December 27, 2004

tmi run

it’s a cold and dry morning in santa fe, new mexico. we left southern california yesterday to drive out to colorado springs to spend the week with my grandparents. two friends of ours, tim and jeannie came with us. we spent about 15 hours in the car yesterday, but having good company for the drive really makes the time pass quickly.

i woke up early this morning, about an hour before i’d set the alarm. i laid in bed debating whether or not to run, and if i did run, was i going to do 10, 8 or 6? i went back and forth, and finally decided to put my running stuff on, and at least get in a couple miles. i figured that if i felt good a couple miles in, i’d keep going and maybe stretch it as far as 10.

the temperature was in the high teens when i went outside. this time though, i’d put on my christmas long sleeve top and leggings, along with a nice fleece beanie and gloves. i was ready for the cold, and there’d be no wiener-bite today! the cold run on christmas morning had served as a good wake up call to making sure i didn’t freeze while running in much colder climates. i started up the road that our hotel was on, and by the time i’d hit 2 miles, i realized that i’d just come up a pretty steep incline. my right calf was really feeling the hill and was getting tighter and tighter. i decided to go ahead and make it a short 4 mile run and i turned around to head back to the hotel.

as i started back down the hill, my legs started to loosen up a bit, and i thought that i might feel up to adding some more miles on once i’d reached the hotel. i spotted a jeep trail that went off into the desert, somewhat paralleling the road, so, i hopped the fence next to the road and headed off into the desert. after about a mile, the hotel came into view, and i could see that the jeep trail split and i could either keep heading out into the desert, or head straight for the hotel. back when i’d turned around, my bowels had started to let me know that they wanted me to visit the nearest ‘facilities’. when i came up to the split on the jeep trail, my stomach started cramping and my bowels REALLY didn’t want to wait any longer. i decided to take the jeep trail back to the hotel.

this next section is a little too much information, so if you’re easily grossed out, move on to another blog…

the hotel looked like it was about a mile off, so i stripped the gloves and picked up the pace, eager to get back to the room and relieve the pain and pressure in my bowels. a couple minutes later, my stomach cramped so badly that i had to stop running. it nearly doubled me over in pain, and i knew that there was no way i was going to make it back to the hotel room before i had to void. i moved over into some bushes, squatted up against a snow bank, and left my own steaming mile marker. the relief was GLORIOUS. i nearly passed out. i cleaned up with a little snow, pulled back up my clothes and began a slow jog back to the hotel.

i had successfully avoided wiener-bite, but that pain had been replaced by the humiliation of having to perform a finishing lap of a run doing the crappy-crack waddle.

the moral of this story? high fiber diets aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.


Posted by jeff at 9:12 AM | Comments (5)

December 25, 2004

christmas morning long run

well, i rolled out of bed at zero dark thirty this morning, all ready to put in a long 18 miler before smsmh got up and wanted to head over to her parents place to celebrate christmas. the alarm went of at 5 and after a couple iterations, i finally got up. i put on shorts and a long sleeve shirt, thinking that with the warmth yesterday, and how long i was going to be out, it would be sufficient. i turned on the forerunner, stepped outside to set it in the courtyard while it acquired a signal and noticed that it was quite cool.

i waited until about 6:20 or so, waiting till there was at least a little light in the sky before setting out. about 10 minutes into the run, my hands handn’t warmed up and my legs were still freezing. i pulled the sleeves down over my hands to keep my fingers and backs of my hands from hurting. after 30 minutes, i still wasn’t warm and was actually uncomfortable with how cold it was. wiener-bite was beginning to set in. about this time, i ran past a mortuary that had a time/temperature sign out front. it was cycling from 6:50am to 33 degrees. 33 degrees! as the sky began to get lighter, i noticed all the frost on the lawns and rooftops. weee! it was a ‘white’ christmas after all!

at mile four, i dropped off of the surface streets and hit the aliso creek running trail. the trail runs throught a small park, and across some soccer fields there's a drinking fountain that i'll usually stop at. as i cruised across the field, each footstep was a 'crunch' of excitement. the entire field was coated in frost, giving it the appearance of a snowfield.

about an hour into the run, the sun finally was high enough in the horizon that i started to get some warmth from it, and the wiener-bite subsided. whew! that wasn’t a christmas present that i wanted! at mile 5 i reached into my belt’s pouch to grab a gu and my fingers came away all sticky. i had included a small ziploc bag with enough cytomax mix to fill all my bottles (4x6oz ‘fuelbelt’ bottles). the ziploc bag had come open and about half of the mix had spilled out and mixed with perspiration to make a sugary-goo. mmm…yumm.

10 miles into the run had me 6 miles up my favorite bike trail. i stopped to fill my water bottles and rinse the sugary goop off my hands. after a minute of not moving and having water on my hands, my fingers started getting really cold again. man, it was almost 8am, and it still hadn’t warmed up much. i turned around and began the 2 mile trek down the trail to catch the road that would take me back home. finally, buy the time i hit the surface streets to head back home, it warmed up enough that i was able to expose my hands without the knuckles and backs of my hands hurting. i kept cruising on, actually feeling quite well, this late in the run.

around 14 miles, my it band in my left knee started acting up, so i hopped out of the canted bike lane and up onto the cement sidewalk, while dropping my pace a little bit. by mile 15 it had cleared up, and although i could feel the fatigue in my joins, my muscles felt great and mentally i was still quite alert. i cruised the last 3 on auto pilot, powering up the last long hill without too much difficulty. i rolled into our place at almost exactly 18 miles, feeling like i’d just put in a long run, but not wiped out and actually, quite full of energy. i chatted with all the neighbors up and down our street as i did a cool down walk and drank some gaterade, wishing everyone a merry christmas and hearing all of the assorted ‘christmas morning’ stories.

it’s about 3 pm now, and i’m still feeling quite energetic and no ill affects of putting in such a long run. i had a little concern before running this morning, after having missed a long run while sick, and kind of falling off of my training schedule. i had also put in quite a few miles after missing almost two weeks of base mileage, but i’m happy to report that the body feels fantastic. now THAT is a christmas present that i’ll happily accept!

Posted by jeff at 3:08 PM | Comments (3)

December 24, 2004

yo ho, blow the man down II

well, i headed out this morning for another 6 miles and the air was pretty still. the news (watch out for the windy "danger zone"! sheesh) said that the santa anas would be back again today, but there was only the slightest breeze when i started out. i made sure to run at a nice and comfortably slow pace, and i felt like i was sticking to that. although, i did sneak a peak at the forerunner and found that i was in the low 8's. oh well, i was basing my pace on how i felt.

when i hit 3 miles and turned around to head back home, i was hit by a blast of wind. apparently, while i'd been running my 3 miles out, the santa anas had picked up and were giving me a nice little tailwind. so, the return was a little bit more laborious as it was mostly uphill and into the stiff headwind. but, hey, can i complain? it was in the high 60's on christmas eve morning. i could think of worse places to be. i finished up the 6 miles still feeling quite fresh and relaxed.

after the run, i got cleaned up and smsmh and i headed over to my folks place to celebrate christmas. it was a really nice afternoon with my dad's brother and family, my crazy aunt and her gold-digging husband and my great uncle. no super-crazy presents from the aunt this year, but she did keep asking who everyone was.

mom made a great pot roast with spinach salad and scalloped potatoes. i gorged myself, and topped the meal off with a huge slice of pumpkin pie. we spent the evening exchanging gifts, and i made out with a bunch of REI gift certificates and some great books. one is a series of letters from ronald reagan to nancy, and the other is a history of scots-irish achievements in helping shape the nation. sound like interesting bits of history, and i can't wait to start reading them!

well, tomorrow i'm up early to put in a long 18 miler and then it's off to the in-laws to open gifts with smsmh's family. should be a great day!

Posted by jeff at 8:42 PM | Comments (2)

yo ho, blow the man down

does anyone else have a hard time 'taking it easy' on a run? my intent last night was to run at an easy pace and just relax and enjoy the exercise. kind of in a "my vacation has begun, let's learn to slow down" way. maybe it was the santa ana winds blowing that got me going, maybe it was my inability to relax after a whirlwind week. whatever it was, i found myself going faster and faster as the run went on. i didn't check my pace, so that was a good thing. maybe part of the 'not focusing on pace' thing is that when i'm feeling like i can handle a quick pace, i run at what is comfortable.

anyway, i put in a little over 6 miles last night, and despite feeling good throughout the whole run, man was it hard. the santa ana winds, the same winds that fueled the raging fires we had last year, were back in force yesterday. even on the downhills it felt like a struggle.

this morning they've subsided a bit, so i think i'll head out and put in some more miles before we head off to my folks to celebrate christmas. speaking of which, i hope everyone has a splendid day and celebration over the weekend! merry christmas to all of you and may you all experience the joy of our saviours birth!

Posted by jeff at 7:53 AM

December 23, 2004

don't look now!

after much reflection and on the suggestion of lilly, i'm changing how i do my mid-week runs. rather than constantly eyeballing the pace and doing shorter fartlek runs, i'm going to increase my mid-week mileage, and just run at a pace that feels quick, but good.

last night was my first attempt at it. rather than the 6 mile fartlek that i'd put on the schedule, i just went out and ran a medium/hard 8 miler. i wore the forerunner, but purely as a tool for knowing the distance. i have to admit, i did check my times when the mile laps would complete, but not with the thought of, "oh now i need to pick things up", but more with the thought of, "oh yeah, that's what that pace feels like". i'll tell you what, though, having the forerunner and not looking at it for pace information is sure a hard temptation to fight!

so, rather than post laps and times, here's how i felt i was running:

miles 1-2 felt like warm-up laps. nice and comfortable.
miles 3-5 felt like a half marathon pace, i felt relaxed and strong.
miles 6-7 felt like a tad bit quicker than half marathon pace. i felt rhythmic and alive.
mile 8 i did the customary "i'm almost done" push. it felt quick, but not exhausting.

tonight i'll run a little bit easier, and only 6 miles since we've got people coming over for dinner and a white elephant exchange.

Posted by jeff at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

December 22, 2004

boysenberry!

bfbh and family are in town. super hero children and all. yesterday they all headed to knotts berry farm (an amusement park similar to disney land, but a tad bit smaller) for nnpwh's (nicknackpaddywhackhead) birthday. since her family was only going to be in town for a couple days, smsmh and i figured our best chance at getting to see them would be if we met them all for dinner at the chicken house restaurant at the park. they make some pretty good down-home chicken dinners, and you CAN'T pass up the boysenberry pie for dessert!

lyn had also asked smsmh if we could watch the kids for the evening as well, so it worked well that we take them to the park with us. we loaded up kira and nathaniel, hopped onto the parking lot that is the 5 fwy at rush hour and started our trek. thanks to jon's post, i had the 'ding! fries are done.' song stuck in my head, so i taught it to the kids. then smsmh decided to put on a cd of more 'traditional' christmas music, only problem is that it had 'grandma got run over by a reindeer' on it, and the kids loved it!

we hit the park on time, and after a short wait for the forces to assemble, we were seated and ready to eat. a couple of the kids ordered root-beer, and it was delivered in brown bottles. for laughs-sake, i had to get them to turn the bottles so you couldn't see the labels and take photos. i'm sure lyn will be happy to see pictures of his 9 year old son downing a bottle of beer. hehe! the kids also got orange wedges on their plates, so since i always feel a sense of 'instruction' when i'm with the nieces and nephews, showed them all how to make an 'orange peel smile'.

after the main meal, the straws came out and we began testing our 'spit wad' capabilities. man, those long straws had some serious range on them! at one point, uncle ian nailed nathaniel in the forehead and it stuck...classic. we finished the meal up by singing happy birthday to a energy depleted nnpwh, which brought a smile to his tired little face.

on the way home, we sang the 'ding fries are done' song again, and spent at least another 15 minutes singing the 'bean' song. the bean song is performed by asking, "what's my dog's name?" and the kids will respond with a type of bean. "lima!" and we'll launch into:

my dog lima ran away
have you seen my dog today?
lima bean
lima bean
where oh where has lima been?

once we run out of beans, the song deteriorates into friends names and made up words. i can sing it for hours, and they know it, so it's always loads of fun. we even called lyn to tell him when to meet us at the house and when he picked up the phone, the whole car sang:

my dog daddy ran away
have you seen my dog today?
daddy bean
daddy bean
where oh where has daddy been?

and then smsmh said into the phone, "where have you been, daddy?" it was so well timed and sent the whole car into laughter.

the evening was loads of fun with all the kids, smsmh's family, bfbh and family and both of my parents. it's always a great opportunity to be able to drop down into 'uncle silly jeff' mode.

the best quote from the night was from sph (shoepolishhead) after playing 'space invader' with him, "when you go away, uncle jeff, i'll take over the silly"

awww...the continuation of a legacy.

i'll update this post with photos when i get the photos off the camera tonight.

Posted by jeff at 9:39 AM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2004

on the road again

i finally got back to running after a horrible week of having the flu. saturday i headed out to the aliso creek bike trail and did a nice comfortable 6 miles at about an 8:30 pace. i started out nice and slow, let myself warm up and made a point of not pushing hard on the last couple miles. it felt REALLY good to be out running, it felt good to be out in the sun and it felt good to let my head drain!

sunday though, that was the icing on the weekend cake. i called ken on saturday night and we decided to run on sunday morning at 9am. i was thinking of doing between 12-14, just so i didn't over do it after being out for a week. ken had 15 planned, so i agreed to the distance. we headed out along the san diego river trail, heading toward the beach, the same trail that the oc marathon covered. we set out at a very comfortable 9:30 pace for the first 5 miles out and then dropped down to closer to 9 for the next 5 back. the last 5 miles were down around 8:30 - 8:45 and felt pretty good. my legs were getting tired by mile 13, but i could tell that i could have added another 3 at the end to make it to 18. that was a very re-assuring feeling. i think i'll go ahead with my planned 18 on christmas morning then.

but, the topper, the grooviest bit of the run, aside from the always STELLAR conversation, was a talk ken and i had about racing. he'd been tossing around several races that he'd been looking at for the spring, and i'd been thinking privately that whatever race he picked, i'd go and run it with him to help him get his boston qualifying time. so, when i asked him if he'd picked a race, i expected him to still be on the fence. unexpectedly, he said, "i'm going to run ottawa. i booked my rooms last night". ottawa! ottawa!

i've tried to hold to the goal of never re-running a marathon, since there are so many races out there, why repeat one you've already done? but, after running ottawa this year, i told myself that if i ever wanted to re-run a race, it would be ottawa. the course, the weather, the friends, the support, the logistics, everything about the race was pure heaven (except the bus tour of the course with a full bladder - haha!).

so, i'm running ottawa in may, with ken, shooting for a 3:25. i am bouncing off the walls with excitement for this race!

Posted by jeff at 9:39 AM | Comments (5)

December 17, 2004

down and out in laguna hills

wow.

that KICKED my butt.

the tickle in my throat on the drive home from nevada on saturday turned out to be a nasty version of the flu. my body felt like it'd been hit by a train, my head wanted to explode every day and my lungs felt like they were filled with lead. i stayed home from work monday and tuesday, worked from home on wednesday and tried to head into the office on thursday. i felt like such crap in the office that i cut the day short and headed home by 10am to work the rest of the day out of the house.

i got up this morning, body still sorta sore and weak, but feeling much better in the head and lung category. i'm feeling well enough to make it through the day and may even attempt a short run when i get home.

i usually get the flu when it comes around, you know, that once a year thing, but other than that, i don't get sick. i don't have the vaccination and i rarely take anything for it when i get it. just lots of fluids and rest. i try to stick to jack lelane's motto: "if man made it, i don't put it in my body". i don't know the science behind it, but i'd like to think that by letting my body handle the illness on it's own, i'm allowing it to build it's own natural defenses, rather than letting drugs circumvent that process.

does that hold water? and what are your methods for dealing with illnesses?

happy to be on the mend and hope to be back into the training regimen soon!

Posted by jeff at 9:27 AM | Comments (4)

December 12, 2004

red rocks photos


Posted by jeff at 10:59 AM

weekend recap

i made an attempt to kick start myself after being sick on tuesday and wednesday, so thursday after work i headed out and put in a quick 6 mile run. i kept what i thought was a comfortable pace (still getting used to checking the forerunner while i'm running) and found out that it was just under an 8 min. mile. not too bad for having taken a few days off. it felt good to get out of the house and get the legs moving again.

friday morning i got up bright and early and headed out to las vegas to visit my sister and her family. i did the customary check of the tires, oil, etc before heading out and noticed that there was a section on the passenger side front tire that was looking a little bald, but it looked like it'd get me there and back, so off i went. i stopped in barstow for some gas and checked the tire again, only to see that the tread had worn through and the tire didn't look like it was going to last much longer. i looked up a tire shop, bought some new tires and within an hour was back on the road again.

when i showed up at bfbh's place, i turned into a jungle gym. i spent most of the afternoon running around the house with two boys hanging onto my legs and my niece wanting to show me a 'surprise' (basically everything in the house). it was a blast getting to play with the kids, i hadn't seen my niece that active in any of the times she's come out this way to visit. she was a bundle of energy, and actually wanted to play more than the boys did, on occasion.

friday night i geared up and went for a run across the desert floor by their house. i ran up some jeep trails, cross country through the desert scrub and then picked up another trail that took me out to a desert tortoise refuge. i turned around after 3 miles and cruised back home in the fading daylight for a total of another 6 miles.

i spent most of the evening catching up with aflbh and bfbh, watched the beginning of a movie and then, since i couldn't keep my eyes open much longer, headed off to bed. i was up early again on saturday with the plan of following in alison's footsteps. as i was getting my kit ready, the boys came downstairs and started asking all sorts of questions about my fluids and fuels. they were most interested in the bottle of cytomax that i had. earlier in the visit, we'd discussed which super hero we wanted to be (i, of course, am the amazing hip). so, i explained to them that the cytomax was 'super juice'. i let each of them have a little sip. both of the boys began running around like madmen, exclaiming how fast the 'super juice' was making them run! it was one of the cutest and most hilarious things i'd see. i'll make marathoners out of them yet!

i headed out to red rock canyon, picked up a map at the visitors center and decided on a trail to run. the white rock trail said it was a 6 mile round trip run, so i figured i'd just add some additional stuff onto it to get me closer to a total of 10 miles. the description of the trail stated that it was moderate difficulty, with only an 800' elevation gain. i opted to start out at the base of the trail at willow springs, rather than the top at the white rock trail head. as i started out, i began to realize that the 'moderate' rating was only for coming from the other direction.

the first mile was up a deep canyon along a 4x4 trail, with huge sandstone buttresses on either side. as i hit the white rock fork and headed around the white rock formation, the trail turned into a single track hiking trail running through a wider canyon and low juniper forest. the red, clay dirt was great for running on and the shade from the white rock formation was very welcome. i continued up the trail, marveling at my surroundings, until i came to another fork in the trail. luckily, there were some hikers there and i asked them if this was the madera/white rock fork. they said that i'd passed that fork about a half mile back. oops, too busy enjoying the scenery to pay attention to the trail! i spotted the trail i was supposed to be on across the valley, so i went cross country, hopping over scrub, dodging cactus and wading through manzanita stands. eventually i hit the trail and was off again.

the trail continued to wind steeply up the canyon, and eventually topped out at mile 4 with a great look back down the canyon one direction and out onto the red rock plains the other direction. with the rest of the run mostly downhill, i picked up the pace a bit. when i hit the trail head at 5 miles, with only about 2 miles left back to where my car was, i decided to head along the road to the scenic drive look-out. it was about a mile in the other direction and would end up giving me about 9 miles total.

i did the last four miles on the road with little to report, other than the great views of the red rock buttresses. i hit the car at 9.1 miles, with just under a 10 minute pace. not too bad considering all the climbing and bush-whacking. i cooled down, headed back to my sisters house and got cleaned up. we headed over to a park for a 'happy birthday jesus' party her church was throwing for the kids. i stuck around for a few minutes before hopping back into the car for the drive home.

as i started driving home, the tickle in my throat that had been there for a few days began to make itself more noticeable, and my body began to exhibit the traditional 'flu' type symptoms. i kept mentally fighting it, but by the time i got home, i was pretty sure that i was coming down with what smsmh had all last week. so, i'm skipping today's 18 miler to get some rest. i can't miss any more work before the holiday break, so let's hope that this passes quickly!

overall, it was a fantastic weekend, finally getting to see my sister's place, be the jungle gym for the kids and get in some beautiful running in the nevada desert. despite ending it up with the flu, you can't beat those positive points!

Posted by jeff at 9:52 AM | Comments (3)

December 9, 2004

early christmas present

so, i've been home for the past few days with some sort of stomach flu. i got up tuesday morning to go to work and couldn't keep anything down, so i took tuesday and wednesday off. no running and not enough energy to move about much had taken me right out of the christmas spirit.

i got up this morning, shaved off the beard that had started to form, grabbed an apple and headed out the door. 6am and the sky was still pretty dark, with heavy fog in the air. i hopped into my truck and in the dim light i noticed that the passenger seat was a little bit far forward. as my eyes grew accustomed to the dark, i realized that the dashboard wasn't where it should have been. it was ripped and pulled all the way against the stick shift. the stereo bay was empty, the amp was gone and the center console had been emptied out.

i sat there kind of numb for a couple minutes, not so much mad, but more bummed that i'd have to go through the hassle of having the dash repaired. having the stereo stolen isn't that big of a deal to me, i mean, it's only 'stuff', but why'd they have to go and destroy the entire dashboard just to get at it? sheesh, thanks for the early christmas present.

so, i'm back to work today, trying to stay focused and catch up on the work i missed the past couple days and trying to get back into the christmas spirit.

Posted by jeff at 8:39 AM | Comments (3)

December 6, 2004

i feel so naked

i turned on my camera the other day and was surprised to see the 'PC' display on the LCD screen. the 'PC' screen is only supposed to display when it's connected to the computer. hmm...odd. so i turned it on and off a few times, tried to access the menu, etc, all to no avail. tried to 'reboot' the camera and also tried a factory reset, nothing seemed to work.

i finally gave nikon a call to see what the scoop was and found out that i'll need to send it into one of their specialized service centers for repair. bleh.

it's so strange to not have it with me. i keep seeing things i want to shoot and mentally think about where my camera is, getting ready to reach for it, only to remember that it's at home, broken. smsmh has the house all decked out for the holidays too and i had wanted to shoot the tree and decorations. bummer.

it's like i left the house without my pants on or something...

Posted by jeff at 4:39 PM | Comments (1)

December 5, 2004

2004 OC Half Marathon - Newport Beach, USA

Chip Time: 1:47:07
Pace: 8:10

Posted by jeff at 6:06 PM

the. worst. race. ever.

i hit the expo for the oc marathon after work on friday to sign up for the half marathon. it was early during the expo, but the parking fiasco and the huge number of people already there should have clued me in to the atrocity that was to take place this morning.

i got in a quick 7 mile run after the expo and settled into rest mode before the race. i ended up getting about 11 hours of sleep (11!!) on friday night, didn't run at all on saturday and went over to dennis' house for dinner to carbo-load on his itallian wife's amazing cooking. pasta with fresh tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, bread with kalamata olive spread and fresh greens salad with kalamata olives and hunks of mozzarella. oh boy. i need a wheelbarrow to get me out of there!

sunday morning came quick and dennis, tim (one of his employees) and i met at his office, about 2 miles from the start line. an hour before the start. it had rained the night before, but it looked like it was starting to clear up, although there was a fierce wind blowing off the ocean. it was in the mid 40's, so great running weather. we drove the first mile without any traffic, and then sat in stopped traffic for 55 minutes before we pulled into the parking lot. luckily the race was delayed, as we parked 2 minutes after the gun was supposed to go off. in the rush of getting out of the car, i forgot my forerunner, so i was without a watch. after hopping some fences and running down landscaped embankments, we were in the starting chute. about half way. the full marathon, half marathon and all the walkers were in the same chute. no corals. with about 9,000 runners.

the race started at about 7:45 and 5 minutes later we were across the start line. for the first 2 miles we weaved in and out of race walkers, strolling four and five abreast. dennis and i ran the median for a good while before things loosened up enough to actually get on pace. the crowd was so thick you couldn't even see the upcoming water stations, which created total chaos. shortly after the 2 mile mark we finally got into our stride and set to the work of running the race.

dennis settled into just over an 8 minute pace, so i did my best to keep him running consistently. he jokes about his running abilities, but he did a fantastic job. we cruised along feeling quite good, and at mile 7 we ran past smsmh, and her brother's family who were cheering wildly. they brought their cowbell, because you see, i have a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell! pam, my sister-in-law was out there too. a couple weeks ago she mentioned that she wanted to run a marathon before her 50th birthday, so i was glad that she was able to come out and cheer. nothing gets you motivated to run like cheering at a race!

at mile 10 we headed down into the back-bay area and as we dropped down off the bluff, we passed my running partner, ken, who had come out to cheer us on too. at this point it started to rain again. i don't mention this because of the race conditions, i mention it for the horrific experience that was about to ensue. we both mentioned that it was starting to get colder and i assured him that they'd have mylar blankets at the finish. i've never run a half or a full marathon that didn't have them. dennis and i began to pick up the pace a bit, in an attempt to break 1:45. we had 1:50 (his original goal) in the bag, but that 1:45 was soo tempting. at mile 12 it looked like we would get close, so dennis said, "you do what you need to do to get us in at 1:45 and i'll just follow you". i picked it up even more, but unfortunately we couldn't overcome the deficit and we came across the finish line in 1:47. still, 13 minutes better than his first race. despite the start, it had been a good race and we'd both had a great time. there had been lots of crowd support despite the weather, but the water stations has been poorly undermanned. several times i picked up my own water since there was no-one to hand it out.

we came to a walk after the finish chute and dennis' first question was, "where's the water?". we wandered a bit through the long finish area, and eventually someone gave us bottles of water. where were the mylar blankets though? there were a couple people with them, and now that we'd stopped running, it was getting downright cold and the rain was getting heavier. i was getting hungry too. where was the food? we continued walking though the finish area and came past a booth with food, but they were charging for it. huh? who carries money with them during the race? as we exited the finish area we realized that there were no blankets and no food. we snuck back into the finish area and looked around and finally found a first aid tent that had a couple of the blankets. we were able to get one for both of us and we began trading off with it. dennis was able to pull another one out of the trash.

it was wet and cold, and there was no food, so we decided to head to the shuttle and get back to the car. but what's this huge line? the line for the shuttles? judging by it's size, it had to be at least a 30 minute wait. dennis suggested we just walk the mile back to the start and try to thumb a ride. just past the shuttles he flagged down a suburban and we scored a heated ride back to the parking area. knowing tim would be sitting in line for a ride on the shuttle before too much longer, we decided to drive back to the finish, pick up tim, offer a ride to a couple other runners and hand off our blankets to people waiting in line.

back at the finish, dennis hopped out while i fended off the jr. police officers trying to get me to move the car. we had three trash bags that we had planned to use at the start, so he took those and the two mylar blankets to the shuttle line. a couple minutes later he came back with two soggy runners but no tim. he'd gone up and down the line a couple times but hadn't spotted him.

we took the two runners to their cars and headed back to where we'd parked originally. there was tim, standing in the parking structure, waiting patiently. we loaded up and headed back to dennis' work. we said our good byes and i headed home to get some food. 2 hours after the finish.

as i sat on the couch resting and eating, the rain pounding on the skylight, i looked at the clock. 12:00. the 4:30 marathoners were just coming in. and i though of what sorry shape they were going to be in. the run was great, and i had a good time with dennis. he posted a pr and it was fun running with him. what made it so awful though was just how poorly organized the race was. no way to keep the runners dry and warm at the finish, and no food was just plain irresponsible. the parking at the start, having to shuttle to the finish and not having organized start corals was just plain poor planning. the more i run these long races, the more i learn about what types to stay away from. start and finish at two different places with shuttles? that's now a big red flag in my book.

they pitched the race as 'surf, sand, sweat'. there was no surf - you can't see the ocean from anywhere on the course, the only sand was in the sand traps of the golf course we ran past at mile 7, and sweat? it was too darn cold! (can't really fault them for the weather though)

this is one race i doubt i'll repeat.

Posted by jeff at 5:24 PM | Comments (5)

December 3, 2004

end of the fast

after the tough 16 miler on sunday and in preparation for the race this sunday, i took an extended rest. 3 days off. holy cow. i broke my running fast yesterday though with a nice hard 6 mile hill run.

i popped on the forerunner (wow, i'm digging this thing!) and headed out. the legs felt strong and rested, and despite trying to keep a slow pace, i ended up posting 8:07 for the first two miles and 8:10 for the third...despite the hills. i didn't feel like i was pushing too hard either. it was almost effortless. i cruised up the hill and was still feeling fresh and strong at the top of each one.

i ended up picking up the pace over the last three miles, in 7:54, 7:45 and 7:35. again, even when pushing a little bit faster on that last mile, i felt really good. i finished up with a total of 6.16 in 48:50. i was so excited with such an encouraging run that i burst into the house, full of energy and exclaimed to smsmh, "i love running almost as much as i love you!" (really, it's not even close, there's so much more to love about smsmh than there is about running, but, you know, i was EXCITED!)

it's so amazing what a couple days of rest can do for your body. i know that i've read about the rate of atrophy and fitness loss for athletes and 3 days, let alone a week, is not enough time to lose significant strength or ability. it's encouraging to see that first hand. and it's encouraging for this weekend's race. it should be a good one, as it's the inaugural orange county marathon (i'm running the half). denis, a good friend, is running it as well and i told him i'd pace with him to help him break 1:50.

his goal is to sprint flat out for the first couple miles and then crawl the rest of the way. i told him it didn't sound like a good plan, but hey, we'll try it his way. ;-)

Posted by jeff at 8:40 AM | Comments (4)

December 1, 2004

jeff-in-the-box


Posted by jeff at 11:34 AM | Comments (2)