Sunday, January 27, 2008

Time to blog!!!!

I wish I blogged more! Certainly I'll have a post after next week's Mission Gorge 15k, but I'm hesitant to journal/blog my day-in and day-out, which works well towards the general narrative and the many subplots that transpire throughout our unpredictable lives. I read blogs that regularly touch on the quotidian, the pedestrian, the minutiae. And it's cool! A guy like Jameson is terribly interesting. One of his latest posts concerns his daily schedule (he even mentions when he uses the bathroom!!!); it got a ton of response, meaning people simply dig the details, including me! Burgeoning scribes will hear this cardinal rule echoed down multitudinous halls of letters: the devil (or God) is in the details. Think on paper, ya freshman, put it down! Writing is God's way of showing you how disorganized you are, etc., etc. . . .

So, why am I, one who studies communication, who has a fairly fertile forum before me, so mum? It's a great question. And as I explore it and in turn write about it, perhaps the answer will reconcile much of what stumps so talkative a guy as myself who in fact actively likes to read others' musings.

I would like to take a stab at one reason I haven't been more consistent, more loquacious. Much of the blogging I read relates to endurance sports. Since I've done triathlon in the past, and a few of the regular blogs I read are from triathletes, I suppose I've been exposed mostly to that discourse. This is a training-heavy life-style and related lingo. The training schedule of one trying to master three sports is almost ridiculous. I've actually fancied it like a really bad contestant on American Idol; training for two 70.3s was almost silly. Just ask my wife. I was diligent (swimming and running during lunch breaks, etc.), without a coach, but committed and smart enough to know that a 56 mile bike on Camp Pendleton and a half marathon are not to be taken lightly. I still under-trained in every sport, but finished in under 6 both times and that's that. The suffering sufficed. My wife and kid were the real winners. I was just the weiner in spandex. Obviously, I digress.

All of the training jargon, especially as it includes the gobs of technical gadgetry seems to rub me the wrong way, especially as it concerns my training. I guess I'm old school. I have enjoyed reading a guy like ChuckieV. He's triathlon, but has a nice old school vibe. He has good things to say about training, gadgetry, and the Central Coast, which is the greatest place on earth. Check him out. I thought I'd close with this excerpt from ChuckieV. I hope he doesn't mind. This comes near the end of one of his bits about the caveman (props to the cavester):

In training, don't be afraid to occasionally take the caveman approach and find some shit out for yourself. Go ape-shit! No Internet forum is going to know what works for you, or what doesn't. No coach or scientist or "expert" is going to either, without some trial and error. You need to think like the bumble bee or the caveman or the German goddess and do what it takes to learn for yourself. This is the best form of learning and it's called EXPERIENCE. We learn from experience and we gain experience from making mistakes. Go out on a limb, because as any Neanderthal can tell you, that's where the fruit is found.

That's what I need on a daily basis. The organic training schedule that let's me push buttons that no one else can push. It could be a sick beach run, a crazed 1:45 mountain run, a race I'm under-trained to run (see previous post), or some recovery days to hang with my family.

Time will tell. The 1:32 1/2 marathon I ran on my own last year is my carrot. I proceeded to get injured and have just gotten back to the run. It's the trail run. The results won't lie. I hope to make some progress as I turn to master the masters. On the trail. Under the sun. With those who believe in keeping it real!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

BIG Weekend

Before I get to my epic weekend, I want to briefly explain the name of the blog. I am, as of 2008, back to living free of alcohol. Needless to say, for some a few grogs is perfection, adding some fun, or a touch of class to the situation. For me, unfortunately, it can add a touch of - you guessed it - ass, as in I'm acting like one. I'm much better off without. In the addiction lexicon, "recovery" refers to a state of being in which one actively works on living without his/her addiction, meaning that he/she addresses other perhaps more fundamental issues, while abstaining from partaking. In that context, I'm in recovery.

Recovery also means simply re-discovering, as if something has happened as in a fire or flood, or maybe something was just lost, so one tries to recover some of his/her things.

Of course, in the world of endurance sports, recovery means maintaining one's body and mind (the gains) in the face of a high level of physical and mental exertion. We do all kinds of things to recover in this sense from nutrition to stretching to sleeping.
So, I thought recovery made a lot of sense for the blog. Likewise, "discovery" has so much connotation and in this sense it simply means that by being conscious of the wreckage (recovery) I can actually discover more than what I might initially have thought I had.

I have been involved in endurance sports for about 5 years now (from running half marathons to doing half ironmans). With a family now and a pretty serious job, I feel I've needed to focus a little. Since running is the most athletic of the three sports, and something I have more fun doing, I've decided to get more involved in trail running. So that's another part of the new era I refer to in my first post.

It's a new me. It's a new focus. Bring on the new (but, by God, pay attention to the old!)

Which brings me to this weekend. I did the Boney Mt. 21k Xterra Trail Run in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa National Park in Newbury Park. Check the elevation map. As I said in my first post, I am planning to participate in whatever Xterra Socal trail runs I can, starting with Mission Gorge, 2/8. But then I got a wild hair to run Boney Mt. 21k, which we all know means a half marathon off road. I even said I threw together some training since this race was much earlier than my mind or body had planned. Blah blah blah. Run, suffer and have a good time.

It was a sufferfest. The first hour is a really really tough and fast undulating single-track. By heading-out pretty fast (7ish/mile) I was forced to stay on it since you have people breathing down your back and people suffering up ahead. Since most of us generally do a little better perhaps 30 min. to an hour in, this was tough, really really tough. Most of us were resorting to a little accelerated walk up some of the grades after about 30 min. of this gnarly hilly single-track tempo run. So things start to taper off as you reach the 45 min mark and you start to head down, which then becomes a very chilly run along the canyon floor. This is about mile 6. The next 4.5 miles are up, about 1800' of climbing. Let's just say it was hammer on any flats, slight grades and accelerated walk just to stay alive. It was BRUTAL.

From the peak it's an insane drop to the finish and this might have been the toughest on my body. I let go on the descents. I imagined I was an old steel frame. A guy would eek past me going up, a lighter guy of course, like a carbon frame; but on the descent I'd blow by him.

I felt pretty strong at the finish, but it was brutal. My legs were toast, and the bottom of my left foot had a little strain/tear which I'm dealing with.

I took my Garmin Forerunner, but haven't figured-out how to upload yet. So, let me summarize. I finished in 2:09. My pace was 10:02/mile. My heart rate was between 170-180 the whole time. I climbed over 3100' and descended over 3100'. The overall winner was 1:36. I was 18th in my age group (30-39) out of 40. I'm 39. Also, I'm fat. I have work to do.

The weather was incredible. I followed the run with a drive up to the Pismo Beach area for a little R&R with a buddy from Oakland, CA. We surfed, ate seafood (and a ricotta cheese and chicken pesto pizza) and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Era

I am an avid blogger, er, I mean blog reader. Although I started a blog almost two years ago, I've been drawn to reading others' musings instead of recording my own. It's time to commit to my joining (consistently) the "conversations," becoming a more valuable contributor to the Text.

It's a new year, so this declaration sounds a lot like a resolution of sorts, but there are other more significant variables at play - I can only presume to have the faintest idea how they will converge to propel me into an exciting stage of my athletic/personal/professional lives.

I am a week away from my first trail run, the Boney Mountain 21k up near Oxnard, CA. I have big plans for 2008 as it relates to trail running - more on that as it unfolds. I am committing to the SoCal Xterra Trail Running Series, so initially I was planning the local Mission Gorge 15k (see link) in early February. However, the Xduro series begins this year, which concerns longer trail runs (21k). Boney Mountain's 21k is part of that series and though a little early training-wise, I'm a groveler, so I've thrown together some training and figure I'll just "check it out," finish, have a great training day for Mission Gorge, and hopefully have a blast!

So, this is a new blog. I'm in a better place to construct what I feel is a better representation of what I'm trying to do - with out a doubt I can be classified as a late bloomer. So, here's a newer attempt at creating a better, more consistent ethos, one that others might find a little more readable.