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Trying The 50 Mile Distance…Again.

Although I fell behind my training schedule for Sean O’Brien due to the bike accident, I managed to pull together four solid weeks of running.
Distance: 322.64 mi
Time: 57:12:54 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 67,823 ft
Max Elevation Gain: 7,492 ft
Max Time: 4:55:08 h:m:s

I feel confident I can finish the race in under 9:30:00 based on my training. I would estimate a better finishing time, but I was unable to go on a 5+ hour/30+ mile run. So, all I can hope for is to run a gritty race. Two weeks ago I ran the back half of the course as a training run and was physically beaten by the amount of downhill running. I’d like to think all those runs up and down Mt. Wilson Toll Rd. has prepared me well.

I think I’ve been a responsible eater most of the time. I made sure to eat a recovery snack post-run (mostly in the form of a smoothie) and calorie/nutrient dense food most meals. I hydrated fairly well, being conscious to drink water first thing in the morning and intermittently during runs. I haven’t had any major stomach problems and have dialed in my race day nutrition plan. I’ll be using GU gels, Nuun tablets, and Probar chews. My mindset has been to eat for energy; food as fuel. It’s helped me stay focus and limit junk food.

Seven more days until I toe the line. I have goals for the race and none bigger than to keep moving forward no matter what happens or how I feel at any time. Big question is, music or no music?

The course and elevation profile:

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Bulldog Thoughts

When I registered to run Bulldog 50k in July I had every intention to train hard with long miles and serious climbing. What happened instead was a bunch of short runs with not a lot of sustained climbing and downhill running. The combination of settling back into life in Los Angeles and general fatigue due to activities related to moving led to s a lot of uninspired runs. I would often start my runs with double digit mileage in mind, but I would cut many runs short. So, most runs looked like this: Scary Post Run. An intended 17 mile run that I bailed on.

Picture 12

What do I wish will happen this Saturday? Well, I hope my lack of training miles actually leaves me with a healthy body and inspiration to prove to myself that the impossible is probable. What I think will actually happen is I’ll finish middle of the pack leaving me with the comfort of knowing I finished strong  without a good training base. I’ve ran this course many times and I know what is possible. I can only hope for the best and pray that I’ll be able to will myself to push past the comfort zone and finish at an effort I can be happy about.

So, here it goes, my predicted times:
“A” Goal: Sub 4:10
“B” Goal: 4:15
“Deserves all the beers” goal: Sub 4:20

The specs:
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Kazan
Clothing: Sugoi Titan run shorts, Wright CoolMesh II socks
Accessories: Ultimate Direction Jurek Essential belt and Handy 20 handheld water bottle.
Nutrition: NUUN Hydration Strawberry Lemonade, PowerBar Berry Blast and Kona Punch, and salted pretzels


Malibu Creek Race Recap

(Note: I began writing this the week after the race.)
I ran Pacific Coast Trail Run’s race at Malibu Creek on March 3. I opted for the 25k distance. Cherry picking? Maybe, but I like to think I was only in shape for that distance at that time.

Garmin Run Details:

My goals for the race were simple: run every inch of the course, work through any discomfort, enjoy the course, and to appreciate my capabilities and effort. The first goal was dependent on accomplishing the second goal. The third would be a practice of running in the moment and to take in the coastal and vista views the park offered. The last goal was to work on something I’ve had a hard time doing in the past. I’ve often been too critical of my effort and preparation which has caused me to not enjoy my accomplishments.

Malibu Creek was to be a test of my limits. I wanted to push through my racing barrier to compete. In a previous blog post I wrote about pushing past our limits. I’m happy to say I was able to run the entire course because I didn’t allow myself to be bothered by pain and discomfort. I may have ran a more conservative pace to accomplish the goal of running the entire course, but the side stitch (result of poor aerobic conditioning; short, quick breaths) still presented itself as a problem. Instead of stopping, I managed the pain with some deep breaths and pressure in the area under my ribs. I ran with this discomfort for about four miles. Nearing the finish, my mind had completely blocked the pain away and I was able to run a decent pace to the line. I remember thinking as I crossed the line that it was the first race I had not walked or stopped due to a little pain. It’s definitely something I can reflect and build on to be more successful at future races.

I’ve gotten better at running in the moment with my countless miles running solo on the trails. Since starting my time in the mountains I’ve began noticing the environment around me which has led to a better appreciation of nature and the part we play in that environment.

How does that sense of “now” translate to race day? For one thing, I wasn’t concerned about my relative position to the person leading the race and the people behind me. I was running my own race and working through where I was at that particular time. When I was running uphill, I was running that hill and not worried about the downhill section coming up. When I was running on the narrow sandstone path, I was running on the sandstone and not concerned with the dirt fire road or concrete finish. When I was thirsty, I drank. I was focused only on my effort and my goals. I had a feeling if I can just focus on my running and accomplish my goals I would have a great finish.

The last goal was something I failed to do. Although I was happy with my overall performance, I still doubted my abilities and was critical of some some things I did. I know my downhill running will improve with more miles on technical terrain, but my inability to “let the brakes go” frustrated me. It also bothered me that I didn’t go out faster in the beginning. My training runs were faster the first two miles than the actual race itself. Would I have won had I gone out with the leader? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s something that troubled me at the time. I would like to one day write a recap where I can write, “I’m happy with my performance, enjoyed my self immensley, and would not have done anything different.” One day.

Lastly, it was nice to see and talk to Melissa and Deo at the race. Helps calm the nerves to have people to talk to. Deo ran the 50k and finished 3rd in his age group! Amazes me how he’s able to run so many races and manages to put in a great effort in each one. Photos courtesy of Deo.

Next up for me is the Santa Barabara Endurance Race 50k on April 14. Hopeful to be competitive. If anything, good excuse to make it up there and have a few beers on State St.


January 9 – January 15, 2012 Weekly Recap

Weekly Totals
Miles: 53.47
Elevation Gain: 11,430 ft.
Elevation Loss: 9,650 ft.
Moving Time: 12:06:20 h:m:s

Tuesday – Sam Merrill To San Gabriel Peak
Miles: 17.80
Elevation Gain: 4,989 ft.
Elevation Loss: 4,962 ft.
Moving Time: 4:23:08
Nutrition: GU Cherry Lime Rocktane, Raspberry shortbread cookies, mandarin orange, water
I read about San Gabriel Peak and Mt. Disappointment while looking at a hiking blog. Tried to find routes that start from Altadena, but all I found were directions that start from Highway 2. Using Google maps, I saw that Mt. Lowe Road went all the way up to an area that was described on the hiking page. From there I continued to follow the hiking directions. It was spot on! In fact, it’s a real easy trek up to the peak from Altadena. The knee continued to bother me, so I walked  most of the way down Castle Canyon.

Thursday – Gabrielino Trail Out and Back
Miles: 8.0
Elevation Gain: 635 ft.
Elevation Loss: 626 ft.
Moving Time: 1:19:03
Nutrition: water
Easy pace run following the creek toward Switzer Camp. “Recovery” run. 

Friday – Millard Camp Loop
Miles: 9.60
Elevation Gain: 1,434 ft.
Elevation Loss: 1,756 ft.
Moving Time: 2:04:54
Nutrition: GU Jet Blackberry, Water
Ran with Burgos and MCH for a very entertaining and relaxed run to Millard Camp. Cut the run a few miles short and ran down Altadena Crest trail by Chaney Rd. The knee wasn’t hurting since we were walk running.

Saturday – Bulldog (Malibu Creek State Park)
Miles: 12.94
Elevation Gain: 2,945 ft.
Elevation Loss: 1,549 ft.
Moving Time: 2:29:30
Nutrition: GU Blueberry Pomegranate Rocktane, water
Where do I even begin? First of all, I started late due to laziness. So, I really only had a solid two hours to complete the run before nightfall. Second, I was unprepared. I didn’t bring a jacket or a headlamp. My knee started giving me trouble when I reached Castro Peak. Looking at the changing light and the condition I was in, I decided to hitch a ride back to Las Virgenes. I tried gutting it out, but the knee was in too much pain to run fast downhill. The people I got the ride from were going to Santa Monica so they dropped me off at Pepperdine. Bummer! I managed to power walk all the way back to Malibu Creek State Park. At least the highway was lit.