Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Yeah Baby. Tonight was our "Intro to Track" session, especially targeted for new folks, people who have never done track or have not done it in a long time. We had a great turn out. J.P. led the workout for tonight and I managed to snag my last two track admins for the season. Track admins are the folks who check in and welcome new people, help with the warmups and exercises, help lead the pace groups and whatever else that needs to be done to assure a smooth and fun workout. I've got 5 signed up and not only are they good people but they are accomplished athletes as well. That should free me up to "float" around and do what I do best, help out the newbs or the folks who are struggling. Actually J.P. and I did that tonight, once we finally got down to the track to go through a short workout, we kept an eye out for folks who looked overwhelmed. J.P. was the Run Director last year so this was all familiar to him.
Next week will be the real deal followed by drinks at Kezar Pub. It's tradition that the first track session is followed by a social. First round is on the club. It was really good to be back. The last time I was in Kezar was the last week of October. The moment I walked through the gates I felt invigorated. Seeing SF Triathlon (rival club) gathering on their part of the bleachers got me all pumped. There were other groups as well, the Impalas for one, an all women's running team seemingly made up of very fast amazonian women.
It was a great night, no fog and not too cold. Good attendance and it will only get better from here. The days are getting longer, races are on the schedule and people are getting serious about their training.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Aray! This is the Filipino version of "Ouch" or in the way I'm using it, "Mother[BLEEP]!". Whose legs are these? This ain't the pair I woke up with Sunday morning. That sweet, sweet pain I'm glad it's there but I'd like for it to cease long enough so I can hit the bathroom pain free.
So that's me today. Just the usual day after long run soreness. Earlier I was in a conference call and I had to dash to the bookshelf to access some material, almost lost it on the first few steps:)...physically and verbally. Oh man all this sitting around and the muscles get stiff all over again. My chair is super comfy too, I have one of those Herman Miller Aeron chairs. I actually hate profanity and I've managed to eliminate it entirely from my vocabulary but then I started doing ultras. Nothing says discomfort succintly like a few colorful words. It must really be January...building, building, building, then comes racing. During my high school years I got acquainted with the "No Pain No Gain", I still believe that, they just should have explained in further detail that there are good and bad types of pain. In ultra lingo, uncomfortable and really uncomfortable.
Yesterday I got up at 6AM, those who know me know this is half the battle - took 3 alarms. Left promptly at 7AM. It was chilly out but no rain and it warmed up quick. There wasn't a lot of people out which was strange, maybe the gloom and threat of more showers had most people staying under the covers. It was nice and quiet out. After the group ride yesterday it was nice having some alone time, even if it was just for a couple of hours. I was huffing faster than normal because I had to be at Golden Gate Park by 9AM, the last of our training runs for the San Francisco Half-Marathon next weekend. Thank God cause I've had it up to here with Golden Park. In fact I'm not running the race next week. I didn't lose the weight I wanted and I'm still slower than usual. Why pay money for what would essentially be another training run, which isn't long enough anyway and a route I've ran the last 4 weekends. No brainer.
Felt great up until mile 19 when my legs started to feel like lead, by mile 21 they were heavy and slow. Kept on pushing though and finished strong. I managed 25 miles on a course that's not all that hilly but moved at a decent pace. Now that I'm getting some of my distance back, gonna start layering the hill work. Track starts next week so I'll get to work on my speed as well.
Still suffering lingering effects from sickness from a couple of weeks ago. Symptoms are gone for the most part but it's still there. One sign was that my heart rate was too high for the different levels of effort I was producing. Well just got to grin and bear it I guess, do my best to rest and eat well. It's like recovering from an injury. Well now that the weekend is over I can get more sleep. No more rising early to workout.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Cold start. Sweet on the coffee and bagels from Zoom Multisports. Janet taking pictures. Finally on our way to Marin. For the set, click here.
After several days of beautiful sunny weather we had light rain Friday with chances for it today. It was very light but I bet it was enough to convince folks to stay home or spin indoors. Nevertheless we had a good group for the year's kickoff ride and Zoom Multisports was there with coffee and bagels at the start. They also offered support mid ride and welcomed us back after the ride at their shop. I hope the new folks realized that this isn't a weekly thing.
As far as rides go this was pretty mellow, well for me anyway. I don't know what it is about groups these days but I always find myself gravitating towards the back and end up with the sweeping duties. This is why my long bike rides tend to be like my long runs - solo. Today was no different. We had some new folk with us and I wanted to keep an eye on them, especially since a couple were my friends. I didn't want them getting lost or suffer from a mechanical problem without help. You just never know. There was an unusually high number of folks having flats out there today. It was a good ride and we even managed to get some sun. Riding in Marin is beautiful whatever the weather. Police were out. Several in our group got detained for running a stop sign. They don't mess around in Marin. Somehow I still managed to get some Poison Oak on me. Towards the end of the ride I dashed off to the bushes to pee and ran right into some poison oak. Lucky for me I was covered head to toe with clothing. Well anyway those who stayed home because of the weather missed out on a good ride. Lots of folks were out and it wasn't all that cold. Stopped off at Zoom after the ride to look at stuff, chat with folks. It's probably a good thing I didn't go out all that hard or long today, planning on a 24-26 miler for my long run tomorrow.
Oh I processed all the expo pictures. Came out nice but they're mostly of my friends smiling at the camera and having a good time, boring if you don't know the people so I didn't bother posting them. Enjoy the ride pics instead.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Donald mentioned "Dementors" in his last post. Dementors are wraith like creatures found in the world of Harry Potter. The only way to beat them is to dig deep and think of happy memories.
Spin class yesterday was a bit like that. My Dementor was M2 and I got through the workout thinking of happy memories and daydreaming. Mostly day dreaming. Yesterday was benchmark day on the bike. The workout ended with two 10min intervals with a 2min easy spin in between. Goal was to access our highest average wattage output on the bikes that we could sustain for at least 10mins. The first interval I kept my heart rate 5 beats below max and sustained an average output of 190 watts. The second interval, I maxed my heartrate and sustained an average of 205 watts. I was feeling good about this until I found out the guy next to me was averaging 285 watts.
During the intervals I would just zone out and think about running, races I've done, races I want to do. I was day dreaming about Bighorn, trying to imagine what it might be like at the 50-mile mark at the top of the mountain, 80-miles, 90....The last 5 minutes of the last interval started to hurt however and it yanked me out of my zone. These spin sessions, always kicking my butt. Hoped on the treadmill afterwards for a mile and worked out on the Vasa swim machines. Too bad I can't actually day dream on the bike but that's what the scenery is for.
For some perspective on the wattage thing, Lance supposedly can average around 373 watts for two hours. More watts, up to 500, for shorter durations.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Monday night was Sponsors Expo night for the club. It was a blast. Like the expos you experience in Marathons. Room was filled with chiropractors, massage therapists, bike shop people, wetsuit people, sporting goods store people, coaches, sunscreen folks and a whole lot more folks I can't describe. It was also a night for new members and just curious folk to check out the club, meet people, ask questions. I was losing my voice from all the socializing. I got sick last week and still working my way to 100%. I'd be a lot further along if I just stopped working out! Next time, I'll try to be smarter....right. Anyway it was a great time and we gave away a lot of stuff. Part of the entry fee for the sponsors was to offer something that we could give away as raffle prizes. People came away with $100 massage coupons, goody bags of sport gear, bike tune ups, free gait analysis, free bike fits, etc, etc, etc. Too bad I was on the board, couldn't join in. No problem, I got my share of water bottles, food and even free coffee. Be nice to have a free massage though, body is needing it especially the shoulders from all the computer work. So Kristen is a-ok. She was in the thick of it all Monday night and the arm didn't slow her down. Doc said 4-6 weeks.
Next up, kick-off bike ride on Saturday. It's even sponsored. What does that mean? Food and drink before, during and after the bike ride. Support on the ride. Sponsoring bike shop gives the club a 25% discount except on bikes. Monday is an actual welcome back social at a restaurant. Then Track starts up on Feb. 6th and it's tradition that the first track workout is followed by a drink at Kezar Pub. Mercifully, Swim Director is waiting off on the kick-off swim. Weather has been warm and sunny but that water is still very cold. So things are finally underway at the club. Soon as I'm closer to 100% I'll be back on my long runs myself.
Soon as I process them, pics from the expo.
Monday, January 22, 2007
It was a great time. All in our group had fun and the weather was perfect. Met up with some of the ultra folk. Met Squirrel_Nutz. Ran easy right behind Alyssa and Melissa. Enjoyed the running conversations. Enjoyed the views. Got to catch up with Sarah and Wendell at the finish. Speaking of which, they have tentative plans for a 100-miler in the Marin Headlands, date in the works is Aug 11-12th. They are still in discussion so keep your fingers crossed. Two loops of 50 with a course similar to the Miwok 100k. I don't even mind that it's two loops of the same course since the second one will mostly be in the dark. I'd like to do that night run. Hmmm...where do I fit that in the schedule?
Saturday, January 20, 2007
If it was later in the season, when my body was better prepared, this 9k would be a great opportunity to do a fast all out run. Unfortunately my speed and my hill climbing ain't there yet. So I decided to just pace my friend, enjoy the scenery. Besides I get to see Wendell and Sarah. I'm moving up in this race. Last year I was a volunteer, satisfying my volunteer hours for Western States, today I'm actually taking part. I already recognize some of the names on the 50k entrant list. It will be a bummer not to join them this time but the year is just getting started.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Last Sunday as I was running under and past the Golden Gate Bridge I ran into my friend Kristen going the other way. She was on her bike with a friend headed out towards Marin. She yelled, I yelled back. Well apparently on the way back from Marin, on the Bridge, she had an accident. Ran into some tourists or something, that part I'm not so clear about. She broke her hand in the process.
I found out about it Tuesday night from Spamsi before I left for TBT and when I got to Coach M2's studio I saw for myself. There was Kristin spinning with her removable cast off, infured hand held high. It looked bad, her wrist and arm, all black and blue. The next day she went in for surgery so they can insert pins in her hand. Arrrggghhhhh. She was in very good spirits, laughing about it and such. Spinning like nothing was wrong. My first question of course was, "justwhat are you doing here you crazy person?". Before she left she put her cast back on and waved goodbye, laughing. What a character. Crazy girl, although I'm very impressed she was there spinning. Not that I condone that kind of behavior. Out 4-6 weeks. Definitely no typing. She's our Communications director too, it's been quiet on her front. There's been a heatead issue discussed on the email list the last couple of days and her silence is obvious. Thinking about you and your wrist Kristin!
I found out during the week that there had been other mishaps on the bike this past weekend because of ice on the roads. We lucked out on our route Saturday. Those that went Sunday were not so lucky. I have never though of that, you know being careful about ice on our roads. From now on any cold snaps automatically cancels my bike ride. Ain't worth it.
Warm weather coming up though. Cold snap is over.
Monday, January 15, 2007
The Sand Ladder, view from the bottom looking up and from the top. Ladies with the new trail signage they started installing on the trails last year. Image with the girls taken in December during a race. Girl on the left was first woman for the 10k, her friend on the right worked the Sand Ladder aid station with me.
Are you going to be weak and walk my steps again. "Yes, yes I am"
I have this irrational fear of the "sand ladder". Those familiar with Baker Beach or have taken part in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon know exactly what I'm talking about. A steep set of stairs filled with sand, connecting the east end of Baker Beach to Lincoln road at the top. It's not very high but it's steep and I'm not sure why but it always kicks my butt and I've pretty much stopped running it. This is me, veteran of many ultras, 4 time veteran of the Quad Dipsea with it's many slick steps. Irrational? Absolutely. Nevertheless I took my time again and I was still gassing at the top of the stairs. Those damned steps!
We are the host tri-club for the Escape from Alcatraz and a lot of our members take part in the race. A few weeks before the race, in lieu of Tuesday track we take our athletes down there and have them do repeats on the Sand Ladder with backpacks filled with sand. Mmmm....sand filled bags on the Sand Ladder, where do I sign up. I was there last year but I only took pictures:) I think I got to skip because I was still recovering from the Miwok 100k and because I wasn't doing the race. I have to think up of an excuse this year. I'm supposed to lead this year's training run on the Sand Ladder.
Anyway this was Sunday's long run. Similar to last week's run. I met up with the run group at Golden Gate Park, ran with themm for their workout and then continued on with the rest of my run. Unlike last week we had a great turnout. Sunday was just as cold as Saturday, in fact as we made our way toward the Pacific Ocean we came across patches of ice on the trails. I and a couple of other runners nearly slipped on a section of asphalt because of ice. That's a first for me here in the city. My workout with them lasted about 1.5 hours and I added another 2.5 hours finishing at my apartment, about 20 miles for the day. It was an okay day, neither fast or slow but my IT's were sore. The left is the weak one and the right one is sore from carrying the left. I have it on the schedule to back down on the mileage this week, good timing. No worries, it's the kind of soreness that goes away with stretching and rest. But because the IT bands were sore I went ahead with the ice bath despite feeling cold. Whew that ice bath put the cold weather in perspective. Felt great though, after I was done.
I'll keep up the intensity in my workouts this week but cut back on the running mileage. Maybe a longer bike ride this weekend instead. Then the following weekend I should be more than ready to jump to the marathon distance. It's all coming together nicely with all the expected aches and pains.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Leading a bike ride tomorrow, my first act of leadership for the season as Run Lead is to lead a bike ride:) Planning on a nice easy, medium ride across the bridge, past Sausalito and into Tiburon and the Paradise loop, about 35 miles. No need to go crazy on my first bike ride out. I hope several folks join. Our club is known for not RSVP'ing, you never really know how many people will show up for your workout. Maybe a short run after the bike, depends on my IT band. IT's been sore lately, natural for this time of the year when I'm starting to pile on the mileage again. Man I just know it's still gonna be pretty cold at 9AM, especially on the bike. Hopefully there's no wind..brrrr...I'll just think of Sarah's words in her last post.
"I was very diligent about completing my strength training workouts this week. So by the end of this run my hamstrings and calves were burning. But I say bring on the pain and suffering. Give me rain, cold, wind, mud, hills, rock, roots. I want to face it all head on now." - Sarah
This cold snap should be just fine for Sunday. Planning on an 18mile jaunt. Haven't crossed the bridge yet for my runs. I'll start running in Marin once I get to the 30's. I did manage to get more rest this week, 7.5/8hrs a night. Feeling a lot more capable this weekend!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I got nice presents this past Christmas but I went out to get a few for myself too. A runner's got to get his own gear right? For awhile there I had several pairs of Montrail's Leona Divides, bought a bunch after I found out they were discontinuing the line. But while I hoarded a few pairs I kept an eye out for a possible replacement and was quite happy with Vasque's Velocity. An even better shoe for my needs. These beauty's I picked up on a Christmas sale at REI. They only had one pair left and it was just my size. Coincidence? I think not. They run like a dream too. The only drawback is the weight. I don't mind though, I want the cushioning and support. Love the treads out on the trail and I appreciate the cushioning. I'm have to run 6.5 miles of road before I can taste the trails of Marin.
Then I sucked it up and bought Apple's new iShuffle. I buy all my music from iTunes and have to implement a tedious, time and hard drive space wasting work around to have the music available to my Rio player. No more, after two years I've had it. If you didn't know, iTunes music only plays in Apple players. It's quite nice, my headphones weigh more than this thing. The main drawback is the metal edges. Once I clipped it to the waistband of my shorts and the metal clip cut my side. The built in clip could have a stronger grip. Otherwise I've had no problems. Battery life is only 12 hours but that's only a factor at 100 mile races.
And lastly I got a Buff. Advertised as a multi-sport accessory. It's head wear that you can reconfigure; bandana, headband, backlava, beanie and few others. I wear bandanas/handkerchiefs in my long runs and this product seems like a step up.
Had to keep the shopping down this year but at least with the running, sport stuffthey get used and used well.
Monday, January 08, 2007
From the mouth of the bay looking in towards Golden Gate Bridge. Marin County on the left and San Francisco on the right, Angel Island in the middle. Great training grounds for running, triathlon and God knows what else. Certainly good hiking in Marin.
Saturday I had an energy crash. I had to help out with the church move but I was done by noon and was just too exhausted to get a workout going. Felt a bit like bonking. I ate lunch and took a nap before finally getting some errands and chores done in the afternoon. Fully back into training but I haven't adjusted my schedule to accommodate all the training hours. I've been up late every night. Back in training and sleeping less than when I wasn't, it all caught up with me on Saturday.
Sunday thankfully was just as nice as Saturday. We've had amazing weather, colder this time of the year but this weekend we had clear skies and sun. I was feeling a little better with some sleep. Started with a group from the tri-club on their 9am run thru Golden Gate Park then made my way home meeting up with another group that started their run an hour later at Crissy Field. Basically I started inland, made my way to the Pacific and followed the water's edge back into the bay. It was a decent run but one night was not enough to make up for all the lost sleep, felt a bit slow and tired. When I would punch the "gas" for quick accelerations I would get a feeble response. Felt like a 4-cylinder compact on the way up to Tahoe. Wasn't too bad overall though. I could sustain a decent pace even on the hills which on this side of the bay are short anyway. I enjoy fartlek style of running on my medium/long runs but had to save it for another day.
So definitely more sleep this week. Gotta rework the schedule. My love for running is in direct competition with my love for being up late. I am at my most productive between the hours of 11PM-4AM, no emails, no phone calls, quieter. I don't always stay up till 4AM, but I always want to:) Priorities, priorities. Maybe I need to move to Spain or something. From what my friend Jason A told me, they work my kind of hours.
Friday, January 05, 2007
If New Year's day was about the Swim and the Run, the rest of the week has mostly been about the Bike. Tuesday was a return to Coach M2's new studio, convenient since it's a mere 4 blocks from my place and what a great studio it has turned out to be. He went through months of searching before finally finding and renovating this space. So Tuesday was TBT day (Total Body Training) We started out with a 30 min spin followed by intervals on the treadmill, jump rope (absolute killer after the bike and run), push ups, non-weighted squats, then upper body workouts on the Vasa swim machines, back on the bike for more quick intervals, more jump rope and squats and finally finished off by a couple more intervals on the treadmill. TBT is a four letter word. My core is still slightly sore and it's Friday.
Wednesday I got my bike, Eleu, back from the shop. Got her tuned and cleaned. They replaced the brake and derailleur cables, replaced the chain and oiled her up. Name means nimble, energetic, quick and dexterous.
Then Thursday was the first Spin class of the season. I was in the first afternoon class, 5:30PM. I got there 5 minutes before and all the bikes were taken. So I ended up waiting for the 6:45 class. I passed the time socializing at first but eventually got going on the treadmill. M2 gave me a hill repeat workout which worked out nicely. The run before the bike was good but in the future it should be the other way around. Spin was tough, understandably. The new Spin bikes are sweet. The display keeps track of; Wattage (how much power you're producing), Speed, Heart Rate, Interval Session and Cadence (rpm's). A properly calibrated computer doesn't lie, it has all your numbers. I'm ready for a nice recovery run tonight. Something to move the lactic acid out.
This weekend it's back on the run. Have to skip out of the big bike ride on Saturday because I have to help Church in their office move. Maybe a short run if I get back early. Sunday is long run time. I'm thinking 16-18. This afternoon I sent my first email out as Run Director, I had butterflies composing it. Just announcing the run workout options available to the members this weekend. So far I've got two members leading runs on Sunday. I'm incorporating one of those into my long run. I'm not scheduled to start leading trail runs until the second week in February.
A Little About M2
Coach Michael (M2 because of the two M's in his name - Michael McCormack) is an all around nice guy and knowledgeable coach. Doesn't talk down to you and gives it to you straight. He's our Track coach at the club and his Spin classes are very popular. His bio states that he won Ironman Canada in 91 and 95. He also finished 2nd in Ironman Japan in 97 after being overtaken on the last half mile, ouch! He has finished as high as 11th in Kona, the Boston Marathon of Triathlon. He's not my personal coach, I don't have one, but I get some of that anyway since I'm always at Track and his Spin classes. He also gave me complimentary passes to his TBT sessions for being the Run lead.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Olive and Archie, photo by Spamsi. For a link to her blog
Spamsi is one of my good friends, from Golden Gate Tri. She's a great athlete who finished Ironman Canada last year. When she's not out training she's involved in her other passion; knitting, sewing and making dolls. If I had a kid daugther I'd order a couple. She also wanted to add that she likes to bake cupcakes.
I was doing some color corrections on her doll photography this evening and I thought I should post one of her images. Cool to see friends involved in other things besides working out and racing. I always find it interesting what other people do when they're not sweating it out somewhere.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
Brrr....three more images in the set
Have you ever stuck your arm in a cooler full of ice and water, you know...trying to fish out that last remaining Coke or that one particular beer amid the Miller Lites and Budlights? Remember how cold it was? This morning's swim was bit like that. The cooler was San Francisco Bay. It was so friggin' cold. I'm sensitive to cold water, more so compared to the other swimmers. It takes me awhile to adjust. All exposed parts just hurt, they sting like hell. Once I got my feet and hands to adjust it was another 5 minutes for my face, neck and ears. I got about 5 yards before I had to pull my head out of the water and do one of those silent screams. Most folks in our group was able to just go and these guys went out to swim the perimeter of the park, hardy buggers. There was also a smaller group next to use who went without wetsuits. I've gone sans wetsuit before but only in the summer. I don't know how these guys do it year round. I guess it's all in the training, just like miles for running. Thankfully it's only this cold till about March then the water warms up again, enough where I can just hit the water and start swimming right away.
That water was a shock to say the least not that I needed any more help waking up. I was excited to be out and already had my first cup of coffee. I was home by 1:30AM last night, partied well but kept the drinking in check. However I was starving when I got home, so I ate and spent another hour letting it all digest. It was a quarter to 4 before I hit the sack. But I woke up ready to go, beat my alarm even. It was a bit hectic getting all my gear together, "WHERE'S MY GOOGLES and WHERE'S MY BODYGLIDE!?". I hadn't swam since September. A smart swimmer would have put it all together the night before. Not big on swimming, always the first program to get cut in my schedule.
We had a great turnout considering it was New Year's day. It was good to see Marshall and his girlfriend Leslie, those two were at the Elk's Lodge last night. I've been seeing them around lately. They attend a different church but I always see them in these inter-church activities and now Triathlon.
I was with the slower, short distance swimmers - I appreciated the company. A big patch of fog had rolled in while we were out and my googles kept fogging up. I could not see 5 yards in front of me, the bouy line was not visible and I would intermittently run into the swimmer next to me. Finally I had to let some water in the lens, the sloshing action cleared the inside. Good thing salt water doesn't sting my eyes. It was a great time, even when we were freezing I thought we were having a great time. That cold water is so...what's the word...refreshing. I didn't swim very far but I was in the water as long as most of the gang. Damn my short stubby legs and non flexible ankles. It was also great to be in a group setting again, the solo sessions was starting to get boring.
Went home ate and got ready for my run with my friend Jason A. Sun eventually came out and it was a gorgeous day. We ran along the bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge and shortly after the bridge, turned in to the Presidio. He was in an exploring mood so we ran down roads and trails that we hadn't been before. Eventually we ended up at the Presidio National Cemetery. I've seen, run past, biked past the cemetery several times but I've never actually been inside of it. A sobering quiet moment during our run. I regretted not having my camera. From the top of the hill you have the bay before you and the bridge. The last couple of weeks I've been watching "Band of Brothers", I've seen the whole mini-series but my friend Vicky lent me the DVD set and I got into it again. Scenes from the series played on my mind when I saw the headstones. After a few minutes of reflection we hopped a wall, went down a trail and made our way back to the Marina where we started. We had been out for 1:12. I was breaking in my new Vasque Velocity's and he was breaking in his new Northface Arnuva 50's. New shoes for the new year, may they survive many hard and gnarly miles.
One amazing day. I've had a lousy holiday season for the most part, I can finally admit to that now that it's mostly over. However the celebration last night and the swim/run today saved it for me. It's like the San Francisco 49ers, when they won their last game despite a losing season. They came back to upset the Denver Broncos with a field goal with less than two minutes to play and took them out of the playoffs. That's gotta hurt. Special shout outs to my friend Lindsay and Tim, thanks for twisting my arm and convincing me to go out. You saved me from a not so tender steak and a broken Netflix DVD. Double for my friend Kate. Thank you for dragging me to the dance floor and for the hug and kiss on zero hour. You're an awesome friend.