Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Ugh. I still feel a bit tired and sore. I did six yesterday. It did not feel bad, I was energized afterwards. But I'm feeling it today. Not bad, but I know I should dial it back. It'll be a little run today, only about 3 miles or so.

No big trail run for this weekend, I think. It actually works out well because we'll be having guests at Casa Coyote this weekend. My far ranging mountain runs have me a bit nervous lately because of a lot of reports like this. I might change my routes a bit and bring them further down into town for a while. I don't want to be paranoid, but I've just had an uneasy feeling lately on the trails.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ups and Downs

I had me a long run today....I didn't go as far as scheduled since I got going late and had some Garmin difficulties, but it was a long run nonetheless that hopefully did what it's supposed to do, get me fitter. I'm fried right now. I'm supposed to take the kids to the park in a few minutes but I just want to go take a nap.

Le Garmin said that I did over 5000 feet of climbing. I feel it. I think I'm doing too much up and down. I'm not doing too well on the downs. My ups are actually improving markedly, but I lock up on the descents causing a lot of soreness. I'm still gun shy on bombing the descents. (For those that don't know I took a big tumble a few years back and broke my leg on the trail). For next week's long run I'll cook up a flatter route. That'll be hard since there's not too much flat around here, or at least flat that is interesting enough to me to do a long run on.

I'm now running exclusively in VFF's. No more shoes at all! On the trails shoes make me turn my ankles and on the streets even that little bit of heel offsets me enough to tighten up my lower back. I really dig having freedom from shoes, just knowing that I don't need anything to run anywhere for any distance is empowering.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Green, Green Grass

Monday is rest day, and I can happily say that I've earned it. I'm sitting here eating lunch knowing that the hard running I put in on the weekend is now reaping benefits for me as I rest and repair. Saturday I did my long run, I'll have to measure it on the maps, and then Sunday I did a mid-distance run on tired legs. Today I'm trashed. My quads are so sore it's difficult to walk down the deck stairs into the yard. Mission accomplished!

I'm following a training plan closely now that will lead me up to the Ohlone 50k. I'm finding that having an exact plan is comforting. I feel on track and prepared. it's like a map that shows me exactly how to get there from here.

Saturday's run was gorgeous. Sunny, and mid-seventies, high sixties at the top of the mountain underneath the cool and moist redwood trees. I ran into another renegade dog walker at the top and two scowflaw road bikers of all things coming up Chinquapin trail. We exchanged "howdies" and they asked about my VFFs and I gave them the report of no rangers from here on out. In fact I've NEVER seen a ranger out on the trails at Huddart. Which is fine with me, but odd. Heck if I had that job you couldn't keep me inside.

On my way out of the woods and about 2 miles from my car I had a sudden revelation. It was be-a-utiful outside, right there. Warm moist air that smelled so fresh, gorgeous rolling fields of green grass dotted by orange flecks of California poppy, purple spikes of lupine and blue sprinklings of forget-me-nots. The sky a soothing, contrasting, turquoise blue. It was then that I realized, "Man, I hated winter. It was worse than I thought." Winter just ain't beautiful around here. It's like a wet, cool, gray gym sock laying over your neighborhood. No pretty bright white snow here. Just grey, and mud. Spring and summer are MUCH better.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Last Weekend's Long Run

Ah, I have neglected to update the bloggo. Well, last weekend's long run was lovely. Huddart is greener than I've ever seen it. There are creeks bubbling where I've never seen them before and green ferns line the trails and decorate the canyons. Every boulder is covered in green moss. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera.

I ran up a trail that I usually run down. I had to keep turning around to look down the trail to recognize where I was. Even then with all of the greenery, I didn't recognize where I was all of the time. I figured I'd get to the top at some point.

I took a little connector trail that heads out towards another preserve. I wasn't planning on going all of the way out there, just about 10 minutes out to add more mileage. It was a bit creepy. There was no one up there and by the looks of the trail I didn't think that anyone had been up there in days. We have all of these gorgeous places but I see so few people on the trails. In the big lot at Huddart my car is often the only one there. I see LOTS of people on Pulgas trail when I'm there. You know why? They can bring their dogs.

On the way back down I met up with a nice fellow walking (illegally) with his dog and his son on one of the trails. He was immediately appologetic about the dog and I immediately told him that I thought the rule was stupid. (the East Bay parks all allow dogs on leash on the trails). The way I see it dogs have a special place with humans. We've been together at the very least about 15,000 years (some think 25,000 or more). If you require folks to keep their canines leashed and to either bury poop or pick it up I don't see a problem enjoying the great outdoors with your dog. In fact, it's only natural. As it is now you can't bring your dog hardly anywhere around here, so people don't go anywhere and their dogs don't get an opportunity to get out and about and learn how to be good canine citizens.

I've spoken to countless people who would use these wonderful outdoors more (or even at all) if they could walk/run with their dogs but they don't feel safe without them. I think a dog is a good big cat/evil human deterent. And just a heck of a good companion.

So how about even just a day or two a week where dogs are allowed on peninsula trails. Why not? Anyway, I just think that there are too many stinkin' rules. The Man's been bustin' my mojo lately.

The rest of the run was downhill, thankfully since I really needed to hit the outhouse. I used my cross country flats but the trail was well groomed with crushed gravel and not mudlicious at all. I could've worn my Vibrams. Fer sure this Saturday.


The weather's been fabulous here! It's been in the 70's the past few days and it'll be nice like this through the weekend at least. It definitely affects my mood for the better!

Here's some cool ultra links that I found that have been very helpful -

A whole bunch of ultra links

A really cool automatic training schedule for ultras

I've used this link to make a better training schedule for myself. Lotsa weekend mileage!

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Trails, Old Places

I love it when I discover a new place to run, right from my front door.

Driving home a few days ago I discovered that there was a dirt trail along side of a street that I never thought about running on. It would be too narrow and possibly dangerous otherwise, but I hadn't seen the trail before.

Zoe and I checked it out. It's a perfect hill training road, lines a gorgeous wild canyon (we saw deer) and great views at the top. I'm adding it to the training regimen.

The canyon and the hills area beautifully green right now. The winter rains have made this place a lush paradise. The next few days are expected to be beautiful, sunny and warm. I'm planning a long run this weekend of around 20 miles if I can handle it up in Huddart probably.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A rain-filled Union Creek.

Mud and Waterfalls

It was a mudlicious early springtime run. This time I used my cross country flats; that was the ticket. I didn't slip once, even though I was in some shoe sucking sludge out there. It took me a little time to get used to running in the mud. I wasn't sure of my footing on that sludgy ground. I watched some cross country runners from the University of Santa Clara power past me through the sludge and I felt like a total clutzy dolt. I'm a little gun shy on the slippery trails...but I did improve markedly by the end of the run.

I started my run outside of the parks at Edgewood Road. Crystal Springs Trail takes a good mile and a half in as a rutted flat trail that suddenly juts upward and into the hills before diving down into Phleger and Huddart Parks. Crystal Springs Trail was kind of a mess today. Sections of it were completely churned up mud from horses' hooves. I tippy-toed around some of the really soppy sections at first. This was shoe sucking-off stuff!

The temps hovered around a fabulous 70 degrees in full sunshine. This is that magical time of year around here when it's green, sunny and warm on occasion. We'll still have cold rainy days, but they lead to spectacular days like this one. Come May, the hills will turn brown.

I ran into Phleger this time around. I thought about going up into Huddart, but decided to do something different. I also wanted to see how Union Creek was looking. Well it was Union River this time around complete with beautiful cascades and little tributaries that fed it from the hillsides. I ran along its banks via the Miramontes Trail and then headed up the hill a bit before turning back at the hour point. I figured two hours of good trail running would be enough for today, as I'm slowly building up.

On the way out of Phleger I saw a beautiful, healthy doe. She had a wonderful winter-fuzzy coat and a full belly (pregnant?). She was completely unconcerned about me and continued munching on the lush green spring grass.

I put the hammer down, as best as I can at this time of year, on the last flat section back out to the car. I got my courage up on the last big downhill to let 'er fly through the mud. I'm glad to say that there were no geological surveys. I pushed the pace to the end and felt my technique actually improve a bit. I thought about dancing lightly over the mud and hoof prints. It seemed to work!

The plan is to add one to two more trail runs in per week. I'm hoping on seeing some really improvement from this. And I just feel much happier out there.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Zoe and I made it out before the storm blew in. We had a wonderful run through the 'hood in the balmy warm wind before the storm. I've discovered that Zoe is not entirely a creature of habit. She likes variety in her runs. She runs best when we explore new routes and places to go, she slows up and acts bored when we run a route too often. And I thought that she was just getting lazy.

Today was just a moderately short/medium run. I'm givin' it a little rest before going long again on Sunday. By then the storm will have blown out an I'll hit the redwood mountain trails of Huddart again.

I'm trying to have a little fun with my local runs. I really don't like running in the 'burbs or the city; I'd be happier in the woods all of the time. But I can't justify driving there every day of the week so until I'm living up there full time (hint, hint at my true desires) I have to do some running around town.

Running with Zoe does help. It's a lot more fun with a partner. We had some fun running in the downtown area too. Here in Coyote's town there's a shi-shi downtown shopping district. It used to be a normal place with vegetable stands, banks, butchers, markets, a pharmacy and a few useful clothing stores. Now it's obnoxious. High end clothiers, fancy restaurants (the kind that serve dinky portions that would never satisfy a hungry coyote) and uber trendy furniture stores. It's nearly totally worthless to me now, I never go there. But in the past few days we've been having a hoot running at least a few blocks on this "strip." We do some yuppie/hipster watching. Lotsa yuppie/hipsters drive in from all around to walk around to see and be seen on these streets. It's great to see their reaction when I come barrelling down the street in my Vibrams, running shorts and giant black dog. I clearly don't fit in with the crowd. Nor would I want to.

Today we encountered a gentleman with two tiny chihuahuas. At sighting Zoe they went ballistic, barking and freaking out at the ends of their leashes. Zoe didn't give a rip. She just gave them a quizzical look and wanted to keep on keepin' on down the street. The Run is way more interesting to the Zoester than a little snack dog. And there's nothing like the spectacle of nutty mini dogs to make a man look, well less manly at the end of a leash. Chihuahua Man got flustered and red faced. A municipal worker who was busy working on an electrical box nearby had a good belly laugh over the whole scene. We headed on home with a smile and got back before the rain came down.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Job Hunting = Window Shopping

Soooo....I've been window shopped!

This means when a possible employer interviews you and takes you through all of the trials of job hunting and then says..."maybe...don't know....wait a minute while I pick my nose."

I learned from my recruiter and another secret source that I was the strongest candidate that "they" had seen for the job that I've been up for. Mind you it's been a month's worth of interviewing, for a friggin' contract job. But yet they want to see more resumes, as my recruiter told me. They think I'm great...but they want to see MORE resumes. Apparently they have found some sort of wrinkle in time and now have all of it in the world to waste on driving job hunters crazy.

It's a frustrating time in Casa de Coyote.


  • No pictures today because it was raining on the trail
  • Doe sighting, she sighted me too
  • Vibram Five Fingers are not so good on muddy trails

The rain was beautiful. It felt nice. Unfortunately the trails at Edgewood have some very slippery clay. I had to shorten my planned run as it was too slippery to head out on a second loop. I fell once and scratched up my shin. Next time I run on the trails in the rain I'll have to use my cross country flats instead of the VFFs. I think that the little nubbies will help a lot. Also I think it would be better to run in Huddart or one of the other redwood forest trails in the rain. The pine needles on the trail take the slip factor out of it.

I'll probably head out for a second run today in the evening with the dog. She was sorely displeased that I went out without her.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday's Trails

It was back to Huddart Open Space for me today. I don't think I've run here since the dry heat of last summer.

Fun Facts About this Run

  • 5 banana slugs

  • 1 yellow bellied salamander

  • no mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats or deer

  • a really wierd bluish fungus covers horse poop in rainy weather

  • I think I may hate it when it gets hot here again
The drive to Huddart was epic in itself. The fog was thicker than I've seen in a few years up on 280. At one point I had about 30 feet of visibility in a blanket of dim white. Luckily right after its worst point the fog lifted enough to give a decent view of the road for the rest of the way to Woodside.

It was foggy and cold at the start at the Zwierlein trailhead. I hemmed and hawed but in the end I decided to keep on my thin windbreaker as I wasn't sure what the weather might end up doing. It could rain or even snow at the top for all I could tell. It's happened before!

The start was slippery, muddy and cold but breathtakingly beautiful in the redwood forest. Once I passed a "no horseback riders" gate on the trail the churned up mud on the trail stopped and my footing was smooth and easy. The vibrams were a bit slippery on the sludge, but I think that anything or barefoot - it was going to be slippery there. My hands were cold and icy.

About a 1/4 of the way up the hill the fog thinned and the sun peaked through the redwoods and California oak. As soon as that sun comes out around here it gets warm. I stopped and stashed my windbreaker in my Wink UD backpack/waterbladder.

At about this point I was cursing those extra 10 winter pounds that I was dragging up this hill along with an almost full water pack. My lack of significant hill training these past few months was pretty obvious to me. I was glad to see only two other runners on the trails this morning, and they were going back down so thankfully they couldn't see my slow upward progress. I chalked up my starting and stopping up the mountain to being "hill intervals." Yeah, that's what I'll call it...

But oh I love the wet lushness of this place right now! The weather was perfect, cool and crisp with clean, damp woodsy air. The oak trees have dropped a lot of acorns along the trail. I stopped to inspect them and found a yellow-bellied salamander. I haven't seen one of these in years. He was a nice size too, longer than my hand.
I didn't push too hard to get to the top. I felt it wise to temper my enthusiasm as this would be my longest run so far this year, so today is for distance and time spent on the feet on not for speed. There were a few new trees down across the trail since the winter storms, but no washouts that I could see. Also, more of the trails have been worked on with some gravel stuff since I was last here. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I guess this gravel stuff isn't too bad or too unlike the natural trails. It's not pointy rocks but almost like soft chunks of asphalt that kind of glue themselves together. I can't imagine how they get all of this stuff up here - If you don't know Huddart, it's very steep and definitely deep-woodsy, not really the kind of place you can bring equipment into. I'm surprised that they went through all the effort to resurface these trails.

Once I made it to the top I GU-ed up, took a picture or two and headed out towards Chincapin Trail for the rollercoaster ride down. In a few weeks I'll take the connector trail towards Wunderlich to add some more miles back and forth and eventually run into Wunderlich for some very long runs. For now, this was ideal. I tempered my downhill on Chincapin because there are some sections that tend to get narrow and wash out. Also trees tend to fall over this trail a lot more than some of the others. But Chincapin had been gone over too quite a bit with some of the narrow sections shored up and stabilized and all of the fallen trees removed. I'll let it fly more next time I'm here.

There were lots of birds chirping on this run. It really felt like early spring. I saw maybe two squirrels the whole time which is amazing because the bushes are usually shaking with them. I guess they are still winter hibernating or such. The lower down on the trail I got the more confident I became so I started to push the pace. I had no problems with the vibrams or my feet. No stubbed toes or stepping on pointy things...just a nice stable pitter pattering on the trail.

I know some people worry so much about barefooter/minimalists stepping on rocks on the trail or turning ankles. One great thing about trail running in VFFs is that I know I won't turn my ankle. You really can't in VFFs or barefoot because there is no platform (sole or heel) to catch and roll off of. Plus, think of your landing, it's forefoot, heel touch and up again - no rolling from heel to toe where you turn your ankle as your weight transitions to midfoot. And rocks? Well, stepping on them isn't nearly as bad as you'd think, plus, just look out for them and don't step on them. Easy.
I ran the last mile the fastest and let my legs churn freely beneath me. There was an even downhill and then an uphill finish to the trailhead. It was about 11 miles in 1:40, which was actually pretty good. It feels good to be back!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I can't be the only person who thinks these are creepy. It's like a giant toddler. Or a teletubby.

I'll be happy when the Valentine's Day ads are OVER. Especially this pajama gram one. My poor hubby is always at a loss on this day...I have graciously let him off the hook for this made up holiday from now and on into the future. I don't need or want anything heart-shaped and when I want chocolate...I'll hunt it down myself. Obviously, I'm not a romantic.


In other news I've been running regularly, even though I have this sinusy-headachy cold that won't quit. Getting out there seems to clear it up for a few hours, but then it's back again in the morning. Although I think it's easing up day by day. I think by this weekend I'll be able to do a long trail run in the hills.

I'm still doing the Vibrams. All is good, very good. I don't feel sore after running, I actually feel springy and refreshed. The VFFs were NOT smelling fresh this afternoon. I took them with me into the shower and shampooed them. They're drying now. I'll let you all know if this works tomorrow.


The job hunt is limping along. This Friday I have an interview, and I sincerely hope that this one leads to something that I can do for a while. This will be the second round interview for this company. Interviewing is just as stressful and time consuming but all I can find to interview for are contract/freelance jobs. There aren't any direct hire jobs available anymore. Maybe forever? How things have changed from my dad's time, or even from five years ago.
Best to look at ways to amp up one's own self sufficiency. Like this cool gal - Jenna

Sunday, February 07, 2010

One thing barefoot running does not do is cure a cold. I have one, brought home by the 1st grader. But my immune system has become quite an amazing thing due to two kiddos and the preschool experience. Since having little ones, I really haven't had any super nasty colds that last weeks at a time. They tend to come and go quickly.

This morning I went on a run even though I felt achy and stuffy. First I took the dog out for a slower 1/2 loop. I brought her home and then did another loop at a much more instense pace and with hill repeats. Lots of snot and loogies, but I feel that I have accomplished something. Hopefully it was added fitness and burning this cold out of my body faster; not sending myself towards pneumonia.

I've been running in Vibrams only now for a while. My tight left hip is no longer tight. I think that running super minimal or barefoot forces equilibrium where there are problems. I know that I favor my right leg subconsciously since my accident. Running in Vibrams forces that leg from the foot up to work just as hard as the left. There's no free ride for the right leg or foot, which is a good thing.

Barefootin' seems to be taking off and it's ticking off some of the shoe giants. Jason has been following the events pretty closely and blogging about some of the freaked out antics that they are resorting to. They continue to run screaming down the negative path. Why not try to come up with some products for minimalist runners instead of attacking them? A positive reaction, especially in this case, would be much more productive.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The littlest coyote had a surprise bout with a stomach virus. It came on quickly and lingered for two days and then was gone as quickly as it came. Little ones amaze me with their resiliancy. I would still be nursing my queezy stomach back into health. She immediately demanded a grilled cheese sandwich after announcing that she was "All beddur." She hasn't stopped snacking since.


My running is going well. My short runs are now averaging 5 miles a piece. Since switching to just VFF or barefoot running completely the tightness in my lower back and hip are greatly reduced and almost gone. My running feels so effortless and natural. My experience with barefootin' has proved to me that we are meant to run this way. Obviously, it's the way we were born and how we evolved.

Recently shoe companies like Brooks and sellers like Road Runner Sports have been chiming in with an anti barefoot stance. Well, shoes are how they make their money so I don't fault them for a knee-jerk panic reaction to the flood of barefoot running media that's out there right now. I'm sure that one of these corporations has spawned this sorry excuse for a website - Runningbarefootisbad.com .

I suspect that some sorry intern at a shoe company has been pushed into writing for this site. Notice that it doesn't allow comments. But he/she constantly complains about the lack of rational discourse on the subject. So he/she is not interested in debate or learning anything. Nor does he post any experience with trying barefoot running and hating it. Silly drivel. I know what barefoot running is and how it has helped me. I also know of how it has changed running for many of my fellow runner friends. I also have graduate work in physiology under my belt and know how the human body works.

Way back when in college, years ago, I was looking at a skeletal foot and it dawned on me that we were not meant to run heel to toe. Crashing down on that calcaneus bone and then rolling off to those little metatarsals made no sense to me back then. It took me a while to have the nerve to run outside sans shoes but the seeds were planted long ago in my mind.

Now I certainly don't believe that the shoe companies are out to hurt anybody. They really do want to benefit runners and improve the sport (while making money along the way of course). But I think that the running shoe as we know it today evolved along the wrong path due to some incorrect assumptions on how we run and what we need. The heel rise in running shoes is unneeded and probably actually harmful. I'm certain that this is what hurts my back when I run in shoes. I also believe that people need to ween themselves from so much external foot support. Think about putting your arm or leg in a cast - it atrophies. These motion control shoes are like casts, inhibiting natural movement of the foot and further weakening it.

Let me repeat - I don't believe that the running shoe companies are evil entities out to harm us. I do believe that some are reacting badly to the barefoot phenomenon. I'm really surprised that they are not seizing the moment to create a new lines of minimalist shoes. If they continue this behavior then I guess the so called "nutters" who like minimal/barefoot running will form their own companies. Hmmm. I have a few ideas already....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Birthday Run

Two days ago I went on my birthday run. It didn't rain. Not that I mind the rain, I actually really like it now. But it makes running in the canyon kind of difficult. Very slippery. Even in Vibrams. The VFFs are really good for stream crossings and log climbing though.
Zoe was happy to be back in the canyon. Here are some pictures from our run.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Great research report on barefoot running - click here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Out There

As soon as we are outside I realize that it's never as bad as I think it will be. It's always better. Enjoyable. The cold, wet storm actually envelopes us, and isn't that cold at all. The cool wet fuels our running, gives us energy, gives our feet wings.

Zoe loves the rain. She prances through puddles with puppy exuberance. She plows the water with her snout and tosses her head in delight. I indulge her. She can get as wet as she wishes.

I try to keep my feet dry for about 10 minutes. Then it's just a lost cause and I splash directly into one. I'm soaked to the bone but the run keeps me warm. The inner fire of metabolism. As long as I keep moving I'm warm. It's powerful to know that you are in control even in the middle of a storm.

We will run tomorrow in the rain again.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Runners in the Storm

Here it comes! Big rain and probably wind too. I'm looking forward to it. Zoe should like it as it's cool and wet and she can splash in puddles (her fave!) I'll even attempt an early morning run so that I can make a decent Sunday morning breakfast when I come home, complete with bacon (mmmm). Bacon of course will arrive after sufficient mileage. Of course.

Today our run was kind of pitiful. Zoe was draggin' ass. At first I worried that she was hurt or suffering from some unknown heart ailment. But then I remembered her bathroom "issue." The dog hates taking a crap anywhere but at home. You may think, "Well hell that's good! No crap picking up on your run!" Well sort of. No crap to pick up but you get a visibly uncomfortable dog that won't run with you. And this always happens half-way out. I have to leave on my runs with her after she takes a dump. I'm hoping that an early morning run will coincided with her early morning evacuation. And everyone will be happy. Well at least we did get over 5 in today and I uploaded it to my online workout calendar.

Yes folks I am still keeping track of my workouts. What an easy resolution! It feels great to have it all organized again - I can see just what I need to do and where I'm at. This is a little victory (Hell I actually have to do the workouts, ya know, that should be the hardest part of it). But I've been so bad at keeping track of my training in the past that I'm sure it's been holding me back. And now I have to fill in those little squares in my calendar. I do like that my calendar is tabulating my monthly mileage...I think this is better than weekly mileage. I used to get all wacky and try to get it my weekly mileage up to 40 any way I could when it was too late for a that week (oh 20 miles on Saturday to get it up to 40, yeah that sounds smart!) A monthly tabulation gives you much more wiggle room.

In other news my cronically tight hip is starting to feel much better. I've been concentrating on leaning on my other hip and it seems to be evening things out a bit. When I'm sitting, standing, everything...My left hip got so tight after I had broken my right leg. So of course my left leg took over as the dominant leg. Just don't break your leg folks, and all of these stupid things won't happen to you and you can keep running merrily along without any detours. My detour has been way too long.

Other things in Chez Coyote -
Both adults are dealing with unemployment. I thought that I would've gotten a new gig by now...but the wheels of employment are turning ever so slowly. It's taking forever to get through interviews and such. I'm hoping to have something cemented by the end of this week.
CoyoteGuy is looking, but not finding much that is good for him. This was expected. Me - my work is very portable and very gig oriented. His? Well it's very organizationally oriented and involves working fulltime for a company for years with much trust and involvement (can you say management???) So well, his search will take some time. Honestly I think that what we need is our own biz - but what to do? We'd need to come up with something that people really need and will pay for in a recession. And the money to do it? Aye there's the rub. Ideally I think that'll be the way for us to go but we'll have to replenish the household funds first. I DO have a few ideas. At least these coyotes are wily ones and we can live on the cheap.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pulgas Ridge
Since this place is one of the few that allow dogs on trails (!) in this area it was jammed packed with people and pooches on this Sunday morning. All's good though because the pooch crowd is a nice bunch.
It started off very foggy, but soon the sun came out leaving me overdressed, as usual. But I could pack away some of my clothes in my little backpack that I was toting full of water and G2 for the pooch and me. Zoe was very happy about this trail run; she did great. The last time we ran here she pooped out - but then again she was younger and it was hotter. The older, and bigger she gets the stronger and better at running she becomes. She's really turning into a great running partner after all. Her endurance is improving tremendously, and at the end of our runs now she obviously could go longer and probably wants to go longer.
This turned out to be a much shorter run than I really wanted it to be, only about four miles. Next time I come here we'll double the loop or do some zigzagging. In the future we'll have to try out some of the dogfriendly trails in the east bay for some good distance stuff together.
My slow easy and steady approach is working so far. And I'm keeping track of my runs religiously which I think will help tremendously with my training program. Ohlone 50k here I come!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Taking it Slow and Steady in the New Year

Boy did I crash and burn last year. I went out hard and just fizzled out. The year before my goal was to finish my first Ultra. Done. Last year I wanted to mellow out on the mileage and increase the speed, do a fast 5k. Did not happen. I totally burned out.

It's okay, I'll learn from experience and just take it easy this year. I want to do another ultra...so slow, long and steady will be the answer. Plus strength training in the form of crossfit workouts. I have this weird thing where my left hip gets really tight. Seems to happen more when I wear more cushioned built up trainers. I don't know what it is but if I run in Vibram FFs or my favorite Nike Jana cross-country flats it's not so bad. Also if I do squats and really, really stretch it seems to help. I'll just keep hittin' it with everything I've got. Even some yoga, which I love but have no time for.

And my running partner is improving. Actually, the K9 is doing great. The giant pooch who once hated running (she would literally just stop mid-stride and stand there until we turned around and went home) loves it now! Good think because she's become a mean bitch (literally) at the dog park. She picks on all the younger female dogs. So it's best for her to get most of her excercise on the road and trails with me. She loooves the canyon. We haven't been able to run the canyon ( I let her off lead there) this week because she's in heat - so I have to keep close tabs on her. We'll get her spayed before her next heat.

One important factor in my slow and steady plan will be keeping careful track of my training. I suck at this. I have a drawer full of half-used training calendars. This time I'm using Mapmyrun.com and I'm doing everything including recording my weight which is very depressing right now. I'm about 10 up from the holidays and 15 up from where I really want to be. Eh.

But it's all process. It's all learning to enjoy the here and now. Sure I want to be light and fast and ready to run my next 50k (late May?). Hopefully I will be light and fast and in-shape by then. But wishing for that and hating where I am will only make it harder to get there. Today on my way home during my run I hit a sweet spot. Not as fast or light as in the past when I was younger and fitter...but it felt good all the same. The winter sun was warm, Zoe the dog trotted merrily at my side, nuzzling my hand every once in a while to show me that she appreciated our little jaunt. And I didn't feel half bad physically. There was a little spring in my step that I haven't had for a while. It's these moments that will keep me moving on.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

RIP MetroSport

It ended on December 15th 2009. A 24 (?) year stint of a running store. May not seem like much to you but here it is as I know it.

My first running store was Magic Sports/Runner's Feet in Burlingame. A whole 1/2 a mile from my home and across the street from my high school track. I got my first Nike Pegasus there back in my sophomore year. Unfortunately my high school running career was not as good as it should have been, but that is a different story.

After highschool and college I was running mostly for myself. I wasn't bad. My PB in the 5k was a pretty good 17:06. I worked in the politico/legal world, married young - divorced and was looking for an easier job to just "make it" for a while.

I saw an ad for sales people at MetroSport back in '95. I hadn't even heard of the place and I was a pretty avid runner. But it sounded like fun and it looked like it would be a good rest from the rather high pressure job that I had.

I met some of the best people and best friends at MetroSport. The owner, Peter Crone, has been a wonderful reference all of these years. I ended up marrying the manager and then GM of MetroSport, Mike.

Metro was a great home to runners and of course it had GREAT product. It was one of the best places to find Nike running gear in the Bay Area (especially clothing!). Plus they had all of the other top brands.

MetroSport ended up being a victim of the recession. To see how severe this last downturn was look at how long MetroSport lasted, through all of the other economic downturns in the past twenty plus years. Yet this one did it in. It lost six locations in a few years' time. Devastating.

So next time you're thinking of buying from that big mail order/web company to "maybe" save a few bucks on your next pair of shoes or shorts, think about that local running store with the great service, advice and product selection. It may not be there next week. Then a little part of what you like about where you live will be gone. A little bit more of your community will be lost. More local jobs will dissappear. When will it stop?