Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Couple of Contrasting Workouts

On Monday and Thursday, I got out the tire and did

  • 8 times 25 step tire pull
  • 8 times 25 step sprint
  • 8 times 25 step tire pull
  • 8 times 25 step sprint
On Thursday, I figured that I needed to focus on turnover and leg lift, not power.
On Friday, my left leg (the better of the two) was pretty darn fatigued from the top of the glute to the knee.  So I rode the bike on Friday, tried icing but that didn't work very well.  I put 6 Salon Pas patches on my hip on Friday night.

Got up Saturday and it was still sore and fatigued.  Too bad - I got up and did my usual morning exercises.  That made it feel a little better.  I missed the San Gabriels so I decided to run on the Rincon Shortcut OHV road.  The first two miles felt pretty tough but got better as I went along, finally just having the top of my glutes complaining.  After two miles, no problem.  So I ran up to the saddle where the road first starts looking on the south side of the ridge - almost 6 miles.  Ran down slowly since I still have ITB issues on the right side.

Now it starts getting more interesting from a non-running viewpoint.  I stopped in Azusa and got some beet juice and some diced fruit at a panaderia.  They put something sour and spicy in the diced fruit.  I finished the beet juice which was a little weird - it gets your attention when you drink some.  Got home and had a peanut butter, strawberry preserve and banana burrito, then went to the bathroom.  IT LOOKED LIKE BEET JUICE IN THE TOILET!  Apparently this is a known effect of beet juice but that stuff passed through my body in less than 90 minutes!

OK, otherwise, I felt pretty tired.  Lying on the floor with legs propped up on the bed tired.  Eventually I decided to listen to Stevie Wonder - I Wish.  That got me dancing in bed and up.  Then I listened to Superstition and got up and started fixing noodles with natto and sardines with the left over diced fruit.  Then James Brown and Get Up Offa That Thing.  Then One Nation Under A Groove.  I cannot resist Funk. I makes me so happy!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Track Work

Inspired by Serena Williams and Beau Kittredge (see previous posts), I did a track workout on Tuesday night during the Snail's Pace time on the track.  Reading about Serena Williams assigning herself 2500 backhands got me to think what was the track equivalent.  I came up with about 240x40 yard dash or 100x100 meters.  Lengthening the interval (and lessening the intensity), this also works out to 6x1600m or 12x800m.  I've done close to these last two and possibly could get back to that level of fitness.  I might use those eventually to at least get the volume and then ratchet up the intensity, perhaps alternating with a bunch of forties or hundreds.

What I did Tuesday was what I called a sprint pyramid: 400, 300, 200, 150, 100, 50 and then back again.  I had to complete the last 400 in pieces.  Other than that, I felt ok though exhausted.  Then that night, my left plantar's fascia started complaints.  Alfredson protocol and one day on the bike took care of that.  Then during a hill repeat session on Thursday, my knee got a little sore so I cut that workout short.  Now (Friday), I'm just sore and still a little worn out.

So doing sprints didn't hurt me too much.  I'm going to wait at least until I can get in a 10+ mile run before doing that again.  I might try instead a 12x200 (same distance, same number of intervals).  400 repeats are also tempting since my (lack of) fitness ought to stop me before I get hurt.  Could I do 6?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Dogs on the Trail

When I see someone with their dog more than once, it's the dog I recognise more than the person.  There is a guy with a Dalmation that I see on Rose Hills Road.  At least in this case, I know the guys name but not the dog's.  I also see a couple on Workman Hill with a Bichon Frise.  I'm impressed with the dog because it is so light on its feet.  I used to see a middle aged Asian guy on the Skyline trail with a dog of indeterminate breed that always had its right ear sticking up and the left ear flopping over.  And now there is a guy in the neighborhood who has a couple of friendly pitbulls.

I've felt for a long time that dogs (and people) are better behaved off leash.  There was a young lady at the park the other day with a black shepherd off leash.  I made the usual clicking sounds with my tongue so that neither one would be too surprised.  That dog was actually a little timid.  I have a fond memory of meeting a couple with 3 dogs off leash on the Rincon-Shortcut fire road.  I could see how happy those dogs were because 1) they were with their favorite people, 2) they were out in the wilds where things smell so great and 3) they got to go off leash.  And finally, I remember a black lab running kind of sideways up a dirt road in anticipation of getting petted (by me).

Friday, September 1, 2017

It's A Girl!

Serena Williams and fiance' Alexis Ohanian welcome a baby girl into the world!  Congratulations!
It always brings a smile to my face when I think of this couple.  Both are very interesting people but in much different ways.  Serena is such an incredible athlete and such a dominating competitor.  And of course, with that comes a very strong mind.  Alexis is an internet entrepreneur who started Reddit.  He is also a social activist for selected causes.  It always pleases me to see successful people give back - and not in self serving causes, not necessarily through charity but through activism and participation.  And in a lot of cases, their profession and activism form a continuum, not a distinct set of interests.

Congratulations to both of you and may the three of you continue to prosper!

Monday, August 28, 2017


I'm job hunting and got wrapped up in that last week and missed running 3 days in row.  So since then, I've gotten out every day to the park and have run a few miles there.  Running at the park means picking up trash.  The park looks pretty good now.  There were two broken Blue Moon bottles yesterday, one in the grass right next to my path and one on the basketball court.  There was a dishrag by the one in the grass so I just put the pieces on the cloth and threw the collection in the trash.  I wanted a broom and dustpan to clean up the basketball court and luckily, the city workers showed up before I was done and I borrowed a pair from them.

My daughter is the trainer for the San Francisco Flamethrowers Ultimate Frisbee team that just won the AUDL championship in Montreal.  Did you know that there was a professional ultimate frisbee league?  At the end of the game which was streamed live, they interviewed the 3 co-captains, including the well known Beau Kittredge.  Besides his athletic ability, Beau is known for his durability.  He'll jump high for a catch, come down in a pile of bodies and come away unscathed.  In the post game interview, he indirectly attributed his durability to track work, lifting and plyometrics.  How does this relate to me? 
  • I've been injured quite a bit recently.
  • I've recovered primarily due to specific (non-running) exercises.
  • I've done track work recently.
  • I've lifted in the past.  I actually competed at powerlifting at one time.
  • I've never done plyos, at least not with any regularity, and
  • I haven't been lifting recently.
So, I did a second workout last night.  I did jumping jacks (lightweight plyo), some little jumps that I saw my other daughter (the one with the big vertical) doing. And then I went out and pulled the tire.  I didn't go overboard on any of these. 
So the goal is now, get that first workout in and then use the evening workout to fill in the non-running gaps... or track work.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


I'm finally getting back to a level where I got through 2 workouts which could be construed as full workouts, even though I still have a long way to go before I feel that I'm in decent shape.  The first was 2 hours of hill repeats on Thursday and the second was 5x1 mile repeats today.  In both cases, I got through the workouts due to some keys I hit on during the workouts.

The key I hit on in the first workout came from the Mary Poppins movie in the scene where she is helping Jane and Michael pick up the play room. Well begun is half done which according to Brainy Quote is from Aristotle.  I felt like quitting at the beginning of the third rep but noticed that after I got started up the hill, things went pretty smoothly.  So I recalled that quote just before I started each subsequent rep and that got me through the workout.

The problem going into the track workout today was that my flat runs have not been going well at all. In addition, running with shoes (except my New Balance on trails) has not been going well. Today's warm-up consisted of riding my bike to the high school, then jumping jacks in the grass, a couple of carioca passes and then 4x40m in the grass, but not that fast.

But the important thing is to start that first rep. As I write this, I recall yet another quote, attributed to Goethe by W.H. Murray: Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. So I started the first rep at a pace that was a bit too fast since I had no idea what my pace would be. The pace settled down but my problem wasn't a pace question; it was a form question. I started the third rep but then quit about 10 seconds in. I walked back to the start and I think at that point told myself a familiar key, which is to "lift my heels".  With that, I restarted the rep. After that, a smaller problem was that I was going from sticking my butt out to tucking it under, neither of which was correct.  So that eventually clicked to the other key, stay long through the hips.

Any runner ought to have some familiar keys to which they refer either in workouts or races. My key with the hill repeats was more on the inspirational side, basically telling myself to start each rep well. My keys with the track workout were more form cues on how to use my body. I've used both type of keys in races.

Monday, August 7, 2017


I think I may have found my (running) problem.  Let me narrate the thought process:

I hooked up with my old training group and ran stadiums that night.  I was taking short steps on the stairs, not bench to bench as I used to.  I think running those steps and working on turnover may have clicked something in my head about how to relax.

So the next time I ran hill repeats at Workman Hill in Whittier, I started working on relaxation while going up the last climb.  This translated quite quickly into a feeling of "tossing" with my foot by relaxing before I've even left the ground.  The next hill workout, mostly on just the other side of Turnbull Canyon was an exercise in tossing the foot in the same way.

This worked with no soreness or tightness as a result.  I'm super-optimistic.