Thursday, September 25, 2008

the pinacle of our training

Saturday we embarked on what was to be the longest run of our training program... 20 MILES!! That's like running from Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles to the end of the Redondo Pier in Redondo Beach... or running from Pac Bell Park to Walnut Creek.

This was our last 5 am wake up call and I was glad. We woke a bit later then normal and were slow to get going. My motivation to get out the door was unusually low; we weren't meeting with our team today and would be doing this run on our own.

Our plan for this run was to do it together... side by side for every mile. This would be good training for marathon day when we plan to run together. We had prepared enough gatorade for our water belts and for two water stops. The plan was to stock each of our cars with a cooler full of gatorade and post one at the starting line and one at the half way point.

We got out to Balboa Lake at about sunrise. We went through our usual stretch routine and then took off from the usual starting spot. Everything was as usual until we began running. Running with Jamie meant ratcheting back my speed a bit. My legs were confused by this; they wanted to go faster, but I wouldn't let them. It was a back a forth battle for the first couple miles, but my will to make this adjustment was strong and I REALLY wanted to run with Jamie.

Running along side Jamie was great. We attacked the twenty miles in three phases. The first lap was our warm up lap, and then we had two laps of running and then a cool down lap. Having this plan really helped break down the run into manageable portions.

The first couple laps Jamie feverishly struggled with her water belt. The wait of the bottles caused her belt to bounce around her waist and then inevitably up the curves of her hips to rest around her abdomen (which impaired her breathing). After messing with this thing for two laps Jamie finally gave into the notion that she did not need the belt and she could share my gatorade with me. We had plenty of gatorade at our stops and could refill every two and half miles.

We knocked back the laps one by one, and when we hit lap three Jamie erupted into song. Yeah she busted out SINGING!.. she was energetic enough to sing the Bon Jovi classic 'Living on a prayer'... "whoooooa we're half way there!" That's my girl!!

Lap three went by pretty smoothly, but when we hit lap four I began to feel a cramp in my lower calf. I was not happy about this, but I pressed on. The pain hung with me the entire last lap. I tried taking my focus off it by concentrating on other pains in my legs that I normally overcome. This worked for a few miles, but the pain kept festering on me. I was not about to give up though... 20 miles was the goal and I would not be one foot shy of it!

As the fourth lap wound down I was talking both Jamie and I through it... "this was just a cool down lap - just a nice EASY jog in". This took my mind off my pain and allowed my legs to take it easy. I heard Jamie repeat it a couple times to herself to try and convince her weary legs of a not so gloomy future.

As we approached the finish line the concrete felt smooth and sublime under my feet. Just the thought of completing 20 miles made everything wash away for me. I grabbed Jamie's hand and we rushed over the finish line together... WE DID IT!! We knocked back the longest run of our training, and we did it together. RIGHT ON BABY!.. YOU ROCK!!!

Try and keep up with me!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

beach bummin it

This past week was truly a blessing to me. Jamie and I got to go up north to Santa Cruz and spend a week at beach house with my dad & mom, all my bros and my grandma. The week was a blast. Most of our time was spent down at the beach boogie boarding, building massive sand castles, relaxing and of course running. At night beach bonfires were'a blazin - I brought my didgeridoo, a hand drum and some clapping sticks, and combined with some pretty entrepreneurial instruments we played bouts of wild music and ate smores to the late hours of the night.

We kept our runs up throughout the week, and on Wednesday, Jamie and I ran what I have to say was the best runs we have done so far. Our run took us along the water front and out a jetty to a lighthouse, and then through the Santa Cruz Harbor. The weather was a little cool, but the scenery more then made up for it.

We kept ourselves well hydrated and stretched throughout the week in preparation for our 20 mile run on Saturday. Sleep was the one thing working against us. The combination of late nights, my nephews early morning playful clamor, and sleeping on and air mattress made quality sleep next to impossible. We actually stayed an additional night foregoing the Saturday run with the team to do it on Sunday. When we got back however we realized that no amount of sleep would prepare us for the demands of a 20-mile run.

We ended up sleeping in on Sunday and set a goal to do the 20 miles the following Saturday on our own. It is going to be rough on our own, but together we will conquer it.

Try and keep up with me!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

out with the old, in with the new

It has been three and half months since I strapped on my first real pair of running shoes. Since then I have taken on over 200 miles of various terrain. My shoes, much like my body, have taken a serious beating, but they wear the scars more then I do. Check it out. Here is what my shoes looked like when I first got them…

…And this is what they look like now…

Pretty crazy, huh? I guess that’s what 200 miles of pounding the earth will do. Jamie and I went and picked up some replacement shoes to begin working into our training. I won’t fully commit to them until after I complete my 20-miler. By then I think I will retire them to some dark place in my closet.

This past week we made another return to the hilly streets of Porter Ranch. The coarse took us through the biggest hill we will see in San Francisco accompanied with six and half miles of moderately hilly terrain. I set out on this run with a new attitude - the last time we did this hill I just wanted to get through it.. this time I wanted to destroy it. My pace was very aggressive and I kept it strong. After about four miles of hilly terrain, the two and half mile hill was upon me. I rounded the corner and began my hunt for the top. My legs were persistent, only needing a single rest break to catch their prey. The hill was brutal and snapped back at my will every chance it got. But my aggressive assault paid off and I dispatched my prey, leaving it bloodied with my tenacity.

With the top of the hill behind me I hit the last water stop where Coach Brett's mom was serving up cold Gatorade and cookies. I gulped down a few cups and hit the backside of the hill with a lighter foot. I have been working on refining my downhill running strategy and today I think I mastered it. I was able to maintain a good cruising speed down the hill without using too much energy and minimizing the impacts to my joints. The bottom of the hill came much quicker then the top, and then it was just a smooth half mile run into the finish.

I made good time today, and Jamie was not too far behind me. We hung around and brought in the rest of the team before heading off to an ice bath. That's all for now.

Try and keep up with me!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I ain't trippin


Well a Saturday came and went without my feet so much as touching my running shoes. It was Jamie’s birthday weekend on August 23rd and my brother Trevor and his wife Rachel came down from the Bay to go to a Dave Matthews Band concert with us in San Diego. The weekend was a blast, and we gave Jamie the full birthday treatment. Thanks guys for heading down; it meant a lot to us!

From Monday on we put ourselves in a serious training mode; 18 miles was on the horizon and we had to ready our bodies for it. Constant hydration and daily stretching were a must; we made a consorted effort to hit the z’s early, but only managed to do so the night before the run. The team also started a new mid-week workout called speed intervals. Basically we run at about 85% of our max speed for a timed interval and then rest for a period of time and then repeat. Repeating this five times put us halfway through our workout and the remainder was wrapped up with a two mile run.

The morning of the big run Jamie and I were up before the sky even cracked a shade of blue. We each downed water and a protein-berry-oatmeal-almond milk-banana-peanut butter smoothie (I know it sounds kinda weird, but it gets me going and keeps me going). We charge out the door into the dark morning sky ready to take on what would be our second longest run in training. The morning air was thick with remnants of a southern tropical storm, but retained the cool temperatures of a typical Southern California morning. We stretched our reluctant legs, and were off pounding the trail before sunrise.

We were doing three loops today; one 8 mile loop and two 5 mile loops. At about halfway through the first loop I found myself running in a small group of runners. This was a bit unusual for me because I typically run alone, but I figured this would be good practice for race day (when I plan to run with Jamie and my mentor Paul). Our pace was a bit slower then I was accustomed to, but I acclimated to it and focused on my form. The loops went by pretty uneventfully until the final loop.

We were pushing through the last miles of our run and fatigue was beginning to set in for me. We were on a stretch of concrete bike path when just in front of us two people walking opposite directions stopped and allowed their dogs to stretch their retractable leashes across the entire length of the path to sniff each other out. As soon as I saw this it seemed too late for me and I yelled out “excuse me!” I got no reaction from them as they condoned their dogs’ indulgence in each other. It seemed like a split second before I was upon their trip line of leashes and having to take evasive maneuvers; I darted off the path hitting one of the ladies pretty hard and shredding through the grass. Luckily I caught my footing pretty well and was able to continue running uninjured.

After this bit of excitement it was back at it. We had about two miles left and they were clocking in as the toughest yet. I found myself convincing my legs that this was a cool down run, and that it was just an easy jog in. My legs fell for this sham and before I knew it the pain and fatigue were subsiding and I was devouring the last mile.

I finished out the run with fellow teammate Debbie, and we were the first to cross the finish line. Our time was not the best, but we were glad to be done. Jamie did awsome today and finished not too long after us… WAY TO ROCK IT BABY!! We hung around for some breakfast and then took off for our post run recovery.

Try and keep up with me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

you gotta read this!!

Since I laced up my running shoes and took the first steps on my marathon journey I have carried with me the battle my dad is waging against cancer. I think about what he’s going through mentally and physically and how on some small remote level I am paralleling his endeavors. I can’t even begin to imagine where he is at in his head though. I do however understand how he pulls from within himself to say “NO! I will not accept defeat!”… “I WILL PERSEVERE!!” It is what I carry with me when I run and hit those rough patches. But just like my completion of those hard training days, my dad pushes through and gets his victories.

It is not often in ones life that we get phone calls that totally rock our worlds. My initial discovery of my dad’s cancer was on a cell phone call stuck in L.A. traffic on Highway 5 coming back from San Diego… not the best timing eh? Well yesterday I got the call that has put a shiny gloss on that experience. On the other end of the phone line was my dad, and he had just gotten back from his doctor appointment... “the results from my bone marrow taken a month ago show that I have 0.92% myeloma cells, and the doctor said that with the additional month of treatment I have gone through since the test was done, he believes that I am in 100% remission” …yeah you read that right ONE HUNDRED F’N PERCENT REMISSION!!! WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Not only that but my dad continued to say that the doctor believes he is in the 60-70% of people who, after a stem cell transplant, will be cured for life. HELL YEAH!! CURED FOR LIFE!! You hear that everyone?!? I’ll say it again CURED FOR LIFE!!

The battle is not over. The roughest part of my dad’s battle is still ahead of him. Fortunately his test results have shown that he is a prime candidate for a stem cell transplant. My dad has a great circle of support, and by you just reading this you are unknowingly sending him positive energy. So keep it coming. Thanks for lending me your eyes.

I love you dad!!