Saturday, April 30, 2011

What's up with Women's Races?

This had been bugging me for a few days now, so I guess I'll just throw it out there and see what people think.

It started when I read on Running Is Funny about the Disney races adding a Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland to match the women's only Disney Princess Half at Disney World. Mike also linked to an article from the with a few reactions to the announcement of the run. As he said, reactions were mixed - some  didn't like the late-January timing of the race, but most were concerned with the theme, and the fact that running a women's themed race basically excludes a large portion of the running community. And this from Disney, who prides itself on being accepting of everyone.

Now, these races ARE open to everyone. If you read the rules closely enough, you'll find that men are allowed to run them. But by their very nature, men are discouraged from running them. For example, at this year's Disney Princess Half, held on February 27th, there were 13,114 female entrants and only 683 males.

Personally, I'd have no problem strapping on a pair of fairy wings and a tutu and running a race with a bunch of of girls - in fact, I'd probably have a great time. I would wonder, though, if some of the women there would resent my presence - and that thought alone would make me think twice about entering a race like this.

A couple days after I read that, two of my favorite Bay-area running bloggers, Page and Aron (both just back from Boston - congrats) blogged about the Nike Women's Marathon. They were having a giveaway for an entry spot into the race (there's a lottery for slots, and it fills up fast.) I was tempted to enter their contests, but again, felt weird about it.

The Nike Women's Marathon also allows male runners, but again, the theme of the race - and the fact that the medal is actually a Tiffany necklace presented to you at the finish by a hunky firefighter - probably discourages most men.

I'm having trouble finding numbers on female/male entrants in this one, but have read that it's about 6% men. That's approximately the same as the Disney Princess race.

Finally, I found out that our family might be making a quick trip up to the Portland, OR area this summer, and was looking around for a race I might be able to do in the area. As luck would have it, there was a trail 10K happening in Forest Park that Sunday. And, wouldn't you know it - the Go Girl Trail Run is a Women's only race. As far as I can tell, this is one that doesn't in fact allow men to run. Which is a bummer, because I'd love to do a race in Forest Park - I've heard enough about the area on 3 Non Joggers.

There's so many different ways to look at this. Let me just put down a few of the thoughts about this floating around my head.:

Race organizers should be able to put on a race for whoever they want to. It's their race, right?
But how well would a men's only race go over? Seems like there would be outrage. What if someone decided to put on a race "Celebrating Mens Running?" That sounds ridiculous, right?

This sounds crass, but are women "entitled" to have their own events because of the subjugation they've suffered throughout history, and the sad way they've been treated in athletic circles as recently as forty years ago? (See: Katherine Switzer at Boston, Olympic Women's Marathon only since the 80's, etc...)
Well, OK, but is excluding men really the right way to go about things? Kind of "now it's our turn to exclude you?" Doesn't seem like a nice response.

I think I know more female runners than male ones. I totally support women (in fact, anyone) running - why does this bother me so much?
I don't know. I was all worked up about this, but am starting to lose steam. All I can tell you is that I get a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear about a race that I'm not allowed, or "not supposed" to do. 

I would love to hear people's thoughts on this. Not looking to get flamed here - I'm not suggesting that these events shouldn't exist, but it's been bothering me and I wanted to see what my crowd thinks.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Events this weekend, 4/30-5/1/11

A couple pretty big events this weekend in the area. First, on Saturday:


Escape from Prison Hill Half Marathon
Seriously hilly and challenging half marathon just outside of Carson City. A locla favorite - great organization, fun and tough course, awesome breakfast burritos afterwards. If you have a chance, get out and do this one sometime - you won't be disappointed. You can read a report I did on last year's race here.

Unfortunately, I won't make it to Prison Hill this year - it falls on the day before my spring goal race, the:


Rock 'n' River Marathon and Half Marathon Festival (and 5K and 10K)
This has been my big spring race for a few years now, and it seems like it it for a bunch of people - Great Reno crowd comes out for this one. Starting under the Reno Arch and following the river out west and back, it's a flat, fun course. Sounds like they have a good expo planned at Lawlor Events Center on the UNR campus for Saturday, as well. Hope to see a lot of you out there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RoadID Customer Service

It's always nice to get great customer service, and in this case, I think I need to point it out.

Back in January, I ordered a RoadID - the WristID elite model. I've been wearing it ever since - not just for running, but pretty much full-time. Instead of having one more thing to remember to strap on when I go out for a run, I just wear it all the time and don't forget it. This means I don't take it on and off much - I'd say it's been off my arm less than ten times since January.

Which is why I thought it was weird that the clasp broke. I mean, it hadn't been getting much use.

As you can see from the pictures, it was the little bar that the clasp rotates on that came loose . It's basically riveted in to the clasp, so I'm not sure how it came loose.

I looked around the RoadID website, and the only customer service phone number I could find was that on one of the owners, Edward Wimmer. I shot him off an email explaining what happened, and within a couple days (from following his Twitter account, I think he was out of town or it would have been faster) he had replied, saying that he was sending me out a replacement clasp.

Another couple days, the clasp showed up and I'm back in business. What great customer service - that you can talk directly to the owner, who is more than happy to fix a problem. Again - great product, great company, and now I can say, great customer service.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Safe and Healthy Homes 5K

At first, I was thinking about doing this race this morning. Then I decided not to, because there's just a week left until Rock 'n' River and I didn't want to push anything. I thought I might go down and watch Chris race, though. This decision was rendered moot by the fact that my wife had a different engagement this morning starting at 9:00. So, instead, I did an easy run and some strides early, before the family got up. But then my wife's event was rained out, so I was able to run down to Idlewild Park (1.8 miles from my house) to spectate. That's the confusion that was my morning.

Arriving at the race, I took a look around and scoped out the course map.  Looked like a pretty simple loop along the river to the west and back.

Finding the rest of Chris's family, I hung out with them in the rain for awhile wondering if Chris was going to make it in time. Hannah enjoyed her dalmation umbrella.

With his usual flair, he showed up from his warm up a couple minutes before the race was scheduled to start. Of course, they still had to have two different people give little speeches, and the color guard present the flag, and the National anthem sung - so he was in no danger of missing the start. Here's the lineup.

I flubbed getting an action photo of the start - my finger somehow clicked the video setting, and I got a couple seconds of confused "what's going on" kind of footage. By the time I figured it out, they were gone.

Since I haven't played with the videos too much, I thought I'd leave the camera on that setting and try to catch the finish.  Chris came through here, about a minute ahead of second place:

You can see him crossing the line at about 16:58, and completely stopped by 17:02. Not sure how they had his time reported as 17:07, but whatever. 

We went out for a cool-down jog - about 20 minutes, back along the course. Came back and waited around for the awards - a nice Eclipse Running gift certificate for first. After saying goodbye, I jogged back home in the rain.

So, kind of a weird thing, spectating a race. The first time I've done that, really - if I'm at a race, it's always been to run it. If I'm not there, it's usually because I have somewhere else I have to be. I've gotta say, a 5K is a good race to watch - only 15-20 minutes of boredom before people start coming in. Watching a half marathon from the start area has got to be painful.

My jogging down to the race, the cool-down lap, and heading home added 6.32 to the 4.21 miles I ran early today, for a 10.5 mile day. That's probably enough for now...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Upcoming events 4/23-24 and 4/30-5/1

Not a whole lot going on around the area this weekend, with the Easter holiday and all. Just:

Saturday, 4/23/11
Safe and Healthy Homes 5K Run/Walk
Run out of Idlewild Park, this 5K benefits thWashoe County Domestic Violence Task Force. 

Next weekend, though, is a different story.

Saturday, 4/30/11
Escape from Prison Hill Trail Half Marathon
"The Escape from Prison Hill Half-Marathon and 2-Person Relay is a unique event in that the course offers the feel of performing in an ultra-marathon without the added distance. . The course offers exceptional views of the Carson River Valley and the Carson Range of the eastern Sierra. " Get ready for some climbing.

Sunday, 5/1/11
Reno Rock-n-River Marathon and Half Marathon Festival
The fourth annual Rock 'n' River runs, with a great route along the Truckee. Flat, fast and fun. Seems like half of Reno comes out for this one, so it's a big party.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vibram FiveFingers Comparison: KSO vs. TrekSport

The first pair of Vibram FiveFingers I bought was all the way back in 2008. At the time, I felt like I had waited long enough - past the "early-adopter" stage - and it was time I gave them a try. In retrospect, it seems like I was a little ahead of the curve there.

The pair that I bought was the KSO - or "Keep Stuff Out" model. It just seemed the most versatile at the time. And I did quite a few different things in them - from some light running, to wearing them to work, to taking them along on a backpacking trip as "camp shoes."

As far as the running goes, I didn't put a ton of miles on them - I used them once a week or so, for runs up to about 3 miles, mostly on pavement. It's only recently that I've worked up to more than that, and off-road use as well.

They've held up well - I did have a seam blow out on one of them, but some quick work with a needle and thread took care of that. One funny thing about them is that they tend to develop an odor after a while - I don't have smelly feet in general, but these tend to soak it up. They are machine washable (I throw them in with some towels) and that tends to freshen them up a bit.

The next pair that I bought was just recently, at an REI garage sale where they off-load returned and demo equipment. They were a pair of lightly used TrekSports, in one size smaller than the KSOs. (Because of my Morton's Toe, I'm in between a 46 and a 47. The longer second toe makes the 46s a little snug on that toe - I can't wear the TrekSports with socks - but the 47s can feel a little floppy sometimes.)

So far, I've been out four or five times in the TrekSports - both on road and trails. Funnily enough, running on the road with them gave me a pretty solid blister towards the front of my left arch, but I've had no problems with them off-road - even in snow and mud.

There's not a huge difference between the uppers between the two. They have a similar strap pattern, and similar insole. The TrekSports have a couple of refinements over the KSOs, though. First, the tops of the toes are reinforced with a shiny material. I'm not exactly sure what that's supposed to do, since I haven't had a problem with that area. Second, there's a heel pad on the TrekSports. It's perfectly comfortable - but again, I hadn't seen a problem with that area on the older model.

The main difference between the KSOs and the Treksports is, of course, the soles. Here are the graphics from Vibram's website for each model:

The KSO:
The TrekSport:
Simply put, the TrekSports have a much more solid and aggressive sole. After running trails on both, I won't barely think of heading off-road in the KSOs. Little pebbles that would feel sharp in the KSOs can be ignored with the TrekSports on. Even on the road, I find that the TrekSports give enough peace of mind that I think twice about going out in the KSOs. In fact, the KSOs have been mostly relegated to wearing around the yard, for weekend errands and to work sometimes.

For me, the TrekSports are the best all-around answer in a FiveFinger model. I would love to try some of the road-specific models, like the Bikila, but I would need to be much more committed to the minimalist thing before I buy another pair of these...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A nice weekend

Did some running by myself this weekend - just didn't work out to meet up with anyone. Ended up having a nice couple of runs, though.

Saturday morning was the last of my "half marathon simulation" runs from the training plan I'm on. This called for an easy 6 miles, followed by six miles at race pace, with a 1-2 mile easy cool down. These happened every two weeks throughout the program, and due to weather or some other constraint, I did most of them on the treadmill. That was nice from a pace control standpoint, but I really wanted to get out and run one on the roads.

Last weekend, for my long run, I scouted out the Rock 'n' River half marathon course, and Saturday I ran it again for the simulation. Kept the first six miles in the mid 8:00 pace range, which was OK. When mile 6 ticked over in Dorokstar Park, I sped it up to try to hit a 6:50-7:00 pace. The first one seemed pretty hard, but after the turnaround at the Patagonia Warehouse, I was able to hold the next 5 pretty well. Sure was a relief to hit mile 12 in Idlewild Park and back off, though.

Feeling in a pretty good place now, heading into one more week of training and a week of taper before my spring goal race.

Sunday called for a "35-40 min easy run." After all the road work, though, I've been jonesing for some trails - and my feet felt like they wanted to have a turn in my Vibram FiveFingers. So I took off at first light, trotted the mile from home to Rancho San Rafael, crossed the tunnel under McCarran, and headed up to the end of Evans Creek Canyon. It was a perfect morning for it - but not many people out yet at that hour. One dog walker and another runner going the other way. I made a loop out of it, crossing over McCarran and dropping back into Rancho farther to the west. Ended up more like 55 minutes, but it was a lovely morning and worth it.

My feet are a little beat up from the FiveFingers on the rocky trail, though - need to do that more. Look for a comparison review of the old FiveFingers KSO to the newer TrekSports I wore this morning next week sometime.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekend update

I'll be trying to get these update on upcoming races out on Thursdays or Fridays, but didn't quite make it this week. At any rate, here's what's going on around town this weekend:

Saturday, April 16

Reno 5000 - 1st Race
The start of a pretty strong-looking series, this takes place at the south end of town, from the RC Willey parking lot. No race-day registration, though, so if you're not registered (and actually there, now) you're out of luck. Check the website for the rest of the series.

Sunday, April 17

American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb
Climbing up a bunch of stairs sound like fun? The Fight for Air Climb heads up the Silver Legacy, raising money for the American Lung Association along the way. Again, if you haven't signed up for this already and done a bunch of fundraising, this probably isn't going to happen as a last-minute thing...

Spring Forward for Autism 5K Run/Walk
What looks like a fun, windy course around the UNR campus is the setting for the Spring Forward for Autism 5K. Looks like this one can be signed up race-day, so if you're looking for a race to drop in on this weekend, here's the one for you -

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Merrell Trail Glove contest

Not here - over at Running and Rambling. Donald gets some great gear to review, and fortunately for us, gets to give some of it away. Go take a look!

Kinvara review

Not long after doing my first couple of runs in the New Balance MT101 trail shoe, and being blown away by how such a light shoe still felt so solid, I decided to go a bit lighter on my next pair of road shoes.

Now, for years when I've walked into running stores, salespeople have immediately steered me toward stability shoes - I'm 6'4" and my weight has often hovered around 200 lbs. Since my weight is a little less these days, and the last pair of shoes I bought (the Brooks Defyance) weren't as stability-oriented and have been working fine, I decided to try out a pair of shoes I've been hearing a lot about - the Saucony Kinvara.

(There hadn't been many deals on the Kinvara up until that point, but I was able to string together two or three different offers from Road Runner Sports and got them for around $60. Even I was pretty happy with that.)

To my eye, which was used to a beefier shoe, it didn't seem like there was much to the Kinvaras. The sole material seemed foamy, and the upper felt light and floppy. I was skeptical as I laced them up and got ready to run.

As with the MT101s, though, I shouldn't have worried. The only thing I notices about them was that they were light. I've now got just under 100 miles on them, and have not noticed any problems, with control or stability, mechanical problems, or anything. Basically: these feel like shoes should - but lighter. It's a great feeling.

One thing I've noticed is the red sole on the model that I have makes a funny mark on the inside of the shoe, if I happen to bump the side during a step. Probably means I should pay more attention to that part of my stride.

Otherwise, the upper has worn well since I've had them. The sole does look like it won't last quite as long as some of my other shoes, but not substantially so. All in all, I'm really impressed with this shoe, and will probably try to get my hands on a pair of the Kinvara 2 when they come out later this year. It'll probably be time to retire these by then.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In praise of weekend morning runs

It's my favorite kind of run.

The kind where you sneak out of the house before the rest of the family is awake, having stashed clothes and shoes in a corner of the living room so as to get ready quietly.

Where you start running in the dark, and get to see the morning slowly break over the landscape to an orange sunrise.

Where the only other people out are other hardy souls, walking dogs, delivering newspapers, or getting their own runs in.

Where you can count the number of moving cars you see on one hand.

Where you come back home, tired out yet energized, to find everyone else dragging themselves groggy out of bed.

Where you got the best kind of head start on your day possible.

I just wish it had been a little warmer out this morning. My fingers were so numb I had to have my son help me pull my gloves off...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Carson High School Safe and Sober 5K

I wasn't sure if I was going to make it until the last minute, but I'm glad I did.

This morning was the Safe and Sober 5K in Carson City, benefiting Carson High's senior grad night. I knew a few of the people from my Odyssey team were going to be there, so I wanted to show up and see everyone.  In fact, one of the race organizers was Steve Lang, who was the captain of my team last year. He's also working on a really cool race for 2012, the Cirque du Carson. Check that out, ultrarunners...

It was a chilly morning up in Reno, and a little colder even in Carson. Fortunately the sun was out, and the tree-lined neighborhoods of old Carson City kept the winds down. We started out just behind the Firkin and Fox, one of the sponsors of the race.

Steve gave a pretty good race briefing - if you know the streets around Carson City. I got a little confused by the "left on King, right on Ormsby" directions and figured I'd just follow one of the fast-looking guys I saw around. As we lined up, though, none of those guys shaded toward the front.  After some humorous false starts with a malfunctioning air horn, Steve just yelled "Go!" and we were off. And within about 200 yards, I found myself leading.

Totally new experience. I actually had to stifle a giggle a couple times - before I started getting nervous about missing a turn. The first one was obvious, with people stationed to point the way. Then there was a long stretch, where I kept questioning whether I had missed the chalk marks. But there were people at turn two as well, and the course was actually really well marked. The only hard part was crossing the streets to make some turns - they weren't terrible busy, but you definitely had to keep an ear open for traffic.

The other thing my ear was open to was someone coming up behind me. From about mile 1.5, I could hear someone coming, and he steadily gained until he passed me just before mile 2.5. I stayed with him for a little while, but he just had a better pace going than I did, and I sure didn't have enough to catch him back.

Despite getting passed, I'm pretty happy with my run. Negative splits - 6:21, 6:16 and 6:13 miles. I finished in 18:50, 9 seconds after the leader. My best finish ever (that wasn't a relay with Chris.) And a great morning for a run, and a chance to see some of the other Carson City runners.  Here's the finish line, with a beautiful blossoming tree behind it and the even lovelier Abbey sweeping through it. ;)

Now back home, having had some lunch and run a coupe errands, I'm enjoying a post-race beer and watching the Masters. Yep, golf is the one sport where I'll park it on the couch for an afternoon and watch TV. I only nod off once in a while.

(Bought this beer at a 7-11 in Sparks, NV, believe it or not. Pretty nice beer for The Sev.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Races for 4/9-10/11

There are a few races going on around the area this weekend:

Saturday 4/9/11

Safe and Sober 5K  in Carson City
"Easy, flat 5K to benefit Carson High Safe and Sober Graduation. Runners, walkers, strollers, costumes, leashed dogs, unleashed spirits all welcome!"

NK Run/Walk  at UNR
"Nye/Canada parking lot up to the UNR "N" (So, both road and trails) The race should be a fun, not too competitive event. So all levels feel free to give it a shot. Please support! The money goes to the UNR Triathlons Walking Path fund. And there will be prizes for winners as well as raffle prizes."

Sunday 4/10/11

Polio Purple Pinkie 10K/2M Fun Run in Rancho San Rafael
"The 10k trail run and 2 mile walk will be held at Ranch San Rafael Park in Reno, NV on Sunday April 10, 2011 at 9:00am. The run is sponsored by the Rotoract Club of Reno. Help Rotary raise $200 million 2012 to receive a $355 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The resulting $555 million will support immunization campaigns in developing countries, where polio continues to infect and paralyze children."

Billy Dutton Uphill at Squaw Valley
"Squaw Valley's original "run what ya brung" uphill race, an answer to the famous Chinese Downhill of the 70's, starts at the base of KT-22. The course take you UP the Mountain Run, then over to the top of Shirley Lake and finally ends after a brief downhill at High Camp. The course climbs 2000 vertical feet over 3.2 miles. There are ski and run/snowshoe divisions."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Treadmill issues

Generally, I don't have any problem with treadmills.

Some people seem to hate them - calling them names like "dreadmill" or "the rubber band of doom." I find they have a good place in my training - both as a last resort, when the weather outside isn't cooperating, but also to control pace. I've been doing my intervals on the treadmill for the last few months, as well as some progression runs and a few long runs that I needed to keep at race pace. The ability to dial in my pace means I am forced to stay at that pace for longer than I probably would otherwise.

The gym I go to has a line of about 15 treadmills. Usually, at the time of day I'm there, there is a max of two other people using them - most often, I'm on them alone. This is a good thing, because I can have my pick of them , and if one shuts down mid-workout on me (as has happened a few times) I can switch to another.

I end up having "favorite" machines - ones that have seemed to work well for me in the past. These are ones that seemed to be well-calibrated as far as pace, had fairly smooth-running bands, and are in front of a TV I don't mind watching. Sometimes a few favorites are working, sometimes one or more have error messages or are turned off, but usually I can find a good one to use.

This morning, when I went in for my progression run, none of my favorites were working.  I stepped onto a treadmill that I hadn't used before, and ten seconds later shut it down. The action of the belt was so jerky that I felt like I was going to jam my knee if I continued. Fortunately, the machine next to it was working, and after a minute or so, it seemed to be running fine.

The progression run I was doing had a 15 minute warm up, 30 minutes progressing from 7 minute miles to 6:30 miles, and a 15 minute cool down. About halfway into my warmup (which I try to do at about 9 minute mile pace) It felt like I had sped up. Checking the treadmill, it still read 9:03 pace, which was where I had left it, but my Garmin (measuring via footpod) was showing my pace as around 8:10. I chalked it up to mis-calibration between the watch and the treadmill, and finished out the warmup.

At the 15 minute mark, I sped the treadmill up to 7:00 pace. Checking my watch, I saw that it read under 6:30 pace - around 6:25, I think it was. I didn't last long at that pace - I certainly didn't feel like I could bump the speed up, like I was supposed to for a progression run. I ran 10 minutes at that pace, and then called it - dialing the treadmill back to my warmup/cooldown pace of 9:00. Again, my watch registered 8:10 pace.

After a few minutes at that pace, the treadmill noticeably slowed. I checked the settings again, and nothing on the treadmill had changed - although my watch was now reading almost a 10 minute mile. At this point I ran it out to the 30 minute mark, then gave up in disgust. The workout is marked in my Garmin Connect as "Treadmill progression fail."

Anyone else ever have treadmill issues like this? Any thoughts? Do I need to change gyms or buy my own treadmill?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tough afternoon motivation

One of the downsides to my early morning running schedule is that I'm pretty tired by the time I drag myself home from work in the afternoon. This afternoon, for example - my legs felt heavy all day from my interval workout this morning, and I wasn't feeling up to my afternoon core strength session.

I collected three different core workouts from different places - a floor core routine from Runner's World, a medicine ball set from Runnerdude's blog, and a yoga ball workout from somewhere else on the internet. They get rotated through - the Runner's World set on Mondays and Thursdays, the yoga ball on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the medicine ball on Wednesdays. Fortunately, to day was Tuesday - the yoga ball workout is the easiest of the three, and I was able to talk myself into doing it.

Now I'm lying on the couch, hoping dinner will make itself...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekday lunches

For my weekday lunches, I pre-make two different things, and rotate through them throughout the week.

That might sound boring to some, but I like the ease of making them on the weekend, freezing some and refrigerating others, and being able to pull them out in the morning and be ready to go.

So, here are a couple recipes that I use.

Potato-Chickpea Curry
This was adapted from a video recipe on the Runner's World's website, which I can't seem to find anymore.

Chop one onion and sauté in a large pan on high heat until softened and beginning to brown. Add one 14.5 ounce can each of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed), diced tomatoes and chicken broth, plus a large-ish diced tomato. Season with curry and cayenne to taste. Cover, lower heat to low and cook until potatoes begin to soften, half an hour or so. Uncover and cook on medium heat until some liquid is reduced. Serve over rice. Freezes well. Microwave for a couple minutes and stir to serve.

Chicken (or Tofu) Broccoli Couscous
I believe this originally came from the South Beach Diet Cookbook; I've adapted it as well.

I use boxed couscous from Near East; they have a bunch of different flavors. Following directions on the box, add water, seasoning and olive oil to large pot and bring to boil. Add broccoli and steam to desired doneness. Pour in couscous and stir until moistened. Add grilled chicken or stir-fried firm tofu, stir and let sit for at least five minutes. Can be eaten cold or reheated.

(I didn't think to take pictures of these before I'd packaged them up. Sorry they're not super glamorous food porn.)

Sorry for the silence

Seems like I haven't been blogging much lately, except for a race report now and then. I'm going to try to be a little better about that - put a little more of myself back into the blog, instead of thinking I can concentrate on Northern Nevada and Tahoe-specific running stuff.

So, where am I right now? I've been training for the Rock 'n' River half marathon again, using the same training schedule that I wen't through in 2008 and 2009. My goal will once again be 1:30, which I failed to meet at both of those previous races. However, I'm in a better place to do it now - a better base built up, been hitting the numbers on the plan even better, and I'm a more knowledgeable runner, both about myself and running in general. Add to that my half marathon PR creeping down back at the Davis Stampede, and I should have much more confidence going into the race in a month.

That said, I had a workout the other morning that rattled my confidence a bit. The training plan I'm on calls for biweekly "half marathon simulations" - about 6 miles easy, 5-7 at race pace, and a 1-2 mile cool down. I've been doing those on the treadmill, as with my intervals, to force myself to keep the pace where I need it. As I mentioned, the numbers have been right on - all my workouts have been at or above the paces I've wanted. Yesterday morning, though, I had a half marathon simulation to do, and couldn't make it through the race pace section. The six easy miles felt a little sluggish, and as soon as I bumped up the speed, I started feeling myself wearing down. Three miles into the seven I wanted to quit, and hung on until mile four, at which point I just had to back off and do a mile cool down. That still left me with a solid 11 miles for the day, but it didn't feel good quitting early. I'm going to chalk it up to the bug that's going through my family - although I don't feel sick, and am not hacking coughs like my wife and daughter, I must have a slight bit of it. Yep. That's what I'm going to tell myself.

Today called for an easy 45 minute run, and I wanted to get out on the trails for it. Met Ryan, a member of my Odyssey team, up near Evans Creek canyon, and did a loop over to Keystone Canyon and through a bit of Rancho San Rafael. I had forgotten how to run and talk at the same time, since I've been running alone so much. Almost fell a couple times while trying to carry on a conversation. But it was a beautiful morning, and while still a bit chilly, I'm glad spring is on the way. Ryan pushed me a bit, especially on the uphills, and my legs are now nicely fatigued.

Mondays and Fridays are rest days on my plan, and I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning. Also looking froward to trying to share a bit more here. Thanks, everyone -