Archive | January, 2010

7 Randon Things

24 Jan

Katye over at Live, Love, Run, Pray tagged me to list 7 random things.
So here you go:

1. The first race I ever ran was Bay to Breakers in San Francisco. in NBA All Stars basketball shoes. My feet hurt like hell for days after, but I was on such a high, I talked about it for weeks.

2. From grammar school thru college, at various times, I played basketball, soccer and rugby. I was never tall enough to play b-ball beyond grammar school; I excelled at soccer, but had the most fun playing rugby

3. I counselled my youngest sister to not run the LA MArathon on March 21. She had just started running one and a half years ago, and ran a half marathon in Oct, 2009. She promptly ignored my advice. She ran 23 miles yesterday. She’ll probably kick my ass in March

4. I last ran a marathon in 1994; 3:59 in San Francisco

5. Although I mainly listen to rock ‘n roll, my wife and I started and ran an opera company for 5 years

6. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, have been mistaken for American Indian, and have had my name butchered a million ways. The funniest was the guy who spelled my name as McGill and was convinced I was Irish. After 4 beers I had him saying “Irish I was Mexican.”  Try saying that after 4 beers.

7. I’m 55 years old – my sister says that’s the new 45! 

 I woke up early to do my long run.  19 miles.  I mile longer than last week, but I’m a lot less tired than last week.  This is probably due to one of two things. I didn’t get any quality runs in because of all the rain NorCal last week, so I was pretty rested. Or, it was because I didn’t drink any wine yesterday.  What do you think ?


Men Don’t Talk

21 Jan

Well, today is another rain out for me. This has been the 4th consecutive day of rain out here in Northern CA. Although there have been respites, other commitments have interfered to prevent me from running.

As an example, today the latest rain storm was supposed to pack less of a wallop than the previous 3 days. I was planning on doing 800 intervals after work. Since all the high schools tracks are muddy and soaked, I was going to hit up the local Iron Horse trail. It has quarter mile markings painted on the asphalt. However, my son woke up sick this morning, and I’m now sitting at home looking after him. And it’s still pouring out here. The weather guys had said it would let up this afternoon, but nothing doing.

Anyway, I ran across this article online which I found kind of interesting. It’s titled “Why Men Don’t Talk” by David Zinczenko for Men’s Health. In it, he lists 4 reasons why men don’t like to talk. Here’s a short summary/highlights of this short article. Zinczenko states that men do in fact want to open up, but

  • Guys Are A Little Intimidated – women are expert communicators. Men are afraid of saying too much, because saying the wrong thing may get them into more trouble
  • Guys Need To Decompress – when a man is hit with a demand for conversation so closely after returning from the stressful environment of work, he only wants to kick back and relax.
  • Guys Are More Comfortable With Actions Than Feelings – when men do talk, they’d prefer to talk about actions rather than emotions. Rather than talking about how he “feels,” often a man would rather express his love by changing her oil, or bringing home a flower, or relinquishing control of the remote.
  • Guys Don’t Want To Be Put On The Spot – A full 65 percent of men surveyed indicated they don’t want their partners to ask them more questions about themselves

So yes, he generalizing a bit, and for me, some of those things sometimes hit close to home. Not always, but sometimes. I would say a some of these characteristics fit most of my friends. There’s a few who have no trouble letting it all hang out. And, I’m not sure how age plays a factor in this.

What do you think? Are there other reasons ‘us guys’ don’t readily open up ? Or is this just a copout?

And no, you can’t have the remote!

How do you calculate your mileage?

18 Jan

I’ll admit , right off, that I don’t own a Garmin, or a Timex, or any other type of GPS. So the only tool I have at my disposal, to measure my routes, is mapmyrun.

Years ago, before GPS, I did own a Polar HRM. It wasn’t cheap, but it was a cool toy. I played close attention to my HR while training for a few marathons. But, I noticed that I paid too much attention to it. Was my HR within range? Am I on track to hit my predicted milestones? Eventually, the battery on the chest strap died, and I used the Polar to track mileage and speed, till eventually, it also crapped out. Sending it to Polar for a new battery just didn’t seem worth it.

More recently, I found logyourrun. It met my needs, initially, to track my routes. Eventually, I moved over to mapmyrun. It seemed worked better for me. I would take the info it gave me as pretty accurate. For the last 3 years, I tracked everyone of my runs. Once I measured a run, I’d note the mileage and use that for all subsequent repeats. Last week, I was testing a different application, runningahead. Just to test its response, I laid a 6.1 miles course I had been running for the last 3 years. Imagine my horror when it displayed total mileage as 5.8.

What the heck!  I went back to and laid out the course gain – and it had changed to 5.8 also. I did notice that maypmyrun required that I update to a new mapping tool. So now I’m wondering how short some of my other runs have been. I did check a few and, to my relief, saw that they were pretty close.

Anyway, I find that response better that It also doesn’t seem to get confused like mapmyrun. More frequently, mapmyrun was adding these weird backtrack while I was laying out my routes. This happen to anyone else?

So, recap for the week, and to show my progression on Katye’s 1010 in 2010/ challenge.

Two morning runs of 5.8 miles (grrrr). One long run of 17.7 miles.

The long run was a mixed bag. It started off great. Instead of taking a walking break every 20 min, I decided to do my run in 60 min segments, as a test. For the first segment, I ran along the local canal trail, taking a health break at the creepy bathrooms at Heather Farms park. Nothing like stopping at a dark, smelly bathroom at 6:30am. Yuck! Still, I was feeling pretty good at this point, especially getting that load off. After the 60 mins, but started to feel some discomfort with my left arch. I did find that slightly changing my running gait made it go away. At this point, I was running along the Iron Horse trail, a former railroad easement. Unfortunately, part of the trail runs along a major highway, with its exhaust fumes. On the plus side, the trail runs along Walnut Creek, which is really more of a storm runoff. At points , it is more than 300 wide. It is filled with wildlife. I was feeling a little tired after 2 hours, and started taking breaks every 20-30 minutes. The arch pain came back for about 15 minutes, then just as quickly disappeared. As expected, by going too fast the first 2 hours, I slowed quite a bit the last 60 minutes. I finally made it home, exhausted, and with tired legs. No arch pain. I did chafe quite bit. Right before my run, I realized I had run out of Glide. I tried to use some petroleum jelly, but mindful that it stains, I didn’t apply it liberally. Consequently, I ended up with soreness in certain spots.

Final tally

Wildlife: ducks, squirrels, egrets, hawk, fox(?)

3 towns: Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill

17.7 miles

Last, my son’s b-ball team played a thriller last night. Literally trading baskets with the other team. Ultimately, the team played great defense and shut the other team down in the last 20 secs for 1 3 point win!!  These games are sooo stressfull!!!! ….for the parents J

I’m committed

12 Jan

Just a quick note: I am now officially registered for the LA Marathon on March 21st.

Bib # 15592

Starting to get excited now.
And a little fearful of the upcoming long runs in the next 6 weeks.
And concerned with all the rain hitting NorCal in the next week.
Hope it doesn’t affect my planned runs too much.
Today’s 5×800 on the high school dirt track are gone.
Got to come up with an alternative…..

3 Hour Long Run

9 Jan

Today my son had to take a placement test for the high school he will be attending next year. It would take up about 3.5 hours from the time I dropped him off to when I needed to pick him up. So I decided to do a different type of run.
To run for 3 hours and see how far I could get.
Not knowing where the mile markers would be, I, instead, took note of the landmarks I hit. Then I went back to Mapmyrun to figure out the mileage.
It was a cloudy day, with temperatures in the 40s. A little brisk, but almost perfect for a long run.
Most of my run would go along the local man made canal which takes water to local municipalities.

30 min – 3.09mi – (9.7 min/mile last 30 min)
Sort of what I expected, though I noticed my legs weren’t really warming up and getting loose – probably due to the new interval, and tempo runs earlier this week.

60 min – 5.99 mi – (10.3 min/mile last 30 min)
Still within what I was hoping to maintain for this run. I felt myself getting a little too tired for so early in the run.

90 min – 8.64mi – (11.3 min/mile last 30 min)
Staring to slow down – there were several hills on this stretch, so I knew my time would suffer. My legs were starting to ache and my rhythm wasn’t quite right. I kept having to push myself and keep from slowing down too much.

120 min 11.08mi – (12.3 min/mile last 30 min)
Another slightly uphill miles followed by 1.5 miles of single track trail. The trail provided some relief to my achy legs, but unknowingly, I slowed way too much.

150 min 14.04mi – (10.1 min/mile last 30 min)
Somehow after the relief from the short trail section, I found my legs again. Although I felt tired I pushed it. I felt like I had finally got into a good rhythm.

180 min 16.78 mi – (10.9 min/mile last 30 min)
This was the homestretch back to the starting point. I think I would have come in a few min earlier, but I hit a major street and had to wait forever to cross.

I made it back just in time to pick up some coffee and my son. It seemed like it was actually colder than when I started. And though the coffee tasted like crap, at least the apple fritter was great!

The need for speed

8 Jan

A few years ago, I discovered the beauty of trail runs. Of course, I had done the occasional trail run through the redwoods. But, having run on roads for so many years, I had blinders on and never gave a second thought to it. Then 3 or 4 years ago, I signed up for one of  Pacific Coast Trail Runs trail runs. It was felt like…well, like finding religion. A huge Wow! moment.

Now, I’m only fast in my own imagination, but trail running seemed suited to me. Beautiful scenery…a lot of people walk the steep hills, wildlife encounters….I had a few twisted ankles on the technical runs, but nothing compared to the aches and pains from running on asphalt. However, running on trails also made me slower. I guess I was enjoying it too much, more hills, or maybe I was just getting older. Now that I am back training for a marathon, I can see how much my speed has fallen. Previously, in my fastest 10K, I averaged 7:38/mi. My fastest marathon was 3:59. Now, my early morning 6.3mi route takes me about 65 minutes, and I think I’d be lucky to break 5 hours at the LA Marathon.

So, I decided to start doing some intervals to build up some speed. On Wednesday, I got a late start but finally made it to the high school track at about 5:30pm. The lights were on cause the soccer team was just finishing up. I was planning on 8×400 with 400 recovery. Things started off ok. I felt pretty good doing about 8:01 – 8:03 per 400. Then suddenly, after the fifth 400, the soccer team was gone and the lights went out.

Hmm, I was thinking maybe I could finish off the last 3 in the dark….when out of nowhere a dog came crashing into me. Freaked me out for a second, but she kept jumping at my feet till I finally stopped. Then the expected, “Oh don’t worry. She won’t bite, she’s very friendly,” as the owner came running up. Whew!! Freaked me out enough that I just finished off the last 400 and went home – Lesson learned :next time I’m bringing my Petzl headlamp.

Yesterday, I ran my 6.3 mi route after work. Amazingly, I did it about 2 minutes faster than normal. Wow, the training seems to working out. Wouldn’t it be great to break 5 hours in March, maybe even 4:30…..

An eerie start to the New Year

4 Jan

I was going to list out my plans/goals for 2010, but everything is in a state of flux at the moment. For now I have 2 runnning goals for 2010. 

The first is to increase my total mileage for the year. I really love to run, and especially love the benefits I derive from it. In 2007, I logged 700 miles, in 2008 – 766 miles, and last year I finished at 802. This year I want to up the ante and get into as great shape as I can. So last week, I signed up with Katye (Psst it’s her birthday today. Happy 21st!!) to run her  1,010 in 2010  challenge.

My second goal is to run at least 3 marathons or 50K trail runs. I tried to get my act together last year, but the timing and motivation weren’t there. So, the first opportunity is the LA Marathon  on March 21st. Hence, my blog title “Road To LA”, not Louisiana 😉

I started the new year off right with 2 runs, one good, and one just so-s0.  On Jan 1st, I had planned a 10 miler. However, life stepped in and I ended up staying up late with my wife and kids on New Year’s Eve. And I slept in – unusual for me, but oh did it ever feel great!  I’m usually up by 5:30 or 6am, and laying in bed made me lazy for the rest of the day. I did manage to get out the door by noon. But, I just couldn’t get into a rhythm. Halfway through, I caved and barely managed 6.  Not the start I was hoping for.

Yesterday, I had planned a looooong run of 17 miles. I knew I had to get up early so I could be back in time for my son’s b-ball game (they kicked butt!).   But, somehow I slept in again!! Jumping out of bed, I figured I had only 2.5 hours. It was a little cool (about 40*)  and dark. I didn’t come across any runner or cyclist for the first 8 miles. Finally, as the sky started to brighted the day, the fog settled in. I could barely see about 30-40 yards ahead. Very cool, very eerie. A great run.  I’ll have to make up the 17 miler next week.

A somewhat promising start to 2010. Happy New Year to all!!!