Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I know this is a running blog, but...

This video is too good not to share on every social media platform I belong to. A group of climbers who took on El Capitan, for the first all-disabled ascent. Wow.  Seriously inspiring. "The right attitude and one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms. Every time."

Good Morning LA

Here is my delayed post about my impromptu morning run in downtown LA. The hotel gym wouldn't let me in without ID, so I just left the building and went for a run. No watch, just me and the streets. I'm not usually a creative person, but for some reason, those streets inspired me that morning. I just had words flowing through my head, when normally during runs I think about all the things I have to do today, or tomorrow. It isn't much, but here it is.

Right on Flower
Downtown gives way to decrepit shops of indeterminate vocation
Light Rail carries commuters in pink and blue collars
Under the freeway, a series of blue bivouacs protect inhabitants from the morning
Large blank walls menace, rows of shiny new cars gleam
Over the freeway, red lights blaze as drivers merge
Is it the lack of food and coffee, or is the smog making me dizzy
Good morning LA

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

A New Challenge

Since I broke my leg, I've been trying not to get too bogged down by not being able to run. I know it will be a challenge to get back to where I was. Who am I kidding- I'll pretty much be starting from scratch, and that is if I'm lucky to have a full recovery with no lingering issues (i.e. ligament not healed). But I'm trying not to dwell on that.

I'm also trying not to be too sad that I can't climb for 6 weeks, and I won't be able to boulder for I'm assuming much longer than that. I made a stupid decision, and this is what I get. I'm succeeding a bit in this regard, because I know I'll be able to keep at least some of the upper body and core strength I've gained from climbing these last few months. I'll be able to go to the gym and do upper body and core work in a week or so, once I'm off the painkillers. If I'm smart about it and come up with a good routine, I don't have to lose much at all, aside from stability and balance that I'll need to regain.

One thing I wasn't counting on is how f-ing difficult it is to wear this monster brace and use crutches. I figured it would be no big deal to go to my conference in Asilomar and get around. I'm in great shape. Anyone can use crutches. Well, maybe it is the drugs, but I have been exhausted and sore since Wednesday. It seems like crutches are a full upper body workout if used correctly- forearms, back, core for stability. I'll have to wait to get to the gym until I build up a tolerance for this new constant work out!

It seems like everyone who has ever worn one of these braces likes to tell me about their injuries when they see me. What I'm realizing is that I should be asking about their recoveries. What did they have to do to get back? I'm worried about flexibility, balance, muscle, everything. It isn't just the not running or climbing that is going to set me back.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

You know that thing I said, on Sunday, about being overtrained but still compelled to do more. Well, that won't be a problem anymore.

In my infinite wisdom, I went climbing yesterday, after feeling wiped from running 22 the day before. I top roped for maybe an hour and then went to boulder. I was bouldering for a while, and felt tired. My arms were sore, and I was generally low energy. But I really wanted that V3, and I was so close. I was making progress, and I was just one move away. I had folks helping me work it out. It was fun, and I thought that I'd finally get that project done.

I knew I was tired. I kept getting flustered when I was on the wall and getting help (try grabbing it this way, or heel hook the blue one, etc.). I knew I was done for the night, and I should just come back tomorrow.

No, just one more time, I decided. The people I'd been working the problem with had gone off somewhere, and I had the cave to myself. Thats fine- no one to distract me. I'll stick the last move and be done. I'd fallen so many times from near the last move that I was sure I'd be fine falling again. I'd had a spotter before, but they'd never had to help.

Well, of course, I went for the last move and took a nasty fall. I was off balance from trying to dyno a move that I'd been told might just be too far of a reach for me. I fell, and landed with my left leg bent inward. I heard a pop. And then I sat down for a few minutes.

A friend saw me fall and came over to see if I was okay. I got up, washed my hands, and left. They gave me an ice pack at the front desk, and I went home and called for an early morning doctor appointment.

I was anxious all night, and got up way too early. It hurt, bad. I could walk, but barely. I went to the doctor at 8:40, and she immediately sent me to X-Ray, pretty sure I had broken my leg.

The X-Ray, and later the Orthopedist, confirmed that I broke my fibula, just under the LCL attachment under the knee. The Orthopedist thinks it may have been caused when I landed, when the LCL probably stretched too much and snapped the fibula. She thinks I may have torn the LCL a bit, but only on one attachment right above the break, so it should heal.

I'm fine with pain, but both times when the doctors told me I wouldn't be able to run CIM this year, I cried. I've been training so hard, and I really wanted to go for a Boston Qualifier. I'm in the best shape of my life, and I threw it away on a stupid V3, doing a stupid thing that I knew better than to do. I can't believe I was so stupid. But we all do it, all the time. Just not everyone gets hurt.

On the positive side, I have a brace instead of a cast, and the doctor said I can do whatever I want on my leg as long as it doesn't hurt. I plan to beast it up in the weight room at Pworks, so I don't lose the upper body strength I've worked so hard to build over the last few months. I'll be starting almost from scratch with running in December, so I might as well keep my climbing fitness up.

So I'm bummed, majorly so, but it could have been worse. Much worse. I'll just try to think that, because the pity party has to end tonight!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


This week I felt seriously overtrained. It hit me like a ton of bricks after last weekend's 20 miler. I was tired all week! Travel and not enough sleep didn't help, but I felt worse than normal under the circumstances. Maybe the climbing and yoga are adding to the stress (or certain other circumstances...), but I can't stop doing everything. I'm so hooked on climbing, and I get anxious to go even when I'm too sore from the day before. Somethings gotta give, but it won't be that for sure.

This week, I did a really fun, easy four in LA, from the hotel down Flower Street to the 110. Interesting scenery to say the least. I wrote a poem (I do that???) about it, that is sitting in my desk at work but needs to make it onto here soon...

I did another easy four on Thursday, then today's twenty two.

Miles this week: 30
Total Miles in 2012: 1128

Twenty Two, Phew

After last Sunday's grueling twenty miler, I was a bit gun shy about today's scheduled twenty two. Last weekend, I did a poor job eating the night before, opting instead for ample beer and a paltry helping of popcorn, plus a hasty eggs and toast dinner at 10:30 or so at night. oops.

My poor prep, plus maybe a bit of overtraining, made the twenty last Sunday really hurt. I actually tried to run on the wrong side of the trail around 18 miles. I was coaxed into eating a Gu, and made it back to Bella Bru, where I scarfed an egg bagel sammich. I was garbage all day. My brain didn't work, and my body was angry. It felt like 20-milers did back when I started training for my first marathon- really taxing and making the rest of the day pretty worthless.

To make me question myself even more, I was just exhausted all week. I was in LA, and only managed a paltry four miles (though it was a pretty fun early morning run downtown). I did another easy four on Thursday, and other than just just climbed and did yoga.

Tired all the time, feeling overtrained, this morning's task seemed daunting. To prepare, I decided to overeat, especially carbs. Chicken, apple, cheese, and toast for dinner, followed by popcorn and beer. I felt so full. I've been feeling not so slender this week (maybe the travel), so that was a little disconcerting. Maybe more yoga would help?

I went out this morning, still exhausted. I slugged through, though I'll admit that I was a bit of a whiner. I was especially whiney when we approached the Folsom Dam. Why did I agree to run up and down those hills?????

I was surprised that after the water fountain at the Hatchery (3 miles from finishing), I was actually able to puck it up a bit. I think maybe I really just wanted to be done. In any case, it was nice to not feel like the walking dead like I did last Sunday.

So, another grueling long run under the belt. I don't plan to do more than twenty two, though I may do it again. We'll see. All I know is that I'll be sleeping in tomorrow. Then doing some ill-advised yoga and climbing I'm sure. I just can't stay away.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I went out for my first 20 miler of CIM training, and man was it a challenge. We kept a great pace (under 8:30) for the first 18, then I really dropped off. My hips and knees ached, and my brain really wasn't firing. I actually tried running on the wrong side of the trail, prompting my friends to make me eat a Gu. I made it back to Bella Bru where we started, and tried to speed my recovery with coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I really didn't get much better all day, though. Ugh. Hopefully next weekend's 22 mile progression run will go better...

Miles this week: 35
Total Miles in 2012: 1098

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


 I might actually be on track to attempt a 3:30 at CIM this year. I'd been told by a few Chips that I should be able to do around a 3:30 considering my training so far, and apparently my finish in the Urban Cow Half last weekend supports this theory. According to the Runner's World Training Calculator, it might be do-able. Now I just have to keep up my training...

Based on a half marathon race at 01:39:43, your projected finish times for the following distances should be:
1500m 6:03
the mile 6:31
3000m(3k) 12:37
3200m(about 2 miles) 13:31
5000m(5k) 21:42
8000m(8k) 35:42
5 miles 35:55
10,000m(10k) 45:14
ten miles 1:14:54
a half marathon 1:39:43
a marathon 3:27:54

These times are projected equivalents and are not a guarantee of performance or final race distance times.

The Distance Finish Times calculator calculates a predicted time at a distance for you based on a time you provided for another distance. It uses the formula T2 = T1 x (D2/D1)1.06 where T1 is the given time, D1 is the given distance, D2 is the distance to predict a time for, and T2 is the calculated time for D2.
The formula was developed by Pete Riegel and published first in a slightly different form in Runner's World, August 1977, in an article in that issue entitled "Time Predicting." The formula was refined for other sports (swimming, bicycling, walking,) in an article "Athletic Records and Human Endurance," also written by Pete Riegel, which appeared in American Scientist, May-June 1981.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Race Report: Urban Cow Half Marathon

I was a little nervous going into the Urban Cow Half Marathon yesterday morning. It is well into CIM training season, so this race would be a great test of my fitness. But have I trained enough? If my training is going well, I should easily PR, and potential break 1:40. But if my 7:51 average pace for the Buffalo Stampede two weeks ago is any indication, I would be hard pressed to PR...

I started the race, thinking about a 7:37 pace (to get in at 1:40). I ran the first few miles well under that, closer to 7:20. Early in the race, we took a left turn towards the Sacramento Zoo. A fellow Buffalo Chip mentioned that we were off-course, that we had turned onto the 5k course. Trusting the race organizers, I assumed he was wrong, until we rounded the last part of the loop, met back up with the rest of Wave 1, and saw a second 1 mile marker. Already, a little over a mile into the race, I knew I wouldn't PR due to the extra distance.

At first, I was pissed. I wanted the test, I thought a PR might be in the cards if my training has been as good as I think it has. But thanks to a mistake by someone else, I wouldn't get that test. This made me go faster.

After a few minutes, I realized that the race could still be a test. Usually I start to regulate my speed, after going out too fast, so that I can not bonk towards the end and slow down too much (which I tend to do). My plan became keeping up as fast as I could manage for the distance, without worrying about bonking. It would be a test of how far I could run around the 7:30 mark, or lower if I could manage. I stopped really checking my watch, or worrying about total elapsed time.

Despite the disappointment that I wouldn't end up with a comparable time or a PR, I enjoyed the race, and the challenge of a 14 or so mile tempo run. It is at least a good Sunday long run!

I came in strong, with a time of 1:44 for 13.85 miles (on my Garmin). After consulting a few Chips, most found a 4 and a half minute difference, which would have put my at a PR, and under 1:40. I was a bit disappointed that it wouldn't be official, but happy with my performance on my "test."

This morning, Capitol Road Race Management announced they had recalculated the times for Wave 1 participants based on the measured distance of 13.74. That made my time 1:39:43, a PR and under 1:40! While I would feel better about a PR achieved without calculations after the fact, I am happy to be the owner of a new PR, and happy that I achieved my goals!

Catch Up

Okay, forgot to post again... I had a relatively uneventful past two weeks, getting some miles in two weeks ago, not getting as many last week, and moving the training forward. I did two quality speed workouts with the Chips on Tuesdays, but didn't do the group Tempo on Thursdays. I did my first 18-miler of CIM training, which went relatively well. Then, I PR'd in the Urban Cow Half Marathon. More on that later.

Miles week of 9/24: 36
Miles last week: 26
Total Miles in 2012: 1063