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