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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Mt Wilson wins again

Pretty cool race t-shirt this year – a mule and all… Everything went about as smoothly as possible since the last post leading up to and through the race. Finished with personal second best out of five consecutive years. On the way up my mantra was “the mountain wins again…” (Blues Traveler) The way down is too fast and technical and side stitchy to have anything but emptiness of mind – partly the point of the race, I suppose, the sacred mountain path aspect. I’m about as sore as can be, but can’t wait ‘til next year. Good to recharge with all the mountain freaks!

Friday, May 27, 2011

trying to let go of pre-race anxiety

I don’t understand why this always happens. I mean, it’s just a run, race. I have zero chance of competing with the top placers. I’m only competing with myself. And this year I really shouldn’t be concerned at all with time given that I only found out I was running the race four days ago and so had no time to train. My time will be what it will be. But still all day today I’ve felt totally exhausted and worried about the race. I think I’m still recovering from the ride out to Glendora to watch the Tour of Cal last weekend. I’ve only done three short runs this week one including a hill on Thursday just to rehearse, rather than train. No training could happen this close to the race but I figured a little taste of what a hill feels like might be helpful. I’ve been trying to eat. Not too much, not too little. I’ve been trying to hydrate but after awhile it just gets to be like where the hell is all this water going. Finally now I’m starting to feel a little calmer. There’s really nothing left to do but have a horrible night’s sleep and drag myself out of bed in the morning and go up the side of a mountain. I had a beer this evening. That helped tremendously. It (and the Chinese poetry I’ve been reading) gave me the idea to make my own Gatorade by making some cold brewed mint tea mixed with maple syrup. I tried it and it’s delicious. I filled up a bottle of it ready for tomorrow. It’s the only thing that’s quenched my thirst all day. I’m not sure if I’ll like it during the race but that’s fine. At least it’ll give me some calories and there’s a couple water stops en route. Really all I want is to be present to the mountain and route and day and run the sacred mountain path with all the other mountain freaks. Praying for a safe and speedy passage.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

last minute entry

This year’s Mt. Wilson Trail Race filled up rather quickly a couple/few months ago. Hil and I didn’t sign up soon enough and so were placed on the waiting list. It’s a fun race and growing in popularity so I figured I’d never get off the list. But, I got a call the other night from the race organizers telling me that I’ve been un-waitlisted – I’m in this year’s Mt. Wilson Trail Race! It’s this Saturday. I’m already halfway through my 4-day training period. Haven’t run anything steep in I can’t remember how long so the 2100 feet of elevation gain over 4.3 miles in the first half of the race followed by the exact return in descent may be painful but probably worth it. Hope to see some familiar faces and paces out on the course.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tour of Cal Baldy Brunch Ride

Meet at Buster’s Coffee House up the street. Three riders. Me on “Totally Eighties.” Ride East to Rod’s classic diner for breakfast. Continue on to the Stage 7 route. Ride a few miles of it and wait for the racers to pass by so we can cheer them on to the top of Baldy. Ride back, tired into the sun and wind. Grab a few beers and a pizza and watch the coverage of the race on tv to find out the results. Good ride.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

25 to 30 percent increase

The marathon was in town over the weekend. I had some friends in the race and The Half. So I set my trusty alarm cat to go off early – actually he goes off every morning when the sun comes up – who needs clocks? But it was raining – not rain-rain but just a little drizzle – perfect maybe for running but not great for going out and waiting for someone to show up at a halfway point when maybe they’ve already gone by. So I stayed home and ate blueberry pancakes.

But the marathon did affect my running over the last couple weeks. Two weekends in a row now I’ve done the double-run thing. Start out with a nice easy warm-up run with Hil and then go out to the Arroyo to get my fill. It’s a nice way to add on the mileage. I’m not sure how important it is for me to add on the mileage right now but since the marathon was in town I thought I’d do a little extra as unseen moral support – just get that running vibe out there in the air for everyone on race day.

I was a little surprised by two things. Both the Arroyo runs, which immediately followed a warm-up run, were pretty fast. And I was a lot more tired after both extended days of running. In my mind it seems like about the same distance 10, 13, whatever. But I think that’s right around that distance/time when you hit a threshold where you really need to be more conscious of caloric intake and hydration.

I do like the Half distance a lot. I don’t think I’ll ever get around to running a marathon. It’s a lot harder than two halves somehow. But based on the speed I think my legs were ready for the half and I may try to throw more of those together down in the arroyo on a more regular basis.

Also, my current shoes are hanging on impressively. The farthest I’ve ever taken a pair of running shoes in lifetime mileage is 600 miles. “They” say shoes are expected to break down after 300 to 500 miles based on your weight and running style and surface and such. My current Adidas are at 760 which of course begs the challenge of 1000 miles. They feel pretty good so far so we’ll see. The extended mileage may be from more dirt-trail miles or my focus on shying away from heavy heel landings.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

dove bars again

At this stage in the long progression of continual adjustment and change that goes along with bicycling (and life) I’ve put the Dove Bars back into the mix. I originally got these bars for the SSSSfixie but then decided I wanted to go with the original bars for that bike. Recently I’ve been changing the adjustment a lot on Mindful Mule’s bars. I just can’t quite nail the right set-up. The Dove bars have just been lying around in the shed so I figured, in a moment of spontaneous unplanned activity following long months of semi-conscious calculation that I’d swap bars. The idea is that this will give me approximately the same hammer-time positioning that the Mary bars provided “in the hoods” so to speak even though neither of these bars technically have hoods but at least a nice curvy area up front where your hands can push out forward a bit to pretend time trial. And provide some more upright positioning when I’m just tootling around or in traffic or whatnot because the bar ends come back at a tighter angle, almost straight back and closer to my body. Both bars, the Mary and the Dove were/are mounted upsidedown as is my preference because that seems to enhance the handling and reduce flex. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

arroyo river dream

The other night I had a dream about running in the Arroyo where the plant Datura grows – a sacred place – Datura is the Queen. She brings visions and breaks down barriers between the underworld and surface world and past and present and dream and reality and vision. The dream was simple and real-like and showed the future-past – the creek-wash-stream-river was naturalized again. The walls of the channel were absent. The flow of the water was low, slow, but the streambed was wide and flat and sandy, suggesting recent surges of power, washing down the loose, steep mountains. Datura was growing in the sand near the river, just as it now grows in the sand near the river above the wall/channel. The river was telling a story, its dream of the future, its remembrance of the past. Datura was there as friend and orator, its large white and translucent light purple trumpet flowers perfect for broadcasting messages.

I went running in the Arroyo that day after the dream. And of course, the river was there, and Datura, and even a build up of sediment within the channel – looking almost back to normal, a real river within the walls – nothing prophetic, just presence, always presence:

Here I am, I am a river, always a river, Datura is my friend, run beside me, be my friend, run beside me, run beside me, run beside me…

Later that evening I was at my high school reunion and it was only the simple moments that made any sense. There was one conversation about home life and simple ways, and it sounded nice, even if it was made less true in my mind than the words were meant to imply, she wasn’t even in my class, but she told the best story, that I believed, and believe to be true, a story like a river…

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

tire profiles, the old and the new

the old tire

and the new Big Apple Tire

The Big Apple is here and mounted and really great, immediately noticeable difference in speed and handling. Greater than expected. Some of the speed may have come from adjusting the brakes, though, I think they’ve been dragging for a while but well… training. I actually thought the Big Apple would look a little wider, fatter. It seems skinnier than the rear XR of the same make and dimensions. Maybe I should have gotten the even bigger version at 2.2 width instead of 2.0. This should be fine and great, though. Maybe I’ll switch it up in another ten thousand miles – knock on wood…