Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Manolog- Week 8 & 9 (Napa to Sonoma half marathon)

Finally getting some traction on my training. Last two weeks filled with some pretty decent mileage- 20 and 23 miles respectively. Most of my injuries are vanishing and finally after a long time I have no pain after running. Absolutely elated at this unforseen development. I also know that I can easily blow this new found luck by increasing training intensity- so making a conscious effort not to run any faster than a 9:30 pace.

Week 9, exactly half mark of my training program- ended with a Napa to Sonomo half marathon run (http://runcarneros.com). I got attracted by the description of the race- running through the vinyards. The starting line had about 1500-2000 people anxiously shifting legs and forming long lines in front of the few portapotties. Those who didn't have have the luxury of waiting- decided to relieve their bladders by giving the vines an organic shower. Soon the loudspeakers announced the imminent start of the race and quite a few gents/ladies (including yours truly) emerged from the stalks. The race started unceremoniously and I shuffled along.

Thanks to my weekend runs at Los Gatos creek trail, the heat this morning didn't bother me much. Ran strongly for the first 4 miles, until the excess from previous nights dinner started to shift ominously in my stomach. A sensation that I knew could only be relieved by - ahem! - crapping. With no porta-potties in site, I reduced my speed for the next one mile and ran slowly scanning the horrizon. By mile 5, I couldn't take it anymore- without revealing too much details, lets just say "I had a field day".

Feeling immensely relieved but having lost about 5-8 minutes, I started running slightly faster. One of the problems of this course- absolutely no spectators till mile 12. It didn't matter much to me- but if thats important to you, then this is not the race for you. Several houses had garden hoses and overzealous kids spraying us as we ran by. One really funny kid along the route was shouting thirsty in a voice that emoted thirst beautifully. A few laughs and we were on our way- soon we neared the finish and I started cranking out a 8:30 pace and finished strong. Overall pace 10min/mile- I'm satisfied.

Will I run this race again? I'm not sure, lack of porta-potties until mile 7 is a big negative. On the other hand the course is beautiful and the medal is awesome. So the answer is a maybe.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Running the Grand Canyon

I opened my eyes to a rather dull Friday. Thats rather strange because Friday's are the equivalent of a cute receptionist in a modernistic office. They indicate that a weekend is coming up and its all gonna be alright. But not this friday- I had to go to AAA and get maps for our upcoming trip to the Grand Canyon on Sunday. I was still worried about the stubborn injuries I was accumulating and all this while I pretended to be a marathoner.... this was definitely not a good Friday.

As I was driving amidst the typical madness that the Friday commute can present, my mind was wandering aimlessly about the Grand Canyon. Something about it that I had read a long time back and can't remember. The monsterous looking guy in his monstrous truck cut sharply in front of me- as I opened in my mouth wording a profanity in silence, I froze... I remember the itsy bitsy detail about the Grand Canyon that I had read long back. It was about folks who run rim to rim (and crazier folks who run back). Rim to Rim the distance is about 24 miles, You start say in the North Rim (elev. 8241 feet) and run down to the canyon bottom elev. 2440 feet and then run up to the South Rim (elev. 6,860 feet). The thing that got me really excited was the distance- 24 miles, definitely doable. The altitude is surely going to be a problem, but I think if I train enough hills, that will also become doable.

The more I thought about it the more excited I became. Soon I was sweating profusely from the mere excitement of the thought. I can't remember when I last got so excited by an idea this way... Maybe I'm onto a good thing... only time will tell.

So the Friday was good afterall.