Monday, June 28, 2010

Raul's Finite Playlist: June 2010

01 "Rill Rill" - Sleigh Bells
02 "Babyfather - Sade
03 "Xavia" - The Submarines
04 "Don't Let the Sun Go Down" - The Living Sisters
05 "In California" - Joanna Newsom
06 "Boracay" - The Little Ones
07 "Pieces" - Villagers
08 "Hurricane J" - The Hold Steady
09 "Yulia" - Wolf Parade
10 "Lewis Takes Action" - Owen Pallett
11 "VCR" - The xx
12 "Go Do" - Jonsi
13 "Shine a Light" - The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Musical Life

I saw South Pacific at the Ahmanson tonight, and once again I find myself thinking how great it would be if real life was a musical where everyone just breaks out into song-and-dance. If that were the case I would greet every new morning by bursting out into this number from Singin' in the Rain, arguably the greatest movie musical of all time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

06.20.2010 - 18 Miles

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised how rough this morning's 18 miler was. My 18 mile runs have historically been tough runs, and this was no different. I expected that the warm temperatures would make for a tough run. The heat became a factor late in the run, but to be honest, it really wasn't that hot. I've run in hotter temperatures, but the fact that I was running on fumes and expended most of my energy early in the run made the heat seem more stifling than it actually was.

The crew today consisted of Rob, Katie and Linda. Linda ran 12.5 miles with us, which was probably 4 miles more than she had planned on doing. We ran up north first, intending to turn around after 4.5 miles. When we found that we could go farther now that the trails have opened up, we did so. It was rocky footing, though, and where it wasn't rocky it was sandy. The terrain has definitely changed since the fires and the subsequent floods during the winter. Some of the trail got washed out and now they are in the process of restoring them.

One catalyst for why we wanted to go farther up Angeles National Forest was the shade and pleasant weather there. We all knew that we weren't going to be so fortunate later on when we're out in the sun. For the shade alone we were willing to go through the trouble of running on rocky terrain. We ran to Elmer--my first time since before the fires--and kept going, another 1.5 miles or so. It was tough, though. The trails were washed away and we had to cross the stream several times. What trail there was was sandy and rocky. We used up a lot of energy running here, or at least I did. I'm not the most agile person, so I had to be extra careful running on uneven terrain--not to mention keeping an eye for possible snakes! I probably was too careful, though, which led to rolling my right ankle twice. Once would have been fine, but the second was too much. I finished the run fine, but afterwards my lower leg has been a wee bit sore. I'm not limping and it's not sprained, just a little overworked.

It was such an effort to keep running past Elmer and into the campgrounds that our pace slowed to over 11 minutes per mile. Figuring out where to cross the streams took a lot of time. When we finally turned around, when it was obvious that the trail wasn't going to get any easier or simpler, we were able to run back at a faster pace. We took a circuitous route to get up, but running back was a more direct route. In fact, we shaved a quarter mile running back than we did running up.

As I expected, though, the latter half of the run--the remaining 5.5 miles south--was a tough one. As rugged as the terrain was up in the mountains, it was at least cool and shady. The sun quickly sapped my energy in that last part. I was whining--a lot. I tried keeping up with Katie and Rob, but it was no use. I ran my own pace behind them and tried to keep my spirits up. My single goal was to not fall too far behind. I was about a minute behind, but at least I could still see them. I'm not sure what our finish time was, and I really don't care. I was just glad to get 18 miles under my belt. When we got back to Lot K we just sat in the shade for a good half hour. Katie had the foresight to pack a cooler and we enjoyed some cold water and Gatorade.

The good thing about tough runs is that it makes you appreciate the effort more. I had a rough time, but I'm proud that I plowed ahead even though it felt like crap. I kept running. Also, as bad as the run was, it was also enjoyable. Certainly the scenery of running in the forest was something I've missed. We also encountered a couple of attractive guys. One was a fireman camping with a buddy by the stream. Definitely a nice thing to see deep into a run. The second was a guy who seemed like he was riding in from a movie set. He was on a horse and rode towards us and gave us a movie star smile as he passed. Katie and I were tempted to run back and get another look.

After the run, Katie and I grabbed breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien. It was a fortunate melding of the minds as I had been craving their praline butter during the run. We then met up with Nate and checked out the Chalk Festival at Paseo Colorado. Had I not been so tired I would have stayed a little longer and taken in the car show and other entertainment. Still, I saw the impressive art work being done. My favorite was this depiction of the movie "Up" which prompted me to watch the movie again tonight.

Finishing "Up"

I had planned to hang out in West Covina in the afternoon, but I was so tired that I changed my mind and headed home instead to shower and take a nap. I was so exhausted. Next week we're planning to run 8 or 10 miles but at our desired marathon pace of 8:30-ish. It's a shorter run, but the pace will make up for it. This week I'm hoping to get in three runs, but I'd be lucky if I get two.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Race Report: 06.13.2010 Pride Run

My first 5K and 10K in two years didn't turn out too badly at all. I met my goal of completing both in a total time under 1 hour, 10 minutes. Final results haven't been posted yet, but preliminarily I finished the 5K in 21:53 and the 10K in 47:53. That compares favorably to my best times. I was a minute or so off from my PR in both the 5K and 10K. Truthfully I probably could have pushed myself a little more, but I'm a wimp when it comes to suffering and discomfort. If only there was a way to run fast and not feel like dying.

The course was altered slightly. Rather than starting in Robertson by the Abbey, the race started on Sweetzer and headed west on Santa Monica Blvd. to Doheny. There we turned around and ran east up to Crescent Heights and then turned back one more time to the finish line by Sweetzer. One lap was a 5K. Even though it's essentially the same course, I liked this one better because it started with a nice downhill and scattered the hills throughout. The climb towards the end up to Crescent Heights was tough, but at least there was the reward of running down that same hill soon after making it to the top.

Running the 5K and 10K made me wish I was doing more speed training. I think speed work would have helped shave a minute or so off my times. It's still not too late to incorporate speed work to prepare for the San Francisco Marathon next month, but the hard part will be summoning the will to dedicate myself to the effort.

Losing weight would also help tremendously. Nothing like running with dozens of very fit guys to make me feel like a fat ass. Next year I'll be in better shape, and I will run the 5K and 10K with blazing time...or else!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

16.5 Miles

Marathon training is progressing. Now that I'm officially registered I can't slack off any more. Today I was up at 6:15 am to meet up with Scotty in Brentwood for a 16+ mile run.

Since Katie and Rob couldn't run with us any way, we decided not to run at the Rose Bowl. Instead, we opted for a nice, cool beach run. It was a nice change of pace. I love running at the Rose Bowl but a change of scenery is very welcome now and then, and since it was forecast to be a hot day, we would avoid the heat by the beach. And we did. It was cool and overcast during the entire run. The different setting and the nice weather definitely helped make for a great run. It also helped running with someone like Scotty for whom my pace is a piece of cake. A good pace for me is an easy jog for him.

Scotty and I met up by Barrington and ran down San Vicente to Ocean (3+ miles). We then ran down Ocean to the pier (2 miles) and took to the bike path along the beach and ran north to Will Rogers State Beach (3 miles). We turned around where the bike path ends at around Temescal Canyon Road. Our time for the 16.5 miles was 2:24 (about an 8:45 minute/mile pace), which does not include a couple of bathroom breaks. I felt good for the most part until we were on our way back and ran up the pier. After that my side stitch just had the best of me and I had to take a few walk breaks. I really need to work on my core.

Some of the highlights (or lowlights):

- Taking a potty break at a beach restroom where there were no doors on the stalls and my lone companion was a creepy looking man in the next stall.

- Running by the UCLA cheer squad, yelling "Go Bruins!" and getting no response. They also looked too cheerful considering John Wooden had just passed away.

- My failed attempt at jumping over a foot-high wood plank on the sidewalk. I'll never make it as a hurdler. In my defense, it was 14 miles into the run.

-French toast and coffee at Amandine post-run.

Friday, June 04, 2010

I've Got the Runs

I'm signed up, the money is spent. Now I'm committed to running the West Hollywood Pride Run next weekend and the San Francisco Marathon on July 25. Is it strange that i'm more concerned about the Pride Run than the marathon? I once again signed up for the "Ultra" - the 5K AND the 10K. I figure it was only $5 more to do another race--more running for my money. Last time I took it easy but it was still a tough run. I ran a combined time of 1:15, which is good, but it placed me near the bottom of the group of runners who did the Ultra. I'm hoping this year I'll finish around 1:10. However, considering I haven't run a 5K or a 10K race since the Pride Run in 2008, I'm not sure how strong my sprinting abilities are now. With a week left I doubt adding speed training will help me. If nothing, it will be a fun race.