Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Slice of life

Via GZ, excerpt of an interview with Carpenter:

How many miles a week do you run, and are they all on trail?

I go by time not distance. In the mountains and especially in altitude, distance becomes meaningless and can get you in trouble. . . So, I shoot for two hours a day on a consistent basis (just went on a four-month streak with no days under two hours) with 3-4 hours for a Sunday long run, which I may take a little longer if I am training for an ultra.

As for the amount I run on trail, it varies. Before my daughter started school I spent a lot of time on the roads pushing her in a baby jogger. However, once she started going to school I have tried to get as much trail time as possible.

You head up the Incline Club training group with the motto: "Go out hard, when it hurts speed up." Should everyone—even beginner runners, or road runners transitioning to trail—go out hard and hang on as well as they can?

The motto/tagline is more of a life philosophy than a racing strategy. It just means that, when times are tough, that is when you have to try harder. But, if someone literally could pull it off in a race, they would never lose.

In real life, the key in any race, no matter the venue, is learning to run even effort. What is hard for those making the transition from the road to the trails, or even beginning trail runners, is there is so much more terrain variation. For many just starting to run trails if you graph their heart rate you pretty much get a topo map of what they ran as they end up pushing too hard on the ups and not enough on the downs. It takes time and practice to learn to get an even effort on varied terrain.

Of course, great stuff. Time orientation vs. distance. You see these two approaches at work constantly with many athletes. To each his own? One is better than the other? Right now, I'm time-oriented because I'm just "plugging" along. Still, nice to see THE elite using such an approach. May be a better way to monitor consistency.

His point about "even effort" really helped me re-frame my training. I signed-up for a 50k in late August. I'm really excited. So, I go for a run yesterday, mid-day, hot and humid but with a slight breeze. I hit Florida Canyon which is very rolling, not big climbing, but not flat at all. I decided to wear the HRM but not STARE at it. And run by PE. With Carpenter's perspective in mind, I just tried to stay steady (but aerobic), really comfortable at all times. I went up very easy and made sure I cruised going down, keeping the effort as even as I could. For the first 45 minutes, avg. 148 and the last 30 min. avg. 154. I'm also feeling comfortable keeping these runs aerobic almost throughout, but letting things float a little toward the end ala GZ with Tim's blessing! Running is like Catholicism.

My runs will get longer and dial-in this approach -- aerobic with some effort at the end. And yes I will start to climb more. Easy climbing . . .perhaps before the sun throws down! And cycling with big climbs! And beer only on the weekends! And peace love and harmony . . .and

Today, I was in the pool by 6am with homeboy Tom. We swam for about 25 min. and then did some weights, a little circuit work with Tom leading the way. It was awesome. I'll do another 1hr+ run today and then hit the beach with the boy.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A pain in the neck

Woke-up with a sore neck and shoulder from poor bed positioning. I looked at my training log, at the Sunday field. It's empty. I looked at last week's: "Sunday: Off." Hmmmmm. It's a pattern. Actually, I need to get-in a big run on Sundays or a big bike. I have to. Right now, I'm doing about 7-10 hours of "work" a week. I'm certainly not killing myself; after all, I'm fairly aerobic and we all know that's pretty weak (sarcasm). GZ is killing it. That guy is just good apples. I finished my growler of Green Flash Imperial (as I type) so the neck pain is diminishing and my hike is getting itself together (along with t-shirts that say, "I'm a pussy").

The other thing that happens when you're a good reader is you can turn, sniff and literally catch the theme/moral/argument of a "story" tracking humanity. I can only share a bit of it here, now ;D

I certainly don't want to even hint that this blog should provoke heated debate/ Period. Such debate falls victim to meager research and flawed personal perspective. The blog is just me "saying shit." And there's a lot of shit out there.

"Politicians, pundits, and financiers defend deepening our national debt to bail out the institutions of a failed Wall Street system. But this system, built on speculation and the rule of money, is undermining the health of the planet and the well-being of all but the wealthiest few." She's okay for much of that but for the total dismissal of our current system. So, that qualification aside, boom.

"We're told we need Wall Street in order to finance business. But Wall Street has quit serving the real economy and has morphed into a global casino, creating exotic and toxic packages of 'assets' that have no function but to make money for the already wealthy." Ouch. She nailed it. Oh, she didn't? Shut-up.

There's a lot of shit out there, and van Gelder is just one of many calling it like she sees it. She's off? Of course she is.

S. van Gelder, on the whole, is positioning her magazine, Yes!, for theme essentially granting us the possibility of local and therefore future global sustainability. I annotated in the table of contents, near the titles of pieces both about water rights and growing local: Food and water.

It's on. Fuel and hydration.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I know Hal. No I don't but he raced and won the World of Hurt 50k last October. I placed 5th in the 25k. I got a chance to meet Jurek at the race and sorta rubbed shoulders with Hal, but no exchange. Still, I sorta know the nut, yeah? He smoked quite a field this year at the WS 100. Thanks to GZ for the forum. Great sipping a beer and following that little window when Hal apparently blew up the field including Mackey. Anyways, great stuff and thanks to Anton Krupicka too for the insight. Here's Anton's response to Justin Mock regarding Hal's training. By the way, Hal is not a 130 lbs. feather weight that floats up the climbs. He's a beast, which Anton sorta reiterates.


Regarding Hal and 100 mile weeks. Haha, no. Hal's training is: run three days in a row of 1-2hrs with mostly big vertical (that's all there is in Ashland), take two days off because his foot has blown up. Go win a 50K. Take two days off because he's limping. Run up a couple more peaks, go charge a local road race, take two more days off with exploded foot/knee. Repeat.

I'm only kinda joking. The dude just goes running. No speedwork, just whatever mileage his various chronic injuries will allow. I do know he was able to get in a couple legitimate long runs (30-50 miles) this build-up, which is notable for that cat. But, if you look at his ultra racing schedule: Chuckanut (50K) in March, 35 miles or so at American River before DNFing in April with blown knee, wins Macdonald Forest 50K in May, WS training camp over Memorial Day, f--ing people up at a STACKED WS100 a month later. Honestly, how he even finishes 100 milers is beyond me. Actually, I'll tell you how: he's a badass.

Seriously, Hal just rolls with it. I remember crewing for him at the North Face 50 in December. He just charges until he can't charge anymore and lets nothing rattle him. Messed up fuel, no big deal. Screaming plantar? "Well Tony, if I run the downhills hard enough, it'll just go numb." Need anything, Hal? "Yeah, a new pair of legs, dude." Keep in mind, this dude ran the Colorado Trail in 9 days back in 2003. A week after placing 2nd at Leadville. He's wearing M1 for a reason."

--Anton Krupicka

Hal before the race. Thanks to Matt Hart.

Finding a groove

Blew-off my 5:45am alarm for my Saturday run to sleep (resolve some of these weird dreams I'm having) and drink coffee! I'm drinking a lot of coffee these days. But to the point: I'm finding my groove.

I am LOVING the bike again. I used to put-in a few miles on the ole trusty steel KHS I bought about 7 years ago for $600. Then I got distracted. Yet, somehow, things are coming around nicely to a place in which I can see myself grooving for a long time, building, getting stronger and having a blast! This search for balance has happened without me saying, "I need to find some balance, man!" It's just happened.

Although I am still pursuing the long trail/mountain running adventures, the approach has become all the more immediate concern. Riding the bike has given me another training outlet and with HR training. . . man, does cycling fit that bill! Take yesterday's 35 miler, about 3000ft of climbing, riding from San Diego to Solana Beach, back through La Jolla, up and over Solidad Mt. and back to the car. I went nice and easy, finished in about 2:30, avg. HR 135 did a lot of climbing and did a lot of sight seeing. For sure one can cover some distance compared to running. And with varying cadences and a lot of climbing, it's a beautiful thing.

Of course, with the avg. HR, I'm feeling pretty solid after a ride like that. I didn't run afterwards, but definitely thought about doing an hour. This will definitely occur in the future on a regular basis. And that doesn't build running strength? Riiiight.

So adding this additional sport on a regular basis is keeping things fun (HR training can be a drag), building strength, endurance and burning more fat and giving me an opportunity to see a lot of my surrounding area (last Friday Escondido, this week a good stretch of SD coastline). This training diversity will encourage me to add more diversity.

Check this out: I got up at 4:45am last Thursday to hit the pool and the gym! I swam for about 20 min., hit the jacuzzi and then the gym for about 45 min. Before work. Awesome. Then I got in an hour ride on the trainer later that day (having had to put out some fires at work, which prevented me from going on a nice little spin around the point). Diversity. I'm loving it. Keep things interesting and fun, and keep the HR low. Thankfully, the little triathloning I did a few years ago left me with some gear, so diversity is just a trip to the garage away!

Keeping the HR low . . .running doesn't do a very good job of doing that unless you're really really fit. And that's the point. My goal is to build my aerobic system. That's all. I will run a 50k trail race (or 2 or 3) this year and sure those will include some "metabolic shifts" away from my aerobic system, but that's fine. I am building for the future. I am committed to the HR as a guide to help me get stronger and stronger, faster, fitter, etc.

That's my groove. And I'm building a program (run, bike, swim?, hike, weights, etc.) that will help me (and others) dig this groove. And there are others who dig this groove.

As a reading instructor, I am trained to identify certain characteristics of certain texts. Simply put, what patterns evolve to form meaning in a text? As I read around this blogosphere, in this endurance training/racing blogosphere, I am definitely seeing people think about how the aerobic/anaerobic dynamic affects their training and their life.

And yes, there is something to the saying that one sees what he wants to see. Nonetheless, the evidence is out there. Lucho is the Sensei of the aerobic sect I've been practicing. GZ is contemplating devotion as are many readers of Lucho's blog. Lucho is the Master.

Speed isn't even important to me right now. I'm not fast to begin with, so what's the sacrifice? For me, frequent, healthy, fun training is my cup of tea. Aerobic training does this although the "fun" aspect can be hard to define/defend sometimes. That's where hiking, cycling, swimming, etc., come into play, perhaps why so many people have fun doing ironman.

Mark's Daily Apple is written by a fairly smart bloke who's life has included a lot of training and racing. I think he's a sub 2:16 marathoner? Either way, he's written extensively about the aerboic approach to training. For him, and others, in fact, too much anaerobic work is unhealthy. Period.

What I get from all of this is a certain message that going "too hard" (admittedly, tough to define for all people) can be counter productive. Easier said than done. But when I see the data of someone like Lucho, the message makes more sense, carries a little more weight. From pace, to health and strength, the program based on building the aerobic system makes more sense. This post seems to focus more on the health benefits. I won't/can't get into this, but others have and do, that the benefits are seen in racing performances, as well.

Time for 1hr aerobic run!

Pics of food, light sabers and people:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Lovin'

Well, things are just sorta rolling along. Summer school started last week so it's good to be working. Let me repeat: it's great to be working! The trip to Tahoe was really really good. I ran a little on the TRT (6 miles, 1500 ft. of climbing and freaking gorgeous! Sorry no pics . . . I don't take my camera generally when i exercise, so you see one of the many reasons i'm not the top-drawer blogger), cycled along Hwys 28, 89, and 267 (again, very nice, from rolling terrain, to pretty big climbing.). We had piss poor weather for the first couple of days and then it got very nice though still somewhat cool. But like I said in my previous post about the trip, I was excited to kinda jump start my run/bike program. I think the bike will add more strength-work, help me burn more FAT, and keep things more interesting while keeping the HR in check. As for the run, I'm back to keeping the HR in check. Lucho's work is just too good. Sure he's been doing what he's doing for a long time, but developing such a solid aerobic system is my dream.

We took Hwy 1 all the way from San Francisco (I can't wait to run in Marin. . .this summer!) to San Luis Obispo. The C.coast is my favorite place in the world. Period. We stayed the first night in Half Moon Bay and then huffed and puffed are way home the next day. Long but splendid. We had amazing food and saw amazing coastline. We stopped for lunch at the Kevah Cafe where I'd been before. You order your food from this little hut and then grab a table on a deck that overlooks the Pacific from way up high (my header photo is looking out.). Kind of a signature place for Big Sur and the Central Coast. I will live there one day. I will live there one day.

Some pics:

Back in town, I'm still plugging away at the program. Running aerobically (although I will go harder if I hook-up with some folks and I met a bunch of cool ultra runners at a bbq last weekend. One guy, Matt Stone, turns 28 this Saturday 6/20. What's he doing? Running 28 hours straight, basically from Huntington Beach to SD. He's having a beer before he heads-out and will hopefully be able to have one when he finishes. That kinda the attitude of a lot of the ultra runners I've met. Very cool, great attitudes, and a little nuts. What I'd like to see happen with my running gig is be able to hammer 50k trail races and MAYBE a 50 miler or two when I'm ready, but be a really solid pacer for people doing 100 milers. Great stuff. Great people. I'm psyched to get out on some runs with these folks. The WS 100 is going to be sick, speaking of.

Today, I tried to get out on a ride with JW. He warned me it would be brutal and I certainly know how strong he and his peeps ride. But I went for it (~65 miles with probably 10,000+ ft of climbing.) Well, I missed them at the start. Turns-out I parked in a different part of the park where we were meeting. I waited until about 8:30 and then headed-out solo. I did just 40+, about 3300 ft. of climbing. I went up to Lake Wohlford and then rode to the base of Palomar before turning around. I got in about 3 hrs of riding, but it was not nearly enough. I am sore in the neck and shoulders from riding but the work was relatively eazy. I'd like to do Palomar with (an)other rider(s), and start earlier -- it got pretty warm out in the north/east county. Not thrilled with the danger or road cycling, but the work will pay-off, God willing. Here's a pic of my Garmin screen (to prove to JW I rode hahahahaha). Whatever. I think it all worked out for the best. Those guys are monsters on two wheels. And at least I know the route now. Great stuff.

Have fun out there, you sickos.

Monday, June 1, 2009


We have a family reunion at Lake Tahoe in the next 7 days. I'm really looking forward to this. The trip is going to really help jump start my new program, which is basically a continued running emphasis with a lot more bike. This means the real trainer (which I did last week) and road and mtb riding with a focus on climbing (which I did a little last week). Obviously, Tahoe will have a lot of trail running/hiking and biking. I will take my road bike. My dad is doing Escape from Alcatraz the week after Tahoe so he's riding and my brother-in-law bikes a little bit. So, aside from all of the fun with family, there will be a lot of mileage at altitude. I've got some maps printed out and can't wait to scout. Since the TRT basically circles the lake, I've found some trail-heads close to our North Shore "residence" so I have a pretty good idea how to access. I'm hoping for some 10 to 15 mile trail runs on the TRT throughout the week and I'm sure the guys and I will throw some nice little 3 hr+ bike rides. We were there about 6 years ago and I know there are some huge hills that take people from the lake to places like Truckee. I'm really psyched.

The little ride I did last week (19 miles, 2500ft climbing) was nice. Although I can't stand riding anywhere near traffic, I found the hill I like at Cabrillo National Monument and did some repeats. They didn't tax much at all, so I know I need to climb a lot more. This has to help the system, my ability to climb period.

Funny that I've been more sore from the cycling than the running. Whatever you're used to.