2016 in Review

index

Wow, what can I say!? 2016 was a big year for me in every way as a runner. New milestones and PRs to the brim- so many I don’t believe I can cover them all. From my first year of being coached, to the number of races, to the number of miles and new PRs in every distance, 2016 was one for the books and one that I hope is the foundation for bigger things to come.

First off I must dedicate this year to the two most instrumental people that not only allowed this year to unfold in the way that it did but utterly facilitated it’s unfolding. First and foremost my amazing wife who took a lot of hits for Team McLearan this year allowing me to do countless daily runs, Wednesday night speed workouts, half days away for long runs, and a record number of races. Without her patience and support I would not have had the time to train nor the bright faces of my family at the end of races to look forward to. While my sacrifices were physical, hers were of the soul and were dearly bought.

Secondarily but not second in importance:  Coach Chad Worthen. It was his knowledge, structure, and rigorous training schedule and workouts that helped my unlock the potential I knew I had in me. His calm,yet positive demeanor puts every runner he works with at ease as it is evident were are in good hands. He knows how to get the best out of his runners and it is shown time and time again in the number of PRs and age group placings that tally up with each subsequent race.

With that let’s take a look back at last years goals and even add a few more milestones that were met along the way that were unforeseen yet did not go uncelebrated.

 

20160522_111419

Goal 1: Check off some Bucket List Items.

Last year I said…”One is already on the books- to marathon with Mikey Z. Perhaps I can get a team together to tackle the Ragnar Trail relay in Tahoe in June.”

Result: Two (and a half) Bucket List items = check! Mikey Z and I did, indeed, run a marathon together (See “Surfer’s Path Redemption! blog post) and I’m pretty sure “Z” has run two more since then! Also, I did run my first Ultra- the “Skyline to Sea 50K” (See that race report blog post) and when one runs a race for the first time…automatic PR at that distance. Now, I would love to get that leisurely 6:30ish 50k time down a bit, but I’m in no hurry to do so. The half a Bucket List item is that I ran in Hawaii, but not a race, and…it was after New Years.

IMG951320

 

20160522_203711

Goal 2: Redemption at the Surfer’s Path Marathon.

Last year I said…”Last year my heart (nor legs nor lungs) were in for an under four hour marathon. With Mikey Z at my side and a reasonable 8:30-9 min. pace a sub four is surely doable. Hey, all I need to do is get under 4:23:00 for redemption.”

Result: Redemption was reached! 4:23:00 down to 3:54:06 on that course. I love that course but I also hate it.

 

Goal 3: Let’s keep on workin’ on that mile time.

Last year I said…”As I outlined in my previous post- I’ll work on this a couple of weeks into a new training schedule instead of right at the beginning when I’m at my slowest.”

Result: Like so many PRs this year I wasn’t really actively working on this one but it just happened…one night at the trach during a speed workout I ended up putting up and new mile PR during training and in my new PR 5k of 20:35, I ended up putting up a new fastest mile of 6:26 in the first mile of the race. At some point I’ll actually go out and try to run a mile flat out and see what kind of PR I can put up.

 

Goal 4: 1000 miles in 2016.

Last year I said…”By running between two to six days a week (with I thing maybe two weeks off) I was right on schedule to hit 1K in December 2015. Shouldn’t be too difficult to hit this again.”

Result:  1,583 mi. Boom. Done.

 

Goal 5: 8 races this year.

Last year I said…”Already paid for and on the calendar are the Shamrockin’ Half in March and the Surfer’s Path Marathon in May. I’d like to hit some old favorites like the  Zoo Zoom (either 5K or 10K) in April, and a new favorite, Blood Sweat and Beers in July. Perhaps I’ll and a trail race or two like the Dirty Secret Run or Run on the Sly (hopefully that Ragnar). I would love to break my hiatus and do the CIM again which would put Urban Cow in my schedule as well. What to put in the eighth slot?”

Result: I hit the oldies and goodies I usually run plus added a couple more (especially a couple new 5Ks) to make a total of 11 races for the year.

 

ace_0133

Goal 6: Pace wife in her first Half Marathon.

Last year I said…”This one too is already on the books for the Shamrockin’ Half in March. She’ll be doing the whole Fleet Feet training program and everything so pacing her should be a piece of cake and a pleasure.”

Result: I want to pace more often! How awesome it is  to support someone during their race- as one is so often ensconced in one’s own goals. My wife did great! She ran a sub 2 hour half (1:50 something) on her first try- much better than I did on my own first half (having no idea what the heck I was doing).

 

Goal 7: 50 mile week.

Last year I said…”My current highest mileage week stands at 42 miles. Not sure when I’ll be able to fit this in with perhaps two marathons this year (when you usually hit your highest mileage right before a proper taper and I don’t want to risk over-training) and this is definitely a goal I may want to leave by the wayside.” (Met)

Result: Well, training for the marathon (twice) and ultra (once) distances- one can put up some high mileage weeks. This year I ended up running three over 50 mile weeks with the new weekly distance PR of 53 miles in a week.

…and last but not least- those PRs

This is in no way gloating (many of these times are simply slightly above average for a man of my age- but hey I’d be a pretty speedy 50 year old woman!) but listing these PRs is more of a record keeping function for me. It reminds me of that whole “If a tree falls in the forest…: saying- “If PRs are not blogged about- did they even happen?”

Here they are (Improvements are simply improvements from the last PR and not necessarily an improvement from 2016- for instance I improved my 5k twice this year):

400 m: 1:21 (-10 sec)

1k: 3:56 (-4 sec)

1 mi: 6:26 (-2 sec.)

2 mi. 12:59 (-36 sec)

5k: 20:35 (-1:06)

10k: 46:12 (-1:03)

15K: 1:10:31 (-4:09)

10 mi: 1:15:40 (-4:30)

20k: 1:34:23 (-6:23)

Half Marathon: 1:40:31 (-4:53)

30k: 2:27:14 (-13:09)

Marathon: 3:33:06 (-17:35)

50k: 6:34:29 (First race)

Advertisements

Going The Distance (Big Basin 50K)

20160612_081537

Run. Upload. Log. Assess. Write! From start to finish, from the countdown to start to the sitting down in front of the keyboard, is usually a frantic mad dash after every new race. This time, from start to finish, from toeing the line in front of cones set up on the side of the road that moment, to sitting down to blog about my first ultra, the philosophy has been markedly and purposely different. Slow. Steady. Enjoy. Savor. Ruminate.

There are numerous reasons why I not only had to do this race differently but I wanted to.

Had to: I had just run a marathon three weeks prior and even though doing an ultra so soon after might be considered “overdoing it”- I didn’t want to overdo it.

Wanted to: In ALL of my other “first races” (5K, 10K, half, full, etc.) I was obsessed with pace and time and goals to enjoy them fully- I wanted to ENJOY this race.

Had to: The majority of my marathon training was road based and was not able to get out and do proper trail training until about two weeks before the race.

Wanted to: As a rule I try to drink in the surroundings on any trail excursion so why would this course with such lovely sights be any different.

Had to: This course had three big climbs. I consider myself a below average hill climber so taking these climbs easier than other parts of the course was a necessity for my ultimate goal of completion.

Wanted to: Normally I have umpteen thousand goals per race. I allowed myself one: Finish your first ultra. That should be good enough.

20160612_06352320160612_063529

As with so many other races, it was an early morning. Being a point to point race, the Big Basin “Skyline to Sea”, runners were encouraged to park  in a dirt parking lot off of Highway One just south of the Rancho Del Oso finish. The morning was typical early summer coastal cool and many runners having taken the “park at the finish” advice, packed up their remaining things and jumped on one of the three school buses for the hour plus ride up to the start. The ride was long, slow, but pleasant save the pressing desire to “offload” the coffee I had downed in my motel the hour before.

20160612_08084620160612_082525Arriving at the start at the junction of the 35 (“Skyline Boulevard”- a highway that runs along the top of the majority of the California Coastal Range) and the 9, we joined the others that had been dropped off at the start. It was now obvious that this bus/drop off system was a necessity as the parking lot at Saratoga Gap was only large enough for 20-30 cars- most of which were most likely race organizers and volunteers.  Bib pick up was already underway and went quickly- the line for the four port-a-potties did not.

20160612_08534220160612_085349After about 30 minutes a friendly older gentleman (who I assume was the race director) grabbed a megaphone and two cones and announced that all runners should follow him across the street. He led us down a double-wide dirt track, plopped down the cones on either side which became the start line and joked that everyone should crowd in so he didn’t have to move the start so that everyone’s mileage didn’t come up short. It was now with everyone at the start that one could see that the “Skyline to Sea” is a smaller race- just around 250 runners running either the 50K or the trail marathon filed in to hear the race instructions on trail markings and the like- “Pink is good, blue is bad.”

The race director gave us a heads up when we were about a minute out and counted us down from ten to “Go!”

One of the solid appeals to this race, besides the scenery of dense redwoods, 90 percent covered and shaded, and finishing at the coast, would be the majority of the race being downhill. Starting at the crest of the Coastal Range, the course descends 5,790 feet over the 50K. Now, the amount and type of descent became a bit of an issue for me later on, but now here at the beginning, what a way to ease into a race. The first  10K or so was almost completely downhill. I did my best to not get over-exuberant being a great lover of downhill running, but with fresh legs and a whole course ahead of me, I fell into the typical “going out too fast” trap, putting up my fastest splits of the day in the first six miles. Luckily this did not effect me in the long run as I was careful not to pound on the downhills and actually reined myself in as I could have gone much faster on many sections.

Big Basin Waterman Gap

If I remember correctly, the first aid station came nicely before the first climb at Waterman Gap. For a small race, the course was well covered with volunteers and the aid stations were well stocked with the ordinary, but useful foods. I followed the advice of “go with what your body wants” and I ate whichever fruit each table had. I also downed a dixie cup of water and electrolyte to conserve the 30 ounces of Tailwind I had in my pack.

20160608_102904

Going into the race I purposely marked my homemade elevation profile map with all the climbs. As I said before, I am a below average hill climber and climbs tend to intimidate me. For the first climb I dug in and chomped away at the not too steep, but steady vert that occurred over the next four miles or so. I wanted to give the first climb an honest effort to treat it as if I were actually racing to see what I could do plus ascertain how that kind of effort would effect me over the course of the race. The result: It took a lot out of me. I will definitely need more consistent hill work to get better at climbing.

At the top of the climb was another aid station (China Grade) where I performed some blister triage. It was early in the race but I was not surprised that I would have to tend to one or two at some point. I am generally not a blister prone guy as some are, but with the amount and steepness of the downhill and the “half size up” on my cushier trail shoes that I chose for the distance, not the terrain, blisters were in the forecast and I was OK with it. I was glad I sat for a few, put the climb behind me, and tended to my feet as the next section was the most technical.

20160612_111320After China Grade comes one of the two to three exposed sections (depending on how you count or whether you were doing the 50K or the trail marathon. The marathoners would not participate in the other exposed section coming up). The next section opened up at a high point in the course where you can view the dense forest that kept us so shaded. The trail became narrow, steeply banked to the left downhill, and was interrupted by big slabs of smooth rock that became very difficult to run. The downhill of this section was some of the steepest of the course and was not particularly runable in any sense. While it did provide a nice respite, this section was more of a hike than anything.

Eventually the course came back under the cover and head toward the mid-point and a section that I was, in some ways, looking forward to: The Gazos Loop. At Gazos Creek, a four plus mile loop is added to the course for the 50K runners. and while I did not look forward to the loop in the sense that it is a steep two mile climb, I looked forward to part of the course that would guarantee the “no turning back” aspect of the loop. Completing the loop would add the necessary miles to turn this trail marathon course into an ultra and completing it would guarantee “no chickening out”. I lingered a bit at the aid station and steeled myself for the loop. Heading out, I allowed myself to walk the entire steep two mile uphill at a brisk pace, but I walked none the less. Luckily I found a runner who interestingly enough was from my hometown who was in the same mindset to also be a walker temporarily. We chatted for as long as we could and we parted ways as I wanted to walk a bit faster that he felt comfortable with. At the top of the climb I ran into another runner and we shared the sentiment that this loop really made the 50K runners “earn it”.

IMG_0517IMG_0518Looping back down to the Gazos Creek aid station, I took another break- with two of the three big climbs behind me I began to begin to recite the mantra I had stumbled upon earlier in the race more often. At some point I began to chant “I’m DOING this!” in my head. I occurred to me that “I can do this” might help but my mind automatically preferred the present tense. Instead of the possibility of doing something- I reveled in the actuality of I am currently doing this- succeeding right now– enjoying this moment- with no possibility of failure. After realizing this, I smiled more often, ran more relaxed, walked when it felt appropriate and didn’t chastise myself for slacking off- I was simply going with the flow and enjoying all the ups and downs both literal and figurative.

20160612_112856The next section of the course dove down into steep gulleys surrounding the creek. The trail narrowed quite a bit and going around hikers became more frequent. While none of the race was particularly hot, the gorge was cool, damp, and intoxicatingly calm and comfortable. Little wooden bridges crossed the babbling creek numerous times treating runners to one of the loveliest parts of the course (which there were many). This “treat” for the senses was a boon as this was the longest stretch of the course without aid stations. Exiting the gorge, the course sprawled out onto a double track that was mostly flat and clear but this deep into the race and without an aid station to break up the miles, it became difficult to push hard and I found myself walking on this part of the course more than any other even though it was very runnable.

20160612_112728-1

Finally the monotony was broken at Twin Redwoods which ironically was where the course became more marsh and less forest. River trees like alders and sycamores shared space with birches farther away from the creek that was now sprawling out towards the approaching coast. Leaving the last aid station one could actually smell the sea and “finishing” was in the air too. While I enjoyed a race where I ran solo for the majority of the time and talked seldom, two miles from the finish my friend Tim met me on the course to run me in. I literally ran right past him as I was not expecting him on the course but the finish and I was deep in the simultaneous fog of fatigue and singular focus on the finish line.

Tim’s company was a perfect shot in the arm for the end of the race. While cramping was coming on and I wasn’t running well, his presence gave me a drive to keep plugging away with purpose. We chatted easily about the experience and he was enthusiastic about how good I looked despite the miles and the challenge (he has seen me a lot worse off at the end of a race). He was right- despite minor aches, blister issues, and cramping that I was barely holding at bay- I felt GREAT! Spirits light, I trotted to the finish after 6 hours and 34 minutes of soul satisfying adventure.

IMG951314

IMG951320Many times during the race, reflecting upon the moths and days of training, I said to myself- without a hint of defeat- “I don’t need to do this again for awhile”. Not because it was too difficult, not because I was a bit under trained, not because I didn’t love every minute of it0 but because I had earned a rest. Oh, I will attempt another 50K- just not any time soon. I’m not in a hurry. Remember- Slow. Steady. Enjoy. Savor. Ruminate.

Surfer’s Path REDEMPTION!

20160522_063549

When you read this blog title out loud, you must shout the last part- got it- it’s very important- that’s what I did when I hit that finish line and what good is a race report if the reader can’t put themselves in the race with the runner? Surfer’s (normal volume)…Path (a little louder)…RE-DEMP-TION (at full volume, a bit of growl in the voice, and both hands in the air as if hoisting a heavy two-handed sword)!

20160522_063610

Last year at the 2015 Surfer’s Path- well, it was a difficult path. It was marathon #2 and it was one of the most disappointing race days I’ve had. I had run the first half with two great friends and was on top of the world. I headed into the second half alone, became bored, and lacking motivation to set a good time- and so the doldrums set in and I struggled from mile 16 on. Ten miles is a long time to struggle- putting one foot in front of another becomes a seemingly insurmountable chore. With my two friends done about two and a half hours previous they walked out onto the course to help me run in and they found me walking, defeated, and with little drive to finish strong. Like all good friends to remind you of your lowest points, Tim reminded me this year of, “remember when you sat down on the course with a half mile left and didn’t want to get up!” (Ha- I had completely blocked that from my memory!) So I ended that day and race less than my best but perhaps it was a race that was put there as a lesson to learn from- a speed-bump to overcome. I had no drive, no direction, no impetus, no good REASONS for running that race well. This year would be different. This year I would run strong. Last year would be made the anomaly- now I have a REASON.

20160522_070012

I went into Surfer’s Path 2016 much better trained, mentally stronger, and the reason of redemption firmly set in my mind. I also headed into the race with the ally of Michael Zozos (whose Surfer’s Path 2015 had been his first half-marathon and would make SP2016 his first full- what a year!) whose boundless enthusiasm and first timer’s cautious jitters fueled my own race. As with last year, we set out at a conservative pace to not overextend ourselves in the first half. We head out east from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk which kicks of the start, serves as the half-marathon finish, marathon half-way point, and ultimate marathon finish, towards Capitola Village. Luckily this bow-tie course easily divides itself into four quarters- out to Capitola and back- then out to Wilder Ranch and back- This serves as a great way to break up the miles and hours.

We head out East Cliff Drive on the most “urban” part of the course starting at sea level then climbing up 50-70 feet up to cliff level in a pretty regular climb-dip-climb repetition. While the climbs are not the least bit difficult- the variety of the course does result in slower overall times for both the half and full marathons (The marathon winner only put up a 2:54 marathon time). In addition the the rolling nature of the first half- many of the roads have a steep camber that makes smooth running a bit challenging. As per usual I had to make a relatively early bathroom stop to expunge the morning coffee and let Zozos run ahead.  I kicked it up a bit to catch up with him and put up my fastest splits of the race in the first quarter (not sound strategy) but I made sure that even though they were faster splits that they were comfortable and would not dip too far into my energy reserves. Instead of hitting the gas and attempting to catch him in a mile or two, I crept up on him over the course of about four miles, meeting up with him again at the bottom of the descent into Capitola Village and the first turn around. Eagle eyed Zozos spotted out buddy Tim at the turnaround with his young son Connor in a Baby Bjorn- Tim jogged along with us for 100 yards or son cheering us on. Later he would tell us that in typical Santa Cruz fashion- some ‘holier than thou’ mom had chided him for letting Connor’s head bounce around too much and that he could have seriously hurt Connor. Tim’s ‘mind your own business’ response: “Second Kid- what can you do?” First quarter of the race done.

Heading back to the mid-point was fairly uneventful. Now it was Zozos’ turn to hit the head around the famous surf spot of Pleasure Point.  I did my best to keep a steady pace for him and he caught up in fewer miles allowing us to run together into the half way point back at the Boardwalk. He we saw Tim again (evidently he is either a telweporter or there was no traffic) and my family along with another friend who’s now a local Santa Cruzer. Seeing so many supporters at the midpoint really fueled my fire and sent me off into the tougher second half with supportive fuel for my fire!

IMG_0480 IMG_0481

The third quarter of the race is my favorite part. After the half, the two thousand and change participants drops down to only over three hundred marathoners. It runs to the west along West Cliff drive- a two and a half mile stretch that I used to run in college and then out past Natural Bridges State Beach to the bluffs of Wilder Ranch. There, the race actually goes off road and becomes a pseudo trail race. Miles 19-21 snake along dirt trails overlooking the cliffs and inaccessible beaches- one small section even does a strange little loop around a horse pasture (maybe that’s the .2). In this section is where Zozos left me to run ahead. Younger, springier, and honestly naturally more talented he began to run his own race and actually to my relief I was now able to run my own. Severing our first half tie, allowed us to settle into our own races at on our own terms. Now on my own I head into the section where my race fell apart at mile 16. Last year I was deep in the dark parts of my soul while this year this is where my strong pace started to drop off a bit. The ruts of the trail that I had to navigate or twist an ankle really put a cramp in my pace- and once it drops it’s hard to get back. Still though I felt much stronger through this section than last year and soaked in the beauty.

Surfers Path 16

The home stretch retraces section three back along West Cliff. Back on the roads and path I started to do the math of whether I could PR. Mile 23 and 24 I was able to kick it back into gear and get my pace back under a nine minute mile that it had dropped to out on the dirt and larger hills. I guess the effort at the tail end of the race plus struggling with nutrition (I could barely down my last gel at mile 20 or so) I began to feel a bit dizzy and sick. I soldiered on until the dizzyness overtook me. Out on this part of the course the path alongside the cliffs is open to the public so marathoners and sea gazing walkers coexist alongside each other. In my haze I past by two elderly folks speed walking with trekking poles (a bit of an odd sight). I veered in front of them and heaved over the railing the last bit of water/sports drink I had taken in at the last aid station. I must have surprised the couple as they passed me as the woman let out a surprised “Oh my!” Sometimes puking makes one feel better- and while the hurl helped a bit, really the willpower to finish was what propelled me forward. And that will did propel me past that surprised couple again (“Is that the man who was ‘watering the flowers’!”) and on towards the finish.

I keep saying this- but what a difference a year makes. From literally sitting down on the course and not wanting to move to puking on the course and pushing on- the difference was made through will. Even though the body couldn’t keep up as fast as I would have liked, the spirit was willing. No PR was in the cards in the end but I still revel in the huge improvement on last year’s performance with a course best of 3:54:06 (Compared to last year’s 4:23:11- about a 30 minute improvement!) Ultimately, the main goal was met: If you can’t PR, you can still fulfill your reasons for running a race- and that reason of REDEMPTION echoed off the sand, surf, and cliffs at the finish line.

20160522_203711

Hittin’ That High

Behind the bleachers, only partially concealed, the runners whispered and shifted restlessly. Necks jotted intermittently, automatically, to ascertain whether they had been discovered like a pack of lean nervous meerkats. If one were above those slatted shadows watching the meet, one might capture a fragment of a hush…

“You get high?”….

“Shhhh- not so loud!”

“No really man- you ever had a runner’s high?”

“Ummmm…I think I have. One time on a really long run I started hallucinating and though a squirrel flipped me off. That’s like a runner’s high right?

“Naw man- that’s the weak stuff. You gotta try the pure dope(amine). C’mon man follow me, I’ll hook you up with a real runner’s high!”

I think this was the snippet of an after school special I caught on the Outdoor Life Network one afternoon when there was nothing on but Nascar and golf- but then I went out for a run and didn’t see how it all ended.

All joking aside- this last weekend I had my first bona fide runner’s high! Now that I’ve had one and recognized it, I’m pretty certain I’ve had one before but didn’t know what it was and how it probably helped me to finish those miles, or run faster, or just…really enjoy that run. What was significant about this high was that I felt it coming on, realized how I had achieved it, and used the high to finish the run strong.

Last year, I challenged myself to undertake runs that had an epic bent to them- in this case running from Sacramento to Davis. That first time was around the same time of year- springish- but had be markedly hotter. I suffered through the last of the 16 miles pretty defeated and doubting my judgement in attempting this. This year I decided to give it a go again- perhaps for variety’s sake or even a bit of redemption- with different conditions. I rode the drizzly cool temperatures for all they were worth, rode the carbs and salt of experimenting with Tailwind for it’s $25 dollars of worth, rode the long and straight of the road to practice keeping a steady pace for all its worth, and ended up- riding HIGH!

The high came in mile 12 of 16. My workout called for a 16 mile long run at easy long pace- which I was holding well, spirits were high but by the 12 mile mark, joints were getting a bit sore, the feet were getting weary of the plodding, and God help me if I had to stomach another gel! The last four miles I was to kick it up to Goal Marathon Pace to practice running a negative split and finishing strong after a long slog. Just that, kicking it up a notch, into a higher gear- initiated the high. My body had been lulled into long and slow but the sudden change of pace gave my system a wake up call. I can imagine the hypothetical ship’s crew of my brain jumping into action-

“Alright boys- ramming speed!”

“Ready adrenaline, dopamine, and all anesthetic hormone stores…”

“Initiate ‘fight or flight’ protocols. The body may be entering a period of physical distress!”

I could literally feel the ache of my lower extremities melting away. I felt a new surge of energy to equal the new energy I needed to expend. I felt happy all of a sudden! I was higher than a kite off of home grown chemicals I didn’t have to purchase under the bleachers.

When minutes before I was grumbling under my breath, now I literally “Whooped!” (I have NEVER uttered a sound even resembling a “whoop” before!) I song came over my earbuds called “Give Me Rain” came on as water was visibly dripping off my hat brim and I audibly yelled- “That’s right! Give me RAIN! Bring it ON!” In the dark portions I would have attempted to kick a field goal with any squirrel that dared to interrupt my path now was treasured brother in nature that I wished long life and prosperity.  I could have sworn there was a family of squirrels along the path ringing cow bells, with signs reading “Go Nuts!” and giving me thumbs up- maybe I was hallucinating again…

Now that I’ve had a taste and no where to get it (on the street (or the trail)) I can’t wait for the next high. I highly recommend the pure stuff.

 

 

Race Schedule (Updated 5/14/16)

I recently had an epiphany that I might want to take a look at my work calendar and race calendar side by side. Might that be a good thing? Might I want to not have a race on an early Sunday morning right after a late night work function? Well, since I can’t reschedule the race- gotta reschedule that work function then huh!? Finally looking at those calendars side by side, I realized I have a pretty full race schedule this year and…I’m totally cool with that. Here it is my 2016 race schedule below with “definitely on the books” (OTB) as well as “maybe on the books” (MB):

Feb. 7: Super Sunday Run 5K

(OTB and Completed!)

Shamrock'n Half

March 13: Shamrockin’ Half Marathon

(OTB and Completed!)

April 3: SacTown Credit Union 10 mi.

(OTB and Completed!)

Sacramento Zoo Zoom

April 7: Zoo Zoom

(10 K OTB and Completed!)

Dirty Secret Trail Run

May 7: Dirty Secret Trail Run Long Course (10.3 mi.)

(OTB and Completed!)

Santa Cruz Surfer's Path Marathon

May 22: Surfer’s Path Marathon, Santa Cruz, CA

(OTB and Completed!)

Big Basin 50

June 12: Big Basin 50K (OTB and Completed!)

July 31: Blood Sweat and Beers Long Course (10.5 mi.) (MB)

Oct. 2 Urban Cow Half Marathon (MB)

Run to Feed the HungryNov. 24: Run to Feed the Hungry 10K (MB- but very likely)

Dec 4: California International Marathon (MB)

 

 

 

Once More Unto the Breach…

marquee number - 3

When I started this blog in 2014 perhaps I was making a long term deposit; hoarding away pellets of fuel for future running endeavors. Here I am at the beginning of 2016- having put the titular marathon I chased in the creation of this blog long behind me- now chasing marathon number three. Did I know then that writing and training partnership would keep going- no, but I’m not surprised that writing and training are still the inseparable running partners they are today.

At times when one is trying to scrape hours out of a busy day or week to just get out and put a few miles behind or when the miles themselves get long and aching- one does ask themselves form time to time- “why do I put myself through all of this?” (and by ‘this’ sometimes it’s as soft as ‘struggle’, moderate as ‘pain’, or extreme as ‘bullshit’). Here are some musings on the answers both shallow and sincere.

Shallow: I like collecting the medals and race shirts.

Sincere: It feels good setting goals and achieving them.

Shallow: People are impressed when you can boast you run up to six days a week.

Sincere: Running more than resting makes me feel alive.

Shallow: Throwing oneself into obsession makes me feel like I’m better than all those lazy bums that just Netflix and chill.

Sincere: Structuring life around my passion feels like I’m making the most of the time I have in life.

Shallow: I feel like a bad ass when I pass people on road and trails.

Sincere: I never race against other people- I’m racing against my slower former self.

Shallow: I look good- more fit, cut, toned- when I run. Narcissism y’know.

Sincere: I feel good- more calm, satisfied, balanced- when I run. Healthy inside and out y’know.

 

*NOTE: I wrote the sincere answers first as they are my true and sincere answers to why I do “this” and tried to come up with the most shallow version as bit of comedy afterwards.*

 

 

Goals for 2016

2016 Goals

Last year my goals were a bit…ambitious. Going to tone it down to something a bit more manageable for 2016. Here goes…

Goal 1: Check off some Bucket List Items. One is already on the books- to marathon with Mikey Z. Perhaps I can get a team together to tackle the Ragnar Trail relay in Tahoe in June.

Goal 2: Redemption at the Surfer’s Path Marathon. Last year my heart (nor legs nor lungs) were in for an under four hour marathon. With Mikey Z at my side and a reasonable 8:30-9 min. pace a sub four is surely doable. Hey, all I need to do is get under 4:23:00 for redemption. (Met)

Goal 3: Let’s keep on workin’ on that mile time. As I outlined in my previous post- I’ll work on this a couple of weeks into a new training schedule instead of right at the beginning when I’m at my slowest. (Met)

Goal 4: 1000 miles in 2016. By running between two to six days a week (with I thing maybe two weeks off) I was right on schedule to hit 1K in December 2015. Shouldn’t be too difficult to hit this again.

Goal 5: 8 races this year. Already paid for and on the calendar are the Shamrockin’ Half in March and the Surfer’s Path Marathon in May. I’d like to hit some old favorites like the  Zoo Zoom (either 5K or 10K) in April, and a new favorite, Blood Sweat and Beers in July. Perhaps I’ll and a trail race or two like the Dirty Secret Run or Run on the Sly (hopefully that Ragnar). I would love to break my hiatus and do the CIM again which would put Urban Cow in my schedule as well. What to put in the eighth slot?

Goal 6: Pace wife in her first Half Marathon. This one too is already on the books for the Shamrocki’ Half in March. She’ll be doing the whole Fleet Feet training program and everything so pacing her should be a piece of cake and a pleasure. (Met)

Goal 7: 50 mile week. My current highest mileage week stands at 42 miles. Not sure when I’ll be able to fit this in with perhaps two marathons this year (when you usually hit your highest mileage right before a proper taper and I don’t want to risk over-training) and this is definitely a goal I may want to leave by the wayside. (Met)

 

One runner's journey to completing their first marathon…and beyond.

Running Sunflower

Living life one pair of running shoes at a time.

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

me and my run

a journal

rekkrrunner

recovery to running

50 in 50 Marathon Quest

A fun look at life and running in the Pacific Northwest and my journey to run a marathon in every State.

Sub 3

First Marathon - Sub 3 Hour Goal - My Journey

Rather Be Runnin'

It's true. I WOULD rather be running.

Tell Me About Running

A Day In My Running Shoes

Running On Healthy

Living Life Healthy, Fit, and Happy

It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

And a 10K and a 200 Mile Bike Ride and an Obstacle Race and Anything Else We Find!

Creative Crypt

The Art of Tom Williams

Spectrum Strong

My family's journey through an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis.

Still At It

Emma Polley

misssophiablog beauty, fashion and lifestyle

Honest blogging on fashion, beauty and lifestyle

40runs4year40

the everyday to the extraordinary