Monday, April 30, 2012

2012 xterra malibu creek - recap

my first trail half marathon is officially in the books! it was equal parts exciting, nerve-wracking, exhilarating and at times touch and go - my right calf threatened to quit on me - but i was able to finish and power thru in a respectable time of 2:30.

sunday morning i awoke at 4:45am to shower and prepare a quick breakfast of a fruit/vegetable smoothie and some toast w/brown sugar & cinnamon. vim, heidi and i were out the door by 5:30am and pulled into malibu creek state park at 6:10am, where we were greeted with the hospitality tents and hey look! a climbing wall!

rock wall!
strolling to the start line
get set...

it was still pretty chilly at registration, but it was deceptively short-lived as temps were expected to hit 80 in calabasas. we chatted with other racers shaking their head at the challenging course layout, so we did our best to put on our games faces and not think of the looming torture ahead.

we pushed off at 7:30am sharp and it was a stampede for the first 3 miles, which were relatively flat with a few minor hills mixed in. the fun began at mile 3 at the base of bulldog - a seemingly never-ending 3.5 miles of punishing ascent. i managed to run nearly the entire way up (save the last 1/2 mile), but there were a host of racers power walking the steep incline as well.

originally, i had planned on taking my gels at the water stations at mile 3 and at 8, but since i was feeling good, i had my first at the top of bulldog at mile 6.5. looking back, i should have trusted my strategy and not deviated, but consider that a lesson learned.

a small descent was our reward for climbing bulldog, then it was three more hills (including lizard rock) before the sustained decline arrived from miles 9-12. i was still feeling strong at mile 10, other than being a tad behind schedule as another racer yelled out a time of 1:52 at that point.

however, i felt a slight twinge in my right calf at mile 11, as it felt like a cramp was coming on. i tried to suck down what little gatorade i had left, and took my last gel just prior to mile 12 in hopes of giving my body enough to be able to finish. my calf sent me gentle reminders that it was still not going away, so i did my best to pay it no mind as i jogged/limped thru the next 2 miles.

at this point, the most frustrating part was seeing all the hard work i put in to catch a host of competitors in front of me, only to see that dissipate as a handful of them gently repaid the favor over the last 2 miles. no matter how much i wanted to push it, common sense prevailed and two thoughts became clear: hold on, and finish the race.

mile 13 arrived with one last final 500-foot incline, and for me, it couldn't have come at a better time. at this point, nobody was running up this hill, so i was able to power walk and not lose any ground. the last section was a mixture of road and trail before the final curve was in sight. both my calves almost seized up 100 feet before the finish line - i heard one of the organizers yelling "whoa" - but i steadied them both.. and trudged across!

she was my pace car for 11m
we did it!
tara brought the champagne!

all kinds of things were running thru my head at this point - relief at not having to limp around anymore; jubilation for attaining a goal; the immediate need to replenish electrolytes into my body; and the desire to reach out, congratulate and congregate with fellow racers. but most of all, i was overcome with great pride and satisfaction into ignoring the pain and telling myself to finish. the mental discipline that each runner possesses cannot be understated - it's required when you're too tired to go for a run, when it's too cold, too hot, too early, too late, when your feet hurt, when you don't have enough time, when the hill is too steep, etc. much like parkour, it's the mental challenge that is most difficult to overcome, especially when excuses are so convenient and plentiful.

sunday was another milestone in my progression as a runner, and in life.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

trail race - checklist

and a peek at my battle armor for tomorrow's 14+ mile trail race:

* nike race day singlet
* salomon exo S-lab II shorts
* wigwam cool-lite hiker pro quarter socks
* salomon XR crossmax neutral
* gatorade prime 01 pre-game fuel - i'll take this 20 min before the race
* three (3) gu energy gels - i'll probably consume two during the race, one is extra
* gatorade G series fit bottle - emptied & replaced with 1/2 water/gatorade
* think thin white chocolate protein bar - just in case i'm still hungry beforehand

Friday, April 27, 2012

prep for sunday

less than 48 hours away from the xterra 22k trail race at malibu creek this sunday. the forecast in calabasas calls for 75 degrees, so hopefully we'll miss most of the heat due to the early 7:30am start time.

at this point, all of my training is behind me and i gotta go with what i have. one more easy taper run tonight - i'm thinking 2 miles - and then it's out of my hands.

based on previous race results, realistically i'm looking at finishing at just under 2:15, but i'm harboring dreams of beating two hours if the stars align. fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

sullivan canyon trail run + UCLA pow wow

forgot to mention that i climbed out of bed saturday night to do a quick search for a nearby trail that could deliver both distance and manageability... and found one that hit all the boxes in sullivan canyon.

since saturday's 7.2M run on the backbone trail was disappointing - i wilted near the top due to the surprising heat - i needed a run to get my spirits up and back on track. sullivan canyon is a pretty well-covered trail, so one isn't exposed directly to the sun. the only dangers involve mountain bikers flying down the hill, as they don't even make a move to relinquish right of way.

since i was able to fit in a run earlier in the day, i merely accompanied heidi to UCLA in the afternoon for her workout session. the american indian student association happened to have their 27th annual pow wow that day as well, so i got to roam the campus as an observer:

lap 6 of 12
stairs at drake stadium
lesson at LATC
seatbacks at LATC
reverse shotput granny-style
woeful high jump attempt
pow wow gratitude
hunger games anyone?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

happy earth day!

celebrated the occasion by going on a 7.5m jaunt up sullivan canyon in pacific palisades - just me and the birds & butterflies.

it's a slow and steady incline to the juncture, so it's a good trail to accumulate a longer run without suffering from any steep inclines. made it up in 40 minutes, took a 3 minute break chatting with mountain bikers, then made it back in 32 minutes. at the end, there's a steep cement uphill back to your car, which i didn't find so friendly. but good practice regardless, as next week's malibu creek trail run has a similar incline at mile 13...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

eats - plan check

stopped by plan check - a relatively new gastropub located on the japanese-centric section of sawtelle - for dinner tonight and had a hell of a meal. started things off right with an IPA from san diego's green flash and an order of their stuffed mushroom, which consisted of a roasted portobello, swiss cheese fondue, crispy kale (melt in your mouth unreal) and steak sauce.

but the revelation of the night belonged to the chef's favorite burger, which was seconded by our server. try to picture cheese two ways, bacon two ways (regular and in a bacon jam spread on the top bun), ketchup leather (picture a fruit roll-up, except made out of their homemade ketchup), sunny fried egg and hot sauce. and it's served in a mini cast iron grill, so one gets to sop up the remains of the burger with the spillover of the runny egg.

the FO burger at father's office has remained my perennial #1 in southern california, but the chef's favorite has vaulted past short order's nancy's backyard burger and golden state's colorado lamb burger into the #2 slot, it's that good.

plan check
1800 sawtelle blvd.
los angeles, CA 90025

karaoke session

another strong karaoke session tonight, this time with 16 peeps! here's my song selection on the evening:

soul asylum - "runaway train"
gym class heroes w/adam levine - "stereo hearts"
U2 - "where the streets have no name"
plain white T's - "rhythm of love"
counting crows - "mr. jones"
backstreet boys - "i want it that way"
muse - "uprising"
maroon5 - "she will be loved"
goo goo dolls - "black balloon"
lady antebellum - "need you now"
NKOTB - "i'll be loving you forever"
extreme - "more than words"

Friday, April 13, 2012

nikeID free 3.0 hybrid v4

and my free nikeID kicks have arrived!

it took me quite a while - literally one week nonstop of furious drafting - to finalize the design and exact colorway, but i think i nailed it. i did seek out the opinion of a few, which resulted in some back and forth between three of my potential finalists. but after vowing to somehow use the electric green sole as my base, it made the decision clearer... and this was the end result:

another look
money B tag on the tongue
new flex grooves

the volt green swoosh got somewhat muddled by the vibrant blue of the upper, but it actually turned out better than on paper. now it has almost an iridescent sheen to it that adds some mystery to the color.

upon first glance, version 4 (V4) has a few stylistic cues from version 1 (V1), yet updated with a contemporary redesign. gone is the troublesome tongue that kept sliding to the side in V1 and V2, which is a helpful improvement. they've also made the sole even more ridiculously flexible, as the curved design indicates above. my particular shoe is a hybrid of the 3.0 (upper) and the 5.0 (sole), as i wanted to be able to use the nike+ system (the sensor that you place in the left shoe cavity) that has so far eluded the 3.0 in all its versions.

i've only tried on the shoe indoors, so the performance review will have to come after i've taken these bad boys out for a spin...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

city tavern - el segundo brewing co.

stopped by city tavern last night to support tom kelley's el segundo brewing co., who currently have four beers on tap at the culver city watering hole: white dog IPA, blue house citra pale ale, hyperion's stout and their white pomeranian (white dog w/pomegranate) on cask, no less.

el segundo brewing's logo
a keg of stone's mixtape

tom ran the beer program as the library alehouse's GM and is a certified cicerone, or a beer sommelier if you will. he's currently teaching a class about beer - its history, brewing process, styles and pairings - at el segundo brewing co. if anybody is interested in knowing more about the staple, or if you have an elevated passion about the craft brew industry in general. more info here:

BTW the white pomeranian was my fave from last night's pour - slightly tart & bitter characteristics of the fruit but refreshing and easily quaffable as a twist on the IPA.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

nikeID - shipped!

and my custom free IDs have shipped!

good friday

had the day off yesterday in observance of the holiday - yay! - so vim and i hit up paseo miramar to run to the parker mesa overlook and back. it really is my go-to hike in socal, as it's close by (door to door in less than 15 minutes), it's difficult (the incline is punishing), the view from the overlook is spectacular, and it still feels like you're worlds away from civilization.

however, it's only 5 miles total, so i need to look elsewhere if i want to go for a longer training run. the rest of the day was spent cooking up meals, going outside to take some snaps, and enjoying the afternoon with the SF giants in their 2012 season opener vs. the AZ diamondbacks.

buried freeway sign
underneath the 10 freeway
intersection of pico/34th
ol skool thermometer

alas, the g-men will not be going 162-0 this season...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

warrior dash socal 2012

saturday's warrior dash was the 3rd time out, and possibly the most fun i've had yet. vim, cheryl, heidi and i (our friend mouncey had a later start time) ended up running the 5k course from hell together, so it brought out great excitement in watching the girls tear thru the obstacles while maintaining a strong running pace.

since i wasn't going to be breaking any landspeed records, i wanted to somewhat dress the part, which explains my ridiculous get-up, including an ill-fitting dress shirt and a 2011 glee concert tour tie i picked up for 99 cents.

this year's battleground varied greatly from last year's, as they introduced a host of new obstacles and made previous years' more difficult. for instance, i actually had to use the rope to scale the rope wall instead of using my parkour skills to reach the top of last year's. bummer indeed.

arbitrary group shot
woo hoo!

after getting swamped from neck to toe in the barbed wire/mud pit, we gleefully crossed the tape as a foursome in about 47 minutes. even though our time wasn't a factor, it was good enough for the top 15% of the nearly 10,000 entrants this year.

the last obstacle
finish line

and as always, free beer awaited our accomplishments...