Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 Wrap-up, LA 13.1

As 2009 draws to a close it's time to take a (quick) look back at my second year in the crazy world of endurance sports.

It's been a great 2nd year with many PRs, and new accomplishments. From 2 10ks, to 2 half marathons, 3 full marathons, 4 olympic distance tris, a sprint relay (swim, run) and one long course tri I don't think I could ask for much more. (Exhausted just thinking about all this...!)

Next year will be VERY different - it's really all about Ironman France in June. So far all I've got going is LA 13.1 on January 10th (more on that in a sec) and the Solvang Century Ride on 3/13. Not sure what else at this point, but all I can think about is 6/27! (Ironman!)

I'm pretty sure I just completed my longest training week ever in prep for my big race next year. I'll be having MANY 13 hour weeks in months to come, probably getting near (or over) 20 at some point....crazy. And thankfully I've finally figured out how to manage my time. It's actually increasing my productivity (work wise) to do two workouts a day.

Finally, in spirit of the holidays, I've got a free registration to the LA 13.1 race on 1/10.

It sounds like an awesome race. First comment gets dibs! :)

Thanks for reading, happy holidays and enjoy this little holiday card. (Click to enlarge)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

SB Marathon Weekend

So as I prob mentioned I planned to race SB way earlier this year, but then things changed with my Ironman aspirations. SO...instead of running the full 26.2 I decided I'd bike the marathon (twice - out and back) on Saturday and run half on Sunday as a relay (with my cool -- and fast -- cousin Josh.) And not to mention two screenings - which were to be honest a bit thrown together but really successful!

Drove up Friday night, crashed at mom's. Woke up at 6:45 and was off on the bike by 7:10. A bit of a tangent, but the bird watching is CRAZY this time of year. Saw white tailed kites, red tailed hawks, kestrels and even a northern harrier. Gotta stick in this shot that I took a few weeks back...

Anyway...the marathon start is just 1.5 miles from the house - and right across from Ellwood - my favorite place in the world and where my dad is now (ashes.) It was COLD (for me.) But the course is amazing. Goes by my favorite stretch of SB twice:

Made my way towards the waterfront, and encountered the nice hill (which I've tackeled before) at the 23 mark. Man, those poor runners tomorrow I was thinking! Met up with a cool local cyclist named John and chatted for awhile about tris, local climbs in SB (I'd love to do a fair amount of training up here.)

The way back was nice and easy - kept the heart rate pretty low and mellow. At my second time by the starting line I decided to test the many outhouses by relieving my bladder (did I mention I went through 4 full bottles of Perpetum?)

All in all 54 miles covered in about 3:30. Man would I kill to run ONE marathon in 3:30. Someday...maybe.

Off to the expo, where we screened the film to a nice audience and I did a little speaking. Then off to the Pasta Party where we killed time for a bit, and showed the film again! This was one of the nicer showings we've had. It was a captive audience, the lights were dimmed, very effective. And 3 veterinarians came up to me after and introduced themselves - all runners. We had a great chat (my dad was a vet.)

Early rise on Sunday (5 AM) battled traffic to the start since we had to go around.

Just made the gun, which was delayed due to the traffic. Off I went for the first half, my cousin, mom and her boyfriend to a few points around the course to cheer. What a gorgeous day. Started cold, but I felt like I had a nice rhythm, keeping the heartrate nice and low (in Zone 2) and easy 10 minute miles or so. Met some great people along the way including a marine in his 2nd marathon, a girl from Colorado doing her first and some Texans! Fun chatting with people, although I felt a bit guilty knowing my day would be over much sooner than theirs. Made it to the exchange:

My cousin took off! He's very motivated and is capable of being quite fast, I'd say. We caught him at a few spots and he was basically passing everybody in sight - running at about 8/mile where I had put him with the 10/mile crowd. Fun for him!

I waited patiently at the 26 mile mark and we sprinted to the finish together. Awesome. Note the contrasting expressions - he worked HARD!

Total time 3:54:xx. Wow. There's the sub-4 I'm dreaming of - but I only did 2:13 of it! Josh made up a ton of time. :)

Got to hang with the super cool race director June for a minute:

Had a great time cheering people on at the finish, etc. That's such a blast. Especially when you get above the 4:20 mark or so - that's my crowd. I'm all for being goal oriented, etc but a lot of the sub-4 crowd are all business. I'm in this for fun, personally. While time is often important to me, it's often those more mellow runs that are sometimes more fulfilling. It's great to watch those "age groupers." Love it. It doesn't get old seeing people delighted with the payoff of hard work. What an awesome weekend - and it was all for you, Dad.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Last Few Weeks Have Been...

Great! I battled a sinus infection a few weeks ago and unfortunately that really put the brakes on my "base training." Even with the infection (well at the tale end of it) I did my second ever stand alone (ie not w/in a Oly Tri) 10k. I had planned to do the "Race for Research" at Dockweiler Beach as a fitness test of sorts to determine my Max Heartrate as well as Lactate Threshold. (I won't get anymore technical than that!) The race also had personal relevance for me - being for Brain Tumor Research. Honestly I was kinda dreading it as I knew it'd be tough! It was like death for almost an hour...I ended up coming in around 52 minutes (+3 min from my PR, oh well) but averaged 190 and maxed 205! Crazy. new zones are much more forgiving meaning I can run and bike just a bit harder during this base period. That's great news as I've still been having a tough time with keeping slow. I'm just now starting to incorporate a little speed (like 5x1 minute hard, etc) but it's still mostly pretty easy. But I'm loving the nice relaxing paces of running and biking now. Just enough to get that oh so friendly endorphin rush post workout.

I've also been getting back in the pool lately and shockingly...enjoying that too. The only thing I'm struggling with is the strength workouts....Sheesh those suck. Can't win em all! :)

Breaking news is that we'll be screening "Running for my Father" at the Santa Barbara Marathon in a few weeks! I'll be doing the first half of the race with my cousin who's doing the second half. And being my hometown we're definitely dedicating this one to my dad. More soon.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Month Down, 8 to go...and MEB!

It's been an interesting month. First of all, it's absolutely FLOWN by. (just like this year...NOVEMBER?!)

My training thus far has been largely unremarkable. I've been working on keeping my heart rate low. Real low. Supposed to go less than 145 running, 130 cycling. Easier said than done! But the trick is to get my body burning fat instead of carb. It seems to be working. I started off running at about 12+ minute pace. Yuck. Literally had an old man run beside me and ask me if I was "starting out." Now I'm no speed freak, but that was definitely humbling. That was earlier this month - I'm now able to do 10:30 or so at the same HR. Hopefully I'll just keep improving. Still, I find it very frustrating to keep the pace slow. Running used to be my outlet, but now it's definitely a burden! But it's for the best and I know long term the payoff will be huge.

Cycling has been a different story. I've been LOVING the new bike - the titanium goliath made by Serotta. It's a bike that would be way out of my league ($) had I not got it used from my dad's old doctor! I also find it easier to keep the heartrate down since you can coast, and it just feels like cruising. Nice.

Went on an epic ride up in San Luis last weekend - to Avilla Beach Pier, then inland to the wine country. AMAZING. I was the "manic cyclist" up there - always smiling! I can't imagine living there...probably some of the best cyling in SoCal.

Yesterday went another beautiful ride down here in LA with LA TriClub friends yesterday.

All and all, status quo and I look forward to Month #2 of "Base Training."

And WAY TO GO MEB! That was amazing seeing him win in NYC today. Huge for this ultra cool dude who my buddy Billy and I met in Houston. (He won that race too!)

And on a random note, here's by pup Henry dressed up as a Pumpkin!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 1 and Change...

Well it's been an interesting 10 days. Working with my new coach Rom Levitsky, he has me doing pretty low intensity stuff, all in the "fat burning zone." So low heart rate stuff. Less than 145 for running, 130 for biking....basically equalling about 12 minute miles on the run (!) and 14-15mph on the bike. Yikes....but it's for the greater good, so I'll stop complaining! I even had an old man (in his 80s?) ask me if I was just starting out the other day! (Yes, I looked that slow...)
To be continued...

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Big Announcement...yes it's in the 100s...

OK, so it's official. I'm bailing out of my winter races (SB Marathon, Houston Marathon) in favor for a bigger race. One that will take about 9 months of training (for me.)

No it's not a 100 run - those people are even nuttier than me! Still guessing? Well check out the video - I hope you get a giggle...or two...or 140.2!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Malibu Triathlon Race Weekend/Report

What a blast the last few days.

Friday: Drove up to SB to pickup my new bike (well, new to me.) My bike has had all sorts of probs the last few weeks and I had an opportunity to grab this beautiful titanium Serotta for cheap, so I took it! Unfortunately as many have said, don't change ANYTHING the day before (or of) a race. Opps. Took 3 emergency trips to the bike shop to get it fit correctly for me...long story...anyway, ended up camping 5 miles North of Zuma at Leo Carillo with my LA Triclub friends Tina, Mo, Byron and Roxanne. What a blast.

Saturday: Olympic Distance. Swim went great. Didn't wear a watch at all this entire race - my perceived effort experiment. Final swim time would be 28:51 - a PR! Cool beans. The bike, despite being excited about my new steed, I had decided to take very easy - in hopes of having a strong run. This is my 4th triathlon and I have yet to have a run that I'm proud of. It was a little odd felt like recreational pace, but I stuck to the plan. The run...well it felt like SHIT! I tried not to go out too fast, but mile marker ONE seemed far! Uh-oh. I suffered, but I tried to keep moving at a consistent pace. I was hoping I'd low to mid 8 minute miles...but had no idea until I got my splits. Turns out I ran a 53:28 - almost exactly 8:30 - so I'm stoked. Final time: 2:45:53. About +1:30 from my PR for an Oly, but I'm happy. I had a great time the rest of the day hanging out with friends, getting my hair cut (? yes they had a booth for that) and a free massage! Julia didn't make the trip (hates camping) but came up to visit with Henry and we had dinner - that was cool.

Sunday: I was planning on doing the swim portion of the "Classic" distance with the Paramount Tri Team, but got a last minute call to also run the another day of racing! Yay...We started with the celebrity wave which was kinda cool and funny. It was just a 800 meter swim so I decided I'd go balls out. I've never been so aggressive running into the water - every man for them self! Getting out to the buoy was complete mayhem. But I finally found a rhythm and just wondered if I could hang on. A few short minutes later I rounded the last marker and headed in. Not sure about my chip time, but when I got out of the water my watch said 12:xx (couldn't read it!) After the 50 yard jog up the beach I stopped it at the mats - 13:01. I'm stoked with this. And I think the current definitely helped me out! An hour later I was off for the 4 mile run on my other team. I was hoping to do around 8 minute miles, which I quickly realized I was not up for. Then about a mile out had a bit of a surge. Final time on the run 32:00 - hurray! Funny too - I almost caught Mario Lopez right at the line! I should be right over his shoulder in his finish photos! Hung out some more with friends and the Paramount Tri Team (Awesome brunch btw at the event) and headed home to the wife and dog.

What a fun weekend. Thanks for reading.

Oh, and a silly little video I made of the elites coming through on Sunday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon - Race Report

My first "Long Course Tri." I've done 2 Olympics thus far...this one is a little more than halfway between an Oly and a 70.3 Half Ironman. Let's say 1/3 Ironman...and I'm bib #911! WTF? Well here we go....

5:00 AM wakeup, coffee, pop tarts and the 20 minute drive to the Santa Barbara waterfront. After I arrive I get in the transition line, and ultimately claim one of the best spots in the house - right near the swim exit and bike start. Weather = perfect. Overcast and not too hot or cold. Kinda tropical, but cooler and not so muggy. So maybe more "Pacific Northwest." So not so tropical. Whatever...

After I set up my area I put on my wetsuit and headed down to the beach. I've found if I wade in the water for 15-20 minutes I swim much better. Something about acclimatizing to the water temperature.

At 7:05, we were off. I was in the second "wave." We ran into the water and started our mile swim. It was, as always MAHEM. A few minutes later I found my groove. I did something new this time. I found a swimmer who was the same speed as me and DRAFTED! It was great. In addition to the energy conserved I only veered off course once since I was following him. Pretty dope. 32 minutes later I was out of the water and running up the beach towards transition. Gotta say I was light headed and dizzy after the swim. I can remember this happening on my other tris - but it went away quickly. (T1 Time = 1:52)

I got on the bike and headed out on what I thought would be the toughest challenge of the day. I rode the course a few weeks back with the LA Tri Club and actually drove the course with Julia on Friday. There are few flats on the course, countless rollers and two climbs in the "Gob" - a very steep 1/2 mile and Toro Canyon - a 1.5 mile very steep climb. I decided to keep the aero bars on despite the technicality of the course (it twists and turns everywhere!) I got into a good rhythm, but because of my slightly above average swim time was passed right and left by guys in $5000 bikes. The sound of aero wheels passing you is unique - maybe the sound of a dog with bronchitis breathing heavily? Anyway, I'm fine with my $500 modified craigslist special (for now - I wouldn't mind a slightly better bike, but probably never a bike that equals any sort of decent car in terms of price...)

So we zipped down toward Carpinteria - a few very quick descents - dangerous, but fun. I took them pretty conservatively while some did them in aero! (That's INSANE can't brake!) Several flat miles later we finally hit "The Gobernator." It's a quick climb luckily, and I felt good popping out of the saddle. No big deal - was glad to have it over. 20 minutes later I'd hit the tougher climb. It's so freaking steep. My bike, when in it's easiest gear makes a fun metal rubbing on metal sound. Gotta love my sweet cheap bike. A nice cyclist (who I believe was riding one of those $5000 Cervelos) was kind enough to tell me that my rear derailleur was rubbing on the spoke, and if I continued in that gear might lose the derailleur altogether (it'd fall off!) Or perhaps a spoke! Um....opps. So risk the derailleur breaking (my day would be over...) or climb the steepest hill of the day on a harder gear than I need to. I went for the tougher solution. I somehow made it up, but boy was it tough. I was DEAD at the top. I was grinding as hard as I could. I thought I might even fall over at one point I was moving so slow...

Luckily the next section of the course was largely downhill. I took it quick and let my legs crank very easily to keep them moving. I thought I was being clobbered by small bugs when I finally realized I was feeling rain drops. Yes, I was indeed in a daze. Rain! Good thing it didn't come until now, as wet roads with these crazy turns would be tough for me. I tried to hammer the last portion of the bike, realizing that I might be able to have what would be the perfect day for me if I averaged 18.5 mph over the course. This would indeed put me in sub-4 contention if I could have a half way decent run.

Off the bike I ran into Julia and my mom - both them and my sister volunteering at the event! I got on the shoes and took off on the 10 mile run. I felt good for the first 3 miles. Somewhere in there I developed some pretty bad acid reflux. I gave in and walked. Damn. Everything going so well, with more uphill running ahead of me I thought I was throwing my goal of sub-4 away. I somehow managed to get myself running again - but at over 10 minute miles. Better than walking, right? All I need was 9:15/mile overall according to my "A" plan. At the turnaround I felt ok, but couldn't take in fluids without getting that horrid gassy feeling in my chest. I also couldn't take on any nutrition. Maybe these honey stinger gels I've been so keen on aren't so great for me. Who knows. There was a nice downhill from miles 5-7 or so, but my pace was nowhere near where it needed to be to make up for the walking and slow running. I became content with the fact that this, my first long course would be a huge triumph finishing, even if it was a few minutes off my "A" goal. 4 hours was pretty ambitious for me anyway. I had only thought I'd be able to get that if I had a "perfect day."

Mile 8 came and with two miles left I was just trying to hang on for dear life. I didn't know exactly where I stood time wise, since my Garmin watch only told my bike-run combined time. I wore a wristwatch in the water, and I was pretty sure I needed to do 3:25 between the bike and run. From my half-assed math during the haze my mind was in I figured that it was going to be fairly close - that I somehow might be able to break 4. The last few miles are flat and along the gorgeous SB waterfront. But it's a LONG waterfront, and from the pier it's about 1 miles, and you can see the Cabrillo Bath House in the distance. I for one like the dangling carrot. Being able to see the finish is uplifting. I gave as much kick as I could - but there was barely anything left. I saw Julia, my mom and sister a few hundred meters out telling people to "step up, step down" over a very precariously placed curb. Cruel! Also about 6 feet of very sof sand to run through...bizarre.

I crossed the line and was immediately greeted by two lovely women who squeezed cold water sponges over my tired body. That was a unique perk! I would learn a few minutes later that I did indeed break 4 hours - by just 22 seconds! 3:59:38. Good thing I didn't walk anymore as I would have just missed it!

I hung out with Julia and my mom and cheered on the athletes as they trickled in - including my friends Semira and Roxanne - both whom gave a strong kick towards the finish as I commanded! (My voice was very sore after cheering...yes I can talk/yell/scream with the best of them.)

The one thing that struck me about this about 1.5 miles to go when I was hurting like hell I thought to myself, "and you want to do an Ironman." My answer to myself was, "yes, yes I do." Having self conversation sure is fun, but usually the answer is more like "f*ck no!" at that point during a race. Strange. Maybe this is really where I've caught the bug. I should also mention from a mile out all I thought a lot about my dad. Somehow the pain makes me feel closer to him. Racing in Santa Barbara is extra special since it's where he raised me. Nice.

I'm trying to decide if this race was as hard as a marathon. The three disciplines all have their challenges, but I've really got to learn how to not blow up on the run. This will be my top priority for my last race of the season - Malibu Olympic on 9/12. Then it'll be all about the running in the fall.

Can't wait for my next one. In the meantime, I'll continue my eating binge. Fish and chips for lunch yesterday, followed by chicken nachos last night and donuts this morning. MMMMMM. Maybe ice cream later? Don't worry health freaks, I'll be back on salads and smoothies tomorrow. :)

Thanks for reading!

Tech Data/Splits:
448th/758 Place Overall
Bib# 911
Overall: 03:59:38
Men 30-34 58/78
Swim 1 mile: 00:31:59 (1:59/100m, 350/758)
T1 01:52
Bike 34 miles: 01:50:30 (18.46 mph, 380/758)
T2 01:38
Run 10 miles: 01:33:40 (9:22/mile, 561/758)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Latigo Climb

Last week I was up in Santa Barbara for the "SB Triathlon Training Camp." While the bike course was gorgeous, it was definitely a little harder (and steeper!) than I expected. Time to get some more hills in with just 2 weeks to go until my big race on the summer.

So I've been itching to climb the infamous Latigo Canyon for several months now. I still consider myself a novice cyclist, but I've definitely been getting stronger - I've been curious to see if I could handle it. The closest I've come before today is Encinal Canyon - which is shorter with a little less elevation gain. So here we go!

Anyway, I met up with my friend Jessica (who's weeks away from her first Ironman!) at Malibu Bluffs at around 7:30. We clipped in and headed North just past Zuma (Trancas Cyn Road.) After the warmup, we turned around and hit Latigo Canyon Road. Wow. It's no joke. Pretty steep at first, leveled out a bit, but all in all a pretty tough climb. I'm told it's 7 miles long and has almost 1900 ft of gain. About a half hour in I definitely started to feel it.

There's a nice little decent about 3/4 the way up, but I found that just took away my momentum! At times I was definitely missing the triple chainring which I just recently had swapped out for a more common double. (I basically lost the "easiest" gear, also known as the "granny.") Anyway, finally, almost exactly an hour after starting the climb I submitted. Jess is quite the climber - she finished a minute or two ahead of me and was barely challenged it seems! Plus she ran 20 or so miles yesterday! Bad ass. Talk about no joke - Ironman training = CRAZY.

So we hit Muhullond and eventually made it into Calabasas - tons of rolling hills on the way and it got HOT. A few hours later we took Malibu Canyon Rd back to the bluffs. Not recommended. Way too much traffic (including a tunnel) and extremely windy. Total time from start to finish 5 hours - but just 60 miles covered! The 5 hrs is not counting Jess's TWO flats (poor girl!) and the refilling water bottles at the park...I'd say we only averaged about 15 mph in the end, but TONS of climbing on the day. Next time....maybe...just maybe we'll add Piuma. Also infamous from what I hear.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nike FREEs Sortof Review

So I scored a pair of Nike frees yesterday.  The chick at the store was extremely pessimistic about these shoes working for...I felt like she almost wasn't going to sell them to me!  I do overpronate a bit, and thus wear stability shoes.  The frees are neutral.  Anyway, I did end up getting them, and have got 60 days to decide if I want to keep them.  (roadrunner sports)

This weekend was pretty good training.  Went on a 4.5 hr ride up Pch - really enjoyed the big waves!  It was quite the sight.  On Sunday took a 30 minute swim near the marina sans wetsuit - so liberating.  I was planning on doing a medium run with my friend Jessica, but stupidly forgot my shoes!  Instead we just ended up doing a few miles (prob 3) on the sand.

I've really been focusing on my form lately.  Lift the knees, kick the butt, land midfoot.  In keeping with this spirit I thought the frees might help me with this. 

This morning, even though I was a bit sore from the long ride I headed out for a few easy miles in the old shoes.  The first mile sucked, but I quickly got into it.  After a loop I headed home and laced up the frees.

Wow.  These things are freaking light!!!  Like nothing.  Still focusing on my form it was definitely easier to strike midfoot in these pups.  My pace also shot up without any extra perceived effort.  All in all I covered 2.5 miles in the frees.  I want to say they definitely rock, but am a bit reluctant to call myself a convert just yet.  

I got back into my nike triax 11s (which are still very light when compared to my workhorse asics kayanos) and I literally felt like I had concrete blocks on my feet!!!!! I could also feel them really controlling my stride.  My feet felt like they were rolling out!  I got used to the extra weight and control after a few minutes and finished the run despite some it band tightness (from the bike?). Definitely need to keep up the stretching.

So I'm definitely sold that stability shoes really enforce a stride.  I'm just not so sure these frees will protect me enough from the road when the miles pile up....  Time will tell!  

Btw, I'm writing this post from my iPhone while waiting for my car at costco. Here's some irony, my Scion is getting new tires!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Strawberry Fields Triathlon (Now with Pics!)

4:30 AM wake up at Mom's home in Goleta (North of Santa Barbara)
5:30 AM arrive, park, rack bike, lay out gear
6:30 AM get in the water, play in the surf, chat it up
7:05 AM START!


Crazy horrid swim. Pretty cold water, biggish swells, big current. Got off the beach pretty good. Had trouble getting a breath and finding my rhythm. Definitely a mass start. Had trouble spotting the buoys due to the big swells. The course definitely felt way longer than 1500m. Following other swimmers just led us way off course. Would love to see a helicopter shot - all the zig zagging! Checked my watch at the 2/3 buoy: 23 min! Yikes. Final swim time ~37 min. Crap!


Quick jog to the transition area. Uneventful T1. Time ~2:30. Cool by me.


Shorter than 40k at 23.2 miles (no idea why!) Flat, but windy. Aero position 90% of the time. Tried to focus on eating, drinking. First loop went well after I got into it ~3 miles in. Flew past a good amount of other riders (yay!) Second loop took it up a notch in effort to make up for the horrid swim (which was the talk of the day amongst most of my friends who also raced!) Got off the bike in 1:07:38 - very stoked with my 20.6 mph effort in pretty windy conditions and of course not drafting!


Uneventful as well! Time: ~ 40 seconds.


Felt pretty bad right out of the gate, but was surprised to see my pace at 8:23 for the first mile! Then 8:53, then 8:58. Fading fast and am not such a fan of loop courses...9:05. Holding on by a string! I knew if I walked it was over. And I knew if I tried to stay with it I could still go sub 2:45 despite a disastrous start. 9:23. Finish line in sites....gasping....last mile 8:48. Run time 55:10. (Yikes as well!) Total time ~ 2:44:27. Mission accomplished despite the adversity. (PR!) Still no official times or race photos. Stay tuned.

The PS's:

P.S. Bummed about Lance!

P.P.S. Shout outs to my friends Willis, Greg, Ryan and Jess who duked it out with me in Oxnard!

P.P.P.S. Had a "Strawberry Fields" smoothie at the Natural Cafe on the way home. Seriously. That's what it's called.

P.P.P.P.S. Yes. I'm in a strange mood.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Just noticed that I finished 121th overall, ranked 97th in my gender and 12th in my "class." Anybody know what "class" is? (Age, I presume? Not etiquette, obviously.)

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Yes, I need to stop typing now and Billy will surely not be amused by my attempt at humor here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Race Upcoming and Off Topic Pics

How's this for a hodge-podge (sp?) post?! Pics of my latest obsession (Deck!) Pics from my vacation (yes, photography is a passion of mine) and ramblings about my upcoming race: The Strawberry Fields Triathlon (Olympic Dist.)

This Sunday is just my second Tri - although I feel like I'm not quite that green! I've been working pretty hard on the bike for the last month or so. I must say I've falled off the wagon running a bit - track work once a week and a medium run or two a week and that's it....Swimming so-so. That's the one sport I'm decent at so I tend to neglect it. So without further goals.

Swim 1500m: 27:30ish (1:50/100m) - should be pretty doable, no faster than my first tri back in March

Bike 40k: 1:14:30ish (20mph) - up from 18.5, more comfy on the bike, easier course

Run 10k: 54:20ish (8:45/mile) - I'd be more ambitious here but know myself and if I go out to hard after the bike I'm done. I'll start out here and if I feel good I'll go harder!

With the transitions I'm thinking between 2:40 and 2:45, about 6-10 minutes off my first. I'd definitely like to go sub 2:45 and possibly 2:40 if it goes really well. We'll see!

Without further adieu, here's my favorite pics from my trip up North...

For more you can check out my MobileMe gallery:

And here are the promised pics of the newly completed deck! :)

Oh yeah, the lens I shot with (Canon 10-22) makes it look much, much bigger!

Will letcha know how Sunday goes! Hopefully I'm not too sore from hauling all that wood!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Gorgeous San Juans

I've been pretty low key in the active/running world the last several weeks. I've been building a deck in my backyard (!) and been busy with work. But this last week I've been vacationing with my wife Julia in the incredible San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington State, near the Canadian border.

I've been there twice before - for the scenery and the orcas that visit every summer. This visit we'd stay at the world famous Orcas Hotel on Orcas Island. Details of the trip aside, Julia and I went on 2 hikes the first day, but on Friday I wanted to tackle Mt. Constitution - the highest point on the island at 2500'. Most people drive to the top, but there's a hike (labeled "strenuous" in the guides - I'm "trembling!" that ranges from 3-5 miles depending where you start.

I lobbied for the long route, about 5.5 miles with just under 2000' of gain. (Hmmm.) The scenery was GORGEOUS.

It was pretty damn tough! I stopped to catch my breath multiple times, hiking a few of the really steep parts. At one point I wondered if I was on the right mountain experience from November flashing back to me....hopefully this time without snow (!) But this tale would be one with a more typical ending. Summiting the trail with Julia waiting for me at the top - she drove. It took me about 1:20 to make it up and the view was spectacular! On the way down we stopped at the lake where I swam a few laps. Ah the mountain ice water felt nice!

A few days later, this time on Lopez Island I set out on another run - this time to Iceberg Point - at the Southern tip of the island. Deserted. Gorgeous. Once I was out on the trail I didn't see anybody! Except for the occasional gull and ever present bald eagles (by the dozen up there!) it was me and the trail. Unfortunately I brought my road shoes. They're my typical Asics - Kayano 14s that don't have such great traction on the dirt. That would be my single complaint of the experience. Other than that it was HEAVEN! We kayaked, saw otters, porpoises and droves of baldys - including a few young ones! No orcas unfortunately - they were on strike apparently. :(

If you haven't checked out the San Juans by all means look it up! On lopez we stayed at the Mackaye Harbor Inn - incredible. More pics later...I promise! :)
The Trail @ Mt Constitution

Me on the trail....tired!

Steps from the top...I tried to sprint the last mile ("tried")

The view...see what I mean?

The deck framed out! Work resumes manana....

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Race that was a Wall....And a different type of PR

Short Story: Today was not my day.  Almost DNF'd, but ended up mostly walking to the finish.

Long Story: Woke up at 5:00 AM, had a little coffee, a granola bar, a fruit bar and starting drinking my usual Poweraide.  My friend Billy and his cousin "Q" (who would be running his first!) pick me up at about 6 AM.  We make it downtown with no problems, wait in line for the porta potties and line up.  It didn't seem like a huge field, but it was incredibly crowded.  There was no "side area" etc to get to your designated position.  After 10 minutes of jockeying for position I make it up within 30 feet of the 4:00 hour pace group. 

The women took off at around 7:10 and somehow a lot of the crowd didn't get the memo.  There's a push of people from the back resulting in many people near me toppling over....crazy!  We were finally off at 7:25.  Talk about a crazy start.  It was all over the place.  The 4:00 hr dude totally took off!  It was near impossible to stay anywhere close to him....way too many people - all different people!  And plenty of race walkers clogging up the start!  (Thought they were supposed to start AFTER the runners???)  It was utter mayhem, and it didn't subside until at least mile 3 or so.  I managed to stick with the pace guy through all this somehow, but quickly started feeling fatigue - especially for being just 3 or so miles in!  WTF?!?!?!  The calm before the storm.   Mile splits (1) 6:49 - but I think that's wrong (2) 9:05 (3) 9:09 (4) 8:51.  

During mile 4 I realized I was breathing pretty heavy...and my heartrate would confirm that indeed I was struggling.  175 bpm for that pace???  Maybe 8 months ago....I mananged to click off the next several miles with the pace dude still in site, ignoring my awol heartrate.  Mile splits (5) 8:59 HR 177 (6) 8:56 - HR 179 (7) 9:06 HR 183.  I know my rates pretty well, and I definitely knew 180s this early were not going to back down.  I can handle 180s (and 190s) short term, but not for 19 miles.  I made the decision to kiss the pace group goodbye.  It sucked watching the balloons fade off into the distance.  My next goal: sub 4:10.  Mile splits (8) 9:44 (9) 9:49 

I saw my Julia and mom at around mile 9 - knowing this was not my day I informed them that I still wanted to push for a good PR and that I'd see them at mile 17 (where they'd meet me next).   Let the meltdown continue....Mile splits (10) 10:17 (11) 10:52 (12) 10:49

Before the halfway point I was caught by the 4:15 pace group.  This chick rocked, she was pep talking and animated.  Way better than the silent mysterious 4:00 dude...I thought about picking up the pace, but decided to stay with them.  Nice.  I was even comfortable, and least for a mile or two (13) 9:43.

THEN....good old fashioned GI issues.  Nausea.  I didn't puke, but sure felt like it.  I had to let the 4:15 group go.  (14) 12:02 - HR 160 (!) (15) 10:55 HR 165 (!!) (16) 12:28 HR 163 (!!)  These HRs don't go with the paces, do they?  I hooked up with my cousin Josh at mile 17 or so.  He ran from his home in SM (he's also a runner).  I was falling apart quickly though and couldn't bare to run.  We walked together for a bit.  I was a bit light headed and still nauseous.  At one point while WALKING my HR read 165.  This had me worried.  I thought about pulling out.  Something was definitely not right.  With the PR out of site it certainly didn't seem unreasonable to DNF.  Josh was worried about me and we agreed we'd visit the nearest Medical tent to make sure I was fit to continue if I chose so.  We came by Julia and my mom again at mile 18 and we finally found the medical stop.  The nurse took my blood pressure (normal) asked me questions and basically told me I was ok to go.  I decided I could not bare to DNF - that would make a tough day a tough week knowing I was physically fit to continue.

I gave hugs to the fam and carried on in a light jog.  Uh-oh.  The walking tightened me up.  My entire left side cramped up and a nasty blister had formed (from the walking?) on my right foot.  WHAT THE HELL ELSE COULD GO WRONG?  I decided to walk, walk and more walk.  At this point I had nothing except the finish.  Last year I finished this race in 5:00:50 and I wouldn't break 5 until Houston THIS YEAR (4:28:xx.)  If I wasn't gonna break 5 part of me thought well maybe I could top my LONGEST marathon time (My first in Houston - 5:09:xx.) 

The miles crept by incredibly slowly.  For awhile I turned on the iPod and tried to zone out.  Then I tried to encourage some of the runners who were obviously first timers and needed some support.  But the miles go on forever when you're doing a 16:00 pace.  (HA!)  Just before mile 25 the 5:30 pace group came up from behind.  I decided to try and run with them for a few minutes and chatted.  5 or so minutes later they were due for a walk break.  With just over a mile to go I decided to turn on the jets (more like a small electric motor with dead batteries.)  I clicked off that final bit at around a 10:00 pace.  Game over.  Final time 5:26:xx

A new PR!  PR stands for "Personal Record."  And that it is.  Officially my longest marathon.  Hopefully this is a PR that stands up until I'm elderly.  Honestly I'm somewhat frustrated (obviously).  I think I've overdone it.  4 weeks ago was Big Sur, then SM 10k, then SB 1/2, then a weekend off and now a very tough LA Mar.'s done and I'm glad for that!  I'll have many other opportunities for glory in the future.  I'm happy I didn't DNF - I'd be MUCH unhappier with that.  So no A,B,C, or even "D" goal.  I did get my "E" goal.  My dad's first name happened to be "Eric."  Very Fitting.

P.S. Ironically I watched the 2007 Ironman Special last night to get amped up.  Was definitely thinking of that elite runner who refused to drop out in the marathon after getting injured.  He walked it with age groupers passing him right and left.  Obviously I'm about as far from elite as you'll find, but seeing his dedication certainly fueled me during my "long walk."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Numbers Talk: Pre LA Marathon

Tomorrow I'll be taking on my 6th marathon...good old LA.  Weather looks good and I'm definitely my usual combination of nervous and pumped up.

I've raced 3 out of the last 4 weekends.  Well, Big Sur wasn't really a race for me (4:41:xx)  But the SM 10k (48:11) and the SB Wine Country Half (1:50:00) definitely were.  I took last weekend off in prep for tomorrow and I think I'm ready for a big PR.

The numbers say I'm capable of a sub-4 hour marathon.  That's been my end game for awhile.  I'm planning on going for it.  I'll head out with 9 minute miles and see if I can hold on.  I might even run with the 4:00 pace group - we'll see!

Fingers crossed, but I must admit I'm not entirely sure of this one.  My goals...

A) Sub 4 (ok, I'd take 4:00:00)
B) Sub 4:10
C) Sub 4:20
D) PR (previous 4:28:41)
E) Finish

Is that a first?  5 goals?

I'll let you know how it goes manana!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Good Ol' Hockey and Ramblings

Before running and triathlon I played a lot of hockey.  After college I decided to try my hand playing ice hockey.  I played a little street hockey growing up, and somehow upon my graduation in 2001 the flame reignited.  I've been a fairly loyal LA Kings fan ever since and have enjoyed my time on the ice, mostly at the nearby Culver Ice Arena.  

Since I lost my dad and discovered running my passion for hockey has somewhat diminished.  So much so I actually ended up "changing teams" (not that team to team!) and moved to a less competitive group of guys.  I've still been playing a 2-3 times a month - kinda makes for an interesting cross training!

The last few times I've played I've had an absolute blast.  One thing that fascinates me tremendously about Hockey is that when you're in a game you forget about life in a very big way.  To be honest all that I can really remember for that hour and change is that my name is "Cody."  (Yes, from my team mates yelling at me!)  After the game I remember "I have a wife, I have a dog, etc."

I miss this feeling.  I find running especially to be incredibly introspective.  I do some great thinking running.  That's great, but there's something magical about "checking your life at the door."  Thoughts?  Maybe I should listen to music a bit more...

Oh and here's a fake pic of me fighting.

Oh yeah, I'm pissed Danny got eliminated off Idol this week!  Kris is mediocre at best and reminds me of the generic smug popular guy in high school.  (/vent.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

SB: Fire, Screen and Run

It's been a very interesting 3 days...I got up to Santa Barbara on Wednesday night as the Jesusita Fire flared up..I took my time getting up North to take some photos.  Here's a little video of the smoke over the ocean.  This was shot from sea cliff, about 10 miles out of SB.

It felt strange to carry on with our film screening despite all the craziness with the fire, but the showing was sponsored by my friends at Destination Races, so the decision was made to go through with it.  Before the screening we had a booth at the mini expo - my roommate was none other the famed Bart Yasso!  Pretty cool.

We screened "Running for my Father" to an audience of 40-50 people, mostly locals (some of who had to leave right after the film, getting calls to evacuate!)  It was a bittersweet night as I think most of out minds were on the flames.  I probably did my crappiest Q&A yet (!)  On our way back home we realized the flames had really erupted.  Scary times.  One of our friends house had already burned, several more in danger.  Luckily my mom's house was pretty far from this:

Friday morning we went up to the expo in Buellton, which is about 25 miles North from Santa Barbara - far from the flames.  I was pleased (and shocked) that the air quality in the Santa Ynez Valley was pristine.  No ash to be seen.  It looked like the race might actually NOT be cancelled!  Picked up the packet and headed back to SB where I met Billy (larunner - duh!) his girl Sara and my girl Julia who drove up with them.

We took a walk at my favorite place in SB, Ellwood and then headed out to dinner at the famous E-Bar.  Soon we were all packed up and ready to go to bed.

And FINALLY...race day.  5:30 AM wakeup call.  We were out the door by 6.  I didn't know what to expect.  The fire was going better, but if there was ash in the air my plan was to DNF.  No sense in ruining my lungs.  I was hoping to stick to my plan as much as I could: 8:40 miles 1-7, take it slow up the climb near mile 7, then book it in.  Definitely wanted to break 2, hoping for a sub 1:55 and a sub 1:50 would be A+ for me.

After the walk to the start we were off.

First off, Billy is freaking FAST.  Don't let him tell you otherwise.  He's got serious skillz.  I remember hearing him say "I'll take the first mile as a warm up."  He was out of sight by the 100 meter mark...Sheesh.

The first miles were really beautiful.  I was trying to find my groove and remember settling in somewhere around mile 2.  By mile 5 I remember thinking...hmmm...8:30-40 for another 8 miles?  I don't think so.  I tried to convince myself the race would be over by the big climb near mile 7.  That kept me going.  

The air quality seemed great, and it definitely wasn't as hot as I anticipated.  (Yes, this is my debut in a sleeveless, or don't we call them "singlets?"  We headed through the town of Los Olivos at around mile 5 and it was probably my favorite part - tons of crowd support there.  :)

Just around the corner was the biggest hill in the race.  I remember last year when I paced Julia through her half we totally walked it.  I was pretty hell bent on running.  Man it went on awhile!  But after the crest there was a great downhill - which, btw, normally I hate, but I had to make up the time.  Miles 8-10 were a gradual downhill so I tried to pick it up as planned.  By the 11 marker I knew I was in position to possibly break 1:50 if I could hold onto my faster kick.

I love the feeling when you're close - you can taste it.'s tough when a hill gets in the way.  I'm not scared of hills after Big Sur...but I still loose time!  And the horribly placed hill just before mile 12 was definitely NOT helping my cause.  I somehow made it up - checking my watch at the mile marker - it read something like 1:41:0x.  9:00ish to do 1.1 should be ok, right?

I knew I still had a shot so I gave it all I possibly could.  Finally to the 13 mile marker in the town of Solvang I went into an all out sprint.  I knew it'd be close.  I rounded the corner thinking the finish line would be right there.  (?!)  Uh...this was seeming a bit more like ".2"  WTF?!  I held on to my ridiculous sprint and made it across the line.  The time on my Garmin, and my eventual chip time: 1:50:00.8

Damn.  8/10 of a second!  Still a huge PR of almost 13 minutes, but those numbers hurt a bit.  It's all good though.  This race was nearly cancelled!  And it's not like I "lost" the race by a fraction of a second - my goal was definitely reached in a big way.  Billy, despite what he'll say in his blog is a total badass.  1:40:xx.  I can't even fathom that!  :)

(Julia and Henry in the car at the start of the race - she was there for the finish!)

Mile Splits:
m1 - 8:35 / HR 164
m2 - 8:39 / HR 168
m3 - 8:29 / HR 170
m4 - 8:35 / HR 174
m5 - 8:29 / HR 174
m6- 8:52 / HR 175
m7 - 9:13 / HR 178
m8 - 8:03 / HR 177
m9 - 7:44 / HR 177
m10 - 7:55 / HR 182
m11 - 7:53 / HR 187
m12 - 8:24 / HR 188
m13 - 7:40 / HR 193
.1 (should be .1 but Garmin says .23 and 6:11 pace?!) 1:24 / HR 200 (!)

Overall: 1:50:00 ; 8:19/mile ; HR=177
Age Group 41/110 Overall 271/1956

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Legs on Strike

Had a great 5 mile recovery run with Billy Monday...took yesterday of and decided to go for a medium (albeit slow) run this AM.  It's somewhat warm so I wore my singlet...and by mile 1 I could tell this was not going to be my day.  My Garmin battery died, I had some stomach issues and by the SM Airport (about 2.5 miles from my house) my legs were totally done.  So I'm guessing about 5 miles on the day - with a lot of it walking.  WTF?!

I'm gonna shrug it off and still shoot for an 8:20 pace to start the SB Wine Country Half on Saturday.  Not sure if I can hold on to that ambitious a pace the whole 13, but we'll see!

Arg...I hate crappy run days!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Santa Monica Classic 10k

After last week's race in Big Sur I had a case of PMLDS (Post Marathon Let Down Syndrome).  We've all been there, and especially considering I didn't "race" it, I felt like I wanted to push myself a bit this weekend.  I didn't run much this last week - the knees are still week from Big Sur!  I did a short recovery jog, played some ice hockey Weds and went out for a 40 mile ride on Friday.  But today was the Santa Monica Classic 10k.  I've never done this distance, outside of my triathlon at least!  And for a good cause:  Heal the Bay

My plan was to go out at an 8:00 pace and try and pick it up after mile 2 if possible.  There was a climb before mile 4 and I knew I'd slow a bit there, but then it was all downhill - I wanted to punch it towards the end.

Wake up call: 6:15 AM.  I drove down to Santa Monica and jogged towards the start line about a mile away (it's a point to point, so I parked near the finish.)  I ran into my bro Eric from the LA Tri Club - we visited for a bit while the DJ at the start was trying WAY too hard...poor guy.

At 8 AM sharp we were off.  I tried to position myself towards the front - this is new for me!  I settled into a nice 8 minute pace, sometimes going into the high 7s a bit.  The first mile was through Main Street SM - nice.  At around 1 mile I saw my pal Billy running with his cousin.  He had mentioned he might come by and I was thrilled to see a friendly face (two if you count his cuz!)  We exchanged pleasantries and I carried on down to Ocean Ave.  Definitely a false flat between miles 1.5-3...but I chugged on!  I had my Garmin set to Time, Pace and Average Pace.  I wanted to keep the overall average pace below 8 to reach my goal of breaking 50 minutes.  In the back of my mind I would have loved to break 48...but this being my first 10k just wanted to try hard.

Between miles 3-4 we climbed about 100 vertical feet on San Vicente.  It sounds like nada, but this was a little rough for me trying to keep pace.  I slowed just a tad and was definitely feeling it at the turnaround.  I flew down that hill though!  I also ran into my buddy Bill Lockton who was watching the race in front of his house.

The final 2 miles was a gentle downhill and at the 5 mile mark there was Billy and his cuz again!  I was definitely struggling to hang on at this point, but Billy decided to run with me!  Pretty cool!  I was definitely kicking it as hard as I could - it was downhill after all.  Billy peeled off at the 6 mile mark and that last .2 felt like FOREVER!  But I made it - Garmin time = 48:11.  

What a great experience.  Love the shorter distance - it definitely breaks you in a different way!  Next week I'm in SB for screenings of my film and then running the SB Wine Country Half Marathon.  I was originally hoping for the low 1:50s (which would be a big PR) but seeing the LA Marathon is 3 weeks away I'm thinking of going a little easier - perhaps sub 2:00 (still a PR)

Here are my splits for today's race...

Mile 1: 8:00, 166 HR
Mile 2: 7:48, 177 HR
Mile 3: 8:00, 181 HR
Mile 4: 8:03, 185 HR
Mile 5: 7:26, 185 HR
Mile 6: 6:34 (!) 189 HR
Last .2 (on the Garmin it's .34...) 2:16, 192 HR

Chip Time: 48:11.7
Age Group: 40/167
Overall: 270/1663

Pics courtesy of Billy Burger:

About a mile in...

Mile 5 - not smiling!

Home stretch!  The hardest .2 ever...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Big Sur Marathon Report & Houston Worldfest

It's been a crazy busy few days.  I awoke early Wednesday morning in LA to catch a flight back to Houston, TX.  After some great Tex Mex and Pecan Pie at the Goode Company we headed over to my cousin's place (The Wizigs) and hung out for the night.  The next day we showed my film at an incredible AMC Theatre to an audience of 50 or more.  It was the most exhilarating screening yet.  It was on a huge screen and for the first time I actually felt like a member of the audience watching the story unfold.  At mile 20 during what I call the "The Struggle Segment" I found myself asking "why in hell am I doing this?!"  Then came the triumphant finish.  The audience erupted in applause!  I got butterflies --- it was incredible!  "I can't wait for Sunday!"  What a turn around in a few mere minutes.  Great audience response and comments - thanks ya'll for coming out!

The next morning we (my mama made the trip with me) we awoke at 5am Houston time (3am LA time!!!) and got back into LA by 9am.  I kicked back for a few hours before jumping in the car and heading North to Big Sur.  I stopped in Ventura to rendezvous with my friend Richard (LA Tri) who would be carpooling with me.  We set up camp at the Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins, made dinner and went off to bed by 9pm.

On Saturday we essentially toured the course by heading North into Monterey for the expo.  Wow.  This course is HILLY.  Holy in hell...???  I'm staying true to my goal:  A Zen Enjoyment of the Experience.  (AZEE - I just made that up....kinda sounds like "easy" with an undefined accent...)  I left the Garmin at home...this will be interesting!

5:00 AM Wakeup call.  The cool part about camping for a race is that it's easy to go to bed early.  Richard and I headed into our respective tents by about 9pm, I read for a bit and was probably dreaming by 10pm.  Some idiot's car alarm went off at 4:30...that got me up early, but I dozed a bit before getting dressed, prepped and ready to head up the hill for the shuttle pickup.  Once we arrived at the start there was already an electric vibe going.  It quickly became apparent that this is a very well orchestrated event - coffee and bagels, etc.  It was FREEZING, but we were all in sweats and would throw our sweats into a truck (via a labeled bag).

We lined up on the closed highway 1, shivered a bit and at 6:45 we were off!  I went out easy, as planned, and as suggested by all of the veterans I talked to.  Miles 1-5 were definitely a breeze and quite fun.  We were in the comfort and cover of the Redwoods.  Somewhere in there I passed by our campsite - and I barely thought about crawling back to bed!  The crowd support was sparse, but enthusiastic.  There was plenty of music along the way - such as the harpist at mile 3.

By mile 6 we were out on the open road.  I was feeling great when the wind picked up tremendously.  Par for the course so I hear.  I'd guess it was 10-15mph sustained in our face wind.  This made our first climb (a longer roller) a bit difficult.  I was careful to not put too much into it and to focus on the gorgeous scenery surrounding me.  Every so often I had to pinch myself and realize I was running on a closed Highway in one of the more gorgeous parts of North America.  Insane.

I don't remember too much about miles 7-10...I was very absorbed in the scenary without regard for pace, technique etc.  This race was definitely about chugging along for me.  Of course the volunteers were shouting out times at the mile markers, so I had some idea - I was going about 11 minute pace.  As I was just looking for an enjoyable run this was the back of my mind I definitely wanted to crack 5 hours...and hoped for possibly a sub 4:45.

At mile 10 the long 2 mile climb that is Hurricane Point begins.  This is what everybody talks about.  It's about 500-600 feet of vertical gain over that mileage.  Doesn't sound like much....but there's a decent before and after the'd be important to watch my speed on both so I didn't kill my quads and knees on the downhill.

Right at the start of the decent there was a group of Taiko Drummers.  It was exhilarating!   I had the camera in video mode and I was shooting them as I ran by.  I was totally involved in what they were involved that I neglected to notice the cone that was directly in front of me...before I new it I took a dive.  It happened so quickly I didn't really know what hit me.  Several people came to my aid, but within seconds I knew I was fine --- with the exception of some VERY bloody elbows.  Some how my knees made it out of the mess with some non-bleeding blood blisters.  Yuck.  Serves me right I suppose.  I walked up to the next aide station where I got some band-aides.  I wondered if this was the beginning of the end for me.  

My knees were throbbing from the impact and the elbows were of course burning like hell.  About 100 yards of walking later I decided this was a turning point for better or worse.  I decided to go for it - to run up the main climb of the race.  I didn't want an excuse to come back!  I made it up in great time...I think the trail runner's club has really helped my hills.  Thanks Stan and Ernie!

The wind was HOWLING at the crest.  Not quite enough to knock you over...but definitely very strong.  I tried to take the decent pretty easy - my knees were already a wreck.  At the halfway point I headed over the famous Bixby Bridge.  On the far side was the famous piano player.  They haul a Yamaha Baby Grand out to the road every year!  I decided to stop for the photo op.  I asked if I could sit with him as he played - he nodded.  He was playing a Beatles tune I knew, so I dared to play the melody in the high octave.  I think this threw him and the others around him....but I played it correctly until I forgot what key he was in...opps.  I think I got in a phrase or two.  Why the hell not?!

I carried on and chugged up and down the many many rollers --- trying to save it for the last stretch.  I would say I lasted until about mile 18 when it got pretty darn tough.  I was walking minimally through the aide stations and made numerous pit stops at the porta potties as I was probably over-hydrating for such a cool (and windy) day.

The scenery was absolutely definitely kept me going in a big way.  By mile 21 I was sniffing the finish line.  I was on pace for a 4:48 finish according to the volunteers at the mile markers.  At this point I decided I wanted to see how well I could do.  I will say I suffered through miles 21 and 22, but there were fresh strawberries somewhere in there - just the kick I needed!  At mile 23 I started to pick it up a bit more, passing a fair share of people.  The scenery was gone, but the spectators made up for it.  There was one last very significant hill just before the end.  I chugged up knowing there was less than a mile to go.  Finish line in sight I went as fast as I could without ruining the group's finish in front of me.  

My time when all was said and done was 4:41:30.  I'm really pleased with this - especially seeing I wasn't really "racing."  I'm very curious where I'd be had I been and not made all the pit stops.  What I can say is that Big Sur is an extremely demanding course.  That said, not pushing myself to the max in this case made for a very rewarding experience - not in the form of a PR, but in pure enjoyment.  The PR is for LA on May 25th.  Before that I've got the SB Wine Country to worry about.  Give Big Sur a shot - it's definitely worth the pain getting up there, riding the buses, etc!  You surely won't forget your experience there.

Oh...and here's the video I took that caused the great fall!  :)


About Me

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Film composer moonlighting as a runner, cyclist and triathlete