Friday, February 11, 2011

Coming Along

Heck ya! Runners are sexy.

Last week I was on my back down week which I desperately needed. I had been building for a few weeks and needed to pull back. Despite my efforts to pick up the training slowly for the month of January I still ended up feeling beat down the first week of February. I kept the long runs on the shorter side but I did a bunch of other stuff. So last week I rested more than I needed to just to make sure and took it easy on the weekend. The timing was perfect because it was also the weekend of the Kaiser Half-Marathon. I showed up fully relaxed and ready to cheer. I didn't have to do any work like running to the race or running back - forget that! I like the race but it's not something I would run. Just too tough for me to go all out on a half-marathon with only a month of training under my belt since I take the holiday's off. I did do it once though just to say I had done it, it was a couple years back and it ended up being a PR effort at exactly 1:30. I cranked hard at that race, lack of training and holiday pounds be damned. I started out too fast and hung on for the last half. It hurt but I was glad for the PR yet regretted not breaking 1:30. Since I don't really run half-marathons that record may stay for awhile.

Kaiser Half is a good time because it's the first big race of the year here in San Francisco. I heard they had about 10,000 runners. You have your triathlon groups and running clubs, mixed in with all the individual runners including the ultra folk. I saw many ultra people out there flexing their road legs. Overall a good time and the weather was phenomenal yet again - the paper would say "unseasonably warm" but I doubt we broke 70 degrees. Unfortunately someone collapsed by the finish line and eventually died. A couple of friends who finished just after him saw the emergency and were shaken up by it. He was a young guy at 36 and they haven't yet released details as to what caused his death. A tragedy indeed and a reminder that life is fragile - here today gone tomorrow. I didn't want to omit that detail but I won't end on that note.

Fellow San Francisco ultra-marathoner, Jon Kroll.

Jady Palko's enthusiastic endorsement of the Lake Sonoma 50-mile last year at Quad Dipsea made me sign up this year. Oh I was already mostly convinced from reports from other friends but he was the straw that broke the camel's back.

A quiet moment amongst the cheering crew, maybe they were talking about me, hmmm...

Cami sleeping through the first six miles of her first half-marathon while daddy pushed, probably slept the whole way despite all the loud cheering.

Marla on a mission, she's in the center in red and black. Hauling ass to beat her boyfriend and win a bet.

Zach Landman came out to support his fiance Geri. By the way that tie dye shirt is a Landman family tradition. Zach was wearing a similar shirt when he ran an 18:48:31 at Western States last year for 16th place, so did mom, dad and the rest of the crew.

Oh yeah now she's up. Good morning sunshine, enjoy your nap? Sometimes when couples have kids they disappear and do their thing with other couples with kids. I'm glad that Dave and Tracey still find time to hang with us "singles" and bring Cami along.

Part of the cheering crew ready to head home.

Despite not running Kaiser Half I attended my triathlon club's track practice this past Wednesday. I told coach Dorette Franks that I would be busy all January and part of February getting ready for her and I communicated the same to my friends who were wondering why I've been absent. Sure, sure I could show up to track practice out of shape and use those workouts to help get me into shape but what a waste of time. I can run around my neighborhood anytime but if I'm going to go out of my way to run track I want to be in shape to take advantage of the workout. I respect speed work, it hurts and can raise the potential for injury if you're not prepared. I jogged over the four miles to Kezar Stadium to get warmed up and despite feeling anxious about my fitness had a superb track workout. It was nothing long; 2 x 400's with 15 second rest in between, 3 x 800's with 45 seconds rest in between and we did that set twice. One minute rest between the sets of 400's and 800's. For those who are not familiar with track, 400 meters is one lap and 4 laps is roughly a mile. I didn't pay too much attention to my time for the 400's but every 800 was faster than the previous one. As I hurt and got tired I somehow kept moving faster and faster which was a surprise - it didn't feel like it, just the opposite. I was smiling every time I finished an 800. I was ecstatic after the workout because it showed I was on the right track and the back down week did it's job. I felt good about my progress and jogged happily the last four miles home day dreaming about this year's races. We had about 50 or so people for the workout which is huge for our club and there must have been another couple of hundred of people working out with us. I liked the crowd, so much energy. Booo on the two runners who would run really slowly on the inside lane. You're supposed to yell "track!" to clear the way and slower runners should move to the right but I hate doing that. They probably just didn't know.

Well the weekend is upon us. Many miles to go this weekend! Tomorrow is a trip to a place I've only been once, it was my first year here in San Francisco and my 22nd birthday.

A walk on the beach before heading home which was just a few yards from the race course.

Ironically it's not always like this during the summer!

You can view the rest of the photoset here.


  1. Heck, yeah! (on the top photo). Dude, so bad on the half-accident. Do let us know if you hear why. I hear ya on track intervals - as I run each next, I feel like I am crawling, but (most of the time) run it a touch faster (every second counts!). It's so weird. Feels so good to be done, proud like a damn Rooster! And about not making a schedule yet - I know. That's why it was taking me long. But I also have much fewer choices than you, living in Bay area, and me in TX and with family, so it wasn't that difficult to pick:) Oh, and the baby is cute - and you like babies! :)

  2. Love the shirt. Hey, don't forget, if your schedule changes, there's a little 100-miler that I could use you at! :)

  3. Now Rick, you are torturing me again with those beautiful blue skies and surfs and sandy beaches! Glad to see that you are working your a$$ off for a change-------jsut kidding (most of the time it seems like you need to be TOLD to rest!). Do you really do your track workouts at Kezar?? I should be out again by March--hope to see you then! Ann

  4. I finally gave up on track workouts at my local high school because I couldn't handle the walkers on the inside lane. Especially when they were accompanied by dogs and kids on bikes. Seriously!! I could never figure out how to explain the etiquette to them while containing my anger, so I just run my repeats on the grass now. Oh well.

    Beautiful pictures! I swear this weather is making me soft. Snow in the forecast though, so time to toughen up, buttercup. (me, not you!) Nice job on the training. Keep taking care of yourself!

  5. Olga: Yeah, scared off the track but loving the speed. Good to see progress and top of the mountain when it goes well. That freaking baby is cute. I've always liked kids and the parents are good people too. They also have a dog which makes me even love their family more.

    Portera: What up animal?! I saw that you survived your Brazil 350-mile run. Still running Lake Sonoma 50-mile when you kids are out at Umstead. I actually like that race and all your New York peeps who come out. I'm most likely down for pacing at Javelina though since they moved the race two weeks later, too late for m e.

    Trailturtle: I know, I know. I thought of you and Jean who is in Minnesota when I posted those pics. Yes, we really do our track workouts at Kezar. Some folks actually complain that it's old, the bathrooms stink or are not open and that the track gets cold at night with the fog but it's free! Groups or individuals can workout there anytime during open hours. I totally appreciate the place and it helps that I'm a niner fan:)

    Gretchen: Lucky for us it's a rare thing. There are some runners who won't hesitate to yell and scream. Bikes and dogs are never on the track though, totally not allowed. The training groups have enforced that rule. Yeah I hear you about being soft. We have to toughen up too as the rain, fog and wind returns this coming week.

  6. Why is Jady wearing a shirt?

  7. i love this blog! & just happened to stumble across it looking for motivational runs, pictures, and seeing what others were up to!

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  8. another excellent post, rick. you're hitting your stride. great pics as always, great insight, and a generous dose of training stories. kaiser half is the best! run, sun, feast, football. america - california style. it's good to cross paths with you again these early weeks. i know you'll disappear once your serious miles take you away from me. wingman for a wingman. peas in a pod. :)