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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Wednesday I completed the mileage part of my taper up although I  woke up grumpy as hell on Wednesday morning.  Went out with the LGID on Tuesday night and it commenced into a mutual bitch fest, with me taking the lead and dude consoling me mostly but I had a lot on my chest and had to get it off with someone I could trust and who has business savvy and is in the loop but outside of it enough so I could blow off the steam and strategize attack.  Guess what old ‘boyfriends’ are for that you have more of a friendly connection with than a romantic one, but I’m glad I got support from someone like that and I appreciate it.

Ended up spending the night at his house so I could give him the fashion approval for his outfit because his company just got bought out in a hostile takeover, and it was a good thing I did because I saved him from the powerless look of an exposed V Neck T Shirt under a button up long sleeve shirt with a suit.  Not a power look.  Its either tie or chest baby, if you don’t have one then you don’t have none.

So I walked home and got a Rocket at my usual cafe, Brainwash, which I stop by if I’m walking an Easterly down Folsom Street Walk of Shame, but of course, since it was the Last Guy I Dated’s house and we didn’t do anything I have nothing to be ashamed about (of course except for wasting his time, but we are forming a friendship).  It was still early, about 8 and I was feeling crunchy and sad from the night before and just couldn’t hit the trail in a condition like that.  Instead I stayed in bed and posted a series of despondent tweets which are so goodly bad that I have to repost them for posterity:

  • the stars are correct in their alignment and I’m just a symptom of that configuration.
  • 7 miles to clear the head but so depressed I can’t leave bed.
  • took a grumpy pill today and washed it down with a cup of angst.
  • if moods were measured geographically, mine would be located at the South Pole.
  • finds the power of a positive quote is to be nauseatingly trite.
  • someone threw the bitch switch to maximum output.

What was amusing to me was that I found myself dwelling in sadness and every time I thought of a good non-motivating thought it would make me feel a little better, actually laugh.  I felt it better to immerse myself in those feelings rather than deny, hide or try to drown them.  Its important that I address the issue that is causing me the most problem, but I just got to wait for my timing to be right because if it doesn’t work out the way I see it, the best possible way for all parties, I’ll have to be able to make a strong decision.

But enough vaguerie.  I finally got my ass together and ready for my 7 mile final training run before my race on Sunday.  It was afternoon sometime I guess.  I had only had that coffee and scone from Brainwash, but didn’t really want to eat.  I had planned to loop the Presidio starting at Baker Beach, but by the time I got to the Baker Beach parking lot I was ready to turn around and go home.  It was bitingly windy and cold and I could see that it was sunny across the strait over in Marin.  I took a piss and tried to get myself to stay, but by the time I got back to my car I was like fuck it, lets do the course over in the Headlands.  So I drove out, but started getting concerned about being hungry and thinking how it would really fuck things up if I had to go into Sausalito for a burrito or something then drive back out to the trail head and it just stacked up to be logically unreasonable.  So I decided to go to the snack shop at the Bridge.  I had to wait for parking but by the time I pulled into a slot there was still a little time on it.  I got out and the wind sort of caught my door and according to the fucking cunt I was parked next to, my door hit her on the side of her door.

Immediately the bitch started screaming at me, “You hit my car! What the fuck you doing, you fucking dick!”  Basically releasing a torrent of cliched invectives that were just so fiercely vehement that I can’t even recall the exact insults she hurled at me.  Of course I denied my door touching hers, I caught it at the very last moment.  Then she came over to see the scratch, I was out of my car telling her to calm down because she was cussing in front of her surprisingly cute 3 year old boy for such an ugly bitch of a mom.  In an attempt to ream me a new asshole she told me mind my own fucking business and learn how to park.  The experience was so out of the ordinary I was shocked to shit.  Definitely the most vulgar woman I ever met in my life.

So I walk away memorizing her license plate number and keeping an eye on the cunt to make sure she isn’t taking mine or worse, go into the snack bar and realize it is so full of tourists its only going to upset me more.  Get back in my car and tweeted I was ready to just turn around and go home and then I realized that if I went to the bowling alley and got a corn dog it would make everything alot better.

So I pull into the lot at the Presidio Bowling Center and realize that this part of the Presidio is protected from the wind.  I’m thinking this is smart, this is working out.  Go in and order my corn dog and kids are there bowling so its taking me back to when I used to be in a bowling league when I was a kid and then they play Thriller and for the first time that day I am genuinely happy.  I really savor the corn dog and the memories evoked and they are all of the idyllic childhood type.  Comforted in the knowledge that I haven’t changed, I am essentially the same as I’ve been through all time and all indicators says that I will remain.  Grouchy moods are essential and are as part of my make-up as my generally positive mode of performing my personality and I like that.  I find strength in that.  Never underestimate the power of a corn dog.

So I got out of my car, stretched up and started the run.  I planned on running without music because I intend to do so for my race Sunday and there was so much weighing on my mind that I was actually blank.

My route was over to and up the Ecology Trail, hitting the Ridge Trail.  Strong up the hill I found a pair of iPhone earbuds by the Spire thought they could have been mine, but they were burnt out.  Past the Wine Bunker and down the stairs at Immigration Point.  Battery Crosby, Batteries to Bluff, making pretty good time.  Under the Bridge and then to Fort Point.  I checked my mileage, but had only done 4 right then so had to improvise so thought to go to Palace of Fine Arts and back to the bowling alley.  Ran into my client Jack running with his dog and looking really fit and athletic with his new haircut.  He wished me well on my race and I’m taking his well wishes with me on Sunday. The Palace’s landscaping is finished and fabulous.  Lawns of Letterman, Yoda fountain up Presidio and down Lovers Lane, little bridge Pershing Square and bam~ 7.08 miles.  I’m so tight.

So even though my day started off suck from the night before, I finished my training despite obstacles.  I took it kind of easy so on race day I have to find my inner warrior because Coach K was babying his athlete/warrior for the real battle.  Total time was 1:35, but I stopped, pissed, adjusted, investigated and talked to Jack.  Pace, 13:31 slow but then again I’m training, not racing.  Best split was 10:11 and that was right when I ran into Jack.  I think I’ll do well.  My time would put me in 19th/48  overall according to last years results and solid 4th in my age group.  Men my age in top 3 are running sub 11’s. Age group elite.

So I think my goal is to do a sub 12, doable.  After this race, my training gets tweaked in an interesting way, will be training up to a 1/2 marathon distance but not committing to any races that length.

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Kind of embarassing, I had 1.5 miles to make up for week 2 taper and I couldn’t even complete that.  Drove out to Immigrant Point and was going to run to Mountain Lake, which was only a mile away.  The trail markers told me to run straight up, then it told me to go down Washington.  I checked my GPS unit and I had only gone a half mile.  Thinking for some reason that a Mountain Lake must be on top of a mountain,  cut back through Compton and found myself running behind where they are restoring the Rob Hill Campground.  Took a frustrated piss and circled back and I was at my car only completing a .81 of a mile trail run today.

So what’s the point?  Even though today’s run sucked it taught me a little bit.  I need to get warmed up and layered.  It was so cold it was stinging my face and I ran with my jacket on which soon got me overheated in the first half mile.  I blew the whole thing off and just ate some pork chops.  I need to regain my focus and tapering up and not running as much has caused me to lose it.

Really didn’t know what I was doing today as I was all groggy and sore with phantom pains from tapering.  Flat a mess, haven’t really done much housework since I fell ill and it was definitely starting to become a problem and my low energy hardly enabled me to address it.  However, I did what I could, made a dent rather than an impact.  Took some Tylenols with Codeine for the back pain and it worked so well I took another.  Started watching Devil Wears Prada after getting a slice from Chico’s and Monistat stopped over to piss before the Tea Dance and convinced me to go to Naked Yoga for Men just by saying I looked good in the 2 years since I stopped trail running and talking to the dolphins.  It hasn’t really been that long.

So I drove to the Mission after showering my hole to be nice to the yogis fore and aft.  I was 10 minutes early but the studio was packed.  I was #20 to sign up on the donation list and the room was 4 wide by 6 men deep.  I had to go in the front, but it was alright.  During my practice I realized how much I have neglected yoga, but some of that wasn’t my fault because I was ill, but still I need to insure that I get more of yoga in my X-Training, even if, Kali forfend, I have to do it with clothes on.

This particular session I have to remember because it served to stretch and address every part of my musculature that was sore from trail running and tapering up.  I’ll try to do this and research these A and B yoga series and do them by a Northern California beach in the waiting period before my next race.

Wednesday morning I had an appointment scheduled with my new body worker for a pre-run treatment with the intention of increasing my speed on the trail and reducing my recovery time.  I may have mentioned before that I made the contact with therapist Scott Henady on twitter searching hashtags for people talking about haircuts in my other persona as shop microblogger.  Was running late for my appointment because the heatwave had evaporated the last of my gas in the tank so had to go and fill up a gas can at the station down the street.  Lucky I had an empty gas can in the trunk and only ended up being an half hour late, which Scott was cool about.

Before the treatment, Scott did an intake, identifying my mileage and troubling areas.  What I feel strongly about is that Scott has a background in sports and fitness therapy and I need a qualified expert experienced in this area.  He had me stand up and he prodded me and found that I am right side dominant, the right side of my body is more built than the left. I know thats true because my right side has more strain and felt dull and achy when he poked me, the left side bright and tingly.  He said it has to do with the release of lactic acid in the muscle, the weaker muscles releasing more.  To balance out my body he suggests that I spend more time weight training the lower body.  He agrees that I shouldn’t try anything new until after this race, so I think I may have to upgrade away from that rec center on 6th Street.

After that it was face down on the table and during the relieving treatment I realized that this is an essential part of training and like most Westerners I can’t look at massage therapy as a luxury.  What I will be doing is twice monthly treatments with Scott, hopefully at least one of them will work out as trade.

So I was looking forward to how I’d be doing performance wise after my pre-run treatment.  Golden Gate Park was the scheduled Taper Up so I drove from Scott’s clinic in Glen Park through O’Shaugnessy, Forest Hill and down to 9th Ave.  It was almost 12 and traffic was backing up to get into the park because of the King Tut exhibit at the De Young.  Being local, I turned off on Lincoln and found free 2 hour parking right on 8th Ave.  It was a little hectic in the park. I saw an old couple had crashed into a granite lamp post and the glass cover had smashed into their windshield and their airbags had deployed.  Sucks.  By the time I was on the bridle trail back to solitude down the back paths of the park.  Trying to notice what was going on in my body, I felt light, was able to pick up my knees in stride instead of shuffling along.  Felt good and felt fast.

Run was rather non-eventful, which is a good thing.  By the time I got back to the De Young, I thought it would be  better to turn off the jets and just walk back to the car.  There were just too many people to deal with and tensions were high with the traffic jam in the park.

So I somewhat mis-scheduled this taper up for this week.  I have 1.5 miles to do today, but obviously am not and will do it tomorrow.  I have Naked Yoga for Men on the schedule in 4 hours, but I’ve been kind of achey with phantom tapering pains since Friday, back pain primarily.  I woke up this morning after 12 o’clock and just took a leftover Tylenol 3 which mellowed it out.  Then I took another one.  I’ll figure out what kind of shape I’m in by 5.

So Tapering Up is going well.  Tomorrow do a shorty uphill in the Presidio, then on Wednesday is my final training long run at 7 miles with more challenging elevations.  Race is on Sunday and I have a pre-run session with Scott on Saturday after work at 6 pm.  Then I’m having dinner with Chef James O. Its his birthday  Looking forward to it.

Tapering up doing the first trail of my second 4 course circuit.  The goal this week is to run 14 miles.  I completed a 6.48 mile course from Upper Fort Mason to Fort Point.  I averaged an 11:04 but at one point, I actually ran an 8:28 split.  That surprised me. I knew I was doing it on the trail, but as I was crossing through the meadow at Fort Mason I saw this epic image of a tall ship coming through the Golden Gate being heralded by a fire ship blowing water up to fountain down in a spray of rainbows.

I stopped at a good vantage point and took pictures and watched the stately Cuauhtémoc  sweep into the bay, pennants streaming and flags billowing.  The ship was tall and elegant. I tried to take pictures of her on my iPhone, but the perspective was too distant.  I think I need a digital mini cam with a zoom since photo blogging I particularily enjoy.

So hit the trail and the weather in San Francisco is hot.  Lots of guys running around without shirts which I much appreciate.  All body types, all men, all loving it.  I kept my top on because I need to be sensible about exposure to the sun in my advanced age. That sucks in particular.

So cruise on through, sort of surprised at how comfortable I feel on the trail.  Found that I could extend my chi to the edges of my feet and propel myself with a little bit more kick.  Challenged the benches outside of Fort Point to the smiles of a kick ass looking topless young triathlete.  What I’m trying to do, to prepare for my race is analyze on what type of terrain I can give a kick, when to hold back.  I’m not going to be able to run the course in Salt Point before race day, and I know that I hold back somewhat.  I have to go balls out downhill and run steady quick on the flats and make sure I can sustain a nice tempo on the climb.  I have it in me, lets see how it is when I’m out there.

So, upcoming: Wednesday I get my pre-run massage treatment from Scott, after which I’ll do Golden Gate Park. That will put me at about 12.5 miles for the week.  This puts me in a position to go over 14 miles if I do the shortest trail, so I don’t really know what I’m going to do. Maybe Wine Bunker again? We’ll see.

Yesterday I finished the first 4 segments of my Course Review, the goal being to run 21 miles in week 1 of my 3 week scientific taper–it took me 8 days.  Wrapping up the first week on the Bunny Trail I somehow managed to run exactly 21.01 miles, so there is something special to this Taper Up.  Presently, I’m having a coffee and getting ready to do 6 down the Marina, from Fort to Fort.  This week I’m scheduled to do a 14 mile Taper Up, but as it is, the mileage will prevent me from doing a sequential Taper Up, what I will do is F2F today, Golden Gate Park on Wednesday, then the Presidio Golf Course to Immigrant Point and back again.  I’ll be doing my final run of race week through the Presidio and extending it a bit to a 7 mile awesomeness throwing in some hills.

So I thought it was going to be sunny yesterday driving up to Grey Whale Cove, but on the 280 Daly City was slammed with what looked to be impenetrable fog.  Still so on Highway 1 in Pacifica, but as I careened through Devil’s Slide, the fog cleared over San Pedro Mountain and the beach below as if under a spell.  I pull into the parking lot and am greeted by full on surfer naked ass as this particular surfer didn’t bother doing the towel strip tease, just changing into his wet suit in front of his surf buddies just like that.  Very much appreciated.  Good Morning!  Did a quick warmup and hit the trail.  Was pleased that I could keep a steady uphill pace up the mountain cos I remember struggling so much on the days they poisoned the trail.  Zip up, zip down. Totally hot.

Something cool came my way.  I responded to a tweet where an integrative medicine practitioner wants to exchange massage for a haircut.  After my run I fullfilled my part of the trade with practitioner, Scott Henady from forbodyandmind.com.  I feel as if I am assembling my trail running support team and I so need an integrative health approach to trail running as you know I try to be as holistic as manageable, have recurrent injuries and chronic maladies, so I’m hoping that working with Scott will help me with those as well as improving my performance and recoveries.  He suggested that we do a pre-run treatment.  I’m going to let him practice his craft on me as I practice mine on the trail. It feels really good to have a health professional’s perspective on my Trail Running Dolphin Talking Team.

Floating down the trail, preoccupied with the work and the stress it is causing me and preparing for my quarterly evaluation.  In light of my recent stress induced illness and time away from work, I need to locate the areas where this stress is being generated and attempt to nullify it.  There has been alot of turnover at my job, most notably at the senior level, leaving me the second most senior in my department.  I brought it to management’s attention that I was concerned about the ramifications of the turnover and how it would affect me.  Why are we losing experienced people?  Was I next?

Trail running is as much mental as it is physical, intrinsically enmeshed.  Trail running is also a pressure valve allowing me to blow off steam caused by the stress of making a living and having to deal with people. My performance was a bit off, due to stress and worry, but getting it done on the trail let me know I would be able to get it done in the office, so let me try to get on point:

I’m in the process of tapering for my upcoming race.  Goal is to run 50% less in the  3 weeks prior to the race than I  did in the entire previous month. In June I did approximately 82 miles.  My tapering plan is 50x75x50: So it should be performed as such:

  • Week 1– 21 Miles
  • Week 2– 14 Miles
  • Week 3– 7 Miles

My buddy @davhacq on twitter helped me come up with that one.

Thus far this week I’ve completed 16.76 miles, today just completing The Great Highway at Ocean Beach with fair to middling time.  Looks like I’ve set myself up to close this week out on the Bunny Trail.  Good job, should do it tomorrow, but thats so early, may have to wait till Sunday.

Now I have to iron a shirt and dress in black for this management meeting.

Short distances seem so easy and doable after the adventure on San Bruno Mountain, however, the goal of a sub 1o minute mile was a little bit lofty.  I must have been stoked.  As it was, I got up pretty early today, around 8 and hit the trail head at Lands End to do the 3.24 mile course review from Eagle Point to Sutro Park.  I got out of the Contour, set my sports water bottle down on a bench, and wandered around the point to take pictures of the landscape and marine layer.  When I got back, I was so pissed that somebody had taken my water bottle, apparently stealing it because it wasn’t in the trash bin.  Sorry for whomever, I’ve been sick for a week and I never wash that.  You would think people would respect other peoples shit on the trail, it was infuriating.

But I tried to settle down, did, and hit the trail.  Just really conscious of keeping a nice and steady tempo.  Stopped to ask a park volunteer if she took my bottle, no.  Was able to take the set of stairs at a gallop, but there was a group of elderly descending, so had to slow down a bit.  Gallop gallop, hitting the trail, Park ruins turn around, gallop gallop, now some old Chinese ladies coming down the stairs, 3 of them at the top were sharing candies. Gallop, coming around the bend, Bam! I’m done

Was a good short run averaging 11:40. Had to stop, really shouldn’t have been running, rather resting today.  Tomorrow is a definite rest day.  Also, I’m healing well and should be good to go when I return to work on Thursday.

And now for the rewards.  I’m doing what I term as a ‘course review,’ that is I am running all the courses, or trails, that I have run sequentially since the beginning of this new training program.  I just did a 2.67 mile run in the Presidio and was happy to hit an aggregate sub 10 minute mile pace on this relatively flat course.  Course review is going to be taking me all over SF as I hit each trail once and see if I can improve on my personal best now that I’ve built up mileage.  Once I’ve peaked up to San Bruno Mountain, I’ll taper down again and then try Palace to Palace. My ultimate goal is to be hitting a sub 10 minute mile pace regardless of elevation which although difficult will serve to place me high in competition.  A course review is going to get me into shape for my race on the 26th, but tapering up runs contrary to most training regimens, but as I am my own coach, I can facilitate a program that is going to work for me.

Running on the ridges I feel isolated yet connected–part of something greater, yet detached, small and autonomous.  San Bruno Mountain presented me with a different look today, shrouded in fog whipping up its peak to spill into the shrub and wild flower covered valley like rock and roll dry ice pyros.  A wet fire comes boiling from the sea to cool and moisten the flora, obscuring the Radio Towers on the Summit, leaving only their spread iron bases as proof to where they stood.

I was glad to be in the cloud cover because I am trying to avoid sun.  Suited up in tight Dri-fit fabrics and covered wrist to ankle in this technical material, I was worried if one layer would be to thin to resist the wind; sunlight not being at issue.  Still as I started down the trail and was protected from exposure  on the summit I warmed up and started to sweat as I worked my downhill stride.  Feeling good power in my legs, but running in shoes that are proving to be flat, thinking about getting sponsored by a major sportswear outfitter for shoes and race fees.  Lush overgrown single track and grateful for my 24% polypropylene armor to protect me from  brambles, black berry vines, poison oak and grasses with spiky seed.  Down again to the Magic Tree and declining to ask her for a pic, I just gave her a hug and ran past.  Made good all the way down the Mountain, but up, different story.

Remembering to take it easy.  I’m training and I’m compromised.  Hitting the uphill at a walk run, not hungry enough for blackberries.  Intervals?  I suppose I could call it that if I wanted.  Just letting my mind be distracted not concentrating on the physical, just taking what was available to me.  Before I know it, I’m at the Northern Vista for the Summit Loop and I’m back on the Ridge Trail for some Out and Back.

Fog disperses to a mist on the Ridge because of climatological factors I’m too novice to understand.  However, being a Ridge Runner, getting to know instinctively how the climate is going to manifest in my environment depending on the time of day and season is what is so important about being out there in element–its a process at becoming adept at my sport.  Trail running is a battle against self, against element, against environment.  Trail running is a battle where every combatant in this theater comes out victor.  Win, win, win all around.