Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Westridge Run

Now that my father in law is a little better and lucent, I was able to break away from the house Saturday morning for a decent run. I had no plan, just one water bottle and a desire to revist some childhood landmarks.

I also decided early into the run that I wanted to see how far up the mountain I could run today. Check out this wiki map link, I wanted to make it to the the Nike Radar at the top of mount San Vicente. My run started at the bottom of the screen, south of the Riviera Country Club, and went up the ridge to the right of Topanga State Park.

I first ran by the house I grew up in on San Vicente blvd. This is one of the hot spots for road running in Santa Monica. It has a parkway with magnolia trees down the middle, and not much cross traffic. On a rare occaision, we would see Carl Lewis running here. Never knew who he was, just wondered "who is that fast guy?" The 1984 Olympic marathon ran down this street.

Once I was about 2 miles out, I hit the spot where I would turn around as a kid, but not today. I looked up toward the SM mountains and wodered "how far could I get up those".

I worked my way over to the the start of Westridge drive, at 300 ft. above sea level. For the next 5 miles, i would climb about 1400 ft. It took FOREVER to get to the trail head. You have to have some serious $$$ to live on this road. As I ascented the mountain, the sun was coming up, and it was spectacular. I could see the entire LA basin, as the recent rains had cleared the air.

I finally got to the trail head, about an hour had elapsed. Heck, I'm this far, might as well keep going. This is where the mountain bikers start. I ran their trails, goin up, up, up. I was on top of the world. Not even tired.

10 years ago I road this on my mountain bike, and thought it was extremely hard on a bike. I was now doing it on foot.

I finally made it to where I could see the Nike radar station. This is a cold war relic. It was designed to protect LA from Russian Bombers flying over LA and dropping nukes on us. These were peppered across the entire west coast. This is one of the few remaining. You can see it on the Wiki map as LA-96C.

I hit the lap button and turned around for a bomb down 1300 feet.

It was a blast. The recent rains made the views spectacular.

I am trying to find a way to run a good portion of the backbone trail this week, but it might be a tough one to pull off. Nobody wants to drive up the coast to pick me up.

Every run here brings back memories. This place has changed a lot, and has been overcome by the "pretty people".

It's ironic that nobody who grows up in Santa Monica can ever afford to live in Santa Monica.

I might go for a 20-30 on the backbone if they let me out today.

Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

Our family received the best Christmas gift today at about 3pm with a phone call. To understand the impact of that phone call, you need to hear about the phone call I took Monday night.

Monday night's phone call is the one all adults dread late at night. It was my wife's brother in tears telling me his dad went into cardiac arrest. My father in law had collapsed, and his heart stopped (an artery was completely blocked). My brother in law performed CRP until the paramedics got there, which they said was an eternity. Miraculously, they were able to get a pulse with defribulators. This all happened with my brother in law, his mom, and his son watching.

He was unconcious and unresponsive, but had a pulse. They were not sure if any brain damage was done.

Today at 1pm he woke up, 3 hours after we booked a flight for all of us to go be with them (Los Angeles). My wife had begun speaking funeral language, and now her dad is pissing and moaning in a hospital bed. What great news.

Everything has changed and been put on hold.

On the bright side, I get to do some awesome trail running less than 3 miles from their houes (2,000 foot vertical in the Santa Monica mountains..... mostly reserved for mountain bikers.... screw them.)

But most importantly, I get to apologize for the horrible things I said to him two years ago. He was not an easy man to get along with, and 2 alpha males in the family made it really tricky.

I totally lost my cool a few year back, and said some pretty nasty things to him. I felt they were justified at the time, but it was definitely not something Jesus would do. Enough said.

We somehow made our peace as men do without saying anything, but that was the one thing I realized I screwed up this week. I missed the opportunity to be humble and admit I was an asshole.

I get that chance now.

I don't see it a coincidence that he woke up at the exact moment that we arrived to our church for an early Christmas Eve service.


I hope everybody enjoys their Christmas, or any other holiday you celebrate.

Right your wrongs and don't let grudges tear families apart.

Thanks be to god.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Humbled once again

I think it was Mr. Quick and I who had the conversation about thinking "am I the fastest guy in my town?"

I recall Steve saying he lived a few doors down from a former olympian, so he will never be the best athelete on his block.

I figured when I moved to Ham Lake, there would be very few runners up there (don't ask why I thought that). I don't see many runners in my area, and we all seem to know each other now, although never spoken any words to each other. Just the nod as they go by.

I know I am not the fastest guy in Ham Lake, but I figured I at least owned the honor in my neighborhood.

I was wrong. On my usual running route at mile 1 lives a man. A 59 year old man. Still can run a 5:15 mile. Kudos to you Jim Sheehan.

His grandkids go to my kids school, so we were talking at last nights' Christmas concert (holiday, for you secularists), and my wife said "you guys should run together". Um... dear.... his base pace is probably 1-2 minutes faster than mine. HIs tempo pace is probably 45 seconds to 1 minute faster than mine.

I guess I am the fastest guy on my street (I only have 4 other house to compete with). None of those residents run.

A nutrition post to come soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Goggins Controversy


Hardly a controversy, but some interesting and comical threads about David Goggins.

Check out Dunlaps post, as well as all of the comments. Dave adds his 2 cents.

My 2 cents -
> I took a few "fun" shots at him as a result of the 100 mile man website
> Yes, all of us bloggers are self promoters to some extent. Although, I air my dirty laundry just as clearly as any accomplishments I have made.
> The "Goggins Haters" are a result of his media machine creating such a silly persona of him on "his" website. I say sill, becuase it is just so uncharacteristic of the persona in the ultra community.
> I would love to hang and have a beer with him, just to see what makes him tick.

Check out this blog containing some harsh back and forth rhetoric. The best is Dave Combs' (runtrls) shout out for this blogger to run Badwater against David Goggins. I hurt from laughing so hard.

What do you guys think?

I will take this opportunity to proclaim myself as one of the top 100 ultramarathoners, living in Minnesota, in the 2008 calendar year..... Okay, top 1000 maybe in Minnesota this year.

Are there 100 of us?

And yes, I got my sorry ass out in the -12 temp for 8 this morning. I think I am 5 degrees away from having to wear eye protection.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just call me a "girly man"

I arrived at Afton at 5:15 this morning hoping to bang out a whole loop before I met up with Carl, Jim, and Zach (and Chris who I just met today). I was glad to hear Jim Wilson will be running Leadville this year. Make sure you mention that to him if any of you ever run into him.

I knew there was a little snow, but I fared well on my screw shoes last year on snow and ice out there.

I guess it was a combination of being a real slick snow (unlike the packing, sticky snow), or my inability to kick ass today, but I got my butt handed to me.

It took me almost 2.5 hours to get to the bottom of campground hill, before the long stretch on the river. It normally takes me around 1.5 hours.

When I met the gang, I was beat.

Karen joined us too, and I had a tough time keeping up with her as well. You are in great shape Karen! Don't question yourself.

I bailed with Karen after about 16 miles banked. Well over 4 hours. Tore off part of the heel on my shoe.

I don't think I will be running out there much until the snow goes away.

I somehow managed to get 50 in this week, and will get 6-10 to wrap up another good week.

My black toenail from Superior is finally deciding to fall off, but wants to hang on for dear life. I hope it goes soon. The whole toe hurts.

I don't think I have any running gear on my Christmas list.

I guess I will just wish for World Peace.............. and the option to run a couple of ultras next year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby its cold outside

Every Christmas season I get a laugh out of the ironies which are presented.

For years I have heard the song "Baby its Cold Outside" without really listening to the lyrics. Well, take a good listen, because the song is all about a man trying to get in bed with a woman. He uses the cold weather outside as his justification. Nobody has ever found this song offensive, but so many other things during this time offend people. Here, this guy is told no over and over, yet does not give up. He must be an ultra marathoner.

The point of the above paragraph, people just need to grow up and not be so easily offended. AND.... it is cold outside.

While I look at the TV when I wake up for the actual temperature, it is usually a little colder up here in the north metro.

I did not realize it was -4 when I ventured out for the 8 miles this morning. I was fine, but this is already getting old.

It was great to see the fellow soldiers out walking and running. We go from the head head nod (in the summer) to a fist pump "right on" in weather like this.

Tomorrow I am heading out to Afton for a run with "the boys" tomorrow. I plan on getting out there early to attempt a full loop before I meet up with them. I don't know how fast (or slow) the course is, so this shall be interesting.

I think a 50k run is probably out of the questions. Have to head home at 11am

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Screw Shoes are back

This week brought the dark chasm I call winter.

Somehow, the single digit temps (and the teens) take a lot more effort. Maybe it is all of the extra clothing.

But, we had some snow, so I put the screw shoes in action again. Check out this post from January if you want to see details.

I actually saved my shoes from the Superior 100 miler, as I had torn away some of the treads from dragging my feet for 30 miles. The screws held them together.

I was still able to get 54 miles in this week, but I took a lot more effort (and I was slower).

Hung out at Kiernan's Irish Pub last night to see a college friend play drums for the "sweet colleens". I should get out more, it was a good time.

It will be a major challenge to get in over 50 this week. BUT, I am starting to think about next years' plans. I really want to go back to Kettle and redeem myself as well as trying to nail down a "faster" 100. still too early to tell.

Bundle up out there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I decided to benchmark this week after a great weekend at Afton. Since I had my fastest 25k loop out there, I figured this week would be a good time to do a HADD test.

Also, with the 1st of each month arriving, I see it as the beginning of next years' race training. Hey, it works for me.

The results

Interval Speed (mph) Avg. heart rate
1 6.5 125
2 7 136
3 7.5 144
4 8.4 157
5 8.8 165

Each interval was 1.5 miles, and the goal was to nail heart rates of 125, 135, 145, 155, and 165 repsectively.

I was hoping to match or improve from my last test in early April. It was about the same, although some improvement on the lower end. I was able to nail the first 3 easier segments, where in the past, I was all over the place with my heart rate on those.

This make sense as almost all of my running this year has been below a heart rate of 150.

So, this is the benchmark I will use to improve over the winter.