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Category Archives: Trail Racing

I never know if I’m ready for an upcoming race and I never know how to taper. I do my long runs when I can and think of scheduled training as fluid, not even guidelines. I do, however perform well in my sport but I never do speedwork. If you ever saw me on a track, I’m being ironic. If you see me on a hill that’s where I’m at and where I need to be. If you see me running downhill all you’ll see is my ass if even that cos no one can catch me on single track downhill trail.

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Smashed my little toe into the wall this morning and had a sore big toe yesterday so a predawn barefoot run on the beach at Fort Funston seemed moot.  Slept a couple more hours and thought I’d put together a run across the Bridge and into the Marin Headlands.  I looked up at the Tenderloin skyscraper and saw that the American flag was lying flat so knew with my weather sense that there would be no wind at the coast and already the sun was shining.  I was warming up to the heat of the day and opened all the windows in my flat after I got out of the shower to invite whatever little breeze out there into my home.   Nice enough to wear my Adidas speedsuit, my technical onesie and what I’m gonna rock for the day of the San Francisco Marathon.  Got my CamelBak refueled with water and I’m on the road out to the Presidio to park in the free lot above Fort Funston.

I love running with my activity partner but I also love my solitude on the trail.  Rare for me to be out late Saturday mornnings and there were numerous “teams in training” either running or cycling in groups.  I started my run, but about a quarter of the way on the Bridge decided to pull the top down of my speedsuit for thermoregulatory purposes.  Its a cruise across the Bridge and then under it, singing out lound to DarkWave cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge, “…all of her sweet promises… crumble… to dust…

Then I’m picking up the Coastal Trail and I’m seeing trail runners on the ridge there and I literally get chills of excitement so happy to see and be on a brand new trail in my backyard.  Now that I know how to work the Marin Headlands trail system from the City I can do my long runs for the SF Marathon and at the same time training for the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship, the penultimate race of my racing season.  The SCA trail proved to be quite tasty:  single track trail imposed upon by  overgrown flora from the recent rains ascending in switchbacks dancing like a deer in a wake of butterflies while I scattered skink.

  • 29 May 2010
  • 8:36 – 10:16am
  • 1:37:19
  • 8.02 miles
  • 12:08 avg. pace
  • 4.95 avg. speed
  • 1350 feet climbed
  • 1214 calories burned

With a just finished run over the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset my training for the San Francisco Marathon has officially commenced.  I’m not officially registered however.  That will happen next paycheck.  Its Wednesday night and I have recovered from my 10 kilometer trail race on Sunday in which I placed 23rd in a field of 108 by doing nothing but yoga: Josh Camire’s Warriors Choice on Sunday after the race and 3 Yogayamas with Ben for his regular 7am yoga class and his substitution for Anita’s Sunrise Yoga.  Overall I feel great.  Unintimidated.

I am heavily scheduled and I realize I’m going to have to log hella miles in preparation for the 26.2 I will run on Sunday 25 July 2010.  I got a massage treatment from my body worker @forbodyandmind and went over my strategy with him to get his input.  The treatment got really deep into my soreness but what I was feeling after the race up until the treatment with Scott wasn’t really pain, it was a tightness, a fatigue, a stiffness…I don’t know how to describe it…locked up maybe.   Flat footed, stiff legged, rigid.  I brought my gym bag and gear and changed into it after the treatment.  Scott checked in with me and I was pleased to find that I felt loose, energized and ready to do the Bridge.

Sun was setting behind the Headlands and I dealt with my technology and hydration unit.  Had to stop for gas and a little fuel for me in the form of an Almond Snickers on my drive up to my staging area above Fort Point.  Tweeted my intentions and took to the trail that leads to the Golden Gate Bridge pedestrian walkway.

Slow starting feeling my body, letting the fear relax away and letting the legs do what they have been trained to do.  They came alive like eager dogs in the center of the Bridge where it becomes level and they ran of their own accord testing pace and footstrike with only a little instruction from the mind.  Content to listen to an electro pod-cast through my Studio Monitor headphones that serve double duty by providing soundtrack and protecting my ears from the onshore wind.  Pumped up to the Vista Point on the Marin side then returning, cruising and coming alive refreshed and faster on my way back across the bridge to my Contour parked in the free lot.

Killing that Bridge run gave me a bit more confidence and assured me that doing the whole damn marathon is an attainable goal.  I have to focus my intention, break it down into five 5 mile vignettes, work the course and return to trail.  The training will set me up for the 15-20k and half marathon trail races I have scheduled for the rest of the season.  I’m looking ahead and looking good.

  • 12 May 2010
  • 7:22 – 8:06pm
  • 43:35
  • 4.43 miles
  • 9:55 avg. pace
  • 6.05 avg. speed
  • 622 feet climbed
  • 613 calories burned

It is the day after my first race of the season, Sunday’s 10k trail race in Oakland’s Redwood Regional Park and I want to document my pre-race preparation in order to better analyze my results.  Saturday I did wake up pissy, even went to bed that way on Friday night.  Had a huge problem at work which seems to have magically resolved itself.  Moving forward (a phrase I despise) when I return I have to learn to be less heavy handed, yet at the same time I need to be up front about exactly what I want to prevent further misunderstandings, but that’s an aside.  I did an 8am Beginner’s Yoga class at the SOMA Gold’s which left me feeling most appreciative of my regular instructors, ate some eggs, blogged and got dressed to go to my Grand Uncle Paul’s wife’s, Aunty Berry’s funeral in Los Altos.  Met extended family on my Uncle’s wife’s side and attendid the Catholic ceremony in which my gay uncle served as the altar boy and only 3 people took communion, including the priest himself, which totally eased my immortal pagan soul.  I was really identifying with my Grand Uncle’s loss and was finding strength in his grief as I hope that I am as hale as he when I’m his age and I hope I find a love that is genuine as he found so late in his life.

We all went as a family to a post memorial Chinese dinner in downtown Mountain View.  Auntie Berry was cremated, so there was no funereal procession.  I had the opportunity to pose for a photo with Uncle Paul, his son Fau and Uncle Joe who is really Uncle Paul’s nephew.  We all sat at table together with my Uncle, who is also my Godfather, his ex-lover Howard (still friends, support in grief is a good thing), Auntie Nina, my cousin Patricia and her daughter Arabella.  Auntie Berry’s daughter, Elizabeth had prepared a slide show of photographs of Auntie Berry and also a play list of her favorite songs.  The songs that my Grand Uncle and Auntie Berry used to dance moved him to tears and as a family we did our best to console him.  Elizabeth had the grand idea of ordering a bottle of Chardonnay for the table which definitely eased my Grand Uncle up.  Runs in the family.

I appreciated the chance to get to hear Uncle Paul tell the stories of how he met and fell in love with Berry while dancing salsa with each other at the senior citizens center and how subsequently 2 weeks later she shanghaied my Uncle into a wedding chapel in Reno and popped the question on him.  I could tell this was a true love and I am awed by the depth of theirs.  I also got more familiar with my Uncle Joe who told me how he used to run around in Samoa and in the Mainland United States with my Grandma Daisy’s brothers Uncle Paul and Uncle Iopu.  I was able to confirm the story through Uncle Joe about how Uncle Iopu stowed away on a ship from Samoa to Hawai’i rolled up in a fine mat.  Shortly before he died Uncle Iopu told me that he was confined in a brig onshore when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.  Uncle Joe admitted if it hadn’t been for that, Uncle Iopu would have been deported.  This date is important to the historiography of my family’s diaspora out of Samoa when it became occupied and possessed by the United States of America.

Our supper wound down and I was eager to explore downtown Mountain View.  I did a little browsing and was getting lots of offers for help from the salesgirls at Therapy.  I must have looked cute in my leather dress shoes, Jordache jeans, dark blue shirt with a darkest navy and darkest marooon striped tie with my gold tie clip.  I was flipping between getting a pedicure as a pre-race foot massage but opted for the Happy Feet Foot Spa intro offer of $25 which included legs, shoulders and arms.

The attendant at the spa told me that because they are new they only accepted cash.  Fortunately I still had my $50 cash bonus and was able to do it.  She escorted me through the dim unlit room which had a trickling water feature, environmental video on a flat screen television and over padded vinyl reclining loungers where guests seemed to be getting quite thorough treatments.  I had to take a dump and I ended up spending a bit of time inside trying to be as void as possible come Sunday’s race.  Then I was shown to a lounger and introduced to a very pretty young female therapist.  Aware of the serenity of the treatment area, I tried to be as quiet as possible, but there was no hope for that.  Taking off my tie, my clip clanged against the glass table where I stowed my stuff and I took off my long sleeved button up and got treated in my tank top.  Lets just say the foot spa biz is just a bait and switch.  I ended getting a one hour full body massage in a very comfortable chair by a talented therapist which by the end decided me to double her tip and give the place a 5 star Yelp!.

So I sat outside a Tea Bar tweeting decided there must be a Gay Bar somewhere and used Yelp! to find one.  It was by the freeway, a dive, deserted, desperate looking and sad.  I got gas and went to a nearby Kohl’s in Palo Alto and got some ultra fugly bathmats which I had to return yesterday, and then Walmart where I got grey flip flops and a solar powered garden light for my bedside forest.

I liked that pre-race I let my mind and body wander in unfamiliar terrain and on the drive back to The City I could feel the exhaustion.  However, when I got into bed my excitement and anticipation on Sunday’s race kept me wound up so I got out my iPhone and watched Anton Krupicka videos on YouTube until I couldn’t find anymore then started reading Krupicka’s blog from the beginning until I was relaxed enough to fall asleep.

Woke up feeling really pissy and it is most likely the product of a taper and also a result of being mismanaged at work by people who truly don’t understand business nor how to handle their talent.  I also have to go to my Grand Uncle Paul’s wife, Auntie Barrie’s funeral who died earlier this week from leukemia.  I have a race tomorrow and I am full of rage.  I feel volcanic and vulnerable and I’m venting before I take someone out.  I’m really that pissed.

I’m channeling this energy into my race and I’m gonna race furiously.  I found motivation in the ultra trail runner Anton Krupicka who just last week won the Miwok 100 in my back yard, the Marin Headlands.  The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship is on my race calendar and I’m determined to meet him this year somehow just to tell him face to face how much motivation I get from his dedication and devotion to our sport.  He is my trail running Rock God and he has been well documented and documents himself in his blog, Riding the Wind.  I have tonnes of video, photos, his words and the words of others to study and help make me a better athlete.

So to drain some of this piss I just took a beginner yoga class at the SOMA Gold’s and I didn’t much care for it but I’m still glad I did go instead of running and wrecking my taper.  No music, no meditation and it was funky like I just couldn’t really get into it.  It lacked flow.  That’s where I’m going with this.  I’m so lucky to have phenomenal yoga teachers I’m actually turning into quite a snob about it, just like I am in trail running.

Let me run it by you really quick.  Just got back from Dr. Jang and Associates.  Still don’t know the exact name of my Dr. who treated me but she did a good and thorough job.  After 41 years, no cavities, but deep pockets in the gums.  Last Wednesday I got some Chipotle BBQ Kettle Chips stuck up inside my gums and they  have been inflamed ever since.  Affected my training in that it got worse over the week and I fulfilled my yogas and runs with Cameron and on my own but had booked a room at the Highlands and was going to continue a little extra running down Armstrong Woods Road, but for naught.  My weekend at the Highlands was spent self medicating, chewing up the last of the Vicodin I had from my last posterior inflammation staying hopped up on Vodka taking baths and getting my THC from not only combustible but edible sources.

Keep in mind I’m tapering and I got all the pains and angst to go with it.  I don’t have to convince myself its phantom or psychosomatic, its real.  My taper down looks pretty good and I should be good to go come Sunday trail.  After which I’ll wait for Mercury direct and register for the SF Marathon and begin a new regime in training which should probe interestingly, having to mix some road with trail while still maintaining my elitism.  I have something to prove.

So gonna take it easy this week and see how it shakes down.  Haven’t run since Friday in the Presidio and haven’t done morning or naked yoga since last week because of the painkillers.  Now I’m on an antibiotic but the course should prove that my inflammation should be negligible come Sunday.  Gonna try to keep this week as normal as possible then start the ramp fresh to marathon distances on Monday.

I decided to do my run at Aquatic Park to Fort Point after I finish up my volunteer shift today at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park It made no sense to rush to the trail in morning traffic after my 7am yoga class to run then rush home to get into uniform and rush back to the park.  7am yoga was a good practice today and it was cool to see @suzboop walking down Noe Street with her yoga mat under her arm as I was getting out of my Contour in front of Cafe Flore.  Felt a little tight in class so I modified at will, which is my practice and after the class @suzboop told me she had a vision of hooking me up with her not-for-profit tech friend in DC who may resemble, but does not identify as a bear.  Hey, I’ll take it.  I like that type.  So after class I’m looking at the clock and its almost 8:30 and crunching the numbers realized I’d rather just have breakfast and relax before ironing my uniform.

But on the drive home, in cross town morning traffic, I kind of figured out where I’m at as far as preparing for my upcoming race at Redwood Regional and how it works out for training with Cameron.  With the race just being 3 weeks out: just do the miles with Cameron and go out to Redwood on the weekdays when I can.  It should serve as a taper and because I have docent duty on 3 May, then Wednesday 5 May will be my last time to rehearse on that course.

Still dealing with the vestiges of a so called ‘spring break’ from over use and morning yoga and this Monday the body was holding out for more sleep, stumbling to take a morning piss after the alarm went off at 6am I shut the chimes down and stayed in bed till just after 10.  Not really coming up with any concrete plans just running various scenarios and the best idea was to wake up, make coffee and check out the schedule at the Gold’s in Oakland to see if they had a lunch hour yoga after which I could hit the trail up at Redwood Regional.  As it turned out they did have a class at noon so that gave me enough time for a second cup and to check out the driving directions and get a heads up from the gym about what I could expect for parking around Lake Merrit.

The Oakland Gold’s is right off the freeway, super convenient.  I avoided the parking meters right in front of the gym and drove up into a residential area behind it but couldn’t find street parking because it was street cleaning day on one side of the street.  Turned around and ended up parking in a limited to 1 hour non metered space at the park in front of the public library.  Was concerned because it was about 11:45 and the class was due to get out at 1 and thought would it save time to not change into my trail gear in the gym after class but decided essentially it wouldn’t make that much of a difference so I shlugged my gym bag and CamelBak up to the men’s locker room to store it there and went down to Studio Energy for the noon yoga class with Ashley.

Studio Energy is a bit awkward with spin bikes stored out of use on one side and the clutter of other workout paraphernalia along the other 3 walls.  Square support columns throughout the room further clutter and confine the room but I chose a spot in front of one so that I wouldn’t have a yogi fore nor aft of me.  No Mexican blankets to be had so I just grabbed a couple of foam blocks and sat kneeling on top of them on my little mat.  The instructor came to me and introduced herself as Ashley and asked if I practiced yoga before.  I told her I am a yogi and I practice at the gym in San Francisco.  She then asked me if I knew Darren Main and I told her yes, and that my regular practice is Naked Yoga for Men.  She confessed she loves Darren and I felt good for this connection, again, all different nuts hanging off the same yoga tree.

Class was nice, short and not too challenging.  Found myself missing my regular instructors, but appreciating this bit of diversity.  Then it was back up to the locker room to put on the trail gear and out to the library parking lot where, to my pleasure, no ticket festooned any one of my windshield wipers.

35th Avenue exit is not too far down the 580 from Grand and soon I was pulling into the Lincoln Town Center Safeway to take a dump in their can and pick up some fried food under hot lights in the Deli for a little road trip brunch to eat in the car on my way to Redwood Regional.  In the parking lot of the park arranged my pack and protected my iPhone in a ziploc specimen bag in case it rained.  Had a new plan to try to make this trail a 10kilometer course by running up Orchard and connecting with the West Ridge Trail and circling around back to the parking lot.

I did today’s course without music, gearing up for the rules in the race that state that no headphones are allowed on single track trail.  I found I didn’t really miss it.  Pretty much have this course down: Stream to Tres Sendas to French to Orchard up to West Ridge.  Then I had to improvise and I went the wrong way at the end.  I should have headed back to Fishway and crossed the bridge and took the road that leads into the park past the Ranger’s booth.  In any event, I made this course 6 miles and I didn’t run it famously, just cautiously still getting prepped for my race in 4 weeks time.

  • 12 April 2010
  • 1:59 – 3:33pm
  • 1:31:05
  • 6.09 miles
  • 14:57 avg. pace
  • 4.01 avg. speed
  • 790 feet climbed
  • 852 calories burned
  • 155.6 lbs

Wednesday morning 7am Yoga finding nice poses that were opening up and strengthening my sore hip.  The remarkable thing about recovering from this injury is that I feel stronger in the hips than I ever had before.  I really enjoyed that @suzboop was in class today and she likes my latest yoga outfit cos it looks tuff: baggy black Adidas track suit bottoms and a black wife beater.  After class she told me she was going to the premier of our friends’ play Scalpel! and helping out D’Arcy Drollinger, the musical’s writer and director, with publicity using social media platforms like twitter.  I told her that I’d go and she gave me a promo code for $10 off.  I have to say its going to be a huge hit and I’m glad I got to see it premiered.

Afterward I went home to get on some running gear and made sure to pack well because I had my activity partner, Cameron, to train up in the Presidio then get my own training in over in the Oakland Hills at Redwood Regional Park.  I wasn’t exactly sure if I was going to make it out to the trail but I wanted to be prepared.  It had rained on my way to 7am yoga but it had cleared up after class.  Cameron is doing well on the trail and I’m impressed with his progress.  Dropped Cameron off back at his place and since I was pointed in that direction headed straight out to Oakland.

Stopped at the Safeway Deli in the Lincoln Town Center up in the Oakland Hills and got a pizza stick, 2 jalapeno poppers and a corndog eating everything but the deep fried corn battered weenie on the drive and finished up the corndog in the Contour in the Redwood Regional Park parking lot.  The weather was holding and clear as I started my run and by the time I had gotten to the first course change realized it was going to be just enough on the warm side of cool that I really wouldn’t be needing a shirt so I took it off and stowed it in my CamelBak following the Stream Trail to Tres Sendas.

At Tres Sendas the trail forks and dips down into a stream fed rain forest under a canopy of thick redwood and moss covered oak.  Fern grows on the side of the trails and boulders in the stream bed are worn smooth by the passage of waters and passers by.  It is vast and epic and connects with French Trail dipping but mostly rising.  I felt like a fantastic faun leaping across creeks and loping along the trail but I was still taking this course slowly making sure to note every trail marked and lock it in memory.  The single track of the French Trail rises and as it winds its way down to Mill Trail I think of race strategy and trying to pass without falling or stumbling off the trail down into the ravine.  Even though my structured training gloves irritate the skin on my hands I’ll wear them for the race and the dress rehearsal a week prior to the big show.

Passing Chown which I had run previously, checked my map and decided to continue down French to Orchard.  I still felt like I was running short of 10 kilometers and by the time I came out onto the main road realized I had only run 5 miles.  I’m still trying to match my training runs in Redwood Regional to the actual trail map posted on Pacific Coast Trail Runs’ web site but having raced before know that the course is never as it is presented on the web.  My training has shifted a little bit now that I am working with Cameron.  I decided to abandon the notion of running a 20k on this course and instead have already registered for the 10k distance.  The program I laid out in TRAINING MODE will be modified.  Ultimately what I’m going to do is continue running with Cameron and hit this course in the Oakland Hills on the weekdays to avoid the weekend and holiday park fees, however this weekend I’ll be going up to Harbin Hot Springs with my BBGFF Connie Champagne so I won’t revisit Redwood Regional until next Wednesday.  At Harbin I’ll look to do one 10k run on Monday on the ridges there and also continue with my yoga 5 days in a row I’ve practiced consistently.  On Sundays and days when I can squeeze it in before work I’ll continue my course of 3’s finishing the Aquatic Park to Fort Point Loop and figuring out whats next.  7 miles barefoot on Fort Funston Beach?  We’ll see.  I’m excited and happy to be registered. By the way, I so do need the spa!

  • 31 March 2o10
  • 11:30am – 1:08pm
  • 1:34:38
  • 5.09 miles
  • 18:35 avg. pace
  • 3.23 avg. speed
  • 642 feet climbed
  • 599 calories burned

7am yoga questioning if I wanted to sleep in and not go today but I was up in time and with the kettle boiling for some coffee knew I just had to get through today 1 activity at a time.  No pressure, it being my day off–still alot of domestic stuff needs doing but I’d rather train and go to the spa.  So yoga was a bit of a chore, but I woke up in the middle of the session and was fully activated to go and do an exploratory run at Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills.  The site of my first competitive trail race this season.

I’m kind of wondering if I’m in the right shape to do a 20k out on this course and as it was today I was only trying to do the 10k course but took an inadvertent shortcut and ended up 2 miles short.  Starting out at the Canyon Meadow Staging Area and heading up the Bridle Trail to connect with Stream I was fine but should have carried on the Stream Trail to Los Tres Sendas to connect with the French Trail instead of doing what I did today by cutting over to Mill and to French.  Was a little concerned about coming up short of miles in today’s training but really scouting the trail and the site is just as important.  This is the mental component of endurance training and racing: learning how to get to the park, learning the course, picking lines and working on race tempo.

A little concerned about how the Bridle Trail starts out as a black top road, but cutting to French Trail it is all very windy loamy single track.  The weather today was high humidity with occasional sprinkles and Redwood Regional is a lush post historic rain forest with a thick canopy of redwood and oak and deer resistant fern growing along the terraced trails so I never was showered upon.  Looking forward to revisiting it on Wednesday and trying to figure out the whole 10k course and what distance I’ll do best competing in..

After the run I had a bit of recovery at Kabuki Hot Springs in Japan Town after a sashimi/tempura combo lunch at Sapporo-Ya.  The ahi wasn’t so fresh but marinated and cooked a little in wasabi and soy was easy to get down.  Hot sake on a cold day and crispy tempura… rice– I was hungry!  Browsed Goodwill and bought a surge protector that charges a battery for spare power in the event of an apocalypse or blackout.  Kabuki had hot guys cruising and I felt a little disappointed knowing that I am so not what many gays want.  I’m still fat.  I don’t know if its because I lack a directed ethnicity, am just scary, too queer or what.  I’ve always known I was different and that is something I can’t change.  I’m sure there probably someone out there that ain’t intimidated and would even possibly be attracted to me.  I’ve said it before and I guess I’ll say it here one more time: Fuck those regular people.  In any event, I still have work to do.

  • 29 March 2010
  • 10:35 – 11:43am
  • 51:35
  • 4.01 miles
  • 12:51 avg. pace
  • 4.67 avg. speed
  • 717 feet climbed
  • 566 calories burned