Monday, May 30, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I left home around 1PM this afternoon heading to the bike path. To test my legs I added a nice steep hill of 3/4 miles. I ran the bike path route, out and back and headed back home. It is a gorgeous day. Beautiful weather. My hamstring wasn't a problem but my piriformis got tighter. This is the phase when I can not run for a couple days until I can test it again. I will be doing lots stretch and ice. At least I was able to put a couple 50 minutes runs this week. Total run time: 51 minutes and 25 seconds.

Easy run from home to the bike path, out and back and back home. My legs felt good. My hamstring wasn't as tight as yesterday. The piriformis did not cause me any problems. I don't know how my hamstring will behave on a hilly course like the half marathon next weekend. I hope things get better. Wrong time to have any injuries. I might have to take a few more days off. Total run time: 50 minutes and 18 seconds.

Easy run on the bike path, out and back adding a few more minutes to the StarBagels. My right hamstring got tight after 20 minutes of running. The piriformis did not bother me. This injury started with a right tight hamstring and it is moving up to my piriformis. I am doing some stretches, massage and ice. Nothing else I can do at this time. Just wait to heal. Total run time: 35 minutes.

Another day off. Piriformis and hamstrings are tight and sore.

Easy run from home to the bike path and back. It started raining when I left home. No rhythm. Another short run that made me feel awful. I decided to cut this one short to avoid complicating my injuries. It seems like the Sunday's long run really killed my legs. It is time to back off. Total run time: 35 minutes.

Day off. I am not taking any chances with my left knee. Very tired.

Easy run on the bike path. I stopped to do a few pull ups. My legs are very tired. Got no rhythm or pace. It felt awful. I need more rest. It seems like the allergies are making the air so "heavy" and hard to breath. I was glad when this little run was over. Total run time: 30 minutes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Non-Doping Cyclists Finish Tour De France

August 30, 2007
Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins finished the final 56km time trial in a respectable and drug-free 4 hours and 38 minutes.
Finland's Piet Kvistik, a domestique with the Crédit Mondial team, was this year's highest-finishing non-doping rider (142nd overall). Kvistik claimed the maillot propre, the blue jersey worn by the highest-placed "clean" rider, on the ninth stage of the race when the six riders who had previously worn it tested positive for EPO, elevated levels of testosterone, and blood-packing.

"This is a very, very proud day for me," said the 115-pound Kvistik, who lost 45% of his body mass during the event, toppled from his saddle moments after finishing, and had to be administered oxygen, fed intravenously, and injected with adrenaline by attending medical personnel. "They say it is physically impossible to ride all of the Tour without drugs, but we prove them wrong this day."

"What day is it, anyway?" asked Kvistik, his eyes rolling wildly in his head. "I can no longer tell."
Kvistik's overall time for the Tour was 571 hours, 22 minutes, and 33 seconds, beating by over an hour the previous record for a non-enhanced rider, set by Albrect Påart during 1923's infamous ether-and-morphine-shortened race. Kvistik finished a mere 480 hours behind Alberto Contador, the overall winner, making 2007's margin between doping and non-doping riders the closest in history.

"It became most difficult for us on the 7th stage, which was almost 200 kilometers and the first stage through the mountains," Kvistik said while accepting the non-doping victor's 100-franc check from his stretcher. "Not only did the excruciating pain and weakness in my legs make it difficult to walk my bike on the steeper stretches, it was mentally very hard to know that half the other clean riders were dead or dying. Also, the other 141 riders finished the Tour in Paris that morning, which made it all that much harder."

"It's rather a shame that the Tour's 'clean' riders, or 'lanternes naturelles' as the fans call them, receive so little attention, for their monumental achievement," said cycling commentator Phil Liggett, reporting on the non-doping riders' finish for Versus-2, the little-sister network to Versus, who carried the main Tour de France coverage. "It's nearly impossible to compete in the full Tour while shot full of human growth hormone, erythropoietin, testosterone, glucocorticosteroids, synthetic testosterone, anabolic steroids, horse testosterone, amphetamines, and one's own pre-packed oxygen-rich red blood cells. To do it on water and bananas is almost heroic, no matter what one's time is."
While Kvistik's achievement is being celebrated by cycling insiders, critics of the Tour de France maintain that not enough is being done to combat the use of performance-enhancing substances in cycling's premier event.

"Nonsense—pure nonsense," said Tour general director Christian Prudhomme, who was vacationing in Switzerland as Kvistik crossed the finish line. "We have done everything we could imagine, both in terms of prize money and other incentives, to promote riders who compete without pharmaceutical aid. But we simply do not have the resources, nor the viewers the interest, to televise the entire two months it takes for a normal, unadulterated human to circumnavigate an entire nation on a bicycle."
Kvistik remains in critical condition at the Hôpital Neuilly-sur-Seine, where he was placed in a medically induced coma to aid his recovery from exhaustion, malnutrition, and loss of bone density. Attending physicians say he is not expected to return to cycling.

Source: Onion Sport Network

Sleepers Emerge and Messiah Appears

How to Brainwash a Nation


I left home around 7AM in direction to the bike path. I added a short loop on the paved road before the I hit the bike path. After a couple minutes on the bike path I turned right in direction to the Ten beach. I ran the Oakwood loop once before I headed up to the Ten parking lot. Things were going well, except for a tight right hamstring. I passed the Ten parking lot and after ten minutes I got to my destination. I turned around by the Ten Beach and headed back. I passed the parking lot and ran again the Oakwood loop, hitting the bike path in 1 hour and 40 minutes. After making left I ran to the end of the bike path, turned around and ran back to half way of the bike path, exited and headed back home without running the early loop. I was feeling a little tired but with something left in the tank. Good run. Total tun time: 2 hours.

Day off. Better back off and try to save my long run.

Easy run on the bike path. Tired legs. I see some signs of injuries showing up. Left knee is acting. Right hamstring is tight. I might need another day off. Total run time: 35 minutes and 35 seconds.

Total run time: 59 minutes and 1 seconds

Total run time: 50 minutes and 21 seconds

Total run time: 1 hour and 34 minutes

Day off

Thursday, May 19, 2011


This morning I went back to my old trail route. I used to log lots miles in this area. The terrain is almost flat, except for a short section with some gentle rolling hills. I will divide this route in four sections. The course is out and back. It starts at Bahia gate. The first section is rolling hills being a little easy than the way back. I ran it in 15:12 as a warm up. The second section starts by the cemetery marsh where the first section ends. It is a flat section that goes around the marsh and ends by the Rush Creek gate, the turnaround point.  I ran this section in 14:10 for 2.3 miles. The third section is like the second section in the reverse. I ran this section in an easy 14:49. The fourth and final section is the first section in reverse. I increased the pace as this section is the hardest one. I ran the final section in 14:48. Total run time: 59minutes and 1 second.

Another  easy run from home to the bike path, out and back, and back home. I gradually increased the pace to see how my legs would answer. The pace felt easy. I need to watch my left knee. It is trying to act. The possible cause is a tight ITB. I will do some extra stretching this week. Total run time: 50 minutes and 21 seconds.

Easy run from home to the Ten Beach and back. I ran the Oakwood Valley trail loop once on the way back. My legs are a little sore but I am feeling pretty good. The pace was good. It started raining the way back but it was not enough to to disturb my run.  Total run time: 1 hours and 34 minutes.

Day Off. Sore legs. Mentally I am not ready to run again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Muscle Cramps

No one totally understands what causes muscle cramps. These unpredictable spasms are somewhat mysterious. They most commonly occur among athletes who work their muscles to the point of exhaustion. They are likely related to overexertion, but fluid loss, inadequate conditioning, and electrolyte imbalance may also be predisposing factors. The solution often can be found with massage, stretching, or, a hard pinch of the upper lip. Other times, nutrition may be involved. Although the following nutritional tips are not guaranteed to resolve this malady, try to rule out these possible contributing causes:

  • Lack of water. Cramps commonly occur when an athlete is dehydrated. To prevent dehydration-induced cramps, drink more than enough fluids before, during, and after your exercise. Always drink enough fluids daily so that your urine is clear, pale yellow, and copious. During a long exercise session, you should drink 8 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. After a hard workout, if you are destined to drink alcoholic beverages, be sure to first have plenty of nonalcoholic fluids to replace the sweat losses, because alcohol has a dehydrating effect.
  • Lack of calcium. Calcium plays an essential role in muscle contractions. But calcium imbalance seems unlikely cause of muscle cramps because the bones are a huge calcium reservoir. If a dietary deficiency should occur, calcium would be released from the bone to provide what's needed for proper muscle contraction. Nevertheless, athletes plagued by cramps should consume diary products at least twice each day, for example by eating low-fat milk on cereal and yogurt for a snack.
  • Lack of potassium. Electrolyte imbalance, such as lack of potassium, may play a role in muscle cramps. Eat potassium-rich foods on daily basis, focusing on fruits and vegetables. But potassium deficiency is unlikely to occur as result of sweat losses, because the body contains much more potassium than even a marathoner might lose during a hot and sweaty race.
  • Lack of sodium. By losing a significant amount  of sodium through sweat, athletes may be putting themselves at risk of developing a sodium imbalance that could contribute to cramps.

Although the suggestions for resolving muscle cramps are only suggestions and not proven solutions, you might want to experiment with these dietary improvements if you repeatedly suffer from muscle cramps. Adding extra fluids, low-fat diary products, potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, and a sprinkling of salt certainly won't harm  you, and it may resolve the worrisome problem. Also consult your physical therapist, athletic trainer, or coach regarding proper stretching and training techniques. Nutrition may play no role at all in your cramps.

Source: Sports Nutrition Guidebook by Nancy Clark, MS, RD

For more information, I suggest to read this excellent article at

Sunday, May 15, 2011


This morning I left home around 6AM in direction to my race destination. I got there by 6:45AM and had to wait a few minutes to pick up my bib number and timing chip. Around 7:30AM I started my warm up with an easy jog for the first two miles of the course. It was suppose to rain  but so far the weather was looking good. The wind was a problem but the sun was already showing up.

We got together by the start line around 8AM and had to wait another ten minutes for the late starters. Then the gun went off. At start there is a little incline followed by this long downhill. Some runners started a little too fast. After the first mile in the 5:40, things started to sort out. There was a runner in the front running by himself trying to brake the course record. Then a small group of four runners, and I was about 100 meters behind them. I had no idea how far ahead I was from the runners behind me. I stayed in control of my pace, trying to relax on the downhill and pick up the pace uphill.

I passed the two miles mark in 11:36. The wind was blowing side ways making things a little difficult but I was feeling good and keeping my eyes at runners ahead. The third mile was more of the same. The rolling hills kept coming. I passed the third mile in 17:16. And fourth mile in 23:16.

It was difficult for me accept what happened after the fifth mile. But first let me describe what happened between the fourth and fifth mile. After the 3.5 miles mark there is a gradual long hill of over 600 meters. It ends almost by the fourth mile mark where the paved section ends. The first four miles are on the pavement. Then there is a gate that is used to keep the cows in I suppose. So the pavement ends and dirty trail starts.  We went up this dirty trail and we hit the  highest  point in the course. I believe it is around 1,050 ft. To make things worse started raining. The trail was already muddy from the yesterday' s rain. Then there is a steep downhill. A nice drop from 1,050 ft to 700ft. I hit the turnaround or five miles mark in 29:40. Not so bad for the conditions.

Then we had to climb this steep hill way back. The mud started to stick on my shoes and added a few ounces to my body. The runner ahead was starting to slow down and I was almost catching  him. But I just tried to stay calm and finish the climb without trying to pass anyone. So I survived the long steep climb back to the top. That is followed by a long downhill section taking me back to the six miles or four miles mark. That I hit in 37:15. My slowest mile so far. No wonder with all that mud, rain and steep hills.

So I passed the six miles mark and all the sudden my legs become a cramping mess. My calves started to cramp so bad, that I could not even walk. I tried many times to keep running but no matter what I did, the cramps would come back. I was so way ahead of the runners behind me, that it took about five minutes for someone to pass me. I was extremely upset. Imagine being in no man's land being passed by joggers. It was quite demoralizing, but I had to deal with. Basically I walked  and jogged the last four miles averaging a pace of 7 minutes and 8 seconds for the 10 miles.

Maybe I made some changes in my diet that did not work out. I have some work to do trying to find out what went wrong. But it is just one more lesson to learn. I'm frustrated but not defeated. Next year I will be back.

On Saturday I did an easy run from home to the bike path and back adding a few fast strides to loose my legs. I felt good and light.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I have not been able to access my blog for the last couple days. The two last posts that I posted two days ago, just vanished. So I am not really sure what is happening. I know that Blogger is having some technical difficulties.

On Friday I did an easy and short run in the middle of the morning. It was a beautiful day. I went back to run on this old course along the water. I used to log many miles in these trails a few years ago. It is a dirty trail along the marshes and through the Oak forest. Total run time: 30 minutes.

On Thursday I worked until late and running was not a priority. I was planning to have another day off on Friday, but I decided to take off on Thursday.

On Wednesday I ran from home to the bike path, out and back, and back home. It was an easy run just to keep my legs moving. I felt good. It seems like I am in good shape for my next race this weekend. Hope to keep things simple for now. Total run time: 49 minutes.

On Tuesday I did a tempo run on the bike path. I have not done any serious speed session for quite some time. So it was time to test my legs for the Sunday's race. The bike path course is out and back. By GoogleEarth measurements it is 4.7 miles. I was planning to run the course in 28:00 minutes. The first section I ran in 5:16 against the wind. The second section I ran in 8:31, hitting the half way mark or turnaround mark in 13:47. The first section is approximately 0.91 miles and second section is 1.44 miles. The first half was against the wind. The third section I ran in 8:37 and the final section in 5:14. The second half I ran in 13:51. Overall it was a good run.  I slowed down half way into the run because I was having some stomach issues. Total run time: 27 minutes and 39 seconds.

On Monday I had a day off. My legs are feeling OK. Just need to make sure that I will fully recover by Sunday.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


This morning I left home around 7:30AM for my daily run. The weather changed from hot and and dry to cool and wind. Since I am racing next weekend I decided to back off on my long run. Just do enough to keep my endurance at a good level. I ran from home to the bike path, stayed on the bike path for a few minutes, then exited it in direction to the Oakwood Valley trail. I ran the Oakwood Valley trail loop once and head back to the bike path, running it out and back. And finally heading back home. Total run time: 1 hour, 24 minutes and 36 seconds.

The wind is getting stronger by the end of day. And it blows all the pollen around making things quite difficult. I see lots people sneezing and coughing due to allergies. On Saturday  I run the bike path route again. My legs felt light and strong. I rode my bike for a short distance. Hard to stay off the bike this time of year. It is a good cross training. Total run time: 34 minutes and 40 seconds.

On Friday I did an easy run on the bike path out and back. Tired legs. When I was in the middle of my run something interesting happened. I saw this strange critter moving part of its body out of water. I knew it could not be a whale because it was very small. So I stopped for a couple minutes to look at. It kept moving back and forth against the grass along the water. When I got home I looked up this critter and I found out it was a bat ray. I have never seen one before so close and in the open. They are very common in this area. I did a few fast strides by the end of my run. Total run time: 32 minutes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Imagery II

In the late 1990's I visited one of Thomas Church gardens. It is located in Sonoma County, California. I took a few pictures of the estate. They are not the best in quality because I  used an old Canon SLR camera.

Rare Foods

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thomas Church


On Thursday things did not go as planned. I had to work until late and by the end of the day I did not have much left in the tank. My run was from home to the bike path and back. The hot weather and the wind did not help me. I avoided the two hours drive to the race course because I thought I would not recover for next Sunday's race. It would be nice to go over the course again but it won't happen. I did two sets of pull ups to work my upper body. Total run time: 53 minutes and 48 seconds.

On Wednesday I decided to take a day off.  I was feeling tired and had to work doing some steep climbs up and down these set of steps. I knew that by the end of day I would not have any legs left. I am thinking about doing a tempo run over the race course on Thursday. So I will try to save my legs for tomorrow.

On Tuesday the weather got really hot. I went for my run later in the day but it did not help me that much. I was sweating badly. My legs were very tired. So I decided to cut things short. I ran the bike path route out and back and added a few more minutes. Total run time: 41 minutes and 34 seconds.

On Monday I did an easy run on the bike path. The weather is getting warmer. Lots grasses are blooming and causing havoc with the allergies. My legs are feeling good. I rode my bike for a few minutes this afternoon. Total run time: 32 minutes and 41 seconds.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tyin' a Knot in The Devils Tail


This morning I left home around 8:30AM in direction to the bike path under beautiful sunny skies. The temperature was in the 80's. My plan was to do a two hours run. I stayed on the bike path for a couple minutes and then made right in direction to the Oakwood Valley trail. I ran the Oakwood Valley trail loop once and headed up to the Ten parking lot. I passed through the parking lot and ran to the Ten beach. I turned around by the beach (50:32) and headed back the same way. I ran the Oakwood loop again and then back to the bike path. I made right on the bike path and ran to its  end. I turned around and ran all the way to the other end. I ran back by the middle point of the bike path and exited heading back home. Overall it was a good run. My second long run in seven days. Total run time: 2 hours and 41 seconds.

On Saturday I ran early morning on the bike path. My legs are feeling more rested. I ran the out and back route and added a few more minutes on the trails. I did some pick ups during my run. No need to go all out. The allergies are almost under control. Beautiful warm weather.  Total run time: 41 minutes and 11 seconds.

On Friday I did an easy short run. My legs were very sore with tight ITBs. A tight ITB, usually, causes knee problems. My left knee was trying to act again. I ran the usual bike path route out and back. I stopped to do some pull ups, military style as usual. Never cheat when you do your pull ups. You can call them chin ups or whatever you want. But in my opinion, pull ups only count when you bring your chin over the bar and you go all the way down without resting your feet on the ground. Do it slowly and feel the pain. It makes no difference if you can do 100 pull ups if you are cheating. Better do it right and only half dozen, then do it wrong and cheating. Total run time: 33 minutes.
By the mile 2!

On Thursday I decided to do a run over the next race course. It was a nice run on a paved road for four miles with an extra mile on the trails, out and back. My legs are quite sore from all the hilly routes I have been running lately. The first four miles out were not that hard, except for the last long incline before the mile four. It was definitely a rolling course with lots ups and downs. The way back was a different story. The trail part had a  nice steep climb and after that  a long downhill by the mile four followed by another climb. The way back seemed harder. Total run time: between 65-68 minutes.