March 28, 2013

Just Fool Yourself

When the sun sets, colors fill the sky. Colors we don't usually see.  If you take a few minutes and stop - to really watch what happens - you will notice subtle changes in the horizon. Every few minutes colors changing hue.

Last night when I was driving to the start of a nine mile run, I started thinking about how tired I was. How I really didn't need to do this run. How I could really use a day off. I pulled into the parking lot, turned off the car, and fell asleep. When I woke 30 minutes later I knew this run wasn't going to happen. So I talked myself into just walking up the hill a ways. It was a relief, once I decided it was ok not to run, and that just getting out and walking would be fine for today.

I put my shoes and shorts on and started moving. I could feel the cold air on my skin. I moved for no other reason now than to stay warm. My gait gradually quickened to a slow jog. I felt the fatigue in my legs from all the miles I'd run the last several weeks. My body was tired, confirming these miles would have to be another day.

I made it to the top of the small hill, then turned down a bike trial with a gentle descent. I'll just go around the block and call it a day, I thought. Then I crossed the road and turned toward the drinking fountain another half mile away. Sure, I need some water I thought, so I'll just jog up to the fountain and then turn back. That would give me three miles. After taking a few micro sips I just continued up the trail, lost somewhere between a day off and a run with no known destination or distance. I just kept ambling along, noticing the sky changing colors as the sun began to set.

When I looked at my watch 90 minutes later it told me I had gone nine miles. I just shook my head. I started this knowing I wouldn't run at all, and I finished not knowing how I ran 9 miles. I guess, sometimes, you just have to fool yourself. 

March 21, 2013

Managing My Weight: 5 Tricks

Like it or not, your weight has a lot to do with your health. And even more to do with your running. If you are overweight, you run slower, put more stress on your body and ultimately are more prone to injury.

What constitutes being an overweight runner? I believe the answer to this is directly tied to your objectives. For example, do you want to run just to be healthy? To be competitive in your age group? To achieve a personal best? 

If you're running just to be healthy, is suggest reviewing the BMI calculations. But if you're running to achieve more than just health, you need to be more precise. My experience (which, of course, can and will differ from others') when it comes to my ideal running weight is that I need to be as close to the weight I was when I was 18 years old, or when I graduated from high school. Yes, a long time ago. For me that number is around 160 lbs. I have found that I'm usually in my best shape when I'm within 3% to 5% of that number.

Getting there and staying there is another story. Over the years I've learned to a few tricks that have helped. Do I get off track? Of course. When this happens I have to rely on these tricks more than usual. Here's a sampling of these in no particular order: 

1. Don't eat breakfast. "What??! That's blasphemy," yelled the hoards. Yes, I've read all the books, magazines and listened to all the seminars. Breakfast is the most important meal! I know. I get it. However, this is why I put "my" in italics above. It works for me. Why? maybe because I'm usually not hungry in the morning. Maybe its because most of my training is in the evenings during the week. Maybe its because I don't want to interrupt the caffeine induced fat burning zone I enjoy in the mornings. The fact is if I don't eat breakfast I'm not consuming 200, 300 or 400 calories as a result.

2. Minimize Carbs in my Diet.  Again, "blasphemy!" screamed the running hoards! What about the age old notion that carbs are the most important part of a runners diet. If you still believe this you need to put down your Runners World Magazine and pick some of Phil Maffetone writings. Do this and you'll know what I mean. 

3. Weigh Myself Everyday. Call me OCD, a freak, whatever you want. But when I'm not weighing myself I'm usually gaining weight, not losing it. 

4. Increase my miles. Seems this should be as straight forward as it gets. But there is a catch, because increased miles also means an increased appetite. So if I'm not watching my calories, I can easily pack on more pounds when I'm increasing my miles from 40 to 50, 60 or 70 per week. Which leads me to the next gadget related trick...

5. Counting my calories. Now we are into the bowels of weight loss. But with technology, it really isn't that hard. When I need to, I use the app Lose It on my phone and track just about any food or drink I come in contact with. It's amazing how quickly the numbers add up!

I think this quote sums it up well...

"If you wish to grow thinner, diminish your dinner."

Henry Sambrooke Leigh      


March 10, 2013


Relevance is when you send a message to your body, and it responds with an affirmative. This week was good. I put sixty miles of running in the book, added seven miles of hiking and many hours stretching and core. What is best is that I'm feeling good after running 25 miles in the mountains at 7500'.  I will accept this as a relevant sign that my body is slowly accepting the "envelop" I'm pushing its way.

Some stills from the trail...

PCT Trail Head at Highway 18 

Weird Fort Hidden in the trees where PCT passes Big Bear 

Overlooking the Lucerne Valley

Reportedly the road to Butler Peak
Powder is a Waiting! 
The Long Snow Road
The Mountain Is a Great Motivator

March 3, 2013

So Cal? Ain't So Bad...

I know some of you are stuck somewhere in a cold, dark place in the world, so I thought it would be nice to share some So Cal stills. Don't worry, spring is almost here! These were taken today on a mountain bike ride with my daughter. I don't know of much I would rather do than to cruise from place to place with my daughters in search of amazing things. Keep exploring my friends....   

March 2, 2013

New Routes. Favorite Songs

I’ve written that one must find new routes everyday to keep running real. I still believe this, but I need to qualify it.

This week I was on my way to completing a ten mile run, much of it at night. As I was moving through a section of the run I stopped for minute and looked around. I realized that I’d been running on this same trail for 20 years.

The trail felt familiar, but something about it was different. It was like a favorite song that I haven’t listened to in a while. I hear its familiar sound, but then I notice something new about it. The voices, the melody...I’m not sure what.

Like Daron and Serj from System of a Down and their cat and mouse harmony in the song Radio Video. I’ve listened to this song dozens of times, but I never really heard their nuanced vocals intertwine like they do. Or Stevie Nick’s haunting vocal in Silver Springs. Again, I’ve heard it many times, and didn't used to call it a favorite. But then I heard how much she just lays her self out there in the live version of the song. It takes some time to build, but is worth the wait.

I look across the creek next to where I’m standing, I notice the lights reflecting off the still water. There is something new about it...but I’m not sure what.