Monday, August 27, 2007

a bulldog weekend and then some

Bulldog 25K
On Saturday morning, my brother and I toed the line for his first ever trail race at the Bulldog 25K held at the Malibu Creek State Park, in the Santa Monica Mountains. This race is reputed to be very hot due to the course's lack of shade, and the fact that it is held in August. I thought about signing up for the 50K, but opted instead for the much shorter and easier 25K. Several OCTR members were in attendance, some doing the 25K, while others like first-time ultra runner, Wendy did the more brutal option.

The course is basically a loop. 25K runners complete one loop, and the 50K runners complete two. The 50K runners started at 6:30am, while we mere mortals running the 25K had a more sleep-friendly start time of 7:30am.

The toughest part of this loop was the major climb to the scenic Santa Monica Backbone Trail. It's probably a couple of miles of a grind. After that we enjoyed the views afforded by running along the rolling hills on the ridge. To finish the loop, we dropped down, then went up through some switchbacks and down again towards the last mile.

I looked at this race as a training run—walking up the hills, jogging on the flats, and just coasting when going down. I planned on a longer run the following day so I didn't want to burn my legs out. I ran with Jon R. and my brother for the most part. On the last aid station, however, my brother was suffering from his chronic cramps and told me to just go ahead. I finished the race just behind Jon at about 3:04 while my brother was a little less than eight minutes behind.

We were fortunate on Saturday that the dreaded heat did not materialize. It was warm, but certainly nowhere close to the scorching temperatures in the past (90s to 100s). There was a cloud cover which did not make for a gorgeous ocean view, but protected the runners from an otherwise blazing sun.

After the race we headed down to PCH, had lunch at a little Malibu seafood market and cafe, and laid on the beach listening to the soothing sounds of the surf for a little bit of R-and-R.

Click here for more Bulldog photos.

Then some...
The following day, I went out to El Moro Canyon and the adjacent Laguna Wilderness Coast Park for the second part of my back-to-back long runs. I'm doing this in preparation for my first 50-miler in October. I've never run back-to-backs before so I just took it easy. Because of my Saturday night out, I had a late start, about 10am, but fortunately, it was unusually cool. Out a few miles towards the ocean, sheets of rain were pouring while lightning strikes were giving a minor light show. An onshore breeze also kept me refreshed for the most part of the run.

I did a little exploration to the end of Boat Canyon Trail which the park claims to have the best coastline view. The panoramic scene did not disappoint, unfortunately I did not have my camera with me, but you believe me, don't you?

I finished the run after 18 miles, satisfied that my legs were surprisingly OK even after Bulldog and the previous night's x-training at the nightclub. Running more than 10 miles alone can be a drag though, let alone 18, especially when the trails are empty and no one to say hi to or talk to for about three-and-a-half hours. I will need to recruit someone to come along next time. Either that or remember to bring my iPod.

Total miles for the weekend: 15+18=33ish. Now, it's time to rest.

Google Earth Image borrowed from Bulldog Trail Runs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

barefoot bliss on the beach for vr5

Time: 1:45pm (I know I'm late again. Sorry.)
Place: Newport Peninsula
Distance: 4.25 miles

The summer heat has really steamed up around here with temps in the 90s and humidity reaching 60%. To abate the heat I headed out to the beach again for our virtual training run #5. This time, I drove down to Newport Peninsula, bracing myself for its notorious tourist crowds.

It seems as though a lot of kids are back in school this week. Newport wasn't so crowded, and I easily found a parking spot on the beach side, no less. With my car just steps from the sand, I took my shirt and my shoes off and left them in the car. Don't you get any funny ideas there–I still kept my shorts on though. Black's Beach, this is not.

Running barefoot
somewhat interests me. Proponents claim that because the feet don't have the cushioning that running shoes provide, the runner becomes more aware of each stride and the way their feet land on the ground. The result is that one runs naturally, and it is associated with lower prevalence of acute and chronic injuries of the ankle and lower leg.

I started out on the strand by 28th street heading towards Newport Harbor Pier about a quarter mile down. The wet packed sand tickled my soles. Ahh, what a sensation. My feet and toes felt free from the confines of my socks and shoes. With every step, my little piggies stretched out digging themselves into the sand. Immediately I noticed that I was landing on my heel, so I adjusted that and concentrated on landing either mid or forefoot. This part of the beach is the most crowded because of its proximity to the parking lot and the numerous concessionaires. I had to go around kids oblivious to the world around them as they screamed in delight at the crashing waves. I crossed under the pier and set my eyes on the next landmark, the Balboa Pier about a mile and a quarter down the beach. The crowd thins out, and there was less dodging and weaving around kids and their parents. I stayed close to the water, sometimes running through it as the surf rushed up to the sand. I hardly paid attention to my pace as sunbathers, body surfers, skim boarders, sand castle builders, and flirtatious lovers kept me distracted. Before I knew it, I had arrived at the next pier. Crossing underneath it, I turned around and headed back the direction from where I came.

I've done this run before a while back, but it seems so much easier this time. Perhaps I'm in better shape now. Or maybe because I had shoes on previously, so had to stay in the drier but deeper sand. It didn't take me long, and I was back where I started. I thought about jumping in the water, but since this is a work day, decided that maybe I should go back and do some work.

Now I don't think I'll convert to barefoot running like this guy I saw at the Mt. D race, but I can definitely see its merits. While running, I became more conscious of where I stepped and how my feet landed. The soft sand underneath provided a therapeutic effect akin to someone massaging my feet with every step. The stretch that my toes received throughout the run was not something that I can get with my shoes on even with toe socks. I imagine that running without the comfort of the insoles underneath would somehow build up the skin on my soles and help prevent blisters.

So, I wonder how the rest of my VR buddies did today. At last count, we have participants in three continents now. I look forward to reading your recaps as you post them.

Reports from other Virtual Running Buddies:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

no. 5 is alive

HitMe called it, so here it is... our virtual training run #5. If you've been following this post, you know what it's about. If not, let me explain.

Runners separated by geography do a training run "together" wherever they may be in the world. We set a distance (more or less) and meet at a specific time, so 1:30pm on the US West Coast makes it 4:30am the following day in Manila.

DATE: 22 August 2007, Wednesday (US Pacific Time)
TIME: 1:30 P.M. (US Pacific Time)
DISTANCE: 10 km/ 6 miles (or whatever you wish)

Previous runners have been:
  1. Jaymie - Alabang Philippines
  2. HitMe - Quezon City, Philippines
  3. Banggi - Makati, Philippines
  4. Ben - Manila to Makati, Philippines
  5. Renz - Metro Manila, Philippines
  6. Marga - ParaƱaque, Philippines
  7. Caloy - Davao, Philippines
  8. TRF - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  9. Steph - San Diego, USA
  10. Gretchen - Truckee, USA
  11. E-Rod - Newport Beach, USA
Banggi is determined to join us while trying out some new routes in Kuala Lumpur. Caloy promises to get up early in time to hoof up the boondocks in the shadow of Mt. Apo. And despite the typhoon in Manila, HitMe and Ben have sworn on their favorite shoes' graves that they will be out running and frolicking in the rain. How can I not join these dedicated individuals when the only lame excuse I can conjure up is that my favorite lifeguard is off on Wednesdays, and therefore will not be there for my beach run?

Anybody else wanna come out and play?

Update on new participants:
We have a new kid on the block, Rick. Watch out kids, this dude's a veteran of three(?) 100-milers, so he's bringing some new mojo to the table.

Let's welcome our first European-based runner, Crunchy 'Nanas.

Caloy, who was a bit late in joining us last week is officially in.

Monday, August 20, 2007

63 minus 5 miles of x-training

My brother and his wife convinced me to join them for the Cool Breeze Century Ride in Ventura this past Saturday. We all signed up for the metric century–that is 100 kilometers or about 63 miles through Ventura, up to Ojai and back down to Ventura again. It's a beautiful and mostly flat ride punctuated by views of the ocean and vineyards and orchards along the way.

Now, I'm not a cyclist by any stretch of the imagination. I don't have a decent bike road-worthy enough to go that distance. I don't even own a cycling jersey or one of those fancy clip-on cycling shoes. But ride I did, borrowing my brother's mountain bike which was outfitted with slick tires and clipless pedals. He, on the other hand, rode his carbon fiber road bike which propelled him effortlessly up the hills and even against headwinds. My derrier, which has never been on a saddle for so long–the farthest I've gone on a training ride was only 25 miles–was complaining, but I gave it little or no mind.

I really enjoyed the ride, more than I thought I would. For the metric century, there were three rest stops at about every 15 miles or so. It's very tempting to just hang out at one of these stations as they are stocked with fruits, cookies, muffins, lemonade and even popsicles while riders rest their legs, enjoying the company of other cyclists and the ocean vistas.

There was a longish uphill section between the first and second rest stops, and I was surprised that I managed to stay pedaling. Actually the burn on my legs was not as bad as running uphill so I actually appreciated even this part of the course. Thank goodness for those low gears.

After the second rest stop, my brother and I were riding together. I didn't have to work so hard since I was drafting behind him. Then all of a sudden at about mile 40, a loud noise the sound of gun fire erupted. I saw it happen. My front tire blew out. We pulled over and upon further examination, we determined that the inner tube and tire both need to be replaced. Fortunately, a SAG wagon came by and gave me a lift about 5 miles or so to the next rest stop where they were able to put on a new tire and get me on my way to finish the ride.

63 minus 5 miles after the start, I crossed the finish line festooned with a balloon arch. My brother was there waiting, as well as several cyclists and their friends and families who cheered the finishers. I thought about raising my arms up a la Tour de France, but decided against it at the fear of losing control and falling in front of everyone. My sister-in-law was braver than I, letting go of her handle bars long enough for us to take a picture.

We enjoyed the post-race lunch, picked up our free patches, and I was on my way home.

Well after a day like that, I needed a nap to prepare for a different type of cross-training and hydration. In the evening, I went off to meet several friends for some dancing and alcohol-laced libations. With all the races and Saturday early morning training runs, I've had to miss out on some nightlife action. But not this time, and I'm glad I didn't, as some beauties and cool peeps came out to play.

This weekend, my brother and I are doing a race, this time at the Bulldog 25K. It's gonna be fun but it's also gonna be hot, hot, hot.

Friday, August 17, 2007

big basin redwoods trail runs

The folks at Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) have a reputation for putting on great events, but I have yet to experience one of these. However, that's about to change on Sept. 16th when I run my 4th ultra event (still feeling like a noob), the Big Basin Redwoods Trail Run 50K. I just sent in my application and payment today, and I am good to go. The PCTR events bill themselves as Runs that Aren't Races in Beautiful Places. With just a month before the Firetrails 50-Miler, I figure I can sneak this in my calendar and have one heck of a beautiful training run.

One of my OCTR buds, the Skipster, will be running Big Basin as his first ever ultra. Way to go, Skip! Other OCTR runners that are running here are Keira and Addy, who's also running her first 50-miler at Firetrails. Addy's dad, Kris will also be running at Big Basin in the 25K* distance. Woohoo!!

Photos are property of PCTR.
* I mistakenly put 21K for Kris. That's a bit difficult to do since that distance is not included as one of the events.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

burrito update

I've made a pretty good dent at it, but Mr. Serious is still weighing in at close to a pound. When I opened my fridge today to have this massiveness for lunch, it looks like it actually grew. I can't even finish this thing in 24 hours. I think I may have found my 100-mile race food if I ever go that distance.

More update:
Had more of Mr. Serious for dinner, and I finally slew the beast.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

real first, virtual second

The Real
Santiago Truck Trail
10 miles

Today was my first run since Saturday–a recovery run. I went out with fellow Mt. D survivors, Greg and Alexa, as well as Sue and Kris (Addy's dad). I wanted to run some moderate hills today, and I figure about 10 miles on the Santiago Trail would do the trick.

We hoofed it up to the flag pole, then went beyond it for another mile and a half to the 5-mile mark before turning back. It didn't take long for the heat to make its presence known to us. Temps climbed up to the 70s before 7am and with mostly no cover except for the side of the mountain at times (it depends on which side the trail is on), it got pretty darn hot.

My legs just didn't feel like they were completely there today. Oh well. This would be a good work out for running on tired legs, I thought. I'll need that to prepare for Firetrails in two months. Ten long miles later, I was glad this "recovery" run was over.

The Virtual
Crystal Cove State Beach

6 miles

Week 4 of the virtually synced training run was set for today at 1:30pm. Our contingent from Manila was under siege by a typhoon so most of them opted to stay curled up under their blankets in bed. Steph in San Diego had to sit this one out due to aching feet. So it was at least me, Gretchen (crew and support), Hitme, Ben, and TRF.

Since my legs were still feeling the effects of the earlier run, I decided to take it easy for this second one. I also decided to change to a more scenic route, Crystal Cove State Beach. I was just gonna go out for about 4 miles or so, but wasn't paying too much attention and ended up going for the complete 6 anyway. Most of the run was on compact, wet sand, probably one of my favorite surfaces to run on. My right heel was a bit sore, possibly from the downhill portion earlier, so I welcomed the carpeted feel underneath me.

Here are several photos my camera crew took. To my virtual training buds, wish you were here.

Onward to the beach which is about 50 feet below.

Had to go through this rocky portion to get to the fun stuff.

The FUN STUFF! Running on this was just pure nirvana for my feet. Next time, I'm leaving my shoes and running barefoot.

Trying to run as close to the water's edge as possible without getting water in my shoes.

Hmmm, I wonder if I can turn this into trail food? Kelp, after all, is a rich source of natural vitamins and minerals.

Making a quick stop for a bit of tidepooling.

These were cottages that people actually lived in for about 20 years or so until their leases on state property ran out. The State Park decided not to renew their leases, so the residents were forced to move out. Some of these have been completely rebuilt or renovated and available as beach front rentals while others, like this one are in disrepair.

The view from the cottages.

Almost done with the run.

Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday afternoon.

During the run, I got really hungry (I decided to forego the pre-run fried chicken this time), so I went for some serious protein-rich recovery food when I got done–the 2lb.+ monstrosity known as "Mr. Serious," the signature burrito of a local taqueria. I put my Garmin in for scale.

I don't know if it was just me, but my energy level was pretty low again. I guess I was just tired. Well, see you all next time. I still have 3/4 left of Mr. Serious to work on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

care to join me on a training run?

Yeah, I'm talking to you. It doesn't matter where you are–the OC, Manila, or Timbuktu–you're welcome to join me and several of my training buds that span two continents, a really big ocean and several time zones.

If you're not familiar with our virtually synchronized training runs, the concept is simple. Runners separated by geography do a training run "together" wherever they may be in the world. We set a distance (more or less) and meet at a specific time, so 1:30pm on the US West Coast makes it 4:30am the following day in Manila.

DATE: 15 August 2007, Wednesday (US Pacific Time)
TIME: 1:30 P.M. (US Pacific Time)
DISTANCE: 10 km/ 6 miles (or whatever you wish)
RUNNERS/ COURSE: (I'll update this as more people join up)
  1. Jaymie - Alabang Philippines
  2. HitMe - Quezon City, Philippines
  3. Banggi - Makati, Philippines
  4. Ben - Manila to Makati, Philippines
  5. Renz - Metro Manila, Philippines
  6. Marga - Paranaque, Philippines
  7. TRF - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  8. Steph - San Diego, USA
  9. Gretchen - Truckee, USA
  10. E-Rod - Newport Beach, USA

Sunday, August 12, 2007

my date with disappointment

There seems to be something ominous about a race whose name promises frustration, defeat, and failure. But it is probably this very name that drew close to 250 runners this past Saturday to meet for the Mt. Disappointment Endurance Runs, some 90 of them doing the 50-mile distance. I'm not quite that courageous so opted for the 50K instead.

My day started at 3am when I got up to get ready, have breakfast, and drive out to meet Greg to carpool to the race. At the check-in station, we started seeing friends and familiar faces. It was great to see Nattie again and to meet fellow runner/blogger and virtual training partner, Steph. Pretty soon, other OCTR mates came out of the dawn's dim light–EKP, Keira, Kevin, Pam, Kirk, Charlie, Jenn, Alexa, Rob100K, MV, and iMichelle. I also got a chance to meet Dmitri, a visitor to this blog.

At about a quarter till seven, Gary Hilliard, our race director and 2007 Badwater finisher gave us the the signal to run. We started downhill on pavement before we hit the single track on dirt to continue our descent. With the bottleneck of several runners in front of me and nowhere to pass on the narrow trail, I was content following these guys at an easy pace since I didn't want to make the mistake of going too fast at the start. A little bit of uphill and more downhill, and before long, we've reached our first aid station at about Mile 6. I refueled and tried to leave it as fast as I can. Taking too long at aid stations in previous races, I knew that this was something that I can easily fix in order to improve my finish time.

The next five miles to the Clear Creek aid station was pretty comfortable as it was mostly downhill on soft single track. I checked my Garmin, and I clocked in at under 2 hours, so far, so good. Soon after, the trail starts to climb, and I had to walk in order to conserve my energy, jogging only when the trail was relatively flat. Runners had spread out already and there were only a handful of people helping themselves to the goodies at the Josephine aid station (mile 13.5). We were told that the next station was 7 miles away. No worries, I thought. I had 2 bottles with me–40 ounces of fluids.

During an uphill stretch, I caught up and met some other Pinoy ultra runners–Ben, who recognized me from the San Juan Trail 50K and Carmela Layson, an ultra veteran who graced the cover of the December 2006 Ultrarunning Magazine. They were doing the 50-mile distance with their friends so were going slower than I. When I moved ahead, Carmela gave me a warm Ingat ka–Be careful out there. That sentiment was appropriate as I found out later on.

The next seven miles were a series of rolling hills. At about mile 19, I was feeling pretty good so decided to batten the hatches and pick up my pace to the next aid station two fast downhill miles away. By the time I arrived at Red Box (mile 21), I questioned myself if that tactic was a sound decision. My legs felt tired for the first time, and my knees were aching. It had also gotten pretty warm, and I had run out of water about a mile before.

The scene at this station looked strange to me. While there were not that many runners at the last one, there several here who were sitting around and seemingly just taking in the view. Wasn't there a race they were running? Now I know I just said I was tired, but after taking a quick look around, I realized that I had it good compared to some of these runners who looked spent and beaten. It was about 11:30am, maybe closer to noon, and the heat, conspiring with the mountain, must've started claiming its booty.

I left Red Box station to face more downhill. My knees were still bothering me, and the quads were still a bit burned from the last rush I did to get here. Take it easy, I told myself, keeping a close eye on my pace and my heart rate making sure I wasn't overtaxing myself. I heard someone bearing down behind me and saw that it was Pam who was just jamming to her music as she easily overtook me. She looked strong, and at her pace I knew I would not be able to keep up with her. I stuck to my easy, steady stride on the downhill to the last aid stop at about 25.8 miles.

Pam, who was getting ready to leave told me, "5.2 miles, Eric, that's it." That thought gave me a boost, though I knew what was up ahead. Our R.D. humorously called it the race's signature climb–2,600 feet of elevation gain to the finish. When I got on this section, I had no choice but to reduce my run to a walk. I tried to mimic the gait of speed walkers swinging my arms as if I was running, though both feet never left the ground at the same time. This speed walk was reduced to a crawl at times when my Garmin registered a 36 minute mile. WTF! As slow as I thought I was going though, I still passed several people including a couple of runners who had given in to sitting on the trail, just plain exhausted. One guy who had been throwing up had run out of water, and I gave him some of mine, leaving myself 8 oz. with still two miles of climbing. Fortunately the rest of the way was shaded which surely saved me from what would have been a painful ascent.

When I emerged out of the woods to the paved parking lot, I was directed to the last short climb to the finish. I heard my name yelled out excitedly and saw my brother and my sister-in-law wildly cheering for me. Their cheers might as well have carried me through the finish line as I excitedly dashed up the hill feeling like I was on Cloud 9 to put this race in the history books. Several OCTR mates were also there at the finish line to congratulate me as I crossed it, a first for me. What a great feeling! I was in a daze but very happy that this was done and over with.

Overall I felt good throughout and had a great race. It was the toughest for me so far, because of the terrain and the heat. One of the volunteers informed me that my official time was 7:09 and change. In my confused state of euphoria and exhaustion, it took a couple of seconds to register that I just got a new 50K PR, beating my previous best by about 3 minutes. Woohoo!

Greg and I stuck around for the awards ceremonies and saw a few more friends finish including Pam, Kevin, MV, and Steph.

Apparently several runners fell victim to the heat, digestive issues, exhaustion, etc. I feel blessed and grateful that this race spared me from its wrath. My pre-race concerns with my sore back, foot pain and somewhat troublesome patellas did not materialize save for some minor knee aches. Thank goodness, I remembered to keep myself hydrated and nourished and to maintain a good steady pace for the long haul (at least for the most part).

A couple of OCTR worthy notes... Greg and Keira both placed second in their AG groups in the 50K, Jenn placed 3rd in her AG group in the 50-miler, while iMichelle set another female course record for the 50K.

Read other recaps of this race: Steph, Greg, Dmitri, and Greg again.

Out of 144 50K finishers, I finished #46 putting me in the top 32%, my best finish so far. See complete results here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

quickie recap of vr3

Today marks the third week of the virtually synchronized training run. I chose to run mine at the Back Bay again, just because it's literally a couple of minutes from me. I did change my starting point, this time at Constellation Street just to make things a little more interesting, plus it affords me an out-and-back course without venturing out towards the bird sanctuary again.

I hopped on the trail, and right away I was feeling sluggish. Damn, fried chicken and rice! Shouldn't eat like that less than an hour before my run. I'm also a bit worried that my back is still sore from last week, and now it seems I have another nuisance. It's that all-too-familiar feeling on my left foot, the one that sidelined me for a few weeks. I'm hoping it's not plantar fasciitis, however it sure felt like it. It wasn't that bad, but it just kinda lingered there. Though I'm not crazy about taking it, Vitamin I will definitely have to be part of my nutritional race regimen on Saturday.

It was hot again, but it didn't bother me so much today, I'm hoping because I've acclimated to it already. With the highs forecasted to reach the 90s this weekend, I sure hope so.

Forgot my camera, so no visuals today, but here are my numbers.

Conditions: Sunny, 75deg. F, slight breeze
Distance: 6.1 miles
Time: 01:02:23
Ave. pace: 10:14/mi

My online training buddies also came out to run in their parts of the world at exactly the same time as I did. Check out their recaps.
The Running Freeman

Monday, August 6, 2007

calling all virtual runners!

Come out and join us for our next virtual training run. Runners from across the globe connect and train virtually with each other through the power of 21st century technology. We have had participants from the Philippines and Malaysia going stride for stride with their virtual buddies from San Diego, Orange County, and Seattle.

DATE: 8 August 2007, Wednesday (US Pacific Time)
TIME: 1:30 P.M. (US Pacific Time)
DISTANCE: 10 km/ 6 miles (or whatever you wish)
RUNNERS/ COURSE: (I'll update this as more people join up)
  1. Jaymie - Alabang Philippines
  2. HitMe - Quezon City, Philippines
  3. Banggi - Manila, Philippines
  4. Ben - Manila to Makati, Philippines
  5. Renz - Metro Manila, Philippines
  6. Marga - Paranaque, Philippines
  7. Steph - San Diego, USA
  8. Gretchen - Seattle, USA
  9. E-Rod - Newport Beach, USA
Not sure how much fun it's going to be? Check out these recaps from last week's virtual training runs:
  1. Steph
  2. Jaymie
  3. Hitme64
  4. Ben
  5. TRF

looming disappointment

The name itself conjures up images of failure and dejection, runners dropping out, not able to measure themselves up against the tough and challenging Mt. Disappointment Endurance Runs. This demanding race, set in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest features two distances, the 50K and for the first time, the 50-Mile, and will test the mettle of over 230 runners.

On Saturday, I'm going to pit myself up against this course to see what I've got. My third ultra, it's going to test my training, strength and resolve on the 50K distance. And the 50-miler, well, I'm leaving that to the big boys and girls for now.

Two things worry me the most–the heat and the last climb. I've been keeping a close eye on this weekend's weather, and so far the high is at 81 degrees. It's not as hot as the HTT and Holy Jim run when temps hit in the nineties, but the eighties is no walk in the park either. The last climb in the race starts with 27 miles accumulated on the legs already. From the course profile, it looks like a gain of 25oo feet in just 3 miles. According to the race website, "the final climb to the summit of Mt Wilson up the Kenyon Devore Trail will test each runner with terrain and surroundings that are truly unique to these canyons." What a fine way of saying, it's gonna kick your arse!

I had an earlier optimistic goal of being done in under 7 hours, but after looking over last year's finishing times, I've adjusted that to 8 hours. Five days from now we'll see if that goal is met, or if this race will live up to its name.

Photos and course profile are property of Mt. Disappointment Endurance Runs.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

east meets west for virtual run #2

Today's virtual run brought together runners from the Far East, specifically Manila, with runners from the US West Coast (San Diego, OC, and Seattle). The Manila contingency got underway at the unenviable pre-dawn hour of 4:30am (Thur.) to coincide with our 1:30pm (Wed.) start.

I set my alarm clock for 5am today to meet OCTR for a separate 6am run. Funny thing is I woke up at 4:45am and almost in a panic thinking that I missed the 4:30am run. Was I dreaming that I was running in Manila?

Today's local Newport Beach conditions:

77 deg. F
60% humidity

10mph on-shore breeze

sunny with 100% UV exposure

I changed my starting point so that my course will run through the San Joaquin Marsh and Bird Sanctuary. I figure the slight change might help make this a more interesting run. I aimed for 6 miles today–1 mile warm-up, 4 miles at a fast pace, and 1 mile cool down.

Already I could tell it was gonna be a hot run. That's fine, I thought. Mt. Disappointment is the weekend after, and I need to get as much heat acclimation as I can get to prepare for that race. After the warm-up, I picked up my speed, not wanting to get left behind by my virtual training buds. I could only sustain a sub 8-minute mile for so long before the heat and today's early morning run began to take their toll on me. My back was also sore from last night's wall climbing session at the rock gym and was bothering me. But enough with the excuses.

I usually aim for a negative split, so at the 3-mile point, I turned around, and picked up my pace. Luckily no one was around to hear me heaving and gasping for air and crying to the heavens above to give me the strength to persevere at least till I get to mile 5. A few minutes later, my prayers were answered, and I slowed my pace for my cool-down all the way to the finish.

It was a fun day training with my online friends today, none of whom I have met in person yet, though I somehow felt their presence there. Amazing, the power of blogging in bringing people together :)

All you runners who can't seem to find other peeps to train with, don't let geography limit you. The date is not set yet, but you are all invited to our next virtual training run.

Fellow virtual runners' recaps (will update as I see them come up):

My splits:
Mile 1 (warm-up)
9:58 min. mile

Mile 3
8:36 min. mile

Mile 5 (it was shortly before here that I was crying like a baby)
8:14 min. mile

Mile 6 (cool down)
10:03 min. mile

First Virtual Run Recaps: