Monthly Archives: January 2013

Plano Pacers 5M – 2006

December 30, 2006

I am back in Dallas for Christmas.

Part of my Christmas present from my sister is a body fat test (next year, I get to do a stress test).

I have had body fat measured in a bunch of different ways:

*calipers – got a reading of 18%
*handheld electronic machine – got a reading of 9%
*body fat scale – got a reading of 16%

The method used at the Cooper Clinic is the submersion version.

I strip down naked and get into a hot tub of sorts (in other words, the water is pleasantly warm).  I need to be fully submerged and sitting in a “deck chair” scale.  I have some problems with this, because sitting in the chair regularly (which is probably standard, my feet are touching the bottom.  No good.

Then, I try sitting cross legged, but my knees are hitting the sides of the pool.

We finally find a position where I am only on the chair (very awkward) and I find it almost impossible to stay submerged, blow out all my air and stay under long enough for them to get a reading.  They finally get a couple of readings of 23%.  Afterwards, they do the caliper test and get a reading of 21%.

I don’t really trust the caliper test because it is a measurement of averages.  They measure your belly, your lower back and your thigh… but if you’ve seen me, my legs are a large part of my body, and for the most part, not a bit of fat on them.  I don’t think you can use the same averages as someone who has shorter legs and a large frame (I have a small frame – yes, small and 6’6″).

I did manage to do a couple of practice stress tests on the treadmills at the Cooper Gym.  The stress test is walking on a treadmill at 3.3 mph (about 18:00/mile) at 1% grade.  Every minute, they increase the grade by 1% until they reach a maximum of 25%.  You cannot hold on, and probably every 3-5 minutes they are taking your blood pressure and electrodes are attached as well.  It’s awkward.  If you make the maximum grade, then they start increasing the speed by 0.3 mph every minute until you just about collapse.  I think my sister may have gone for 37 minutes, which is very very good.

There are treadmills at the gym that go up to 50%.  At about 30%, you HAVE to hang on, because it is too steep.  What I didn’t realize is that you have to have a “key” in to pass 25% (and it kept falling out on the angle), so it kept stopping before I could get a decent reading.  I will have to wait until next year to see how I can do for real.

My sister runs with a club in Dallas (maybe more like a team), but there are several clubs in the area that do multiple monthly races.  As far as I can tell, the Plano Pacers never do runs together… unless they are races.  Basically, your membership is discounted races.

I do their 8K (5M) run in Schimmelpfennig Park by the Plano Senior Center.  My parents come out and stay inside the warm car until I am done.

For some reason, the park asphalt surface feels too solid on to me or knee busting.  I just do my best to stay with people I think I would be competing with (I’m a terrible gauge on how old people are.).

Even with a small race, they give out trophies to the top 3 in every age group, and they even have a Clydesdale Category (190+ pounds).  My time of 36:38 is good enough for 1st in the Clydesdale category (I’m probably the lightest, at 205 pounds), but wouldn’t have been more than 6th in M35-39.

This group has at least two races a month, so next time I am in Dallas to visit, I will run with them again (race was $10).

Make Room 4 Santa 10K – 2006

December 17, 2006

Post-marathon and post-Sheriff’s run, my body needed a break and so I got sick.

However, I had already committed to run the Make Room 4 Santa inaugural 10K in Irvine with a bunch of friends, so I sucked it up and just did the race.

Most of the people I went with got all gussied up in Santa outfits.  I demurred and wore a “Santa’s Little Helper” green rubber bracelet (something that wouldn’t affect my running) – thanks, Geri.

Despite having a head cold, I had a decent race, finishing in 46:12, out of the medals, but even so, I still felt sick at the end.

LASAA East LA 10K Mug Run – 2006

December 9, 2006

I went against my full-week off of running plan and did the 10K from the Citadel Factory stores shopping center (near) East LA.

Since this was my first post-marathon run, I had some breathing problems.  If you have ever taken time off of running, you will find that the first time you run after the break, it feels like you haven’t run for ages!  And in a race, you are trying to not fall behind or run quickly and efficiently.

In any case, this is a good training help for running tired, which I am going to have to do if I am doing that ultra/marathon back-to-back next year.

I managed a 47:15… not good enough for a medal, but still under 8:00/mile.

California International Marathon – 2006

December 3, 2006

In 1996, I ran my first marathon at the California International Marathon (CIM).  I decided that I would run it again for my 10th anniversary of doing a marathon.

When I was in Dallas for Thanksgiving last month, I read an article in the Dallas Morning News (a great newspaper for runners – weekly articles, calendar, etc.) about some nutty people who ran an ultramarathon on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday.  Less than 20 nutty people.  I wanted to be one of those exclusive nuts, but the race weekend was this same weekend, and the anniversary was important to me.  I was definitely going to take it on in 2007!

I made plans to stay with my friend Jessica in Davis, and hoped that I could rely upon my friends in GVH running club to carpool to and from the race.  I sent a number of e-mails months prior and no one was that organized.  Then, two weeks ago, everyone had their carpools set and no room for me.

Jessica, who is not remotely interested in running (except as a friend because it interests me) said that she would drive me to and from the race… and help out anyone from the club in the same boat.  (I couldn’t offer to rent a car, because the marathon is point-to-point, so there would need to be two cars.)  This was a VERY generous offer (who wants to drive people anywhere at 6am on a Sunday?), and two people from GVH took us up on the offer.

On Sunday, I talked briefly with the other two runners, both of whom I had never met before.  The one that stuck out in my head was Chris Rosario, who was a few months younger than me and was talking about how he was going to run 3:30 or so (faster than my PR) for his 2nd or 3rd marathon.  I thought that is unbelievable!

The plan was that I would have my cellphone and that we would all meet in a central agreed-upon location and Jessica could get there in 20 minutes to take us back.

It was pretty cold at the start, though not raining, and I felt stupendous, and ran the first 13.1 miles in 1:46:45 (which would put me on a sub-3:30 pace).  I was even running with the 3:20 pace group for several miles, and then the wheels fell off… my legs got tight.  I wasn’t consuming enough liquid either, and I’m certain that did not help one bit.

My biggest mistake (besides walking the 4 miles to the airport on Friday) was bending over to pick up someone’s dropped water bottle.  CRAMPS!!!!  (The A-hole dropped it on purpose – didn’t need it anymore!)  That basically reduced me to a halting walk for the last 5-6 miles and my second half was an unblistering 2:32… but I still did 4:18:48, which was a personal best on this course by about 15 minutes.

Afterwards, I was able to find Chris, but not the other gal.  We called her cellphone to see where she was, and we heard it ring… in Jessica’s trunk!  Great.  Now we’ll never find her!  Somehow, though, she managed to finagle a ride home with another team member and get her cellphone back later.

A few months later I was managing the AREC membership list, and I noticed that one of the new member e-mails looked familiar – it was Chris Rosario, who had moved to Long Beach.  It was nice having someone who had the same GVH/AREC/TRH experience… and bad because he always beats me in races.

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot 8M – 2006

November 23, 2006

My first Thanksgiving in Dallas now that my folks have moved here.  Riva suggested that I do the Turkey Trot.  My first 10K ever was A turkey trot in Davis, and Turkey Trots seem to be a tradition for runners around Thanksgiving.  I wonder when the first ever Turkey Trot race was held (how many years ago?)…

This is one of your more unusual Turkey Trots because it is 8 miles long, not your standard distance, though I suppose 8 miles may just be long enough to run off the upcoming turkey dinner.

This is also atypical because of its large size.  There were over 20,000 runners at the event – that’s a lot of runners!!!

As I was waiting in the starting area, they had marked off various sections for specific paces.  I decided that 7:30/mile was pretty good, but soon I noticed that the area was mostly populated by people with strollers who didn’t look as fit as I did.  Even in the 6:00/mile pace area, there were people who “didn’t belong.”  I realized that I’d better move up quite a bit or I would be stuck in a slower group for the entire race.  I stood in the 5:30/mile section!

My first mile was a bit slower than I wanted to run – a little over 8:00, because it was so crowded.  Once I got into a better rhythm, then I was running with people doing my proposed 7:30/mile pace (and some of them had started in the 5:00 “corral”).  I guess had I started with that group, I could have broken 1 hour, but I was close with 60:13…. and being such a large race, I only managed 67th in my age group.

I would do this race again, if the timing works out.

LASAA Temple 10K Mug Run – 2006

November 11, 2006

Drove up to Temple City to do another Sheriff’s Mug Run.  This is a fairly uneventful street course that runs through a number of neighborhoods, with a net elevation gain (100′?) for the first 3 miles and then a mild descent back to the start/finish for the second half.

For me, it’s slightly notable that it is somewhat near where my grandparents spent the last years of their lives… I think I may have run by the hospital complex where my grandmother spent the bulk of her last 10 years.

Today, I tried out new “orthotics.”  In my mind, orthotics are inserts specially fitted for oneself, rather than over-the-counter inserts.  I bought some OTC inserts to give me a little more support.  I may have mentioned before that I have two differently sized feet, and they differ from what is normal.

My left foot is a 12-1/2 and my right foot is a 13-1/2… and after 12s, there are no half sizes.  I don’t generally know anyone who has opposite feet.  If I did, I would assume that their shoe width is also probably not AA, since most large footed persons have a wide width (like D or E or EE).

So… I get 14s, which is a pretty good fit for the right foot and a bad fit for the left.  The orthotic inserts help a little bit for both feet for support, but help best for the left foot.

I overcompensated a little bit on the run and went out too fast, but managed to get into a comfortable rhythm fairly quickly.  The fast start helped me to see where I was in the race, and only a few people passed me overall.

I ended up running 45:08, coming in 6th place overall and winning my age group.  Gotta love these small races when you are finishing in the top ten overall!

Dino Dash 10K – 2006

November 5, 2006

Kurt and I decided to do the Dino Dash (before the Sunday Hash) in Tustin.  This is one of your basic street runs, with a little hill over the freeway and back, circling around some Asian commercial-area churches, and finishing through some car dealerships.

I overdid the first mile, but still managed 45:30 (which is around 7:30/mile).  Kurt ran a personal best (or least, a personal best post-college).

Neither of us got any hardware.  Probably for the best.  A medal – I can hang on the wall.  A trophy – I can put on my bookcase.  A ceramic dinosaur (with plaque) made by an elementary school student – probably eventually ends up in the trash.  Neat idea, though!

LA Cancer Challenge 5K – 2006

October 29, 2006

The first year of the Pancreatic Cancer challenge race without Heather (who died a few months ago).  Her son and ex-husband are here, though, and a lot of her good friends, in memory of her.

We are at the LA Veterans campus, near the 405 and 10 intersection (off of Wilshire Blvd.).

This course has some nice hills, but none of the sharp turns on uneven pavement that the run at UCLA had (2 years ago, I think).  It’s just nice being here.

The day Heather died, another running friend (and her brother, too) were diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  She is in her mid-60s, so just as tragic (probably) as someone under 40, since nowadays 65 isn’t “old age.”  She is still hanging in there, though, 4 months post-diagnosis.  Outlook not great, though.

Even after a 3M race yesterday, I manage 22:10 for the 5K.  Normally, this wouldn’t put me in the top 10 of my age group, but following my theory that when 10K is offered along with 5K, the better runners do the 10K; I end up placing 3rd in my division (and the medals even went 5 deep!).

Dale Shimizu 3M – 2006

October 28, 2006

One more Dale Shimizu run at the LB Health Center.  This is probably the least exciting run, but I feel pretty good considering that I haven’t run much since my 50-miler a few weeks earlier.

Before the race, I feel like I have a “celebrity” sighting – this happens occasionally in LA, though usually not at small local races.  At Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon, we were always spotting celebrities – for the most part, they run the “Celebrity Race,” which usually is 0.5 mile per celebrity (the exception being the Malcolm in the Middle team who always did the full relay – and I respected them for that).

Anyway, the gal looked like Julie Stouffer (sp?), the LDS girl from the original season of MTV’s The Real World – New Orleans.  I was a fan of hers, because I liked watching the people that weren’t hot messes and drunks trying to deal with the hot messes and drunks (kind of like college for me).  Unless the situation is special, I usually don’t run up to a celebrity and get all googly-eyed.  I just accept the situation… especially in a race – I’m sure the person just wants to do their run and not get fawned over.  If she was just ahead of me the whole race, I might run up next to her and start a conversation (if she wasn’t running arm-in-arm with a boyfriend or wearing headphones and ignoring the world).  She was behind me, anyway.

I managed to run 20:38, which was a bit faster than last year, certainly not a PR (slower than my best 5K), but it was good enough for first place in my age group (the new age group).

Afterwards, since I compiled the results, I did note that there was a Julie Stouffer in the results.  So, I guess it was her.

In the afternoon, I saw some other “celebrities” in West Hollywood at the Drag Races (I just watched – you couldn’t pay me to race 100 yards in high heels and a dress!).

Dick Collins Firetrails 50M – 2006

October 7, 2006

This is my second 50 miler, and I wanted to do it right.  I don’t really have the confidence that I can improve upon my American River 50 mile time, because that had relatively little elevation change, and this course has considerably more and is more technical (meaning rockier and more straightforward trails).

As part of my training prep, I have tried to do some quality runs… usually this means doing a number of back-to-backs.  Some of this has been achieved in racing (Distance Derby 10M/5M, Sunset in the park 2.8M/4.8M), but I have used the Nike training runs as pre-runs before longer runs.

On September 16th, I paced the 11:00/mile 5-mile group for Nike, went home, changed clothes (somewhat) and then ran a 26.2 mile loop around Long Beach (including the hardest hills in Signal Hill) in 5 hours and 48 minutes.  I figured all of this to be good simulation for pushing through when I am extremely tired.

I flew up to the Bay area on Friday and I am staying with my folks in their Oakland condominium.  This is the first time I have been up to the area after my parents sold the family home and (officially) moved to Dallas, Texas.  Of course, they are still spending considerable time in the Bay Area, because that is where they have lived nearly 40 years.  This weekend is also Dad’s reunion for law school, so he and Mom will be at a shindig tonight and cannot pick me up after the race (but they can drop me off (and I can’t take their car, because they won’t have a car to go to the event)).  I make arrangements with my friend, Kevin (who I started running with in 1996) to meet me at Skyline Gate (Mile 35), run with me to the end and then drive me back to my folks’.

Sometimes in the longer races, runners are allowed to have pacers from a certain point on.  If you are over a certain age, you may be allowed to have a pacer for the entire race.  Skyline Gate is the first point that this will work.  I have decided that I will carry my cell phone with me and call Kevin when I am getting close so that he knows how long he has to wait.

The race starts early, at 6am, and I recognize a few folks at the start – Ling Ru Chu from GVH, Eric (who I have run with (somewhat) with my sister on Christmas morning, and people who I recognize, but have never learned their names.

The start is the same as the Skyline 50K, by Lake Chabot.  The direction of the run is in the opposite direction, so instead of the suspension bridge 2.5 miles from the end, it is 2.5 miles from the beginning.  Basically, the path to the bridge is only wide enough for one person, so by the time I get to the bridge, there is a 2-minute wait to get on the bridge.  It sort of lets you know your position in the pecking order of the race.

The course is somewhat similar to Skyline (in reverse), going to Bort Meadows, and then up to Skyline Gate at Mile 15.  (This will be Mile 20 on the way back.)

After Skyline Gate, the course is unfamiliar to me, though growing up in the area, I know that somehow I have to cross over the Caldecott Tunnel (which connects Oakland to Walnut Creek).  There is basically a lot of tricky ascent, but you never get the sense that just below you are hundreds of cars going through a mile-long tunnel… and yet, there it is.

This tricky ascent is rocky and steep and made more difficult by being tired from so much climbing and running.  At the “top,” we start to see runners coming from the opposite direction.  At first, I think it is the leaders heading back (though I don’t think that I am THAT slow!).  Then I realize that it is the marathoners.

Associated with this race is the Golden Trail Marathon.  They leave their car at the finish (Lake Chabot), get shuttled 26.2 miles away and then run back to the finish.  Unfortunately for me, this is my least favorite part of the trail, because there are about 30 trees whose roots cross the trail, so you cannot just run through it… you must take your steps carefully… and avoid the other (fairly fresh) runners.

I am almost 22 miles in and I pass by a relic of my childhood – the Tilden Park Steam Trains.  This was always a good memory – the family riding the trains around its circuit, through the tunnel, the smells of coal burning trains, the adults not quite fitting on the child seats…

From here, I head uphill on a paved road, heading to the Lone Oak Picnic area at mile 26.  I am still feeling pretty good and have not suffered any of the problems I normally get at this point.  I think that it is either my training or I am consuming just the right items at the aid stations (salt, yum.).

For the return trip, it is retracing my steps, past the Steam Trains, and along the rooted path, where I lose my concentration and trip into cramps.  Cramps!  I guess unavoidable.  I don’t know what I need to do to fix the cramps, but it slows down my pace considerably.

It also makes the tricky uphill from earlier (now a tricky downhill) even more difficult.  My balance is getting progressively worse and every time I hitch up my step to keep my balance, my legs start to seize again.

When I get out of the section, it’s time to try and call Kevin.  Naturally, there is little cell coverage out here and I don’t have any bars until I am almost upon Skyline Gate… and of course, Kevin is not there.  But there is coverage here, and when I get through, I just get his voicemail.

Of course now, now that I am thinking clearly, I realize that it’s probably for the best that Kevin did not come to Skyline Gate, because then his car would be at least 10 miles (or 15) from the start… and I don’t want to do another 15 miles to get a ride home!

From Skyline Gate, it is mostly downhill towards the finish.  With the cramping, it’s slow going, but I am well ahead of the time limit at this point, so walking isn’t so bad for me.  I’m hoping that I will at least find Kevin at the end…or that my cellphone will have enough charge left to call someone for a ride!

When I get to Bort Meadows (Mile 44.1), there is Kevin waiting for me.  I am so relieved.  He had turned off his phone… but at least was smart enough to know that he should leave his car at the finish and run out to meet me.

It was really nice to have someone to run with… er walk … er… slog slowly with.  Plus, we had the opportunity to catch up.  It wasn’t just the usual trail talk about how the race was going; it was a real conversation.

I know that I was relatively near to the back, because at the very last aid station they were packing everything up – I didn’t think I was THAT far back!

The last three miles were the first three miles of Skyline 50K, so very familiar to me, though seemed to go by very slowly as you can see the finish, but need to slowly work your way around the lake until you get there.

I finished in 12:17:25 (made the cutoff by 42 minutes and change).  As a finisher, I get a tech shirt and a wine glass (and some food).

Part of our conversation had been about how little running Kevin had been doing in the past few years (time was, he would always kick my butt in a race)… so I told him, “You did great today.  You ran 12 miles!”

His reply?  “I ran 6 miles and I walked 6 miles VERY slowly with you.”  Ha Ha.

Dick Collins Firetrails was definitely a challenging course, but it gave me the confidence that I would be able to complete any 50 miler, with the right kind of fitness, but mostly with the right stamina and full mental confidence.