Monday, April 30, 2007

Play with a Seal

A post from someone in our tri-club today, funny:

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Hello, Come on down to Aquatic Park for a swim this evening. Yes, The Seal is back, but is bumping, not nibbling. The Wildflower swim start will seem easy after this. Folks of all speeds welcome. Meet at the bleachers at 6:30 pm, and jump at 6:45 pm.

* * *

During the holidays there was a seal that was overly playful. It would bump, bite and chase swimmers in Aquatic Park. The official tally hovered around 13 swimmers bit.

Yesterday we had a tri-club BBQ in preparation/celebration of our upcoming race - Wildflower. One of the discussions I heard was that one of our swimmers who was swimming outside the wall with a group had a little scare. He either was bumped from the bottom or he saw a fast moving shadow underneath him. He popped out right away and pulled up his googles. Somehow he ended up losing his googles, they're at the bottom now and he had to swim back from the wall without them. Kristin our swim director was out there too leading a small group and she ran into the seal as well but it only shadowed and never came close. I was out there myself the same time Kristin was but it just happened that I stayed in the buoy line, close to shore to help out with our beginners. Whew, I'm not scared of seals but I'd freak out too if it bumped me or it's shadow rushes by me while I'm swimming. The first thing in my mind is not "Seal" but the other "S" word.

Anyone for a swim tonight:)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dipsea Training

Started with a prayer, well I was kneeling anyway - to take this picture. More pics here.

Last weekend was the longest weekend of the year but between training, the wedding in Sonoma, Sunday School and the after church Dessert Auction I managed to get away for a great run on the Dipsea Trail and it made my weekend. Had to work off my double helping of wedding cake for the night before...that was like the best cake, made by the bride herself - a pastry chef. Anyway got up at 5AM and was on the trail shortly after the sun rose shortly before 7AM. It had rained all night and the trails was slick with mud and moisture, the steps were just as slippery but there was no rain, no wind and everything was lush and green. It was a quiet slow first crossing to Stinson Beach from Mill Valley. A single crossing is approximately 7.1 miles and about 2200 feet of total climbing. It was quiet on the trail and Stinson Beach was for the most part empty. On the way back however I ran headlong into runners training, some of them undoubtedly training for the original single Dipsea race.The single Dipsea scheduled for June is the second oldest race in America, second only to the Boston Marathon. If you go to the Dipsea Cafe in Mill Valley you'll see black and white photographs on the walls dedicated to the race. Much more exciting on the way back, even saw some ultra runners out there. One woman was wearing the Montrail Blue of the trail running team, leading a couple of friends for a double crossing. Got back to the start just in time to lead our club run. I only had 3 takers, none of which have ever run the Dipsea. So back on the Dipsea it was and I lost my first runner 1 mile into it. She had no idea what the Dipsea was and was very reticient on getting her shoes muddy. ??? Halfway through I lost John. He had to turn back because he had to be back into SF by 1PM. That left me with Ryan who thankfully wanted the whole pie. The skies got dark again by the time we made it to Stinson but it never rained. Muir Woods looked magical in the fog that never lifted. Running through it reminded me of scenes from Lord of the Rings. Ryan was faster and fresher so I sent him off on the return trip. He never would get too far though since he was wise enough to wait for me when he got to the confusing sections, things always look different on the way back. Thankfully I was never too far behind. Made it back to the car a little after 1PM and beat it back quickly to San Francisco. Returned the car rental exactly at 2PM, the time it was due. Always chasing the clock...preaching to the choir. Everything else was gravy after that.

Quad Dipsea » 28+ Miles » Approx. 8800ft. of Climbing » 6+ Hours

And lastly here's more video fun with my camera. I made if for my family but anyone is welcome to it. Just trying to convey to the fam a little bit of the trail running experience. It's shaky like the last one which only makes me realize further how amazing our bodies are cause it certaintly doesn't look like that when we're running. Amazing how the body can dampen the vibrations and roughness. I use a soundtrack to hide my breathing which sounds like an out of shape smoker. Anyway one of these days this camera is going to kiss the ground, either I drop it or me following right behind. Until then however...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Squirt

Bowling with my sister in Orlando, Florida. That look of boredom is fake but a standard response to her ideas:) She is however a lot smarter than me.

So I had this post ready to go about the Quad Dipsea training I did last weekend, complete with pics and even a short video but it will have to take a backseat for yet another day because today is my sister's birthday. 18 and she just passed her driver's license today which is just amazing to me because I still remember this and it felt like it was just yesterday.

Time flies no?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is it Taper Time Yet!?

Lone late afternoon swimmer warming up. Aquatic Park and Alcatraz, visible from Hyde St. - those are cable car tracks. Enjoying a de-caf latte on the walk home after another great swim, Crookedest Street behind me.

Train, train, train, train is all I've been doing. Those two short races (9k and 10k) were fun but I'm itchin to go long. Ready for something meatier. Reading about all the races in the blogs and talking with friends who just completed events has got me all fired up. Time's moving fast though. Another Friday just like that and I was at Aquatic Park again, enjoying the water...brrrr...colder than usual today. Soon it will be time, time for my first big event - 3 more weeks.

In the meantine I'm burning myself again. Haha such a delicate act of balancing the whole training thing. Had to throw in an extra rest day on Wednesday to help myself recover. On Tuesday I "suffered" at Track. Got the workout done, even looked decent doing it but I was dying on the inside. You guys should have heard me "gassing" on the track. I heard a gasping type of breath I ain't never heard before. So Wednesday I took off completely, had a couple of pints of the good local stuff with a buddy and attended a lecture at the Apple store...some web interactive/advertising guru. Paid off cause I felt energized Thursday and Today.

Anyway one more hard week of training and I will be tapering. Originally I wanted to treat the Wildflower Long Course Triathlon as just another training race but I've changed my I want to do my best on this race. The following weekend is the Quicksilver 50M and I plan on being there as well. So with those two races coming up I've decided to do a proper taper. Last year this time I made the same decision for the Miwok 100k and ran the best race of my life. Besides I'd hate to be wheezing out there like I did at track Tuesday.

Tomorrow an abbreviated workout because of a wedding in Sonoma later in the afternoon but Sunday, since I have a car for the weekend, I've got 5-6 hours of running planned on the Dipsea Trail. That's one amazing trail. If I could only train on one trail this would be it. A lot of the things I like and not a whole of the things I don't; downhills and lots of them, tricky technical sections, trees (young Redwoods), the ocean and amazing views.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2007

My First Movie

Yesterday afternoon was Jason's B-Day run. It was a date that worked out for all of us. Apparently this was an old route that Jason and J.P. would run for Jason's birthday, it was new for me and Stephen, we got to run on new trails. Jason's friend Rob also came along for part of the course. The temperature was cool bordering on cold with the wind but the sun was up and the sky was clear, really good running conditions. We drove partway up Mt. Tam and followed a route that took us around, one big circle back to the parking lot. Excellent day. Along the way we met a couple of ultra runners, Todd and Ana. We met them at the start, on the trails and back at the finish. Traded stories, talked races. Ana finished Bighorn last year, advised me to study the elevations charts. Day concluded with lunch in Sausalito at Fish. A great place for seafood, everything was good and the outdoor seating was hard to beat. Leave it to Stephen to find the best places to eat. If J.P. can hook you up with the best trails in Mt. Tam, Stephen can lead you to the best places to eat in the Bay Area.

So that's my first attempt at creating a movie. Finally took the time to learn the movie program that came with my computer. Fun but time consuming. I can see myself putting in a lot of time on something like this. Enjoy the soundtrack, that's the type of music I listen to on long runs. I save the harder stuff for races or hill repeats:)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

To the Studs

Following Bob's lead...I'd like to send a shotout to some friends competing tomorrow. To Kelvin who is running the Boston Marathon in a few hours and to Dan and Rob who will be starting Ironman Arizona. Congratulations to all those who started the American River 50-miler this weekend, double for those who finished. Congratulations to friends who participated in the Tierra Bella Century Bike ride, in the rain no less...brrrr...Ya'll were in my thoughts as I trained this earlier today.

Friday, April 13, 2007


HIT and TAG Swim
Golden Gate Triathletes on last Sunday's Swim.

DON'T FREAK OUT! DON'T FREAK OUT! I yelled in my head. I was directing the thought to Ariane who was 5 feet behind me. We were at the mouth of Aquatic Park, subjected to the same conditions you'd find on the greater part of the bay. The water was flooding back into the bay creating a current headed towards the city. Twice a day the water in San Francisco Bay ebbs out and floods back in, ebbs and floods. Alcatraz to San Francisco swims are usually timed to take advantage of the state between these two forces, what they call "slack" - less current. Swimmers inside the park don't have to worry so much unless they venture out of the mouth of the park. "You'll be fine, it's rough out here but as you can see, once you stop swimming your head pops up and you can breathe easier, you'll float over the waves." I shouted at her. The last two weeks I've been posting a "6PM TGIF Swim" on our club calendar. Last week I got three swimmers, this week I only got one - Ariane. She was also on the last one. She's in our TAG Tri-training group, a beginner to triathlon like most of the TAG participants but not in athletics. She's definitely at the top of the class. She out bikes most people in the group with her mountain bike, that's like a Ford truck out driving sport coupes. She's a strong runner as well and has been doing well on the swim. She had never swam the perimeter to the mouth of the park but she was up for it. Time to go beyond the buoy line. The currents were stronger than I expected. The wind was strong and blowing the same direction of the moving water. By the time we got to the mouth of the protected area we were headlong into waves. These were small waves, I would say a foot at the most but when you are in the swim position you are flat on the surface of the water. When you turn your head to breathe these small waves look like walls come to take your air away:) Sometimes your mouth doesn't even clear, you turn your head only to more water washing over your face. It only takes one mouthful of water to get you all discombobulated. You start gagging and wheezing and you can scare yourself to a panic. We made it to the mouth of the park okay but she was clearly uncomfortable with the oncoming waves, it was so choppy out there. Small waves would roll over your head. So instead of lingering at the mouth and enjoying the view of the Golden Gate Bridge we headed straight back in. The way back was choppy, breathing on the right side was a no go, water was being driven straight into my mouth. In the pool breathing is automatic. Your body twists through the water and when you're ready for air you let your head follow through with your body and as your mouth clears, you take a breath - one smooth motion. Out there on those fun, fun conditions, you have the added step of looking before you breathe. Sometimes you even have to pick your head up just so you can clear the chop, definitely breaking out of the streamlined position. I don't always remember to look so I swallowed a few mouthfuls myself...mmmm electrolytes with extra stuff thrown in. Ah it was great, I enjoy it when it gets rough. I particularly like it when there are rolling swells. Soon as we left the opening Ariane was ok. The whole time we had opportunities to turn back but I think the roughness of the water at the opening caught her off guard, she kept it together nicely. Just like a trail run, the rougher stuff is a lot more fun and forces you to pay attention. A few minutes later we were back in calmer water.

So these swims have been a great addition to my workouts. I hit the bay 3 times a week now, a nice break for my legs. Good to get the upper body involved in those whole fitness thing. These swims also help stretch out my back, God knows how tight I get in my back and shoulders because of all the computer work and biking. Love the open water, hate the pool. So it goes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What an Easter Weekend

Easter Sunday at Ocean Beach.

These days I'm especially thankful for two days; Friday cause it signals the weekend and Monday because I can finally rest after a weekend of workouts. This past Easter Weekend was no different. Swam Friday then opened up Saturday with a bike clinic on descending and ascending hills. It was a good talk and the instructor made the right decision of cancelling the after talk ride because of the worsening rain. A group went out anyway and a friend who shouldn't have gone, crashed on the first downhill. Lucky for her two friends were there to help her back to SF and eventually the hospital. No broken bones, just road rash (yaarghhh) and deep blue bruises (yaarghhh x 2). I went home and grabbed my running gear. It was always my plan to run after the clinic but now I had more time to run. Off I went and made my way across the bridge to Muir Beach, a 3 hour journey from place, the last two on trails. On the hills the fog was so thick sometimes visibility was only 20-30yds. It was so awesome, nothing but white all around, like running in the clouds. Left my camera though, it was a hassle to keep pulling the thing out of a ziplock bag. The rain had stopped but everything was coated with moisture. On the single track, everytime I brushed up against the bushes, water run down my legs soaking my shoes. By the time I made it to Muir Beach the rain had completely stopped and the fog was even starting to clear - people were enjoying the beach. From Muir Beach the goal was to run harder all the way back. I was only partially successful it was a good effort. I'm as fit if not even fitter than last year but my running has been distracted by all the time I've been putting on the Swim and Bike for the Wildflower Triathlon in May. Sa'll right if I'm a little weaker and slower on the run this summer. I like how my swimming and biking is going. Besides I may have a stronger late summer and fall to this year than the last. Anyway 2 miles from home I had to walk because my left knee had had enough. Nothing serious, just a stiffness and soreness related to my ITB problems in the past. Goes away with rest and Sunday proved me right. After opening up the day with a gorgeous swim with the tri-club, we went on a 10-mile run. No problems, moving pretty good too.

The rest of the day was dedicated to Easter. Every year it's tradition in our church to do our baptisms at Ocean Beach on Easter.'s cold. In public and in that cold water. In all the years that I've been present, including my own baptism, there has been no better weather than last Sunday's. In year's past it has always been gloomy, sometimes rain, one year it was rain, darkness and strong winds. This time it was actually nice. Dogs and kids were loose, tons of people on the beach. This year was special in that the group was mostly made up of kids and two of them were Pastors kids. I took some pictures as you can see but I was mostly out playing with the dogs and kids. I also spent a good deal of time by the fire...I wore shorts. This was followed by dinner at two different locations. The place I went too had lots of food. It wasn't long before I was dipping potato chips in bad. I didn't even realize I was doing it.

What a great weekend and I'm just now recovering, it's why I'm only posting now. Last night we did our 4k benchmark run at track...that was a sufferfest, turned in a 16:40ish. Even lost track in the end and ran an extra lap for a total time of like me. You can always count on me to get lost or do something wrong. Crikey!

Friday, April 06, 2007

More Jason B-Day Pictures

Per Olga's request, more pictures. By the way Olga, Stephen's wasn't able to attend because they just had their baby. Amy was originally due today but baby was ready to go a few days early, quick like dad.

The blurry, "orange" shots are a result of not using the flash. All from my new running camera. Another small, cheap but light (because of all the plastic parts) Nikon. Should have another great year of photos.

Speaking of pictures I just got my pics from Brightroom from the Presidio 10. There isn't a single picture where I am smiling. In fact I'm grimacing. Haha I was in pain. Didn't do too bad, better than I thought - 39th out of 721 10k runners with a 7:31 per mile pace. I'm capable of 7 but not much more than that for races. Maybe if I lost more weight...but I love food too much.

Happy Friday everyone, I'm celebrating by another swim in San Francisco Bay. It's still cold but the body is adjusting faster. Besides all i have to do is look at the folks swimming without a wetsuit to quit my comlaining. More swimming less whining! Starting to love it all over again. Much more comfortable in the water now.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy Birthday Jason

HappyBday Jason
Happy Birthday Jason! Wait who's that new girl?

It was actually yesterday but today was the celebration at Schroeder's, a German establishment here in the city. Happy birthday ya old fart. For you new folks, Jason was one of the guys on the Grand Canyon trip. I had just met him when I was invited to the trip and we've stayed friends since then. There's a birthday run in the works, some 3-hour route around Mt. Tam. 3 hours, pssshhhttt. I need to find the extra 3 hours somewhere else I guess:). Nevertheless it promises to end up at the German Tourist Club for more beers and stories. I have yet to know the location of this tourist club so I'm excited. Happy happy birthday.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Presidio 10


Sunday I ran the Presidio 10 with a bunch of friends. 10 as in your choice of a 10k or 10-miler. A nice little race, I signed up to do the 10k primarily because part of the proceeds goes to the "Ashlyn Dyer Foundation". Ashlyn was a runner who was a victim of a hit and run while running in the Presidio. They never caught the person who did it.

It was a quick and fast race and the sponsors made sure we were all taken care of. The schwag bag was filled with all kinds of relevant and fancy things; sunscreens, 15% coupons to restaurants and a sporting goods store, food, SF Magazine, even and electric know to brush off all that energy gel out of your teeth after working out. At the finish Red Envelope was there and was handing out gifts till they ran out. Free massages, free food, even virgin Bloody Mary's which I just found out today is not my cup of tea.

I opted for the 10k since I needed to back down from the mileage and heavy workouts this week since I haven't fully recovered from last weekend's training weekend. Spoke to some folks and it seems like I'm not the only one. It was the quantity combined with the intensity. Having all those friends to bike and run with combined with great weather really got me going harder, longer and faster than I should have been. Nothing a little rest won't cure though. I did have some explaining to do to my friends. "So why are you only doing the 10k?" I ran a good smart race. Since I opted for the pre-race chatting instead of a warmup, I took the time to warmup first on my first mile. Lucky for me the first mile included a hill and the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, nothing warms me up like a hill. Ran the rest at a good clip. Digging deep I could feel the fatigue in my muscles, my whole body, which only reaffirmed my decision to back off. It still hurt though, haha running as fast as I could muster is always painful as it probably is for everyone. This whole time the change in my pockets created a noise that bugged me the whole way. It was my bus fare for the way home, who runs with their bus fare on a race? In change no less...hahaha. I had nothing for breakfast but didn't need anything for the entire run either. It was nice to run without water bottles, gear and nutrition. Crossed the line at 46:40 and headed straight for the fruit table. I wouldn't call it a hilly course but it wasn't flat either. 3-4 minutes after I came in the winner of the 10-miler crossed the line, the 10-milers started 15 minutes before we did. The overall winner of that race was a woman, Tyler from Endurance Mill Valley. She was one of our coaches from the training weekend. She's a great triathlete who is turning pro this year. Sweet for her. I didn't get to meet her during our training weekend but I congratulated her anyway.

It was a lot of fun. I should do more short races like this to mix things up. Actually so far this year the only thing I've done is two short races. Training is good just a slow start to the races. Besides I rarely pay money for 50k's these days.