Sunday, November 25, 2012

Up to Mentryville 14.7 miles

A favorite but rarely-done run of mine.   I run up Pico Canyon to Mentryville, a county park.  Mentryville was founded in the 1870s as an oil town.  Today it is a county park but for some reason is never open, with signs posting warnings of environmental hazards.   Given that this is California, it is more likely that it is just cheaper to close it.  Mentryville today is a collection of old homes.  There are a couple of modern structures and somebody living there.

I like this run because there's water at a county restroom at the intersection of Pico and Stevenson Ranch Parkway.   As well, beyond Mentryville in the fire road to the top of Odeen Platform (I didn't run this today, not wanting to get my brand-new road shoes dirty) there's a water hose.

Today's run was a surprisingly warm day, getting close to 80 in some of the sunnier areas of the run.  I didn't have a lot of energy, perhaps putting on too many miles this week after last week's tough marathon and too much food this week.  But, up and down the canyon I had some sub-9 miles as there were other runners.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Completed: Valley of Fire Marathon 4:16

I finished the Valley of Fire Marathon today, at 4:16, or 9/27th overall in a very small field.  This was a completely different marathon than a Boston-certified course.  Lots of ups and downs and a couple of miles on an unpaved road filled with rocks.

This was perhaps one my favorite runs.   It takes place in the Valley of Fire state park, near the Valley of Fire exit on I-15 north of Las Vegas.  The state park is sort of like a mini-Zions National Park.  Lots of cool sandstone rock formations, an arch, narrow canyons, rolling hills.  I really did want to stop and see some of the sites.

I actually did a lot better this week than last week's Santa Barbara Marathon.  I had lots of gas in the tank near the end.   After the first mile, I was passed by only one runner the entire race, and did my fair share of passing others.  I overran the first two aid stations.  They hadn't set up yet.  The volunteer at the second aid station actually asked me how to set up the station; I just ran on.

One guy my age was running in those toe shoes, Vibram.   I had to laugh when I got in my car to go home, which took me back over the last 10 mles of the race.  He was in dead last, still 6 miles to go, had taken off those shoes, and was attempting to run barefoot.  So much for that fad.

I was also running with my new Nike Air Zoom Structure Triax+ 15. After buying my Hokas, and finding them too unstable, I looked around for heavily cushioned lightweight running shoes with a medial post.   These are the ones I've found, and they are perfect.   Like most of my shoes, I order them a full size larger than my street shoes to give me more room in the toe box.  These shoes are sized slightly larger than others I have purchased, so I find myself on occasion tripped up, but so far they are super comfortable and light.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Valley of Fire Marathon Nov. 17, 2012

After a total whack job performance this past Saturday in the Santa Barbara Marathon, I'm running a very hilly road marathon this coming Saturday, November 17, 2012, at Lake Mead, Nevada in the Valley of Fire Marathon.  Back to back marathons spaced by a week!  I've never attempted that before.

Take that, the grim reaper!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Santa Barbara Marathon: 4:09:19

In perfect conditions, I turned in the second-worst lifetime performance in today's Santa Barbara International Marathon, at 4:09:19.  19/48 in my age division.   The last time I did so poorly was when I was running sick.  Ran with friends William, Belinda, and Frank.

I trained many miles for this one.   Perhaps I didn't taper enough.  I don't really believe in tapering down.  But I think it is just old age.

I could tell I was having a hard time because the last five miles was filled with walkers; I don't usually see that.

Friend Frank was 68 years old and came in about 20 minutes behind me.  Amazing.