Monday, March 30, 2009

Presidio 10

I think the organizers of the Presidio 10 got an email list from the folks at the Climb California event - at least, it seemed like the email advertising it went out to all the participants. At any rate, it seemed like a pretty cool race, so when the forcast called for decent weather, I went ahead and signed up. I was a little apprehensive, thinking my calves might be pretty sore after the stair climb, but somehow they weren't at all. Still not sure why that was, but pretty thankful for it.

I had a cheering section for this race - Amber had done the stairs the day before, but her ankle and back still weren't up to a 10K, so she was nice enough to hang out while I ran. There was a huge sporting goods store there, so she did get to do some shopping while I was on the course...

It was an absolutely beautiful morning. A little cold - the 10K started at 8:00, but I was doing the 10 miles, which they sent off after, at 8:30. Seemed weird, but it did get the bridge cleared out pretty well - they've been doing this race for 25 years, I guess they know what they're doing by now. Here's the start of the 10M:

The course of the 10 mile race winds around the Presidio a little before heading across the bridge - Here are a few shots from the early, hilly part of the course:

You can just see the Golden Gate in that second one. Right before we got to the bridge, we hopped off the road and ran on trails for a little while. Got a little bumpy there, and my pictures didn't come out as well. Now I wish I had bought the camera with image stabilization...

Onto the bridge, first trip across:

And on the way back, looking right into the sun and at the city:

After getting off the bridge, we ran along the beach path for awhile. I was mostly concentrating on the running at this point (mile 8.5 on) but had to snap a picture here at a turnaround:

Again, a little blurry - sorry. I was able to hold my pace pretty well over the last two miles - really felt all the core work I've been doing keeping my posture correct. In the last half mile, I was even able to put on some speed and pass a few more people. I did get smoked by someone just coming into the chute - probably 20 yards from the finish. Man, he was flying. (And a really nice guy, apparently - got in touch with him via email to offer a copy of this picture of him about to pass me, taken by Amber.)

Pretty happy with the way I ran the race - didn't push too hard in the early miles, and kept some for the end. I ended up 123rd overall, 15th in my AG, with 1:17:27 and a 7:45 pace. Here's the elevation and pace info; I didn't wear my heart rate monitor:

Climb California SF

Well, the Climb California San Francisco that I'd been kind of dreading for the last month or so was on Saturday. Surprisingly, the run itself turned out to be a breeze...

Our team made its separate ways to the Bay area, staying with family or at hotels in the city or around the area. Amber and I carpooled and stayed with her brother in Berkeley. Had an excellent meal the night before the race at a tapas place in Albany, then got a good night's rest and got up early for the trip into the city. A BART station was walking distance, so we took public transit over, getting into the city and finding the 555 California building with plenty of time. Here's a hastily patched together picture of the start area, looking up the building:

Yeah, doesn't really do the height of it justice. Here's our team, Calvesandquadsoffire, posing on the plaza before the race:

After a silly warm-up,they led our wave into the basement, where they sent us off every 8 seconds exactly - only to stop around a corner where they let us go whenever they felt like it. Then we rounded another corner, and waited again. Weird system. We finally got to the timing mats, and headed up the stairs.

Instead of starting out running, just to start walking after 6 flights or so, I tried to settle into a good pace early. Kept it pretty even passed a bunch of people, and got to the top in 9:37. Found Chris, who had finished in 8:19, and waited to gather up the rest of our group. Enjoyed the snacks, music and views for awhile - here are some assorted pictures from the Carnelian Room, the restaurant at the top where the post race party was held -

First, Amber enjoying the view:

Looking down at the Transamerica building:

Chris and I wondering why Amber is holding the camera like that...

And a slightly hazy look over the city toward the Presidio and the Golden Gate, where I'd be running on Sunday...

The results showed up sometime on Sunday, and they got me confused with another Becker. Apparently I got his timing tag, or they put my label on his bib number or something. Anyway, it looks like I ended up 26th overall, either 7th or 8th in my AG (Chris should have been in my AG, but has a weird number there, too...)

Big thanks to all the people that sponsored me. Had a great time!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another two-race weekend

It was a gorgeous weekend in San Francisco. I'll save full race recap reports on the Climb California and the Presidio 10 for when I have a little more energy. Let me tease you, though, with this shot from Chrissy Field, right near the start/finish area of Sunday's Presidio 10:

Yeah. Gorgeous.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hooray Spring results

Runninglaur posted the results for the Hooray Spring Six Miler, the virtual race I took part in last weekend. Befitting the lighthearted nature of the race, you get to pick which category you fall into, and choose your award. I'm going to call myself a "Speedy Sunflower" since I apparently finished fairly high in the rankings speed-wise.

Thanks a gain for a fun virtual race - I'm not going to do EVERY single one of these that pops up, but I'll be trying to fit virtual races into my schedule sometimes in the future. Fun!

Right now I'm just about out the door to San Francisco for the weekend, to do the Climb California on Saturday and the Presidio 10 on Sunday. Here's hoping for excellent weather...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hooray Spring Six Miler

Had a bit of a spring in my step this morning for my first virtual race, the Hooray Spring Six Miler. Actually, I didn't - I felt like I was dragging myself around a bit - but I couldn't resist the pun. Sorry...

It was a beautiful morning - at least after the sun came up. I left just after six, while it was still pretty dark, but it lightened up after the second mile or so. No dazzling sunrise or anything, just a nice morning for a run. Shorts and long-sleeve shirt weather - my favorite.

My six mile loop took me up 7th Street to McCarran, over the top of the hill to Keystone, down a dirt trail through Rancho San Rafael, then back towards home along Washington. (Actually, you can see the trail through Rancho San Rafael in the masthead of this blog - it goes right next to the little lake in the front center of the picture.) I started out feeling pretty sluggish, not really feeling much like a run, actually. But I made it to the top of the hill on McCarran, and felt better after that.

I had projected 50 minutes for this run, and that was the only way this really felt like a race - I was watching my time to see how close I could come. At the halfway point, I felt like I was behind, but the second half was downhill-ish, so I just kept an eye on it. At 1.25 miles left, I was at 40 minutes, so I figured 8 minute miles would get me in right on time. Must've gone a little faster, because I hit 6 miles at 49:22.

So, thanks, RunningLaur, for a fun little virtual race. Have to do it again sometime...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Top o' the Mornin' 10K

I did an early St. Patrick's Day 10K this morning in Sparks, around the Marina - same course as the Turkey Trot has been on the last couple of years, actually. Funny - last year this race was a 5K (I actually PR'd there, thanks to a shortish course) but this year apparently they decided to make it longer. There was also a 2 mile walk/run, which my mom and kids did.

The weather seemed a little iffy - not terribly cold, but the wind cooled things down a little. Turned out perfect temperature, though - mid 40's, long-sleeve t-shirt weather. Didn't feel the wind at all once we started.

I was aiming for about 45 minutes - didn't want to push for a PR. Miles 1 was a little fast, miles 2-5 were pretty steady with a slight slowing trend, and mile 6 was back to mile 1 speed. The last 2 tenths I was able to speed up, and in the last 1.2 miles, I passed a bunch of people I had marked earlier in the race. Felt pretty good.

Still awaiting official results. My watch said 45:19 at the line, but I'm sure the official clock had 44 something on it. We'll see how they report it...

Here's a shot from right around the 4 mile mark, once we'd got back next to the Marina:

My mom and the kids had a pretty good time with the walk. There is a playgrond right near the start, so there was some crazy swinging before we got going:

Apparently there was some whining in the ranks, "I wanna go home's" and such. Then Sofia saw Miss Nevada up ahead, who had done the countdown to start the race and was doing the 2 mile walk herself. Sofia proceeded to stalk her (and her crown) until she got to take a picture. (Note Sofia's improvised fancy veil-thingy...) Thanks for being a good sport, Julianna...

The kids managed to do the 2-mile in pretty good time - I passed them on the last corner, with about a tenth of a mile left. So, I was able to get a finish line picture of them:

Again, a fun little race put on by the Sparks Parks & Rec department. (Again, a slightly short course, but whatever.) And hey - fellow Library Dork Dave was supposed to be there, but I didn't see him. Were you there, Dave?

Results have been posted. I finished 20th overall, 4th in my age group (so, no medal coming in the mail for me.) And the official time pretty much matched my watch, 45:18, so I didn't actually break 45 minutes. Oh well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My first virtual race

I'm not even going to try to explain the concept of a Virtual Race to my wife - she refused to touch Facebook, and I just had a five minute discussion with her about why and how a text is different than an email. Luddite. Oh, well.

So anyway, I've signed up for my first Virtual Race - the Hooray Spring Six Miler put on by Runninglaur. It's on the first day of Spring, or Friday, March 20th, but she's pretty flexible about it so I'll be doing it on the 21st. Oh, and you can do a six miler or a 6K. Just leave your name and a guess at your time in the comments on her blog, and you're signed up! Kinda looking forward to it - A nice, silly motivator to get out next weekend.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Performance Nutrition for Runners

Runner's World Performance Nutrition for Runners: How to Fuel Your Body for Stronger Workouts, Faster Recovery, and Your Best Race Times Ever Runner's World Performance Nutrition for Runners: How to Fuel Your Body for Stronger Workouts, Faster Recovery, and Your Best Race Times Ever by Matt Fitzgerald

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was MUCH more what I was looking for than The Runner's Diet (also put out by Runner's World.) Where it was focused on someone who was getting into running specifically to lose weight, Performance Nutrition for Runners was written for established runners looking to fuel correctly to improve their running. I really appreciated all the info on fueling and hydrating while running, pre-race, and recovery eating. I was hoping for a little more on everyday eating - maybe some general meal plans and such. I think, though, with the knowledge I've gleaned from this book, I can do a pretty good job setting up a plan for myself.

View all my reviews.

TLD Snowshoe outing

Met the other members of Team Library Dork this morning for a little snowshoe cross-training up toward Mt Rose. As we had all also been at a beer-tasting at Chris's house the night before, and minus the hour of daylight savings time, our 6:45 AM meeting seemed kinda early. We wanted to be up there for some nice early light, though. We met in the parking lot of the South Valleys Library:

Loaded into one car, and headed up into the hills. We were planning on going up the access road to Relay Peak, a rolling, gradually climbing road that rises near the end to just over 10,000 feet. With the amount of snow they've had recently, though, we could only park at the plowed lot near the top of the pass, and so had to start off on the Mt. Rose trail until we could cut over to the access road. (There it goes, off to the left.)

Wow - it sure wasn't very easy going. The snow had crusted over the footprints of various other snowshoers and skiers that had been by in the last few days. So every step was unstable. Not to mention the gusting winds blowing snow in our faces, and the fact that we were dressed for maybe a little warmer temps. Here's a shot of Chris being buffeted by the wind:

We stuck it out for a little longer, though, and things got a little better. The road got to a point where it had been packed down by snowmobiles, so it was easier to walk on. We got a break from the wind walking through some trees. And the sun finally got high enough to warm us up a bit. Here's Amber and Dave coming into the windbreak area. Check out the clouds flying by in the background:

We continued up to the cutoff for the Mt. Rose trail, and debated going back that way. Better part of valor, though - we weren't exactly sure of the route, and thought it wiser to just retrace our steps. Sure made better time back down the trail - even ran for a ways. Had some great vies of Lake Tahoe, too:

Instead of scrambling back over the top, though, we dropped down to Mt. Rose Highway at the end of the access road and walked the few blocks back up to the parking lot.

All in all, a fun (albeit cold) morning. Thanks again, guys, for getting me out there on a day that I probably wouldn't have otherwise...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New shoes, new route

Couple new things to report this morning. First, I found a new pair of shoes. My Adidas Supernovas aren't dead yet, but they've got almost 300 miles on them, and it's just a matter of time. This was such a good price on these, though, I couldn't pass it up.

I was at Sierra Trading Post, and they have a "Bargain Barn" section of thirds that are sometimes slightly defective and sometimes things people have returned. I took a quick glance over the shoes, looking for big sizes, and saw a pair of running shoes. Gave them a quick try on, and liked how they felt. They looked like they had about three miles of running on them - pretty immaculate. Best was the price - $43, and with the 20% off all shoes they were offering, they were $36. Not bad for a $110 pair of shoes!

I wasn't sure exactly where these fit into Asics line, though, and the info on their in-store computer didn't help me much. But I took the plunge, and when I looked them up at home, I think they're perfect for me. A light, motion control shoe - just what I seem to favor. Now, I haven't had good luck with Asics recently - a pair of trail shoes fell apart on me last summer, and the 2130s I was running on in the fall never quite felt right. These felt pretty good this morning, though. We'll see how it goes.

So we were out visiting my wife's brother and his family a ways outside Reno this morning, off of Red Rock Road. I decided to take my running stuff along, start running down the road a little while before they were going to leave, and have them pick me up on their way back into town. It was a gorgeous day for it - probably mid-40's by the time I left, about 11:20. Shorts, long sleeve, vest and gloves was perfect. Just started running along the road, into traffic, veering onto the shoulder whenever a car came along, which wasn't very often. Friendly folks out there - I think every other car gave me a wave. Had a little trouble with my heart rate monitor - it wasn't staying up for a few minutes, and was flopping around my stomach. (Check out the chart below - somehow, it measured higher then!?)

I figured I'd get about five miles in before they caught up with me - ended up getting 5.75. Kinda wanted to make it to the top of the big hill there, but didn't quite make it. Still, really fun to get out into a different area to run.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


As I made the entry into my running log this morning, I saw that I had just gone over the 24 hour mark. Yep, took me just over 2 months to do 24 hours worth of running. That also made 169.28 miles (Funny - that's almost exactly right on track to top 1000 miles for the year again.) And in the Virtual Run Across America, it puts me just outside of Madison, WI.