Saturday, July 31, 2010

Potato Hill Time Trial & July totals

We spent the night in Acton last night to avoid the smokey air in the AV. We stayed up late so we missed a long run today. Instead, we took turns running the Potato Hill Time Trail from our friends, the Schneider's, house. They live on the north side of Acton off the Santiago exit from the 14 freeway. From their house it is a short run down the street to the trail head which takes you to the top of the hill (Potato Hill) overlooking Acton. They have run this loop (almost exactly 2 miles) with other friends and keep a record of peoples' times. The trail is very steep for one mile to the top and then even steeper down hill and back to their house. It starts and ends at the fire hydrant in front of their driveway.
Bill and I ran first. It took about 2 minutes to get to the trail head and after a quarter mile on the hill my legs started burning. The trail gets progressively steeper until the top which I had to walk the last tenth of a mile when the grades got up around 20-30%. It is 1.1 miles from the top and from the low point at the trail head to the top, there is 620ft of elevation gain (3310ft to 3930ft) in just less than a mile with grades averaging from 7%-17% most of the way. I reached the top in 10:51 and started a controlled fall down the back side of the hill. It was more bounding than running as the grades were closer to negative 30-40%. Then there is a slight up hill on the road back to their house. I finished in 16:33 which is now the course record! The previous record was held by Dawn Schneider in 18:46. Bill came in at around 19:20? I will try and get his exact time. I believe it was his course best time.

Andi and Dawn ran second. Dawn took an early lead but Andi passed her and was the first one to the top of the hill with about a 10-15 second lead. Dawn passed her on the downhill, but Andi couldn't make up the difference on the road. Dawn finished in 18:50 and Andi finished in 18:56!

It is a very difficult course, to get a good time you have to be strong on the hills, have good aerobic endurance (you are working at your max HR for the first mile), and then be fearless on the even steeper downhill to get back as quickly as possible. It was challenging but lots of fun.

Because I didn't get a long run in today I didn't quite meet my July goal of 140 miles. I finished the month with 134 miles, but I am much more pleased with the consistency of my training. It was a good month with 3 runs of over two hours (two of which were 15-16 miles), two good track workouts, a pleasantly surprising 5k on July 4th, and a course record at the Pelona Vista Cross Country course.

My goal for August (which also has 31 days) is 150+ miles. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good thing I got my run in this morning!

I got in an easy 7 miles this morning. It was a beautiful morning with no wind. I wish I could have gone longer. I was just starting to loosen up from my Tuesday track workout when I had to turn home. I ran my 3 hill tour of Quartz Hill, zig-zagging back home from L-8 and 70th.

By the afternoon the view from my front door looked like this.

And by night fall the same view looked like this.

The wind is blowing the smoke and fire to the east. We actually have clear skies above us right now. They have evacuated homes in Palmdale to the southeast of us. It is scary and sad to watch. It is burning some of the trails I have run above the aqueduct.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Track workout #2 (6 x 800m)

I was able to get to the High Desert Runners interval night tonight. Clay's workout was 6x800m and he wanted Zac to run 2:45s. I was unsure weather or not I could hang with that time. Two weeks ago when I ran the same workout I only ran that fast on the last 800m of the workout. It was extremely windy tonight. I ran to Joe Walker from my house (1.5 miles), then did another 1.5 miles while I waited for everyone to arrive. I was picking it up on the back stretch of each lap (with the wind) and noticed that I was hitting exactly 20 seconds each time. When everyone arrived we did some warm up drills and then started the workout. I talked Zac into taking turns leading so we each got to draft for one lap of each 800. The first 800 was a warm up that I lead in 2:54. Then we dropped the hammer down. The next two were 2:40 and the last three were around 2:42! The last three got progressively harder to maintain pace on the second lap. I haven't run that fast in a long time. Zac started to have foot pain again on the last 800, my advice was to call it for the day and take a few days off. I cooled down by running home for a total of 9 miles today. I expect some soreness tomorrow.

I came home to this sunset!

I found a new blog from UVA where I attended a Running Medicine Seminar this past April. The blog is check it out. There is some excellent running articles here. A MUST READ!

Finally, this week Andrew Wheating ran 3:30.9 1500m (a 7 second PR and 5th fastest US 1500m ever) in Monaco! Check out this webpage with the race video and post race interview. It is a great interview because Wheating is so excited about his performance. How does one of the top 1500m runners in the country PR by 7 SECONDS? WILL POWER! ABSOLUTE WILL POWER!
"Make it one lap, lets go for one more. Once more around, I'm still in this. Third lap, LET'S DO THIS! Before you know it there's 300 to go and this is the best part of the race, LET'S GO!"

"It's's always what can we do to better each other, its never I'm gonna kick your butt."
--Andrew Wheating on international track & field competition

Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer.
--Percy Cerutty, an athletics coach in the 1950s and 1960s

Don't be concerned with what you can't do. Work on what you can do - then count your blessings.
--Alan Robinson, 56-year-old partially paralyzed marathon runner

It takes patience to become the best runner you can be. Top athletes realize that running is a long-term sport. It is set up for people who value delayed gratification and who like hard-earned success.
--Anthony Famiglietti, two-time Olympian and six-time national champion

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Big Bear, CA

I skipped my Wednesday track workout last week because of some plantar fascia pain on both heels. It was bothering me enough to hold on the track work, or even an easy run. I have found that if you start experiencing this type of pain, rest is the best medicine. I was still have some mild discomfort on Friday but it was much better.

We spent the weekend at a family reunion in Big Bear, CA. While the kids were napping on Friday Andi and I, along with my mom and sister, drove over to the north shore where they have a 3.2 mile paved bike path called the Alpine Pedal Path. We went out for 20 min and back for a total of 40 minutes. Andi and I were cruising at 8:00 pace and finished 5 miles.

In a previous trip to Big Bear I ran around the lake which turned out to be almost exactly 15 miles. I thought about doing that again, but after looking at some maps, I realized that the Pacific Crest Trail was not too far away. There was a trail, called the Cougar Crest Trail that took you 2.2 miles from the highway to the PCT. The trail head for the Cougar Crest Trail didn't look to far from our cabin. Actually, it turned out to be 3.5 miles away. I decided to get up early and go say hello to the PCT. I even talked Andi into coming along with me.

We left at around 5:45am and headed back to the Alpine Pedal Path and caught the Cougar Crest Trail. It started out as a wide dirt trail with a slow steady uphill grade. After about a mile the trail narrowed and became much more rocky. It got steeper and more technical until the top where the trail ends at the Pacific Crest Trail. We spent some time at the top looking back at the lake, and then retraced our steps back for a total of 12 miles (The trail turned out to be more like 2.5 miles each way).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Does running damage your knees?

Oh no, here goes Karl on one of his rants again. Doesn't all that running damage your knees? I still get that question which is a very common misperception. I addressed this question earlier this year, but here I go again. I recently watched an interview with Molly Beckwith on how she started running. Molly just became the 7th American this year to break 2 minutes in the 800m (a HUGE barrier for women). In the interview she tells of how she ran track for one year in high school, then decided to play soccer year-round. She got a college scholarship to play soccer for Indiana, but after multiple knee injuries and surgeries from contact and rotational forces of the game, the pain forced her to quit soccer. She then walked on to the track team, ran 2:14 in her first 800m, dropped to 2:06 her Junior year, and was second at NCAA Championships her senior year. This summer she is one of the top 800m runners in the country.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

So did running damage her knees? No, but one could say that soccer did. Was she able to run after multiple knee injuries and surgeries? Yeah, I'd say she is able to run pretty well after all that. Is she now at a higher risk for early onset arthritis because of her multiple knee surgeries? YES! Could the running actually be good for her knees and delay any chance of arthritis or further degeneration? Well, the jury is still out on that one, but I have read some articles that show running may have a protective effect on the knees! Read this abstract.

Here is another one that showed a decreased incidence of arthritis with physical activity, although they don't really define what "Moderate Recreational Physical Activity" is.

Monday, July 19, 2010

7 mile morning run

I didn't run yesterday, I was too tired. I got in an easy 7 this morning through Quartz Hill including 3x 1/2 mile hills. It was not pretty and I was having some left heel pain again. I don't know if I will get in a track workout this week, we have a pretty busy schedule.

Andi finished the Strawberry Fields Olympic Triathlon yesterday in 3:06:23. She finished well after a tough ocean swim that left her "completely exhausted." Her splits were 49:36 (1500m ocean swim), 3:38 (T1), 1:19:51 (40k bike), 2:16 (T2), 51:00 (10k run). The "T" is a transition time between events. She was 311th out of 372, and 19th out of 27 for females 30-34.

Here's a video from Coach Jay Johnson on circuit training for runners. Good stuff!

Circuit Workouts for Running Times - Rationale from CoachJayJohnson on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

15 mile aqueduct run

I got up 30 minutes late this morning for my long run, so I left at about 5:45! The later you leave the hotter it gets. I ran up to the aqueduct then west. I was dealing with about a 10 mph headwind for most of the way but I kept telling myself that it would be better when I turned around. At about mile four I got a sharp pain in my right side. It didn't feel like muscle pain, I quickly realized that I had been stung by a bee! I pulled my shirt up and started shaking it around and rubbing my back. I never felt the bee but the pain quickly subsided and I was able to continue running. The steady wind started to wear on me after about 6-7 miles out. I was close to the last bridge so I made it there (7.25 miles) and decided to turn around at 7.5 miles. This was the exact turn-around point for my 30 mile birthday run. On the way back the wind seemed to die down a little and now I was dealing with the sun in my face. Into the wind I was maintaining 8:20-8:30 pace, but on the way back I was cruising at 7:20-7:30 pace and trying to conserve my fluids. I finished the 15 miles in 1:59:12 (avg pace 7:57/mi). I averaged 7:24/mi for the lat 7 miles. I got home and showered myself off with the hose in the back yard. It felt so good! Glad I wasn't out any later, it is hot out there today!

Good luck to Andi, Julie, and Ron at the Strawberry Fields Olympic Distance Triathlon tomorrow. It should be a great race with great weather! Have fun!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

HDR Cross Country Co-ed Relay Night

I didn't want my first mile of the day to be in the race, and I was stiff from my track workout yesterday, so I got in an easy 3 miles this morning. Boy was that a good idea. It wasn't pretty, but I felt so much better afterward.

It was the hottest day of the year so far out here. My car read as high as 109 degrees this afternoon. It was also very "muggy," and the sky was dark to the east. Andi and I left for Pelona Vista Park and got sprinkled on as we were driving. Our team for the co-ed relay consisted of Andi, me, and Zac Patten (Team Valley PT), and after talking with Clay at work, we decided that we could be in the top 5. Before the race the air was very thick and we could hardly see the mountains to the south. It got windy just in time for the race. Andi lead off our team with a solid first mile in around 6:48 putting us somewhere around 15th place. I chose the middle mile that contains the "killer hill" because I feel very confident running up the hill and closing hard. I picked off about 5 people by the top of the hill and another 2 or three on the back stretch. I didn't get an exact split but estimate it to be about 5:55 and handed off to Zac. He picked off a few more runners to finish in 5th place with a team time of 18:56! We were the first team to finish with non-high school team members. Certainly the first team with two members over 30! Thanks to Zac for running with us old folks! It was a lot of fun. Zac's teammates won the relay in a relay record, some were around 17:19! See Clay's blog for more pictures.

Total miles for the day was 5.

The weather continued to be very humid but the wind stopped right after the race (of course) and was calm all evening. After watching the news, it was lots worse in other areas. Palmdale got dumped on with flash floods, and there are three fires from lightning near Hemet. Here is a picture from my front door (looking west) of the clouds and sunset when I got home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First track workout of the year (6x800m)

I am feeling more confident about my endurance these days and decided it was time to start some track workouts. I did my warm up to Joe Walker MS (1.5 miles) and did another two laps on the track. Then I did a few strides and some skips and butt kicker drills and started into the workout. I decided to run 800s for a first track workout, because it is not too long but not too short. I planned on 5 or 6 sets and wanted to run each one a little faster than the last. I figured I should be able to run them all at least around 3 minutes with a one lap recovery jog.

Here's how it went down:

3:02, 2:58, 2:55, 2:52, 2:47, 2:44

Cool down back home for a total of 8 miles for the workout.
I was very pleased with how I was able to run the last 3 under 2:55. I felt like I could have done a few more. Wednesday morning is going to be my new track workout day. I will be varying the workout each week over the next two months. The plan is to slowly increase the volume of intervals. Today I get credit for 4800m of work. I will build up to 6 to 7000m of total volume by the fall.

The Badwater Ultra was this week. No one broke the 24 hour mark this year. 2008 winner Jorge Pacheco started off on pace but had to stop for an hour due to stomach cramps and his pace slowed for the rest of the race. He ended up 6th. Also 2008 female winner Jamie Donaldson, broke her own course record with a time of 26 hours 16 minutes 12 seconds. This was her 3rd Badwater win. She runs very even and picking off runners late in the race. After Furnace Creek (mile 17) she was in 13th place and worked her way up to a 3rd place over all finish. See results here.

I found a cool blog of another Badwater runner Dominic Grossman who ended up 11th. His website is but I can't figure out if he is a PT or not. He did a Gatorade commercial...check it out.

Gatorade "Dominic" from BlipMobile on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

6 mile recovery run

The legs were tired from yesterday. It took me 3 miles to loosen up and I just took it easy running down to Lane Park, did 3 laps (1 mile each), and returned home for 6 miles in 51 minutes.

That's a 22 mile weekend and 40 miles for the week. Now I just have to keep this up for a while.

Check out this race, 2nd fastest 800m ever this weekend. If it looks like he is sprinting for a half mile, that's because he is!

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Beautiful 16 mile run (2:07:42)

Family totals for today:
21 miles running
26 miles biking

How do you get all this work done? You get up early!

I left the house at 5:00 am and ran up to the aqueduct. Just as I began running along the aqueduct it started to rain, not hard, but just enough to keep me cool. There were some beautiful clouds that created an even more spectacular sunrise. I made it out to the turn around at Highland and started running back. I increased my pace to around 7:00/mi mile 7 and 8. After almost exactly 8 miles, I met Clay, Dale, and Chuck running the other direction. This wasn't an coincedence, I had planned this meeting with Clay on Friday. I then made a u-turn, and continued around the turn and back on the dirt side of the aqueduct. I finished the run home for 16 miles in 2:07:42 or just under 8:00 pace on average.

I then tagged Andi who left on her bike to meet up with Clay. See Clay's blog for details. She biked 26 miles with Clay and then transitioned to the run and ran 5 miles. By now it was almost 10:00am and heating up quickly. She came back tired and dehydrated. So by 10:00am we had run 21 miles and biked 26 miles. Not a bad morning.

Here are my mile splits on the run: 8:54, 9:13, 8:20, 8:15, 7:54, 7:41, 7:32, 7:00, 8:19, 7:59, 7:55, 8:01, 8:10, 8:20, 7:16, 6:53. First two miles up hill, last two miles down hill.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

HDR XC Personal Course Record 19:42?

It was my turn tonight to run the cross country series (Andi and I are taking turns). I invited a friend of mine Dan Ham to drive up from Northridge to test his fitness on the course. Local friends Dawn and Bill Schnieder also ran tonight. It was the least windy night of the first three weeks in the series, but still warm (mid 80s). I remember commenting to Dawn that these were the best conditions we have had yet on a Thursday night. I ran a mile warm up before the races and was already sweating pretty good. Dan arrived and we ran the one mile race as a warm up together in around 7:15. Then we prepared for the 3 mile race. My instructions to Dan were to "not go out to fast for the first mile." So what did I do? I went out in 6:10, oops. That was 10 seconds faster than 2 weeks ago. After that I just decided to run hard to the top of the hill and then see what I had left in the tank. Well I had a little left and ran through 2 miles in 13:00, and finished in 19:42ish (no official results yet). So the last mile was 6:42. I am sure it was a personal course record for me though because my previous best was 19:57. I was 9th overall and I'm not sure about age group placing yet. Dan, Dawn, and Bill all ran well for their first time on the tough course. Zac Patten ran 19:53 with his shoes untied!

Two quick links that are a must read:
First, Ryan Fenton of Flotrack venting on the horrible coverage of the Prefontaine Classic.

Second, a great post by local Canyon Country HS grad and recent US 5k Champ, Lauren Fleshman. She has a cool post where multiple times per week she answers questions from fans and younger runners about anything running related. On July 1st she posted a great response to a question about Physical Therapy after her navicular fracture. Sounds like she had a great P.T.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

8 mile Rancho Vista Loop

Another 8 mile run this morning and again it took me 63 minutes! The last three 8 mile runs I have done on my own have taken me 63 minutes. The mornings have been breezy out here and it got worse as the run progressed. I am feeling better about my fitness every week. I am running the HDR cross country race tomorrow for a hilly tempo workout, then a 2 hour run on Saturday.

California Lutheran University has been releasing their "All Decade Teams" for each sport. I had the pleasure of running with one male and one female runner that made the list. Has it really been a decade already?

I was a teammate of Tom Ham for 2 years and a teammate of Lisa Pierce for 4 years.

Heather Worden, a local Paraclete H.S. grad and arguably the best female distance runner ever to attend CLU, also made the list. She has school records in the 1500m (4:33.95) and the 800m (2:16.22). She is also the only CLU runner ever to win the SCIAC cross country championship which she did in 2004.

Monday, July 5, 2010

8 mile moring run

Stayed up late last night, slept in a little, left the houe at 7:00 instead of 6:00, still got 8 miles, no long run this weekend, finished in 1:03 on a hilly route, legs were tired by the end.

Here are some pictures from yesterday. See Clay's blog for more!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Newhall Independence Day 5k (18:17)

A few things happended today to set up a personal course record. First I got a good night sleep the past two nights. This morning I felt well rested. Second, the weather was nearly ideal. When we pulled up and parked the car the temperature was 60 degrees and calm! Finally, I felt great this morning. I had no heel pain, no achilles tightness, again I attribute this to better sleep.

The other set up for a decent run was my plan to go out conservatively. I got NO warmup. We got there about 20 minutes early, walked slowly to the start with the boys, hit the restrooms and got in line for the race. I worked my way up toward the starting line but still had about three rows ahead of me. The younger kids always go out too fast. They started the race and I found an opening that I could settle into. I was being passed up until the mile mark that I hit in 5:55! I tried to maintain an even effot over the second mile which is uphill in the second half. I don't remember anyone passing me after the 1 mile mark. My mile split was 6:08! There is a downhill mile finish which I pushed and split in 5:43! I finished in 18:17 (avg pace 5:53) good enough for 26th place and 2nd in my age group (M30-34).

It was a personal course record by 3 seconds! Two years ago when I ran 18:20 my splits were 5:25, 5:55, 6:04. The difference was two years ago I faded at the end and was slowing. This year I maintained a more even pace and finished strong picking it up the last .1 miles.

This tells me I didn't loose as much fitness as I thought I did since the LD50. The reason my workouts have not been great is due to lack of sleep and general fatigue. I think on the right course and the right day I could break 18 minutes in a few months.

Other finishers included Zach Patten in 17:30s, Clay Patten in 20:20s, Andi in 21:40s, and my brother in law John Fitch in 31:25!

Check back soon for pictures of the finishers!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

8 mile birthday run

With my dad and step-mom in town, Andi and I got in another run together this weekend. We ran an 8 mile loop down 55th to L-8 then up to 70th to the aqueduct, back to 60th and home on N. It was not too hot this morning with a slight breeze. The run took us 72 minutes, we took it easy since we are running the Newhall 5k tomorrow morning.

Keeping with the tradition of significant birthday runs (last year I ran 30 miles for my 30th birthday), this year I will run 3.1 miles for my 31st birthday! I had planned on trying for a sub-18 minutes, but since the last 2 months haven't gone as planned, it will be more of a bench mark race to test my current fitness. I would be pleased with a sub 18:30, and happy to be in the 18s.

The Prefontaine Classic was this afternoon, and in windy conditions, there was finally a sub 13min 5k on US soil. Actually, the first 2 were under 13 minutes, but no Americans among them. Solinsky was 7th in 13:08. Bekele won as I predicted in 12:58. The highlight of the US distance crew was Andrew Wheating in the Bowerman mile. He was the first American and 5th overall with a personal best time of 3:51.74! The Beijing Gold Medalist, Kiprop, won in 3:49! Local Palmdale resident, LaShinda Demus, won the 400m hurdles in a meet record 53.03! There was a tied American Record in the 110 HH by David Oliver 12.90.