Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tempo runs

Oh tempo runs, how I hate you so. Tempo runs on a treadmill, that is. Why does it seem like everything I do on a treadmill is harder than on the road? Running a certain pace seems like much more effort on the treadmill. I don't get it. Of course, Kristen is naturally gifted and very hard working so she thinks I'm crazy whenever I say this to her. Even when I'm mentally pumped up for a run on the treadmill I still notice the difference. It's not as bad in the morning as it is in the afternoon or evening which is why I prefer morning workouts, but I swear I'm not crazy. Example: I ran a 10k this past weekend and my pace was a little faster than my pace for the tempo run that I did on the treadmill today and my legs felt like lead. My lungs and heart rate were fine, but the kickers were no es bueno. Maybe I need a jolt of caffeine before afternoon runs from now on. Any advice? Thanks!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Anti-climax

Kristen and I ran the 28th annual Los Alamitos Race on the Base yesterday where I posted my first 10k time ever: 54:26! Go ahead. I'll wait for the thundering applause to stop (insert cricket sounds here). Thank you. What's more impressive yet tragic is that Kristen ran her first mile at a 6:45 pace and was well on her way to posting a sub-40:00 10k when she blew out her flip flop and stepped on a pop top. Just after the 1 mile marker she injured her foot so bad she had to hobble off the course and quit the race. This really sucks. She's been training hard to run the 10k leg as part of a two person team (they won 1st place last year) competing in the Toyota Desert Triathlon in La Quinta, CA coming up in March. Her foot is swollen at the top right behind her toes and she can barely stand on it. Not sure if it's a fracture or torn ligaments or what. She'll see a doctor this week and get the prognosis. Unless by some miracle it heals quickly she's going to have to bail out of the Desert Tri and possibly the Seal Beach 10k we're supposed to run in April. I hope it only looks and feels worse than it is. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

Okay, so the race course is touted as flat and fast which is very true, but it is also a bit dull on the senses. You run a 6.2 mile course laid out over the airfield so there isn't much to look at except concrete and grass. If you've ever been out on a military airfield you'll know what I'm talking about. Looong runways and some lawn. BTW, I don't know what most people think about when they're running, but there was so much grass to look at I couldn't help but think about how to make my lawn at home look better. Seriously.

I've run this distance before, but never for a race so this was really an exercise in pacing. My biggest fear (like many people I assume) is to push too hard in the beginning and have no gas left in the tank at the end. So after my first mile I settled into a pace that wasn't comfortable, but it wasn't hard either. Eventually the pack thinned as it does and I picked a guy in front of me as my rabbit. He was very consistent so I stayed on his tail the entire race and just experimented with my own style and technique. I would open up my stride if I felt like I was being too choppy. I would lean my torso forward slightly and look 20 or 30 yards ahead and notice my speed quicken without much change in my overall output. I'd raise my knees a little higher to take some of the sharp, blunt strikes off that spot just below the knee. It was educational and fun, but the finish line was approaching and I had to get ready.

My technique is to get to the 6 mile marker and then drop the hammer for the remaining .2. It was great! I blew past people that I had been trailing for most of the race and posted the time I was aiming for. I know 55 minutes for a 10k seems like a slow time to shoot for, but the last time I ran 6 miles off the treadmill I did it in 61 minutes so I figured my training would bring me in under that by about 5 minutes. Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 8:24
Mile 2: 9:04
Mile 3: 9:11
Mile 4: 9:06
Mile 5: 8:52
Mile 6: 8:55

So while I was excited about my run, it was a bummer to learn that Kristen injured her foot and will be out for awhile. Kinda takes the fun out of the race. But she's tough and I know she'll come back stronger than Seabiscuit.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I'm running my first 10k this Saturday at the Los Alamitos Race on the Base. While training, I notice that my legs get tight around the 5 mile mark. Is that just my threshold I'm approaching or would salt or something help? I was thinking of mixing a little Gatorade in with my water. Or is a 10k too short to do anything other than drink water and train harder? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Album Cover

I snapped this picture in Los Olivos. What album cover does it resemble?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Some friends of ours gave us a nice bottle of wine for Xmas this year. It's a Trinchero 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Here are the notes (mind you that I am no expert in tasting, just drinking):

Color: Deep, ruby red. You can't see through it.

Nose: Spicy, toasted oak (which is weird since this was kept in a barrel that was 92% French Oak which is supposed to be mellower than American or Hungarian), and a slight peppery note that probably comes from the Hungarian percentage of the barrel, cassis.

Palate: I tasted a herbaceous quality that Kristen didn't so that was strange. Peppery, smooth tannins and a long finish, blackberry and cherry.

Overall a nice wine by itself or paired with food.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

No more 5k's

I decided yesterday after the race that I don't want to do anymore 5k's for quite awhile. I posted a PR 5k time last week in Huntington Beach and I figure that the only way to really knock that 24:28 time down to 20 or 21 minutes is to train hard for 10k's and half's. I figure a year of training for longer runs will put me in great shape to run a killer 5k. What do you guys think?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pouring rain and nipple rash

Ran the Lakewood Mug Run 5k today in the pouring rain. The starting line was walking distance from our house so we couldn't not run just because of the rain. It wasn't miserable. Cold, yes, but no wind so it was an experience. I fell off in my third mile by about 60 seconds so I don't know what happened there. My shoe lace came untied during the last mile and I probably weighed a little more with the soaked clothes, but 60 seconds is a lot. I must have subconsciously told myself not to push too hard. I also had no idea where the finish line was until about 100 yards out so I couldn't anticipate it earlier and kick in harder. Oh well. It was still a good workout. I also got a little nipple rash on this one so I got that going for me, which is nice. At least I beat the 10 year old kid that was trying to pass me in the 3rd mile. I tried to drift over and force him into traffic, but thought that might screw up my time too much so I just shoved him into the grass instead. Hey, it's dog eat dog out there. Better he learns at a young age.

Kristen ran the 10k and got first place again, of course. When she came through they said her time was 41 and change, but the "official" time was 42 something so I think they screwed up. Oh well. This was just for fun since it was in our 'hood.

Now...onto the wine.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Treadmill in the Rain

I have a couple of questions for the hard core and the experienced runners. I read several other running blogs and it seems like everybody does all of their running outdoors. Does anybody hit the treadmill to train? I mix it up, but it always feels like running a certain pace outdoors is easier than on the treadmill. I put the incline at 1.5% to 2% to simulate running on the road. Does anybody else feel this way?

I have a 5k coming up this weekend and the forecast calls for rain. Probably not a terrible downpour, but the last time I ran in rain it was at last year's Surf City 5k and I was totally unprepared. What do people recommend? Running in as little as possible (shirt, shorts, shirtless?) or running pants and a hoodie or something in between? Any advice?


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Back attack

I'm racing my first 10k in 2 1/2 weeks so I've started a new training routine for it. Today was an "easy run" and since I didn't get to lift yesterday, I did (or attempted to) a back and bicep routine after the run. Pullups: check. Deadlifts: che-- wait, not so fast. Two sets in my adductors cramped up like crazy. I thought I'd just given an accountant! Hiyo. This has happened to me before doing squats. I don't know why. I wasn't doing really heavy weight because I want to be able to run my 5k race this weekend and not waddle through it. Anyway, I moved onto 1 arm rows which went fine, but two sets into barbell shrugs the left middle muscle group of my back cramped up on me. What the hell? No biceps for me today. I feel fine now, slight stiffness, but not pain. Luckily. At least I got my run out of the way. I think it's the same thing that happened to my ankle the other day while trail running. My body was just telling me to chill out. I hate it when it does that. So the lesson for the day, listen to your body. When it cramps up it's telling you that it wants a beer and the new season of Breaking Bad to start. Seriously. If you haven't seen that show you're missing out.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I CRUSHED my best 5k time today at the HB Surf City race. My previous PR was 28:22 (lame) and I destroyed it today by posting a 24:28. I was (and still am) on cloud 9! I guess I earned the right to wear that skin tight Under Armor shirt (I will probably feel like a dork anyways). It was chilly and overcast, perfect conditions to run. They didn't put mile marker signs for the 5k race in highly visible places so I wasn't able to keep track, but in the end I think that helped me. I had an idea of how I wanted to run, but since I couldn't keep track I just ran at a pace that was uncomfortable, but manageable. Around the two mile mark (I guessed) I saw a guy about 15 yards ahead of me so I just fixed my sights on him and stayed at his pace. At a certain point he began slowing down and I caught up to him and said, "Come on man, I'm pacing myself with you," at which point his chuckled and picked up his pace. We ran side by side for the rest of the race and once I saw the finish line we both started cranking and I think I beat him by about one or two seconds. I think that not being able to keep track of my pace and just going on feeling (and friendly competition) allowed me to post a good time. Crazy. I ran for the Michelob tent and had a beer to celebrate.

Anyway, I'm drinking beer, dinking around and kind of watching football. Not a bad day.

I (Kristen) didn't do too shabby today either. I beat my last - and only other to compare to - half marathon by 13 min. It felt good... I didn't have much of my "juice" left at the end of the race so I'm not sure how much I can improve in the future. Next Saturday is another 10k and I get nervous about local 10k's since I usually place around 2nd or 3rd and feel like I need to defend my hometown of Lakewood with a good time. That's lots of pressure for me - more so than just surpassing my last PR.
Speaking of pressure, yesterday I worked on remodeling my friend's kitchen all day, didn't have a sip of wine (never do the day before a race) and I couldn't imbibe today until I finished my annual "self assessment" for work. Yeesh, I hate those things. Anyhow, I just finished that tedious task, am sitting out back in the studio and have in my fist a gorgeous glass of 2006 Beckman Estate Cabernet. Mmmmm. Good enough to almost ignore the football inside the house.