Saturday, October 18, 2008

Random Bits

Some random bits of things I've been wanting to say, none of which makes a complete post but all told might make for a mish-mash post. Good enough.

First off, The Long Beach Half Marathon was amazing.

We have this weather condition here in Southern California called the Santa Ana winds. That means a hot, powerful wind blows hard from the wrong direction (offshore as opposed to the prevailing onshore) for several days. These winds are what usually drive the devastating fires we experience in the fall. These conditions take a typical fall day of 68F/20C and make it like summer, 85F/30C. The day prior to the event, the Santa Ana winds set up. It was warm and the palm trees were whipping in the wind. It was a mild Santa Ana, so it wasn't horrific wind or heat, but it was windy and warm. This didn't bode well.

The expo was well organized and we got some good swag. They gave very nice technical t-shirts to everyone who signed up within a certain time frame. We got ours, and mine fits beautifully. It's a feminine shirt, which is much appreciated. They also printed your name on your bib so spectators can cheer you on as if they know you.

The day of the event broke to no wind. Hallelujah for that. The winds of the day before had cleared the air and it was a sparkling crystal blue sky. Beautiful. Not hot. The run itself was absolutely gorgeous. Downtown Long Beach is a pretty city with a lovely harbor area. We ran around that, then down the beach boardwalk for many miles. Sandy beach, rolling waves, sparkling ocean, beautiful sunny day, not too hot, not too cold, and you simply couldn't ask for a better day, better scenery, or a better event.

They said that this year was their largest event to date: 18,000 people across the Half, the full Marathon, a 5k, a bike tour, and a kid's run. It's grown each year, but after a day like this I expect it to have significantly more entrants next year.

Basta ran well. No foot pain. He didn't put any effort into a PR and just ran easily. He finished in 1:50:31. 42nd out of 259 in his age group. 8:26/mi ( 5:14/km). He ran the half marathon, and they detected by his chip, no doubt, that he'd switched to the half and just automatically moved him from the full to the half in the results. I like that.

Me? I have been suffering with a hamstring strain and wasn't sure I could even do this event. But the hamstring held out and I finished it, albeit not quickly. Finish time 2:31. The leg actually feels much better now and I'm hoping & planning to post a more interesting time for my full marathon in Feb. I had a very nice time at this event, though. This is the 3rd year we've done it and it's definitely on the recurring calendar.

That afternoon, after the event was over, the wind kicked up again. It howled through the night and all the next day, too. We just had a perfect weather window for the run.


Foot update: It's fine. Basta can run again. Yoga must be a part of his daily routine (and mine) to keep the injuries at bay.


Basta's friend Randy came down for a visit and they rode Santiago Canyon together. He commented on how much Basta has improved since their trial ride of the Vineman course back in December. "Amazing difference," he said. Back then Basta had just started training on the bike. Now he has a lot of bike miles on his legs, a lot of hard hill workouts, and a lot of rides with people who can push him. Training works.


I've figured out how to make him take some time off. Don't give him a workout schedule. Normally, I plan his upcoming week and give it to him on Sunday night. I just stopped doing that. He took a few days off, thinking I had just forgotten. Then he started to ask me, "shouldn't I be training?"

"No, take it easy. It's your break."

"But I don't want to lose my fitness!"

"Of course you don't. What do you feel like doing today?"

"Um. . . Swim. A swim sounds good."

"Ok, then swim."

"What kind of workout should I do?"

"Which one did you enjoy most? Do that one. Or just swim for fun. Enjoy the water. Enjoy the day. Enjoy the feeling of sliding effortlessly through the water. Don't train. Just swim. However long and hard you want to."

And that actually worked. He's still working out every day, and he's doing it because he wants to. He runs, he bikes, he swims. Workouts, for the most part, are easy and not more than an hour or so. He's maintaining his fitness, enjoying it, and looking forward to beginning his Ironman training in earnest.


Speaking of which, he did it. He committed. He registered for Ironman Brasil. May 31, 2009. I suppose we ought to learn a phrase or two in Portuguese between now and then.


I decided on a 28 week training program for him. That will begin November 10.


On that date there are 12 weeks until the Surf City Marathon, so he'll begin training for his BQ then, too. Perfect.


Because that's the week we return from Holland. We return the 12th, actually, so he'll miss his first two days of training (oh no!). Then, right back into it.

We leave for Holland in a week and half. I really don't see any maintenance training happening while we're there. It's likely to rain and be quite chilly the entire time (but there should be no tourists and no lines). We'll have to suffice with loads of walking every day to maintain some level of fitness. And walk we will. We're spending a few days in Amsterdam and a few days in Paris, along with seeing Basta's various relatives that live throughout the country.


Yes, we have our absentee ballots in hand and will mail them off before we go. The election will take place while we're away.


After following the Ironman Championship this past weekend and reading a lot of info posts and blogs thereon, I now know that yes, the humidity and heat is just as bad there as it is in Cancun, if not worse. People deal with it by either coming to Kona a week or more in advance or training in a similar climate. It is a hot, humid race and a significant challenge, even for an Ironman, no matter how you prepare for it.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Half or Full?

Long Beach Marathon this Sunday.

The potential Boston Qualifier, right? Except that the pain in the heel has prevented Basta from doing proper marathon training, so he's not ready.


He ran 13 in Cancun pain-free. He was slow and miserable, but he was pain-free. That's important. I think we've truly figured out this problem (sciatica) and how to solve it (yoga).

But not soon enough. He needs a lot more long-distance runs on his body before he can hope to do a marathon in BQ time. Cross-training is lovely for keeping the cardiovascular system primed, but you need sport-specific workouts to perform well in a certain sport.

Or does he? He surprises me with his physical abilities at times. His ability to just keep going and going when a normal person would stop. Maybe he could manage to do this marathon after all.

To find out, I sent him on a 16-mile long run. If he did ok on that, maybe he could go ahead and try the marathon.

Off he went. When he returned, the verdict was clear. No marathon for him.

It wasn't his foot. It started to feel a little twinge towards the end of the run but wasn't painful during and disappeared again after the next yoga session. No, his foot is ok. It was his ankles. His calves. His back. His shoulders, even. He hurt all over.

He didn't plan his route very well and ended up running over 17 miles. His body just isn't ready for this kind of running distance. He hasn't done the time. Hasn't built up the endurance his muscles and ligaments need. He's not too far off. Maybe even 5 more weeks of training could have gotten him a lot closer. But that's 5 weeks we don't have.

The next day he awoke to a swollen lower back. Right around the base of his spine was a pad of fluid. Seriously not good. That convinced me, if there was any doubt, that he shouldn't be doing this marathon. It dissipated throughout the next two days and he is now fine there. The rest of his body has recovered, too.

I have convinced him that doing this marathon is dumb. He has no prayer of doing a BQ time. But more importantly, he risks getting hurt, setting back his training, and maybe making him come to hate the long-distance running. There's no need for that. Train properly and really do the event, don't just suffer through it.

So he's going to do the Half. Shoot for a PR, maybe. He did an 8 mile long run today, the final long before the event. He did ok and felt fine.

We'll set our sights on the backup marathon, the Surf City Marathon, the first weekend in February. We have time to train for that. Both of us, since I'm doing it too.