Friday, May 17, 2013

Race Report: 04.27.2013 Leona Divide 50 Mile Trail Race

Perhaps the biggest news to emerge from my first ultramarathon apart from finishing it (yay! 11:46:30) was that there was no big news. None. And for someone who firmly believes that no news is good news this is a good thing. I suppose it pays to expect the worst. It sets a low standard that is easy to surpass and makes you feel as if the race went tremendously well. I expected the race to provide a lot of pain, agony, and misery that my race plan boiled down to this: delay the pain. I expected it to hurt very bad, and the best I could hope for would be for the misery to start as late as possible, preferably after mile 30. But then the most wonderful thing happened when nothing happened. No cramping, no broken spirit, no massive meltdown. None. I managed to run 50 miles and felt pretty good doing so. And did I mention that the weather could be best described as furnace-like? I went into the race feeling very anxious, an anxiety I hadn't experienced since I ran my first marathon eight years ago. But now that it's done I still can't believe that I ran fifty miles and it turned out as well as I could have hoped.

Looking back at the race, granted this is with three weeks of hindsight, I think I just got lucky and made the right choices for that day. I'd go as far to say that the hot weather was instrumental in getting me through the race no worse for wear. The heat made me more conservative, cautious and attentive to my body and its needs. I hydrated like crazy that day so much so that I was worried about hyponatremia. I must have refilled my hydration pack, which holds two liters, at least six times. In fact, in the four miles between aid station #9 and #10 I managed to empty the entire bladder. Surprisingly I didn't have to pee the entire race, which worried me and made me drink more. But in the end I came out alright so I must have been hydrating correctly for the day.

Achieving my goal of delaying the pain meant that I had to listen to my body and stay within myself as I ran, especially in the early miles. "Relax" was the operative word of the day. To ensure that I focused on how I felt, I decided to run without my Garmin. Instead I wore a pretty basic Timex watch I bought  from Target the night before. My Garmin's battery would not have lasted the whole race anyway, but I also thought that by not wearing the Garmin I could focus on how I felt rather than what pace I was running at any particular moment. I focused on my breathing and made sure I wasn't getting out of breath as I ran. I also focused on my stride and cadence. I tend to tense up when I run too fast, so I made sure I didn't do that in those early miles. I didn't even try to pass runners too much. On the Pacific Crest Trail I fell into line with a group of three runners who were moving at a nice, steady clip. I thought about passing them but I worried that it would require me to run too fast and have to navigate the narrow single track trail. Instead I got in line and ran with them down the trail. The gentleman in front of me kept asking if I wanted to pass, but I kept telling him, "No, thanks, I'm fine at this pace." I think he just didn't like having a runner on his heels, which I can relate to.

I still wound up at Aid Station #3 a half hour earlier than planned even with the relaxing I thought I was doing. I panicked for a moment thinking that I had gone out too fast, but I assessed my physical state and I really felt good. The early arrival, though, turned out to be a happy accident. It meant that I had 30 minutes to spare, so instead of running some of the uphill to the next aid station, which I had factored into my race plan, I could just walk. Looking back now, had I tried to run that uphill I probably would have burned out quickly since it was getting hotter. Instead I spared myself the misery. It was still pretty miserable going up that climb, but at least I could take my time.

One smart thing I did at Aid Station #3 was to get an empty water bottle from my drop bag and filled it with water. I actually debated about doing so because I thought the bottle might feel heavy and become too much of a hassle. But knowing that it was only going to get hotter I decided it was better to be safe than sorry. I'm so glad I did. That water bottle saved the day. I didn't really use that bottle to drink, but instead I used it to pour water on my head and neck. I also had a sponge under my cap that I would soak in cold water at the aid stations and when it was starting to feel a little too hot, I would just lightly tap the top of my head and feel that refreshing cool water run down my scalp. The aid stations were really great. Having someone pour cold water over my head revived me over and over again. At Aid Station #5 Kate Martini Freeman was nice enough to put a bunch of ice in my cap. Man, that felt great. If I ever run another hot race again I am going to take every opportunity to pour water on my head and neck. It's a lifesaver.

After Aid Station #4 I implemented my planned intervals on the uphill. I set my watch to beep every 1.5 minutes. I would run for 1.5 minutes and then walk for another 1.5 minutes and so on. I think it worked well. I was able to cover ground faster without exhausting myself too much. That section, even with the incline, is totally runnable, but without the intervals I may have wound up walking more of it than I should. I probably should have done intervals on the last uphill too at mile 43 but by then I was tired and didn't feel like it.

When I got to Aid Station #6 I was very surprised. I felt too good. I usually have a problem with cramping in my calves that I was sure was going to start up around mile 25, but at that point I had no problems. I really expected to be feel like crap, but instead I felt fairly upbeat. This was the point I thought I would consider cutting my leg off so that I would never be tempted to run another race again. I never feel upbeat that far into a run. I usually start becoming pessimistic and negative. I realized during training that it probably had to do with nutrition. Normally I just take Gu and Gatorade, but I noticed on the long training runs that I got really hungry, like I-could-use-a-burger kind of hunger. Unfortunately I hadn't experimented with eating substantial food items during training, but I prided myself in having an iron stomach so I wasn't really worried about any gastrointestinal issues. The boiled potatoes from the Mt. Wilson run were effective I remember, so I ate that at the aid stations in Leona. I also ate bananas, strawberries, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Had someone handed me a burger I would have happily eaten that. What didn't work, though, was my plan to eat Chicken McNuggets. I packed them in my drop bag to eat after mile 16. I tried to eat one as I was hiking up, but I found that it dried up my mouth and I couldn't swallow it. The strenuous hike didn't help. I barely ate one and gave up the plan. I also had packed some leftover fried rice that I had for breakfast in a water bottle. That actually worked, but packing it in a water bottle was too cumbersome. I should contact Nathan about designing a carrier for rice, one with a funnel to pour the rice into your mouth.

So aid station food, Gu and salt tablet every hour, and Gatorade made up my nutrition for the day. Oh, and a couple of PayDay bars. I wasn't starving and my attitude remained positive, so I guess it worked. The fact that I stayed upbeat the entire race was what surprised me the most. Even after mile 42 when we were climbing again in the middle of the day I recall just feeling positive. I suppose it helped that in my mind I knew I was going to finish before 13 hours even if I walked the rest of the way. The climb wasn't easy and it was very hot, but I didn't get down on myself nor even considered stopping for a bit. I just kept telling myself to keep calm and carry on. La la la. About a half mile into the climb I noticed a trio of runners ahead of me walking very slowly. They just looked defeated as if they were on some forced march. I recognized them early on in the run as looking like hardcore runners, almost intimidating to be around, but here they were struggling. And I thought, I could pass them just by walking the pace I was keeping. Now it's probably bad karma to be motivated by the misfortune of others, but whatever gets you through, I say, at that point. So I poured water over my head and trudged ahead. When I looked up I was startled by a runner walking towards me. I was puzzled but in my exhausted haze all I could say was, "Hey!" Only later when I thought about it that I realized that he was walking back to the aid station to drop out. Imagine that, six miles away and he decides to call it a day and walk back. He must have been feeling really awful to drop out when the end was practically in sight and plenty of time left to complete the race. It put into perspective how lucky I was that day. I was sore and tired and my legs felt heavy for sure, but I never thought once about quitting. I kept looking at my bib with Marisela's picture during the race. Before the race I thought I would turn to it throughout the day to motivate me to keep going when things got rough, but instead that day I kept looking at it and saying in surprise, "We're doing it, Marisela!" It was just a great feeling to do this race in honor of Marisela, and to top it off I was also having fun.

Eventually I started passing the runners I had seen earlier. One of them, as I was approaching, decided to sit down on the trail and rest for a while. I offered to pour water on his neck and he gladly accepted. "That feels good," he said. It had been a while since someone has said that to me. I offered to pour more but he said he didn't want to use up my water, so I just walked on ahead. I blame my exhausted haze again, but thinking back now, he could have used that water more than I did at that point. I had plenty of water in that bottle, so I should have poured more over his head. He was probably just being nice. I'm so oblivious at times.

In any event, apart from the hike up feeling really long, the rest of the way was uneventful. I saw a couple more runners taking breaks in the shade. I was startled by one lying under some bushes. I thought for a moment that he had collapsed but he assured me that he was just resting. Eventually I got to a flatter part of the trail with plenty of shade. I ran a little of this portion, but looking back now I probably should and could have run more of it. At that point, though, I just didn't want to do anything stupid, and I kept thinking that the aid station wasn't that far away anyway.

On the way to the finish I bumped into Roxana and Carlos. They were doing great. I was really inspired by Carlos. To think that he had never done a marathon or even a half marathon, and here he was about to finish a 50K race? That's just amazing resolve right there and emblematic of the other great people on the team who made the whole experience just unforgettable.

I don't really remember much from the finish. I knew it was coming up and I wanted to look strong, but then it came up suddenly that it was all a blur. I heard cheering and saw faces but before I knew it I was crossing the finish line. I remember feeling a big sense of relief that I could stop running. I must have had a big smile on my face, and I saw Keira, the race director, and she put the medal on my neck. That feeling of accomplishment never gets old.

The question I get asked often is whether I would do another ultramarathon. Most likely I will. A 50K sooner rather than later is likely but another 50 miler might be another year or so. But who knows? I want to keep running ultras but I also don't want to get carried away. I do know that I have no intention of running a 100 miler, though. Then again just a year ago I was adamant that I would never run 50 miles. Things can change.

I honestly can't believe that I ran 50 miles. It didn't feel like 50 miles. I thought I would be counting down the miles but instead I forgot about mileage during the run and just thought about getting to the next aid station. I think that perspective helped too. Amazingly, for a race that took me almost 12 hours to complete, I was never bored and it never felt like I had been running all that long. I was disappointed that I wasn't more sore after the race. I always love that soreness after a race because it reminds you of what you had done. That slow walk the day after a race is a badge of honor and I didn't want to miss out. I guess next time I just need to run harder, but running a race like this and not bonking is a great experience. Hopefully I can have the best of both worlds: faster time and no bonking.

Anyway, I'll end this long recap with the song that I was singing to myself during the run. I often sing quietly to myself when I run, and I find that it helps me stay relaxed and calm. Usually it's the last song I had heard and that morning it was Lord Huron's "She Lit a Fire,"which was just ideal. It had a nice, easy tempo, which resembled the running momentum I wanted to maintain, and the imagery the song evoked of traversing over mountains and deserts searching for the girl that got away just seemed to fit the occasion.

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Year in Running

I say this over and over again, but I have been terrible about updating this blog. I don't do resolutions, but if I did one of them would be to write more. There have been some developments in my running that will hopefully prompt me to do so. But right now let's take a look back at 2012, the year that was.

The big thing in 2012 was my 12 for '12 project: 12 races, one a month, half marathon or more. It was a success in that I was able to accomnplish the goal, but it was a failure in the sense that I thought that doing so many races would force me to train better and improve my times. Neither happened. I trained haphazardly and in some cases the races themselves were the training runs. As a result no personal bests were recorded. I was nowhere near my best. My fastest time was a 1:46 in Ventura in June, which was about 40 seconds faster than the Pasadena Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in February. The slowest half marathon was August's America's Finest City in San Diego. The culprit there was a hot day. I was burning up by mile 4. I managed to get in at 2:00 flat. My official chip time was 2:00:00, which is kind of cool. The rest of the races ranged from a 1:48 in the last race, December's Santa to the Sea Half Marathon to a 1:55 in May's Pasadena Half Marathon.

Here are the 12 for '12 races:

January: Rose Bowl Half Marathon - 1:52:16
February: Pasadena Rock n' Roll Half Marathon - 1:46:52
March: Los Angeles Marathon - 4:05:41
April: Hollywood Half Marathon - 1:51:57
May: Pasadena Half Marathon - 1:55:21
June: Ventura Beachfront Half Marathon - 1:46:11
July: San Francisco Half Marathon - 1:54:29
August: America's Finest City Half Marathon - 2:00:00
September: Montreal Rock n' Roll Half Marathon - 1:50:18
October: Long Beach Half Marathon - 1:53:55
November: Santa Clarita Half Marathon - 1:53:36
Decemebr: Santa to the Sea Half Marathon - 1:48:38

It turned out to be a very fun endeavor. I got to run my first international race in Montreal, ran in San Francisco again, and ran in several smaller races that turned out to be well-organized and extremely convenient. Ventura's post-race snacks inlcuded tuna wraps. Enough said.

While the races above are the official 12 for '12 races, I actually ran a couple of other races for one reason or another. In October I ran--well, mostly walked--the Los Angeles Rock n' Roll Half Marathon with a friend. I actually used another friend's bib so it wasn't officially my race. Since Audrey had not trained for this race, it actually took us 3 hours to complete the race. I can tell you that I was probably more sore from this race than any other just because of the amount of time I was on my feet. I also ran the Paramount Ranch Half Marathon in December, which made it my final race for the year. This was a trail race, part of my training for the Leona Divide 50 Mile Trail Race in April 2013. The time for this race was 2:15 which is my slowest half ever. Since it was on single track trails, it was difficult to pass people along the way. In addition to these half marathons, I once again took part in the LA Frontrunners Pride Run in June as part of the West Hollywood Pride festivities. I did the ultra again--both the 5K and 10K--but my times were nothing to brag about. No PR's but the times were respectable.

Now, looking to 2013, as I mentioned I am training for Leona Divide. This will be my first ultra marathon and I am once again training with Team in Training. I'm still a little apprehensive about the whole thing. Running 10 miles is hard enough but 50 just sounds crazy. I figure with training I should be able to accomplish this, but I've been a bit lazy so far. Much like my writing.

So, in 2013, expect to see a littl more writing from me but a lot of the subjects will probably be dominated by my ultra marathon training. It's a new thing and I'm excited.

That's it for now. I have other things to wrap in 2012, but for now this is about running. I'll see you all in 2013 with more pieces about my ultra marathon training.

Happy New Year!

Friday, July 06, 2012

I'm Back!

Didn't realize I was gone? Well, I was. I took a two-week jaunt to the Philippines to visit family and relax at the beautiful El Nido Resort. Fact of the matter is I relaxed way too much. I ran not one step during my stay. By the third day my legs were feeling like jelly. By the fourth I was going into heavy withdrawals. I wanted to run! Unfortunately there was no good place to run where my parents live. Not only is it hot and humid, but I'd be placing myself at risk trying to run by the side of a busy road. If not running wasn't bad enough, I barely did any walking either. I took my pedometer with me, but I stopped carrying it after a couple of days because it was depressing me how inactive I was. At my parents' house all I really did was wake up, eat, watch TV, eat, watch TV/nap, eat again, watch TV. Not the ideal set-up for me.

I got back on Tuesday, and I'm still adjusting to the time difference. The first night I fell asleep at 4am and slept straight through until 2pm. The next night was 3am. Last night was 2:30am, so I'm getting close to my usual bed time of 12:30ish.

I also went on my first run in two weeks yesterday, a nice, easy 4.5 mile run at an 8:30 pace. It wasn't as bad as I expected but I still got pretty winded, and this morning I'm feeling the ache in my legs. They've had too much rest. Thankfully the San Francisco Half Marathon isn't until the end of the month. I have some time to regain some fitness and hopefully shed some of the weight I put on.

I'm way behind on posting. I have yet to write up my June race, which turned out pretty well: a 1:46 at the Ventura Beachfront Half Marathon. It's a small race, 700 runners, but very well managed. I'll write more soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Race Report: 05.20.2012-Pasadena Half Marathon

Officially the time is 1:55. I stopped my watch when I had to take a potty break at mile 6. The stop was worth it because I felt a little better afterwards. It's not a great time, but it's respectable. One thing you 'll notice when you break down my splits is that I started running fast the last two miles. The downhill definitely helped in this section, but the presence of Sonia running with me for a couple of miles forced me to go faster than I probably would have had I been running by myself. I ran miles 11 and 12 at roughly a 7:30 pace. Other than that, nothing much to say about this race. The course is challenging, but I prefer the Rock N Roll course even if the two unavoidably share similar footprints. Pasadena is only so big. Had the RNR race had this race's finish, then that race would be perfect. Since this race I also ran the Pride Run last weekend. I once again opted for the ultra option and posted some respectable times. More to come later on this race. This weekend I'll be running my sixth 12 for '12 race. I'll be participating in the Ventura Beachfront Half Marathon. It looks like a smallish race. It runs by the beach. Hopefully there will be some June gloom to keep the temps down.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Race Report: 04.07.2012 Hollywood Half Marathon

Chip Time: 1:51:57 Avg. Pace: 8:33
I'd hate for anyone to think that I have already failed at my 12 for '12 challenge. I did run a race this month a couple of weeks ago, but due to things being busy--work, as usual, and moving to a new apartment--I haven't had the chance to write about my April race: the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon. I really thought doing the 12 for '12 challenge would force me to train better and get faster. So far it hasn't happened. Leading up to this race I fell off the running wagon again, so this was another "just finish" race. With a giant hill at the end, I knew I wouldn't be setting any new personal bests, but I was hoping to finish at under 1:50. That didn't happen and that was due to a lack of trying. I was in solid shape for a sub 1:50 finish up until mile 9 or 10 when I just got tired and opted to walk more than I should have. Couple that with the uphill finish, what was a likely 1:47 finish became a 1:52. I'm not disappointed, though. I ran it, enjoyed running it and turned in a solid time.

There was really nothing noteworthy to write about. The start was fast as we ran down Cahuenga past the Hollywood Bowl, then the rest of the way until the turnaround in Silver Lake was mostly flat with some rolling hills. I kept up a good pace but my legs were just not feeling it to go any faster. I fatigued around mile 9 but I still hoped I could have a solid finish. Instead I walked a couple of times going up Cahuenga back to Universal City and took some pics along the way. With such a tough hill, I wasn't too surprised when my calves started cramping, but thankfully I was practically done when it started acting up. As for the race logistics, the course is fine. Its chief feature is that challenging hill on Cahuenga. I didn't enjoy running through City Walk as it was too narrow and had too many things I could trip over. Hopefully the race won't start in Universal City again. The expo was a pain to get to as it was at the Hilton up in Universal City. The line for parking was quite lengthy, so I decided to park down the hill and just walk up. It's tiring to do that, but I preferred that to waiting in a line of cars and pay $10 to park. The race start had the same problem, which I avoided by going Metro. The aid stations ran out of cups and there weren't enough volunteers. Other than that, it was an OK race. I doubt I'll do it again next year, but who knows? Next up is the Pasadena Half Marathon in May!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I just discovered how to set my Garmin to do intervals. I've had it for nine months and swore that it didn't do it. It just shows how impatient I am to read instruction manuals. Not only does it do time intervals, but you can set it for distance. Awesome!

Now back to our regularly scheduled silence.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Race Report: 03.18.2012 Los Angeles Marathon

Chip Time: 4:05:41
Avg. Pace: 9:22/mile

12 for '12 continues on with the L.A. Marathon this weekend. It wasn't the success I would have liked, but it also could have been worse. Around mile 17 I briefly entertained the thought that dropping out wouldn't be such a bad thing. Thankfully, I dismissed it. It would have been the first time I did not finish a race had I done so. There was really nothing wrong--no injuries, no bad weather. I can't blame it on lack of training either since I was probably just a little less prepared this year than last year, and having been a regular runner all these years, I should be able to do this. What it all boiled down to, I think, was that my legs just didn't feel like running yesterday. I think they would have preferred had I just stayed in bed. But 4:05:41 is nothing to sneeze at even if it is slower than the San Francisco Marathon from two years ago and that it marks the first time I've ran the L.A. Marathon slower than four hours since my second time in 2006. If 4:05 is a bad day in the office for me, then I'd take it.

It has been taking me much longer to warm up during a race lately, so my game plan this year was to start with the pace I want to finish with. I figured with an 8:30 pace I would finish under 3:45 and gain a new PR. I ran the first mile in 8:42 then lowered to an 8:07 and 8:13 the next two miles. I slowed down the next few miles, around 8:40, which would have been perfect. A little slower than the target pace but within striking distance. However, even this slower pace was feeling like a struggle. Unlike last year when I got into a groove around mile 8, all I experienced in mile 8 were legs that were beginning to feel like lead. I wasn't loosening up but rather the opposite was happening: I was stiffening up.

Running through Hollywood, even the flat areas, was taking a lot out of me, so imagine how I felt going up the Sunset Strip. I got a stitch in my abs (a front-stitch?) during this time, so I had to control my breathing, taking dee breaths to loosen up my abs. It finally worked, but my legs were still dead. Apart from the abs, I really had no problems breathing. It was just my legs. They just didn't feel like running. From mile 13-16 I was running a pace above 9 minutes. In mile 17 I broke 10 minutes and did so again the next mile (10:30). I got myself moving again in mile 19 with a 9:27 but that was shortlived. I walked a lot of mile 20 and resulted in my slowest mile. 12:08.

I had thought about just walking the last six miles and enjoying the view. Then I thought again that I would prefer that this race be over sooner rather than later. I told myself that if I jog the last six miles I would be done in about an hour, so suck it up. I did. I only walked a couple of times after that to take a Gu and some water. It wasn't a fast pace but at least I was moving. It wasn't the relatively easy last six miles of last year, though.

The result is definitely disappointing. It's slower than the San Francisco Marathon in 2010, and it's the first time I've run above four hours at the L.A. Marathon since my second one in 2006. But again, it could have been worse. Here's where experience pays off. Were this my first marathon I probably would have just wimped out and walked, but partly out of guilt and pride I sucked it up and finished in a respectable time.

Lessons? I'm a broken record: I need to train more. I need to be more disciplined about getting my miles in. Going from 13 miles to 20 miles probably isn't ideal. Missing close to three weeks of running is also not good. Let's see if I've learned my lesson now.

As for my next race, most likely it will be the Hollywood Half Marathon. I can't find another one that works in terms of proximity and appeal. Too bad I didn't decide to sign up sooner when it was cheaper.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Favorite Movies of 2011

The Academy gets their say on Sunday, but these are the real best films of 2011.

01 Weekend

02 A Separation

03 Drive

04 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

05 Hugo

06 Bridesmaids

07 Bill Cunningham New York

08 Moneyball

09 The Descendants

10 Warrior

Honorable Mention: War Horse, Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, Senna

Monday, February 20, 2012

Race Report: 02.19.2012 Inaugural Pasadena Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Chip Time: 1:46:52
Avg Pace: 8:10/mile

What a great inaugural race for the Pasadena Rock N Roll Half Marathon! As can be expected from Competitor Group, the race was well-organized, efficient, and a ton of fun. There were no traffic jams parking or leaving the Rose Bowl, there were plenty of port-a-potties, no long lines, plenty of water and Gatorade, and the race started right on time. To top it all off, the course was beautiful. I love Pasadena and the organizers did a great job laying out the course so that it displays the city at its best. From the Rose Bowl to Old Town to Cal Tech to Colorado Street Bridge, the city's sights were well-represented. I'm looking forward to running this again next year. Rob and I already signed up.

As for the running part of it, it turned out to be better than I feared. Having run only a couple of times in the last three weeks I knew a PR was not possible. A 1:50 race even seemed unlikely. However, I wound up running a respectable 1:46:52, and I could have been even faster had it not for the cramping that started in mile 10. By mile 12 cramps in both calves had me hobbling to the finish. I think the lack of running definitely contributed to the cramping. My legs were out of shape, but aerobically I was fine. I felt good, even. So while I'm glad I had a decent race even with the lack of training, I'm disappointed that it couldn't be better. I guess I'm just greedy.

I ran a consistent race. I started out too fast, though, because I was running in the first corral and tried to see if I could keep up with the others. I could not. The first mile clocked in at 7:28 and the second mile was 7:51. After that I slowed down a little and ran a steady 8 minute pace. At mile 8 I started slowing down a little, but I figured I'd make up some time towards the end. One good thing about being so famiilar with the race course is that I knew where I needed to save my energy and where I could make up some ground. Unfortunately my cramping kept me from making up that time in the end. Under 1:45 would have been great, marking my fastest half in over two years. But thinking about it all now, I'm just glad it wasn't the disaster I feared.

With a good race under my belt, I'm feeling a little more motivated moving on to the L.A. Marathon next month. I have a month left to train and i'm going to have to ratchet up my mileage quickly. I'll try to do 18 miles this weekend, possibly 20. If not this weekend, then a 20 miler the following weekend. Apart from the long runs, I also need to run more often during the week to get my legs back into shape. It won't do to cramp up 13 miles into a marathon. That would be a disaster!

Pics from the race are already up. There are probably more, but so far nothing that makes me look like an impressive runner. I never look great in my running pics. I always look like I'm trudging rather than sprinting.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Favorite Albums of 2011

Tomorrow night the Grammys will announce their picks for the best in music, but I'm going to beat them to the punch. These are the real best albums of the last year.

1. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

2. The Antlers - Burst Apart

3. Active Child - You Are All I See

4. The Black Keys - El Camino

5. The Belle Brigade - The Belle Brigade

6. Bahamas - Pink Strat

7. Real Estate - Days

8. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

9. Feist - Metals

10. Washed Out - Within and Without

Honorable Mentions:
Gardens & Villa - Gardens & Villa; Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain, In the Cloud; Chad VanGaalen - Diaper Island; Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes; Bon Iver - Bon Iver