Thursday, February 28, 2013

Confronting the Royalty

Kara Goucher is American running royalty.  She is fast, well-sponsored, widely respected for being nice to average Joes, and a total babe. But she might not be helping people with their training.

I read her Tweet today and was sort of  pissed about it. Because that just isn't true.

All of us fail at some point and for someone like Kara to say otherwise is not fair to the mere mortals who look up to her and other elites.

In short, failure is what makes us stronger and faster. Failure also makes us better people.  For example, many of us, myself included, would love to qualify for Boston. Odds are I will never qualify for that race so I will live vicariously through my chums who are wicked fast and elites like Kara. However, this failure to qualify at my current marathon times pumps me up to train harder for the possibility to join my wicked fast chums in Hopkinton.

In recent years Kara has expressed her desire to win that race.  Now, if she doesn't win this year is that failure?  Under most definitions it would be.

But that is a good thing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hitting the Road, Again

After taking most of last week off for my bum ankle I hit the road on Saturday and the trails on Sunday for some mileage. And as any smart, risk-averse runner would do, I ran nearly 30 miles in two days.

Ok, not the best idea but it was fun.

Many of you know that Friday was National Margarita Day.  So like any good celebrators of stupid and/or made-up holidays, Abby and I sent out an urgent email to people from the 'hood to celebrate this important event.  We had expected about six or seven people to join us so we figured one bottle of tequila would have done the job well.

Turns out Jenni and Stephen were the only two people who also celebrate stupid/made-up holidays/could join in the mandatory celebration on short notice.  But we soldiered on and celebrated.  Fueled with homemade, from scratch margaritas and delicious Mexican food we had a lovely time. We fired up the heater outside and sang 80s song until about 11pm.

It also turns out drinking loads of tequila and beer doesn't make good fuel for a 10 mile run.
Classing it up with TJ's Tequila
(It is actually pretty good)

I was aiming to get about 12 or 14 miles on Saturday, but could only muster 10, and those 10 miles were very hard.  After running to the start and doing the club announcement as the board member on duty, I dragged through eight more miles of hills and heart burn. 

The rest of the day was spent on the couch and resting (read: passed out on the couch). 

Sunday was another day and I was not hungover. I planned on getting in about 15 miles on trails.  But I did 19.32 miles after needing to take a week off for my ankle. Yeah that wasn't the best idea but the run was beautiful.  (Are you sensing a theme yet?)

DAMN. Mile 4
Top of the Hill
Mile 17. I was tired.
Lots of accents and descents, we ran out of water about half way through but just in time came to a bathroom and water fountain, and the views (see above) were incredible. It was hard, but fantastico.  While I did flip my ankle at about mile 14ish on a really torn up switch-back, over all we kept a pretty solid pace, were able to FLY down hill and hiked fast up the nasty grades. (3:47 for 19.32 miles)

The entire day took longer than I thought it would take and I missed some cool stuff in the city, and I am sorry about that.

My ankle wasn't pleased but it was a ton of fun.  Over the next few days my ankle worked better and the run was still pretty epic.

The over all lesson of the last weekend was don't drink a load of tequila before running and don't roll your ankle.  These are words to live by.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Actual Rest

After speaking with my almost-a-doctor sister on GChat and she consulted her almost-a-doctor friend, I took her advise. No lifting. No bike. No core.

My work out yesterday included eating peanut butter M&M and watching Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Shockingly my ankle feels better this morning.

But I am already a bit stir crazy.

Over the past three-ish years I have run all the time.  I used to brush-off those people who complained about being side-lined due to injury as mental cases.  But now I am one of those mental cases.

I saw three people finishing up their morning runs as I went to work and I was jealous. Holding out hope to be able to run on Saturday and Sunday...but we will see. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Man Plans and God Laughs, Again

It is official: 2013 is the year of plan B.

Great friends are getting hitched on the NYC Marathon weekend which is nothing but fantastic. This is NOT to be construed as me complaining, it simply pushes my plan for New York off by a year. I still have no plans for a full in the fall.  Passover came out of no where (read: I didn't look at a calendar very closely) and starts the day after the Oakland Marathon. Clearly I had to postpone that race.  Now I am running the Tacoma City Marathon on May 5.

Today I got this email from Coastal Trail Runs:

We just received notice from the State Park of new requirements and additional, exorbitant permit-related costs. As a result, we regret that both events in the Malibu Sector are no longer viable and we need to cancel La Jolla Canyon (March 9th) and Malibu Canyon (December 7th). Full refunds to all paid entrants are being processed.

We know that many of you have been training and made travel plans since we opened registration last month. We apologize for any inconvenience. We only hope that you'll still come out and enjoy the trails in the amazing Santa Monica Mountains. We're sorry we're unable to make it an official event.
So that stinks.

Now I need another plan B trail race.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On the second day there was spin

Due to very sore ankle I am in the gym all week in hopes of getting better.  As of today, it hurts less than it did yesterday so I call that progress. The plan has been to ride a bike for the same time it would have taken me to cover the miles on my easy days and to do a hard spin class on my speed work days.  So far, so good.

I also lifted for the first time in years.  Thus far I still can lift my arms above my head.  Also a plus.

Today was a speed day so I took a spin class.

I like spinning for its lower-impact, high-intensity vibe.  But today's class started off all wrong.  The teacher was forced to help about six people with their bikes for almost 10 minutes into the class, there were a number of people who also had no idea what they were doing, and two kids up front who weren't even trying.  All of these things kind of made the start suck.
Add water and a tab and be like me.

But then the teacher finally got on the bike, the two kids left, and we all got in the grove.

We did quad isolation for what felt like an hour, long sprints intervals, and number big climbs. The class ended on such a high note that I was drenched in sweat and nearly lost my lunch; a great class always is punctuated with near vomiting.  In the end I say it was a win.

In vain attempt to influence my chances to become a Nuun Ambassador I will note that I never spin without Nuun.  It really helps with the leg cramps and tastes great too.

Seriously, I sweat like a whore in church mad man and it is clear to anyone who sees me after a work out that I lost just a bit of salt.  Often times it is caked on my face.  But in a spin studio, it really turns it on.  The Nuun Tri-Berry tabs help me get back what I lose, and keep my legs from cramping during the last third of the class. 

See Nuun, I can totally be on board.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Tale of Two Runs

Coming up with a witty title for this post is proving more difficult than I thought.  This weekend was a tale of two runs (and tacos), so I went with the obvious. 

I woke up on Saturday to find that the carbing with red wine that worked so well last weekend, didn't workout as well on the second try.  I ran from our house to Ocean Beach to meet up with the club.  I was planning on running 16 miles on Saturday -- four to Ocean Beach, eight with the club, and four back home.  This didn't happen. 

Taking left turns was extremely painful and the uneven path along Great Highway was giving my tender left ankle more than it could deal with.  So after 12 miles, right on pace I called it quits.

The route, out on Great Highway and back into Golden Gate Park, was alright and the crew was nice but I just wasn't feeling another four miles up hill to get home and neither was my ankle.  So hitched a ride and called it a day. I iced, ate a Sandwich Spot sandwich and watched some IU basketball.

I was getting pretty nervous about the trail run I was leading the next day.  My ankle was really sore and if the uneven path on Great Highway was giving me trouble, I was screwed in the Marin Headlands on Sunday.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cut out from under him

Pistorius in court. (
Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend. This no legged Olympic sprinter, a man that made us question everything, especially what we were doing with our lives, has fallen from his pedestal to crumble in tears in a South African court room.

We are reminded that those elevated by their actions -- and their sponsors -- to the top of our awareness are just humans, and in some cases really horrible humans. 

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article on Nike's endorsement of Pistorius. It may seem strange that Nike, a shoe company, would sign this man.  However it fits perfectly into the company's model.  Nike signed Jordan before he was a proven commodity, Woods before the company made golf products, and Armstrong without any cycling gear, explains the Journal's Matthew Futterman, because each of these athletes represent something more than being elite; they embody the story of overcoming.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Head for the Hills

I have been on two trail runs.  One was a six mile up hill and six mile down hill slog in Malibu in late 2011 and the other was 16 mile run through the mud of Tennessee Valley in Marin this January. Both were extremely difficult runs but had breath taking views as consolation for my exhaustion.
Above the marine layer in Malibu, December 2011

Looking back towards San Francisco from Marin County, January 2013
With all of this experience under my feet, I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for a 30K (18.6411 mile) trail race in March.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Kaiser Half - A PR on a Perfect Day

Keeping to my new format has been harder than I thought so I figured I would go out first with a tried and true method of a race review.

THIS GUY. (with a heel strike like whoa)
But this review has to start a few years back in Brooklyn. On May 21, 2011 I raced my last half-marathon. I crossed the finish on that kind of warm day in 1:46:59.

This was a great race for me, at the time.  I went out too fast by a few seconds per mile and after I was tired I was only about 25 seconds off per mile at my worst.  It was about 75 degrees when I finished the race and the middle miles were through an Orthodox Jewish community on Saturday morning, so there wasn't much in the way of support on the course.

However, I did get to run a significant portion of the race with a my running chum Ali and I nailed a really solid PR, by over three minutes, if memory serves me correctly.

Fast forward a year and move-cross-country later, I was all set to help my lovely wife pack our house, say good-bye to our friends in New York, and for me to run one last race as a New Yorker.  I was going to PR in Brooklyn.

Then I put down a dust buster and threw out my back.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Be the change you want to see in the world

Dear Readers,

Over the past month I have not blogged at all.  There was lots to talk about but I have been really busy.  And honestly, I was having trouble justifying the need to broadcast my thoughts on whatever it was that would have graced these webpages.

January passed and I turned 30, ate an ungodly amount of Prime Rib, PR'ed the living day-lights out of the Kaiser Half Marathon, and worked like a mad man.  All good things.

But it got me to thinking about my "social media presence."

Why do I care to keep this thing going?  I don't really. It could be a "creative outlet" or something but it hasn't been.  It could be a way to promote myself but let's be fair, with about 100 hits a week, most of them from the same five people, I am not promoting anything at this point.

So the change.

From here on out this will be a running blog.  Despite what I said in my round up post last year, I believe focusing this blog on one topic, will be useful for my writing and my hit rate.  I will be better able to promote my wonderful running club and hopefully expand my profile as a local runner.

That is all for now but stay tuned for some weekly features and regular updates.


the dcc

Wednesday, February 6, 2013