Tag Archives: trails

Taper week # 2

11 Mar


Only 10 days until the LA Marathon  I’m not getting too freaked out about it yet.

Last week, I took an extra recovery day after my last long run of 24 miles. I did a short 5.5 mile easy run midweek. At Johann’s suggestion, I kept my long run to 13 miles on Sunday. Then this week, I threw in a couple of 5 mile runs.

I hate tapers. The runs seem so blah. Or perhaps, I’m just fatigued from all the long runs. Then I started to feel these aches similar to when I had a calf injury a couple of years ago. Back then, I had to take 3 weeks off to let my body repair itself. Last week, I started feeling the same twinges in my calf. Thankfully, it went away once I got going. Since then, my heels and knees have felt sore and my legs have felt stiff and heavy.  Maybe this means I really ready for LA.

Anyway, I felt I needed a change. For today’s run, after a mile warmup, I took to the trails. Sprinting up and down the dirt hills felt fabulous! This was way better than doing 800 intervals. And I felt great afterwards. I even had a spring in my step.

In a way, I’m looking forward to getting the marathon out of the way; getting away from the asphalt and cement roads, and all the traffic. I can’t wait to get back to the trails….


How or when did you know you caught the running bug?

2 Mar

In answer to Christina’s question…How or when did you know you caught the running bug?

I first caught the running bug back when I was a sophomore in high school. I had played organized sports when I grew up in LA; basketball, soccer, rugby, even football for one day*. Running was always my old standby. Due to other conflicts, I never ran track or cross country in high school. I wish I had. I hung around a large group of friends who used play fun, odd games. We’d play flag football some weeks, then change over to croquet the following week, then switch to capture the flag. The games always had an edge to them, with unique rules. One rule, after the flag was captured, called for gang tackling each member of the losing team. The losing team could only hold off defeat by not being tackled. Only then could the first team claim victory. One particular day, my team quickly fell apart, losing our flag, my team members quickly picked off by our rivals. However, I managed to elude the other team for about 2 hours, running cross country through the open space. I remember how fun it was just to run and run – my first trail run.
More recently, I had an epiphany of sorts. Since those long ago school days, I’ve kept running; some marathons, some halves, a few 10Ks, but mainly to keep fit and mostly on the roads. Then about 3 years ago, I was running by an open space area and wondered where a trail went. I took off down the single track and entered a new world. It was like the clouds had parted, and the sun was shining on Shangri-la. I was so jazzed I could barely contain myself. I ran home and pulled as much info as I could on trails in the immediate area, then trails on our local mountain, Mt Diablo. I was in ecstasy. I woke up every day thinking of new areas to run. I recall even leaving work early to go run a new trail I had found.
Someday, I hope to do an ultra. For now, I have this road race to get out of the way. After training on asphalt and concrete for the last 6 months, I long for the muddy single track, the wide open fire roads. I miss screaming my head off on the quad busting down hills. Soon…very soon.

* The summer before my sophomore year, while acting stupid I fell off a car and ended up with a severe concussion. I was unconscious for about a day, and spent a week in the hospital. This was the year I was going to go out for football. Feeling invincible and wanting to play so bad, I went out for the team about a month later. I got knocked silly during tackling practice – and that ended my promising football career. Because I was such a jokester, my friends left me on the road for about 5-10 minutes – thinking I was kidding around. They still joke how they finally trudged over and kicked me a few times before realizing I was out cold. Such fun guys.


3 Feb

  Don’t you hate it when the other blogs are discussing articles in Trail Running or Runner’s World, and your issue has arrived yet. Grrr! Almost as bad as not winning the latest giveaway!

  There are only 6 ½ weeks left till the LA Marathon. Training was going ok till last week. Then, I started getting a bit lazy. I got a decent interval in midweek (6×800), but I had to really push myself to get out the door at 5am on Friday. It was a pretty cool morning with the fog starting to form. I didn’t get into a good rhythm till the 3 mile mark. Coincidently, that was the point where I left the road and turned into the local canal trail. Something about running in the dark with just a headlamp seemed to pick me up. I got a thrill at about the 4 mile mark. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed some yellow dots. Turning to the left, I saw 4 sets of yellowish eyes about 30 yards away. My heart skipped thinking they were wild dogs. I relaxed again when I realized it was just 4 deer. What wildlife have you encountered?

  There are 2 people, who I know, I have inspired to take up running. The first is my youngest sister, who’s about 10 years younger. She started running about 1 ½ years ago. She had always watched, over the years, as one of my older brothers and I would run in different races. She’d see how much fun we had and she wanted to experience that also. So, on a lark, while shopping for walking shoes, she signed up with a 10K running group. She stuck with it, running her first 10K shortly after. Last Oct, she ran her first half marathon. In November, when she heard I was considering LA in March, she started thinking about it also. However, she was experiencing pain in her knees and some kidney stone issues, and wasn’t sure if she was ready. I suggested she take her time, get well, build up slowly, and shoot for something down the road. Of course, she ignored my advice and promptly signed up anyway. Secretly, I don’t think she has done enough training to enjoy the experience. I’m sure she’ll finish, but how much pain will she have to endure?

  Another good friend also took up running recently. In the course of discussing different things, I would always bring up running; whether it was the excitement from running a race or finding a new trail. She had been a bad auto accident a few years ago. She took up running to strengthen her legs. When one of her friends opened up fitness studio, it led to a more directed effort to make a change in her life. She signed up with a personal trainer to help with core work, and has slowly built up her mileage. This Sunday, she is running her first half marathon in San Francisco. I’m really proud of the advances she’s made and her determination. Who have you inspired recently?

  In January, as part of the 1010 miles in 2010 challenge, I’ve run almost 129 miles. This was a big milestone for me. In the last 15 years, the most I had run in one month was 100 miles (Nov 09), but my average was more like 50 miles a month. I think committing to the challenge was a smart thing. It has kept me motivated in my training for LA. It has also given me a long-term goal which I can use to keep up my fitness throughout the year.

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…..