Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Long Grind Back

Been gone awhile and I didn't even realize it. I've just been keeping my head down and churning out those training hours; gym, spin and lots of miles. It's been good, especially when I remember to stop thinking of where I was and where I wish to be. I get anxious and frustrated with my lack of speed and endurance. It's a constant struggle to keep in mind where I am now and train accordingly. Patience, patience, patience and more patience. Doing my best to smart. The last couple of years I've made it a game to see how fast I could build up to a 50k long run after taking Decembers off. Last year I got it up to 36 miles by the end of January. Stupid! I spent the first two weeks of February sluggish and sore. The previous year I did something similar. This year I've been ratcheting it up slowly and during the holiday break I actually put in some "maintenance" runs. Four days out of the week I'd put in a 45 minute run, nothing long or intense, just keeping the body moving. It was a much smoother transition back to training this year because of those runs.

Typically I don't enter an event until I've spent at least two months of the new year building my running base and shedding the holiday pounds. In fact the earliest I'd enter an event is March. Not so this year. When my friend Marla told me that she was running PCTR's Pacifica race as a training run I thought "what a great idea, me too!"

I showed up to today's event having completed recent long runs of 15 and 17 miles so I was good mileage wise but my legs were toast. Ohohohoho they were worn out and they gave me the finger early. This past week the weather has been phenomenal and we had a full moon Wednesday and Thursday. I took full advantage of that Wednesday evening, early Thursday morning (early enough to enjoy the full moon) and again Thursday evening. These were clear skies, no wind, no fog, by the light of the full moon runs. Even the foray into the Presidio's trails Wednesday night was done without headlamps. I gave the legs a break on Friday but was back out for a 9.7 mile trail run with The Endurables on Saturday, throwing in accelerations here and there and running all the hills. On that last hill on Saturday's run I knew it was going to be a slog at Pacifica and it played out exactly how I thought it would. Man that was tough to have a low charge on the legs but I made the best of it. I pushed but not too hard and just concentrated on getting the mileage done. Great day, great weather. Tough run and it's only the third week in January. Lots of time to whip myself back into fighting form. My pal Marla did great, ran every step and came in third female for the 30k race.

I ran with my camera knowing that I was going to have time to take a few pictures. Enjoy.

PCTR racing team member Ian Sharman, Michael Popov of PCTR, Ken "All Day" Michal, Mike Bohi and Sarah Spelt of PCTR race morning.

Pre-race brief by Sarah.

PCTR racing team's Marla Moresi-Valdes.

Making our way up the North Peak of Montara Mountain.

Still making our way to the top.

Walter Edwards and Bradley Fenner making their way back down from the top - both were running the 50k race.

Finally, at the top of North Peak.

Yours truly.

Making our way back down.

Going up one of the twenty switchbacks of the Hazelnut loop, Northpeak in the distance. This hill is only a little over a thousand feet but has twenty switchbacks. Drives me crazy but it would be a great hill for training.


  1. Love the pictures Rick. Looks like a beautiful place to run and I sure wish we had that weather here in the northeast. -3 today in my town brrr. Peace EricG

  2. Beautiful views, and way to be patient, buddy. May be age's catching up:)

  3. Yeah, I know how it feels training after the Holidays. Sluggish and heavy and it takes a few weeks of steady running to get back into fighting form again.

    Congrats for even toeing the line for PCTR. Baby steps as they say for a bigger adventure for 2011. Cheers!

  4. Wow, what beautiful weather you had! Please, please send some of it my way.....
    Also, great trail shots you got--thanks for posting.
    Had kept the possiblity of making the Awards Ceremony this weekend, but it doesn't look like it will happen :(. Last year I went and just missed an getting an award. This year, I should get an age group award, but I can't make it...funny the way things go...oh well.

    Have fun and run well, Ann

  5. No Cal hills are so different to So Cal ones...they're very bushy!

    Way to nice fun one early in the season!

  6. Eric: That's cold, must build mental toughness though to have to run in that. Ironic that the cold will toughen you up for what is ultimately a really hot race in Badwater.

    Olga: Gahhh, no talk of age. C'mon 40 is the new 30. I turn 40 this year and I'm worried because it's a really fast age group here in Northern California. Last night I was at our triathlon club meeting and that topic came up with a couple of our coaches who are in their 40's - basically talking about recovery rates for older athletes and having to build more rest as we get older.

    Jon: I gain weight on a diet of Filipino food. I gained weight when I visited relatives during the holidays for eight days. I don't know how you deal with it on a daily basis. Too much good yet fattening stuff in PI. Baby steps and good luck at the inaugural Bataan Death March 160k. Will be keeping a close eye on the even and see how it turns out. Could be a 100-mile destination for me in the future.

    Trailturtle: I hadn't planned on going to the awards ceremony either. In the past it has been in Walnut Creek which is a 45 minute train ride and in the middle of the day. I just found out though that it is in Berkeley, at a brewery restaurant and on Sunday afternoon - all good things. I look forward to toasting a few beers with friends and celebrating the accomplishments of other runners.

    Stuart: Your hills are also bigger and the temps hotter. Two things I wish we had in abundance here. We also have the Washington state, Oregon type of trails where it's very green, lots of trees and soft leaf covered paths with lots of rocks and roots. You should come and run the Northface 50-miler here one of these days. You get both types of trails.

  7. Rick,
    Have fun in Berkeley tomorrow. Please take pics for me...and feel free to "stand in" for me and pick up my Age Group award for me :)--oh, there's one problem with that, though--you are nowhere near slow enough to pass as "Trailturtle!!" ;)))) Run well, Ann

  8. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Hey, my friend, it's been a while. I am back to blogging and will keep in touch! :>D Looks like a great start to your year!

  9. Ironfor40: Okay who are you and what have you done to my friend Lisa?! I visited your blog - an Ironman! Did you really sign up for one? What happened to the person who was all scared about her first open water swim? Look at you, you're all grown up with the endurance thing. Welcome back.

  10. Anonymous8:12 AM

    Ha Rick!!! That is funny!! Yes, you are right...times have changed! I am all registered for IMAZ 11 and most days I can't wait. I still do get the fear of God in me about it but mostly I can't wait to become an Ironman. Thanks for the welcome back. Sadly with this darn job thing now I don't have enough time for blogging like I used to but I sure am happy to be back connecting and writing a bit. It's like putting on an old glove!