Friday, November 26, 2010

You know your a runner when . . .

The only good thing about business travel with crappy weather in the forecast is the ability to check out and compare the fitness facilities. On my recent trip to Edmonton I was shut out of my usual haunts due to not booking early and the Grey Cup being held on the weekend. As such I checked out the Ramada in the not so downtown core. The rates were cheap due to its less than desirable location.

You know you’re a runner when you choose a hotel based on the treadmill you see in the photos of the fitness room or the proximity to a good trail or a track. This year alone I have chosen a hotel because:
1) It was on the marathon course I was running in the fall and I could preview the course this way.
2) It was about a mile from the only track in town and I had an interval workout scheduled.
3) It was less than a mile from a well known trail I had heard or read about.

All sad and yet all true. Yes I have an addiction!

So the Ramada Inn in Edmonton not only had a great rate but a great treadmill. Typically I prefer to run outdoors no matter what the conditions but this hotel was in a bad part of town AND it was -25C with snow on the ground. I know when to stay inside (most times).

The treadmill au jour was a sweet LifeFitness commercial grade model. After my workout I pondered purchasing just such a beast to replace the Sears/Walmart residential strength model I have in the basement. The comparison of the two makes you lean toward the LifeFitness brand for sure. The LifeFitness treadmill has a wide deck probably about 20” or so. The length of which I could probably lie down on (okay it was 60" but it felt longer). The decking itself was a thick rubber. And I could actually hear myself think or listen to Oprah, not like my home jobby that is more akin to a Harley Davidson Fat Boy idling with 88 cubic inches of pure thunder. This beauty also inclines to 15% whereas my home model goes to 6%. The differences clearly favored the LifeFitness right up until the price tag. LifeFitness treadmills start at about $2500. Yup that’s right I didn’t add an extra zero by mistake. Ah well, I’ll stick to my bought and paid for Sears special (gratis by my Mom who was gonna throw it away after her exercise New Year’s resolution failed).

I was inspired to run the treadmill after watching a Youtube video of Tony ”Naked Guy” Krupicka, the superhuman ultrarunner having a treadmill race against James Bonnett , another ultrarunner sponsored by The North Face. Check it out, It is pretty nuts! If you notice they start the race at 15% grade. I’m guessing the pace is like 8 mph. I tried 15% and made it up to about 5mph but had to stop because I feared getting shot off the back if I stumbled. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sleep deprived for no good reason

It doesn’t help that I’m suffering from Post Marathon Blues and I lack a little bit of motivation right now. But this shoulder thing is really starting to bug me. It started as a small minor twinge that I felt occasionally when I ran and never any time other than that. Now four weeks post marathon it has built itself to a nice little crescendo. (That is music talk, folks)

I can lift my arm albeit slowly. I can crawl on all fours into a burning building (simulated), search for victims and drag a 180 lb dummy out a hundred feet through stacks of tires on one hand (attached to the same shoulder) and not even wince. I did that on Tuesday. I can throw a ball side arm and underhand did that Thursday

But throw a ball over the top has me screaming like a little girl. Okay I didn’t really scream but I wanted too. Trying to sleep can be a problem too. I never realized how much I move in my sleep until you get woken up because you’ve lifted you arm a certain way and the pain sends high voltage down my left side. It’s like an alarm clock for some sadomasochistic Spanish Inquisition torture freak.

I don’t mean to whine. I hate whiners. I’m from the School of Suck It Up. Although I am only at high school level, I haven’t graduated to the university level, the infamous U Suck. It is just a distraction that keeps me up at night and deprives me of rest. I mean I could be worse off. I’ve been following a few blogs. Colin has a heel problem that has dogged him forever but he managed a marathon though his problems. He’s now on the long road to recovery with a surgery option if need be, whatever the case he can’t run. I wish him well. Gary broke his 5th metatarsal in his right foot. Once again out for 8 weeks and no running.

I can still run. The twinge is still there and Jen says I shouldn’t aggravate it. I’m not so sure. I always take a layoff after an event: marathon, ultra or whatever. I race so infrequently that the event becomes the pinnacle of the year. So 4 weeks of little training I’m not sure if it is a coincidence this shoulder thing flared up, was it due to lack of exercise or is there something else. I could try and get my ass off the couch and run for a solid week and see if the pain goes down. But I keep waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning for a few painful minutes falling back asleep so when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I am beat.

In the mean time I’ve been to the doctor who sent me for an X-ray for which I await the result. The doc was skeptical the X-ray would show anything. He said an MRI would be better but in this province it takes about 15 months of waiting before you get an appointment. Unless you have $800 and can do it privately. For $800 I’d rather do something frivolous . . . like eat.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

BMO Okanagan Marathon

It’s been a week since I ran the marathon. I think a week is long enough to mull over the events of the day, the past 18 weeks, or the past lifetime. At any point, I just jump back and forth and reflect.


It started out nice. Temperatures were in the 50’s which by all account is perfect running weather. I got a good night’s sleep and woke up at 5 a.m. raring to go. Although the race didn’t start until 7:15 and my hotel was only 10 minutes from the start line and parking was abundant, I wanted to make sure certain bodily functions had run their course before I ran my course (Enough said).

I got to the starting area with a half an hour to spare. It was your typical starting area for a big city race port-a-potties, people wearing garbage bags, old sweatshirts mulling about doing stretches, sprints and running on the spot same old stuff just a different race. A casual observation had me notice the sparseness of the area, I guess because the marathon started first and the half marathon was a half hour later with 15 minutes to the start the layout of the start area left room for 10 times the people that were there.


I knew from the beginning of the 18 weeks of training that I would be podcasting whilst I ran. You can listen to my production hear. I made it into a Rocky Balboa prizefighter type fight because those thoughts played in my head, a 26 round prizefight with only one winner. In marathons and in prizefights some people get the shit kicked out of them and get knocked out, hit the wall, bonk, or whatever term you want to use something inside them say “No Mas, No Mas”. Some are lucky enough to survive to the end only to be struck down by their time goal, a split decision if you will. Completing a marathon is a victory in itself but if you set a time goal like I did then you can win and lose when you cross the line. Which one you dwell on is up to the person. And then there is the win, the time goal complete. I guess you can knock it out by smashing your goal time by minutes or you can eek one out with a few ticks of the clock to spare. Win, lose or draw I was prepared to podcast.

In my head I was conscious of the fact that there were people around me so the stream of verbal diarrhea that explodes out of my mouth was for the most part corked. That’s okay though, I got to talk to actual people on the run (probably annoyed the Hell out of them)


The people along the course and on the course were amazing. As the weather got worse the people that volunteered stuck it out. I mean runners are like furnaces, boilers chugging out a constant heat so once they get going a drop in temperature or a cold blowing wind only fazes them slightly. The volunteers are standing around for hours and when it starts to rain or a cold wind blows off the lake they certainly feel it. I take my hat off to the “vollies” they are my heroes of the race.

I saw a woman running in Newton Running shoes. It was the first time I had ever seen Newton’s so I had to ask. She pulled the earbuds out of her head as I proceeded to ask questions. She quickly told me about her supination problem. She was from Calgary and the stores there have them. A typical on the run meeting and it was over and done in a minute.

I met a guy doing his second marathon. His goal was 3:30 like mine and he had his eye on the pace bunny. It was late in the race and he was hanging on. He told me he couldn’t run after his first marathon. That just after the finish he felt nauseous and his legs started to spasm which sent him into a long post marathon recovery. But he was back one year later with his eye on the prize, 3:30. And then he took a walk break. . . gone in 60 seconds.

I talked to a women who was also running her second marathon. Vancouver was her first which she thought was very hilly compared to this one. To that I would have to agree. This one had no bridges, no hills and I think the announcer said 5 meters of elevation gain/loss. The woman told me that she had already qualified for Boston at Vancouver. She said her time was 3:40:59, which if you know Boston qualifying standards she used the full 59 seconds allowed for that age bracket. I was impressed. She too was aiming for a 3:30 finish. I never saw her after my break.


After the first loop of 13.1 miles and well into the industrial park the urge to pee overwhelmed me. The course is a two looper, which you could almost call a four looper. You start in City Park and go north into the industrial park, loop back to City Park and go south into a residential area for another loop. You do that twice, hence four loops. On the second time into the industrial park I could not hold it and I detoured behind one of the many buildings on the course. I figured if I didn’t do it now I couldn’t do it on the south loop unless I peed in someone’s hedges. (A marathon faux pas).

I lost 22 seconds but saved a bladder. To that point I was probably right on 8 minute pace with maybe a few seconds to spare. The stupidity of trying to get it all back at once was a grave mistake but a calculated one. Psychologically, running with a crowd is easier than running alone. There was a small pack of about 20 runners on the 3:30 bunny. So after dropping 22 seconds they were that much more ahead of me and I was literally alone. I couldn’t see anyone behind me and only the 3:30’s ahead of me. I ran an 8:22 mile with a break and followed it up with a 7:40 mile. This was about mile seventeen. My legs really felt the energy drain after the catch up mile.


The wall came on the south loop in the residential area. To this point I was well hydrated (I drank at every aid station and had a bottle of Gatorade with me) and I was well fed (I had 3 Clif Shots). The legs felt okay and psychologically I was still in the game. But I could see myself folding . . . slowly. Mile after mile the time slipped and I couldn’t respond to it. I was whipped. The irony of being an ultramarathoner trying to run fast enough for Boston was comical. The farthest I’ve ever run is 100K, 62 miles so you would think a race of less than half that distance would be a walk in the park? Not so!


The Garmin 305 on my wrist said 26.2 miles and yet the finish line was still a long kick away. Mentally that was tough. I remember being out on the course and there were cones at nearly every corner and course marshals telling you to go around the cones, “Go ‘round the cones!” So I did . . . religiously, I stuck to the course. Deep inside I didn’t want to cheat myself. If my Garmin read anything less than 26.2 miles at the end of the race I would have felt guilty or been guilty of not running a full marathon. So being the ethical runner I stuck to the course. When I hit the 26.2 mile mark on my Garmin I was kicking mentally kicking myself.

I approached the final turn and there was less than 100 meters to go. The clock read 3:29:55 or so I sprinted and bore down on the timing mats. In my head I was thinking about how far back from the starting line I started and I was cursing myself. Who knew I was going to cut it that close. I crossed the line with a gun time of 3:30:05 and a chip time of 3:29:38. The gun time is what counts to Boston so I still had 54 seconds to spare. The Garmin said I ran 26.38 miles which is 950 feet beyond 26.2. The chip time is what counts to me because now I’m a sub 3:30 marathoner!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Week 3 Day 19: Intervals

I can still remember the chapter entitled Intervals in the book Once a Runner by John L Parker. Quenton Cassidy doing endless intervals pushing himself to his ultimate limit lap after lap and just when you think he can’t do anymore he resigns himself to another set. In the end he goes home after his ‘make or break’ workout and collapses into a deep sleep on his bed. Awesome!

My own experience wasn’t quite as dramatic as the fictional Mr. Cassidy’s but it was a new experience for me. I am on Week 3 of Hal Higdon’s Advanced I Marathon Training Program. This is the weekly ‘Quality’ workout which rotates from Hill Repeats to Tempo to Intervals and back to Hill Repeats. Since Week One I have been kind of looking at this workout as my biggest challenge. My trail running told me I would be able to do Hill Repeats and Tempo is just a slow build to pace and back down again. What’s so hard about that? Intervals are done on the track, this is speed work! What have I done? I’ve given up my beloved trails for a 400 meter oval. Jen said to me the other day, “You don’t run trails anymore do you?” I didn’t answer. I couldn’t answer. Definitely I have resigned myself to the roads, the pounding pavement all for the single minded purpose of qualifying for Boston.

My work schedule took me to Kelowna, BC, a beautiful place, which is no secret to anyone in the know. That being the case hotel rates sky rocket during the summer months. I couldn’t justify paying an extra $70 for the room I stayed in a month ago. So in searching for a place I chose my hotel based on proximity to a track. Using Google Earth I noted that there is only one ‘local’ track. What gives? Kelowna has a population probably double maybe triple that of Mission and only has one track, or at least that’s what I could find via Google Earth. The Apple Bowl sits in the heart of the city and is close to several hotels but it mystifies me as to why the city has just one track. This track is where I did my infamous barefoot run a few months ago and is a beautiful rubberized track. So if you are going to have one track it should be a good one.

My warm up was a direct route one mile straight to the track. Perfect! Lap 1 with a target of 3:30 was a little shaky. I wasn’t used to the faster pace and I felt like I was speeding up then slowing down but I ended up with a 3:22. A little fast but I was looking more for consistency rather than being bang on 3:30.

After a one lap rest in 2:24 (Hal says to keep rest between 2 and 3 minutes) I sped off again. This time I was a little more controlled and finished the 800 with a time of 3:24. Not bad!

Another rest lap and my third 800 was another 3:24. Now I thought I was getting the hang of this.

The final 800 was also a consistent 3:23. So taking into account hundredths of second the total range of values was within 1.5 seconds. I stepped off the track totally satisfied. Intervals were not as daunting as I had thought. I felt like I could have done more but I wanted to stick to the plan. I can hardly wait another three weeks before I get to do 5 x 800.

I ran back to the hotel and stepped into Starbucks for a Grande Dark Roast and it was barely 6 am.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Welcome to Las Vegas

I used to love coming to Las Vegas. So many lights, the casinos, the all day party atmosphere it was continuous fun. “Was” is the key word in this sentence. I am just returning from 3 days in a desert town that I think was Las Vegas at least that is what they told me when I landed at McCarran International Airport. Of course I was there on business and I’ve been there before on business but this time was in a class all by itself.

I’ve heard it said that if you go a block or two off the Las Vegas Strip you can’t tell it’s the same place. Try 5 miles away and it could very well be Anytown, USA. I was there for meetings all day so it really didn’t matter but still the excitement from travelling to Sin City was gone. The hotel didn’t even have a slot machine in the lobby.


The last time I ran in Vegas was last summer. We went with my kids and we even took the running stroller. I ran off Strip from the MGM Grand and I explored the areas in and around the UNLV campus. By doing so I was also able to scope out places to buy groceries, bottled water, and of course diapers. In August the temperature hovered in the high nineties and one day broke a hundred for one of my runs. It was fun, I imagined myself running the Badwater and it was only beginning to warm up.

I run before in Vegas up and down the Strip which from a tourist perspective is kind of fun because at 6 in the morning the streets are empty and you get an unobstructed view of the city. I can only imagine what the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon would be like. I think you actually get to run down the middle of the Strip. Just imagine it no sidewalks, no escalators and walkways, that sounds like fun. Bucket list are you listening?

On this trip I was down to business, I am in week 2 on my marathon program and I had to get in 3 miles, 5 miles and then another 3 miles.

The first run I had to squeeze in between meeting end and dinner plans. Three miles, the prescribed distance fit in perfectly to the allotted time. At this point in the program I didn’t want to skip any workouts for any reason. I found a park right across the street from the hotel. What strikes me as odd is talking about going for a run in a park in Las Vegas. I saw trees and plants I even saw a rabbit scurrying into the sagebrush.

The second run was a five miler. The park was small and doing loop after loop in the park didn’t seem to inviting so I ventured into the industrial park right next to the hotel. Like I said this was an atypical visit to Las Vegas, industries, warehouses, and parks.

Run three I went back to the park for three. I don’t know if it was the heat or the elevation (2000’ above sea level) but my easy pace went from a typical 10 minute pace to just over 9 minutes for all three runs. I never focused on pace. I never focused on anything. I recorded my thoughts on one run but for the most part I ran by feel and ended up too fast. My HR was too high for all three runs. The saving grace was they were shorter runs. I recovered well but I’m going to have to pay better attention to the HR zones.

Tomorrow is my Tempo run. A 40 minute run of increasing effort to a tempo just below 10K pace and then back down again for the final minutes. Question is “What is my 10K pace if you haven’t run one without a running stroller in front of you?”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week One

Week 1 In the books

Monday – 3 mile easy run. Week 1 Day 1 and he starts it with an easy 3 mile run. The temptation for me was not to go farther or harder. Koda, my Golden Retriever with the onset of hip dysplasia appreciated the pace.

Tuesday- 5 mile “Sort Of” long run. I think I’ll call these SO Long runs because I can’t type fast and holding the shift key down twice to make the term “Sort Of” is annoying. So a 5 mile SO long run was okay! A no event, I know I can run farther, faster but I stick with the plan.

Wednesday- easy run for recovery from the SO long run left me wanting more. A 3 mile run but I wanted to stick to plan.

Thursday – I woke up with a little fatigue in the legs. I’m usually not a streaker. I define being a streaker as running consecutive days anything longer than 3 days. So usually by the fourth day if I wake up and before my feet hit the ground I’ll decide whether or not I’ll run or not. Today I had no choice. In sticking with the plan I knew that today was a hill workout. Hal says to find a hill, any pitch will do about a quarter mile long. I have just the hill just outside my house. I started with a warm up of 2 miles and hit my hill. The hill is exactly a quarter mile from bottom to top so cresting it each time was the plan. It rises about 140 feet in the quarter, it is fairly punishing it is steep to begin with the grade lessens for about the middle third and the final third is the steepest grade. This is the type of hill the city closes down during snow events. I’m going to call it “the Horn” not only because the name of the street is actually Horne Street but because I know this horn will actually prod me to improvement.

I’ve attached a graph from my Garmin Training center. As you can see at mile 2 is where the hill repeats began. After a quarter mile I came close to maxing out on my heart rate, something I’ve always had questions about. My speed is kind all over but never drops to zero. It’s neat to see how my heart rate recovers on the downhills. I wish my speed could have been a little more consistent on the downhills..

By the third repeat I was spend I did everything I could to hold my pace to the top and was reduce to a walk once I crested the hill. My heart rate was 98% of maximum but I felt victorious. I completed the hardest workout of the week thus far and I didn’t die.

Friday –rest day. Remarkably I felt good when I woke up and I resisted the urge to do anything but rest. Hal has been around a lot longer than I have so I trusted his wisdom.

Saturday – 5 miles at Goal Marathon Pace. The 8 minutes I knew would not be hard for 5 miles. What would prove to be hard was finding a relatively flat course like the marathon course where I could test the pacing. My hometown is not flat. It is built on the side of a river bank so anything north to south gains a lot of elevation. East to west is flatter but still rolls a lot more than wanted so I picked the flat city block I could find close to home and ran in circles. Unfortunately, I’ve kind of lost touch with pace and my pace ended up being closer to 7:49 than 8:00. For 5 miles at 8 minute pace I expected to be around 40 minutes exactly. I ended off the day at 38 and change.

Sunday - The long runs may prove to be my undoing. Not so much the distance but fitting the distance into a specified time slot. With my ultra training I always scheduled long runs for Saturday early am. Although Hal says you can switch them up he has a preference for the GMP run to precede the long run. Sundays for my family usually involve early morning commutes to a swim meet in some far off locale. The more kids involved the more time is needed to embark. This year we have four kids. I woke up at 5 am and we planned to leave the house by 7:30. So fitting in a easy 10 mile run in between was going to be tight. I did it but I had to increase my pace in the back half to get the job done.


It wasn’t too bad! It was definitely a full week and I feel like I’ve accomplished something big. Confucious says “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Week one down, 17 more to go.

Monday, June 14, 2010

And so it begins . . .

I have embarked on a journey that is ground breaking for me. I have started following someone else’s marathon training plan. The final destination is as yet to be determined but I have a few places on my bucket list that are definite possibilities. The date is confirmed as 10-10-10 that is October 10th 2010 and there are two marathons to choose from one is the Okanagan International Marathon the other is the Good Life Fitness Victoria Marathon. It is a bit of a mystery as to why race organizers would schedule identical dates when perhaps if they separated the two by a week or more you might increase participation from a few Marathon Maniacs out there.


This time around I’m following Hal Higdon’s Advanced I Marathon Plan. Mr. Higdon is a well known guru of sorts and his training programs have been around for years. I’ve actually tried one of his plans before. Actually let me clarify that, I’ve looked at his plans before and I thought to myself “ Are you serious?” because even the Novice plans aren’t exactly novice. They are definitely serious plans for serious committed athletes and for the longest time since first looking at them I’ve wanted to re-visit them and actually see if I could commit myself to following one of the plans.


I’ve done three marathons, all spring marathons and all of them Vancouver, 1999, 2000, and 2005. My personal best is 3:31. Since then I’ve moved up to ultras. I figured if couldn’t get faster then go farther. I’ve run two ultras to date, a 50 miler in 2008 and the longest ultra I’ve run is 100K which was last year’s Haney to Harrison 100K Ultra. That definitely pushed my limit for distance. With 4 kids, a wife, a job, and also being part-time firefighter I don’t know if I have the time to train any longer than 4-hour training runs, something that it is a requirement for longer ultras. Now that I can’t go farther let’s go faster, I was inspired by the many stories of people trying to qualify for Boston and it too has been on my bucket list for a long time.


With three plans to choose from: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced and two levels for each. The Novice plan was for lack of a better term too novice. The Advanced Plans looked serious enough but lacked the speed work that I felt I needed to achieve my goal of a Boston qualifier. At 45 years old the BQ time must be better than 3:30 which is not too far off of my personal best but that was 5 years ago and there is a lot of miles on these legs since then. One thing ultra running does is sap a lot of speed from you. Whether it’s the shifting focus on endurance, the lack of speed work in your training regime or the cumulative miles I don’t feel like I could pound out 8-minute miles like I did 5 years ago. Hence my choice for the Advanced I program.


For the next 18 weeks I’m going to review the program week by week. Hopefully my schedule will permit me to keep up with the program and to keep up with the blog posts. The program runs 6 out 7 days. Monday is an easy recovery run from the weekend duo. Tuesday is what Hal describes as a “Sort of” long run it starts at 5 miles and builds up to 11 miles over the 18 weeks. Wednesday is a recovery run from the “Sort of” the day before. Thursday is the quality speed/power workout alternating between Hills, Tempo, and Intervals. To be honest I’ve always hated this regimented type workout which is probably why I abandoned marathoning all those years ago. I knew if I wanted the BQ this is what I needed to do, this would define me, this is where it would start. Friday is the only rest day of the whole week, something tells me I’m going to look forward to Fridays . . . TGIF. Saturday is a shorter distance (starts at 5 miles and builds) at GMP, Goal Marathon Pace. A run to make you feel the pace you want to run at, in my case 8 minutes per mile. And of course Sunday is the long run. The Advance I program builds its long runs to 20 miles and does it 3 times prior to race day. I think my ultra experience made this program seem less daunting than in the past. In fact, last year during my 100K build up my 20 milers were the most enjoyable part of the whole program.

So there you have it. There is the goal, the history, the plan. All I have to do is commit to the plan and carry it out. I still have to choose a marathon, sign on the dotted line and ‘git R dun’. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Episode 45: Run for Water Race Report

On today’s show two thirds of our family compete at the Run for Water in Abbotsford. I give my 10K report for which I run with the BOB stroller with my daughter. Jenny and Ethan give their 5K reports.

Check out the links

Run for Water

Friday, May 28, 2010

Episode 44: Our Not So Secret Smoothie

On this show we share our favorite smoothie recipe that you can find here at Canadian Running Magazine.

Blueberry Ultra Power Smoothie

1 banana fresh or frozen (peeled, break off into 2″ pieces, and freeze overnight)

1/2 cup pre-soaked almonds (soak 1/4 cup almonds in water 3 to 4 hours or overnight)

1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

2 1/2-3 cups of water

3 tablespoons Green Foods Vegan Protein Powder

6 dates or 2-3 tablespoons natural sweetener

3 tablespoons Udo’s Oil DHA 3-6-9 Blend

2 tablespoons raw maca powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or raw vanilla powder

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add water if a more liquid consistency is desired.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Nutritional info per serving

Calories: 312

Fat: 19.5 g

Carbohydrates: 30.3 g

Protein: 7.9 g

Fibre: 5.5 g

Sodium: 317 mg

Anonymity and the Podcaster

Anonymity and podcasting make strange bedfellows. On one side you have the security and privacy issues while one the other side you can be autobiographical while sharing your views to the podcast world. I am a podcaster, every episode I tell you my name is Rob and I am the host of the Ultradad Podcast. In the past I’ve told you about the races I’ve run H2H 100K and STORMY 50 mile. I’ve told you I’m married with 4 kids and at various times I’ve told you their names. While not being completely transparent, in today’s information overloaded web world it wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out what my last name is or where my house is.

There was a recent episode of Criminal Minds, a TV show I watch, where the killer stalked his victims via Facebook and Twitter. Of course this is an extreme case and was sensationalized by some very good writers but the point was made. I had to smile when in the opening moments of the show Joe Mantegna’s character David Rossi was going through some of the Tweets of the victims like “Had dinner at such and such”, “Going to shower now” while those weren’t the exact Tweets they were very similar. Rossi was mystified as to why anybody would post this information and why anybody would want to read this was just as mind boggling. And yet still we all do it.

Whether we like it or not information about us is out there. I live in a small, very blue collar town and a lot of my friends don’t own computers, some don’t carry their cell phones when they go out. That being the case they aren’t on Facebook or Twitter. So I was curious what kind of information was out there for these 1970’s throwbacks. Amazingly there was quite a bit of information to pick up enough information to write a small biography with pictures. Have you ever Googled your name?

Podcasters are a weird breed. We run the gamut from being completely anonymous using only a pseudonym or a web identity to being completely open with our first and last name. While I consider myself stuck in the middle I can see myself leaning more to the openly transparent podcasters. Like I said before there is more than enough information out there to figure out who I am.

I guess we leave it to the discretion of our listeners if they want to be cyber-sleuths and figure it out I’m okay with it just so long as they don’t show up at my front door. Look me up on Facebook! I kind of like those podcasts that share their daily lives with us. Not just the peaks but the valleys too. We can both celebrate and sympathize.

I guess where I’m going with this is the boys formerly of Trilogy Running have a new podcast called Those Guys Running. It’s basically the same format as before but they don’t ever mention their names. But through word of mouth, past history and clearly identifiable voices it won’t take long to figure out who they are. I can respect their need for privacy but who are they kidding. It’s out there. It’s like Rossi from the Criminal Minds episode later explained. Once you put something up there on the internet it’s up there forever.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Episode 43: The Barefoot Debate

Well folks we've switched to Libsyn. I guess when you compare Podbean and Libsyn the two are very similar but I just liked the look of Libsyn. In the brief time that I've used it I've got to say Libsyn is by far a lot easier to use. My uploads are so much faster and user friendly because I don't have to use a ftp server to upload. On the downside I couldn't figure the whole iTunes feed thing so there is a new feed on iTunes. It is identical to the Podbean feed so the show hasn't changed much.

On today's show I wanted to put my two cents into the Barefoot Debate. I want to start by saying that I'm firmly sitting on the fence on this one. But I bring up something to think about. For example, if barefoot is suppose to be good for you by strengthening your foot because there is less support for it. You are forced to land on your forefoot etc. Then why aren't worn out running shoes just as good. The argument that a shoe wears out after so many miles baffles me now. The compression of the foam rubber cushioning is a slow transition. And doesn't the foot adapt to the changing conditions of the shoe?

Do you remember the article mentioned in Born to Run about the foot strike impact of barefoot runners and shod runners? That the impact was actually less with the barefoot guys and the adaptation of shod to barefoot was immediate. Based on this information I would think if a shoe wears out in 500 miles the foot strike, impact force and stride would slowly adapt over the 500 miles so that at mile zero you may be a heel striker but at mile 500 you transition to forefoot more to balance out the loss of cushioning. Does that make sense? I don't know it's just food for thought.   Give it a listen at the above link and thanks for dropping by.

PS the feet I use in my id tag are my daughters.  We are on the beach at La Jolla in California.  Aren't they cute?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taking the Zoom H2 out for a ride

Taking the Zoom H2 for a spin. Watch this space for details

Untitled by ultradad at Garmin Connect - Details

Saturday, January 30, 2010


It's been a tough month! A bit of travel, a lot of rain and not a whole lot of running. I've been kind of down and out lately. I'm not sure if this is still post ultra blues or not. It's been about 3 months since my race and I would almost guess I've run less than 100 miles in those 3. Of course it is winter and winter in Mission usually means rain. I was reading a friends blog the other day and he had a post entitled "Rain, Rain Go Away" He talks about the debilitating effects of the rain on your motivation to run. I couldn't agree more.

I've been playing with the idea of running before bed instead of early in the morning.

1) It's easy to lace 'em up after a frustrating day of work and after the kids go to bed.
2) I don't have to rush home before the kids get up, unless I run all night (a la Dean Karnazes)
3) My energy stores will be more in sync as I would have had 3 square meals rather than a fast of about 8 hours.
4) Bodily systems would be more in sync as I would have completed my business long before. (If you know what I mean ;-)
5) I would actually get to sleep in, which is what I've been doing anyways.

On the down side
1) I've heard its harder to get to sleep right after a run because of endorphins and such.
2) After the kids go to bed is usually our couple time. I could wait until 9 when she goes to bed.
3) If it rains and I take the dog he'll be wet and although I personally don't mind the smell of wet dog I think my wife might have something to say.
4) There are more crazies out at night then there is in the morning.

I still don't know it could go both ways. Probably the most appealing aspect is the Pros as the Cons don't seem all too bad.

I'll let you know.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Audiobook Review: Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner

As I mentioned to you before I recently started subscribing to Audible. I have listened to three books in the three months I have subscribed. Most recently I listened to Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All night Runner by Dean Karnazes. I have both read and listened to this book.

In the curious case of Ultramarathon Man, let me preface this a little. When I first read this book about 4 years ago I borrowed it from the library. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about the book not so much that it was poorly written but rather the subject matter being self glorifying, egotistical etc. That being the case I didn’t want to spend my hard earned money on something I might find worthy of the waste basket. I gave it a read and actually enjoyed it. At the time I wasn’t an ultrarunner and only aspired to be one. Reading about someone go through every agonizing step from couch to ultrarunner was just what I wanted to see and read. To read accounts of Western States and Badwater, two of the classics in the world of ultras is kind of can’t miss literature in my narrow minded , tunnel vision view of literature.

A few years later I read Karnazes’ book 50/50 Fifty Marathons in Fifty States in Fifty Days it was his follow up book. I bought that book because I enjoyed the first one so much. That book was okay but just okay. I guess when you know the outcome of the story it becomes more or less a series of 50 race reports hardbound into a book. Don’t get me wrong I love race reports but this book could have been and probably was Dean’s blog (I can only speculate). I love blogs but for someone looking for great literature or a great story or something epic then look elsewhere.
Fast forward a few years to me purchasing the Audible audiobook Ultramarathon Man. As it goes the book is half as long as the other books I have purchased so on a dollars per word value it is a little short. I had run a couple of ultras and remember the stories as being empathetic . Listening to the book the stories are still great and after completing a couple of ultramarathons I still found it inspirational. Now here is the ‘BUT’.

Only after hearing the words come off the page and into my ears I had to shake my head. Maybe I am too modest. Maybe I should toot my horn a little more than I do. I am proud of my running accomplishments and maybe I should flaunt it more. Whatever the case (I am choosing my words carefully) I have maintained a bodyweight and body fat content consistent with my running lifestyle. So even in this little blog of mine which very few people read I would never refer to myself as cut, ripped, muscular, single digit body fat or whatever would make a reader envision something that I may be but modesty wouldn’t allow me to say. When I heard the narrator say these words written autobiographically by Dean I thought it was a little much. I honestly don’t remember reading this the first time through the book or maybe I just blocked them out. After the first cut/ripped reference I passed it off but soon came the second, third and fourth reference and I thought too much.

Have you ever gone on the Ultra List? It is kind of a throw back to the early days of emailing before chat rooms and Yahoo Groups and the like. Without going into too much detail about how it works let’s just say the threads are various and can go on for quite some time. Most or all of the participants are hardcore ultrarunners with various pedigrees so their opinions are valid and not some couch potatoes or armchair quarterbacks putting in their two cents. Mention Dean Karnazes or simply DK on the Ultra List and you get a long continuous thread of Dean bashing with only the occasional ‘but he was so inspirational to me’. In his defense he is very inspirational, his accomplishments are incredible and I never really polarized myself one side or the other. Now after listening to the book and hearing the blatant lack of modesty I see where the bashing gets its fuel. Dean deserves all the attention he gets both good and bad.
Bottom Line: Would I buy the book or audiobook again? Hell yes, I just told you it was inspirational even if it does make we wince when I hear the word ripped.


I received this email recently. Normally I don't read the glitzty kind of chain mail stuff people send me but this one caught my eye and made me think . A lot!

No matter what our kids and the new generation think about us,


OUR Lives are LIVING PROOF !!!

To Those of Us Born

1925 - 1970 :

At the end of this email is a quote of the month by Jay Leno. If you don't read anything else, please

read what he said.

Very well stated, Mr. Leno.



1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank

while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then, after that trauma, we were
put to sleep on our tummies
in baby cribs covered
with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets,
and, when we rode our bikes,
we had baseball caps,
not helmets, on our heads.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes....

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren't overweight.


Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day.

--And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building
our go-carts out of scraps
and then ride them down the hill,
only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were
no video games, no 150 channels on cable,
no video movies or DVDs,
no surround-sound or CDs,
no cell phones,
no personal computers,
no Internet and no chat rooms.

and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut,
broke bones and teeth,
and there were no lawsuits
from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies
made from dirt, and
the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and
-although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts
and not everyone made the team.

Those who didn't had to learn
to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers,
problem solvers, and inventors ever.

The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas..

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of those born
between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

The quote of the month
Jay Leno:

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu , swine flu , HIV and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Audiobook Review: Born to Run

Recently I have started subscribing to Audible. If you don’t know what Audible is, they are a company that produces audiobooks ‘for your listening pleasure’ that can be downloaded to your iPod or MP3 player. The books run the whole range from bestsellers to textbooks to classic literature to podcasts. I can’t remember the number of thousands of titles they report to have but it is a lot. I first heard about Audible through the Phedippidations Podcast as Audible is one of the sponsors of the show. I’ve been subscribing for a few months and every month I can’t wait to use my one credit for my next download. Of course, you can buy as many books whenever you want but my monthly subscription affords me one book per month. If you do it this way by paying about $16.48 CDN/month ($14.94 USD)you can get more expensive books for less because most books are one credit which is your monthly allotment for being a member.
So far I have listened to three books but have built up a wish list probably for the next year or so. I am hereby going to give you my 2 cents worth of reviews for the books I have listened to.

Audible Review: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (Narrated by Fred Sanders)
What more can a person say about Born to Run that hasn’t already been said. McDougall writes an epic tome about his adventures into the world of ultramarathoning. Being an ultrarunner myself, this was no brainer for my first Audible book. I bought the book a few months prior to buying the audiobook. If you haven’t read the book McDougall shares with his readers his adventures into Mexico to run an ultramarathon with the legendary Tarahumara Indians as well as some legendary ultrarunners from this world too. People have described this book as the best book they have ever read about running. I couldn’t agree more. I won’t elaborate too much about how much I enjoyed the book but it has so many facets that appealed to me such as: the history of ultrarunning, the Tarahumara, barefoot running, the science of running and some really interesting characters.

Finding time to read books for a father of four is almost as challenging as finding time to run. When I get a chance to read it’s usually in some crowded noisy place like an airport or on a train. At times the book can get pretty ‘heady’ meaning there are some deep anthropological or physiological theories explained in layman’s terms but still somewhat elevated. McDougall gives full credit to the researchers and their work and thus gives as much background as possible before delving into the full on theories. That being said if you can’t read the chapter from start to finish the flow of thought is interrupted and you lose the gist of the theory. Step in Audible and a narrator coursing through the heady matter explaining it at a pace and meter better than you could ever read yourself. You can back up or speed forward if you want. Audible is perfect for some of my long commutes or long runs.

This is my favorite audiobook by far. I have listened to it start to finish a couple of times and listened to certain chapters nearly a dozen times. I never tire of the subject matter and always seem to pick something up each time though.
Bottom Line: Two thumbs up. Audible rules