Wednesday, December 30, 2015





Men's Division
Aaron Nowlin

Women's Division
Emma Liljenback

Iron Ibex*
Greg Fall

*Completed all three stages in one day, along with 30 miles - you crazy Greg!

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Ibex Cup and thank you to all who have participated. The trophies and/or plaques are en route for the Men's and Women's Division.  (Greg, I'm skipping giving you a trophy this time.)

While we might not have had an enormous number of runners, great things start small.  Hopefully, in one form of another, the event will continue to grow.  At the same time, the purpose of the Ibex Cup was achieved -- people laced up their shoes and got after it.

The Ibex Cup shows that there is no need for organized races, as the true runners know the only race that matters is the one against themselves, e.g. can you push yourself when no one is looking?

Along the way, I learned a few lessons.  GPS watches can be a bit fickle.  I stood too close to the starting line for one of the climbs while I stretched and got an additional ten minutes added to my time.  As Erik found out, you have to run through and a good way past the finish line to ensure your "position" is picked up as past the finish line.  (Erik - you still finished ahead of me, so no whining.) The GPS might have you twenty feet behind the line, when in fact you're twenty feet past it.

Another issue is corrupted data.  Occasionally the data on my watch gets corrupted and cannot be uploaded.  That didn't happen, but it would be most unfortunate if one were to leave it all on the trail so to speak and not be able to upload the stage.

For me, it was difficult to actually motivate three weeks running (no pun intended).  Even though the last two stages were only a mile each, I had to drag myself to complete those two stages.  Perhaps it had something to do with running the 3.6 mile stage twice.  Ugh!

Finally, I took 4th place, which is all I've ever wanted in my f***ed up life . . . Semi Pro - 4th place

Monday, November 30, 2015

IBEX CUP: Preliminary & Unofficial Results




Runner                             Time                       Points

Aaron Nowlin                                                   3 (1+1+1)
Jay Randall                                                        6 (2+2+2)
Erik Dekold                                                      10 (3+4+3)
John Fraher                                                       12 (4+3+5)
Martin Liljenback                                              14  (5+5+5)


Runner                             Time                       Points

Emma Liljenback                                              4 (1+1+2)
Melissa Power                                                     5 (2+2+1)

TELESCOPE CLIMB - 11/28/15-12/4/15


Runner                             Time                       Points

Aaron Nowlin                   29:37                       1
Jay Randall                       31:00                       2
Erik Dekold                      32:12                       3
John Fraher                       32:53                       4
Martin Liljenback             34:25                       5
Jesus Garcia-Fernandez    36:25                       6 
Nick Nudell                      51:42                       7


Runner                             Time                       Points

Emma Liljenback              47:01                       1
Melissa Power                    51:42                      2

DENNING ROAD CLIMB - 12/5/15-12/11/15


Runner                             Time                       Points

Aaron Nowlin                   8:38                      1
Jay Randall                       9:12                      2
John Fraher                       9:48                      3
Erik Dekold                      9:54                      4
Martin Liljenback             10:12                    5
Jesus Garcia-Fernandez    10:32                    6


Runner                             Time                       Points

Emma Liljenback              13:21                       1
Melissa Power                    13:22                      2

POST TO PILLAR - 12/12/15-12/18/15


Runner                             Time                       Points

Aaron Nowlin                   5:59*                      1
Jay Randall                       6:13*                      2
Erik Dekold                      7:01*                      3
Martin Liljenback             7:39*                      4            
John Fraher                       9:48                        5


Runner                             Time                       Points

Melissa Power                    9:06                        1
Emma Liljenback              10:16                       2

*The above-listed time is not yet an official time, as the participant has not sent in their time and the window on this stage has not closed, rather the time was taken from Strava.  To the extent the participant does not improve their time before the window closes, the above-noted time will become the official time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Discussion on headlamps

  1. Martin Liljenback 
    I'm looking to get some rechargeable headlamp that isn't close to dying after 1h. 
  2. Erik theBykVikingErik theBykViking 
    PrincetonTec Vizz
  3. Erik theBykVikingErik theBykViking 
    Not rechargeable tho. You can order some Ayups from Australia
  4. Martin LiljenbackMartin Liljenback 
    I was looking at this one:
  5. Erik theBykVikingErik theBykViking 
    might be a tad heavy? This is highly recommended by a few famous ultra runner and adventure racer friends and it's on sale AND it matches the SEHRC colors!:
  6. Chris BryanChris Bryan 
    Petzl Tikka Rxp rechargeable is what I use. It's great,long battery life and the reactive lighting is a great feature.
  7. Martin LiljenbackMartin Liljenback 
    Yea the large one with the battery pack is probably not a good idea. I'll check out those lighter ones.
  8. Martin LiljenbackMartin Liljenback   Remove
  9. Erik theBykVikingErik theBykViking 
    Looks like an REI branded item? Probably decent.
  10. Greg OttingerGreg Ottinger 
    Petzl NAO if you run long. Battle tested. 
  11. Martin LiljenbackMartin Liljenback 
    Yea, the NAO 2 does seem like a winner, but that price though at $150+ :| ReVolt might be a bit dim, but with a >4h run length it's probably good enough (at least until you don't see that rattle snake :)
  12. Greg OttingerGreg Ottinger 
    I have the ReVolt and the Tikka Rxp as well. Go with the Tikka. The reactive lighting is really nice and saves battery life. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Ibex Cup

The inaugural running of the Ibex Cup will take place between November 28 to December 18.  The Ibex Cup will consist of one climb a week for three weeks, as follows (click on the empty rectangle to see the climb):

Telescope Climb
November 28-December 4  

Denning Road Climb
December 5-December 11  

Post to Pillar
December 12-December 18  

Selection of Climbs

The three climbs were chosen to represent distinct geographical areas of SEH, for simplicity of course, as well as to offer a variety of climbs.


Points will be awarded to runners equal to the position in which they cross the finish line (first place gets 1 point, second place gets 2 points, etc.) The maximum number of points for a segment will be capped at 10 points.  Thus, the lowest possible score is 3 points; the maximum possible score is 30 points.

The points for each climbing segment will be summed and the low score wins. In the event of a points tie, lowest combined running time will serve as the tie-break.


Runners will have one week to complete a specific climbing segment, as noted above.  Upon completion of  a climb, runners are to send a Strava link of their climbing segment to  Runs that are not submitted via Strava will not be processed.  

To send the segment, click on the run, then click "Segments" on left side of page, segments for the run will then come up, then click on the appropriate segment, it will look something like: "", then copy and paste into the email.

Runners may run any climb during the respective window as many times as they wish.  However, the first time emailed will be the recorded time. Runners have 48 hours to submit their Strava segment following the window closing.

Alternatively, the segment will be date searched via Strava and the best time of a participant will be scored - meaning just run the segment, we'll take care of the rest.


Results will be updated on the blog as segments are received and as my schedule allows.


There will be a men's and women's division.  The top finisher of each division will receive a trophy cup.  There are no age groupings. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Three Beers In

It's 9:24 p.m.  Friday night.  I'm three beers in and on to orange juice and Gatorade.  Ran into a client that I put out of harm's way this evening.  He bought me a beer for my troubles.  No trouble at all, that's my job.

Told me he's a runner.  I told him I used to run.  He asked a bit more, I gave him a bit more.  He was impressed.  Funny, I don't find myself impressive.  He wanted to run with me.  I set up a run.  Work intervened, he can't make it.  I'm running anyway.  Legs are faded.  Focus now on cycling.  Two sports are completely unrelated.  Whatever.  I'm booked for a Sunday morning of pain.

Cycling is a bringing me joy.  Reminding me of what I used to be and I used to be a crazy mofo, playing in traffic, running lights, attacking cars.  Been back on the bike for about two months.  Legs starting to come back, but nowhere like they used to be, but starting to feel the flow.

Excited.  Go to bed, wanting to get up and ride.  Boston killed me.  No desire to run.  Associate with pain.  Feel like a dog that was whipped.  Cycling makes me feel alive.  Feels like running three years ago, before running became a job.

Riding tomorrow.  Excited.  Hope it lasts.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

5,698' of gain and 24 miles

Dennis and Martin kicked off the Memorial Day weekend by running 24 miles with 5,698' of gain.  I saw them towards the end of their run at the beginning of my bike ride.  The pair were on their way to 7-11 where they actually got Gatorade, not Slurpees.  Nice effort boys.  Here are a few pictures from Dennis (official club photographer) of the ridiculously beautiful place we call home.

Amazing blue.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

ESPN Breaking News - Name Change for SEHRC

As you've probably already seen on ESPN, SERHC has changed it's name from San Elijo Hills Running Club to San Elijo Hills Running & Cycling.  Thanks to Erik the Bykviking for coming up with the simple, yet brilliant name change.  If we add another sport, things might get complicated, but we will cross that bridge with my next injury.

When I first started the club, I debated what sports it should include.  I decided to keep it just for running.  Three years later, a torn meniscus and running burn-out I find myself back on a bike.  If the running club was started for my son, the cycling club is definitely for my daughter.

From the time she first got on a bike, this girl has had no fear.  For those not in the know, the difference between a good cyclist and a great cyclist is the ability to ride without fear.  Whether bombing down a mountain side or riding with a pack of forty, a cyclist needs to put aside the fact they are on the edge of disaster.

Kat on a bike.
At the same time, I've noticed a uptick in the number of runners getting on a bike.  So why not?  Out here in San Elijo, we have an awesome network of trails, which are just  as good for the runner as well as the rider.  Looking forward to rebuilding my quads and my cycling wardrobe.  Keep it dirty.

A rabbit and a horse.

Mountain biker in retro road kit

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Marathons, menisci and MRIs

My Boston Marathon experience left me be beat and dejected.  Weather aside, how could I fall apart so completely after the best training cycle of my life?

After a few days of moping, I got the itch to go running again.  I was patient and waited ten days.  On the tenth day, I dropped a car off for service and planned to run the six miles back to my house.  The first 1.7 miles were okay, other than I felt a little slow, but hey, this was a warm-up.

At mile 1.71, I felt pain in the outside of my left knee.  Ever the optimist, I walked for a bit and then ran for about twenty seconds.  As each one of those twenty seconds passed, the pain increased until it was intolerable.  As I was still four miles from my house, I did this about twenty times, hoping the pain would work itself out.  It didn't.  I then gave up and walked the remaining four miles home.  This was not a fun experience.  Towards the end, I even felt pain while I was walking.

I called my primary care physician the next day.  I told his staff I was pretty sure I tore my left meniscus and needed a MRI.  My doctor is good about these things.  He didn't make me come in so I could tell him in person I think I tore my meniscus.  He's known me for a long time and even reads this blog on occasion.  He also knows I previously tore my left ACL and my left and right menisci. He put in for approval with my insurance carrier that day.  It takes 10-12 working days for the carrier to approve, which translates into three weeks.  I still haven't heard.  

In the meantime, hoping against hope, I waited a couple days and ran again.  The pain came on around mile one.  I waited another five days.  This time I made it for twelve minutes before the pain said, "hello".

Professional athletes have a better time of it.  Feel a tinge in your knee?  Within a day the MRI has been done, and if its a torn meniscus, the surgery is done a day later, if no swelling.

Contrast that to the general public.  Meet with primary care physician (I skipped this step), get insurance approval for MRI, make MRI appointment, have MRI done, meet with orthopedist, get approval for surgery, make appointment for surgery and have the surgery.  I'm guessing this will take a minimum of two months.

This might not seem like much, but when you're in the best shape of the last ten years of your life, it seems like an eternity.  I want to run.  I want to put a new race on the calendar and start a new training cycle, knowing I'm a smarter and stronger runner than I was six months ago.  But the knee says, "nope".

I'm also placed in the odd position of wanting my meniscus to be torn.  This would explain why I fell apart at Boston.  At the same time it adds a nice asterisk to my performance, "I ran a 3:11, but I ran the last ten miles with a torn meniscus".  

In the meantime, I've discovered I can ride a bike without pain, so I'm back on the bike.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BOSTON MARATHON 2015: A runner’s perspective


People keep telling me congratulations.  They are impressed that I finished the marathon.  For me, I’m disappointed.  I wanted to run under three hours.  Instead, I ran a 3:11.  For Boston, I had trained harder than ever in my life.  I felt at the very least I would break my PR of 3:06.
It would be easy to chalk it up to the weather, 42 degrees, 20 mph headwinds and rain.  Perhaps it was the rain, maybe it wasn’t.  Maybe I just had a bad day.  It’s hard to say.
.  .  .
I flew out Friday night.  My brother Tom picked me up at Logan and took me to his home in Andover, north of Boston.  For the next two days, I was fed and pampered.  I had hoped my early arrival would allow me to adjust to the time change.  It didn’t.  The two hour afternoon nap on Saturday probably didn’t help. 
On Saturday, before the nap, I picked up a pair of arm warmers for $4.97 at a local running store.  I thought the running gods must be smiling down on me.  I then ran easy for 20 minutes and did six strides.  My brother then drove me down to Boston and I picked up my bib and the ridiculously overpriced $110 purple Boston Marathon jacket.  Thanks B.A.A. for the price gouge. I returned to his home for a lasagna dinner, courtesy of my sister-in-law Julia.  
On Sunday morning, my brother joined me for a 30 minute easy run.  Then eggs, pancakes, potatoes, bacon, sausage and strawberries.  We then went back to Boston and had an early dinner at Bertuccis with a bunch of runners from San Diego.  After dinner, I went to my room at the Nine Zero, a hotel in downtown Boston, with a $50 rate courtesy of my brother, the general manager.  At this point, things were going too well.  Everything was perfect.  At some point, something had to go not perfect.     
Monday morning I got up.  The forecast was vacillating from rain and no rain.  I knew in my heart it would be rain.  I knew the day would be hard.  I hopped in a cab and met Jim McNevin and some others from San Diego at the Buckminster Hotel.  McNevin had arranged a limo-bus to take us to the start.  We all piled in and the spirits were high.  No rain yet.  We got dropped off in a parking lot.  We then had to board a bus that took us a few miles into Hopkinton.  On that bus, rain began to hit the windshield.
Once in Hopkinton, McNevin took all fifteen of us to a friend’s house, a ¼ mile from the start.  For the next hour or so, we hung out, ate, used the bathroom and stretched a bit.  Besides us, there was another 15 or so runners ready to brave the conditions.
I walked to the start with a woman named Jill and McNevin.  McNevin then went one way, Jill and I another.  Jill handed me a pack of espresso energy gel and went to corral eight.  I was then alone and made my way to corral seven.  
It was 9:45 a.m.  The race started at 10:00 a.m., with the elite men heading out first.  The runners around me started to take off their outer layers.  Many of them wearing goodwill specials.  I was wearing a Lick-Wilmerding track suit I got back in 1998 when I coached the boys and girls sprint teams.  (We took first that year, by the way.)  The track suit had sat untouched in my closet for the past 15 years.  I figured it was time for it to go.    
The national anthem was then sung.  At 9:55, I took off the track suit and placed it in a plastic donation bag.  No good byes to my old friend.  The gun then sounded and the runners in corrals one through eight slowly marched forward to the start line to dual with their destinies.  As we crossed the start line, our timing chips activated.
The race then began.  Spread out before me was a sea of people.  I was bib number 6104, so there was about 6,000 people in front of me.  This may not seem like a lot, but the road, for as far as I could see, was filled with people.  There was no room to pass or maneuver without much effort.
This was quite different than Carlsbad 2014.  I started that marathon in front and within a mile was almost alone.  Boston was a different animal.  Packed in, the race never really opened up, until we turned onto Boylston, which is the home stretch.  
I ran according to plan.  7:247:067:10 for the first three miles.  I was running into the race, as there was no warm-up.  Mile four: 6:44.  Things were good, but in the back of my mind, something was wrong.  Although I was trying to run slow, I felt I was running too slow.  Then it began to rain and the wind began to blow.  I was wearing a singlet, arm warmers, gloves, running shorts, ankle socks, a beanie and Hoka Cliftons.  It was not enough.  I regretted not wearing my running tights or taking Advil before the race.  In retrospect, I’m not sure it would have made any difference.
I continued to run.  My clothes slowly became soaked.  The first 13 miles I was on pace.  90 minutes.  I thought, sub-three is possible, but I knew it wasn’t.  I had tossed my gloves around mile 10.  That was a mistake as I could now no longer feel my hands.  Wet gloves would have been better than no gloves.  My quads were also numb.  I had no feeling in them.  The rain and wind had done their job.  I just could not accelerate like I wanted.  I was not tired, hungry or red-lining.  I just did not have it.  This was a miserable feeling.  Imagine taking a cold shower in your running clothes and then going running.  That was Boston 2015.
The crowds cheered, but I didn’t give a shit.  I wished they weren’t there.  I wished I was alone, so I could deal with my devastation in solitude.  Why were they cheering me? I was failing.  For the non-marathoner it seems impressive to run a marathon.  For the marathoner, it’s not about running the marathon, it’s about hitting a goal.  This was my first taste of defeat.
Carlsbad 2013, goal: finish.  I finished.  Carlsbad 2014, goal: qualify for Boston.  I qualified.   Boston 2015, goal: sub-three.  I failed.  I failed by 11 minutes.  Fuck the wind.  Fuck the rain.  I failed.  The watch does not lie. 
The last thirteen miles were an exercise in frustration.  I tried to run faster.  I could for a bit and then the legs slowed.  Around mile 17, my left knee began to ache.  This was a bit concerning, as I ripped my ACL a few years ago.  Not only was the knee aching, it felt like it was grinding.  Good times.  Worried that I was doing permanent damage to my knee is not a fun way to run a race.  But what choice did I have?  I had to keep going.
The last five miles I wanted to quit. Meanwhile, my pace kept increasing.  Sub-three was out the window.  I still had a hope of a PR, but that soon enough fell by the wayside like a crumpled green Gatorade cup.
I kept running and ran down the finishing straight.  I didn’t even enjoy that.  I was wet, cold and feeling sorry for myself.  I managed to raise my arms at the finish and walked into the receiving line.  It had been raining, now it began to pour.  First up was water and Gatorade.  I didn’t need any, I needed a blanket.  I was completely wet and shaking.  To get the blanket, I had to hobble another 300 meters, past the energy bars, protein drinks, food bags and the medal handout.  Word of advice race organizers, hand out the blankets first next time.
Once the blanket was on, I walked with similarly silver clad runners to get out of the race finish area.  While walking, I heard race officials on the public address urging us to continue walking forward.  Really?  Like we wanted to hang out in the street in driving rain, half-naked and shivering?  I felt like a character in some futuristic sci-fi movie that was being driven like a cow by aliens that had overcome the planet.
I finally exited the corral and saw my brother.  He had my clothes.  He dressed me, as my hands no longer worked.  We walked about two blocks towards a restaurant where some other runners from San Diego were going to meet.  As I limped, my knee grinding, all I could say over and over again, was, “that sucked.”  I was laughing like a madman.  I saw a pedi-cab.  I got in it.  Even though the restaurant was now only a block and a half away, I felt like I couldn’t make it.  
We got to the restaurant and took a table. I headed into the bathroom.  I changed out of my running shorts and into some jeans.  I felt like I had just spent the day skiing.  Back at the table, I had some clam chowder and drank some beer.  For the next hour, my body shook.  I’m not sure if I had hypothermia, but if I didn’t, I must have been damn close.  
In the restaurant, I saw three of my running buddies from San Diego.  The consensus on the marathon: “that sucked.”  For me, hands down, the marathon was the worst running experience of my life.  Running those last five miles, wet and miserable and knowing the goal I had trained for was unattainable was devastating.  I had never worked so hard for anything in my life, to fail was an indictment of myself.  
.  .  .
A day, two IPAs and two Advil later, my mindset has changed.  Boston, you may have crushed me for the day, a day and half tops, but with the help of some Lagunitas IPA and a federally approved over the counter pain reliever, I’m done crying.  I did finish 4380 out of 30,000 participants.  I had improved my starting position by about 1,724 runners.  I had run the marathon in a wind adjusted temperature of 34 degrees.  
I’m thinking about running another marathon.  If I do, I will run under 3:00.  Whether I do that at an officially sanctioned marathon or my own North County Coast Bandit Marathon, I will do it.
First step, run more.  50 miles a week just isn’t enough.  But it takes time to ramp up the mileage.  The body can only absorb so much at a time.  I’m still a baby runner, but I know I’m stronger than I was four months ago.  Time to keep it going.  To that end, I might be pacing Greg Fall in the PCT 50 for about 20 miles on May 9th.  Perhaps a bit early to get back on the horse, but in my semi-drunken state it seems like the right course of action.
For an Irishmen, every great idea begins with a pint . . .

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Boston, finding myself there

This one is for Leo. Fall told me to run for myself tomorrow. Good advice. But in running for myself, a part of me will be running for Leo.  

Its been a long journey from my bike messenger days. Wasted trips, detours and delays, but tomorrow the path is clear. 

I have battled my demons and hold them at bay. Leo was not so lucky. The demons won. 

Fortunately I made a movie and Leo became the star of it. His off the cuff comments about messengering became seared into my brain after hours of editing. My favorite:

"Being unaffected by headwinds . . . When you're better, faster, something -than topography, geography and physics, you're there man."

I hope to find myself 'there' tomorrow. 

Thanks for being a star Leo. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Monday.  Run 90 minutes easy.  I ran 72 minutes.

Tuesday.  Run 60 minutes easy.  I ran 31 minutes.

Last 30 seconds of Tuesday, it came back.  The legs wanted to run, run fast. 

Now I'm packing.  The energy level is rising.  Can't way to run Boston.

I ran so much, I got sick of running.  I hit the taper with the desire at its lowest, which means I hit it perfect.  Now have to pull back on those reins, but tomorrow I get to run 4 x 1200.  Going to open the throttle and have some fun.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Where the Streets Have No Name

I got out of the car on Wednesday and brushed my hand against the inside of my right knee.  I felt pain.  I thought, this is odd.  Upon inspection, it was swollen.  Not sure what caused it.  Perhaps it was running more than I've ever run in my life.

That night I was supposed to do a quality workout.  In the words of the LAPD, in relation to the U2 video for the Where the Streets Have No Name "we're shutting the location down.  There is no vote.   It happens now."

I shut it down.  I put the horse back in the barn.  I've been icing the knee ever since.  Not sure what happened.  Just know it be super silly to run and injure myself such that Boston was a no-go.  Didn't run Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.  Prior to that, I was burned.  The torch had been lit and devoured my soul.  Running was drudgery, a chore.

That's the problem about getting serious.  I walk that fine line between fun and work.  I don't want running to feel like a job.  I want to run for fun.  Finish times are nice. But that's not the point.  It's the process.  It's the sweat running down my skin.  It's pushing my body.  It's trying to be sixteen again.

Three days no run.  Now I'm a caged animal.  I want to explode.  My fitness has never been greater. I run my hands across my legs and feel the veins.  I find muscles I've never had.  43, and in the best shape of my life.

Running tomorrow.  Writing now.  Funny the juxtaposition.  More I run, the less I write.  Less I run, the more I write.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

SEHRC and Spy Optics

A few of the pics from SEHRC shirt fest two. Special thanks to SPY Optics for kicking down two fantastic pair of sunglasses, the Screw and the Daft.

Greg Fall with the new shirt

SPY sunglasses from our sponsor
Beer and free sunglasses, get no betta

Erik stealing the show with his leg.

John in the "Daft" and Dennis in the "Screw"

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Running and writing

I want to be a writer.

But I already am.  I write tens of pages every week at work.  Legal analysis, contracts, pleadings, discovery, case reports, emails, etc.  The harder trick is writing while not at work.  The blog is a middle ground of where I want to be.  I just need to sit down and do it.

But I'm afraid.  The blank page is not my friend.  It mocks me, daring me to write something someone wants to read.

The blog is a bit easier.  It's factual.  A bit like work, but without the stress and more flavor thrown in.  However, the more I've been running, the less I've had a desire to blog.  I'm in the home stretch for Boston and my body is tired.  In the last seven weeks, I've had runs of 16, 20, 16, 21, 17, 18, 21, 21 and 17.  I've never run so long or so much in my life.

I'm following the elite training program for a marathon from the Daniels' Running Formula, second edition.  After these last few weeks, I don't think I'm as elite as I thought.  Daniels has you do two quality workouts a week.  The rest is just mileage.  The quality workouts are killing me.  I don't look forward to them.  I just want Boston to be here.

However, I think I turned a corner today.  My body has definitely changed.  A few months ago, there is no way I could string together the runs I'm doing.  My body is adapting.  I may have lost a bit of speed, but my endurance has come around.  More importantly, I can walk normally within a few hours of the runs.  My energy level is returning and so is my my desire to write.  I want to face that blank page and scratch some ink into it.

Anyone have any book ideas . . .


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Running in the rain

My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m.  It had been raining all night.  It was still raining, I could hear it.  I got up and walked towards the bathroom where I had laid out all my running clothes. I had some decisions to make.  Shorts or tights?  Jacket or no jacket?  Gloves?  It was too early to make decisions.  I put my socks on and threw the rest of the stuff in my bag.  I walked downstairs naked.

As I turned on the light, Vader, one of my dogs, who is sometimes allowed to sleep in the house, rather than the garage, raised his head.  He looked confused, as if he did not quite understand the presence of the light.  He's getting old, I thought.  He raised his bones and came over to greet me at the base of the stairs.  I let him out.  It was raining hard.  All I could think was this is going to suck.

I'm following a training plan of Jack Daniels and today's workout was 22 miles at easy pace, which for me is somewhere around 7:30-8:00 minute pace.  I got the coffee started, took a shit and got dressed.  I went with wetsuit theory.  A wetsuit only works after cold water enters it and the body warms the water up.  I was certain, no matter what I wore, I would be soaked.  I would at least try to maintain some body heat, so I covered everything.

I got my coffee.  I sipped my liquid crack.  I was hoping it would stop raining.  I knew it wouldn't.  It was pouring.  I got in my car and drove to the coast in Encinitas like a man condemned to his fate.

I parked my car on Highway 101 at the north end of San Elijo State Beach near the restrooms, which always seem to be open, clean and have toilet paper.  I walked with an umbrella, which struck me as ironic, as I would be completely wet in about ten minutes and took another shit.

Back at the car, I popped the rear of the wagon and sat on the edge, protected, a bit, from the rain.  I sipped my coffee.  A few moments later, Greg Fall drove up.  He had let me know he was down for the run the day before, after running 30 miles.  Greg is one of my running buddies.  I only have two, the other being Chris Bryan.  Running buddies are hard to find.  They need to have at least four qualities, they are punctual, they rarely flake, they can hang and you like being around them for two to three hours at a time.

I had posted the run on the SEHRC Facebook page.  One member, with the name of Boston Dos Mil Quince (Boston 2015), had indicated he was going.  We waited until 6:35, but he did not show.  I wore a long sleeve shirt, a light jacket, running tights, a beanie and my Hoka Cliftons.  Greg wore a pair of shorts and his Alta Olympus Zero Drop, no shirt.

We ran south through Solana Beach and into Del Mar.  Out in front of Seagrove Park, we saw a hopeful lone surfer in the water.  Greg and I laughed.  It was high tide and this guy was getting nothing.  Up a little bit we passed a car with a Dakine sticker, with two guys inside, presumably watching the surfer.   Greg pretended to be one of the occupants and joked, "If he gets one, we'll go."

We turned around at the end of Stratford Court, which got us to 7 miles and headed back north.  At the street intersections, mini-rivers ran down the hills toward the Pacific.  We hurdled some, others we just ran through.  It didn't matter.  Every part of us was wet.

The coast was empty.  There were no bikes, hardly any cars and only a couple of runners and walkers. The runners we did see, looked to be quality.  Greg and I were enjoying ourselves.  How often do you have the North County coastline to yourself?

Mile 21.  Done.
Around mile 10 we ran into a fellow SEHRC member Cindy Lynch and her friend Fernando.  I had never met either, but shouted out to them before they passed.  They quickly stopped and we chatted for a minute or two about races and a couple people we each new.

We got back at it and continued running.  We were dead on for my pace and I was amazed at Greg. He was showing no signs that he had put in a hard 30 less than 24 hours before.  We continued to chat and caught up on things.  You really get to know someone when you run.  I've surfed and rode with guys for years, but the conversation gets truncated all the time.  When you run with one person the conversation just flows.

We got back to our cars and I tossed in my jacket.  We then kept going past Swamis, through Leucadia and then turned around at La Costa in Carlsbad.  Neither one of us brought food.  Greg had some water, but I just drank a couple times from a few water fountains.  Around mile 19, I finally felt some discomfort, but not too much.  I was getting hungry, we were talking about food, the rain seemed colder and the wind had come up.

We pressed on and were hit in the face with 30-40 mile per hour winds in the last mile.  Then we were done.  I didn't make 22, but we did do 21.2 at around 7:38 mile pace and it never stopped raining.  I figured I had done enough. There was no way I would have run the 21 without Greg or at that pace.  It would have been a grind.  Instead, we turned the rain into an opportunity to get a bit more mentally tough.

Anyone can run when it's nice out.  What really matters is whether they can run in the rain.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hoka One One Cliftons Size 10.5

A long time ago, in a northern county of San Diego, a man searched for two pairs of shoes . . .

I returned the size 10 Cliftons and ordered a pair of size 10.5 online.  I received the Cliftons on Friday and wore them in the office for a few hours.  On Sunday I ran 18 miles in them for the first run.  No problems.  At 7.7 oz for a size nine, it's hard to believe these shoes are so light and so plush.  

I now have the Clifton road shoe, and the Challenger ATR trail shoe.  

My life is complete.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hoka One One Cliftons and Challenger ATR Review - one for the road, one for the trail

I was wrong about the Hoka One One Cliftons.  Size 10 was the wrong choice.  Too small.  Got a nice blood blister on my small right toe.  If I had been motivated, and I wasn't, I'd measure the toe box of the Cliftons (size 10) and compare to the Nike Pegasus (size 10.5).  I'm betting the Cliftons are narrower, based on my visual observation.

I returned the Cliftons to REI.  Had 100 miles on them.  REI asked no questions and gave me my coin back.  Got to love it.  Interesting thing.  REI gave me a $20 gift card when I bought the Hokas.  As a result, I ran 100 miles in the Cliftons and got paid twenty bucks to do it.  Cool.

I'd get a size 10.5 in the Cliftons, but due to the longshoreman v. ship owners thing happening at the L.A. ports, they are no where to be found.  I straight up love this shoe, even if it made me bleed.

I was able to get a size 10.5 Challenger ATR, which is the trail version of the Cliftons. They're 8.6oz, with a 5mm offset, heel at 29mm and forefoot at 24mm.  Meta-rocker, whatever that is, is "early".  These shoes are an ounce heavier than the Cliftons.  Since I ain't got no Cliftons, I've been running the ATRs on the road.  I love them.  I've now written "love" twice, it must be close to Valentine's Day.  Got your flowers for the wives, boys?

I'd like a physicist to do a comparison with a pressure plate or some such device and measure the force returned on foot strike between the Cliftons/ATRs vs. the Pegasus.  Which aids the runner more?  You'd think this would be part of the specs for a running shoe.  I guestimate the Pegasus, which feels a bit more solid, returns more energy, but who knows.  At times, the Hokas feel a bit, now this is technical, squishy.

Let's talk names.  "Clifton"?  Really?  Sounds like I'm buying a pair of chinos from the Gap.  Challenger is better, but why add "ATR", that just detracts from the name.  I'm assuming ATR means All Terrain Runner or some such thing, but I couldn't be bothered to look it up.  I told you, I'm not very motivated right now.  My problem with the Challenger name, is for me, its sacrosanct.  I was 14 when the Challenger blew up, so there can only be one Challenger.  Have some respect.

Conclusion?  The Cliftons and Challengers rock.  They are the illegitimate love child of the Nike Free 5.0 and Pegasus, only better than their parents.  Light-weight and plush.  It's like carbon fiber for the feet.  I enjoy running more while wearing the Hokas and feel less beat up when done.  Buy these shoes!

Caveat #1:  the foot strike based on the rocker, takes a few miles to get used too.  If you can, alternate between your old shoes and the Hokas for a few days, so that your muscles adapt, otherwise, you may get sore.

Caveat #2: due to the design of the shoe, it's like you're running in high heels, not that I'm familiar with wearing women's footwear or underwear . . . 
On the road, it's no big deal, but on trail, I think, at the very least, until you get used to the shoe, the chance of rolling your ankle is increased.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Running Hermit & Call to Arms

I'm in the midst of preparing for the Boston Marathon.  As a result, I'm a running hermit, doing my own thing.  Most people are not interested in running their Sunday run at two easy, five at threshold, five minute jog, four at threshold, four minute jog, etc.

I had hoped that in my absence the Sunday runs would continue.  They have, but as I joke and sad to say, the reality is, as we get more members, we have less runners.

I'm the club leader, so I have to take responsibility.  I have to drive the club forward.  The only problem is,  I'm a reluctant leader.  I am an individualist at heart.  I wish to empower others to grab the reins and control the horses.  However, most people don't want the reins.  They wish to sit in the back of the buggy and let others lead.

Fine.  I accept that.  Although, a club without members who shoulder a bit of responsibility is not much of a club at all.  In economics, this is called the free rider problem.  It's where those who benefit from resources, goods, or services do not pay for them, which results in either an under-provision of those goods or services, or in an overuse or degradation of a common property resource.

Here, the common property resource is me, and I feel degraded.  I've made an effort for 20 months or so, to lead Sunday runs.  I've rearranged my schedule and negotiated with my wife so that I could lead club runs.  Yes, it's what I wanted to do, but at the same time, it was in the hope of growing the club.  When I've asked for a bit of reciprocation from the free riders, I'm told, "No, I can't".  

At the same time, members RSVP then don't show up.  This demonstrates a lack of consideration for others, as it results in a group of people standing around waiting for someone who isn't coming.  I ask that people who can't make it, just change their RSVP to a "No".  

With that said, I wish thank Chris, Greg, Erik and Dax, as they have broad shoulders.  When I've asked, you've delivered.

I will continue to soldier on, but ask those who are in the club to reflect on what that means.  Does it mean just show up and run on Sundays, or something more.  Think about it, because without more, I'll go back to being a lone wolf, rather than a rabbit.

Peace out.