Staying Motivated

I've definitely fell off the wagon in terms of not only writing, but working out. There was a good period where a Captain and I had a good time working out two of the three nights at an overnight and where I actually felt good, but I'm gaining weight, and falling! I'm still at the hefty 185 lbs, with just under 50 days left until my second sprint triathlon but at least August is set to be a record month in days off. With that, looks like I have to put my flights of fancy (read: Vietnam) on hold for a swim class and two-three bricks a week. August is also lined with moving back to suburbia, celebrating my first year wedding anniversary and whatever other distractions so definitely not a prime month, but I will make the best of it.

Either than that, the Pitficks' and Nicolas' have officially become part of a Ragnar Relay Race in 2011 which takes place in the Florida Keys joining up with another team from the East Coast. Should be fun once all the logistics are planned out! I can't wait.

San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon....CHECK

Fifty three days before my 30th birthday, I completed my first full 26.2 on Sunday participating in the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. It was awesome. Signing up a couple of months ago, my wife chose to run the half (13.1) while I convinced myself that this was something I would need to do before "growing" old. If you're not interested in reading the details, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post for my Garmin data as well as the official Rock 'n' Roll Results.

Training: None...more or less absent in terms of distance. It was definitely a bad idea and not a bright one to say the least. I had planned on running at a lighter weight (165 lbs. compared to my current 180 lbs. ) and even planned out a running schedule. Those "plans" didn't take. The longest run I would have done would have been the 10 miles the previous Wednesday while using Gu once at the half way point. A couple of weeks of ago, I completed running ~16 miles on the Ragnar Relay but that was during a 24 hour period so I guess that didn't count?! Next time...(if there is another one) I will definitely train appropriately.

Day -1: Drinking lots of water, picking up Runblondie26 and her husband, hanging out at the Expo (buying my first pair of Newton Running Shoes from Ryan, buying some 2XU Calve Guards and officially signing up for the San Diego TriRock), attending a Padres game followed by some carbo loading w/ Bronx Pizza and carne asada fries. I got the gear together, set the coffee maker and went to bed early.

Day 0: Waking up w/ around 7 hours of sleep, I took a shower, dressed and got ready. Eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, drinking a can of FRS, and sipping some coffee was it for the pre race meal. Adelle, Lindsay and I walked 1.7 miles from the downtown apartment to the start line arriving a little later than originally planned but it worked out after checking in our gear bags which by the way was really quick and easy. Lining up and finding my 4:45 pace group in corral 23, I awaited the starting gun. About 30 minutes later, looking down at my heart rate monitor on my Garmin Edge 500, I noticed that my adrenaline was pumping 100 bpm. Trying to slow it down and calm was time and off we went!

The pace leader took off to a great start and I purposely lagged behind. The first four miles flew by like none other and when the fork in the road was coming up for the half marathoners to turn north, I'll admit that it did cross my mind, but on I went toward into Downtown. Running in familiar territory was exciting and easy and when I came around mile 9 onto the 163 freeway, I was feeling like a champ! I happened to run into my sister who was just approaching the four mile marker on her way to completing her first half marathon so that was nice. Now this part of the course was pretty awesome in that the marathon closed both sides of the freeways. Running under the bridges were amazing because I actually got to see and appreciate the structures. Running on the freeway was fun up until the downhill portion came up. The road was uneven and sloped towards my left causing a imbalance in my legs and ankles and it only got worse. That's when I can remember first time thinking about the hot spots and ankle pains. Finally getting back towards on Friars approaching my half way point, I once again felt like I could keep on going. Nothing was going to stop me. I was drinking and maintaining hydration along with Gu's, salt packets and FRS chews...things were dandy.

Did I forget to mention that the sun was now beating down and the heat was picking up. Passing by Rose's Donut Shop, (yes I did think about grabbing one to go) Morena Blvd. would prove to be my nemesis. Around mile 18, the walking would start. It probably started around 16 as my feet just started to feel heavy. With 10K to go, I looked down at my watch and was still on pace. Then, it happened... the pace group passed me. I found myself walking a lot more then finally getting over the bridge towards Mission Bay, I knew I was going to finish it.

Motivation was found all along the course. I ended up walking next to a guy that has been doing the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon since the inception in 1998 and was telling me that only 101 runners remained of the original 20,000. He had a pace watch and he told me that we were still good to go even if with a target of 13 minute miles. Easy right?

I just couldn't get comfortable anymore. That's the bottom line. My calves were fine (thanks 2XU), but my quads, hamstrings as well as feet were just about done. I would force myself here and then and it wasn't until right before Fiesta Island did I give it another go. I got a call from Lindsay (who ran a PR 1:36 half marathon) saying that she was waiting for me at the 5K to go mark and would run with me. That was just awesome. She met me at the beginning of Fiesta Island and off we went. Then I came to a halt. I just couldn't do that much more. I was falling far behind and next thing you know, I'm aiming for 5:30. With .2 to go, my fan group cheered me on, Lindsay broke off and I finished strong. Coming in at 5:24, I can say proudly that I finished. Taking my "official" post race picture, I witnessed a couple getting engaged which was pretty awesome. In face, the guy carried the ring w/ him the entire time while running alongside and finishing with his girlfriend. I walked at a very slow crawl grabbing my gear bag and hopped on the bus back to the trolley then over the car. Good times.

We have runbondie26 all smiles, me with a red vine in my mouth the last .2 miles and me trying to look cool like I still have energy left in me.

Post Run: Once I got home, I took a shower, changed and off we went to grab a Smash Burger. It was good but I couldn't really eat that much. My appetite wasn't all there as my stomach was full fo Gu Gel and whatever other things I was filling up with along the way. When I got home, a little post race ice cream then I crashed for an hour and half. Waking up with a massive, what it felt like hangover associated headache, I hydrated with Gatorade, another can of FRS and got ready for dinner at couples night. I put on more KT tape around my quads and around my feet, and set out. Good times!

Day +1: I woke up feeling good. Sore for sure, but better. Sleep was good, lunch was great and I'm walking again. I hear that I'm suppose to hurt a little more on day +2, but we'll see! I got some great seats for the Padre game, even got a pedicure and ate some good pizza. Yes I said pedicure. At the Padre game, on the way out, I also got a chance to shake hands and snap a photo with the Woz. Yes, the Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and who is a Padre fan through and through! Exciting weekend for sure!

2011 So Cal Ragnar Relay Post Race Report

Carb load Thursday night at Jack and Ayelet's townhome, drive up to Oceanside to spend the night at Chris' awesome new home, then drive up to Huntington Beach where the start line of the 2011 So Cal Ragnar Relay was setup. Lasagna, spaghetti, salad, friends...little did we know what we were really getting into. We knew the basics; the route, the timing (via an awesome amazingly programmed Google Spreadsheet), the forecasted weather, the big exchanges and where we'd end up but it would be just the beginning of a great trip. I forgot my Garmin Edge 500 at home but instead just relied on Runkeeper Pro on my iPhone 4. As they say, 2 vans, 12 friends, 36 legs, 200.9 miles. When we reached the start line, the registration area was filled with people from all over. Some dressed costumed in elaborate and amazing themes such as Super Mario Bros and some in just underwear w/ suspenders. Their vans also decorated from front to back with markers, pictures and even props glued to the sides...the Ragnar Relay was definitely something else. I picked up a couple of shirts for memorabilia sake, we loaded up on some Protein Shakes and FRS giveaways, and then as 9:45am approached, we stood around and cheered for Chris as he was slated as runner #1. It was exciting!

For some reason, while recording the start with Qik, it came out blue, but for your viewing pleasure, here it is.

After Chris took off for his first 5 mile leg, we set out and made our way to the next exchange. We didn't know the van route and just did the best we could to find the stop. The weather forecast was calling for a dry and hot day and by the time it was my turn at leg #4, it was excruciating. The temperature had risen to around 85 F and I couldn't have gotten more liquid in my body. My exchange was located at Angel's stadium and running along the aqueduct just proved to be that much hotter.

By the time all of Van #1 was done, we met up at the the first major exchange in Corona where the first runner of Van #2 set out. Did I mention that it was hot and very dry? We were able to snap a team photo right after Ryan came in and before Christina took off. If you take a close look, Ryan (on the far left front crouching down) just championed the 2.7 miles downhill literally taking this photo just seconds afterwards.

We had a great opportunity to head to Lake Elsinore where Chris' aunt took us in, cooked some awesome spaghetti and let use use her house as a base for 4 hours while Van 2 did their six legs. Definitely some good spoiling. I even took a shower and rested quite well. I knew that my next leg was going to take place at night and I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive because I had never run that late before or in the dark at all. To top that off, I was running an unfamiliar path with headlamps, taillight and a vest in the middle of Wildomar / Temecula. Throughout the evening, all I could think about was running with a buddy and I found one! A girl from Salt Lake had told me that she was a 10:00 min / miler and I was game. We started out fast and actually made amazing time averaging just under 9:30 min / mile which was on par for a Personal Record (PR). It was an exciting finish for her and I and I was ecstatic that I had found a great person to run with let alone run some of the best I've ever ran. It was chilly too, but I'll admit that when comparing the heat from the earlier leg, I'd definitely take the cold.

Again, after Van 1 had ran their legs, we set out of Chris' house in Oceanside and had about 2.5 hours of sleep / rest until the next major exchange. It was once again a very awesome opportunity that we had that chance to be so close to a base to recover unlike other teams that only had their vans and sleeping bags. After an amazing second leg, I sought out thinking that I could actually finish strong during my third and final leg of the 2011 So Cal Ragnar Relay.

It started to get a little hot and when we approached the Loma Santa Fe Train Station Exchange, the heat was once again at full force. I started off nice and easy as you can see here:

I wound up walking here and there as I couldn't find that personal pace / high that I needed to maintain. The sun was getting the best of me. I knew that the big incline was going to happen sometime in the last mile or two, but boy, the heat coupled with the El Camino Real hill just took the wind out of my sails. I ended up with a 10:50 min / mile moving average which was definitely the opposite of what I forecasted, but I was still happy with it. My team met me at the beginning of the hill which was a great boost and I finished strong sprinting the last bit. I handed my slap bracelet to Charlette and I was done! What a feeling! She attacked Via de la Valle and took a couple of kills too and Ryan would endure Torrey Pines so in the bigger scheme of things, my hill was on the littler side. Props to those two for killing it!

All in all, it was an amazing experience that I wouldn't mind doing all over. In fact, if you're interested in running this race, hit me up! I'm always down for a challenge!

Here's a picture of that awesome medal up close! It's got some weight to it!

I Made the Sheraton!

I've been wanting to do this loop out & back for a while now and I was lucky to be running alongside a Mr. Jack Pham. I started a little too fast (well at least faster than normal = 9:00 pace) and had to take a break at mile 2 but then found the rhythm again and got back to it. My moving average was definitely slower than I would have liked clocking in at 10:36 / mile but I felt good.

Along the way though, the shin splint that I developed on the treadmill the day prior running 3 miles started to tingle and get the best of me. I was also trying to run a little more flatter, which helped out, but ultimately, my legs weren't feeling it. I mentioned to Jack at the end of the run that I felt like the time I finished my first ever 10K / first race without training.

With the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon June 5th just around the corner, I'm starting to get a little scared but I'm starting to definitely pick up the pace. I'm thinking of trying out my older Asics again. I don't remember getting bad shin splints with them as compared to my Lunarglides+ 2s. I can't believe that the Ragnar Relay: So Cal is next weekend either!

Ragnar Relay Routes

Looking over my Runner 4 profile, (Leg 4, Leg 16, Leg 28) what's 4.3 miles | Moderate / 5.6 miles | Hard / 5.7 miles | Hard for a total of 15.6 miles!? I'm definitely capable of doing that. I guess I should try running Miramar Lake at different intervals all throughout the day. Who's with me for some Saturday fun day training? Maybe we should hit it on Friday night for a lap and then do another on Saturday morning? If you don't want to click on any of the above links, here are the profiles of each of my runs. The last one looks like a little bit of a doozy with that last minute incline, but I'm all for the 24 hour challenge!

Ragnar Relay: It's Official!

First off, if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can read all about the Ragnar Relay on the official about page. I'm excited to announce that I signed up / volunteered myself to become part of my friend's team and celebrate his 30th birthday with this race! This individual, Jack Pham, also happens to be the person who introduced Adelle to me when he put together an awesome BBQ way back for Memorial Day 2000. He was also my UCSD freshman year roommate's high school classmate. I just can't believe that it's been over 10 years since all this! Back to the race. I will be participating in the Ragnar Relay So Cal edition which will cover ~200 miles from Huntington Beach, CA to Coronado Island, San Diego from April 15th to April 16th and am running as the 4th Runner covering a total of 15.4 miles.

I just came back from the first team meeting, and I'm super excited! There's a lot to prepare for in my journey to running my first marathon (San Diego Rock 'n' Roll on June 5th) and this is just one of the ways that I'm motivating myself.

PICTURE THIS: You and 11 of your buddies running relay style, day and night, in a 200-mile running event through Southern California. Starting south of Los Angeles in beautiful Huntington Beach your team of 12 runners will head south down the pacific coast. Along the way you will pass through Anaheim, Carlsbad, Del Mar and La Jolla. The race (and your stamina) will wrap up near San Diego on beautiful Coronado Island. This race had better make your running calendar; you really won’t want to miss it.