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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Run to the Golden Gate

Out and back run, total distance 12 miles. Total distance from here to the office, about a zillion miles. Love to do this run to get away from it all.

Yours truly at the halfway point of the run doing my Captain Jack pose. This is the Fort Point area of the bridge, almost right underneath it. Since its my favorite photo, I wanted to start with this one. Behind me is a popular break for surfing depending on the tides and how close to the rocks the surfers are willing to get. Just too beautiful for words, so I'll stop.

This is Pier 39, the first notable sight along the Embarcadero. For me the highlight is always hearing the singers who sing along with taped songs and sucker tourists out of their money. Oh and the guys that paint themselves silver or gold are amusing too. Watch out for the sea lions they bite!

This part of the Embarcadero follows the trolley line that runs

along the water. On this section, you can buy your tee shirts, have

a hamburger at In & Out or wings at Hooters or for even more fun

get your purse or wallet stolen. Be careful of smiling faces!

This is the dirt trail that runs along the shore
in the area called Crissy Field. The Presidio
now known more for the home of the Sports
Basement is on the left. Normally, the path is
filled with women pushing strollers or walking
their dogs or sometimes doing both. More obstacle
course than path, its still very pretty and easy
on the joints.

Still, I think it is one of the most beautiful parts of San Francisco and everyone coming to this
area, owes themselves the favor of walking here, taking some photos and breathing the
fresh air.

My run to Pier 80

The photo above is a pier that juts out into the bay from where the Embarcadero meets Mission Street. Its a favorite place for people to take a break from work or for young couples to be together and enjoy the view. I finish my runs here and am often asked to take the photos of the smiling couples, which I always do.

Here I am at the back side of the ballpark by McCovey Cove
posing in my New Balance 1063's. Okay, advertising pitch over, I'll just comment that in the summer, I like to time my
runs so I pass by this point in the middle of a day game so
I can hear the crowds.
This photo is the view going from the Y down the Embarcadero towards the Bay Bridge. Usually, there are tons of people, strollers and of course, since this is San Francisco, the bums who like to lounge on the grass you see on the right side of the photo.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Updates and tips on choosing your race distance

This season, I have cut back on my road racing to focus on trail races. So far, I have had two first places and one second place in the 30K distance. I did finish a 50K, but was 8th out of 8 men in my age group. An accomplishment, but i discovered that this distance is not for me. More on this later.

My next race is the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2009. This is my first time running the oldest
road race in the USA and you could say it's been on my "bucket list" for a long time. My only goal is to run faster than my time in the Eugene Maraton, 3:25. Other than that, I am going back to see one of my daughters who lives in New York.

As I mentioned above, I discovered that I am more competitive in the shorter distances-half marathons and 30Ks (18 miles) than I am at the Marathon and ultra marathons. I am basing this opinion on running all of these races at or near the limits of my potential and comparing my finishes. The best finish in a marathon for my age group has been 14th, while I've won at the shorter distances. Granted, the fields at trail races are smaller, but I enjoy them more because the atmosphere is more relaxed and the entry fees are cheaper. I also recover faster from trail races than in the road races which is important because I like to get back to serious training as soon as possible after a race.

Tips for choosing your distance

1) Try them all, from 5ks to marathon provided you have have the experience.
2) Treat a new distance as "training" and see how you feel during and after the race.
3) Gauge how hard your effort is versus your results. Does a short intense 5K feel much better
than the longer slower paced events? Or vice versa?
4) Do you prefer destination races? New York, Boston, London, Italy? Then, the marathon or half marathons are what you should be training for because these races only offer those distances.
5) What do your friends like to run?
6) Do you like to do charity runs?
7) Do you even have the time or interest in training for a marathon? If not, then training for a 5K or 10K is much easier and less time consuming.

Good luck! Please give me whatever feedback you have, I'm always interested in learning from you!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Running as a couple

Most runners have a significant other. Some of these people are also runners and some aren't. Until recently, my significant other otherwise known as my "beloved" was not a runner. So I have put in a lot thought about how runners can avoid some relationship pitfalls. First, I will offer some suggestions when you have a relationship with a non-runner.

Let's get something straight, the non-runner does not fully understand your obsession with running. The never ending buying of shoes and other clothes, the races, the need for a long run on the weekend, why you can run for a few hours and have a big smile on your face. Or, how you can run for 3 hours but not have enough energy to clean the garage.It's a mystery to them. But, he or she can be accepting of your obsession if you remember one very important thing. Do not let your running be a bigger priority than they are. If you want to have a good relationship, you're going to have to come up with some creative ideas of getting in your workouts and giving quality and quantitative time to your significant other. Here are some tips:

1) Run while at work, give up the lunch hour.

2) Get up early, much earlier if necessary.

3) When she is doing something on her own, go for a run.

4) Always keep a pair of running shoes at work and in your car. Be like a boy scout aka Be Prepared!

5) If she/he asks you to run an errand, take "run" literally and run to the store and back.

6) Remember that 2-3 runs of a few miles each still equal 6-10 miles of running a day.

Okay, I won't bore you with more suggestions, I'm sure you get the picture. Now on to relationships where both people are runners.

If you are the more experienced runner, promise yourself one thing. Do not become THE EXPERT and coach all of the fun out of the new runner. It's supposed to be fun, remember? If your SO asks you questions about training or shoes and you know what you are talking about or you write to me first, then offer a suggestion. Keep it a suggestion, and not an order. Be patient. What feels like a nice easy 9 mile jog is a lung burning torture fest to the new runner. If you run with them, think of it as a recovery run.

My SO recently gave me a near heart attack when she said she wanted to do a couples 5K relay around Lake Merritt in Oakland California. I said sure and signed us up. She continued to run and walk on the treadmill. Being a coach, I did sneak a peak at her form, saw it was pretty good and kept my mouth shut. When she told me she had done 2 miles or 40 minutes on the treadmill of running and walking, I praised her. Otherwise, I kept my mouth shut. She didn't ask me about the race other than how it would work. In this case, the women would run a 5K followed by the men. The weather report said it would be raining and I said to her that if she didn't want to run, then that was fine. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and not boot camp. It was pouring rain the morning of the race, but she said she wanted to try. Before the beginning of the race, she asked me about how fast she should run. I suggested that she start slow and then if she felt good, to try to speed up and not to worry about the other runners. So, she lined up and off they went. Some 30 minutes later, she come jogging in with a smile and I take off. After the race, I said over and over how proud of her I was. Remember that. You should be proud too. Running a race for the first time is an accomplishment. We all know the feeling during a race where the body wants to slow down or quit and your mind forces you to go on. New racers learning this and overcoming their doubts and fears should be praised, especially if they are your SO!! So let's review:
1) Don't be a know it all and suck all the fun out of running.
2) Share information when asked, make suggestions, but don't be offended if the suggestions aren't taken
3) Reward them for meeting goals, the first mile, the first 5K, the first race.
4) If you are a marathoner and your SO wants to run a 5K, do it. Be your SO's pacer during the race.
5) Use running as a vacation. Suggest a race at a vacation spot. Some people run in the Vegas marathon just to get married. In this race, you can stop in the middle of the marathon, take your vows and finish the race!

She told me that she wants to run another 5k, only we have to go together. Big smile on face, "great!" And I meant it too!