A disappointing PR

Got up today at 4:15am. Had a cup of cooked oatmeal, a banana, a yogurt, about 6 oz of OJ and a small cup of coffee. I was shooting for about 700 calories for breakfast. Got picked up by my buddy Ankur and his roommate at 5:20am and headed to the Dodgers stadium. Mistake #1 - could have stayed home for another hour. A drop off was quick and we were there at 5:45am. Walked around, hit a portpotty twice, saw a few peepz from my team and headed to my corral.

For some reason, the corral entrance reminded me of the Soviet era line at a liquor store. Everyone tries to get in, people pushing, chicks trying to squeeze in with their boyfriends even though you have to pre-register for a corral spot.... stupidity abound. Once in, it was actually nice since I found a spot by the concrete bench and put my bag of stuff down. Warmed up for a little while - mainly short slow runs, some kicks, shuffles and then 4 strides... Now the right calf started aching during the strides. Oh oh...

The elite women went off at 7:10am or so (all 7 of them, LOL), and then people started pushing towards the front of the line. Now this was looking more like a Slayer concert with people angling for the spot at the stage. Poor volunteer kids were getting pushed and shoved, albeit gently. Mayor speech was short and the gun went off for the rest of the field. We were out of the gate in about a minute after the start of the run.

The right calf was still sore. I had to stop for 20 seconds and massage it. Suddenly it just quieted down and I was on my way downhill. After the first mile I was already way behind my pace... I started trying to catch up. The first 3 miles were mainly downhill and I was getting close to 7:25 min/mile on average. The we started climbing the hill on Temple st and running towards Silver Lake. I was not making up lost time anymore. Not good.

We got to Sunset and it was roughly about 10 km into it. The crowd thinned out and I no longer had to contend for a corner space or watch out for the elbows. Lots of people were out supporting the run and the atmosphere was  plain awesome.  Still I was stuck at 7:30min/mile and I saw no real way to accelerate as I knew that the Hollywood area is going to be full of short, sharp rollers. Eventually I worked my way down to 7:28min/mile at around mile 12. I actually was getting hungry despite having eaten a GU gel at mile 7. Started grabbing orange slices that were abundant throughout the course, and a banana slice here and there. Saw some kid giving away potato chips and grabbed a bunch - thanks kid, you were an awesome help!

Had another GU, as we blasted down Doheny. Again lots and lots of supporters... a very encouraging setting. I was checking for the signs of fatigue as were getting past mile 15 and saw little... quads were tightening a little from the hill running, but nothing too dramatic. The average pace was at around 7:29 min/mile. Then came the stretch on Burton. Pure sufferfest for some  reason. A non-ending false flat, with a nasty wind in my face. Got to turn around on Wilshire and run a short while til the intersection of Santa Monica. This is where I started to feel the legs talking to me. I knew that I had some appreciable rollers ahead of me as we would cross Westwood and I was getting worried.

Took another GU and tried to keep the pace from dropping past 8 min/mile. Not terribly successful... was hoping to find someone to draft off since the had wind really picked up and could not find anyone willing to go at my clip... Eventually got to the VA site and at that point I knew that I'd be about 5 mins behind my goal time. There was no way I would be to run a 42 minute 10k from that point. I was so bummed by this realization.

Ran down San Vincente without too much enthusiasm. It was getting really freaking cold too! 54 F with wind. The crowds were very good as we hit Santa Monica. Finally saw my kids and wifey and my dad at the 14th street and it gave me a good moral boost. From there I ran pretty strong and hit the finish chute sprinting. Walked past the KTLA crew as they were interviewing some guy and apparently they caught me on TV. Yay! Finish time was 3:21:57, a PR but almost 7 minutes worse than the goal. Link here.

The organizers for some reason intended for everyone to walk down Ocean Ave almost til the Santa Monica Pier. I was getting cold, hungry and thirsty all at the same time. Grabbed a bagel, 2 bananas, water and cliff bar and a space blanket and sneaked past the barricades. Started walking towards my dad's place on Euclid and I was getting really cold, like nearly hypothermic. Wife had to come pick me up half way into my mini deathmarch. Got to my dad's place, took a hot shower, changed into some clean clothes and had some chicken soup with a huge chicken breast. Life was good again, except for no BQ for me today.

Gonna take a day or 2 off and then get into the pool.


The day before

Tomorrow is the marathon day! I am already feeling the adrenaline rush in my blood. Everything feels frantic, accelerated and sort of blurry. I could not fall asleep yesterday without a sleeping pill, and it almost never happens to me. But I feel good and ready. The snot is almost gone from the nasal cavity and my breathing is good again.

This morning I slept in on purpose and woke up at 8am. Put on my full running garb, and went for a short 3 mile run at about 90% speed. Everything was clicking good, the pace was steady and I had no issue with the right hip or the left knee. Yay! Did a quick dash to Olive and back and was all done by 8:30am. Beautiful weather too, even though it did get warm after 11am. The results here.

Tomorrow I will leave at 5:30am for the stadium. Wish me luck!

Easy Thursday

Woke up at around 5am since I had to be in the South bay by 8:30am to attend a conference. Ate and drove to the gym in the Paramount lot. Had a quick work out, only upper body and midsection. I gotta start coming to the gym earlier - it's so nice and empty, and there is a weird frantic morning energy there.

After that spent an hour in traffic to get to Manhattan Beach, then another hour and a half to get back... the 405 is terrible. Don't know how people can take it daily. In the evening I headed to the track and ran 3 miles very slowly. Like 9:30min/mile slow. Actually, after the driving and the gym and the stupid droning conference I had little energy left, so this was fine. Also wanted to see how's the left knee was doing. It seemed to be fine. It was super sweltering, almost Florida like. Hopefully this will not be the Sunday weather. Results here.

Tomorrow I am resting. Will pick up the bib at lunch!

Commute day

It's so awesome that it doesn't get dark til 7pm or so now. This means that I can bike to work again! Which is what I did today. It saves me about $7 in gas and mileage so I can promptly spend it on food and beverage in the cafeteria :) The other goal was to ride at a higher than usual cadence to spin out before the long run on the weekend. My target was about 95 rpm average.

Left the house at around 8am. It was still a little cold, but nothing too bad. Since I have not ridden in traffic in  the Hollywood traffic for almost 5 months, took me a little while to get used to the subtle skill of keeping the side vision going at all times. The ride to work was pretty quiet with little traffic at all until I hit the Silver Lake.  Los Feliz was busy as usual and the Melrose Hill was packed with people trying to get out of their lanes.

On the way back, took the same route as I did not want to climb much. One was or the other you pick up about 700 feet of elevation on the way back as you ride back towards the hills. It was hot and the people were as always pissed off after the working day. But I made a good time (about 50 mins to get back). The 6th street in Burbank needs to be repaved though! The pavement is all effed up. Results here and here. Tomorrow I hit the gym for a light workout and then maybe a little run at night.

Hard Tuesday

Basically, the last hard-ish day before the marathon. Slept very poorly today, the time change is still not set right with my inner clock. Got up at 5:45am today and headed to the pool. Dark and cold still, and the windshield is frozen even. And imagine that - there's traffic on the 101 at this hour! Got to the pool and there was like 1 lane left open, and it is the one by the stairs!

Swam 600 yards easy, just warming up. Legs felt sluggish, so I swam a couple of lanes with the kickboard. Felt better and then got to the intervals - 8x75 sprints. Felt kinda hard actually - I think that the best time I showed was 1:19 for like the 5th or the 6th sprint. 20 seconds rest intervals don't really leave you much room for heroics after the 4th sprint anyways. After that swam another 600 pretty easy with some hard 25s thrown in here and there.

Got home, worked on my theatrical stuff at Paramount... lunch was spent just sitting outside and sun bathing. Felt great and not even sleepy or anything.

Went to the track at 6:10pm. At first it was just me and the 3 Hispanic dudes who always run on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They were hauling ass, and were kinda smirking at me as I was warming up. Then I did my 2 miles tempo and I was hoping to keep it at 6:50 or so but it was not in the cards... kept it at 7:00 just like I was supposed to. Towards the end of the last mile the left knee was feeling a little tender underneath. Odd.

Then I got to doing the 800s at 6:30 and suddenly my legs woke up and I was running quite well. No more smirks from the tres hermanos! 400s were even better and I did one of them at 5:17 min/mile. Results here. Warmed down with 3 slow laps, stretched and headed to pick up my daughter. Tomorrow will be the bike to work day (and my birthday, yay!). And then after that - total taper til Sunday!

40 miler

Got up this morning to have the time leap forward by 1 hour. One more incentive to leave home early before it gets hot! Originally was going to go through Montrose and then pick up an extra 10 in the park, but then I got a better idea - why don't I try to simulate the Wildflower route. So the plan was to do a short, sharp climb in the beginning of the ride, then ride the flats for 20 miles or so, then do a monster climb and then do another short climb towards the end. Awright!

Rode down Kenneth to Olive and turned left up the hill. It was quite windy actually and the climb was a bit slower than usual. Once I crested, rode to Sonora and down to the LA River bike path. Now the wind was in my back and I got to hammer all the way to the 110. Some dude hung with me and was sucking on my wheel all the way to the turnaround. He actually passed me as I was slowing down near the turning point, and rode out back north... but then got off his bike and started walking :) I guess that riding 7 miles at about 22.5 mph got to him eventually.

On the way back I was facing the wind and the ride was tough. So I got to spin out a little and got my heartrate back down to 140. Rode back to Los Feliz and got ready to climb the Western Canyon route. There was surprisingly little traffic and got to the gate without having to dodge the usual minivans. Past the gate the wind was in my face again and the climb was tough. I ran out of the gears a couple of times. Finally got to the top, and stopped to down a few GU Chomps. It hit the spot and I rode down pretty quickly.

Back through the Forest Lawn to Olive route and then to Riverside. Stopped under the 134 bridge and some guys caught up with me. They rode pretty fast and I hung with them until Victory. After that it was a quick dash to the home base. Results here All in all 40 miles, and I felt a little tired. Probably the training yesterday still had me fatigued. Now I need to concentrate on resting for the next weekend. 

1 week til the marathon

Only 1 week to go. From the running perspective I am tapering off. But from the triathlon training perspective, I am in the middle of the 16 week training cycle! Go figure!

Yesterday, it poured all day. I was supposed to do a short morning ride, but the weather gods did not smile on me... and so  I ended up at the gym on a stationary bike. 50 minutes of rolling hills went by quickly, but it was a decent effort - 14.86 miles, 160 Watts average power. I'll take it. The rest of the day was spent working and looking at the marathon route, visualizing the elevations and the effort it'd require to complete it under 3:15. I am not sure if  I am quite there at the moment. The 2 colds I had this winter probably set me back in training... but I am hoping for the best.

This morning I went to the pool and did a 1500 yard workout. The core of it was 300 yards warm up, 3x300 yards intervals@race pace and 300 yards of cooling down. The 300 yards times were 5:00 min, 4:53 min and 5:15 min, with 30 seconds rest in between. I felt alright, not too heavily worked. After the cool down I did a few short laps with the kickboard, trying to keep up the pace with some of the better swimmers out there also working the kickboard. I actually had a bit of a breakthrough today - I've realized that I need to kick from underneath the hips and really make sure that the legs are near the surface. It makes a pretty dramatic difference.

Came back, drove kids to various activities, and then went out for a 5 mile run. Wanted to keep it as close to 7 min/mile as possible with the hills around my house. My usual 5 mile loop has about 300 feet of elevation so it is not a trivial exercise. Went out pretty strong and really hammered the slow descent to Alameda. Then ran up to Kenneth and started running as hard as I can back up the ascent. Kept the pace at 7:18 til I crested near Muir Middle School and then hammered the downhill. By the time I finished back near my house, I was close to 7:07 average pace. Now I felt worked! Results here.

Tomorrow will be the long ride on my roadie (the trike is still waiting on the new brake levers), and perhaps a slow run. After that, for the next week we have 2 swims, 1 short bike ride, 1 short intervals workout+plus some minor runs.... and that does it.

First swim of 2013

Got up at 5:45am, ate a clif bar with a banana, fed the kids and headed to the Van Nuys pool. Surprisingly there was no traffic at all on the way there! Not sure why, since it is almost always a battlefield in the morning. Was in the pool by 7am. It was pretty crowded, with a bunch of high school swimmer kids occupying 1/3 of the pool and the WH masters taking up another 4 lanes. But nonetheless found an open lane and jumped in.

I was fearing that I would be completely out of gas 15 minutes into it. However, strangely I just swam through a mile and then a little bit more... and noticed little fatigue. I did not want to do any drills on my first swim of the year, just needed to know whether I am even capable of swimming through a HIM distance. It appears that I am. Will do another swim on Saturday and then will start picking up workouts.

The drive to work was also quick, with some traffic near the Universal Studios, but otherwise all good. Got out the office at 6pm, got home, hung out with the kids and then headed to the track for the 2nd to last intervals workout before the marathon. It was a pretty straightforward set - 2 miles tempo, 2 x 800 cruising, 2x400 speed intervals. The track was pretty empty, I guess that most people are either done with their pre-marathon training or were scared away from a wet forecast. The 400s were pretty fun. I was surprised to see that I did both of them in under 5:50 min/mile. I remember that last week I struggling to run 800s at the SI speed below 6:09... hmmm.  Results here.

Tomorrow is probably going to be too wet to ride outside, so it will be an hour on the trainer.

Trail ruin

Took a couple of days off from any aerobic exercise to let the congestion go away. Almost there, but the cold/flu is still kinda lingering. What a gross little flu season we have this year! In any case, decided to go do my usual 7 mile trail run in the morning in Griffiths park.

It was pretty warm actually when I started at 8am. Maybe it is Spring time afterall. I wanted to keep a good pace, probably close to 7:30ish for this run. It felt pretty good, with the trail being full of runners (clearly it is almost the time for the LA marathon, lol). The only thing I did not like was how I ran the second short hill near the end of the trail - it felt forced and kind of hard in terms of the effort. Had to blow my nose a couple of times too to clear the snot.

The last mile was run pretty fast - specifically, close to 5:45 min/mile in the last 0.75 miles! Good stuff - results here. I still feel like I am not quite there for the Boston qualifying pace. My guess would be that my time would nearer 3:20. Just my hunch. Tomorrow is the first swim + a short intervals workout. Yay! 

Sunday ride

There's less than 2 weeks left to the LA Marathon 2013. I am still working through the 16 week program, but at this point I need to start shifting my focus to cycling since this is what Wildflower is about. Also swimming needs to resume, and the last but not least I need to shake off the remnants of the last weeks flu. Still feeling it a little.

With that said, I planned a rather short but intense ride. I was going to hit Mount Hollywood from the Vermont Canyon side, so that I would be able to climb a couple short but steep streets and the canyon around the golf park. Also the Vermont climb is a little shorter and overall steeper than the Western Canyon climb. The converge at the intersection that takes you to the observatory.

Left the house after lunch. Did not have my tri bike today (left it in the shop yesterday to get some work done). Of course it was windy as hell, and I really wished that I had the aerobars at my disposal. Wind seemed to have been coming from every direction possible no matter where I turned. Even climbing in the rather secluded Hollywood hills felt harder than usual due to consistently strong gusts.

It eased up a little when I got to Vermont Canyon. The traffic was dense and I had to carefully navigate the switchback until I got to the tunnel. Not a fan of that thing... cars can barely see you. Once I got past the gate I somehow managed to get the chain stuck and dropped it... first time this year. Weird - it's a new chain. Maybe the right shifter is starting to go. Finished climbing and came down Mount Hollywood drive pretty fast. Climbing felt reasonably strong considering that I ran 13 miles the day before.

After I did a quick dash through the Forest Lawn stretch (the wind was so strong that I had to ride on the drops pretty much to Olive). Crossed back through Riverside drive, and then climbed Sonora to Brand Park. Again, lots of traffic on Sunset Canyon. Not sure why. Cut back to the 6th through Harvard and I was home! Got to enjoy the steak with mashed pot and arugula salad. Yummy! Results here.

Alright, so no aerobic activity for the next 2 days. Need to start rejuvenating! 

Friday/Saturday

Slowly recovering from the flu, but this round of it was pretty bad. The whole family is sick, with the exception of the dog :). Nasty bug, for sure. Co-workers seems to be going in and out of it too.

Yesterday, went for a quick morning ride before work. Nothing record setting, just a quick ride to downtown and back on the LA River bike trail and then a loop through the park. The trail was pretty windy on the way back, and I was feeling the muscle fatigue from the speed intervals on Thursday. Gotta say, the surface in one spot, about 3/4 mile from the Glendale freeway, is absolutely horrific. Very dangerous if you happen to be on the aerobars and have someone else riding through the same spot in the opposite direction.

After I finished the trail part, rode up to Trash Hill. The climb was ok, nothing groundbreaking. Came down and rode through the Forest Lawn to Olive. A lot of wind by the sports club, pretty tough spot. Rode down Olive to Riverside and to the Equestrian club. While riding by Pickwick Ice Center, a car turned left right in front of me, and I missed it by a couple inches despite all the braking! In fact, I hit the trail end of it with my right knuckles! I thought that the wrist would be broken, but nothing, not even a swelling! And the bastard did not even stop! Typical LA shithead driver. Wrapped up the ride and headed to work. Results here.

Today went for my last long run. 13 miles was on tap, and I decided to wimp out and run in on the track.Of course, it happened to be a hotter than usual day and I also happened to sleep in after playing poker with my neighbors  Started at 9:00am  and it was already plenty warm on the track. Was shooting to run about 7:30 min/mile, nothing too crazy. But the fatigue and congestion were still being felt. Ended up running 4 seconds slower than planned, but still a decent run. Results here. A long bike ride tomorrow, and after that I am starting to taper.

The return

I came down with a flu last week. Last Thursday I felt bloody terrible, and stupidly went to work on Friday. Of course, by end of day Friday I was REALLY not feeling well. All in all did not get back into it until Tuesday night when I felt well enough to try a 8 mile run.

The 8 mile run was supposed to be "with hills" but I kind of knew that this would be a slugfest even on a flat surface, so I kept the hills to a minimum. I mean Burbank is naturally hilly, so in my mind my normal loop to Mountain and back would suffice. The evening was pretty warm so I felt good about trying to run.

The part that was actually downhill (ie to Sonora) sucked bad. I had no spring in my pace and every push felt like I was going running underwater. At some point I was seeing 8:20 min/mile on a downhill. In any case I made it to Mountain, and started running up the hill. Actually, suddenly I felt the energy returning and was able to climb pretty fast.

After that my leg muscles opened up and I actually ran ok, pretty close to my normal pace. By the time I got to Olive, I was moving... and all in all ran 8.5 miles at about 8:19 min/mile. Not too awesome, but ok for a gimpy training run with some hills.  Results here.

Took Wednesday off, and just did some basic strength exercises at home. Today decided to try my intervals workout at the gym on a dreadmill. Honestly, I see it as a bit of cheating, as you get some help from the belt, but this week I will take it. Did some warm up running and then did a set of 4 of cruising intervals 1 mile each at 6:30 min/mile. This was pretty challenging. I would walk for about 2 minutes between each. After that I did a set of 2 speed intervals at about 6:14 min/mile each. Ok, that hurt a LOT. I felt like it would have been easier without all the crap in my nose/throat/lungs, but who knows. It felt hard, and I was happy that this part of the workout was done with. Results here.

Tomorrow I am hoping to ride for 90 minutes and then do one more ride and a 14 mile run over the weekend. After that, the taper starts and I will start concentrating on swimming and cycling.


Sick, taking a forced break

Been sick since Wednesday night. Trying to shake off a nasty cold, but not quite there yet. Had to go to work on Thursday and Friday, and it did not help.

Had to scrap the plans for the track night, the bike ride... hoping that I might feel good enough for a long run tomorrow but it is not looking promising at this point. I am not too worried yet... realistically for most part, the hay is in the barn. Going to let it completely pass through me. Worst case scenario I will be one track workout and one long run short.

Not the end of the world.

4 miles

This weather is just messing with my mind and my health! This morning I woke up with a distinct feeling of having another head cold setting in. God f..cking dammit! Will this winter ever end? This said, today was going to be an easy day and head cold or not, the neck rule said that a moderate exercise is fine. With that in mind, the plan was to run 4 at lunch at around 7:20 min/mile and then hit the gym for some upper body work.

The 11am meeting ran over as it always happens, and people just bickered about non-consequential stuff with the utmost dedication. I slipped out of the room at 12:10, changed and headed out there as quick as I could. The sun was out but the wind was piercing cold, and gusty too. I was glad I brought an base layer with me.

Ran my usual lunch 4 mile route. The weather was pretty nice overall despite the chilly wind. I definitely felt the cold a bit, the muscles were sorer than usual and I had to hydrate every mile or so. Even with that, I don't think that I would have been able to get close to 7:10 or so. I did have a pretty run up the slow rolling incline on Van Ness on the way back. Got back to the lot and did some strides. I can always tell when I am 100% or not - it is the strides where you fall apart if you have a fatigue from the prior exercise or a cold/etc.  Nothing to write home about here and here.

Hit the gym in the evening and actually had a good workout. Did a circuit first in the TRX room (4 exercised with 3x30 sec sets), then moved on the weights. Did some bench presses, curls, etc. Felt pretty good - I have been able to add 2.5 to 5 lbs of weight to some of the exercises I do over the winter. Next week I am getting back into the pool - hopefully the muscle mass will make some difference!

4 weeks to go

So 4 weeks to go to LA Marathon. This is the first week where the mileage is getting reduced. I have 1 more long run to go this weekend and 2 medium runs to do (8-10 and 13 miles next week). After that - it is going to be a more traditional triathlon training, with swimming at least 2 times a week, and cycling 3 times a week. But today I had my 8-10 mile run with at least a mile of the total uphill time.

The weather was getting pretty bad, and it looked like it might start raining any moment. I was expecting some sluggishness after a hard bike ride yesterday, but to the contrary I started off at a pretty good clip, and pretty much kept the pace throughout the entire run. Ran up to Los Feliz and then turned around and ran towards the golf course. Up the Trash Hill and down to the Travel Town. It was actually pretty warm when I started, but when I crested near the top of the hill, a REALLY cold wind started blowing all of a sudden. Yikes!

Ran down the hill, and got onto the back trail as soon as possible as it is pretty nicely shielded from the wind. The rain was getting going slowly too, and the runners out on the trail were clearly trying to wrap up their exercise as quickly as possibly. I had to do a little extra 1/2 "bonus" loop since the total mileage was coming in at 7.9 miles... got to the car, changed quickly and drove off.  Results here. Hopefully, no rain tomorrow and getting warmer towards the weekend. Oh and by the way I PR'ed on this course! Feeling stronger.

Long ride on the trike

Finally felt rested enough after the killer long run on Saturday. Yesterday, finally redeemed my old Groupon at a LBS in Topanga, and got a water bottle rack that attaches behind the seat. Gotta test ride the bike after such a major addition! The weather was perfect, and I had no time restrictions today either!

Rode north on Glenoaks, and up La Tuna. Been a while since took my P3 up that hill. I was surprised to see that it actually climbed almost as well the Time bike. I somehow was under impression that the weight of the frame was a major limiting factor... but somehow the results were sort of middling, and definitely the best I ever logged on the P3. The wind was pretty strong again, so that was a bit of a limiting factor.

Came down Honolulu and the descent was fast and fun despite the wind blowing sort of across my way. Traffic was pretty light and I got to Montrose pretty quickly. Had to stop at a Starbucks for a quick leak, and then was to the Hospital Hill. The climb was actually very quick (turned out to be a PR) and then I was off to the Highlands via Chevy Chase. Came down Highland drive to Linda Vista and climbed back up and down to Chevy Chase. Again, the bike was climbing like a champ, and I was handling the descent pretty well.

Skipped the Glenoaks terrace this time, as I did not want to overdo the first climbing ride of 2013 on the trike. Rode down Glenoaks and turned off on Sonora to get to Griffiths. The Zoo entrance was super crowded, to the point of being dangerous as people were trying to get into the closed entrances of the full parking lots. Did the Trash Hill and came down the Forest Lawn drive way to Olive and then back up Hollywood way. It was a bit of an adventure, but at the end it was a fun ride, and a good drill on riding as close to the parked cars as possible.

The descent on Glenoaks from Buena Vista is always a screamer! I just love it so much, and no matter how tired I am towards the end of the ride, this is something that I always look forward to. Ok, results here - and I am off to the last "hard" week of the marathon training.

21 miles of suck

So the plan was to leave the house at 8am, after my son was done with his track practice. But the powers that be argued that I had been neglecting my parental duties, and the only way to redeem myself was to let me better half go swim for 2 hours. The I'd be free to go pound the pavement. In any case, 2 hours turned into 3 or 3.5 (yes, Sublime would be proud), and then it was determined that I had to run a small errand... all in all I left at 12:20. It was almost 82 F by that time.

As it was proven with the last year's Wildflower training, a lack of adjustment to heat results in walking... and other fun stuff. This run was no different, of course. Firstly, noon is my lunch time, and my body is simply not used to being asked to run for 3 hours.  Now, a short run is doable, and it's been done a number of times... but I was in an uncharted territory.

The run to Los Feliz was ok. Not a great time, but a decent run. I felt a little fatigued still after the Thursday workout, but it was manageable. The part of running to Crystal Springs was where I started to feel the heat. The dusty, hot trail was definitely starting to slow me down a little. The Forest Lawn part of the route was hot, with the heat radiating off the pavement. There is a little climb back to Olive - this is where I started to run out of liquids, and generally slow down.

I stopped at a gas station behind the Cabo restaurant and picked up a bottle of water/gatorade and a Pepsi. I really wanted a soda and I knew that a bonk was right around the corner... this urge does not come for nothing. Refilled my water bottles, and sprayed the remainder of the water bottle on my neck and head. Felt good! Had maybe a quarter can of Pepsi, and it gave me a boost.

But after 4 or 5 miles I paid the price for drinking that soda can. I was so thirsty, that warm-ish gatorade mix was just not cutting it anymore. I had to stop again and buy another small water bottle. Downed maybe a half  of it and poured the rest on me. I was about to start the climb on the 6th, and this kind of helped, but after a mile this was basically a death march again.

I finished the run, and it turned out that I messed up on the map - it was a mile short of the 22 mile goal. I didn't care at that point. Got home, had 4 or 5 glasses of water and some Recoverite. Went to the back of the house and put the feet into the pool. Ice water felt great! Not happy with this run. I sweated profusely as it turns out, the running top was caked with salty sweat. Salt tabs were not as effective as the Hammer products, I should probably switch back. Results here.

Speedwork night

Was feeling pretty beat still by the end of the day. The morning started alright, except for stress at work, but towards the evening the legs started to ache. Was hoping to leave the office earlier on the account of the V-Day, but the powers that be did not allow it to happen.

Got to the track at around 7pm. The hip flexors were throbbing, and at that point I was not even sure if I could complete the workout. Warmed up for 2 laps and then got to it. Noticed that the usual group of runners were absent - I guess that V-Day is important for the single people, LOL. Pussies! Hope this missed work out does not come back to haunt them.

The first 3 miles at GP were a little bit of a struggle. The legs were not feeling strong. I was the only runner trying to do some speedwork, and the track while not being crowded, featured the usual mix of the local guys insisting on running in small pack in the fast lane going no more than 10 min/mile. A couple of them would randomly stop to do odd exercises - like  attempt hand stands in the middle of the lane, or do alternating windmills.

By the time I got to doing 800s, the legs suddenly snapped out of funk, and I was able to maintain a fairly effortless set. Averaged 6:25 min/mile. Took a couple of minutes to rest after running the last 800, and then got to do a tempo 3 mile run. I was expecting fatigue to really kick in and but surprisingly I breezed through the whole thing and easily kept it under 6:56 min/mile. Results here.

Did not do a warm down - wanted to get home and spend time with the missus. After all, I owe her a dinner now.

Combo day

Got up at 6:00am and got ready for a short bike ride this morning. It was bitterly cold outside, and I waited til 6:50am to leave. Finally rolled out - it was a crisp 44 F. With some wind! Got to Griffiths park, bundled up and got going.

The wind was just bitterly cold, and I had a hard time keeping hands on the aerobars from seizing. Had to stop actually a couple of times and use my armpits as arm warmers! Things got a little better after I got to the end of the River path. But the wind on the way back changed direction, and no matter where I turned I felt like I was riding into the gusts. Really sucked. It kind of eased off after I crossed Los Feliz, but still it was not an easy going.

Got off the bike path and climbed the Trash Hill. It actually warmed up enough for me to take off the windbreaker. After I descended, checked the clock and it was already 8:20am... had to head to work. Cut back to the parking lot. Was bummed that I did not get to ride more since it finally warmed up. But it is what it is - results here.

At lunch headed out to run. Did my usual 4 mile loop through Hancock Park. It was actually really warm, almost hot even! Felt like summer. I was expecting some sluggishness after the 10 miler on Tuesday/ride this morning, but no such thing - the pace felt strong and I actually PR'ed on this course. Did 6x100 strides afterwards on  the lot. One of the union guys asked me if I was training for the LA Marathon... told him yes - and he remarked that it's a lot of work! No shit. Ok, results here and here

10 miles

After taking yesterday completely off, got back on the trail today. Got to Griffith Park at around 8am after dropping my kids at school. Had no meetings scheduled til 10am, so a 10 miler was on. It was pretty chilly, especially in the shade - the car thermometer was reading 36 F. No wind thankfully!

I was expecting some soreness to linger after the heavy duty Sunday, but surprisingly the pace was pretty good, and I did not even have to watch the Garmin readings all that much. Ran up to Los Feliz and then back to Crystal Springs. Ran up the Trash Hill past the golf course, saw a couple of coyotes en route but otherwise it was pretty deserted. The climb was a little hard on the quads, started feeling the fatigue from the 10k I guess. Nonetheless, climbed fairly well and then really tore it up on the downhill. Looking at Strava records, this was my second best time climbing that segment.

Came down to Travel Town and then ran back to the Western Heritage museum. Turned around, and sprinted to the parking lot. All in all, the pace was good, close to 7:55 min/mile, which is nice given the elevation gain. When I finished the run, it suddenly got warm and sunny... and the last thing I wanted to do was to go to the office. But oh well!  Results here.

6+10

The day got started by all 4 of us driving to Santa Monica to take part in the Live Ultimate race. I signed up for the 10k, Max was running the 5K, and wife and Alissa signed up to take picture and carry the backpack with our spare clothes. As it turned out the wife was not a fan of having to lug a "heavy" backpack to the finish line (it was a point to point race) - the finish was about a mile from the starting point. I got a stinkeye from the spouse and she also decided to lighten up the load by leaving my pants and my jacket in the car. My team buddy Brad there too with his daughter to run the 10k together - his wife took the picture of all 4 of us.



In any case, the race finally got under way at 8:30am. I decided to try to maintain a 6:45 min/mile pace until we hit the turnaround point on 11th and San Vincente and then sprint to the finish as it would be all downhill from that point. Everything worked out exactly as I planned. The funny part is that around the 3 mile mark I just caught by what turned out to be the top female in the race. She drafted off of me for a while and then she  mounted a pretty strong attempt to pull away near the 5.75 mile mark. She probably burned her last match at that point - she suddenly slumped and I blasted past her at around the 6 mile marker.

Got to say that the course was very cool and the weather was cooperating, except for the wind when we were running northbound on Ocean Ave.The only gripe that I had was the weird positioning of the water stations. Technically, there was a water station at around the 2.5 mile but it was setup to serve the 5k runner who were like 0.5 mile away from the finish. The 10k did not get a real water station til the turnaround which was the end of the 4th mile. I thought that it was a little too sparse for most people. The kids manning the water stations were a little under-trained to say the least too.

The last 0.5 miles were total chaos since the faster 10k people were essentially merging with the slower end of the 5k race and people were walking/jogging/crossing at will with no traffic control whatsoever. I had to dodge a few pairs of hefty babes that were obstructing about 80% of the available space. In any case, I finished 19th overall with the gun time of 41:16.8. Not too bad for the first 10k. Max finished 4th in his age group and was seriously bummed since he did not realize that he was competing in the 11-14 group now. He was also 10 seconds slower than his fastest time from last year which is understandable - he was down with the flu most of late January and had no time to train. My results here. The pic is of me being fussy about having to wear my wife jacket after the race - it barely fit me! Wife was not happy that she had to give it up!



So we got home after stopover at my cousin's place where we had some coffee and bagels. I was faced with a choice of either running 10 miles early morning tomorrow or getting it over with today and having a full day of rest today.  I was plenty tired and it took some convincing to talk myself into going out there. I was a little nauseous from having eaten post race food, and bagels and having loaded up on coffee. The first 2 miles were basically attempts not to puke. 

After I crossed Olive, things got better and I progressed to Pacific without any adverse effects. I was not trying to break any records, but keep the pace at around 8:10 min/mile. Ran back up Kenneth and was hoping that I could hit a portapotty by Verdugo... bummer as the construction guys were in front of the house. Had to hold my waters til I get home. After I crested at Scott road, I ran down through Keystone and sprinted to the home stretch. Yay! All done and the pace worked out to about 8:05 min/mile, perfect for a training run. Results here. Tomorrow I get to rest!

Saturday ride

After 2 days of inactivity - back in the saddle again, lol. Wanted to concentrate on riding the flats and then transition to a more hilly landscape. River bikepath and the Trash hill NB and SB are perfect!  I made sure to replace the Reynolds skewers with the Mavic ones since the Monday ride clearly showed that they do not clamp the wheels tightly enough. This time no issues with the brake rubbing or the wheels being wobbly.

It was cold and windy on the path. I went without the arm warmers or gloves and the first few miles were trying. The path was pretty crowded until I hit Fletcher. After that it was a smooth sailing and almost no one out there. I was spinning pretty good on the downhill portion of path even though the wind was changing direction every 5 seconds and most of the time I was fighting a pretty strong crosswind.

On the way back I caught up with some guy who was also riding aero. For a while we were trading spots and then he turned off at Fletcher. I rode the rest of the way with the wind again alternating between being in my back or blowing across. Got off at the zoo exit, and rode up to Los Feliz and back. Then up the Trash Hill. Climbing felt a little stiff for some reason. Got to the top and did a loop through Forest Lawn to Olive.

Came back up Victory and did another pass at the Trash Hill. Not the best climbing effort again, as I need to get used again to climbing on the tri bike. On the way back through the golf course the wind was in my back and I was hitting 26-27 mph! Overall, I was happy with the second ride of the year on the tri bike. I had no trouble staying in aero, no aching in the shoulders, even cornering felt smooth. Results here. Tomorrow running a 10K in the morning!

Speedwork!

This week is definitely a lot lighter loadwise, in preparation for the 10K on Sunday. The speedwork today took all of 45 mins to do - start to finish! At lunch I went to the gym and worked on the legs a bit. Squats, plyometrics, lunges - all the good things I have been neglecting. Finished off with some core work and some medicine ball exercises.

Left work at 6:10 and was at Burbank High at 6:45. Warmed up for 1/2 mile and went to work. The first 800 meters were not good at all and I struggled to maintain pace during the last 300 meters. But after that the muscles loosened up and I was easily maintaining the pace for the next 3 sets. After that I had 4 sets of 400s to go. easy peasy. This is basically a simpler version of Yasso 800s except that I was shooting for 6:00 min/mile. But I ended up with more like 5:56 min/mile.

Felt pretty beat after finishing the 3rd mile, but I think that if I had to do full 10 sets of 800s I'd be able to get close to 6:05 min/mile average. I will do that in week 14. Yasso's don't lie! Results here.

Still one day ahead

So continuing with the plan to skip a day ahead by a day... running 4 miles today at lunch. The weather was perfect - probably about 67 F, overcast, no wind. Did my usual loop around the Larchmont area, down to the 3rd street and back up Van Ness.

I was not sure how I would fee after having done 2x4 miles last night. Surprisingly, I felt quite good and had a nice light feeling to my pace. Probably could have pushed the pace a little higher, but honestly a lunch time run is not going to break any records. I enjoy being outside in the middle of the work day - and being able to run is just a nice bonus.

Did the planned 4 miles - results here. Walked/jogged for a little bit and then did the strides. That's when the fatigue hit me. The strides were way more painful than the run itself - see here. After work, hit the gym for 40 minutes and worked the upper body and the core a little. Mainly free weights this time, but some core work as well. All in all - a very productive day!

Monday is the new Tuesday

So it's finally February again, and it is time to break out my tri bike (i.e. trike). Have not ridden it since last September.  I am in a pretty good cycling shape since I've been getting on my roadie at least once a week. This morning I am working from home which means that I can get out of bed at 6:30am and still do a morning ride.

I get on the LA River trail and get in my awesome aero position and start spinning. The thing is that I can't go faster than 15 mph for the life of me. On a flat. Spinning all out, with quads starting to burn.  I check my position - all good. I restart my Garmin. Same deal. WTF? Finally I notice a weird grinding noise. I am thinking - damn, the chain must be rusted through. I get off the bike - nope, the chain is all good. Comes to think about it I cleaned it and greased it around the Xmas break. I check on the cassette - and I notice that the rear wheel is barely spinning. Duh!  Both wheels were rubbing the brakes. Hard. I could not even touch the front rim. I must have forgotten to align the training wheels after I took my racing wheelset off in September.

I was flying again after fixing the brake rub. Man, did it feel awesome! Welcome to the 2013 tri season! Rode up to Elysian fields and back, and then to Los Feliz and back doing the intervals of 2 miles hard/1 mile easy. Felt pretty good all in all, but I got to put the Mavic skewers back in as those Reynolds ones feel kind of mushy. Results here.

Ok, so after all work stuff is done and I finish driving my son to his appointment, I get back home and look at the schedule. Hmmm, 2x4 miles tempo tomorrow. Why not today? Get to the track, and it is nice and open. The warm up is a little painful, but after 3 strides I feel the muscles relax and I am ready. First 4 miles all easy and pushing hard at all. 4 minute break and then 4 more miles. Towards the last mile I am starting to feel it a little in the right buttock. The tightness I get when I am getting tired. But all in all, a good run and a 6:55 min/mile average. Yay headstart for the week! Results here.

Windy Superbowl ride

Got up this morning and did not feel sore at all! You know what that means - a bike ride. Wife had some errands to run all morning, but she came back at around noon. I promised my son to watch the pre-game show, so I figured that I had about about 2 hours to ride.

Rode up Glenoaks to do my usual La Tuna loop. The wind was insane! I actually had to pedal up to Vineland in a small gear upfront! I don't remember it ever happening. La Tuna shielded me from the gusts somewhat, but still the climb was not easy. However coming down Honolulu was a blast with the wind in my back.

Once climbed the Hospital Hill I started to feel strong again and decided to ride up Highland and up through Linda Vista. Having gone the opposite way a few times, I never climbed up the switchback by the Art College. They are fun! The descent to Chevy Chase is much nicer this way, and a lot safer and definitely less technical.

On the way back I climbed the Glenoaks Terrace hill (steep, very steep, up to 11% grade in some spots). It went fine, I felt like I PR'ed there (nope, second best effort) and then I rode up Mountain and Kenneth until I hit a traffic jam near the Kenneth Village. Got up to Bel Aire and rode it all way down to Uclan. The wind was strong again, and climbing the small hill by Olive street was no easy task.

Got home and was ready to watch the 49ers lose! Results here.

Big difference

What a difference can a week make! Last week, I had the second most miserable run of my life, with the only worse one being the cursed Wildflower run last year. I guess that I have finally got over the nasty cold I had last week - I felt energetic and bouncy even this morning.

Slept in a little later than usual, got out of bed at 8:15am. Had a PB&J sandwich with a banana and was out of the door since the wife had to leave at 10 to noon. Decided to run the same track as last week, but with the extra 3 miles added at the end of the route. The run to Sonora was nice and easy, but when I got to Crystal Springs I started having a little bit of GI discomfort. Had to make a pit stop, and continued on the back trail towards Los Feliz. Stopped at the restroom by the pony rides to wash my hands and ran back towards Victory.

The pace was pretty good, close to 7:57 min/mile. I typically do not push it below 7:55 min/mile unless I am on a track. On the way back I started to feel a little dehydrated and took 2 salt tabs. That took care of the matters for a while. Got to the 6th street and started climbing back up. The left knee was a little sore for a little bit but that went away. Had a Stinger Waffle and some GU drops after I crossed Verdugo.

When I crested at Harvard, the average pace was at 7:59 and I felt quite good. Sprinted down to Eton and started climbing again up to Glenoaks. Afer that there was a little bit more climbing to do to get to Woodbury. After that it was a short sprint back home.

I got home just in time only to find out that the wife already left for her appointment and took the kids with her. Seriously - had I known I'd have run 2 more miles! But once I got home I could not talk myself into going out there again, so I called it a day and took the pointer to the dog park instead. Yay Saturday! Results here.

Easy day

The weather was back to being warm and sunny this afternoon, so I went for a my quickie 4 miler. Was feeling a little tired after the speed workout last night, so the pace was moderate. Gotta say, Hollywood is pretty nice in winter, when the streets are not too crowded with tourists and the traffic is light. Ran down to the 3rd street and back up Van Ness. It was pretty warm when I was heading back to the lot. The right foot was a little achy around the inner heel towards the end of the run.

By the time I got to strides, all energy was gone. It is for a reason that this short run is supposed to be sandwiched in between Tuesday and Thursday monster workouts! Results are here and here. Tomorrow will be 100% rest.

Wednesday track is quite alright

Since I have to be on the UCLA Campus tomorrow night, the track night got moved to today. The work was as crazy as it gets, and I was very glad to be able to leave and blow off some steam doing the intervals.

Wednesday night seems to unpopular with the usual crowd of hardcore runners that do Thursday night workouts. I was pretty much the only person on the track tearing it up. I was also happy to note that my cold is gone, and I am almost at 95% speedwise.

The first 3 miles went by quickly and I barely even looked at the watch. Maintained about 7:17 min/mile and did not feel too worked. The 800s were somewhat harder this time, probably due to a bit of lingering dehydration. Still maintained the target pretty nicely, at about 6:28 average. The last 3 miles blew by quick again, and I was close to 6:50 min/mile until the last 0.1 miles where I started jogging since I was beating my target time to almost 30 seconds.

Overall, a great workout and it is getting warmer again. Yay to warmer nights! Results here.

10 miles, 10 min TUT

Had 10-12 miles with 10 minutes total uphill on the schedule for today. There was no way for me to run after work - since I had to pick up my daughter from ballet, and the last meeting on the schedule seemed to be a lock to run well past 6pm. Sure enough it did :).

Got up at 5:30am. It's been a while since I ran this early. Not really a morning person here. Got dressed fairly warmly this time, since it was about 39 degrees outside. Ran the first mile fairly slowly just to see where  I was. I felt a little sluggish - probably still under the weather a bit. Decided to try to maintain about 8:30 min/mile average since I was going to climb a decent amount.

Ran up to Mountain and climbed back to Kenneth. Then up Grandview and back down to Kenneth. Had to pee and found a porta potty on one of the construction lots. Then the last push up Olive all the way to Sunset Canyon. Came back down San Jose and sprinted all the way to Jefferson Elementary. The average came to be at about 8:26, and the sprint back felt pretty close to 80%-85%. Hopefully will full bounce back by the end of the week. Results here.

Pitdful

Went to a metal show at the Anahem Grove yesterday. Was actually debating whether to even go in the first place since I was beat from a bike ride, felt like I was getting sick again, etc... but an old buddy was in town for the NAMM and I wanted to catch up with him. In any case, waiting outside the club, I saw a van parked by the curbside with the license plate that read PITDFUL. Took me a little while to decipher it, but eventually I got it - pity the fool. Did not realize how prophetic this little licence plate was.

So we're having a birthday party today for my daughter, kids are supposed to show up at 11am, jump house is supposed to get installed at 10am, and I have a 20 mile run on the schedule. I got home fairly late from the show, but still got up at 5am hoping to get my run in before the house turns into a zoo. But what do you know - it is pissing rain, and pretty hard. I went back to bed, and then got up at 7am. Still raining, but not as hard... I almost pulled the trigger, but the wife was already up and had a list of chore for me to do in preparation for the party.

The party went great, my kids were running around and then settled down playing Minecraft. We stupidly ordered a ridiculous 36" pizza (that's the circumference of it, wtf).



I had 4 slices and a cookie, and a soda... you get the drift. On top of it, I lost my voice hanging out in a rather loud club, and felt pretty much like I was on a threshold of getting sick... Decided to take a 30 min power nap, and then see if I can go. Woke up and felt pretty fresh actually. Headed out of the door in a windbreaker and 2 layers of clothing.

It started raining HARD after like 0.5 miles! I almost turned around but then pushed on. It rained all the way til I hit Sonora and then suddenly stopped and I picked up some warm wind. Ran all the way to Los Feliz, stopped to pee twice though which is not a good sign. Ran back and by the time I got back to Crystal Springs I could only muster 8:30 min miles or worse. I could not tell whether I was just mildly feverish or just cold from the rain, or was plain sore from the bike ride the day before and no rest at all since then.

When I got back to Victory it started pouring again... HARD. In fact, I ran to Sonora in almost zero visibility, and managed to hit 2 major puddles. My quads were starting to pulsate a little, and I was pretty sure that it was fatigue rather than dehydration ( I was taking salt tabs every 5 miles). The rain was getting worse and the wind was picking up too. At Victory I was supposed to turn right and go all the way to Mountain to pick up 4 miles (it is exactly 15.5 miles from my house to Los Feliz and back). But with the conditions and all, I wimped out and headed up Sonora to the 6th. Main driver for this was the fact that I was starting to shiver. I was soaking wet, except for the torso covered well by the windbreaker.

Running up the 6th was like a death march, I was almost walking in some spots... finally crested at Harvard but even running down I could not sprint. So weird. Got home and had to shower for 20 minutes to stop the shivering. Had some potatoes and chicken and a little bit of a cookie left from the party. Took the temperature and it was 98 degrees. I guess that it just a plain old mild hypothermia from the rain and wind. Pity the fool - my results here.


Climbing around Griffiths

The rain thankfully stopped around 4am this morning. It was still wet as hell though outside when we got up. Did some stuff around the house, moved the kayaks in the garage, ran a few errands and after that finally got to ride a little!

Went out to Griffths park and rode the Trash Truck hill back and forth, without going out to Los Feliz. The chest felt a little congested still, and I did not press the first climb too hard. The second climb felt more natural. The sun was beating down pretty hard - I was starting to consider taking the base layer off.

After that rode out to Los Feliz and climbed to the bear statue by the Western Canyon. Rode up to the stop and then turned onto Mt Hollywood Dr, or the crappiest pavement known to man. It was still pretty sandy after the night rain, so I had to be careful with navigation. Also the temperature at the top was pretty low, so it's a good thing that I had the base layer on. Came down the windy road, and did some spinning on Forest Lawn.

After that headed back up Hollywood way. It was pretty heavy with traffic for Saturday. After getting to Glenoaks had a Stinger Waffle and wanted to see if I have it for the Lamer climb... not really. Climbed up Keystone and turned off on Lamer. Could not see myself doing 4-5 blocks of 11% grade. Got home and now planning a tactical nap! Results here.

Track'n'field

The morning weather was anything but promising. Rain everywhere, a wall of water coming from the sky. Even the dog did not want to go out there. Apple stock took a dive to the tune of 11%. I braced myself for another dreadmill session. However, by the afternoon the weather turned around and it was suddenly dry and rather warm. Left the office at around 6:40pm and headed for the track. Yay!

The usual crowd for the Thursday night. A mix of fast kids eyeing the girls soccer team, age groupers doing the intervals and Armenians gents walking around in track suits, always in the fast lane. Did my warm up routine and was off to the races. The first 3 miles were a little uneven, mainly due to not being able to find someone who'd be running consistently at my pace - either the age groupers zipping around near 6:45 min/mile or someone running a bit slower.

The 4x800s went well. I was able to maintain closer to 6:25 min/mile average and it did not feel like hard work. Age groupers were by now winding down, so I was mainly having the fast lane to myself. Had to take one layer of clothing off after the 800s - it was that warm. Yay warm winters!

The last 3 miles at 7:00 min/mile went ok. Just kind of cruised, without making a conscious effort, which was nice. The throat was feeling kinda funny, and I was sort of hoping that it is not another bout of the stupid head cold that's been going around. In fact, it is still a little scratchy... crap. Oh well. Results here. Hoping to get some cycling done too around the weekend!

Back in the saddle

Tuesday was my day off, but since I have not been to gym at all this week... it was time to head there. Spent about an hour during lunch time. Mainly worked on the upper body - curls, side and lateral pulls, bench presses. Also did a little bit of core exercise - planks, side stands (one arm and leg). Free weights section was crowded again, and the TRX studio was even more crowded. Yikes.

Today was a long day. In the morning, hit the gym and did a sustained climb on a stationary bike. Set the intensity to 12 (about a mid setting, goes up to 30 I think). The climbing gets broken up into 3:45 min intervals, and the first 8 are steady increases in power by 8 watts - so the top climb is done at 209 watts. Did not feel easy at all, but I got to spin out nicely in the lead up intervals. The stationary bike even has a setup for an aero position. Not bad. 12.18 miles in 45 minutes, 500 or calories burned.

After work went for a run. Normally, Wednesday is a recovery run, but since I skipped the speedwork on Tuesday I have decided to do a sustained 4 mile run keeping a 10K pace or slightly below that. Of course, I cannot run that fast at night - somehow my body slows down in the darkness. The weather was awesome though - pre-rain night wind, warm yet dry air. Did my usual 4 mile loop running up to the airport and back. Results here. After that did a set of 6x100 strides which was a little challenging after a sub 29 min 4 miler. Time to roll it out!

MLK compression

No, it is not what you think it is... we went out of town for the MLK weekend, effectively forcing me to re-arrange my neatly stacked training schedule. The family and I drove to Oceanside, CA on Saturday, leaving too early for me to squeeze in a quick a run. Thus Saturday became Sunday, Sunday became Monday... and I think that I am going to have to forgo Tuesday's speedwork to get regular again :).

So on Sunday morning I did my easy run around Oceanside. A pretty cool place to run, but obviously tons better for cycling. Every major route seems to have a bike lane. Anyhow, did a slightly faster than normal run, clocking closer to 8:09 min/miles. The weird part that I did not know at that time was that it'd make my poor Garmin choke, probably due to the confusion with the satellite position. Apparently, it decided that I started in LA and ran all the way to Oceanside, burning about 165K calories in the process. Results here.

The rest of the day was spent walking around the San Diego zoo, where we saw awesome pandas and humping turtles and sleepy snow leopards and impossibly large hippos and two headed snakes... an impressive zoo to say the least. Then we played ball at beach during and after the NFL division finals... must have been like 30K steps in total.

On Monday we went for a walk on beach and headed back to LA. Got unpacked and I went for my long run in Griffiths park. I've decided to add some hills to the 18 mile scheduled run, cutting short by a mile, but throwing in about 800 feet of climbing to compensate. The weather was downright summer hot when I started. I could not believe how surreal this felt in January. Had to run without my Garmin that refused to turn on properly after the mess up with the satellites. Most of the run I was figuring out how to fix it, and was sort of looking forward to having an excuse to finally buy a 910xt. Finished the run (the last 2 miles were killer, the massive downhills were killing my quads), got home and after searching on the web the 305 came back to life. Oh well, I would have missed you an old friend! Results here.

Back to the track

Finally warm enough to run the track! And next to no wind too! Thank you, the gods of running, I've had more than enough of the treadmill for now.

Started at around 6:20pm, warmed up for 0.75 miles and did some strides. Felt pretty solid, and got started on the first 3 miles at the goal pace. After the first mile, I started feeling the groove and easily maintained 7:13 min/mile for the rest of the interval. Did not even have to stop for a drink. I am that good.

4x800 part was done with some other usual Thursday night track characters showing up finally, so I had some people to chase/run away from. Did all 4 runs while listening to ImpNaz, their brilliant "Motorpenis" EP is perfect for short, violent intervals.

The last 3 miles were almost too easy, I felt the surging energy and could have probably maintained 6:45 min/mile, but wanted to be gentle on the ankle. No need to torque it up after excessive track running of 2012. It has been cooperating lately and let's keep it this way.

Did a couple of laps for the cooldown, using it as an opportunity to practice controlled midfoot striking. Results here. I am feeling pumped about week 8 being the mid-point in my training.

4 miles in a changing weather

It's a weird feeling when the weather is beginning to change. It is still plenty cold once the sun sets, but I can tell that the hotter air is coming. It makes me want to run faster despite the night being pitch black.

So I set off at around 7:30 for my 4 miler. Still sore from the hell workout yesterday, and just starting to kick the head cold to the curb. Decided to do my old loop through Verdugo and up and back on Kenneth. Crashed the Verdugo climb and went strong all the way to the Muir Middle school. The downhill on Kenneth was a little slower than usual, mainly because I could see almost nothing and had to run by the edge of the sidewalk dodging occasional cars.

Finished with the 6 sets of strides. Did them with little breaks in between, and after 3-4 of them really started to fell the burn. But it felt to finish strong and even make it home before the kids were in bed! Results are here (run) and here (strides). Onto another set of intervals tomorrow!

Intervals kicking my ass

Supposedly it's the last day of the cold spell, and it will start getting warmer tomorrow. About time, dawg! This means that Thursday intervals can be finally done outside. Much looking forward to this, but today I had to stick to the dreadmill - again.

Left the office at 5:30pm, got on the treadmill at 5:45pm and warmed up for 10 mins. Then the fund begun in earnest - 2 repeats of 1 mile at 6:30 min/mile, then 4 repeats of 800 meters at 6:00 min/mile. Towards the last interval, the heart rate was starting to creep up into the middle of the 5th zone, so I knew that the workout was getting done correctly. The next 2 repeats of 1 mile each were pretty brutal, with the last one being particularly... bleh. A hard workout no matter what.

The lingering chest cold was not helping of course, so I did some extra hydration and took 2 salt tabs before starting to run. That kept the cramps at bay, which is all I really needed. Results here. The traffic on the way was a complete nightmare - 47 minutes door to door! LA can be just a peach sometimes.

Gym night

Hit the gym on my day off from running. First time back since the beginning of 2013. Was shocked to see how crowded it was. I guess that this is the time when people are following through on their New Year's resolutions. Here's hoping that eventually everyone will go back to their normal unhealthy existence and stop crowding out my weight bench!

Did an abridged routine, since I am still running a little chest cold. Bench presses, bicep curls, press ups and a few triceps exercises. After that went to the studio room and set up a small circuit with a TRX, rope running, a medicine ball and a heavy pin lift. Did the circuit 3 times over, 30 seconds each exercise with 30 second breaks in between.

Walking back to the car was probably the coldest walk ever! Can't wait til the warm air comes back.

Grim and frostbitten long run

I guess that it is a bad sign when you have to scrape the ice from the windshield of your car before departing for the long run? 


I underestimated the dehydration from the head cold and the fatigue from the Camarillo half last week. The freezing temps were not helping either. I started at around 8:30am in Griffiths Park. Wanted to run the trails starting the Travel Town and hitting Los Feliz. That meant 2 loops and perhaps an extra mile as an added bonus.

Started out well, but my face and hands were burning from the frosty air. I felt alright, but the nasal congestion was weighing in and I would feel nauseous if I went over 7:30 min/mile. The small but sharp hills at the end were not easy to scale either. I had a feeling that this would be a slower run.... After 8 miles, I started to feel little cramps in muscles and just had to run slower and slower until I was jogging by the time I got to mile 14. Ugly. Results here.

Hope to rest up and bounce back next week!

Snot

Somehow the Wednesday run resulted in some fairly annoying head cold. Friday was marred by the sore throat, and today I am still having some nasal congestion. It is fairly breezy outside, with the temps in the mid-50s. I was hoping to get a bike ride in, but instead decided to limit my outdoorsy exposure to about 1 hour. That means a short easy run.

Decided to run a loop to the Yahoo building and back. Started at around 1pm to have the temps closer to the daily highs. It was still a little chilly in the shade, but once you get into the sunnier spot the weather felt awesome. The wind is usually pretty strong near the airport, but this time it was mild and made running a lot more enjoyable. On the bike though I'd imagine that I'd be seriously cold.

Altogether the run was about 5.6 miles and took close to 50 mins. I felt very good, and neither the left ankle nor the right hip gave me any problems. Results here. Ready for a 16 mile run tomorrow!

P.S. I enjoyed watching Ted. If course it'd been tons better without a stupid, predictable, big studio budget ending, but the comic effort that went into making this movie was as good as any of the top Family Guy episodes. The humour was of course completely irreverent and biting, but anything less would have been a big let down.

Dreadmill to the rescue

The weather managed to turn both cold and very windy. On top of that I think I am having a head cold or something appropriate for the season. So today's speed work was performed indoors.

Actually, it was pretty nice. I had my footpod calibrated just right last week, so it was capturing my pace accurately. Did 3 miles at about 7:20 min/mile, walked for 90 seconds. After did 3 sets of 800 meter sprints at 6:30 min/mile with 90 second walks between them. Lastly, 3 miles at about 6:56 min/mile as I was watching the UFC top 40 highlights of 2012 on ESPN. Not sure why these were the highlights - more of them, some fights ending up quickly, some ending up as drawn out bloody messes. Don't get the appeal of this.

Took a hot shower after the run and headed home. Going to stretch, roll on a foam roller, and attempt to watch "Ted". My gut feeling is that it is going to suck hard.

4 miles after work

Again, planned to run at lunch on the dreadmill, but the work has been insane lately. Came home, and went out for a much needed run to restore sanity. The legs were still feeling tight, and plus the Ford started hurting my right hip again, just like it did last year when I tried to ride in it.

Ran the loop up to Cabrini that I usually do for a 5k run. It was getting pretty cold, and the run back was into a fairly substantial wind. Ran without my water belt, and it seemed to only affect in the last mile - I think that I was getting dehydrated slightly. The streets were empty, and I was able to run in the middle of the 6th street for almost the entire mile.

Did the strides afterwards, but was hurrying home to kiss the kids good night. All in all, a nice brief run. Results here and here.

Night run

Lots of stuff going on at home and work. Was originally intending to run in the morning, but was still a little sluggish after the 1/2 on Sunday. Hoped to get out of the office by 5:30pm, but no such luck. Decided to pick up the kids after ballet and then go. All in all, left the house by 8pm. Hate starting that late.

It was starting to get cold. Saw a few runners on the way, but overall the streets were empty. Ran all the way to Pacific, climbed back to Kenneth Village, ran up to Mountain St and then down to 6th. Felt pretty slow coming down, and the quads were still sore from the 1/2. Decided not to push it, especially with the hands and ears starting to feel the bite of the cold air. On the way back, decided to add a couple more uphill minutes and climbed to Muir Middle School.

From there coasted home. Thankfully the wife was still awake to let me in. Brown rice and meatballs after the run - yum! Results here.

Camarillo 1/2

Was supposed to run 14 miles today, but where's the fun in that if you can race instead! Picked up a registration for the Camarillo 1/2 marathon in October. Of course, what was a good idea back then, did not seem that hot this morning - with 43 F outside and a pouring rain. But hey - beats running in a 90 F dry heat, right?

Headed out to Camarillo, and the rain really picked up once I got off the 101. I parked near the starting line and got my packet - the environment looked pretty nasty. They were running a full, a 1/2 and a 5K, with staggered starting times (7:00am/7:30am/8:00am respectively). I felt for the people running the full - the rain just stopped and the road was caked in mud.

Soon after I put on my gear and left the warmth of my car. Warmed up for 5 mins or so, and did some stretches. The 1/2 had attracted a decent size crowd, probably close to 200 people or so. The gun went off and we headed out towards Las Posas, as "Highway to Hell" was blaring my my headphones. By the way, I have been running with Ironman Series Yurbuds for about 9 months now and gotta say that while the sounds gets a little distorted, they do stay in place no matter how much I sweat.

In any case, I wanted to see if I can maintain a consistent 7:15 pace throughout and it felt pretty easy on this course. Miles 3 and 4 were somewhat uphill, but then it was a nice stretch of a downhill coming up. It was getting warmer, and I was considering losing my gloves. I passed a few people running a half, and for a while was running solo, with only a few runners ahead by about 1/4 mile. Lots of drink stations were setup along the way, it felt like they were there every 1/2 mile. In one case the station was set up on the other side of the road, which was strange - but the road was closed to traffic, so it was not too bad, except for additional few yards I had to cover to get there and back to the edge of the road. The road was covered with enough slippery mud to make this for a challenging few miles, especially when we headed back towards Camarillo airport.

The last 4 miles were run around the airport, and it was a little confusing, since the road was sort of open to traffic. At one point we ran across the way, and the car was coming in from behind :). In any case, I was at about 7:12 min/mile coming up to the last 2 miles. I picked up the cadence a little, and started sprinting once we hit the turnaround behind the airport. Passed a few more people, and boom - ran into a serious headwind. Thankfully, we turned off the main road and ran on some dirt path for the last 1/2 mile. I hit the finish line, the watch was showing 1:34:36, which would make it for a solid PR.  Results here.

The organizers had a small table with your typical post race food - bagels, bananas, oranges, pretzels and some Recovery Powerbars. The Powerbars were pretty dense and chewy, and had to be washed down with 2 glasses of water. I liked them overall, but Clif bars are better IMO. In any case, hung around for a bit, talked to a few other finishers, and then headed back to the car.

When I got home, my entire backside was covered with dirt and mud! Off to watch the second half of the Wild Card weekend. And look at my ferocious finishing line look:


Time in the saddle

Took Friday off completely, and was trying to take it easy today as well as I have a 1/2 marathon coming up tomorrow. However, needed to get some time in the saddle. Decided to avoid doing any significant climbs, and stick to the flats.
Rode to the Griffiths Park, and then took the LA River bike path to the 110 freeway and back. It was pretty windy and the bike path was plenty crowded. I maintained the cadence in the mid 80s and mainly spun. On the way back rode the Forest Lawn to Olive and back through Riverside. It was nice and empty, a very tranquil sensation.
Back up Kenneth. For some reason, lots of traffic was present, had to dodge a few overeager trucks. Got home, had a Recoverite. Results here. Now time to watch the NFL playoffs!

Cold track, cold night

Track day! Nothing can be more exciting any given Thursday, especially when you get to start with the temps in the low 50's and finish up with the thermometer reading nice and crispy 42 F. Anyhow, the schedule for today called for:

  • 3 miles goal pace (7:22 m/m in my case)
  • 4 repeats of 800 meters at 6:30 m/m
  • 3 miles at tempo pace (7:00 m/m)
Oh boy! The track was pretty empty, which was both good and bad. There's usually a group of runners doing the intervals on Thursday, and I oftentimes get to draft off their faster runners when I need a speed boost. This time it was all solo, hefty locals notwithstanding.

The first 3 miles were kind of hard. I had to get the heart rate going, and it was not easy. The second mile was pretty fast and I got to slack off a little in the end to keep the average slightly below 7:22. The left ankle was a little sore, but loosened up after mile 2.

The repeats went well, 6:30 is a pretty leisurely pace. Even so, the last set was getting tougher, and I had to sprint the last 300 meters or so to keep the average at 6:30. 

The last 3 miles at tempo were definitely challenging. I had no one to chase, and mile 2 was run at a very uneven pace, since I would drift off and drop into 7:30s and then I would catch up. By the time the last 800 meters rolled in, I was 3 seconds below the target pace, and had to hammer again. Got under 7:00 m/m average for the tempo lap, and was happy it was over. All in all, results here.

Never ever before had I wanted to pee so bad! The bathrooms were locked of course. Good thinking there, BUSD!

4 miles with strides

Was going to do a run on the trails in the morning, but life interfered. I headed out at lunch to the dreadmill.

Thankfully, the place was half empty, and I had a good 4 mile workout. Started out easy at 7:53 min/mile for the first 2 miles, then the 3rd mile was 7:30, and the last mile at 7:00. Got my heartrate going pretty good once it was over. Results here. Ran without an ankle brace and it felt fine.

After that stepped out of the gym, and did 6 strides (100 meters each) keeping the acceleration/pace/declaration steady. The lot was pretty empty, so I did not have to dodge trucks and gold carts. Tweaked the left knee a little in the middle of the set, but it went away by time I was done.

 The rest of the day was uneventful with work stuff. 

Off to a good start in 2013

Woke up without any hangover to speak of. Awesome! Wife and kids initially wanted to go to the beach, but then once they realized that it is going to be in the mid-50s in Santa Monica, they settled on the couches and proceeded to watch the Rose Parade.

I had a 11 mile with 10 minutes total uphill time on tap for Tuesday. However, my son wanted to do another training run for 5k, so I've decided to do an 8 miler with hills, and then come back and pick him for the last 3 miles.

It was a gorgeous day for running. Clear, cool and the streets were nearly empty. I run up to the Starlight Bowl and then down to Alameda, and encountered 4-5 people tops - most of them were out running like me. I logged a good time on the Walnut Dr run, but was a little slower on the actual trash truck climb - had to run against the traffic since the gates were left open. Results here.

Came back home and picked up max. He was excited about his recent sub 26 min 5k run, and wanted to see if he can push beyond 8:30 min/mile. We set out on the loop to Cabrini and back, and sure enough ended up with 8:27 min/mile. It was a nice way for me to cool down and just work on my running form. Results here.

Now off to Tommy's for burgers and chili!