Next Challenge, Monday, January 15, 2019

bryce ridge run

Photo courtesy of Vacation Races – Bryce Canyon Ultramarathons

On May 18 I will be there, doing that! I am now registered for the Bryce Canyon 50K. I wanted to do the Zion race again, but procrastinated too long and found it had been filled up. This race is a bit more challenging, having 5260 feet of elevation gain as opposed to 3125 feet feet for Zion, but I also have an extra four weeks to prepare.

My training partner Anna will also be running the race. Whereas I am just hoping to be able to run enough of the course (as opposed to walking like I was constrained to in Zion last year) so as not to get myself another DFL*, I think that Anna has what it takes to do quite well. If the race were tomorrow I would be a DNF, but I think that even in her current state of training Anna could not only finish, but do it in a respectable time. If our training goes well she could actually be a strong finisher in four months.

anna at end new

Anna showing no ill effects after running a 2:23 trail half marathon with virtually no training. Not a bad baseline!

As for myself, over the past few days I have once again gotten myself running on the treadmill. My strategy is to start really slow (0.5 mph) and walk uphill (working up to a 15% grade) until I can get my right foot dialed in. That is taking around 10 minutes now.

Once I am walking comfortably I start dialing up the speed. Yesterday I got up to 3 mph after 30 minutes, and when I hit 3.3 mph at 32 minutes I spontaneously broke into a run (insert happy dance here)! I did 3 minutes running 3.5 mph up a 15% grade and then dialed the grade down to 10% and upped my speed to to a blazing 4.0 mph. I was able to run quite comfortably at that speed/grade for another seven minutes. I started to feel some tightness in my left calf and decided to call it a day. My max heart rate was 148 after the 3.5 mph at 15% segment, and it dropped to 142 for that final 7 minutes at a lower grade.

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On another front, I have started doing my internship hours for my Pilates certification. I need to do 62 hours each of observation and teaching. I have already accumulated seven hours of observation and four hours of teaching. All of my teaching has been in my home studio, but I also have two studios where I can work.

Elevation Studios in Signal Hill is a dance studio but several years ago they acquired a couple of reformers they haven’t made use of to date. They have also tried a couple of times to start a Mat program but couldn’t find the right teacher. They are open to having me start up a class. As for the reformers, as they are a serious dance academy, and I am getting a Pilates/Dance Conditioning certification, I think they are a untapped resource that can be used in the rehabilitation of dancers recovering from injury.

The other is my other Pilates home, Pilates X Studios in Long Beach. They have a thriving mat program with 17 springwall slots, group reformer classes for up to four, and the perfect mentor in Becky Tyo. Their policy is that students new to reformer have to take a one-on-one orientation course, and my plan is to insert myself as one who would provide that instruction. I would like to start out working one-on-one, then small groups, and finally be ready to step in as a sub. My goal is to finish up by the end of May. Until then, please let me know if you are interested in getting some free Pilates instruction.



Scene of the Crime, Friday, January 4, 2019

I have some aspirations to be an ultra marathoner, and as I have already completed one (DFL at the Zion Ultra 50K in 2018) I can actually say that I am an ultra marathoner. My own training efforts have benefited greatly since last summer from the support of my training partner, Anna Isabel Godinez.

anna on mt wilson

Anna dragging me up Mt Wilson

Anna is a 24 year old young lady who is very strong, has tremendous endurance, and a real go-for-it attitude. Last summer we went on some serious hikes–we did a 17 miler down in Crystal Cove, and Anna also dragged me up the last two miles of our ascent of the Mount Wilson Trail (15 miles round trip with 4200 feet of ascent).

In some sense I have actually been holding her back a lot as my battles with my right foot have kept me from running, and Anna needs to run more. I was getting there back in August, and then, typically for me, I managed to set myself back several months. What was supposed to be a 10 mile round trip hike up the Ray Miller Trail in Point Mugu State Park turned into a 14 mile death march that left me unable to even walk for a full month. Bad enough for me, but also not good for her progress. And there we were, at the scene of the crime again.

full crew

At the trailhead. They ran. I walked up 3 miles and then back. A proper trudge–6 miles, 1000 ft

Yesterday my friends Kerry Ward and Dax Hock had plans to run the entire length of the Santa Monica Mountains Backbone Trail (BT), 67.5 miles. Anna and I met them at about 10 am at Will Rogers State Park where they left their car, and then I drove them up to La Jolla Canyon in the Point Mugu State Park where the other terminus of the BT can be found.

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Anna ran with them for the first 6.6 miles, a great experience for an up-and-coming ultra runner as both Kerry and Dax are very hard-core runners. Kerry has done all three of the US 200 milers (Tahoe 200, Big Foot 200, and Moab 240), and while he doesn’t challenge for the win he does generally finish in or close to the top 10 in those events. He is a valued member of the ultra running community!

Dax is no slouch either–he ran his inaugural 100 miler (Big Bear) this past August and finished first among non-purse runners. Dax is also someone Kerry can call when he wants to do something like circumnavigate Mt. Hood (41 miles), run the Cactus-to-Clouds Trail (Palm Springs to Mt. San Jacinto, 30 miles round trip, 12,000 feet of ascent), or the entire Backbone Trail. Dax also has a very understanding wife, Sarah, who was okay with him leaving with their 8 week old son (and the 4-1/2 year old elder brother) for this endeavor. Oh, did I mention that Dax and Sarah have won world Swing Dancing ¬†championships as Dax Hock and Sarah Breck? That too. BTW, Sarah is the very pregnant and very lovely young lady with the camera in the Dax video.

Anna had to turn back after 6.6 miles. She was scheduled to work at 5 in Paramount, which was over 60 miles away from the car that she still had to run back to. She turned around, made it back (only got lost once and only a little–thank you Gaia GPS) apace, and arrived looking like she could just keep on going! I had told her to only go 5-6 miles because I was concerned about getting her to work on time, but Kerry over-ruled that and had her stretch it to 6.6 miles so it would work out to a half marathon–a distance more people can relate to.

So, on her very first trail running experience she ran a trail half marathon with 2000 feet of ascent in 2:23, which I think sets an excellent baseline! Anna just really shrugs it off because for her it was no big deal–just a nice run with nice company, and excuse me I am off to work now–but I was very impressed. As a comparison, I looked at the results from last year’s (2017) Paramount Ranch Trail Half Marathon. Anna’s time would have placed her 38th out of 93 ¬†finishers, and 17th out of the 57 woman finishers. Not bad for what to Anna was just a leisurely run!

anna at end new

Hey, I just ran a trail half-marathon. What’s next?

Speaking of work, Anna made it back down early enough so we could have a smooth and beautiful ride down PCH through Santa Monica. It got rough and slow on the 405, but I was able to get her to work on time. She worked her full shift, on her feet from 5-11:30, and was in fine shape this morning. As for the lads, I got a text from Kerry about 7 am letting me know that they were down to the last 2% of their trek, having stretched it from 67.5 to 73.5 miles via some creative route-finding (not an east trail to follow even in daylight. Kerry said that just after Anna had turned back they met up with this strange kitty (smile emoji here)!

strange kitty

They named him Bob, and gave him a good scare so he will not be so trusting of humans

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