Showing posts from 2011

2011 Rewind, 2012 Crystal Ball

This has been a banner year and it seems like I've been saying that to myself for the past few years, but as each year passes new opportunities arise which leads to new things: whether that's a new adventure or new personal challenges or being one step closer to having a life-long profession.  As I look back at this past year I can't help but be satisfied and answer the question of whether I've made the most of things this year with a resounding yes.  Since this blog is really about backpacking, running, and PT I'll address all three:
Running: Back in late December 2010 I started to build a running base, something I've never done, and it saw me run 40-60 miles per week (January 2011-June 2011) consistently up until my first 100 mile race in June.  It's certainly nothing spectacular in absolute terms but relatively speaking it was a major step for me, since I've never undertaken anything like that before. Previously, I had been sporadic and inconsistent …

Jump Start

As the year winds down to a close and the holidays are upon us I wanted to get a jump start on the big racing goal of the summer.  On my drive up to San Francisco last week with Megan to see "The Nutcracker" ballet I was debating on what 100 mile race I wanted to enter for the summer.  Usually in the summer time I have backpacking trips planned and running merely becomes an afterthought.  As mentioned in the post on why I trail run, it's a tool to stay in shape for backpacking season.  With that said these next six months are going to be full of turbulence as I have finished my 2.5 years of academic work for my Master's in Physical Therapy and all that stands left is a 4 month full-time internship, Comprehensive Exams, and my final PT Board Exams.  On top of all that we are planning to backpack the Pacific Crest Trail in its entirety (~2665 miles) starting April 2013.  With a trip of that magnitude money will need to be saved and debts paid off (i.e. student loans). …

Recover and Go

It's been three full weeks since Javalina 100 and I've been taking it fairly easy in terms of sheer mileage volume, roughly running 40-60/week.  What I mentioned in the previous post was that I wanted to start more intense workouts and that's been pretty much what I've been doing.  I joined the LA Track Club, a conveniently short bike ride away, at the Santa Monica High School Tuesdays for speed work.  The three years since I've taken up running I haven't done one lick of speed work.  I'm now mentally and physically prepared to undertake the intense training I need to do to improve my running performance.  I've probably put it off so long because I know doing that kind of work is really not enjoyable compared to loping along the trails.  I also started to add some hill repeats that sees about 280 vertical gain in .2 miles and that too produces chemicals my brain doesn't particularly enjoy.  With that said, I'm hoping the Ray Miller 50 miler on F…

Race Report: Javalina Jundred

Outside of Fountain Hills, Arizona, is  McDowell Mountain Regional Park, the Sonoran Desert local for Javalina 100.  After Bulldog 50km in August I was in this zone of neutrality.  I had no interest in running races as I was perfectly content to run for the sake of running, but I also wanted to capitalize on the big trip in the Alps this past summer to jump into a big race because I still had an ill feeling in my stomach from San Diego 100.  That wasn't a race that I thought accurately portrayed the training and effort I had put in in the beginning of the year.  Without the proper nutrition plan building up to the race and more importantly during the race, miles 60-90 became a disaster.  What I did take away from it was my ability to get through the crappiest of hours and pull through.  It was a character building race but I still felt like I needed a good 100 race, so after many weeks of debating back and forth of what to do I entered Javalina.  Now my training had a purpose and…

Pre-Javelina 100

10/26-11/2: 100 miles
Gain: ~10,000 ft

My final week of training concluded and even though I would have preferred one more month I think I'm as ready as I can be at the moment.  The rain the past week has cleared the air making running in the local mountains even clearer where views of the Santa Monica Bay and Catalina Island have been spectacular.  It was difficult to break the mode of running two times a day this past week because once I got into a rhythm it became a natural part of my day and a time-consuming one (in a good way).  Unlike my SD100 run back in June, I've typed out a list of the things I need for self-crewing (since it's a loop course) so I have all my essentials ready and organized.  My goals for the run are to: 1) stay on top of nutrition/water/salt 2) complete the race successfully 3) finish well 4) and remain injury free.  The 'finish well' remark is in reference to miles 60-90 of the SD100 where a complete disaster ensued. No food, water, or sa…

2 1/2 Weeks Away

10/19-10/25: 100.1 miles
Gain: ~10,000 ft.

Another week of training gone.  This is the second consecutive week of 100 miles and with Javalina Jundred 2.5 weeks away I'm closer to being prepared for the race.  I still haven't technically signed up yet as there is no real rush but I'm going to send a check via snail mail instead of forking the ridiculous $15 processing fee that Ultrasignup will charge me on top of the entry fee.

The week has been crammed with school and 2 runs/day with 44 of those miles on trail and the rest boardwalk.  As much as I prefer trails there are two reason why I have run road 56 of those miles: 1) It's a "flat" course.  JJ has 4800 ft. of gain which is basically negligible when you put it in context of the race distance. 2) Convenience: it's a great feeling stepping out your door and being able to run but more importantly it saves loads of time not having to drive to and from a trailhead; and I hate driving.  One day I'll hav…

Training and Things...

10/11-10/17: 100 miles
Gain: ~9000 ft.

After those 2 days off last week where my right hip was bugging me a little I've come back better than ever.  I've hit my first 100 mile running week ever.  I've backpacked 140-190 miles/week plenty of times but never in a running setting so this was new territory.  What was surprising to me was that the mileage was not all that difficult to do; meaning I wasn't fatigued at the end of the week or anything, but the finding the time to run that much is substantial.  While trying to juggle full-time school and work it's sometimes difficult to find 2-3 hours/day to invest (weekend 4-5hrs/day) plus weight training.  So it's a given that two runs per day is going to be needed to take advantage of the small time increments in the early mornings and evenings.  Today is a recovery day and I have to catch up on school work and will soon have to make decisions on the major backpacking trip of summer '12.  We have narrowed it down …

Thoughts and Great Weather

Why I'm sitting indoors on this sunny Sunday afternoon is due to the fact that my right hip has been bugging me all week.  I'm not sure exactly what it is but I think it's inflammation of a fluid-filled sack, called a bursa, just outside my hip.  For the past couple of weeks I haven't been stretching after my workouts like a should (and preach) and I've paid the price. I thought I was out of this cycle of injury but I should have been cautious and doing all my preventative interventions.  Fortunately, I don't think it's that bad as I can still run (unlike my ITB injuries) with it but I don't want to make it any worse.  So I'll just have to feel awful while a glorious day passes.  Why don't you just go cross-train or something?  Simply, I like being on the trails (and off). That's what my passion is and I might act like a spoiled baby but I'm not going to cross train. I use the bike for commuting and swimming is to useful if a shark is af…

Bulldog 50km: Race Report

It's been 2 years since I've been running ultra marathons and the race that started it all was Bulldog 50KM in 2009.  It was my second long-distance race and first ultra.  It's been tradition that I have a go in this race after summer backpacking with little to no running.  After backpacking the Alps, where the trails are considerably steeper and more technical, I figured I at least had more strength in my legs that should have me finish it and hopefully better than last year.  A major heat wave warning was given to residents of SoCal and it was expected that temperatures would crack the 100s.  The weather did not disappoint.  The heat cracked the 104F barrier during the race and everyone suffered.  That was evident by 3+ ambulance runs and a search and rescue operation for some of the participants on the course.  The course is completely exposed with absolutely no place for respite from the sun and it only got worse the longer one was out on the course, especially on the …

Grand Traverse of the Alps (via GR5 & GR52)

It's been a while since I last posted anything and that's mainly because I've been in France backpacking the 415 mile Grand Traverse of the Alps (GTA) with my girl, Megan.  The route starts at Lake Geneva and ends at the Mediterranean Sea but at which town depends on the route you take at the very end.  Ever since I introduced my girlfriend to long distance backpacking on the John Muir Trail last summer I've been thinking of the next trip.  After my 2009 backpacking adventure of the famous 168km Tour du Mont Blanc, otherwise known as TMB, in France, Italy, and Switzerland I wanted to do something bigger that would see more of the Alps.  Out of the several options given (GR10,11,7) we decided on the 400-420 mile GR5.  Given our limited time in the summer we needed something that was well-marked and that could be completed in around 3 weeks.  Fast-forward to the June 23 in Geneva, we were set to take a bus to Thonon-les-Bains at the edge of Lake Geneva to start the trip …

San Diego 100

The day finally came. After 6 months of running and racing for this solitary event it was time to put it to the test.  Arriving at Al Bahr Shrine Campground in the Cleveland National Forest, with support crew Megan and her friend Mary, we found TheOnion at one of the campsites where we soon pitched tents and organized items (e.g. gels, food, water, drop bags) for race day.  After checking in, which included getting race goodies, a mandatory weigh-in and race briefing, by director Scott Mills, we sat outside in pleasant afternoon weather eating dinner while Megan and Mary played a game of horseshoes.

The next morning I woke up at 5am to a chilly 39 degree morning with wind chill and picked up my race bib number and anxiously nibbled on half a muffin.  The past week I had been feeling anxious. Every hour of that week had been scrutinized: Was I drinking enough, was I on my feet too much, what and how much was I eating, etc.  Now that anxiety was slowly transforming to excitement mainly…