Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our backyards are much larger than we think…

“In 2010 the population of the City of Orange, Calif. is estimated to be 150,315, and as I stand here looking over the City I wonder how many of them know that they're only a few miles and a good pair running or hiking shoes away from experiencing something wonderfully different.”

I woke up this morning to the sound of my 18 year old leaving the house on his way to a day of working with a friend at his dads business; I marvel at this moment because it won’t last; …my wife and I sleeping with the day off and our son going to work….a rarity to enjoy while it lasts.

But ..since I’m up now...thanks son... I creep out of bed careful to not wake anyone up, mornings like this are great because everyone is good, everyone is taken care of and its now my time to run, so with a smile I gather my gear.

Today is overcast and might even sprinkle a little so I’m

wearing both compression shorts and long sleeve shirt in addition to my standard running shorts and short sleeve shirt; this should keep me warm enough without overheating and keep the rain off me initially.

Many runners make the mistake and wear to much without layering, they overheat as the run progresses……..During a local 100 mile run the rain and cold were substantial and I saw many runners that were unprepared .. running in standard shorts and short sleeve shirt, protected only by a generic rain poncho or even trash bag.

Think layers, and put some planning into any run if you feel that weather might be a factor; especially if you run unsupported at distance.

I find myself running about 1.5 miles before I touch dirt….ahhhh….lovely dirt; I’ve reached the foothills of Orange. There are some trails here that run along the hills, this is a link that will take me to the start of my Santiago Oaks run and I hit it hard, It affords me beautiful views and it’s so local that if you’re looking toward the hills you might see me waving from far off. Here you will find your choice of comfortable trail running or some challenging hill climbs (I call it the stairway) and of course that is my choice this morning.

After a short time I’m running the ridges and coming close to the connection that will bring me to Santiago Oaks.

Santiago Oaks is a hidden gem of trails and beauty, recently ravenged by wild fires it is in its recovery stages and doing quite well from where I have ran. The trail head begins after a short series of trails that are maintained by the city. Once inside the park you are met by valleys, hills, trees and beauty that will relax you and charge you at the same time, it’s your choice from here and there are many choices; so make sure you plan your route. I’m running towards Irvine Park today and have chosen the high road which will carry me along the ridge line and into the back side of Irvine Park by the Boy Scouts new Outdoor Education grounds.

After a few mountain bikers, two runners and two Horses I’ve reached my destination and now have a choice……it’s raining now……take the street back down to Chapman Grade and home…..or……turn around and hit the trail again. Of course I turn around and hit the trail once more for my return!

And for 2.3 hours of running I’ve seen two runners and two horses…….out of 150,315 people in Orange; do they even know how big their backyard is I wonder.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chimera is a beast and beasts are Unpredictable..

I woke up nervous, not scared; just nervous. I hadn't gotten to much sleep the night before but really I dont think many people do.

It was early...Very early and I arrived at BlueJay campground at 4:00am( you can do the math to find out when I got up); clouds had covered the mountain up to the start of Chimera forcing me to drive 4mph with my face pressed against the windsheild searching for signs of the road ahead of me; forboding now that we look back.

Greeted by many of my freinds..Michelle Barton, LT, dan, Maura, Steve Harvey and Anne..they were all there. I checked in and received my racing number..46!

Weather forcasts had been observed with great scrutiny and everyone was ready..or should have been for anything, forcasts had reported 5-10knot wind with 1/4 to 1/2" rain for the day. As we hudled in the dark our numbers were called for verification (Steve Harvey..the Race director and Keira are amazing in both organization and inspiration.) now we await for the start of the race!
In preparation for today Im wearing a compression long sleeve shirt layered by my coolmax running shirt, a Burlington Performance wear Jacket, head/ear covering and hat. On my feet are Brooks Cascadias and Injinji Performance Socks. In hindsight flippers might have worked...yeah...I said flippers.

I began running fairly quickly...the first 9 miles are ran on single track trail, as the rain fell I didnt want to get caught on single muddy slippery trail. I moved along fairly strong, at times maybe to strong but I knew this course and felt good.

Once I cleared the 9 mile loop I realized that this race will be a challenge, the rain was falling consistantly and everyone at this time was realizing the same thing.
I moved through the first aid station fairly quickly...greeted by Steve Harvey and volunteer freinds, it made me feel good so off I went. The main divide on a sunny day is a great run, although the beginning from Bluejay is always something that I dont look forward to.......Im not sure what it was.....the Cold, the Rain, the Wind? But I couldnt really equate this run to any in the past on the same route.... I knew about the steep inclines but didnt experience them the same way! they went quicker or passed without me realizing them even there!

As I drove on I thought it just cannot get any worse......then it did.......and did.......and did... the clouds were riding on updrafts as you ran along the trail, one side...the mountain, the other side is a steep drop off but you watched the clouds rocketing up into the sky...carried by the wind that was now gusting wildly...amazing!

I passed by Trabuco peak..the second aid station and was greeted by all of the friendly volunteers (this station later blew down....destroyed by gusts).

I ran to the top of Santiago, greeted again by tremendous voluteers, ate some chicken noodle soup, had hot chocolate and was again on my way!

I ran to Maple Springs, met by friends and my drop bag!, it was here that I was told the race might be cancelled!.....what!, strangely I knew that was right though....the weather had taken a serious turn even before I reached santiago...

I ran on past bedford peak and down santiago switchbacks to the Santiago Aid station where I was met by a small group of runners that had reached before me.......held here, the race was going on no further.....we were the longest runners, went the farthest before the end, but we were all content, I think everyone knew. So at 38 miles my adventure ended for now..I do however think that If we were given the chance most would have taken off again. In the end we waited for shuttles to pick us all up and bring us back........Thank you to everyone...directors and volunteers alike. The final report for weather.....50 to 60 knott winds 9" of rain.....hardly the 5-10Knott 1/4" prediction; but afterall ..... it is the Chimera! Bring it on next year! (check out the Maple Springs drop bag aid station that night) Demolished.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chimera 100 mile trail run

It's been decided and I'm pumped. I'll be running the 100 mile course at Chimera! Rain, Cold, Mud and darkness wahooo!!

I'll work on recording every step of the way and I'm gonna take all of you with stay tuned!
Just a few more days!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chimera 100K / 100M Trail Run

Tuesday 8,2009
Like so many of my trail running friends I've got the no dont worry not the BUG BUG; but the distance bug. The allure of challenging yourself and pushing your abilities to the limits has taken me....its all good...really.

I've recently signed up for a local race here in the Santa Ana Mountains the "Chimera 100", although I'm pretty pumped up and race ready the weather here has turned for the worse. With temperatures falling and a light covering of snow in the local mountains its now going to be a very challenging 100k run...(like it wasn't going to be already).

Whats strange is my desire to run the 100 mile version .. What the ?!#$!$...sorry but ever since I joined the TrailHeadz the distance enthusiasm has worn off on me. These guys and gals are a true inspiration and I'm glad that I have felt that same enthusiasm.......Bring it on... :)

I'm running today as a taper only an easy 6-7miles, a run possibly tomorrow and then rest, rest and run!!! Cant wait.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Brooks Cascadia Trail Shoes

Company Description:

  • Cushioned for running on tough trails, Brooks Cascadia 4 shoes feature adaptable posts to adjust to terrain irregularities and provide stability.

  • Durable synthetic leather/polyester mesh uppers with microfiber overlays are lightweight and airy for quick drying and quick draining

  • Polyester linings absorb and disperse moisture for enhanced comfort; removable insoles add cushioning

  • BioMoGo midsoles feature a special polymer compound formulated to resist compression and rebound more quickly than standard EVA Midsoles also feature a natural additive that encourages faster breakdown in landfills

  • Medial and lateral Pivot Posting system helps outsoles adapt, offering stability on uneven surfaces
    Silicone-based HydroFlow® system at heels and forefeet features fluid-filled center chambers that damp shock

  • Forefoot Ballistic Rock Shields protect feet from sharp rocks

  • HPR Green outsoles are made of high-density carbon rubber for outstanding durability and feature aggressive lugs for maximum trail bite

Performance Review:

I've waited awhile for this review; these shoes now are not new to me....after a good 400 miles of every imagineable running surface I'm ready to talk! and its all good.

The Brooks Cascadias were choosen after much consideration....they were not my first choice afterall. I was looking for something more mountainous, more adventurous....ok more stylish. But I've also been a true fan of comfort..... odd being that I choose Ultra running isnt it.....

These shoes are comfort out of the gate, they ride lower on the ankle and together with cusioning and the gentle all round foot support are one of the most comfortable shoes that I own. I've now ran the moutains of California in addition to the Grand Canyon in these shoes and at no time have I ever felt like I was held back in anyway. The designed tread is not intrusive, it allows for a very nice ride while being supprisingly tough on those slippery areas.

These shoes provide plenty of ventilation and the toe box has room without sacraficing stability. I've read a few reviews lately that mention these allowing dust into the toe box, its true, but should also be expected. Ventilation is important; if you dont want on asphalt...

I run marathons with Saucony and Asics but for now I will run Ultra Trails with the Brooks Cascadia.

Score 9 of 10

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Company Description: Proven in the simplest and most extreme conditions, the Performance series tetratsok is becoming the choice interface for amateur and professional athletes alike. Engineered with AIS: technology and constructed with a wicking fiber made of CoolMax® and a resistant outer shell of durable nylon, the Performance tetratsok protects, prevents and out performs any ordinary tube closed sport sock.

Performance Review: While walking through REI recently I saw these and remembering conversations while running concerning socks I was compelled to purchase these for an upcoming 100k long training run.

It was 5:00am when I first slipped into my first pair of Injinji's; they actually felt pretty good...strange at first to be honest but pretty comforting really, OK..ready to hit the trails!

During the run these socks are very comfortable; their design is easy on the toes and really allow for some pretty serious toe comfort. I've had issued with long runs and toe punishment in the past so I was apprehensive, these socks really suprised me and actually gave me a more secure confident feeling....I guess I felt more buckled down..each toe ready to go!

After 15 miles of hard running, dirt, hills and all I was very happy and now probably a convert....what am I gonna do with all those old "regular" socks now......

Score: 9 of 10 (not sure if anything will make 10) I would recommend these to anyone.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A 27.75 Mile FUN run!!! What!

Sat.Nov 28,2009
Alarm.....BZZZZZZZZ.....Damn alarm!, I read once that a person should ( In one continuous motion) get out of bed and smile. Just smile. You can think whatever you want but I've done this for a long time and I believe it works. Start your day off with a smile, dont hesitate to get out of bed....take the initiative do it and smile!......... screw that!!, I thought, as I instinctively got out of bed and smiled....Damn! did it again. Ha Ha Ha

At 4:45 on a Saturday most of you are soundly chewing on logs, dreaming of things that your going to forget about the moment you wake up; I'm still jealous, and yeah..still smiling. I'm running today and it should be a good one.

The group has decided that we'll tackle a route used in a local race here, the Twin Peaks Ultra run, in combination with the race preparation for Chimera 100k I thought ... why not!

Indian Truck Trail 6.5 miles of continuous uphill, Main Divide to Holy Jim amazing downhill, then back up Horsetheif trail...Super sucky 1.5 miles, back on the Main Divide to Indian Truck and down again to the cars. (with alot of running in-between).

The run was amazing!, it had just rained that morning...mist and fog were in the air which made it almost mystical in some of the lower valley portions. As you increased in altitude the clouds took over and you were caught gazing at the landscape, full of color...what a view. As you run along these single tracks you are taking in both soft and vibrant greens, shrowded in patches of fog. Suddenly your eyes are struck with the loud vibrant colors of a few of the native trees displaying bright yellow and orange leaves, just amazing.
We had water hidden in a few areas to refill our bottles which made it much easier to plan, thanks to Keira who is always beyond prepared.
By the end we had run 27.75 miles and felt tired..but great!, good freinds, good run......nothing more needed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Santa Monica 50K Trail run

Sunday Nov22, 2009

This was familiar ground for me having run the Xterra Pt.Mugu trail run this year. The PCT group uses almost the same trail as Xterra although the Xterra runs are smaller and have more aid stations with less separation. I would say that they are more suited for the average or casual runner. On the other hand, the PCT group hosts more ultras and they are quite abit more layed back, a great group.
There were many TrailHeadz running today, I didnt realize how many until I later reviewed our website and spoke with a few of them- note to self - recognize recognize recognize.......

It was a beautiful day to run...even after just returning from Nashville TN; jet lag sucks but I managed........ Treadmills at the hotel suck even more but I ran 20+ while working which was a good prep for this run.

This run consists of a few good hill grades mainly in the beginning with a good one in the middle to reach the halfway point which tend to create the initial seperation of runners, its a great run though creek beds, hill sides, and wheat grass culminating at a single track 2.5 mile climb and downhill to the finish. All in all it is definitely a race to put on next years calendar. 30+miles and feeling great with no cramps or major issues, jet lag only.... dang work trips :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eco-Catalina Marathon

I havent been to Catalina in .. I dont know how long; A high school trip many many years ago. So I though..why not, why not run a marathon on Catalina Island. I mean, its a beautiful place right? an old sailer port, small and unique stores and bars; it should be a great place to bring my wife....I'll run and she can enjoy the town. Perfect.

We left on Friday after securing a hotel room and Catalina Express tickets (very expensive) and arrived on the island around 6:00pm which gave us plenty of time to check the night life out after picking up my race number and packets. Catalina, the town of golf carts and cars that look like they come from the land of little people. The smaller the better! We walked from the hotel and enjoyed the ocean breeze and the quiet, it almost feels like your back in time, its very relaxing and almost welcoming. After a big spaghetti dinner we headed back to the hotel where I prepared for the marathon the next day.

Eco-Catalina; its the third running of this marathon and one of a few races held here. The marathon like the town is pretty relaxed; I found the start line and waited for everyone to show up for the race.....I only got there 15 minutes prior to start - no one was there. HA HA.

Some runners where still going to show up by boat that morning and the race had coordinated this with the captains of the shuttles to make sure that they can make race start. Once the boat came in and the runners had a chance to get their numbers...we were ready to go!

Buffalos, eagles, ocean, terrain, beauty.......all these words are used to describe this run....this long long run; but for some reason all I saw were hills, many, many hills. Its a very tough marathon, I found out that catalina is pretty much all hill. It was a great run, an amazing place to push yourself but definitelly not the place to get a personal best in running. I did see a buffalo and many pieces of evidence that buffalo do live here!

After running though the finish line I knew I had run a tough race, but I was satisfied with the way I felt and ran....great marathon!, I showered quickly and we got some lunch and had plenty of time to walk through the town and enjoy the rest of the day before the boat headed out to bring us back to Dana Point.

I had prepared well but there still is much room for improvement so Im challenging myself to run it again, its a great run, a great place and to bring my wife made it even better!

26 miles 4:57.........remember this is not your standard marathon! 8th place in age group 38 overall. Stairs, Stairs, Stairs (training for next time) :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

To the Top of Santiago Peak....

This morning was my final warm-up run for my upcoming Eco-Catalina run in two weeks; so I pulled myself out of bed and met some TrailHead Friends at the BlueJay campgrounds right off Ortega highway.

The Main divide trail is really only a fireroad fairly exposed and rocky, there had been water dropped about 5 miles into the run. If time is available and given the opportunity we hide arrowhead bottles off the trail and marked with ribbons, I'm carrying a 100oz. Hydration pack along with a hand held 22oz. bottle so I'll be ok; I barely drink water water anyway........its something I'm working on.
Today was perfect, clear skys with a slight can see Catalina and beyond! As we began to run it was cool but within minutes we were shedding extra clothing. I continued on to run to Santiago peak which is a 12mile run from Bluejay (One Way). All total 24 miles and as I ran back to the car I was feeling pretty good. From here its
a taper until Catalina... bring it on.

Friday, October 30, 2009

El Morro - A Running Sneak Away

I've had a stressfull week and my tensions are high, I can feel it and it sucks. Luckily I've found an avenue to relieve this buildup and save my dog from being kicked or my kids from being yelled at; its obviously running. Personally I dont know what I'd do without it, it soothes me, collects my thoughts and frees my mind. So this week needed to be purged and I was going to do it the only way I know how.

I left work early today; cashed in on some vacation and found myself highstrung in anticipation to hit the trails at El Morro canyon. El Morro is a mountainous region full of sage and lower vegitation that over looks Crystal Cove and the Pacific Ocean, it spans from Newport Coast to and through Laguna Wilderness Area so the running is plentiful if you like hills and single track trails....perfect.
I arrived about 2:30pm and quickly changed into my running gear; carrying only a single 22oz. bottle I've planned my route to hit three seperate watering stations, one in laguna Wilderness Area, one at the El Morro ranger station and then back here again at the Ridge Park facilities. I've also decided to carry Gels with me; I need to learn to like the horrible tasting stuff, gag..we'll see.
The air is cool and a slight breeze plays with the shrubs as I run through the thin single track trail, its a well used trail by mountain bikers, very defined but yet very secluded. I push on to Laguna Wilderness Area which lends the beginning of my run to mainly downhill trails and easy running; I wave as I pass by the head ranger in Laguna Wilderness; I was introduced to her by Bill Ramsey who it seems runs often here. I've gone through 10oz. of gel water mix, good; no gag reflex yet and I'm feeling good when I get to the water spicket. I fill up, turn around and begin back up the trail toward where I began, up hill is not as easy as down......amazing huh.
When I reach the top of Ridge road where I started i've gone about 9 miles and have another chance to fill my water bottle which I promptly do. I choose to go with just fresh clean gel, getting tired of it already........hmmm. I continued down No Name Ridge to the ranger Station at El

Morro and saw deer staring back at me....I thought one was going to charge me the way she was looking at me, must have her young near by; so I took a quick pic and continued on.
I filled up again here and continued back up the south end of El Morro to begin to complete a full loop around the canyon, up the canyon trails to the ridge and along past El Morro Campground areas and to the top to Old Ridge Road which is a single track to lead me to my starting point once more. Its getting darker now as I reach the car..... 17.5 miles total and feeling good, glad to sneak away, to steal some time and to release my tension to the willing canyon below me.