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Day seventeen: Just Enough

January 17, 2012

Miles: 2.5

Total mileage:119.8 (192.7 kilometers)

Wow, legs can hurt a lot. More than you might guess when you first become a runner. Several times during this month I have felt pain in a tendon so bad I thought I was seriously injured. Watching the Biggest Loser has helped me to understand that most pain is just precautionary. Your body telling you to stop, when in reality, there is nothing going wrong inside of you yet. However, this is a fine line to walk. Ignoring pain altogether is a perfect recipe for serious injury.

Today I “ran” for about 1.5 miles and walked about 1. My legs felt like they would cramp after every 3-5 minutes of running. A little walking makes them feel more normal again, but its plain uncomfortable. My body often feels worse two days after the long run than just one day after. This has proven especially true for my back to back long run weekends. I hear more and more from the ultramarathon athletes that back to back long run is a good way to add distance. It mimics ultra races because the distances often require more than 24 hours to complete.

Try it yourself: plan a long run, far enough to make you sore. Get up the next day and run at least one mile. I often feel that the first few miles on the second day are more painful than anything experienced day 1.This is evidence, to me, that the second run is similar to just running further on the first day, since the body has obviously not recovered fully. Even if you are not doing double long runs, I would recommend at least a walk or short run the day after your long run. I find it stretches things out, and even seems to speed the healing.

Almost like shrinking nice pants in the dryer, if I don’t run on a short run they seem to heal tighter than they were. Stretching without running is almost unthinkable for me right now. My legs are in a constant state of sore since the 366k challenge started. If I don’t warm them up first the stretching is almost too painful. Feels much more right when they have had a little light jog, perhaps its the rapid blood flow clearing cellular debris from the muscle or perhaps it’s something even more complex. I think focusing a little on the science and a lot on the feelings works best. For me, when I’m sore, a light jog comes before I stretch at all.


Day sixteen: Hill training/hiking

January 16, 2012

Miles: 5.5

Total Mileage: 117.3 (188.7 kilometers)

In preparation for the first race in the King of the Hill series, my wife and I did a steep hike. In about one mile we climbed 1700 feet, a similar total elevation gain to Saturdays event.  Hopefully we are prepared for the work out challenges that competitors must do during the event. Pushups, burpees, squats, lung walks and more await us on the hillside. We both run wearing Vibram 5 fingers (komodo sport) with Injinji socks, but this time we wore an older pair of shoes to give our new ones the day off. Also, the old ones will be the king of the hill shoes since their is a good chance of rain and mud.

As always, the hills will kick your ass. I can judge distance and speed pretty well, but I always underestimate a climb. My wife has a similar problem, she tends to overestimate the fall. At one point she told me that she was scared that if she lost her footing she would tumble all the way to the bottom. I told her to turn around and watch while I rolled a rock down the hill. It slowed down and came to a stop a few feet from us. It was then that I asked her to imagine trying to throw a body down the hill. She could instantly tell that a body wouldn’t make it to the bottom, but would skid to a stop about 10-20 feet from where it had fallen.

It is hard to watch her use her hands and feet to crawl up some slopes while I walk casually next to her. She is growing more sure footed every time we do this but it may yet be years before she is a comfortable hiker. For now she can complete the hikes and climbs but only in great discomfort. Speaking of great discomfort, I wouldn’t normally recommend mountain climbing the day after a half marathon. The 1.1 mile run up the foothills was not enough of a warm up and I let my wife set a fresh pace that ate me alive. I cramped in my sore muscles and we turned around for home almost as soon as the hike started. But after a moment I decided I could do the hike at a slower pace without cramping again. We turned around again and headed up the mountain… for real this time. I’ll take my camera next time, the view may have been the best I’ve had in a while.

Day Fifteen: Los Angeles 13.1

January 15, 2012

Miles: 13.1

Total Mileage: 111.8 (180 kilometers)

The herd of runners at the starting line fell silent for our national anthem… almost. One runner with her headphones in didn’t notice the sudden crowd noise had turned to a deafening silence. She spoke loudly to a stranger,

“Oh No! I’m not checking out your ass, I’m looking at your camera bag… What? Singing?”

It was hilariously awkward hearing everyone shush her. This is perhaps just one of many reasons you shouldn’t run with noise isolating headphones in. Hearing the world around you is a privilege.

I wasn't first, but who else had this much fun running 13.1 miles?

Finishing in style!


I got hoots and hollers all along the course, my clothing was loudmouth all the way. An inspired combination of their shagadelic ants and their orange dry weave polo. Literally more than once per mile someone yelled “nice pants” or “love the outfit!” What a great way to do a big race, steal other peoples fans and get them to cheer for you. Along the 13.1 miles of mostly shoreline I saw dolphins twice! Probably the same pod of dolphins but it was awesome nonetheless. There was one stretch where we ran through some kind of marina and there was water on BOTH sides of our path! So cool! These are the google satelite image that came from my Garmin GPS route.


Out on the course I told two guys I had just crossed 100 miles in I also told them I would be running every day to raise awareness for health and fitness. I am right on track for making one kilometer for every day of the year this month! I have high hopes for also running a marathon the last day and maybe even making as far as 400k in January. One step at a time, 366k was my goal. To dream bigger at just halfway might be a little premature.

Day Fourteen: Cancer Hope Foundation 5k

January 14, 2012

Miles: 3.1

Total Mileage: 96.5 (155 kilometers)

I heard the distant sound of my wife’s alarm at 5 something in the morning. Having stayed up all night, I was in the other room watching tv on my computer with a blanket around me to warm my tired body. I’m a natural born insomniac, but right when I thought I’d grab a few hours I realized I had more than one bug bite on my neck and scalp.

After the worlds most amazing shower I felt more myself. No bugs, freshly buzzed hair (it was getting shaggy) and my sore muscles warm and relaxed. I abandoned all hopes of running a fast 5k, since sleep is essential to recuperation. But as I had hoped, I ran it faster than 25 minutes.

22:54 was my official time, 3rd best in my age group (for which I earned a coffee cup.) It was a relatively small event with a few hundred participants, maybe half of which were running. Generally speaking my time was not competitive or “fast” by professional standards. I was running about 7:30 minutes per mile, the record holders do this with roughly 4 minute miles.

Lately I’ve enjoyed googling the fastest time in a distance and trying to run in less than double that time. It isn’t as easy as you might hope.  Your marathon needs to be less than 4:06 or Makau can do it twice as fast as you. Your 10k needs to be faster than 53 minutes or Bekele can run it twice as fast as you. You would think anyone

My eye is on the long ball, this was the shortest race I have ever run. I hope to use my every day training to prepare my body to run marathons, 50k, and maybe even as far as 100 miles one day. I don’t intend to do it quickly, but work up to it. My goal is to minimize shock to the body and make the distance as safe and sustainable as possible. Running very fast is not really useful to this goal.

There are many good arguments to be made for which is the more normal running, sprints or long distances. It isn’t hard to imagine why a human might need to run fast, but why might one need to run slow? We all have ancestors who ran very fast over short distances to do things like catch prey or escape predators.  We also have ancestors that used their feet to carry them over 25 miles every day in search of food. Both are “natural” things to do. I personally enjoy long distance and think it can be enjoyed for many decades longer than sprinting.


Day Thirteen: Late Night Speed Training

January 14, 2012

Miles: 3.2

Total Mileage: 93.4 (150 kilometers)

Today I ran a 5k with two 60 second walk intervals. I was pacing close to 25 minutes for the 5k without the walking. We will see how that feels tomorrow. I still think I can go sub 25, that is my personal goal. However, it is possible I can run it much faster, I honestly have no idea. It is a small race so a side bones would be if I could finish top 3 in an age group. Then I could really represent LoudMouth properly, on the podium as they say!

Tomorrow is the Cancer Hope Foundation 5k and then LA 13.1 is the day after. I hope I put in a few more miles tomorrow besides the 5k, because Sunday is almost halfway to my goal. I would really like to be ahead on mileage, especially going into next weekend! 7 mile trail run with brutal obstacles followed by another half-marathon the day after! Now that is a double header!

(I do always get excited by the big round numbers. 150 kilometers since 1012 started just 13 days ago.)

Day Twelve: Half a Twevle-a-thon

January 14, 2012

Miles: 6

Total Mileage: 90.2 (145 kilometers)

Today I went to bed at around 4 and got up before 6 am. I am a well known, self proclaimed insomniac at times. I think my body does really well with the occasional all-nighter. This morning however, I was feeling positively dead. My wife had a lot on her schedule, including a 12 mile run. She decided half of it would come in the morning and half in the evening (allowed in the official 12athon rules.)

We walked about two miles of it to ease my hungover body, but I finished it with her. The only other time in her schedule would come about 20 miles away from me so I was off the hook. She would soldier on to complete her 12 miles only four days after a 13.1 in Irvine. I’m very impressed and her recoveries are getting better and better. Good things to come from this running team!

Day Eleven: Four Miles, One Cop, No Lara Bars

January 14, 2012

Miles: 4

Total Mileage: 84.2 (135.5 kilometers)

I had yet another day where I waited until the last possible second to run. I’m still enjoying this every-day challenge, but there are many days where I start running sometime after 11 pm, literally the final hour. Fortunately as long as I run at least one mile before midnight I am still making good on my challenge. The other miles would just count towards the next day. I suppose one could count whenever the wake and go to bed as a “day” but I don’t want to leave any room for doubt.

Jessica wanted some lara bars for her 12 mile run the next day. I ran the nice, flat 2 mile route to a big pavilions near our house. Sadly I didn’t check the hours because they closed at midnight. I headed home empty handed but not without an adventure taking place.

Speaking with any law enforcement officer does funny things to your perception of speed for a while. I was stopped and had what is legally defined as a “consensual conversation.” This in contrast with a “terry stop” is where a police officer is not detaining you and you are free to go at any time. The officer pulled over and yelled to me from inside his vehicle. I was happy to answer most of the cops questions, until this one:

“Where do you live?”

“Near here.”

“What address?” said the suspicious police officer.

“Look it up, I’ll give you my drivers license number…”

“You could just tell me.” An accurate observation from the man with a gun.

“No, what’s your badge number?”

“Carry on,” and he sped away.

I learned since then that I didn’t even have to offer my name or my driver’s license number in this situation. However, I think it is irresponsible for the officer to ask for my home address. How would you feel if your child told an officer where they lived and you found out the officer didn’t show a badge at all. You might wonder, ‘what strange man with a gun knows our address.’ You might also ask ‘how often does someone impersonate a police officer.’

As a runner who enjoys the night air, the big city and suspicious pants, I have been stopped like this four times. On four occasions an officer has opted to not give me their name or badge number. I am not saying we should make their job hard. If police need to know more about me and my actions, they will have to pass a law that says I must tell them more when asked. It’s nothing personal, I deeply respect what they do. Sometimes we all forget and ask too much of someone. The importance of what they do makes it hard to see the implications of a single question. Especially when the query is of good intent we can forget what it might feel like from the other side.