Monday, 31 January 2011

3K, 12K, 50K, OK

Today was not a run day. It was an ab crunch day. Big time.

Just decided this would be the day I did 3000 of those bad boys, for the first time ever. Knocked 'em out at the gym in about 45 minutes. Most I've done before, 2500. Not sure why or how I'm able to do these.

Early last year I did the 200 situps in 6 weeks program. I only did 32 the first day...because that's all I could manage. Worked my way up to the 200 fairly easily, and felt the added fitness helped my core strength when running. It made the up bits of hills easier to run. Didn't feel like loosing that so I kept doing the core work, although switched to ab crunches. 2000 seems to be my base now. Today's 3K didn't hurt...but my back is a little stiff. 4K next?

As for the 12K...I have paid my money for the 2011 Bay to Breakers footrace in San Francisco. Was not going to run it after hearing that the organizers are scaling it back, and trying to squeeze the goofy out of it. Goofy's what this yearly event is known for. Lots of beer, crazy floats, centipedes, far too many naked people who should not be, the tortilla toss, and upwards of 100 thousand people. They're capping participants at 50K, banning the booze and the floats, and promising to clamp down on anyone who breaks the rules. When I first heard about the changes I swore I was done with it. I've run it 8 times. friend, Ms. Fool is coming all the way out to the Left Coast from the East Coast to do could I not. My pal Patti's going to do it too. could I not.

Janathon ends today. I did not stick with it. Oh, well. It did get me out the door at the beginning of the month, and reminded me of how important endorphins are to my mental health. Fended off a costly venture into anti-bummed out drugs. Thumbs up, for that. To all the Janathoners who saw it through...good on ya!

Marathon update. My mystery marathon choice remains the same. Serious training for that event will begin soon. For those of you hoping to guess where I'm going before I's the next IS a Boston Qualifier...although I shall not be shooting for a BQ. That'll be the day!

Gotta run!

Thursday, 20 January 2011


I had three goals for today's big bike ride.

1. Put in some Janathon miles. (28!)
2.. Check out the new bike/pedestrian tunnel through Cal Park Hill between Larkspur and San Rafael.
3. Experience first hand the DayGlo yellow paint on the front of San Rafael's new pizza palace.

It was just one of those days in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of those days people who want to live here dream about. Those of us who do reside here don't have to dream about them. They happen a LOT! It's winter. The vibrant blue skies were nearly-cloudless. The temps were in the crisp low 60s. The early morning brought unexpected major gusts of wind, up to 50 mph in some spots, that only cleared all the fireplace smoke and roadway smudge out of the air. It would have been criminal to not have ridden.

This is a route I've ridden and run dozens of times...with the exception of the new tunnel component. I had planned on taking pictures, but those on the Marin Bicycle Coalition's website could hardly be improved upon by me. There's even a video. I must say, it is not often I am blown away by such things...but this structure is brilliant. The fact that this was accomplished here, during tough economic times, with cyclists in mind, is hard to fathom. But, I'm trying.

Once I got into downtown San Rafael, I headed straight for Pizza Orgasmica. It's a new pie place. Its owners have created quite the stir by painting it bright...and I mean, BRIGHT, yellow...with green trim (they've got some affinity for things Brazilian). Some locals love it. Others say it gives them headaches. I had to see it for myself. I will admit, it IS yellow. My wife and I (at my urging) painted our old bathroom almost the same colour. It woke me up in the mornings. City officials in San Rafael last night asked the owners to tone it down a notch. Good thing they didn't see our loo!

Downtown San Rafael was mile 22 of today's ride...and I thought I was done. Headed for The Broken Drum Brewery just up the street, called a friend to see if he could meet for a beer. He couldn't. I drank alone. One IPA. If anyone tells you they saw my eating a bowl of garlic fries...I will go to my death bed denying it!

Took the bus back across the Bay. Then rode another six miles to home. All three goals accomplished.

Now - For those of you trying to win the Just Finish technical running shirt. Here's a recap of what we've learned so far. I am running...another marathon this year...somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. It's being held in a city I've never run in before. Guesses so far are..Berlin, Detroit, and Athens. Nope! Nope! Nope!

Stay tuned for more clues.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


In my previous blog post I may have led you astray. Just wanted to clear things up. I have NOT quit Janathon...oh, my, my, no! It's been too much fun connecting with new people at home for that. I've just decided to let everyone else win!!! That's just how I am.

I did run today, for the first time in about a week. Three crazy-slow, hilly miles beginning and ending outside my gym. During my trek, in my "barefoot shoes" I was listening to Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode's BBC Radio 2 film review podcast on my trusty iPod...and was left in a smidge of a nagging quandry.

Dr. K is my favourite film guy. He has an unhealthy affection for "The Exorcist"...but he also acknowledges the brilliance of my all time fave flick, "Brassed Off!." Now...he's come out liking "Blue Valentine" which I really wanted to see until my friend Dave, whose opinion I also respect, told me it was rubbish. Now what do I do? Have you seen it? other news. It did not take me long, but I have chosen my 2011 marathon. If you missed the previous post, I shall reiterate. I am going to run another mary this year...but I'm not going to reveal which one...until it's over! If you want to try to guess where I'm going before anyone else, and win yourself a smart and sexy Just Finish technical running shirt, check back here for the clues. Here are the first two.

1. I have never run in this city before.

2. It's in the Northern Hemisphere.

Off you go!

Gotta run!

Monday, 17 January 2011


I am ready to admit it. There are very few things I can commit to doing every flippin' day.

Drinking two cups of coffee, first thing. That one you can bank on, full stop. Checking my e-mail and my Facebook page. Two other sure things. That may be about all I am able, or willing, to commit to. That leaves a lot of stuff, while attractive and inspiring in many cases, subject to not much more than whim or mood of the day.

This does not bode well for my Janathon adventure. The goal there was, seriously, to run or walk or ride everyday in January and then blog a bit about the day's achievement. My intent was pure and good. My follow through has been dismal. I am officially accepting that...and conceding. I will NOT be taking home the gold at the end of this month.

I am more than willing to go on epic bike rides between now and the end of the month, and will try to log as many miles I'm able, with that and running and walking. I could even possibly rack up more miles than anyone else, but I will not have done it according to the proper guidelines.

My best wishes go out to all the Janathon participants who are still in the hunt for glory! I will be watching, reading your blogs, and cheering you on. If there was even a chance that I might have been able to take part in the post-Janathon celebration in London in February I might have stayed true to the game...but that's not happening.

And then...there's this. In order to keep myself moving at some level of respectable pace for the better part of the rest of 2011, I am telling myself that I will run another marathon this year. However, once I've chosen it, I am going to keep it a secret. The way it's going to work is...I am going to do some research, pick a great destination race, train, FINISH...and then, just like at the end of a home-makeover show on television, there will be the big "reveal."

So, just day later this year, you'll get to wake up one morning, wipe the sleep from your eyes, pour your cup of morning joe, and check the runners' blogs you check...and learn that I've done it again. Won't that be awesome for you?? Okay, maybe not. But that's how I'm doing it.

I may drop a clue every now and then...and you can try to guess where I'm going. And get this...if you're the first one to get it...BEFORE I run, I'll give you a free membership in the Just Finish group AND a brand new Just Finish running shirt. Truth told, membership in Just Finish is always free and you can (and really should) sign up now. We're a fun bunch of athletes. You could make it that much more fun! Check it out, huh? See you there.

By the way, don't guess yet. I haven't chosen my race. And...thanks to Kevin at Just Finish, for providing the awesome prize!

Gotta run!

Thursday, 6 January 2011


(First off I must say I absolutely HATE Blogger! I have tried three different browsers and none of them will let me put these pics where I want them. Arrgh! You'll have to connect the not-too-difficult dots. Sorry!)

NOW! After my miserable attempt at a three mile run earlier this week I was afeared that I'd aged over the last year of inactivity to the point where the damage could not be repaired. However, somehow, awoke this morning with an itchin' to get on my bike, despite the frigid temps.

After adorning myself in various weather-appropriate velo-garb, strapped on the Garmin 305, and stashed the Blackberry and a camera in the bike-bag-on-the-back, I headed out the door. I told my wife I had a couple of ideas about where I'd be going, but added that I could be gone all day...or back in 20 minutes.

Fortunately for my sense of self-esteem, it turned out to be the former. 3:08, 35 miles...1 cup of Blue Bottle potty stop (pictured above!) beer and a companion sandwich...and one public transit trip home.

Destination One was the my temple of coffee, about 8 miles from my house, just off of Oakland's Chinatown. If I haven't convinced you over the past couple of years that it's the best coffee on the planet're hopeless. I'm sorry.

From there it was through a part of the city known as Oakland's Riveria. It looks nothing like its European namesake, believe me. Just our little stateside way of having a bit of a lark!

Then it was across the High Street Bridge into the "island city" of Alameda. I was a good boy and followed the signed instruction to "dismount" on the bridge. Then headed to the beach side of the city where I rode until I could ride no more without answering the call of Mother Nature. She was screaming at me to find a potty. Thus, again, said picture above.

Sufficiently and completely relieved, it was over the Harbor Bay Isle bridge into another part of Alameda and then into Oakland again...this time riding along the edge of the International Airport, and past the actual airfield from which Amelia Erhart took off on her ill-fated around the world journey.

After that, it was straight down Doolittle Drive to Marina in San Leandro, a sharp right turn, and then out to the city's Marina, oddly enough, and then out onto the Bay Trail, through the amazing bayside wetlands and then down into Hayward. It was not long until I spied the downtown area, that, over the past 15 years or so has had quite a resurgence.

The last time I was at Buffalo Bills was about that long ago...and it has come a long, long way. It was the first brewpub to open in California when restrictions on such things were lifted. Back then it was reminded me of a place where ill-tempered biker gangs might meet to rumble outside. Not so much anymore. Perhaps best known for their "Alimony Ale"...there are always any number of other selections available. Good stuff.

It was 32 miles to this point. After the brewpub, it was a two block ride to BART that took me to within 3 miles of home. Rode the 3 to bring my total to 35 for the day. I'll take it. Please apply to my Janathon total! Thank you.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


I should be running today, to keep up with my Janathon commitment...but, alas, it ain't happening.

It would seem that my feets are none to pleased with my recent return to the game. They protests a bit.

I remember about ten years ago, when my stepdaughter and I were running the Portland Marathon, she told me she'd read that for every pound one weighs, their body takes the pounding of 4 times that with every running step. At that time that put me at about 800 pounds! No wonder I was so slow. I got down to 173 at my very healthiest during my 12 in 12 in 2009. Since then, not so much. After a year or so of slacking, I'm pretty much back up there again.

That wouldn't be that "big" of a deal if it wasn't for the fact that I have sworn off my padded running shoes in favour of my Vibram Five Fingers, that I call my "barefoot shoes." All that extra poundage pounding on my size 9.5's (44's for my readers back home) is taking its toll. The little bones on the top of my left foot are in pain, and urging me to take it easy.

The only running injury I have ever had was sustained in early 2010 in my VFFs...when I did too much one day, while on an eight miler that should have ended at six. That sidelined me for upwards of six weeks. Don't want that again. I don't mind not running so much when it's my choice. Injury negates that option.

I am, however, hoofin' it to work and back from San Francisco's bus terminal...which is about a mile and a I get three miles, right? My feet aren't the boss of me.


Gotta run!

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Got up this morning and stepped right into it. My Janathon experiment, that is.

It's only 2 January, and I felt if I followed my heart and remained cocooned inside my cozy abode, safe away from all chilly winter downpour, that I'd fall so terribly behind that I might never get started. So...loaded the gym bag and headed to 24 Hour Fitness.

I have written before that I'm not one who usually goes for inspiration from other people, feeling that if I don't own my own mojo I should just stay home. This morning was one of those rare occasions when I drew from the energy of others. I knew there were a bunch of intrepid souls who also signed up for Janathon who ran yesterday and would probably run again today. I did NOT want to get smoked by you lot!

Judging my the lack of a sweaty crowd at 9am in my gym, it would appear that lots of folks have already packed it in when it comes to that get fit New Year's resolution. Only four of the 24 treadmills on offer were in use. I chose one quickly and spent a good 32 minutes on it, pounding out a 3 miler, while listening to the latest BBC 2 Chris Evans and Simon Mayo podcasts.

After that, moved on to do 2000 (yes, 2K!) ab crunches. I know it sounds like a lot, and I always get questions about how I manage so many...but I just do. The funny thing is, you'd think I'd have a tight six pack of ab muscles as a result...but, seriously, not so bleeding much!

That's it, really. Off and running.

Wishing the rest of the Janathoners an "awesome" (we use that word a lot over here!!) month...and a brill 2011.

Gotta run!