Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last Call

There won't be anything to post the rest of the week. Sure I'll have some work-outs, but it's just about getting healthy to race like an angel. This little cold thing is so puzzling. I thought about going to urgent care today to nab some anti-biotics so I could at least be ready to go next Sunday.
I steered clear of the infection when my family was getting beat-up. But then it sorta moved in. I laid low prior to running with JW. Again, great run, but I paid a little price. Since then, I've been trying to get-in some running, but just haven't been right. It's a sinus thing. So I've been over-dosing (literally) on Claritin 12 hr (the one you can't buy off the shelf but instead have to sign for with the pharmacist) and Flonase, a nasal anti-biotic I always have on hand. Every once in a while I'll hit the Albuterol inhaler (always have) just to make sure nothing is in the chest, which would mean "you're totally fuct." So, I'm not totally F'ed, but I'm not 100%, which has killed the training. Trevor's brilliant schedule got derailed two weeks ago, but I've been exercising because A) I'm training for the big fu*king race, dood! and B) exercise absolutely helps clear the system of these kinds of colds. So here I am. Friday I did 7 miles with a little push at the end. Felt like shit during, but pretty good afterwards. Saturday, an easy run to the track and then 4 miles on the track, 3 of which were just under 7 min. That was tough. I felt like shit. U'oh, I'm fuct. Slept about 11 hours and could've slept another 6. Thought I might go to urgent care since these meds are not kicking this thing and I HAVE TO GET 100%. But, again, I'm not wheezing, not blowing green snot. But I have no energy. What gives? Family went and saw Bolt today, the new Disney flick. Cool flick. I fell asleep for 2-3 minutes!

Has the jury reached a verdict? Yes, your honor. I am burned-out, fatigued, burned-out, burned-out, burned-out! I have been training for almost 12 months, or more! Sure I didn't race all summer, but that's even worse - I just pumped-out the miles, 50 mile weeks, pounding the ground. Yes, I'm over it. I remember Kerrie telling me sometime during the summer, "sounds like you need a break." Here we are. I think the cold is still part of the problem, but I think we're talking here about stress, distress, not eustress. The body is over it. So, I'm praying (feel free to kneel and join) to just get to the line and have one last orgasm of anaerobic effort so I crush this thing and then proceed to make James Walsh's off-season alter-ego look like a cub scout. Yeah, it's time to kick it and have a few. I'm not going to get in much training this week. I'd like one more real work-out to take place, but the rest of the week/weekend is stretching and sleeping, maybe some light spinning. That's all she wrote.

The race report and season in review will be the next post, perhaps with a picture of me chillin like a villain. Peace to everyone.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More of the same

I still gots the cold! Didn't run on Thanksgiving and just sat around and ate, staying clear of the dairy since that does spectacularly on the mucus end of things. But then there was the mashed potatoes and the gravy. You put milk in those? Not from where I'm from, but my father in-law, a super competent food-guy, from Albania no less, always throws-down on the big day of thanks. So the potatoes might not have helped. I've been having a little nose/throat thing since all this started to happen about a week ago. The post nasal drip occurs, so lower respiratory gets involved. Thing is, it's tough to detect unless you exercise. It's not a lower infection, but, again, the post nasal's simply bringing goodies to its friend to the south.

This was confirmed today, running for about an hour. Went ez for about 3 miles, pushed a little for a couple miles (all relative especially if one's under the weather), and then did a couple 7 minute miles that actually felt pretty good, but the pressure on the chest was there. Yuck. Not good. It's not going away. I've been taking days off, laying low. I feel better now sitting here typing, but all this means is I want to get to the starting line healthy so I can have a good clean race and gobs of fun afterwards. That's all. Big game.

Reading all these running blogs and articles and talking to people who run. . . I'm not the classic runner. I like to compete and just have to stay consistent to become more of a runner. I certainly don't look like a runner. Don't talk like a runner, but I want to enter mountain/trail races and catch runners, or put distance on runners.

I gotta kick every trace of this upper respiratory transient out!

So I can hunt runners.

Jack. Check the posture. Pic 2: classic mid-fielder goods - ball control w/field of vision.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm swamped at work. I'm just about over that cold. The holidays officially start tomorrow (fun with a pinch of stress). And I'm itching to get-in this last little block of work-outs before Hawaii. The moral of the story is there is a lot getting in the way of me getting-on my groove. The inside story is more real than that: I'm burned-out. It's been a long year full of a lot of running.

I started this trail running endeavor about a year ago. My first race was Boney Mt., which throws-down in about a month. A lot of racing gets underway right about now - a new season. And I'm supposedly wrapping-up my year in about a week. Pining to nail work-outs that make me throw-up is not at the top of the list. Getting a little under the weather (three days off is all) is having its impact NOW! The cold weather and holidays make me want to eat drink and run long trails in my new shoes. Somehow I have to keep it real and keep my fast twitch muscles glowing!

I have to go to work in an hour (it's 5:00pm now!). I worked all day long.
Here's the plan:

1. Hit the gym tonight (hopefully) and get in a little fartlek.
2. Throw-down tomorrow morning, throw-up, and go to work; if I'm lucky do a double (EZ) in the afternoon (if I'm lucky).
3. Before the in-laws show-up.
4. Thursday off - have a GOOD ONE.
5. Friday thru Sunday: one hill throw-up work-out, one flat throw-up work-out and one long run.

We can not wait to get to Hawaii. We can not wait to KICK IT in the blue and white and whatever other beautiful shade is dangling around. But I have to throw-down. And I will. But things will be a lot better as long as I can get in some of these final vomit intervals.

Gotta love it.

Updating the Update:

Tuesday night: 15 min spin and 40 min "mild" predator run on a slight grade. Wasn't easy.

Wednesday morning: 40 minute tempo run with some hills. At times I felt really shelled; didn't wear any device so maybe a little too hard on the hills and felt that. Do I still have the cold? Seem a little down on energy. Good run. Glad I got it in. Done for the day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

11/17 to 11/23

Monday - Coming down with my family's home brew cold, and having done my little hill sprint session on Sunday, I went to the gym, spun for 30 min. and hit the sauna with the belief that I could sweat this thing out. Sorta helped. Sorta didn't.

Tuesday - Wife and kid on their 2nd day of anti-biotics and I'm holding-on for dear life. I shut it down today. Most of my work-outs are quality at this point so in this condition, no chance. Work is very busy, too. So no go.

Wednesday - . . .by the hair of my chinny chin chin. Which means I'm not "sick" yet, but struggling and certainly not in a position to do flat or hill intervals! I also got word of a work-out on Friday, so I was definitely not going to jeopardize that. Another day off. . .

Thursday - Feeling a little better. Is it the CQ10 I've been on for a few months? If I make it without the Dr.'s help, big props. My respiratory weaknesses date back to when I was Jack's age. Asthmatically gifted with an allergy prowess to boot. But the lack of "partying" and regular exercise have done WONDERS for my system. The irony of me making it through this family bug is exemplary. I'm the poster child for trying to live "smart," for one's willingness and ability to "change."

Friday - Met-up with JW for a run; nuff said. We were meeting on some trails near his house with some good climbing (although I just read GZ's post, so "good climbing" is totally relative). I got up the coast a little early to do a 30min. warm-up. I hit an old trail I used to run on when I lived up there. 4 miles, 30 min., definitely not flat. Felt really bad first mile, but felt pretty good at the finish. JW and I ran a 7 mile loop in an hour, climbed about 1200ft., got to shoot the shit a bunch and then had a couple of cold ones afterwards (even got to say hi to Beth). Really good time. I can't wait to be 100% so he doesn't gap me that much (of course he was pretty wiped from some lifting so either way you look at it, it's a good time that includes getting dragged around by the champ). The guy's so fit and a true beer snob, so count me in! Good suds. Great trails. Really good time.

1:30 11+ miles. 1800ft. up.

Saturday - I was hoping to get in some kind of training today. But I am taxxxed! Definitely not feeling it. I sure hope to get something in tomorrow. The race is Dec. 7. More discourse has come my way and it looks like a great time. I should be running strong so long as I'm healthy. I have a good week and a half to really lay down some work. And then a few days to taper. That'll work.

Sunday - Zip. Still not 100% and I just don't want to do further damage when I am close. Very close. Tomorrow should be a go. Big week. Friday's run plus a little spinning early in the week was all I did. The Friday run was good because it included endurance work, hills, and a little push (I wouldn't say tempo) but I was running with a faster guy who made me push. I'm calling it my One-Stop work-out. Anyways, a very bad turn of events leading-up to Hawaii to come down with a bug like this, but I'm avoiding steroids and certainly getting so freakin' hungry to climb and go all out it's silly.

Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll.

Friday, November 14, 2008

11/10 to 11/16

Monday – I think I was off. I forget. Probably since the day before was a beast.

Tuesday – 40 min. run treadmill, not hard not easy, pretty flat, but it was a goody. I mixed-in some spinning too, so it was all good. Stretched and hit the sauna.

Wednesday – 2k/1k workout. On the treadmill. Thought it would be weak, certainly isn’t the track, or a flat trail section, but it’s dead-on. It spanked me pretty good. I got the job done. That’s all. Mission accomplished.

Thursday – Spun for 30 min., stretched, core-work (a little), and sauna

Friday – 10.5 miles 87 min. 1700’ climbing in the Elijo Lagoon and San Dieguito Park. I felt terrible the first half; I ate too much the night before, a homemade fish and vegetable ramen-type soup. I was hungry and it was salty/spicy which is sorta my big weakness. Food is my weakness. I love it and I think it loves me, too. We’re perfect together. . . There were other ingredients. I gobbled it up!

During the second part of the run, I felt a little better (I had a Hammer espresso gu at the turn-around which might’ve helped!) so I picked it up a little, race paced the last 30 min.

This was supposed to be my hill work-out, but because I wasn’t feeling all that great and I got a late start in these warm temps, I decided to just run. I did mix in some hills followed by some LT (at least) surges, so it’s not the end of the world. I guess my Sunday run is either a another longer run or the hill work-out. The program calls for a build on what I’ve been doing on the hills (4x2min +5, 4x1min +5). That’s a lot of running, a lot of suffering. We’ll see what the weekend has in store.

I’m about 4 weeks out from the show. This might be a good week to go big. We’ll see. I got my Xterra newsletter today with the good news about JW. Not too shabby at all.

I sent Xterra an email asking about an elevation profile of the freakin’ course! I got an email back pretty fast. It said:

Hi Matt
We'll be posting a more complete course description soon but this should get you started...

Length: 21K
Starting Elevation: 50’
Lowest point:27’
Highest point:892’
Total climbing: approx 2,900’

Trails: No Paved sections, Open dirt road, Dual track dirt road, 10’ trail, Single track

Almost 3000’ of climbing! Nice. Big. For a 21k that’s a lot of climbing. Boney Mt. is 3000’, Vail was about 2400’, World of Hurt 25k was about 2600’. Hawaii Xduro looks to be epicantius maximus!

Saturday - I got locked-up! Wife is sick as a dog (whatever that means) and the kid has it too. I told her mid-week Saturday is hers because I love her and it was an easy day for me :-) But come Saturday I wanted to get it! Plus, the only way one stays clear of them germs is to get the hell out of there and get the blood flowing, O.D. on O2, etc. Well, it didn't happen. The kid was home-bound and she went in to the office for a while. I was stuck! So what did I do. . . I jump-roped for 30+ minutes while Jack napped. I took a quick break after 7 min. (phone rang), 13 min. (check on Jack) and then hammered another 13 min. It wasn't that bad. I did do some single-leg jumping, but Lucho mentioned I could throw-in some 4-6min. single-foot. I recommend the rope. BTW, after the run on Friday, I soaked in the ocean at Fletcher Cover. The water was actually pretty cold (good) and at one point as I was hopping around I felt a little strain in fascia (no biggie, it happens, but still). Well, from my limited experience with the rope, I will say that jumping takes care of any of that crap. Just Jump.

Sunday - Didn't sleep well since I'm basically afraid to sleep in a room where there sleeps a sicky; I finally got in about 6 hours. Did not get out at dawn to throw down my big hill work-out, which I was supposed to nail on Friday, but I got in my long run with some good climbing and good race pace stuff. So, it didn't get done at dawn. Then the family got moving around and other things happened. Then the heat of the day settled in (it's freakin warm!) and football came on and I decided to go prostrate on a bed for a while and watch the Chargers look like they have . . a step slow.

With an hour of daylight to go (I forgot it gets dark at 5 and this hill work out is a lot longer than an hour) I hit the road. Where did I go? I parked on a street at the top of a ridge where there are numerous streets running parallel to each other that head down. I did the hill work out (4x2min hills, 4x1 min hills) but did not mix-in the recovery nor did I hit the 5 min LT runs after each hill. I ran 3 4 min. hard efforts and basically just kept running without much recovery. I was worked. It was an improvisation, but I did some solid work on Friday and last Sunday's long run had 2500'+ climbing which was almost 2 hours of climbing and little technical descending. I'm not going to worry too much although the 2900' of climbing in HI does suggest I need to really hit this sh*t so I can throw down!

Plus I'm starting to fight this cold "they" are trying to give me. 56 minutes of hill addiction was good. I'm suffering them pretty well and I still have a good couple of weeks to NAIL these workouts.

I HAVE TO STAY HEALTHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A pic taken after the long road trip back from Vegas, ready to celebrate the outstanding trail fun and the safe ride home!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

11/3 to 11/9

Monday – 20 minutes bike, 30 minutes run, sauna

Tuesday off

Wednesday – 2k/1k work-out. I am not wearing my HRM, so the prescribed efforts of this work-out are a little “off.” In the end, I probably go “too hard,” which is a good thing. I will dial this in. The work-out got improvised a little. Ass kicker. About 7 miles and then I hit the sauna.

Thursday – 20 minutes bike, 20 minutes elliptical, lifted abductors, hammys, stretched and sauna.

Friday – Hill workout. Very solid. Sunset was epic. Great venue and great workout. About 7 miles. I meant to say, this yielded about 1500ft. of climbing but it certainly wasn't your typical trail run with a bunch of elevation. Just goes to show how a little focus gets the job done!

Saturday – 45 minutes of aerobic gym work-out, 15 min. sauna, stretched.

Sunday – 10.5 miles, 2500ft. of climbing in the howling wind. 1 hr 45 min. Mission Trails is a tough place to “run” since there is just so much climbing. I took it easy because I had to and I could. Long run. This one works the ankles, hips - legs in general. It’s even pretty technical. Didn’t kill me, but a tough one.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy Sunday

I grew-up in the church, more or less. My mom was very devout before, as the minister who conducted her memorial service said, she went to roam the halls of heaven. Something to that extent. Added to the inexplicability of that whole affair. My wife and I pursued the church and much of my family is still very devout. But the hypocrisy and the much publicized behavior of many a church leader, whether its through his lack of morality or his various political affiliations, has rendered much disappointment in that whole affair. I'm kinda sick of the Escalade laden parking lots of these multi-million dollar behemoth buildings that stand for Godliness. I don't see it. Is it a church? What is church these days anyways? Okay, enough of that. I just needed a segue to a joke I found long ago, and before I throw it away (doing some autumn cleaning), I thought I'd jot it down for the hell of it (sorry).

A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After mass he asked the monsignor how he had done. The monsignor replied, "When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip."

So the next Sunday he took the monsignor's advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He proceeded to talk up a storm. Upon return to his office after mass, he found the following note on his door:

1. Sip the Vodka, don't gulp.
2. There are 10 commandments, not 12.
3. There are 12 disciples, not 10.
4. Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.
5. Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
6. We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C.
7. The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy,
Junior, and the Spook.
8. David slew Goliath, he did not kick the shit out of him.
9. When David was hit by a rock and knocked off his donkey, don't
say he was stoned off his ass.
10. We do not refer to the cross as the Big T!
11. When Jesus broke the bread at the Last Supper he said, "Take
this and eat it, for it is my body," he did not say, "Eat me."
12. The Virgin Mary is not referred to as the "Mary with the Cherry."
13. The recommended grace before a meal is not: "Rub-A-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, yeah God."
and finally. . .
14. Next Sunday there will be a taffy-pulling contest at St. Peter's,
not a peter-pulling contest at St. Taffy's.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Dirt

This is the view from the summit of the first big climb at WOH. The course profile is pretty amateur, but this is the big one. Behind the camera person (I think Hal Koerner took this pic), in the distance, is Sin City. Looking at that through the morning haze, falling (literally) down through the rock and trail was really nice. Great course.

This pic is the only evidence I've found (I haven't looked that hard) of the course we'll run at the Xterra World Championships. Looks good to me. It's all about the dirt.

The title of this post also refers to the the training I'm doing right now. It's not that I'm running on dirt necessarily although much of it is just so. I'm referring to the real work of getting fit. I'm getting dirty, it's a dirty job, yada yada, but the analogy works for me. Trevor is teaching me how to really train. The specificity involved is not very impressive on paper ("I did 80 miles in 2 hrs and then did some track workouts consisting of 5:10 mile repeats, 20 of those. . ..). My work-outs are just solid. They kick my ass. They're preparing me for the work I have to do. WOH proved to me that these workouts are effective and I wasn't even nailing them then. I'm getting better and better. This is why:

I'm getting better at preparing myself to train. These are quality workouts, so they don't happen everyday. The night before a quality workout I need lots of sleep, and good fuel. I don't necessarily live this way all the time. I enjoy life (the decadent parts) way too much. But now I'm starting to know how to prepare to train. New concept.

Furthermore, the workouts are such that recovery is essential to those workouts . . .working. The recovery within the workouts is making as much sense to me as the recovery between workouts. I guess the proverbial light bulb is sorta pulsating, threatening to turn-on. I look forward to learning from Trevor the other 3/4 of a season to see how this all works in full. I feel strong. I can't wait for Hawaii. Sure the island life will be epic. But I'll have 3-4 weeks more of this training which is progressing in difficulty as the race approaches. SICK.

I can't wait for 2009.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

10/27 to 11/2 and a haiku

A pic from the race last weekend. Man, I had so much more to give!

This week was very very mellow: too mellow but I liked it and now it's time to get very serious about Hawaii. I think Trevor is teaching me one principle fa show: when it's time to go easy GO EZ and when it's time to go hard. . .

The week's plan called for running easy 30 pretty much every other day and a lot of stretching. I started stretching more consistently this week, and I need to keep at it! I walked a lot this week and ran a little to and from classes. I was literally so busy I had to run from appointment to appointment some days, but these were not runs; I moved around a lot on my feet, but did not really run this week until late.

On Friday I worked out at the gym for an hour and sat in the sauna for 15 min. I'm becoming addicted to the sauna for two reasons: It feels great short term and long term. Saturday's activities consisted of watching my kid play soccer down at the Y and later pound a "jumper" at some kid's birthday party. Today (Sunday) I did a 1:35 trail run with about 1400ft. of ascent. I was worked! I did not fuel very well this week, especially last night! It was a very chill trail run. My patellar felt so so but I could tell the down time was good (I'm afraid this is going to nag). I ran the last 45 at "race pace." It was pretty strong, but I was pretty worked. Then I went to the gym and spun on the trainer for 10 and hit the sauna for 15. Love it! I was wasted good after it all. It's on.

Towards dying in a race
Is living from the cave, man!
Train. To win. Win to train!