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.