The legs feed the wolf.

The legs feed the wolf.

Friday, November 21, 2014

SEHRC Trucker Hats - super cheap

Our very own trucker hat wearing Greg Fall came up with the design concept for the trucker hat pictured below.  The red line represents Double Peak, Frank's Peak and Mt. Whitney.  It also calls to mind a heartbeat.  The BykViking added the white striping and I suggested the Blade Runner font.  All in all, a nice team design effort.

Though a connection at Otto, a large manufacturer of headwear, the club is able to get the hats at wholesale prices.  The hats are good quality and will be a cotton twill polyester blend, which helps the hats from fading in the sun.

We are going to have a local screen printing shop heat press on the design.  We are still working on exact pricing, but the hats will probably be priced at $6.00. We plan on ordering the hats on Monday, 11/24/12, so if you want one, let us know.

Keep on trucking!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sugar water, one night stands and Ottinger running to plan

Last night, seeing that only two runners would be joining me for the Sunday SEHRC group run, I was a bit disappointed.   Growing a running club has its up and downs.  Last week we had ten runners, plus the club secured sponsorship from Stumblefoot Brewery, as well as Road Runner Sports.  At the same time, about twelve club members had ordered club jerseys, not bad.

Cameraman Greg
I got over my disappointment and focused on the positive.  I'd be running with Greg and Kam, two awesome individuals who've run hundreds of miles with me. I knew it would be a good run, even if it was only three.

When I met the pair at Questhaven, we all said how tired we were.  Greg had run 17 miles the day before, Kam had done a tough track workout and I'd done 10 x 400m.  We all wanted to run slow and we did, putting in 12.7 miles, with 2,000' of gain at the fairly pedestrian pace of 10:10 a mile for a total time around 2:10.

The run was like an intimate dinner party.  We stayed together the entire time and chatted about running, training and life.  Early on we spoke about diet and In-N-Out came up.  Rather than call the soda at In-N-Out "soda", Kam referred to it as "sugar-water."  It's a good way of looking at it, because that's what it is. When I call a Coke, "sugar-water", I have less of a desire to drink it.  It reminds me of that scene in Men In Black:
Edgar: Give me... sugar... in water. 
That doesn't sound too appetizing, does it?  Kam then talked about the burgers. He likes them.  He eats them.  But then afterwards he feels remorse, like he just had a one night stand he regrets.  "What was I thinking?"  The three of us are relatively young runners, Kam has been at it 4 years, me almost three and Greg not even a year.  It's funny as we progress as runners, even though we could eat anything, we have become more concerned with our diet, not less.  One word, "avocado."

As the run continued, we got to speaking about Greg Ottinger.  A few weeks ago, Greg and I ran with Ottinger, with Ottinger going for 37 miles and Greg 31.  I bowed out at around 13.  During that run Ottinger spoke of the upcoming Chimera 100 miler.  Ottinger told us the race was all about eating and hydrating right for the first 80 miles, yeah just the first 80!  After that, if he felt good, he would open it up.

Ottinger ran to plan.  He stayed back early, letting 60 or so runners pass him.  He bided his time and ate his food.  Then like a great fishermen, he simply reeled them all in, passing 60 people to finish 4th overall.  It's a hard thing to let 60 people pass you, but for Ottinger it was the right thing.  Way to go!  

From Elfin Forest, looking at Double Peak, Frank's Peak & Mt. Whitney - does it get any better?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Letting things evolve at their own pace

On November 5, 2014, the South Coast League middle school cross-country finals for both the North and South divisions were held at Marantha Christian in San Diego.  The course was 1.5 miles and consisted of track, grass, pavement and dirt, with a bit of elevation change.

Zach did well, running the course in 8:40, which is a mile pace of 5:46.  (Time subject to confirmation.)  Zach finished fifth, set a new PR and helped his team win the boys' final.  Zach also got to meet Jim Ryun who was the first high school athlete to run under four minutes in the mile and won a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics in the 1500m.

Jim Ryun and Zach
It's been a good season of cross-country for Zach, as he's finished second or third each race and continued to set PRs.  Along the way, he's learned a few valuable lessons.  At one meet, the course was not marked properly, setting back the schedule by 30 minutes.  Zach, who didn't have water with him, ended up running the race with a dry throat.  Lessons learned: have water and crap happens.

Yesterday he played soccer at school prior to the meet.  He ran well and set a PR, but he realized afterwards this was not a good idea.  Lesson learned: rest on race day.

Although Zach and I ran a bit together this summer, I've left him alone for the fall.  Between soccer and cross-country, Zach was running 6-7 times a week.  I saw no need to get him to run with me.  Instead, I let him do his thing and I think it worked.

For the last three years, Zach has been expected to win every race he entered by his teammates and coaches.  While he did win 75% of the time, the pressure was a bit much for him.  He began to not want to run the races.

This year has been completely different.  His cross-country team is strong and Zach was more concerned about the team winning, then individual glory.  As a result, Zach enjoyed himself, is excited about the sport and wants to run more.      

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Hare & The Tortoise: IAAF Strips the Tortoise of His Victory

Principality of Monaco - The International Association of Animal Federations ("IAAF") stripped the Tortoise of his victory over the Hare today after a months-long investigation.

We have all heard the story of the famous footrace between the The Hare & The Tortoise, which is reprinted below:
A hare was one day making fun of a tortoise for being so slow upon his feet. "Wait a bit," said the tortoise.  "I'll run a race with you, and I'll wager that I win."  "Oh, well," replied the hare, who was much amused at the idea, "let's try and see."  And it was soon agreed that the fox should set a course for them and be the judge.  When the time came both started off together, but the hare was soon so far ahead that he thought he might as well have a rest.  So down he lay and fell fast asleep.  Meanwhile the tortoise kept plodding on, and in time reached the goal.  At last the hare work up with a start and dashed on at his fastest, but only to find that the tortoise had already won the race.

Many people have long found the story unbelievable, asking "why on Earth would the Hare take a nap in the middle of the race?"  Moreover, questions have been raised about the Hare sleeping out in the open, making itself easy prey.

In the last year, rumors began to circulate that there were shenanigans involved in the running of the race.  Specifically, Alistair Barker, a Ph.D. student at the London School of Economics released a dissertation on the betting involved in the race.  Mr. Barker analyzed reams of ancient data from Dogbrokes, a British gaming company based in London, that took bets on the footrace.

Employing statistical analysis, Mr. Barker found the betting patterns to be normal, up until the last five minutes before betting closed.  At that point, Mr. Barker found millions of pounds of wagers were placed on the Tortoise and determined such bets to be an anomaly.  Conducting further research into centuries old banking records, Mr. Barker was able to determine the source of those wagers emanated solely from Asia, again an anomaly.

As a result, Mr. Barker contacted investigative journalist, I. P. Clear, at the The Times, who traveled to Hong Kong and other cities in Asia.  Mr. Clear  learned the bets were placed by the Triads, who have been linked to fixing football and cricket matches, as well as races, throughout the ages.  Mr. Clear was unable to convince any of his sources to speak on the record, so the story appeared as it was going to die.

However, the race was governed under the IAAF.  As a result, both the Hare and the Tortoise were required to give urine samples at the completion of the race.  Although, those samples were never tested, as the Tortoise won by such a wide margin, and drug controls in those days did not call for the mandatory testing of race winners.

At the urging of Messieurs Barker and Clear, the IAAF tested the urine samples of the runners.  The Tortoise was found to have traces of coca leaves in his sample, which accounts for the personal best the Tortoise was never able to duplicate in subsequent competitions.

Whereas, the Hare was found to have traces of opium in his sample.  Opium is an analgesic or painkiller and can be used as a sleep aide, which explains why the Hare inexplicably took a nap in the middle of the race.  In the parlance of today's youth, he was simply "tripping balls".

Based on these positive drug tests, the betting and bank records, as well as the Triad connection, the IAAF believes the Hare was a victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy, to which the Tortoise was a willing participant.  As a consequence, the IAAF stripped the Tortoise of his victory postreptously and awarded it the Hare.

While slow and steady wins the race, let's not be ridiculous.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Do you Strava?

When I meet new runners, in an effort to get them to join SEHRC, I ask if they're on Strava.  The typical response is, "Huh?  What's Strava?"

Strava uses GPS (Global Positioning System) data from satellites to track athletic pursuits.  The data is recorded via GPS watch or smartphone and then uploaded to Strava.

 Strava was originally used by cyclists and has since expanded to running and other sports, like swimming.  As Strava evolves, I imagine it will become a social media website for athletes, that tracks not only times and mileage, but food, heart rate, sleep patterns and anything else that can be measured and quantified that relates to a person's health.

Strava has a number of components that are appealing to me as a runner and running club founder.  From a runner's perspective, Strava helps me tie my shoelaces and go out the door.  With Strava, I can track what my friends, as well as professionals, are doing.  It helps me connect with people, as I can comment on their runs and give kudos.  I can also observe other people's training methods and then see how they do in races.

Additionally, Strava has a weekly club leaderboard that tracks total mileage, total elevation gain and total time spent running, which is updated as people upload their runs and is reset every week.  Once you belong to a club of a decent size, it feels good to end up on the week's final leaderboard, which only lists the top three in each category.  During the week, all runners are listed.

The other cool thing about Strava are the crowns or CRs (course records).  People can create run segments.  Then, as people run them, Strava tracks the runs and records and ranks the fastest efforts.  Chasing crowns can be a dangerous thing, as many a neophyte to Strava has been more concerned with course records, then proper training.  However, like anything new, once a runner becomes accustomed to Strava, the desire to nab CRs ebbs.  Instead, a runner can look at their past efforts on segments to gauge their fitness and see if they're improving.

From a club founder's perspective, Strava allows me to easily have a running club online.  Runners can find SEHRC on Strava and join if they want.  I can also invite people to join.  Strava automatically compiles all emails for club members, so I don't have to track them.  (I don't even know what they are.)  I can send posts to members and set-up group runs.  I can also make others "Admins" and they can also set up group runs.  Members can start discussions.    

What's really neat is that for upcoming runs, members can RSVP.  This is cool for races, so everyone can see whose running what.

So the next time some random guy asks you, "are you on Strava," hopefully the answer is, "yes".

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shirt Orders Being Taken

Dear SEHRC members,

The shirt design has been finalized.  Please thank the Bykviking (Erik) for designing the shirts and securing a 40% discount.  

There are two options: (1) tank tops and (2) tech tees, each costs $30.  These shirts would normally cost at least $50.

The deadline to ORDER and PAY is November 12, 2014.

Payment may be made to either John Fraher via cash/check or via Paypal to Erik, Paypal name:  If you wish to send me a check via mail, my address is 1053 Brightwood Drive, San Marcos, CA 92078.

Please send all order/sizing information and questions to

The delivery date will be 12/19 or sooner.

I will have sample sizes on the group run on Sunday, otherwise we are setting up a group meeting (TBD) to try on sizes and hopefully, drink beer.

Don't be shy about ordering one of each.

Tank Top - $30

Tech Tees - $30

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Club shirts - like a kid at x-mas

I am a child at heart.  Sometimes when I put my big boys pants on I forget that.

[Allen Gamble: Do you wake up in the mornin' and say, "I'm puttin on my big boy pants. Look, I'm wearin' a belt. I got big boy pants on."]

One of my journeys in life is to uncover the boy that is still there, like a moon obscured by the clouds, the boy never went anywhere, it just got buried.  Well, I'm digging the boy out and like a kid at x-mas, I have to unwrap the presents a bit early.

The BykViking has spent the last week designing a club jersey at Canari Custom.  They are not quite done, but I can't wait anymore.  I'm ripping off the wrapping paper . . .    

The jerseys / tech tees will look largely like immediately below.  The only difference is that the side panels from the second set of pictures will replace the side panels in the front.

               Front                                        Back

      Side panels                                                   

When the shirts are finalized, I'll start taking orders.  Let's go barking dogs!