Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My New Favorite Running Tool

I love my new Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus Water Bottle. My previous struggles with heavy fuel belts are over. For long runs, I used to pack up my fuel belt like I was going on a mini-vacation. The four water bottles were too heavy, and often my whole belt would come undone and fall off.

I started considering other options. I don't like the idea of something strapped to my back, so I looked to hand held bottles. This never appealed to me. I like having my hands free – As it turns out I like to run with a thumbs-up gesture, something I didn't even realize until I saw myself doing it in all my running pictures. But I was willing to try something new.

I went to the folks at Feet Fleet Encino, and a friendly salesclerk referred me to the popular model pictured. She said it was the most popular.

I took my new toy out for a test drive for our 16 mile rain run. The beauty of the bottle is that there is no grasping involved – By tightening the hand-strap, it fits snug in your palm. It takes a little getting used to, but I love it! I don't even mind the extra weight from the water - it's like a bonus bicep curl with every step. I also like it because if you notice, those fast fit long distance runner guys never have fuel belts – they always run with these bottles – So naturally now I think I’m a fast fit long distance runner guy - if only in my head.

That being said, I still carry my fuel belt for electrolyte drinks on long runs, but I won’t need to carry as many now.

Go buy it!

Happy Running!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ups and Downs

So 22 miles wasn't so bad two weeks ago. So why is 11 miles suddenly a challenge? Well that's how it goes. We ran 11 miles this Saturday. The weather was weird. In my head it was warm, but outside it was actually a bit chilly. Even Glenn didn't take off his shirt (as someone had remarked). I hung out in the back of the pack since I wanted to work on some speed, and due to the caterpillar effects of the running group, the back gets a lot of play. The front-runner may run at a steady 11 mi/hour pace, but because of the run/walk intervals and other issues of humans moving, the back-runner maintains a 10:30 mi/hr. Just believe me. Maybe it's because I only ran once during the week prior or did a half-marathon too, but I was drained after those 11 miles. But sometimes it's good to go fast - and one hard run may peceed an easier run. That's just how running - and life - works.

It was good catching up with group members who are usually in the back. You learn a lot about people by running with them. Can't wait what stories we have to share for next week's 24. On that note, please bring some good ones.

Happy running!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Downhill Running

Today's lunchtime run around campus focused on hill training and exercising my mental stamina for the Big Sur Marathon and the scary bunch of inclines and hills throughout an otherwise scenic course. The uphills around UCLA offer some practice. And for that matter, so do the downhills…

Running downhill is not something I enjoy. It’s fun for the first two seconds, sure, but then it’s not. The problem is that downhill running pretends to be this carefree, easy, relaxed activity, when it can cause you to lose your form, get injured (hard pounding), and my problem – get bored. There’s a sort of monotony to it that really gets me antsy. The leg muscles used downhill are different too – and the soreness is more palatable.

Firecracker 10K next month will be good practice with its intense inclines and declines. I’m promised Dim Sum with the Legger gang at the end of it all. Hmm… Downhill to Dim Sum? I think I can manage that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

13.1 Marathon Recap

Don't fault the creators of the 13.1 Marathon Series for their lack of creativity when it comes to naming things. At least now, non-runners will know exactly how long a half-marathon is.

There are a lots of positives to this race - The date on the LA running calendar is perfect and it doesn't conflict with anything else - unless you want to go to Arizona for a marathon send-off by a gun wielding John McCain (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can leave a comment). The course is relatively flat (slight inclines but no big deal), the bands are great, and there's a great energy bolstered by the variety of LA area running clubs and teams in attendance. I even saw a Marathon Maniac.

Other positives include the Craft high-tech tee (in a nice lime green) and a heavy medal with a twirling 13.1 logo.

The negatives? I guess walking about 1.5 miles from my car to the start line was a bit long - but we all can use a good pre-race warmup. I actually got to the start line within minutes of the start, happy to find my running friends there.
I ran nice and easy with LA Legger newbie Julio for the first half. Our enjoyable run was only slowed down by a 3 minute wait for the porta potties, which I promptly made up later (sorry Julio for speeding up). Not to worry, Julio made good time too. Although the course isn't a beauty - out and back on Venice Boulevard - it's fun to see the passerbys on the otherside and share some of the running enthusiasm with them.

My second half was way faster than my first. I kept at about a 10:15 for much of it - to my surprise - It felt good so I kept on going. I finished in 2:29:02. Hmmm...if I hadn't lost the time at the porta potty, this would have been a PR - but I'm still happy with my time.

Congrats to Legger Saeed who did PR!

After the race, I hung out and high fived my Legger friends, passed on the chance to stand in a long line for a free bag from Petco, and met someone from Sporteve, the women's running store in Culver City. Then, Glenn and I walked back to our cars - which for some reason seemed way further than the first time.

Good race, lots of fun -

Happy running!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Safari Park Half-Marathon

I just signed up for the Inaugural Safari Park Half-Marathon in San Diego in March. It is a new course through the Park (formerly the Wild Animal Park). Participants receive a free pass into the park that day. Anyone else interested in running with some tigers? I know I am.