Tuesday, July 12, 2016

4th of July Race (2016)

On July 4th I ran a 4 mile race that was put on by my local running club Sierra Challenge Express.  It's a fun 4 mile race that they hold every year at Woodward Park.

Last year I finished in 26min 30 secs, and I really wanted to run faster this year.  In preparation for the Dirty Dozen 12 hour race that I had coming up a few days after this race (The Dirty Dozen was on July 9th), I started hitting the track with my friend Sunny a few times a week.  The two of us would run 400 meter repeats in the nice 100 degree (usually warmer) Fresno heat.  I was starting to slowly get comfortable running fast again.

On the day of the race my girlfriend Samantha and I got to the park with enough time to relax a little bit before the race and warm up.  I was excited to see how fast I could run at the race.  The course is relatively flat, with just a couple hills in it.  I hit the first mile way too fast (6min 06secs).  I started to ease back on my pace and relax.  I knew a couple miles into the race that there would be a hill coming up, and I didn't want to be burned out by the time I got to it, so I slowed down just enough so I would have some energy for the last part of the race.

Samantha & I after the race.
I ended up being smart during this race. I did not get caught up with beating the person in front of me, but I was more focused on beating last years time instead.  I stuck to my game plan and didn't let my ego get in the way.  Doing this allowed to run more relaxed and I finished the race this year in 25 min 24 secs.  This was 1 min and 6 secs faster that last year.

I felt pretty good at the end of the race.  All the speed work on the track and being patient during the race had paid off.  I finished 12th overall and 3rd in my age group (30-39 years old).

I took a lot of time off from running the shorter local races when I started running ultras, but right now I'm having fun jumping back into the local races and trying to run fast again.  There's a 5k coming up soon that I might jump into so I can try to beat my old 5k personal best time.  I feel like my speed is slowly coming back, and I want to see what I can do.

Until next time...


Hanging out with Sunny & Jason after the race
Sunny designs running shirts and jewelry.  You can check out her stuff at http://www.endureshop.com/ 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Spartan Super 06-04-2016

On June 4th I did my first Spartan Race.  It was very different from any other race that I have done in the past.  We had walls to climb over and under, buckets of rocks to carry up and down hill, barbwire to crawl under... and a bunch of other obstacles that we encountered along the way.

My girlfriend, Samantha, is really into doing these races.  While this was my first one of these events, this was her 17th event.  She really enjoys doing them, so I wanted to share the experience of doing one of these events with her.  I decided to join her at the Monterey Spartan Super.

I really enjoy activities that test my strength and endurance.  I run trail races pretty regularly, I do jiu jitsu a couple times a week, and I workout about 4 days a week.  I enjoy seeing what my physical and mental limits are, and I enjoy trying to reach and push those limits.

This event was 8.75ish miles, and it was pretty fun.  Samantha and I did the entire race together.  We had a lot of fun on the course.  There was a good mix of trail running and obstacles at the race.  The part I enjoyed the most was just having Samantha there along the course with me the entire day.  This type of race was a nice change from running ultras, and having Samantha there to joke around with the entire day was awesome.  It was nice to experience something with her that she loves so much.

I'm planning on running a few more of these races this year with Samantha, but that doesn't mean I'm changing my race schedule for this year.  I still have The Dirty Dozen 12 hour event in July, Headlands 100 in September, The Ronald McDonald House 135 miler in October (Kyle and I are going to make it an easy run and do it as a 2 person relay team), The Joshua Tree 100 miler in October, Two Cities marathon in November, and the San Joaquin River Trail 100k in November.

I will still have a busy ultra running schedule for 2016, and I'm still planning out the route for my Fresno to Washington D.C. run that I'm planning on doing to benefit Free Tibet next year.

I'm pretty focused right now on my training for the Dirty Dozen event, and I hope to put in some pretty high mileage during this 12 hour event.

I also plan on running a few more Spartan Races with Samantha as well in September and November... and maybe December.  It's defiantly going to be a busy year of running.

Until next time...


Monday, May 23, 2016

Training For My Next Race

After a very lack luster run at this years American River 50 miler, I did a lot of thinking about what went wrong during the race.

The first thing is my weight.  I like to eat, and I like to eat a lot.  I went into AR50 a little heavier than I wanted to.  I wanted to go in at about 175 pounds (the weight I feel most comfortable running) but I was closer to 185 pounds.  The extra 10 pounds makes a difference, especially over a 50 mile race.

The second thing that I feel like my training was lacking was good old fashioned speed work.  At the end of AR50 I felt like my legs had no turnover in them.  I feel like my lack of speed work was to blame.

After AR50 I decided to take the rest of April off from hard training.  I ran, but it was just for run.  I ran with a few friends that I had not ran with for awhile, and we just did easy miles with each other.

Now that it's May I've started training for my next race, The Dirty Dozen 12 hour race.  The event is in July and I'm looking forward to putting in a lot of miles at this race.  I've started training, but I'm easing into the hard workouts.  I'm doing weights and H.I.I.T. workouts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.  I'm also starting to incorporate speed work into my runs once again, along with some long runs.

I'm trying to make my workouts as uncomfortable as I can.  I know that the weeks that led up to AR50 I held back a lot on my training.  I'm going to keep my training for this event as demanding as I can make it.  I need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable again.  I need to bring back the training I was doing when I ran the Woodside 50k back in December of last year.

I feel like I'm not as distracted as I use to be.  The last year had a bunch of ups and downs, and I had no idea last year that my life would be like it is right now.

A couple months ago I went on a trail run with a local runner who wanted to check out the San Joaquin River Trail.  I do a lot of my training on this trail, and when Samantha showed an interest in checking out the trail I offered to take her out on a run.  I'm very introverted and find it hard to talk to people most of the time in "normal" settings.  Sometimes I come across as an ass hole, or a snob... but it's just that I feel very awkward and out of place in most social situations. Luckily for me I am able to hold a conversation with people while I'm running.

After getting to know Samantha a little better on the trail, we started hanging out more... and more... and more.  She's very active, trains a lot, is very focused on her goals, and can be very competitive..  After a few weeks a relationship started to develop and we started becoming more than friends.

I'm excited about this years Dirty Dozen race.  While I'm out running for 12 hours, Samantha will run the 10k race that is in the morning, and then she will run the 10k race that will take place in the afternoon.

We are both training hard right now.  Samantha is focusing on a triathlon she's doing this coming June, along with her upcoming solo hike on the John Muir Trail this August.  I'm very focused on the Dirty Dozen and the Headlands 100.

Life is crazy.  At one moment you can feel like you're at the bottom, then at the next moment all of that can be turned around.  You never know what life is going to give you.

until next time...


Thursday, May 12, 2016

American River Run 04-02-2016

So... this blog post is coming very late, but oh well... let's jump right into it!!

On April 2nd of 2016 I ran my 7th consecutive American River 50 miler.  Back in 2010 this was the very first 50 miler that I had ever ran, and I've done this race every year ever since.  This race takes place close to my birthday, so I like to do this event every year.

I had big goals this year.  I really wanted to finish in 8 hours and 30 mins this year.  This would cut about 20 mins of my best time at this event.

I felt that my training was pretty good prior to the event.  I was getting in some good long runs, I was cross training regularly, and my rib was finally healed.  My weight wasn't quite where I wanted it, but it was close enough.  I wasn't back down to 175 pounds (the weight that I like to run ultras) but it wasn't so much over 175 pounds that it made a huge impact on my run.

I was feeling pretty good for the first 25 miles of the run.  My goal was to get the first half of the race done in about 4 hours.  When I hit the mile 25 mark I was only 10 mins behind the my goal of 4 hours.  It didn't feel like that big of a deal at the time, because I really enjoy the second half of this race and was wanting to try to push the pace the best that I could.

After mile 30, the course started getting to me.  My pace kept falling back more and more.  I expected this to happen, especially in the Meat Grinder section of the course.  When I hit mile 37 I was about 6 hours and 30 mins into the race.  At this time I figured that I would have to run a 2 hour trail half marathon, and on fresh legs that's a goal I would totally try to nail... but I was 37 miles into a run and had been running for 6 hours and 30 mins into my run already.

At this point I knew I was going to fall short (very short) of my goal.  The last thing I wanted to do was just lay back and feel defeated about not hitting a time goal, so I did my best to keep running as best as I could.  Unfortunately as I ran past mile 40 I started feeling more and more exhausted.  My legs were feeling super heavy and the desire to run really wasn't there.

During the later miles I felt like my legs just weren't there.  They felt like heavy bricks.  When I would try to run they just wouldn't move.  Looking back on my training, I realized that I didn't do a whole lot of speed work during the last 6 weeks leading up to the race.  I think this was a huge mistake on my part.  My lack of speed work left my legs had no turnover during the important later miles of the race.

At the end of the day I finished the 50 miles in 10 hours and 35 mins.  This was a good 2 hours longer that I wanted to take.

The weeks after AR50 I was able to reflect a lot about what went right and what went wrong at the event.  I took almost all of April off from any hard running and made it a point to just run with some friends and have fun on the trails.

I have my next race this coming July and just started for it earlier this week.  I'm excited to make some adjustments to my training and have a solid run at this July's Dirty Dozen 12 hour race.

Until next time...


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Wellbarn Road Run 04-12-16

Today I took my friend Sunny out for a run along the San Joaquin River Trail.  I try to come out here once a week, twice if I have the time, to train and to just clear my head.  I love running out here and always jump at the chance to take people out here who have never been here before.  The trail is only a short 25 min drive from my house in Fresno, Ca.  I tend to do most of my training around a field by Fresno State and at Woodward Park, but I really enjoy coming out here to run the trail.  There's something nice about just hitting the trail and not having any type of workout planned.  Today wasn't about seeing how fast we could run the trail, we just wanted to go out there and have fun.

We were limited on time so we ran out for about 45 mins and then turned around and went back to the car.  
Next time we will hopefully have more time to explore the trail.  It was cool to see how much Sunny enjoyed the trail, and to hear how interested she was to find out how much further the trail went and where it went.

Most of my training is done solo, so it's always nice to have someone to run a few miles on the trail with me.  Since I don't have a 9:00am to 5:00pm work schedule I do a lot of my running while most people are working.  This makes it hard to find people to train with.  I honestly enjoy the solitude that running gives me.  I've always been big on having alone time.  I know that might sound selfish, but I'm very introverted, and sometimes it's hard for me to be around people, especially large groups, for extended periods of time.

As much as I enjoy my solo running, I really enjoy my random training runs with my friends.  I like having someone there to share the beauty of the trail with me.

Until next time...


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Same Song And Dance

This Saturday will be my 7th time running the American River 50 miler.  With all the ultra's I've ran in the last almost 7 years, you would think that I would finally have my shit together.

I still get nervous before every race that I run.  It would be one thing if I was just going out for a fun 50 mile day, but I have a goal that I would very much like to hit.  This year my goal is 8 hours and 30 mins, or better.  I've focused my training on this for the last 4 months. This is the part I don't like... the nervous feeling I get before I set out to run really far and really hard.  The self-doubt that begins to creep in... the constant "did I train too much, or enough, or did I..."

This seems like the norm for me.  I hate the anticipation before an event.  The constant questioning, wondering, the self-doubt...  I know that I will finish the event no matter what, but will I finish in the time and manner that I want to?

The 50 mile distance has always been the hardest one for me to mentally accomplish.  I would much prefer a 50k or 100 miler.  I don't know why I tend to mantally have a hard time with the 50 mile distance, but I do.  It's the one distance where I tend to mentally unravel while running, and I have mentally unraveled multiple times at this event.  My only hope is that I can run hard for 50 miles and keep my mind centered and calm.

I've been working more and more at staying focused lately.  I've added nightly meditation into my practice along with visualization exercises.  This seemed to work well for me when I ran the Woodside 50k last December.  With a little bit of luck, hopefully it will work at AR50 as well.

I'm not sure what life has planned for me this weekend, but I know that at 6:00am this Saturday I will be running as hard as I can and I'll leave everything I have out on the trail.  This race is not going to feel good or be fun... but that's what I've been preparing for.

Until next time...


Sunday, January 31, 2016

After My Run Today...

I've learned a lot from running, especially running trails and "ultra" distances.  One thing that I have learned is that most people on the trail are friendly and nice.  We all encourage each other and support each other.  Even if we're complete strangers most of us treat each other like family and will help one another out at the drop of a hat.  If  I come across a runner who has ran out of water and needs some, I share what I have without even thinking twice.  The same goes with food, or anything else imaginable.  We are all out there sharing the trail together, having our own experience, and doing what we love doing.

It's important to take these lessons from the trail and use them in our everyday life.  I know that if I ever ran into trouble on the trail that just about any trail runner would stop and give me a hand.

...but what about when we're not on the trail.  When we get back into "the real world" we tend to go on autopilot and get sucked back into our normal routine.  I was very guilty of this today.

On my way to work I was running a little late and didn't have time to make lunch.  I got to the shopping center where I work on the nicer north end of town and stopped to get something to eat really quick at Panda Express.  As I was walking up to the Panda Express a man started walking up to me and told me he was hungry and asked me if I could buy him something to eat.  I was in a hurry, and I could tell that he realized that, and before I could answer him he told me "never mind" and walked away.

The man looked cold and was soaked.  It had been raining all day, and just a few hours before this I was on the trail running in the rain and playing in the mud.  After my run I went home, jumped in a hot shower, and got ready for work.  This man wasn't playing outside, he wasn't about to go dry off and take a hot shower, and he looked like he honestly had nowhere to go and didn't know where to go.

I was inside Panda Express getting my order, thinking about what had just happened seconds ago, and when the lady asked me if I needed anything else I told her that I needed a $20.00 gift card.  I thought to myself, "if this was some random dude on the trail I would help him out, this is no different."  I saw that this guy was embarrassed to ask for help.  He wasn't the typical guy on the corner with his hand out and his cardboard sign.  He was walking with his head down, soaking wet, with nothing but a water bottle in his hand... no belongings... nothing...

I went outside and saw the man standing by the Starbucks trying to stay dry.  He noticed that I was walking over to him and he started walking over to meet me halfway.  I asked him how long he had been "out here" and he said for a few months, and that it was a long story.  I handed him the gift card and told him that there was $20.00 on it and that he should go get something to eat.  His eyes started to tear up and he tried to shake my hand, but I declined his handshake and I gave him a hug instead, because I felt that he really needed it.

I apologized to Kenny for the way I acted earlier and told him that life shouldn't be so busy that we ignore people when they ask for help.   I wish him well and headed to work.

If you see that someone needs help, you should always stop to help them.  I wish a had something more profound and elegant to say to end this blog post, but I don't.

Until nest time...


...and if you see someone in need, don't ignore them.