Saturday, February 28, 2009

Early morning long run - epic haiku style

Up before the sun
dressing quietly in the dark
Don't wake the family

Step outside - weather check
Cold but not too bad
Shorts, long sleeve and a vest

Walking to the street
stretching lightly
Garmin finding satellites

Starting to run
legs finding their pace
falling into a rhythm

Heading towards the University
towards Virginia Street
fingers cold on water bottle

Through downtown Reno
under the arch
past casinos and strip clubs

Little traffic this early
mostly taxicabs
taking Friday night revelers home

Right on Plumb Lane
residential area
sidewalk, then dirt shoulder

Still dark outside
thought it would be lighter
careful of the few cars

Earbuds singing to me
favorite running mix
shuffle keeps repeating

On McCarran now
headed downhill, but
can see a big hill ahead

Dragging uphill
not as bad as I thought
cresting under I-80

Wow incredible sunrise
shining under high clouds
like light on wet sand

Short-lived though
around a corner and it's gone
back to overcast morning

Last uphill, then
downhill a dirt path
just over a mile home

What a big cat -
going into a storm drain
oh, it's a raccoon...

Finally home
hit stop on the watch
walk slowly up the driveway

Breathing hard
and nicely tired
a great way to start the weekend

Monday, February 23, 2009

Catching up

There are a couple topics I've been meaning to get back to or touch on again, but haven't found the time. So:

Hundred Pushups
I finished the hundred pushups program a couple of weeks ago. I hit all the sets pretty well; the only one I didn't make it through was the Monday of the last week - I'd just come off a hard weekend, and was really tired. When I did my final test, I didn't make it to the full 100 - I had to stop around 75. I know, you're supposed to go back and repeat week 6 until you can do the 100, but honestly, I was just getting bored with it. And I've gained enough strength and tone in my shoulders now, I can really tell the difference. Just this morning, doing the Runner's Core workout, I threw a set of 50 in. So I'm going to count doing the program as an overall win.

Training plan
Last year at this time I was just starting to get serious with a training plan - trying to hit all the times and intervals exactly, long runs with strides at the end, hill workouts and all. I would credit that with making me a faster, more serious runner. This year, I'm following generally the same plan - but without stressing too much about doing it exactly. If I don't feel like doing long intervals one morning, I'll figure something else out to do. If I have a 10K fun run instead of a 35 minute easy run, fine. I'm going to try to fit more long trail runs in when possible, since one of my goals this year is to do a trail half marathon series. I think I'm at a point now where I can keep myself honest, train hard, have fun with it, and still be effective.

Speaking of keeping myself honest: I've been pretty much a monk for a week now, keeping myself on a strict diet to peel off a few pounds and find a good weight for the running season. Lost a few pounds this week - I'm on the right track. Two or three more weeks of this, and I'll stabilize, hopefully with help from the Runner's Diet book (that still hasn't come in the mail...)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fresh Tracks Snowshoe 5K

Chris's email earlier this week was titled "Anyone care to step out of your comfort zone?" He was drumming up interest for a snowshoe race in Tahoe this weekend, seeing if anyone wanted to make the trip up there. Since I've already destroyed my comfort zone this year by running two races in one weekend, I was in. We would have had a full Team Library Dork turnout two weeks in a row - Dave made it too, but unfortunately our fourth member, Amber, had some pretty serious back issues on Saturday. (I'm gonna dedicate this race to our missing member - hope that's OK with everyone...)

So everyone had snowshoes or rented them, and we met in Town and headed up to South Lake Tahoe early this morning. The forecast had been calling for light snow, but temps rose and it ended up with a light rain. Made it a little soft in places, but not too bad. We got registered, warmed up a little, and then got our gear on:

(That's not my truck...)

Milled around for a bit, had a race briefing, and lined up for the start. The course went out in a little half-mile loop back to the start, then a bigger 2.5 mile figure 8. The first loop felt great - getting used to the snowshoes, not too hilly, then boom - you were back where you started. The figure 8 loop was a gradual, kind of grinding uphill that (for me) just seemed to keep going, then a downhill that went by much too quick. There was a sneaky uphill right near the end, too, that had me walking for a few steps. I heard someone's cowbells at the finish line, though, and that spurred me on.

I had lost sight of Chris pretty early, as is usually the case, and settled into 5th position. I passed to take 4th somewhere around the mile mark, and was able to hold on despite tiring quite a bit near the end. Chris took 1st in his first snowshoe race, and Dave came in 8th or 9th (?). Chris and I were the only ones in our age group, so we were 1 and 2 in that, and Dave's AG was more crowded - he got an AG 3rd.

Here's some footage of Dave finishing strong:

The hill profile, and my pace and splits:

We changed into dry shoes, grabbed a bratwurst, and hung out in the rain for awhile. The "after" shot:

They had awards inside, out of the rain. Chris getting his 1st overall:

(OK, I can't help it. Chris, is that a banana in your pocket, or are you just happy to win?)

Cute little medals - handmade, snowshoe-shaped things with pinecones and a snowflake that had the name of the race and finish place on it. Here's Chris's hanging from the mirror of my car:

All in all, a fun morning, and a cool way to "step outside my comfort zone." Thanks, Chris, for suggesting that.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A good week

So I had a good week of training - running, lifting and eating right (if possibly a little less than I should've.) I feel like I've made a good start at things. I'm just vaguely following a training plan, not forcing myself to hit specific numbers and times, but really making the effort to do every workout. Had a good interval session on Tuesday, a nice easy run on Wednesday, and a progression run on Thursday that I didn't feel very strong for, but got through. Today, then, I had a long run to do.

Since I'm going to be doing more trail running this year, with 4 trail half marathons spread in the spring and fall, I want to get off the pavement more for my long runs. So today, I went on one of my favorite trail runs - from home, up Keystone Street and then up Keystone Canyon, then across to the top of Evans Creek Canyon and down that. Great trails, a nice morning for a run. I'm pretty sure I didn't have enough fuel in me with me reduced diet, though, and felt like I was heading toward a bonk for a while. Made it out fine, although I did have one fall right near the top of the main climb. Got a little scrape on my knee, but caught myself OK.

Looking forward to tomorrow, when I'll "step outside my comfort zone..."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New name

So I was a little tired of all you other bloggers having cool names for your blogs, and me stuck with "Turi's Running Blog." So, henceforth this space will be called "Running 'round Reno."

Whaddya think?

Quick update

Before I head off to a mandatory training for work and try not to nap: Back into a good schedule here. Tuesday intervals, Wednesday easy run, Thursday progression run or hills. Weekend days are either long runs or easy runs. Feels good to find some motivation again.

I'm also looking to drop a few pounds to be in a better place to run this year. A few weeks of serious diet-watching should get me in the ballpark, then I'm going to figure out a good, sustainable diet using the Runner's Diet book that I've just ordered from Powells.

OK, off to class...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

You've Gotta Be Crazy Run

OK, so despite not running AT ALL this week, I did another race this weekend. Team Library Dork was making a showing at the You've Gotta Be Crazy Run in Verdi, NV. Seeing as one of our members, Dave, is the manager of the Verdi Library (basically, where the race starts and ends) it seemed like a logical thing to do. We managed to get a before picture snapped:

(That's Chris, Dave, me and Amber)

Then we lined right up and off we went. The course (5K one loop, 10K two loops - we all did the 5K) Went down a hill to the river, then back up the hill and along a long straightaway just inside the Nevada/California State line. Then a turn, a gentle downhill and a little uphill to the finish. The hilliness affected me a lot more than I though - I had some side stitches and a weird feeling in my right shin. Toughed it out for a 23:26, though.

(Results are up now. I finished 21st overall, 11th in my age group. Crowded age group...)

Here's the elevation profile:

And some pictures from the course:

Oh, yeah - did I mention it snowed for much of the race? That's one of the points, I guess - "You've Gotta Be Crazy" and all. Actually, they give an award for first shirtless male and jog-bra-clad female to finish. That wasn't any of us...

However, Team Library Dork made a pretty good showing. Chris finished far enough ahead of me, I'm not sure if he placed overall or ended up with an age group place, but he, Amber and Dave all got age group awards. I got shut out because of the huge 18-39 age group I fell into on this one. But three out of four of us bringing home awards? Sweet! Here's the winners with their water bottle trophies:

(Chris's shorts? Don't ask. Seriously.)

There was a rack of GREAT deals on running gear from our local running store, and Amber went into kamikaze shopper mode. Dave got roped into holding her stuff, and I don't think he was even sure how it happened:

A final team photo:

And then off to some more serious business: Dave had a couple of barleywines for us to taste. An Alaska and one from Avery Brewing. The Avery was a little hoppy for me; I liked the Alaska, but results varied.

Nice morning, guys; fun to get out together and run in the snow. Thanks Dave for the warming hut and tastings...

Friday, February 13, 2009

The breaks

Sounds like I'm not the only one in the running blogger community with a case of the off-season blahs. I took a week off a few weeks ago and did no running, then after last weekend's two races, I didn't have anything to give this week. So, I didn't. I'm going to justify it with words rrom the training section of the new Outside Magazine that just came: "The hardest part of being an athlete is forcing yourself to rest." Yep, it's been tough. Been sleeping in, mostly, although I have been keeping up on the dang 100 Push Up Challenge. Just finished week 6, and I get to do the final test this weekend. The only thing I've skimped on is Monday of this week - I was too burnt from the weekend to do all the sets. But I think I'm ready...

Next week, though - different story. Starting to look at training plans to ramp up and get in shape for the season. Maybe some changes around here...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Davis Stampede

So, after pushing it for 8 3/4 miles on Saturday, what else to do but run a a half marathon on Sunday? The rest of Team Library Dork were going to be in Davis, CA for the Davis Stampede and, well, it was pretty much right on my way home. So, after a evening of beer and hot tubs, I got up at 2:30 AM and drove 5 hours to Davis. Made it JUST in time to register, pin my bib on, meet Amber and Chris, and get to the starting line. Chris was sitting out injured, so I had a nice Jog through Davis with Amber. Crazy town - seemed like there were more bike paths than streets there - at least, the half marathon course was more on paths than on the road. More great weather - although I think it rained later on Sunday, we started out in the low 50s and ended in the mid 60's. Perfect.

Funny thing - a bit of our run was actually below sea level. Don't know when the last time I did that was...

So, I have a confession. About a quarter mile from the finish, some guy passed us and mumbled "good job" as he passed. I let him go a bit, then told Amber I had to make a final push. I had more left in the tank than I've ever had, and put some serious speed through into the finish - like when you're going so fast you feel like you're floating. I passed a bunch of people , including that guy (who, looking at the results, were probably running the 10K anyway - there was only one person between Amber and I in the half results..) So, yeah - I'm THAT guy - the one who blows everyone away with a sprint at the finish. Sorry. It was kinda fun though...

After the race, we all made a side trip to Fleet Feet, a running SUPERstore compared to anything in Reno. Glad I didn't have my wallet with me, or I would've bought a bunch of stuff I don't need. Then we caravanned up to Auburn for a visit to BevMo - basically, a huge liquor store that has stuff we can't get in Reno. I picked up an Abyss, a Flemish sour ale, North Coast's Belgian, and a couple of other things. Had a little lunch, then somehow made it back to Reno for some serious laundry action.

Trinidad to Clam Beach

I had a big running weekend last weekend. Left Reno on Friday to drive to the Humboldt area on the Northern California coast, where I stayed with friends. On Saturday, after a leisurely morning, we all did the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run - which is something of a tradition with them. Most of them have been coming back every year since high school to run this race, and the person who had been doing it longest had been there since 1982 (?). Wow. Anyway, really cool race. It starts about three miles outside Trinidad, CA, and winds back and forth and up and down a wooded bike path into town. Then it veers off onto a (somewhat) maintained road called Scenic Drive that totally lives up to its name - great ocean views all the way. After about three miles of that, the route drops straight down to the beach where there's a river crossing to do.

The "little River" does look fairly little, at least until you're thigh-deep, hanging onto a rope trying to cross it. Firefighters and rescue people on duty there to make sure no-one gets swept away - current was moving pretty fast. After that, there's about 2 1/2 miles along the beach to the finish.You have to decide at the river whether to leave your shoes on and run with soggy shoes, take them off and run barefoot, letting a truck shuttle them to the finish, or take them off and spend the time to put them back on. This year I wore little racing flats that wouldn't soak up much water, and just left them on. Seemed to work for me. A couple years ago, I took them off and put them on again, and felt like I regretted the time spent.

Speaking of time spent: I knocked about six minutes off my time from two years ago. Someday I'd like to break an hour here, but finished with 1:03 something. Good for 72nd overall, or 9th in my age group. I held the pace I wanted through the first three miles, but slowed a bit after going through Trinidad. Man, that's a rolling/hilly course.

Here's a good shot of someone finishing - I didn't retrieve my camera until it was too late to catch most of my friends finishing. Gives a good idea of the beach finish, though - the sand gets all churned up right near the gate, making it a hard slog right to the finish.

It gets pretty chilly on the windy beach afterwards, but there's usually a bonfire going to warm yourself by. That felt soooo nice...

Afterward, as is tradition, we all met for dinner, beers and hot tubs at a friend's house. What a great race - great course, great weather (this year), great people. I hope to go back.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Random conversation

Yesterday I got in a nice long run in down on the Truckee River trail with running buddy and fellow Library Dork Amber. In order to run 1) while she was awake and 2) before I had to go to a birthday brunch, we agreed to meet at 6:30. It was beautiful - sun just starting to light up the sky, pretty frost bordering the path, ducks frozen to the pond... Did I mention it was cold? Yeah, pretty much the coldest part of the day. I think it was 22 degrees when we started. Thought I was going to lose a finger. But, it eventually warmed up and we settled into a nice conversational pace. And what a conversation - just completely random. I think we'd both just typed up the "25 Random things about yourself" list on Facebook the night before, and randomness was in the air. Foods that always make you vomit. OCD habits. Childbirth experience. Kind of all over the page. Oh, and I got to talk some, too. (Just kidding!)

Anyway, it was nice to get a 10-miler in before a big brunch - made it so I could have seconds of my brother-in-law's breakfast strata with game sausage. Mmmmm..