Monday, August 12, 2013

Whoops, Chicago Marathon Training Started 6 Weeks Ago

Whoops.  Just looked at the Chicago Marathon Training plan and today marks the start of week 7 of a 15 week plan.

I don't really follow any training plan by the book, but I do like to start a bit further out than 8 weeks.  I've been keeping my mileage up except for the last 2 weeks.  I either missed long runs or midweek runs.  This should be interesting.

Week 6 consists of running 42 miles.  This will be my highest mileage week ever, so I may skip the 5 miler on Sunday.

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

So you want to run across the Golden Gate Bridge?

The moment I found out a business trip was in my future, I planned on running across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  Three weeks was the time I would have to make it happen, staying in San Jose, this shouldn't be a problem.

Finally one of the last nights, Dan and I made the drive up to San Francisco.  I'm not from California so I had no idea what we were in for.  Initially we stopped someplace in Golden Gate Park, which it would sound like it would be near the bridge, but is actually 8 miles away from where we parked.  We hopped back in the car, drove closer to the bridge.

We veered right off the last exit before the bridge and parked in a small parking lot, perhaps it's used for overflow.  It was about .3 miles from the bridge entrance.

We were a little confused by some of the signs.  On the way up, Dan read the website and realized we might only be able to run on the west side of the bridge, as it turns out this was reserved for cyclists.  We made it about .2 miles across on the west side and heard over a speaker "Joggers need to turn back." Kind of rude to be honest, perhaps they don't have very good communication skills.  I didn't mind, but we thought the east side was closed, so we thought we were screwed.  We went back down and across to the other side, and low and behold there were a ton of people on the bridge.  We hopped on the east side and began our run, sort of nervous for the same thing to happen over the loud speaker.  It didn't happen.  We made it all the way to the other side.  I ran slower than I usually do, mainly for stopping to take pictures.  We were there during sunset, so it wasn't too crowded, but people don't watch out for other people.  Tourists simply are in awe of the bridge and don't stay on the side they're supposed to or walk in line to take up the entire width of the walk/bike lane.  They don't want to move for you either.

Aside from that, the experience was amazing.  I'm so glad I did it.  I'd encourage anyone to do it.   Photos from the run found below.

The Bridge from the parking lot

Panoramic from the parking lot

As we got closer, nearer to the path below the bridge

About where we heard we needed to turn back, we were on the cycling side of the bridge

Sunset, #instagram

Finally on the side where we won't get kicked off

Selfie on the bridge, East bay

We've made it half way over

Selfie just past the half way mark

Lots of warnings

No animals

Took this with "slow shutter" app on iPhone, I love it!

Mainly took this one for my Uncle, loves these ships

Headed back from the North end

Looking down, thought it was a lighthouse, but doesn't look like your typical one.

Look closely, you'll see both ends of the bridge

Another self shot, so happy to have done this!

Another self shot, looking much taller!

That's Dan, he took part in the fun!

Dan and I, fellow dudes from Chicago running in the bay!

Both totally stoked to be doing this!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Brazen Racing Bad Bass Trail Half-Marathon Race Review and Recap

My legs are tired. 

Since I found out that I was coming to California for 3 weeks, I wanted to sign up for a (or a few) races while I was going to be here. Since the trip is 3 weeks, that gave me 2 weekends to get some racing in.  I found the Napa to Sonoma which I ran last weekend, and Bad Bass Trail half. iPad no idea what I signed up for when I did, trails in the Midwest aren't nearly as bad as in California. Needless to say, I paid my registration fee and made the 40 minute drive out to Lake Chabot from the hotel on Saturday morning. 

I got there shortly after 7am so that I could be one of the first to pick up my bib since I didn't attend the early packet pickup. I ended up parking on Lake Chabot Road so i could avoid the $5 parking fee, nominal but i still didn't want to pay it unless i absolutely had to. There was one guy in front of me, so this packet pickup went super quick. Since I had some time to kill, I went back to my car to drop off the race t-shirt and got settled back out to the course. 

While waiting I noticed several things.  For one, this ain't going o be a very large field, the scent at the starting line was horrendous, everyone was really excited. I got into a conversation with Jeff, since he was looking for someone whom I was allegedly blocking his view. Nice guy, super good runner.  One of the things I love about this sport, is the fact that almost everyone is so nice and welcoming. Being from the chicago area, it's needless to say that I didn't know anyone there. I was on the opposite side of the country, so if I ran into anyone, it would have been pure coincidence. 

I wasn't able to hear the race director make the pre-race announcements since they banned the use of megaphones and speaker systems. I ended up starting near the back of the pack, since I had no idea what to expect on my first trail race. 

The gun sounded, and we all took off.  I have found in the past that I don't really like races where all distances start together.  This wasn't the case and I was very appreciative that the 10k and 5k started about a half hour later. I messes me up mentally when we all start together.  

I recall about e first 1.5 miles being sort of easy, then came the first hill, then the second, then the third, and then another.  They just kept coming with no sign of a downhill in the near future. Well, finally the downhills came.  

My splits were as follows. 9:50, 10:50, 10:23, 17:42, 12:26, 11:17, 12:28, 11:54, 15:40, 11:42, 13:56, 13:40, 10:56.  

From the splits you can definitely tell where the uphill just continued. At some points, I felt like I was claiming a vertical wall. According to my elevation map, one climb, at 3.3 miles, was 650 feet, with a small rest near the top. There was approximately 1,780 feet of climbing.  somehow i didnt feel the drop that much if at all. It was a nutty course, that's all I know. I'd totally do it again. I did get the chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery though, and got plenty of pictures to show it. 

Since I had always heard great things about Brazen Racing, two things that are always common, are great medals and great shirts. This year did not disappoint. 

I was pretty surprised that I received a personalized race bib, I registered about 2-4 weeks prior to race day. 

I've never see the back of a shirt look so cool!!

The fact that the bass is gonna kick the butt of the Loch Ness Monster is so sweet!  This medal is so big, perhaps one of the largest half marathon medals I've received. 

Following are some of the pictures that I took during the race. 

The start line, you can see the crowd ahead of me. 

The top of the first uphill. 

A mini downhill. What a tease!

Here is the first downhill. 

Not even close to the top, looking back. 

Forward relentless progress

If you look near the top center of the photo, you can see how long this uphill was. 

The flattest part of the course. 

The following are some of the scenic pictures I took while on the course. 

I'd like to thank Brazen Racing for putting on such a great event. It was truly one of the most memorable half-marathons I've ever run, and will stay there. 

Typical blogger mobile app, photos have to be added at the end. Booooo!  Sorry if its confusing.