Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oh, hi. Remember me?

Well. Long time no see. It's been a week since I've blogged here because, well, it's been a week since I've run. Don't really have a good reason - just a whole bunch of little reasons that added up to me ignoring the little training program I was on and not getting out there for a week. Felt weird. But - I'm back. No excuse this morning, and I felt so good that my planned easy 3 miler turned into 4.6. Just a few more runs to get in now before the Trinidad to Clam Beach run next Saturday. A longish run tomorrow, break Monday, gentle intervals Tuesday, easy run Wednesday and short tempo Thursday. Driving to Northern California Friday. Looking forward to it. Good to be back.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Coolest Race on Earth

The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon by John Hanc

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Coolest Race on Earth is a good exploration, not only of the why, where and how of the Antarctica Marathon, but also of "destination " marathons and people who collect marathons as well. John Hanc includes lots of detail, from history and geography of Antarctica to musings about runner's motivations. An interesting book, if you've ever been curious about why someone would want to run a marathon in some crazy place.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Downhill long run

I got talked into doing an early, mostly downhill car-shuttle long run this morning by my friend Chris. We met at our gym at 5AM, drove one car out to his house (about 12 miles out of town) and ran back to the gym. Usually he's much faster than me, but I was able to keep up on a long, slow run - although our pace was just a bit quicker than I would've gone had I been alone. Probably good for me to push a little, anyway... At the gym, we did some stretching and core stuff, then I shuttled him back to his house and came home to make coffee for my wife. It was a pretty soggy morning, but it only rained on us a little in the last mile. The sides of the road were a little muddy, though, and stuck to the soles of our shoes a bit.

Aside from a little slowdown around the 30:00 mark, where Chris had to take a pee break, we held a pretty good pace throughout...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Extra long post (with bonus parenthetical statements and probably too many ellipses...), mostly about this morning's run

(Wow, even the title is long. And starting out with parentheses? Is that even allowed?)

OK, so this morning. Got up at my usual time to go to the gym, just after 2:00 AM. (I know, but if I'm awake I might as well be getting something done. I usually don't even use an alarm to wake up at that time, it just happens. Actually, I do have my alarm set for 3:00, but rarely make it that far. Hey, the gym is deserted, I'm usually one of three or four people there, so I get my pick of the machines. I tried going on a Saturday once last year and just couldn't handle it.)

Threw my gear on, hopped in the car and took off. A few blocks from home, I realized that I hadn't put my Garmin on my wrist. (This is the second time this year it's happened - the first time I was even farther away, but turned around and went back for it, for reasons I'll explain... Weird that I forgot it, too, since I took the time to stick the heart rate monitor in the pocket of my sweatshirt; you'd think that would've reminded me...) Turned around, zoomed back home, and ran in to grab it.

I keep the Garmin sitting on top of a little charging station I made - it has a surge protector inside, and a few holes in the front through which snake different cords to charge cell phones, iPods, etc. I grabbed the watch, started putting it on, and noticed that the display was blank. (My first thought was actually of Nitmos's post yesterday, where his Garmin malfunctions due to cold, and I hoped he hadn't jinxed me...) I tried the reboot trick where you hold all the buttons sown, but it didn't work. Stood dumbfounded for a couple of minutes, and finally gave up and went for my workout without it for the first time this year.

Now, let me explain a little. Apparently I'm one of those people who like to keep track of things. Back in my just-after-college days, when I worked at ski areas for a few years, I kept a log of all my days skiing. For the past few years, I've kept track of all the books I've read. Before I got the Garmin (last May) I tracked my runs using (And I'd probably go back to them too, if they could figure out how to support the Garmin 405.) Last year kind of bummed me out statistically because I had part of the year on Mapmyrun, and part of it on Garmin Connect - so I couldn't really get a clean measure of the year's miles. If I had an unspoken resolution this year, it was to have all my data in one place. And, thanks to this little problem with the Garmin, I made it all the way to January 20th.

So I was a little preoccupied on the way to the gym, thinking about warranty possibilities and where the receipt and instructions for the watch were, that kind of thing. Did my core and lower body workout, then headed to the treadmills for an interval workout that I'd been dreading. (This is one of the hardest parts of this little plan I'm on - the first interval workout is really fast for me - 3:55/K, or about 6:15/mi for 2K, or about 8 minutes. I'd be hard pressed to hit that.)

I started out with a 10 minute warm-up, at about 9:00 mile pace. Felt fine, although I already felt like I didn't want to go much faster. After 10 minutes, I bumped the speed up to 7:00 miles, and even there, I didn't want to hold for more that three minutes. Backed off to 10:00 miles and trudged out for a total of a 30:00, 3.22 mile session. Kinda weak. (but on the plus side, my calves, which have been sore to the touch since last Sunday's stair climbing, are almost back to 100%...)

Back home, I picked up the Garmin again - still dead. Checked the power cord from the charging station - still plugged in. Checked a phone that was charging on it - it was charged, but not currently charging. Checked the power switch on the surge protector - the little light wasn't on. Click. Click. No light. OK, so the power strip died. Unplug Garmin charger, plug into wall. Blink. "Charging from 0%" OK, don't have to worry about warranty on the Garmin. Just need a new power strip. Ruined my yearly total already, though. Now I'll have to rely on my Google Docs spreadsheet training log for accurate yearly totals. (This makes four places I keep track of my runs - Garmin connect, the Google Docs spreadsheet, my blank paper calendar where I pencil my training plan, and my work's "Wellness Program" website, from which I've already won an iPod Shuffle and a couple of movie tickets - just for logging my workouts.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's been done

I know this went the rounds of the blogs like a year ago, but I just got goaded into doing the One Hundred Push Ups program. I tested into week 3, and started that on Monday. It's going well - tough, of course, but well. That last set every day is a killer.

In other news: I'm back on another of those 19-day training cycles leading up to the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run. It amazes me how having a plan to train to motivates me. I can make a plan for myself, write it all down and everything, but then I feel like I can fudge it. If it's a plan that someone else has made, though, I feel like I'm letting them down if I miss a day - even if they obviously have NO idea that I'm using it. Funny.

Also still tracking progress in the Virtual Run Across America. I'm finally out of Maine, blew through Rhode Island, and am just outside New Haven, CT.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stairs bite

But, apparently, I'm going to be running quite a few of them in the next month or so. I'm signed up for the Climb California, a run up the 52 stories of the Bank of America Building in San Francisco on March 28th. This is a benefit for the American Lung Association, and is definitely a sponsorship deal. So, as little as I do this and as bad at it as I am, this is my "asking for money" post. If you'd like to sponsor me, here's my fundraising page at the event website. OK, enough said. Thank you for your support.

My team for the event (Calvesandquadsoffire, which is really Team Library Dork and Friends) have done some stair running at the UNR stadium over the winter. It's hard to simulate the constant effort of running up a building, though, when you're going up and down, up and down a stadium. So yesterday, we headed into downtown Reno and found a casino building where we could get into the stairwell. We ended up doing the 28 stories of Circus Circus twice. Everyone's legs were trembling after the first, and total jelly after the second. Barely made it back to where our cars were parked. And today... Let's just say I have muscles in my calves that I didn't know were there. But it should be a good time, and an interesting run to do.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Color coordination

I've never been a huge fan of overly matching running outfits. Always makes me think of little old ladies matching their turquoise puffball socks to their golf visors. Creepy. I've even gone out of my way to "unmatch" my running gear if it feels too "outfitty" - thrown in an off-color pair of socks, or a different hat or something.

I don't buy running gear with color coordination in mind, either. I've been given $15 off a pair of shoes before because they were an unpopular color, and been totally happy with them. It's true, though, I have NOT bought shoes because they were a specific color - I put down a pair of Salomons the other day at Sierra Trading Post because they were just TOO red.

Now, I noticed the strangest thing last night. I picked up my toothbrush, which I've had for a couple of weeks, and I certainly didn't buy for the color - it was whatever brand was on Bonus Buy that week, and therefore a dollar or so less than the others. Some sort of Oral-B Indicator, I think. Anyway, it occurred to me - my toothbrush almost exactly matches my running shoes - same combo of blue and yellow on a white (clear) background, with a splash of red thrown in. What kind of a strange set of things to match is that? I guess it's just a group of colors that go well together, but now I think about it every time I pick up my toothbrush. Probably weird that I'm obsesing about it...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Virtual Run Across America

Near the end of last year, I started watching a blog idea called Virtual Run Across America. The idea is, you convert every mile that you run to 10 "virtual miles" and track yourself on a predetermined course across the country, from Maine to California. Finally got my stuff together enough to get started on it, and Nikemom (who runs it) was nice enough to open it up for other bloggers to post on it. So, my first post over there was today. I've only done 200 or so virtual miles so far, so I'm still in Maine, but it's a good start. Check it out; get involved if you want. It's less than 4000 miles total, so if you plan on running at least 400 "real" miles this year, it'll be a fun way to track progress.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First trail run

I'm normally a morning runner, but today things just worked out for me to head out for a run about 2:00. Clear skies, temp in the high 40s - really, a beautiful day. Lots of other people out enjoying it, too - walkers, mountain bikers and other runners. I "ran the N" - went up into the Peavine foothills above Reno and looped over the top of UNR's big painted letter on the hill. A longer run includes going over Reno High's "R" as well, but I wasn't up for that today...

The run ended up being about 8.5 miles, and I felt OK the whole way - legs felt strong, but I felt like my lungs weren't all there. Breathing a little heavier than I liked a few times. When I got back and looked at the data from my Garmin, I saw that my heart rate had been pretty high (for me) the whole time - averaging about 160 for pretty much the whole hour + I was out. Usually, my easy runs average about 140-something, and I only get into the 160-170 range for intervals. So, no wonder I felt tired when I get home.

A few hours later, I had to run to the grocery store for something. Hopping out of the car in the parking lot, I started feeling bonk-y. Never really had that feeling so long after a run - actually, I haven't bonked hard on a run or bike for years. Later, now, and I still feel terrible. I wonder if I just pushed too hard, or if I'm coming down with something...

At any rate, it was a great day to be out there, and I barely remember the last trail run I did - a 5K in December, but I think the Fall Colors Half and a TRT stretch back in October. Sure felt good to get back on dirt.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Well, starting out slow on the blogging front this year. Already ahead of last year, though - I didn't even start this blog until 2/13/08, when I said:
Who wants to read about someone else's training program? I don't know, but there are are a lot of blogs like this out there. Hopefully a few of my friends and family might want to know what I'm up to, if no one else. This will also give me some motivation to keep up with my training, and an outlet for some of the thoughts I have about and during my running. Well, that's it. Here we go...

So, yeah. Here I am gearing up for another year. I had a couple of pretty big years the last couple years, with doing the TRT in sections in 2007, and setting a fast half marathon goal, then doing my first ultra in 2008. So, despite Gretchen's exhortations (+5, where are the vocab scores lately, anyway, Nitmos?) to setting BIG goals, I think I'm going to ease off a little this year. I do have a bunch of races I want to do, more than I probably should. And I do want to better my times in a few distances, but I don't think I'm going to get "goal-ly" about it. I just want to have a good, fun, healthy year running. That said, here's what I'm thinking about so far this year. I can't figure out how to do bullet points in Blogger, so here goes:

GOALS Stuff I kinda want to do in 2009

- Do a trail half marathon series. I hope they do the High Sierra Trail Half Marathon Series again this year. Four races, spread out nicely in the spring and fall. It'll get me out there enough to motivate me for other stuff.

- PR in the 5K (under 20:00), 10K (Under 40:00) and Marathon (I dunno - under 3:54, anyway.)

- Maybe even win an age group sometime. Really just a matter of picking a small enough race, I know...

- Do some fun, local races like the Run Amuck and the Reno/Tahoe Odyssey.

- Learn more about myself as a runner. What kinds of races I'm best suited for, what kind of shoes I like, all that stuff. I've still got a lot to learn.

- Really, just have a fun, injury free year of running.

I'm going to kick all that off with an 8 3/4 mile race on the northern California coast in the beginning of February - the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run. I have a group of friends who all grew up there, and they try to make it back for that run every year. Really fun time, really fun race (with a river crossing!) even if the weather isn't always good. So here's to a great 2009 for everyone!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Catching up and closing out

Boy, I've been away from the blogging for awhile. Didn't really mean to, I just didn't have anything specific I was training for, then was out of town just after Christmas and for New Years. I wasn't slacking, though, I actually ran quite a bit the last few weeks of the year. Anyway, I guess I need to do a little recap of my year in running here. Let's see...

2008 was the first year I think I could really call myself a runner. I had done two marathons ('99 and '07) before this year, and sporadic 10Ks and stuff, but never too seriously. In 2007 I did a lot of trail stuff, but it was more like quick hiking. This year, though:
- I thought about speed for the first time. The first thing I really trained for was a half marathon at the beginning of May - didn't quite meet my goal, but definitely improved my running.
- I upped the ante and ran my first ultra, the 50K Tahoe Rim Trail run. Actually had a great time doing it, too, although -
- I had my first running injury. Not long after the ultra, my hip started giving me problems. Hence, I don't think I'll continue with the ultra thing too much.
- I PR'd in the 5K, 10K and half marathon. Not in the marathon, because of the time off with hip pain right before it.
- And I hit the 1000 mile mark for the year.

I've got a few things rumbling around in my head for 2009. I'll try to put a post together in the next few days to set up some goals, resolutions, and a bit of a schedule. Tomorrow - a chilly track workout and stairs with the library dorks...