Monday, October 19, 2009

Lily's Nike Marathon and Ultra Training

Nike Women’s Marathon

CONGRATS!!! To my wife Lily on her 2nd marathon finish. Lily overcame a lot of interruptions to her training to finish the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco yesterday in 5:39. The Tiffany necklace they give out to finishers is very nice. I'd take it over a belt buckle any day of the week.

Ultra Training Group

“How do I train for an ultra” This is something I hear a lot from people. Even if the person has a running background the unique factors to ultras seem to scare a lot of people off from trying an ultra. I remember when I first started it was (and still is) confusing on how to train for an ultra. There is so much more to ultras than your average road race. Longer time on feet, more food, hills, etc.

There are many groups centered on the 1st timer/beginner marathoner. There is SacFit, Team in Training, Fleet Feet GO, and others. I figured since trail and ultra running popularity was on the rise we needed something similar for ultras.

I’m pleased to announce I have brought the idea to fruition. I’ve partnered with my long time friends at Fleet Feet Fair Oaks/Roseville to develop an ultra training group focused on the beginner/1st timer.

My 1st ultra was the American River 50 mile, (AR50). AR50 is a great first timer ultra in my opinion so I figured it should be the goal race of the program.

I don’t have the smarts or the background to train others. Kirk at Fleet Feet got on the problem and got Julie Fingar to develop the training program. Julie a champion ultra racer and personal trainer is also the Race Director for AR50.

My job will be to direct the program and support the runners on their journey. I love trail running, helping others with their 1st ultra is something I look forward to.

If you or anyone you know would be interested: Fleet Feet Fair Oaks Trail Training

PS: I've been running more, but still not as commited as I should be. House projects still haunt me, C.I.M should be interesting, or at least very painful.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Things learned training this year so far

Well I’m back to running somewhat consistently. The house remodel continues to go well, but things continue to come up that sabotage me running consistently. The most recent item was base boards. Years ago when I bought my house I replaced all the baseboards myself as my first big do-it-yourself project.

Well I failed and the piss poor job has forever haunted me. My contractor agreed to replace all my baseboards for half of what I had bids for. I just had to caulk and paint the suckers. If you want to try out a killer workout try this: go run a 10 miler in 100+ heat. Come home; get on your hands and knees and proceed to caulk and paint base boards for hours. Now repeat the following day, running optional. Trust me this workout will make you strong, or break you in half.

Training Stuff

I’ve been thinking A LOT about my training for WS100 and what new things I learned about my running this year.

1. Miles make champions. Now I didn’t coin this phrase, but it sums it up for me. I had a higher amount of sustained weekly mileage this year while training and it really improved my running.

2. Drymax socks rock!! I was turned on to these socks after reading about them on Kelly Ridgway’s blog. I run through creeks without care now due to these socks. Blisters, in these socks, never.

3. HEAT, it sucks and really screws up my running. Nothing new to me but for some reason it was worse for me this year, but not consistently. Long story short I determined I’m more sensitive than I used to be to the bad air in the Sacramento area. For next year I’ll have to go up the hill more to get better air if I’m going to run in the heat.

Also I was experimenting with the long sleeve UV clothing for WS. I obviously didn’t get to use it but I feel better training with it. The direct sun doesn’t bake me as much. I also found water I poured on me had a better, longer cooling effect with the long sleeved stuff. Again this is a personal observation; I can’t quantify it as fact. It’s still weird to wear the stuff in 100+ heat.

4. Sugar. In an effort to lean up for the race and improve my health I again went to work on my diet. I noticed the more I avoid gels and other sugary foods on and before long runs the better I digested food. I also had fewer ups and downs. Real food and a mix called Spitz is what I use more now. Gels still work great for me and have their place, I’m not anti-gel. But for 3+hrs runs/hikes I try to avoid too much sugar before and during.

**The above of course does not apply to my favorite post-race/long run ice cold Coke, I’ll never take that away.**

5. Music. I love music, my IPOD and 250gigs of music are very dear to me. In training and especially in races I found I run better if I’m not always distracted by music. I definitely eat and drink better without music.

I know I’ve learned more, but as I sit here at work wasting the County’s time I can’t think of more.

2010 Plans

I know it’s a LONG way out but I have a family I have to plan if I’m going to go big on something.

So far I plan to race shorter races, (50 mile and under) and race more often, no 100 milers. The event I’m really trying to make happen for 2010 is the Canadian Death Race. I want to put together a team for the race. Anyone interested?????


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Running, Nnnnoooo building.

Well I’m officially a slacker blogger. The main reason I’m not running much. My home addition has been consuming a lot of my time. Beside the normal stuff we hit a big snag a few weeks back. We had to dig up my front yard to install new main power lines. It seems SMUD skirted the code about using conduit for power lines in the 70’s when my house was built.
Otherwise the addition is going great. Here is the ditch I helped dig and fill.

I was on vacation last week at my new cabin I’m part owner of now. The cabin is at Echo Lakes off Hwy 50. It’s a great spot, quick to get to, high altitude, and great trails. The PCT is 200yrds from my door. Here's my daughter and me as she leaves me hanging.

On the training front I’ve been incorporating some pylometric type exercises into my training. I’ve also been doing the AB/pull-up/push-up type stuff. I like the exercises I have put together. I can do it all at home with much equipment. This and all the construction work has been kicking my butt.

I also have a new hobby that I feel I can share with others now, cake decorating with fondant. Basically these are the bad ass looking wedding type cakes that are super smooth. Here’s my latest creation. The bows on top sagged a bit, I ran out of time for them to set up before the party started. Check the picture out.

I’ll be ramping things up running wise by next month as I prep for CIM.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mail Bag

Here is a link from regarding the letter I just got in the mail. They are talking about the item I had for dinner Monday June 22nd, you know five days before that special day, NICE!

Morton Tri-Tip


Monday, July 27, 2009

It's been a month......

Well it's been a month since the DNF so I thought I better blog something. Surprisingly I've been more busy day to day than before the race. I've been running as I feel (not much) and cross training a lot, which has been fun.

Besides my job the construction of an room addtion at home has me busy and stressed. We've made changes to the original plan and of course gone over budget. Here is what things look like so far. I'll post the newest photos later.

On the running side I'll be changing focus to the road for the remainder of the year. I want to run the Cal International Marathon for time.

For the distant future there is one race that for months now has come in and out of my brain. The Canadian Death Race, (I LOVE that name.) The race is this weekend so I will be looking for reports to get a better feel for the race for 2010. They let you run the race as a relay, anyone interested????


Monday, June 29, 2009

The Dance ended early….

If you were running or watching Western States you probably know I dropped. Not quite the result I was looking for.

Why did this happen? I don’t know and to be honest I’m not dwelling on it, it happened. I tried to get around it to the best of my ability and came up short.

To start with I felt great leading up to race day. I had what I would call nervous bowels for a few days before, but I was nervous. Was I sick? I don’t think so I was eating and felt good.

Race day my HR was good and my effort level was mellow. I was following my plan to keep my effort down and follow my HR monitor. I started eating and drinking on the Escarpment climb according to my plan without issue.

I just passed Cougar Rock (12ish miles) and felt the need to burp. Well, barf is what I got. Soon after I had to go #2 and it was diarrhea. Of course this coincided with nausea and no desire to eat.

Knowing I now had no fuel or water in me I went to work on fixing that. I slowed down my running and started to walk more and take in ginger.

At Red Star Ridge I slowly took in a Boost, which came up soon after. This was the turning point; I was far from the next aid station and starting to lose energy.

By Duncan I was a mess. I sat down and tried to collect myself and fuel up. BIG THANKS to Jesse Baragan for all his help and encouragement at Duncan. I left Duncan not much better fueled but the chair was scaring me and I had not desire to eat.

By this time the story is familiar to anyone who runs. Low calories with effort= BONK. By the time I started the climb to Robinson Flat I was a mess.

I tired in vain to refuel at Robinson Flat, no luck. Prior to the cut-off I asked to drop.

A unique day, my 6yr old daughter had never seen me cry. I’m not embarrassed to say I did a lot of it that day at Robinson Flat.

The positive side, yes there is one, this was an incredible experience, I would do it all again. Want to experience something incredible. Stand at the Escarpment at dawn as this race goes by. Incredible energy and incredible views.

To everyone who helped me along as they came across my shuddering mass, THANK YOU! Every look and kind gesture was up lifting and welcome.

A District Attorney I work with sent me this quote in an e-mail this morning after he heard I dropped, I thought I would share. It really hit the experience home for me:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt

The Big Dance ended early for me, but there will be another Dance.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Music and Running

Recently a lot of my friends and family have been talking about music and running. I’ve seen a lot of debate on this issue on the Internet and in person. I find the use or non-use of music running is a personal choice.

I myself use my Ipod a lot, but now I use it mostly for hard efforts and days when I’m dragging a bit on long runs.

I found music was distracting me in races. Since I stopped using an Ipod I find I’m better with my eating and drinking as I run.

This coming weekend I plan to pick up my Ipod after Robinson Flat. While training on the course I found my Ipod worked the best for me on the canyon ascents and the section between Michigan Bluff and Foresthill, (I HATE that section). After Foresthill I’ll give the Ipod up in favor of a pacer.

Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE music. So with the race coming Saturday I thought I would share some bands and types of music I like. Trust me some of this music will have you rocking up Devil’s Thumb.


Music of this type can be weird and a lot of it down right horrible. If you look hard enough you can find some gems. I have songs that are 10 minutes long with continuous beats that get me into a rhythm. Certain movie soundtracks have great music of this type on them also. For example: The Matrix, Miami Vice (the movie), The Vampire Lestat, and the Blade movies. Some artist examples are:

Armin Van Buren
Crystal Method
Lords of Acid
Chemical Brothers
Fat Boy Slim
Lady GaGa
Juno Reactor

The rest of my Ipod has the following:

Dark Alternative Music/Industrial

This is the dark and angry music that tends to offend most. But I have to say some of the beats can get you through hill repeats like no other music. Personal favorite, Rammstein, play some Rammstein while at the track doing intervals and watch your pace increase.

Nine Inch nails
Marilyn Manson
Limp Bizkit
Rob Zombie


If you haven’t heard the Linkin Park Jay-Z album, check it out.

Linkin Park
Black Eyed Peas
Green Day
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Classic Rock

Too many to list but you have to have:

Rolling Stones
Led Zeppelin
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Black Sabbath

Rap/Hip Hop

Again too many to list, but I’m mostly old school on this one, the top fav’s:

Beastie Boys
Dr Dre

The 80’s

Last but not least is 80’s music. Now I won’t embarrass myself with a list of names. But I find 80’s pop music to be nice to zone out to on long runs.

Till Saturday, Keep rocking


Monday, June 15, 2009

Tapering BLOWS!!!!

Now I know this is the common sentiment felt by runners of all types during a Taper. I myself share the view, but I also know it is needed to have a good day come race day.

My Taper includes not just the physical, but the mental Taper. After months of running according to a training plan taking into account, pace, distance, canyons, blah blah blah. I’m using the Taper to do the opposite for a mental break. Last week I ran when I wanted at the distance and pace I wanted, when I wanted. This break from the monotony of training has been nice. Another plus, sleeping in on a Saturday or Sunday, WOW! what a concept. I didn’t know what to do with myself Sunday when I was still in bed at 7am when I’m usually at Lake Natomas running.

So what blows about a Taper to me, it’s not the cut back on training or the nervous energy. For me it’s the little aches and pains that seem to pop up for no reason. Example: it was a light week running, the lightest in weeks. OK so why the F%*& are my hammies tight and my IT band hurt. This never fails, in 2007 before States my IT band started screaming during the Taper, weird. Oh well I do what I know to solve the issue (foam roller) and usually by race day it’s no big deal.

Otherwise I’m looking forward to race day. As I blogged before the goal of this years race is a better experience than 2007, regardless of finishing time, (i.e. not walking the last 15miles of the race).

I’ve been pumping up my daughter Izabella for the finish. I told her to wear her running shoes because this year we’re running from the Robie aid station to the finish. She says she ready to rock, WOO HOO!!!!!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Putting the finishing touches on training, otherwise known as a TAPER

Since my last entry I’ve had a lot going on I wanted to blog about, but life’s been to busy to seat down. On the non-running side I finally got the addition to the home going, they should break ground next week.

Work has become nuts, lays off are coming and my Bureau is about to be down sized by 2 detectives. If the County cuts are above 50 million I could possibly be demoted and sent back to Patrol. Obviously morale is way down, it’s hard to be upbeat at work about the Big Dance when guys I know are being demoted or laid off. Sadly this is nothing new, I know of other runners who have been laid off or had pay cuts; it’s a very scary time.

Training update:

I was able to keep a high load in my training since my last entry. My last long run was the Auburn 50K. It was an ass cracker, 2X up the K2, (aka: The Training Hill). I think my Garmin said the elevation gain for the day was 7,000ish. The course was also a little long so extra miles (yea!!!). With the uncharacteristic cool weather we’ve had it was only 75deg, but high humidity made it interesting. I was drenched in sweat and had to keep the fluids flowing.

I had my last performance test on the 28th of May; it was a real confidence booster. I had had improved across the board, my aerobic cruising speed improved the most. With my latest HR valves in place I’ll be using them to keep me on track at States.

I feel I'm as prepared as I could be. I look forward to seeing what shakes out on June 27th. As I posted before the #1 goal is to enjoy the race more this time and finish. #2 Is of course sub-24hrs.


I have my shoe issues solved for States. The Vasque Blur will be my shoe of choice to protect my feet. I will switch to my Nikes later as the trail mellows out. After looking at my past shoes issues I determined I needed a more cushioned shoe with more foot protection. I appear to use up my feet on rocky trail and descents.


I’ve put together an actual plan to my taper for this year. I will be reducing my running without becoming stale, (I hope). I looking at my race report from 2007 I noted how dead I felt at the start of the 2007. Looking at my logs I think I might of actually de-trained a bit before 2007, (yeah I cut my running that much in 3 weeks, I think I was scared of the race).

Hopes and Dreams:

The weather in the area and on the course has been awesome. I’m hoping it stays cool like this up to race day. I have two reasons for wanting this:

#1 It will enable an already stacked elite field to go at it that much harder.
#2 It will make it that much easier on average Joe’s like me to have a good day.

Until next time


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Training, it's almost over and of course, more shoe issues

Well it’s late May and the Western States Training Camp is over. This usually signals that the end game is very near. Training has not been what I planned, but I’m happy with what I have accomplished.

I missed Silver State and my mileage plans for May have been off their planned marks for a variety of reasons. I had planned to do the WS100 training Day 1 classic, Robinson Flat to the River for a nice 50miler on the course. Again life intruded very rudely and I could not find a co-worker to cover my on-call status for the whole day. So I did the standard 32 miler, which was great, but I needed another 50 miler before States.

The issues I’ve been having recently have helped me to put my running in perspective. I have realized the more I push the run/life balance the more stress I have. I don’t like stress; I have enough in my life as it is. So I’ve rolled with it and life is good.

The training run was still a very good training run, I learned a lot. The biggest lesson was my shoes. After my previous issues (see older posts) I went back to the shoes I used in 2007, the Asics Trail Attacks. I like the shoe, it rides low but I knew from before that 30 miles is it for this shoe. They are a bit soft and light. Not a problem, I planned to switch at Robinson Flat and again at Foresthill. I’m also going to be like 10lbs lighter this year come race day, but I won’t say what that number is.

2007 WS100 was my first 100 miler and my first experience with a hot spot. It was also the first time I had blisters that affected my running. I got a HUGE blister under my right foot in the race.

So as I’m running the canyon descents Saturday minding my own business I started to feel the same hot spot and possibly a blister(s) on my feet, CRAP!!!! Mo*^&% F*&^$!!!!!!

I also had stiff/tired hips and legs, more than I should have for the distance of the run. I had been loading it up a bit in the weeks before so I chalked it up to a tired body. But as I ran from Michigan Bluff on the fire road it felt like I was running in racing flats, no support. CRAP!!! the shoes don’t work. At the end of the day the damage was evident, a sore right big toe nail, (oh yeah it’s a goner). There were also some epic blisters, mostly on the right foot.

So it’s obvious the Trail Attacks are to minimalist and soft for long/runs with lots of descent. I think I’ll be saving these for some trail 10K’s in the fall I’ve been eyeballing.

This made me think; did I overlook this issue in 2007 and pay for it later in the race? I think yes, I did, but that’s the past, I’m in the now, learn from it and move on.

I looked back on my trail races and found when I was running beefier shoes like Montrail Continental Divides or Hardrocks I had no issues. I think I’m seeing the light on the big picture, I need a beefier shoe.

My training partner Jim has the most horrible issues with his feet. He has big flat feet, with lots of blister issues. When he wears the Vasque Blur he has zero issues on long trail runs. He will even wear the Blurs on the pavement sometimes. He has been telling me to try them, but I’ve put him off, why I don’t know I guess I’m just stubborn. I went Monday to REI where they were in stock and bought a pair. I’ll know more about them by the end of the week.

Predicting my Race

Most people running States say, “I just want to finish” with “I just want under 24hrs” being the second most common saying. This is just my personal observation, but I think it’s true because I’ve said the same thing.

Recently friends and family have begun asking me about my plans for 2009. I can say with all honesty it would be nice to beat my old time of 25:30. Even better, beat 24hrs and get that silver buckle. But, I have decided it would be even better to just enjoy the race. Recent life issues and stress have made remember, this is supposed to be fun.

As I was running out on the course Saturday I realized how much of the race I missed in 2007 because of mistakes I made and stress I had chasing a goal. Mistakes made chasing that unknown finishing time, or that buckle. Pushing myself to the point where the race was no longer any fun. This also made the race more painful than it needed to be, because we all know it’s painful enough.

I have seen video and pictures of finishers of various times coming across the line happy. The pain and tiredness is obviously there, it’s a 100 mile run for god’s sake. But the enjoyment is still there. I love to see pictures and video of Gordy Ainsleigh running and finishing, he’s happy. I can honestly tell you I missed a lot of that happiness in 2007, especially at the end.

So in all honesty my goal for 2009 Western States 100 is to run the race my body will let me run, while enjoying the experience. 28:00hrs, 25:30hrs or 23:59 will be fine this year as long as I can better enjoy, (and remember) the race. Especially the closing mile I get to run with my 6yr old daughter Izabella.


Monday, May 11, 2009

The “Comedy of Errors” Canyon Run and the ongoing shoe crisis

So as the pictures in the previous post show I was invited to run the canyons this past Friday with a very cool group of people. It was myself, Matt Keyes, Derek Semanski, Karalee Morris, and another runner who’s name escapes me, (SORRY). Sufficient it to say the un-named runner has been doing WS100 since I was in HS, (yep he’s that fit).

So this was an interesting run. Since almost breaking my ankle in my Nike Moto’s I knew I needed new shoes for States. Most people know I think most road shoes work fine for trails. But since Nike F^&% up the Pegasus I’ve been unable to find as versatile a shoe for trail and road.

I decided I needed to go back to some trail shoes for WS100. The shoe on most trail runner’s lips and feet is the Brooks Cascadia. So I bought a pair and did a short 10 miler on the bike trail shoulder to break them in. This run would be the first test. I’ll admit I was worried; I usually like more cushioning in a shoe, but people seem to rave about them.

The Run

I don’t know what it was, I was a bit tired, but I did some goofy stuff Friday. For example, on the trip to Michigan Bluff I was slaughtering words like “masochist”. Just so it’s clear I was talking about the new Montrail shoe.

I forgot my Garmin so I had no idea how far or how long I’d be out running. Not to mention no HR monitor, (I’m such a geek).

Knowing how long this run would be I didn’t factor the time needed to run and get home for a dinner with my mom that evening.

For the run I brought my Gregory pack and one hand held. I hate packs but I was unaware of the other water sources beside the Pump. Once we hit El Dorado Creek I hid my bottle like I had done on my last trip out to the Canyons. OOPPSSS I was running farther this trip and most of the calories I brought were drink mixes, uh oh.

Not to worry I brought a lot of extra gel. Even better I brought the brand new plain Powerbar gels I had just bought Tuesday, (my new favorite). I figured worse case scenario I’d resort to bumming some food, yeah I was going to be THAT guy.

So as I grab gels for the climb to Last Chance I notice an uncharacteristic clump in the gel packet. As anyone who uses gels knows with temps in the high 80’s the gel should be like warm runny snot, no clumps. This sucker and all the rest had clumps, not good.

Being the detective I am, (I really am). I checked the expiration date on the packet, the words Sept 08 stared back at me, and the hits just keep on coming, oh yeah I’m THAT guy.

So of course I start a sweet bonk on the ascent out of El Dorado Creek. I was actually ok with this since I was surprised I didn’t bonk earlier in the run. Matt Keyes gets the MVP so giving me the sweetest, coldest Pepsi EVER at Michigan Bluff.

So bonk ended I bummed a ride with Karalee back to Auburn since I would not have made dinner with my mom. Karalee told me we did 25 miles, can’t complain about 25 miles in the WS100 Canyons. The guys kept going and did 30+ miles.


Ok the Cascadia’s, great low profile shoe made for trail running. The fit for me was off, I bought them too big. If I had the right size I think the fit would be great. But the overall and forefoot cushioning is not good enough for me. I’ 6’3” 183lbs and I tend to need more cushioning for long runs and downhill’s, so the Cascadia’s are going back.

Next up on the shoe front the shoes which worked in 2007, the Asics Trail Attack. I’m also going to try the Montrail Mountain Masochist, (there’s that word again).


So for this run I learned when I decide to do goofy stuff I do it in spades.

Including my goofs this was a great run with really great people. Life is always busy, but days like this on the trail remind me just how sweet life is, goofs and all.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

WS Canyon Training Run

I was invited to run yesterday with some very cool people in the Canyons on the States course. It was an interesting day, (read I did some weird stuff). More on that and the run later. Here are some pic's.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Looking back to 2007 WS100

I've been on call this week and have already had two call-outs. So far this weeks mileage is like last weeks, BAD! Looks like the next three days will be huge.

I was drifting a bit at my desk so I looked in the old My Documents files to see what I had forgotten in there.

The first photo shows you how you should looks at Michigan Bluff, HAPPY! The remaining photos represent what you look like at the finish of States when you don't eat enough or run very smart from then on.


Monday, April 27, 2009


So this week was a little crazy, and I don’t mean running wise. My wife Lily was away for the week on her 40th birthday trip to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. The solo daddy thing was hard, but fun. At the start of the week my 5yr old daughter told me she would go easy on me. The catch was that she required an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen later in the week.

The run I was looking forward to the most was yesterday, (Sunday). I ran with my friend Rob Evans of Team Fleet Feet Fair Oaks/ and Prudence L'Heureux. Prudence also had her adorable collie Sophie with her. Sophie was the fastest of us all on the trail. Prudence and Rob are both long time trail runners with a lot of experience. Prudence won Where’s Waldo 100K last year. Since I had to bail on Waldo last year after entering I pulled her ear as we ran about the course. I hope to return to Waldo next year.

The plan was to run Foresthill to the Rucky Chucky crossing, sometimes called the Call Loop. Rob stated it would be an “easy” run, I felt the run would not fall into my definition of an easy long run. But with the week being low on mileage I was looking for some quality running.

So two miles in I had my first close call with an injury this year. I rolled my right ankle really bad on a descent. I heard a pop sound, which scared the crap out of me. Amazingly there was no pain and I was able to put weight on it right away. I walked it off and soon got to running again with no real pain. I think the pop sound was my tight ankle losing up. When my body parts are tight the joints pop a little as I get warmed up.

So we proceed to bomb down the canyon. Rob shouts that we are not walking anything today. Now if you have run the Cal loop you know there are a few short steeps that can hurt. Regardless I walked the first up, but the rest of the day we ran everything. We end up making the river in 2:13, if the GPS was right it was 16 miles. Now if I could only run that fast at States. Prudence put the screws to us once we hit the river road. I was becoming worried I was going to pop, but thankfully the river crossing appeared to save me.

I was able to finish the run strong and run out of the river back to the car at the top of Driver Flat Rd. I’m happy with how the body held up. Besides the ankle I’m not sore today. It appears the tempo/quality running is paying off.

Once home I had some swelling to the right side of the ankle but no real pain. I’ve started icing and taking Vitamin I for it and I think I’ll be OK.

So what caused this and why am I not descending like I used to on trails. I think it’s the road shoes. My Moto’s are just too high off the ground which makes my foot slip too much. So I’ll be buying a pair of Asics Trail Attacks today to get them broken in for the weekend. I have used them before and trust them.

I had been contemplating this for a while, but this run showed me I need to make the change. The Moto’s work great on mellow trails, like the AR50 trail. But when it comes to rockier trails and downhill running you’re going to suffer, or hurt yourself.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Canyon run and other Misc. babble

So I had my first training run on the Western States course since last Fall. It was a great day on the course for running. I was able to hook up with the very talented Jon Olsen and friends, John and Hoa for a solid run. The guys went to Last Chance and the base of the Thumb.

I had planned to go to the base of the Thumb, but cut the run short as I descended the Thumb to get home. I sent my wife to Playa Del Carmen Mexico for a week for her 40th birthday. She was leaving a day earlier than planned so I wanted to see her before she left later that night.

Besides a solid training run which told me where I was in my training, I got to see a lot of peeps I hadn’t seen in a while. I also met some new people, which is always nice, (HELLO TO EVERYONE!).

Top of the list of runners out on the trail that day was Kelly Ridgeway. Kelly is an all around cool person and outstanding runner. You can find her blog in my favorites. Kelly did the Costal Challenge this year which should tell you how bad ass she is.


First thing learned, Jon Olsen and friends are super nice guys, and they are very fast. I need to train with those cats more often.

Second, this was the first warm/hot run I have done this year. I think I need to find a way to intake more carbs. Food intake is always an issue with me, but I was drinking a ton of CLIP2 and other food during the run. I noticed near the end I had the energy to run, but I was a little zapped. It could have been the heat but CLIP2 has more protein than carbs.

The body held up better than ever, I never red-lined even as I ran/hiked the canyons. I checked my SportTracks log and found it was my fastest ever in the Canyons.

Shoes: My Nike Moto’s did fine as usual. I did notice my feet were taking more abuse than usual. The shoes I was wearing were old, but I have noticed it before on the gnarly trails. Looks like I’ll have to find some trail shoes for The Big Dance in June to be safe. I’ve eyeballed the Cascadia for a long time so maybe it’s time to check it out. I used the Asics Trail Attack in 2007, they just re-did them and they look nice.

This training week I completed 70 miles. The core workouts were a solid tempo 12 miler, 7 miles at ½ marathon pace. The Canyon run (map said 30, GPS said 28) and the 15 miler I did the following day. So far the consistent 60+ miles weeks have worked well. I’m happy to have the mileage and be injury free. The goal for the next few weeks will be to continue this mileage with good quality runs to see what shakes out.

Also if you like to read blogs check out Craig Thornley, Andy Jones Wilkins blogs, they have been writing some good stuff lately.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Change of Plans

I had earlier posted my intention to do the Bishop High Sierra 50 mile in May. Now due to events I did not take into consideration (like what happened with my Miwok entry) I will now do the Silver State 50 mile. I look forward to trying myself out on a difficult course I have not run before. It's supposed to be the best training around for the Big Dance.


Monday, April 6, 2009

AR50 Pictures

I just got these pictures forwarded to me from a friend. They were taken at Beals point. I like the disembodied hand (my wife) handing me a PBJ slice.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

American River 50 Mile

First off I had a blast at this race, one of the better events I have done in a long time. I think Julie Fingar did a great job.

I wanted to “train through” the race for my ongoing prep for the big show in June. Consistent 65ish miles weeks since before Way to Cool with two thirty milers was starting to drag on me. The snap was gone from the legs and mind since last weekend.

I read through my training bible for guidance. I read over some of the articles which state some times you have to just listen to your body. So this week I did one 10 miler on Tuesday to shake the cobwebs out, followed by 2 miles on Friday. I find no running at all the day before a race leaves me feeling funky on race morning. 2-3 miles easy with stride outs really seems to help me. All other days were off with just stretching and my strength routine.
Race morning

Everything went well, bathroom break, food etc. I had slept a lot the past week and it helped.
I hooked up after the gun and ran with some friends from the area which was a great way to let the race unfold slowly. We were all looking to run approximately the same time so we helped each other to stay true to the pace this early in the race.

I hit all my predicted checkpoint times for a 7:30ish finish except for Rattlesnake Bar.

Planned time:

Nimbus: 2:35ish
Beals Point: 3:45
Rattlesnake: 5:45

Race Time:
Nimbus: 2:31
Beals Point: 3:34
Ratttlesnake: 6:00

The biggest problem of the day was a sloshy tummy which came on at Twin Rocks. It made me go off drinking for approximately an hour or more. This was my 1st experience with this phenomenon; I have to say I don’t like it. Once I began to process again I got back into gear. But I was now down big time on my water as well as salt and food. I felt a little twitch at Horseshoe Bar which told me to watch myself.

I picked a few people off here and there from Horseshoe Bar to just past Rattlesnake Bar. I ran with my mantra of “run your own race” going on in my head to keep me from going crazy near the end. I caught Scott Dunlap of trail running blog fame just before Rattlesnake Bar. He had taken a tumble and was hurting a bit, which was worrisome to me. I spoke to him after the race and he said he was feeling better.

The rest of the race went as I wanted except for a little walking after Last Gasp. After training on the hill these past months I decided I wanted to run from Last Gasp on in the race. The leg twitches had me walking a few times, but I ran 90% of the hill.

The finish was a blast hanging out at the Fleet Feet Fair Oaks/Roseville tents. I was able to see some faces I hadn’t seen in a while and hang out in the beautiful weather.

Congrats to all that raced.

Things Learned:

I ate more than ever at a race and it helped. I think I mistakenly ate too much PBJ which kind of backed up in my tummy for a while. I think I ate 3+ whole sandwiches by Beals, in addition to the gels I was taking in. I think I know to eat more in races now, just not so much that I pay for it.

I drank straight water and one bottle of Amino Vital. This worked better than the sport drinks I usually carry which seem too sweet to me in races. The Amino Vital worked well and I will continue to use it, it is much less sweet than other drinks I have used.

Now that I’m done with AR50 its time to concentrate on taking the training up a notch until Bishop High Sierra 50 mile. Bishop will be the big test of fitness going into June. The plan until then is consistent training with a healthy dose of uphills/downhills and quality running. I’m looking forward to visiting the WS course soon.


Thursday, April 2, 2009


After Way to Cool 50K I learned some valuable lessons about my running. This is funny because you would think after 5 years of running ultras I’d know this by now. I chock it up to the fact that I finally got serious this year about all aspects of my training.

It goes something like this: I need to EAT AND DRINK MORE IN A RACE.

The week after Way to Cool I went right back into my training cycle, (it’s all about June baby). I went a little slower and no quality on Tuesday, but I was putting in the miles. I felt good; the recovery routine I’ve developed seemed to be doing the trick.

The Saturday after Way to Cool I did the annual American River 50 mile training run. The run is on the last 31 miles of the AR50 course. I always like doing this run because it’s a nice way to do a point to point long run with aid along the way.

My plan was to run slow with a friend of mine and then kick it up for the last 20 or so. I ran 10 miles with my friend and just past Beals I kicked it up a notch. The main goal was to run fast but concentrate on my eating and drinking.

Well I ate more than at Way to Cool and I felt better than ever. Even so I had a little bit of cramping, but I ran the entire last 2+mile hill which is unusual for me after 20+ miles.

So for AR50 I have consulted the training log and various texts and made out a food and drink plan. I used a friends Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Excel spreadsheet as a template. I’m unsure if I will bring the sheet with me to the race. I have been committing the plan to memory.

In a nutshell I need to be taking in appox 200-300cals an hour. Electrolyte intake and water is harder to peg but I will be drinking approx a bottle an hour of water in addition to my drink mixes. Salt tab use will be more closely monitored and correctly used. This will work better than my normal routine of “hey I’ll take on now, that’s good”.

Also I've been testing out an Amino Vital drink, Link:
So far I like what it does, more on that after AR50.

Now for the fun stuff, what am I going to run at AR50. I’ll be honest from my training I think I’m capable of running a 7:30. I think if I use my head better a 7:40ish will happen. So my plan is the following:

#1 Race smart have fun and continue the training process
#2 Don’t injure myself
#3 Better my previous best times, (anything under 8hrs and I’m happy)
#4 Run 7:30, (faster would also be ok)

I worked out a 7:30 to break down like this roughly:

Nimbus: 2:35ish
Beals Point 3:45ish
Rattlesnake 5:45

I’ll be honest I’m a little nervous about trying to race this thing for a 7:30. I don’t have a great track record for racing smart. Regardless I’m itching to do some running and hurting and to test myself like at Way to Cool.

After this April is all about the WS trail and Canyons WOO HOO!!!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Way to Cool 50K Race Report

So my pre-race prediction for Way to Cool was 4:30 or faster. I thought 4:40 was a lock. Even though I just started to add quality/tempo workouts into my running I felt it was possible. My finish time was 4:52, here‘s how it went down.

The start was its typical this is a 10K not a 50K race start, I went a little fast (7:00 opening mile) but it could have been worse. I clocked a 54:30 at Hwy 49 feeling great. At this time I was in the company of Tim Twietmyer and Prudence L'Heureux. Knowing both are very capable trail racers I figured the smart play would be to hang of them if the body continued to hold up. I know the smart play with Cool is to hold something in reserve for the return trip. Lots of time can be made up between ALT2 and the start of Goat Hill if you can run it well.

Browns Bar to ALT1 I felt good and just stayed relaxed and didn’t look at the watch. I inched a few minutes ahead of Twietmyer and Prudence, but not by trying. At ALT1 I fueled up and started to walk up the climb eating and drinking. It was here I had a twitch in my quads that didn’t feel like a salt or water issue I was slamming both also. It was more like” you don’t have the training to bomb the trails like you are regardless of how you feel jack hole; your muscles aren’t trained for it”. (Really that what I heard in my head.)

So I relaxed and tried to chill somewhat. At the base of Ball Bearing I felt tight and soon after I got an inside quad cramp. Tweitmyer and Prudence came by soon after as we climbed Ball Bearing as did a few others. I stopped once to shake it out and stretch, which helped.
Undaunted I keep going, I kept reminding myself I was running this race better than ever before and besides a cramp I was feeling as if I was out on a hilly long run.

ALT2 to the base of Goat Hill I had on and off twitches. I stopped a few times to stop a lock-up, but otherwise I was running, my energy level was good. Stopping sucked but it stopped me from ever locking up.

The climb to Goat Hill aid station actually let my legs chill out. I ran the rest of the way from the Goat Hill aid station to the finish. It was weird, I knew before Goat Hill I was off pace for a 4:30-4:40 but I was ok with it. I was having a great run that would greatly help my training and teach me a few things, I was happy at that. So I just kept the pace even and ran it in.

Now the details:

Shoes: My Air Max Moto’s were great. They continue to be a great shoe for me, no issues at all.

Vespa: Yes I’ve been trying the wasp snot. I’ve always had issues with eating enough in races. I have tested it in training on one run it seemed to work well, I didn’t have to eat that much. On another it was crap, I had this horrible empty stomach feeling that wouldn‘t go away. I learned I still need a gel an hour to keep stomach issue away. It also seems like I go an hour or so before I need to start fueling. Otherwise I ran and finished Cool with the best energy I’ve had in a race since WS100.

I used 2 gels 10mins before the start (I always do that). During the race I used 5 gels, 2 20oz of Cytomax, and water. I would usually bonk with only this much food.

Review: So what did I learn from Way to Cool? The base has paid off, now it’s time for the fun stuff, hill repeats, canyons, tempo, etc. I also think I will be able (and need to) to continue to increase my weekly mileage. This week with Cool was 65 miles. I did five miles today without much discomfort after an hour bike ride with my daughter.

I might be one of those guys that needs a lot more salt than others. I took only four salt tabs in the race. If the cramps were a salt issue I need to take more even when it’s not that hot. I’m going to ask around and read more on this.

My recovery routine seems to be working still, it goes like this: Within the first 30mins, Cytosport recovery drink. Once home, ice bath and put on the compression socks. Water and sport drink as needed. Later or on the way home a Carl’s Jr Western Bacon Cheeseburger, with fries of course. Massage by the wife the next day, (she was the therapist working at the race).

Now I do all of the above after all my long runs, except the burger, that is only after races.

It felt great to race, I'm ready for more, next up AR50, prediction coming soon.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Race Changes and my first race of the year

As I mentioned before I need to replace Miwok since I'm not doing it now. The replacement was either Silver State 50 or Bishop High Sierra 50 mile. Bishop 50 won out, here is why.

My goal for the year is Western States 100. What do I need my prep races to have to train myself to be ready, distance, hills, heat, altitude, (among other things).

Bishop has all of this, and I have DNF'd at the race so I'm more motivated for Bishop, over Silver States.

I know from talking to others that Silver State is hard, I'm not saying it's easier. But my personal opinion is Bishop is a little harder for me due to my history at the race.

I also know altitude can mess with my running. Bishop goes higher up and I'm pretty sure it has more gain, 11,000ft from what I read somewhere.

The second change is that instead of the Auburn 50K for my last long run/race I'm going to do the Diablo 50K. How I missed this race before I'll never know. I thought it was just in March and April. I know from running and hiking that pile of dirt that it's all good training at Diablo.

And finally, my first race of the year is here, the venerable Way to Cool 50K.

I'm keyed up and want to race. I haven't done much quality running yet so it will be interesting to see how I hold up. Normally people run WTC as as training as they prep for WS100. Been there done that in 2007. I'm not knocking the idea but I'm itching too much to go hurt a bit and test my fitness. So I'll throw myself out on a limb and post my goal for the race.

Regardless of the new accurate course distance I think I'm capable of and would like to run 4:30 or faster. We shall see....


Monday, March 9, 2009

New Title Photo

My new header photo is from my 2007 Western States 100. I like it a lot, I figured it would motivate me to be better with certain parts of my training, (**read, stop eating bad food**). If you have run States you know this spot.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Body Testing

So I had my second of thee planned HR/Lactate tests on Friday from the good people at UC Davis Sports Medicine, UCD.

This time around I only did the lactate test, no VO2. I was very pleased with the improvement the test showed in my fitness. For only doing base aerobic running they liked the improvement I showed form December. I was not so happy with the body fat measurement, (I don’t want to talk about it). My weight was OK, but it’s been fluctuating, (184-188lbs). I‘m always hungry so I‘ve made some bad choices the past few weeks, that is changing.

Based on the test my HR values are as follows:

Recovery: 148
Long endurance: 140-159
Medium endurance 166-178
Threshold: 183-189
Lactic: above 189

I bleed like crazy when they prick my ear for the test, it’s weird.

My last test will be the first or second week of June, after the memorial training camp.

I am anxious to start the next cycle of training after this past week off as a recovery week. I’ve been doing 60mpw with no issues. Base phase is over; I will now start injecting regular quality workouts into my training. I can almost feel the Stagecoach trail repeats now.
My first big workout of the next training cycle will be the Way to Cool 50K. I plan to race smart, but I definitely want to improve over the past two times I have run this race.

Training Goals for the next cycle:

Continue to be injury free
Continue to improve body strength and flexibility
Bump up the long run distance
Continue to build weekly mileage

I had my first big change to training come up last week. I can’t do Miwok 100K now. Long story short I finally get to join a cabin co-op I’ve wanted to join for 10yrs. The cabin is at Echo Lakes off of Hwy 50. It will be a great base for adventures into the Sierra’s.

I’m looking at Silver State 50mile or Bishop High Sierra as a replacement. I have unfinished business at Bishop 50, and I love the area. Silver State is closer and I’ve never done it, I hear it‘s a killer. I plan to decide soon so I make sure to get my entry.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I really enjoy photography as another hobby. I'm still learning, but it's fun. Here are some photos I took at my mother-in-laws recent wedding. More can be seen here,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Ok I really like these photos from Jed Smith 50 and I wanted to try out post photos so here are a few. Doing taxes can wait.


Bad Week

So I had my first BAD day of training. I had a HORRIBLE week at work and home, nothing was going right and I felt stiff and my back was jacked up, (You know the type of week I’m talking about).

So I go for a 25miler on Saturday by myself to go my own way. WOW 4 miles in and I turn around. HR was elevated, legs were crap, and my back felt like my shoulders were in my neck.
I went home depressed; I looked into my training binder for help. I did what worked in the off season for my back, Vitamin I, massage, and stretching.

Flash forward to Sunday, I met my Sunday running partner Jim for our normal 12ish mile run at Lake Natomas. Jim’s had Achilles issues so we took it way slow. I felt OK, but things felt off still.
At the end of 13miles easy I was felling froggy and loose. As we got back to the cars I decided to go back out for a few more, even though it was pissing rain. So what happened, I felt great and rain at a great pace to finish the day with 26miles. Mission accomplished, the week was salvaged at 61 miles total.

I don’t know what was up, but I’m glad it went away. Next up, Hazel hill repeats Tuesday after work, my first red-line workout of the year.

Also, I have ton of photos to post, but I shot RAW. Even saving to JPG the files are huge and I’m still learning to compress for web, pictures should be coming soon.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Training thus far

Training review

So far my training has been going good. Upon review I have changed a few things:

#1 I’ve cut out the races I had planned this month. My first race of the year will be March 7th, a trail 10K. I think racing would have detracted from my fitness building plans.

#2 Quality runs, so far I’ve only done some marathon pace tempo runs, no LT runs or harder running. The results have been good and I’m feeling great. So I’ll start more quality next week, but only one workout a week for now. The workout of course will be hill repeats at Hazel Bluff (ugh).

In training I’ve been good about keeping all my runs where they need to be. I’ve been moving up my mileage which was the goal of this phase of training. I’m happy and healthy at 55-60mpw this early in the year and hope to be able to up it to more later.

I look forward to my next physiological test, (VO2/body fat) at UCD in 2 weeks to see how I’ve progressed since December 22nd when I officially started training for this year.


AB's new shoes

Nike Air Max Moto 6

I recently changed shoes to the Air Max Moto 6 after Nike did something to the new Pegasus that did not agree with me. I also learned something about myself and running shoes along the way.

I’m what would be considered a large runner, 6’-2’ (closer to 3”). I average 190lbs in the off season with a summer weight of 185, (I’m working on this number for 2009). I’m a neutral runner, efficient runner with an average arch. Before my switch to the Moto I ran in a variety of shoes, but mostly I ran in the Pegasus.

Since my switch to the Moto I have noticed a marked reduction in leg fatigue. I have noticed this with my overall weekly training and especially after pace runs. I have yet to put in any hard runs with the shoes; I’m still base phase running, I’ve only done some limited marathon pace running. I have a appox 200 miles on my first pair.

My opinion is the extra cushioning is better supporting my size, which is enabling me to run more comfortably. This is just my observation based on running in them; I have no science to back it up.

I have run the Moto’s on area trails without issue, (sections of the Western States 100 trail, and the Pioneer Express Trail). They hooked up just fine on dry and wet trail. I did slip a few times in really muddy stuff, dodging deep puddles etc.

So if you’re a taller/heavier runner and looking for a new general training shoe I would highly recommend the Moto.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Gear

Here is a list of the gear I use consitantly in training, some are new like the compression socks, but I like them:

#1 Garmin 305, I love this thing more than I thought. It makes logging/analyzing my training so easy.
#2 Sport Tracks, training software, this program is great, check it out,

#3 Nike Air Max Moto’s

#4 Cytomax and Cytomax Recovery, mmmm yummy

#5 2XU Compression socks, something new but I like them after long runs or hard efforts, I use these:

#6 Nathan products waist pack, I don’t even know it’s there. It holds a ton and the mesh is nice, there is now a larger version, here is the one I have:

#7 Smartwool products, socks, beanies, you name it this stuff rocks!

A Shoe Tale

Running shoes, start talking about shoes in certain groups and it’s like discussing politics or religion at a family dinner, bad news.

I’ve run in a lot of shoes, road, trail, XC, spikes, you name it. Currently I’m a “trail” runner, but here is the rub, I run in road shoes. I have used and like trail shoes, but unless it nasty nasty trail I don’t see the need for another pair.

A little history of my feet, I’m pretty blessed I don’t get blisters and black toenails with any regularity except at the occasional 50-100 mile run. Since returning to running from about 8yrs off I’ve found out I’m a neutral runner, I never knew.

Back in the day I ran in the Asics Tiger Jayhawk, and various Nikes. Later when the first Nike Waffle Racer came out I had multiple day-glow pairs and ran everything in them. Back then we would do 10 milers or more in these shoes without socks, ah the old days.

So when I again took up running I went with Nike and Asics. I was faithfully running in the Asics Nimbus until they changed the midsole to something which felt like a slab of rock, I think they called it Solyte.

Eventually I settled onto the Pegasus. I had a brief affair with the Vomero, but it’s too soft, (I know your thinking too soft, but yeah they are). During this time I also ran in all sorts of “trail” shoes but they were either as heavy as my hiking boots, or didn’t last long.
That aside I recently had another chapter added to my shoe history, I changed shoes again, but only because Nike made me, jut like Asics did.

As usual the new Peg’s came out recently and needing new shoes I bought them without issue to begin rotating them in. I run two sets of shoes at a time so my shoes are always fresh. I first noticed how stiff they were; ok walk around in them for a few days to break them in, not unheard of. After a week wondering why my legs hurt I knew something was up.
I checked the forums shoes section. I found others posting similar complaints. Not wanting to risk my training or an injury I went searching for a new shoe.
I went with a shoe I had tried years back without complaint, (why did I ever change?), the Air Max Moto. Right out of the box 7 miles on the road, no issues. I followed it up with a 20miles on trails today, absolutely beautiful.

So for those interested in the shoe here’s my no-tech personal review. The shoe is beefy compared to a Peg, I don’t check weights but it does feel heavier than a Peg. It has the Max Air heel unit, versus the Zoom Air.

The shoe is flexible and hooked up just fine on the mellow single track near my home. If you have run the American River 50 mile, I ran Rattlesnake Bar to Auburn Overlook and back.
So if you’re looking for a great all around training shoe and you’re a neutral runner check them out.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Ok, so I started my 2009 WS100 training on December 22nd. I’ve put together a personal training program based on 1.) What I know works for me and what I can fit into my life, 2.) What will improve my fitness, and 3.) What will hopefully make me a better runner. I also took some outline ideas from:
I took a long lay off after my DISASTER at Rio Del Lago 100, (long story, suffice to say I DNF’D). During that time my #1 goal to determine what the cause was of my long time battle with left leg IT band pain, and rest before the coming year to be fresh.
During this off time I did a lot of cross training. I found my back (and body in general) is a lot more tight than I had thought. Since becoming more attentive to strength and stretching I’ve not had issue with my IT band. I have also re-discovered how much more fun it is to run without pain or the fear of something blowing out on me on a run.
So far my training has been pretty straight forward, run consistently, keep it mellow, and move up the mileage a little every week. Also, eat right (I‘m still a little overweight), and do my yoga/stretching/strength work.
So what’s to come in the next training cycle? Hill repeats, SWEET!!, the workout I really love to do. Hill repeats are just PAINFUL; there is no getting around it. I’ve had some great “runner’s highs” in training, but hill repeats let me peal back my soul sometimes and look inside. My favorite places to do hill repeats are: the Hazel Ave Bluff Overlook (multiple hills to choose from), Stagecoach Trail in Auburn, and of course the WS100 Canyons.
I also will be racing the first Total Body Fitness (TBF) six mile trail race of the year at Granite Bay, Folsom Lake. If this race is like the three I did last year, OUCH!, the opening mile is like running a 5K in High School, you always got out too fast.

Friday, January 23, 2009

First Post

Ok, so I don’t quite know how to start this Blog thing out.
I figure the best way to start would be to state what this Blog is about.. It’s a way for me to share my running exploits with others as I train for Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, my second running.

I do mostly trail/ultra running, since I started Ultras approximately 5 years ago I have found there is a LOT of different ways to train for what you want to do in Ultra’s. I thought I would add to the mix by posting what I do in training to maybe help others who have questions or who are looking to change something about their running. I also want to share some of my other passions like photography.