of them that came and went away. But really, didn't feel too bad.

I usually see very few people out at the times that I run, but saw a bunch of newspaper delivery people (of course, my paper has STILL not been delivered), a couple of walkers, one with a dog, and a kinda creepy person walking along McCarran between King's Row and Keystone (middle of nowhere) wearing dark pants, a dark peacoat, and a dark beret. Glad a car was going by as I passed them, otherwise I might have run right into them.

Many of these have been annotated below in today's Garmin chart...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Motivation maybe?

There was a race scheduled in Reno this weekend that I was curious about; the Run Thru Reno. There was going to be a 5K, half and full marathons, plus some dog run thing and a health expo on Saturday. It was all supposed to start at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center, which is right across Virginia Street from the library I work at. You'll notice I'm using the past tense; the one person I know who had registered for the race got an email last night (3 days before the race!) saying it's been cancelled. Can't say I'm too surprised - they hadn't been updating their website for months, and I hadn't seen any info about it at other races around. The email cited the difficulty in finding a safe race route, as well as economic issues. Kind of disappointing. So, oh well - have to find another way to get my long run in this weekend.

On the motivation front, though: My friend Chris had been agitating to get up to the Tahoe Rim Trail for one last run from Tahoe Meadows to Spooner before the snow falls. October 26th had been the date he was shooting for; I wasn't sure whether I was going to commit to it. Well, another friend, Peter, took the idea and made it official - he made the training run part of the Blue Planet Run 30-mile Challenge. This is a project that brings safe drinking water to people in Tanzania. Seriously, check out their website. Really cool idea, and just the motivation I need to get myself out there.

Now I just need to decide what to do on the weekend of the 18th-19th. I could do the race that Peter and Chris are doing, the Run through the Colors in Nevada City, CA. There's also a couple of races in Reno, though - a really cool sounding trail half-marathon at the south end of town, the Fall Colors Trail Half. I'm leaning toward that one. Also, the Meridian Gold Run for Education, with a 5K and 10K, but it sounds like kind of a zoo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall slump

Been in a bit of a bad running mood lately.

Just seems like every time I get out for a run, another part of my body seems to be creaky or cranky. Or I catch a cold. Or something.

Now, Fall is usually my favorite season - I love the nip in the air, the colors, all that. In Nevada, the fact that it's not in the 90's is good, too. Sweatshirt and shorts weather. This year, though, it's killing me - the dark mornings make me want to stay in bed, I can feel the change in weather in my joints.

So, yeah, sorry for whining. Gotta buck up, find some motivation, and be a happy little running camper.

I did make myself go out for a little trip around the neighborhood this morning, 3 miles. Can't say I felt great, but it wasn't too bad. I'll see if I can get myself out again on Friday.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Race for the Cure

Every year my wife's work sponsors employees to walk in a few of the fall fund-raisers, and to day was the Race for the Cure, the breast cancer walk. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, too, and we like to get out in support. So, we bundled up the fam this morning and headed out to the walk.

It was held at UNR this year, a more interesting route than the Southeast Reno neighborhood it's been in for the past few years. Downside? Bottlenecks everywhere, stuff weirdly spread out - a total zoo. We couldn't find any of the other people from Mich's office, so just trundled our way to the start and started walking.

7-year old Julien acquitted himself pretty well, although we could tell he was tired of walking near the end. Almost-4 Sofia didn't fare as well - it was pretty much a whine-fest the whole way. Here's one of the few moments when she wasn't riding on my shoulders.

The ugly numbers...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tahoe photos

A few examples of my pain at Tahoe:

Early on, still making good time. Mile 6-8, maybe?

This is somewhere near Emerald Bay, I can tell from the stamped concrete barrier rail. Not sure why 1) I'm running at this point and 2) I'm smiling. Or is that a grimace? Must be a short downhill section with a nice view...

Ahh, the hill. Now this isn't the "Hill from Hell", the mile and a half-long, 520 foot climb up to Emerald Bay. This is the second, shorter but much steeper climb OUT of Emerald Bay. Nice view here, too.

Note the strong finish! Still striding right to the end. Ha! - I was toast.