Thursday, May 30, 2013

On to new adventures

May 12, 2013 the day before I turned 41 this year I decided to draw a line in the sand and retire from running.

Tonight on the eve of my 41st birthday, here is my closing speech........
I have ran fast,
I have ran far,
I have ran my best,
And now I run no more...

Thank you for all the memories!

Wanting to always focus on the positive in life and not running was not very positive I decided to stop. It was not an easy choice but with the daily Achilles issue it did make it a bit simpler.  I have enjoyed the entire seven years of running tremendously. Making a lot new friends, seeing many amazing places, supporting others in achieving their goals and personally pushing myself new levels.

I am sure I could sit and write for days about all my experiences but no one has that much time to read about  all my nonsense. Many people know that when I start talking about running I can talk and talk with a bit of excitement   For those of who that read this I am sure you know how much appreciated spending time with you running.

Well now I am off on new adventures. I surfed last year for the first time and now that I am two blocks from the ocean I will focus a bit on improving in that activity. Additionally, try out stand-up paddle boarding and get back to skateboarding. Last week I did crash hard while skateboarding, but with a bit more practice I might be ok (well at least I hope so)!  Plus it is always fun to try new things. In 2005 when I started running I never thought it would take me to where I got.  One of my first goals was to break a 7:00 min mile and with focus I eventually pulled off a 4:54 per mile. Who knows maybe I will make it on the pro-am surf tour ha ha!!

Well best wishes to everyone out there in their endeavors in life! I will continue to blog about my adventures and a bit of nonsense because that is who I am :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Rodeo

If it was only 8 seconds.......

     At this point I would rather get on the bull and take that 8 second ride. Knowing it be would be a cakewalk to what I have ahead of me to train for another 100 miler with 6 months off from training.  I think about it about it alot and knowing the amount of commitment it takes to toe the line is deep. Is this cowboy ready to climb back in the saddle? Take some rough hits? Get tossed to the ground? 

     Been through this rodeo 11 times in the 100 mile distance is something I reflect back on with some pride. The rides consisted of Umstead, Hallucination, Rocky Raccoon, Leadville, Virgil Crest, Leadville, Haliburton, Ozark, Massanutten, Angeles Crest & Javelina. I started my running addiction in 2005 and rode non-stop until November 2012. So never leaving the saddle kept things in focus and never a question of whether I could finish the ride. Now sitting back and watching the other cowboys I wonder if I got what it takes to travel the distance.

Wearing my buckles can be a challenge because it reflects back to what I did not what I am doing now. So people ask "wow you run 100 miles race?" Technically I did not for awhile now is what runs through my mind.  The running was intertwined between the enjoyment and the challenge of the distance. I never started running with the thought that someday I would cover 100 miles in under 24 straight hours, but my goals grew and I did it. Even pushing the limit to running across the state of Michigan from coast to coast all the way back down to setting a new record for myself in the 1 mile distance. 

     At this point I will recover 100% and build back up gradually. I am not afraid of the distance, it's just knowing how much commitment lies ahead of me that seems a bit overwhelming at this point. When I cross the next finish line there will be some serious celebrating.  So whatever goals you have just know with planning and time you will achieve them!!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Madness

Letting go and seeing where the madness takes me......

Moving forward as time normally does I making progress in my fitness with my gym membership at 220 Fitness. It has a great selection of things that keep my fitness strong. From the aerobic classes of Buti, spin classes, boxing, weights and the cross-fit tools of tires & things. Additionally, I got a month of yoga at Exhale and worked on improving my flexibility which is near zero so any improvement is easy to see. Looking to touch my toes by the summer without bending my knees.  Both 220 & Exhale are within a ten minute walk from my house so I have no excuses not to go. I am also getting a good amount of time riding around on fixie bike putting in 50 miles a week on the average. The beauty is that I usually keep up or beat the traffic in the rush hour periods.

A couple trips have gotten me out of Santa Monica for some change of scene. One trip was a bike ride to the Palisades which had some nice hill climbs and beautiful views. This got me to the Temescal Trailhead. Back in January I ran some the Temescal trail so I will be adding this to the list of training courses. Knowing that I can bike there with the ease of the beach strand being a straight shot sets me for future trips. There is just one long hill climb on the bike from the ocean up to the trailhead.

En Route to the Parker Mesa on Los Leones in Santa Monica
The other was trip to Los Leones for some trail running. The run was 7.75 miles roundtrip up the Parker Mesa trail. Essentially all up then all down on the return trip. Got a few nice pictures from that run.  The view at the top of the mesa had a some marine level blocking the view of the Santa Monica Pier. This short course gives a good amount of hill climbing. The goal is to hit the return trip back down in 30 minutes or less. Setting some FKT in my little personal world and improving through summer will give me a solid understanding of my performance.

Looking forward into April I plan to hit one trail run per week. Which will include a bike ride to get there then bike back. The run itself will be most likely a hike/run mixture. Now I have Los Leones, Temescal, Will Rogers to the Hub, Westridge and Point Mugu as local options. Eventually I will be able to navigate the entire 68 miles of the Santa Monica Mountains Backbone trail all on my own.  IT is still extremely tight and mornings I wobble around with tight ankles.  Knowing the AC 100 is a mere few months away I am wondering what running shape I will be in for it.  Physically I am building total body strength in the gym. A huge thanks to Aimee Cinzori who trained me last year and helped me build several workout routines that I am still using.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dragging my feet on the plan

Dragging my more!

Picture taken by stranger at Maybury State Park

     So I wrote a plan to get back into running after closing out a horrible 2012. The plan was to start with some light road runs, biking, yoga and weight lifting. I got the gym membership, yoga membership, starting riding my bike, but didn't get the running portion started until today (two weeks off schedule).

    Running in the warmth of the 70 degree days in Santa Monica would have made sense. Instead I waited until I was in Michigan visiting for the weekend to do it. This morning with the companionship of my friends Melissa, Mark, Kai, Keith, Andrew & Melanie we hit the trail. The sun was out and perfect blue skies. The trail was a bit icy in some spots due to the fact it was only 12F and with the chill in the air the word was it was near 5F.

    Now when I get Tuesday night I have no reason not to hit the road/track/trails for some miles. Having to wear only a shirt and shorts should make it quick & easy to get out the door.  I have a few friends in California that run too. So getting in those longer runs will be nice.

    Well 2013 is here and so is my running plan. Not a lot of races but working on getting healthy for a 2014 season. In the meantime, I will enjoy the time I spend running because thats why I do run!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Getting 2013 into motion

On the Road Again....

         Well after finishing 2012 on the "wrong foot" I am now getting focused on getting back on the "right foot." Took some time to rest, gather ideas, surf the web and talk to friends in the running community. After having my calves worked on by two different individuals it was determined I have the "worst" calves ever seen. What has happened is that the calf muscle has knotted up with another muscle that is pulling on my Achilles. So all the tension is causing the discomfort in my Achilles again. As you can see all those muscles are connected and without having the right people check it is hard to find the source of the problem.  I allowed this to happen on a daily basis for over five years. Each morning I got up and walked around with discomfort. Then eventually it broke me down during the Javelina Jundred at mile 78.

     Also during my downtime of running I have been filling my time with books, magazines and some movies.  I did find one new running book that really inspired me to get signed up for a race once healthy. It's called "The Longest Race" and is about a guy returning to run the JFK and beat the age record time.  Throughout the book he inner twines life into each mile of the race.  
One speed...As fast as I can pedal!! Note only one brake too.


     With that knowledge in hand I am now able to focus on working out the knots twice a day in my calves. Additionally, I got a fixie bike, basically it is a single speed that the pedals always turn when the wheels turn, so I can cross train without putting to much strain on my calves.  I feel the quads getting a nice workout while I attack the hills on my commuting around town.

Morning hike with the move still out

     By February 1st I plan to start my running plan and taking in the gorgeous views of the mountains around me. Building the base for the first several weeks, then a period of longer endurance runs and closing it out with some intense weeks.  I have done one hike this year on a local trail and got a few pictures. I will be mixing it up on the track, road and trails so that I work the muscles in different ways while trying to avoid another big knot.

      We for now it is time to sign off and work on my calves. Best wishes to everyone running this weekend and every day. Be sure to be proactive so that you don't get setbacks like what I have been going through for the past couple of months.

So many choices which way should I go??

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 What's it all about?

     Well 2012 didn't go as planned is an understatement. After having a successful 2011 it leaves curiosities in my mind. The beginning of the year started on track with some short road races in the snow/cold. Set a 4 mile personal record and had multiple podium finishes.

     Then I began training with a coach, Aimee Cinzori. She modified my diet and added muscle to me. During that period I threw down three 50k races in April and set a personal record in that distance. This was all part of the building process for my 40th birthday party at the Massanutten 100 mile. Going against the adage of don't try something new on race day I applied a different lotion to my feet and at 70 miles in the race I dropped.

     Summer came I played in Virginia Beach with the family. Attended my imaginary summer camp to build up for another atttempt at a 100 mile buckle. At the end of summer I was feeling strong and took on Angeles Crest 100 Mile. Using the same lotion I dropped at 51 miles. Then problem solving the why of the lotion I learned it was for post race not during the race. I had been causing blisters not preventing. A few weeks later I took on a 50 Mile race and achieved a new personal record.

     Fall arrived and so did the final races of the year. Paced some friends in a hundred miler, set a personal record in a 100k, paced a group in the Detroit Marathon then attempted my final 100 mile run of the year. Breaking down at mile 78 from excessive achilles pain. I settled on the 100k finish and closed out my year on a dissapointing injury.

     All of the last two months I rested my legs and hoped for a healthily recovery. Nothing changed by year end. So now I am building a plan to comeback strong in 2013.

Here is a breakdown of the 2012 goals:
1. Run six ultras YES
    Moab 55km, Winona 50km, Fools 50km, Tie Dye 50km, Wild West 50km, North Country 50mile, Top of Michigan 100km and Javelina 100km.

2. Run the mile under 4:50 NO
     Never tried because of injury

3. Set two personal records YES
     Winona 50km 4:36:43
     Leap Year 4 mile 25:10
     NC50 mile 9:49:46
     TOM 100km 12:46:59

4. Pace/crew two events YES
    Paced Hallucination 100 mile
    Paced Detroit Marathon 4:4000

5. Volunteer at one event YES
     Co-hosted 4 cross country style events

Now the 2013 goals:
1. Run in four ultras
2. Set one personal record
3. Volunteer at two events
4. Crew/pace at two events
5. Run something personally eventful

By cross training through yoga, biking, surfing and more I should be running strong in the second half of 2013!

Now for a few meaningful awards:

Unstoppable Award - Matt A.
Comeback Award - Keith K.
Sidekick Award - Erin C.
Sherpa Award - Lucille R aka mom

For now I wanted to get this posted and will had some more content in various spots. In addition, I have about a dozen photos that capture the year.

Friday, November 9, 2012

October Recap


      Looks like the entire month of October blew by like the leaves on the trees. Saw a lot of beauty and really enjoyed the time spent during the month. Started out the month with my girlfriend visiting and running some of my favorite places. The color change was in full effect making each run very scenic.

      Middle of the month gave way to my first 100km race. The Top of Michigan is a point to point from Gaylord to Mackinaw City by the bridge.  After convincing several friends it was more of group training run. Mark, Melissa, Ken, Kurt, Andrew S, Andrew H and me were all part of small group working together throughout the run. The beginning were we much tighter together as we eclipsed the 50km the group began to form smaller groups. The course is a converted rail to trail that is very flat and wide enough to pass with no issues.  The colors on the trees were changing giving a lot of moments for picturing taking. The constant rain and cool temps provided the challenge to the ultra. At one point the rain to a light sleet which lasted only for a few minutes. I was able to make it to the finish just before darkness closing out the run with a personal best of 12:46:59.

       Then it was a short tour of the city by pacing the 4 hour 40 minute runners in the Detroit Marathon. This was my third time pacing at the marathon and by far my biggest group of runners. At the start I had about 17  people all eager to join me for the tour of Detroit. The weather was ideal with warm temps and clear skies. This was the best weather I have ever experienced in any marathon!!Around the half I still had 90% of them in viewing distance. By the end there was five of us. Three of us crossed the line together and two were just a few minutes behind.  Two runners pushed ahead around mile 23 and finished ahead of the group. Focusing on the two I had and wanting them to finish I held back on pace and finished 4:40:42.

      Finally, it was time for one last race of the season. Headed out to Arizona for Javelina Jundred. Covered 78 miles in 13:45:24. Placing 34th in the 100km. Another great October run with beautiful weather of clear skies and at night a full moon. The course is 15.5 miles and is ran washing machine style six times (essentientally back and forth) then the last loop is cut short for ten miles giving the course 102 miles of joy. My crew/pacer was key in my first four loops being so successful. Erin had bottles, food and ice ready each time I came through the start/finish. Her smile was contagious and towards the end of each loop I was always looking forward to it.  During the loop there were four aid stations. As the temperature neared the 90's I would have a volunteer spray me down with cold water. With the pumpkin pie, cytomax, ice water and excitement of friends I sailed through the daytime. Heading out for the fifth loop Erin joined me. The average was 3 hours 10 minutes per loop on the previous loops; this loop took just over seven hours. About two miles in my Achilles were tightening up and gradually over the next few miles the tightness worked it's way up into my hip flexors. I was reduced to a slow and extremely painful walk. Physically I knew after several miles I was not going to finish the 100 mile option and end up taking the 100 km belt buckle option. At one period I was given some bio-freeze and Tylenol to cover up the pain, but that only minimized it a little. Once the loop was over we checked me in to the medical tent to evaluate my condition. The medical staff determined that my achilles were so tight that they were on the edge of detaching part of my bone off the heel. Knowing I want to run again I went over and climbed into a sleeping bag calling it a night.

     Overall, running three races of those sizes in three weeks straight taught me my body needs more recovery time. Even the week after Javelina I am still having some discomfort in my heels.Covering over 166 miles of racing I saw a lot of beauty and really enjoyed the time spent with my close friends. Going into 2013 I will still be running and spending even more time with them.