Saturday, December 31, 2011

FIretrails 50

The Dick Collins Firetrails 50 goes from the Lake Chabot Marina in the San Leandro Hills into Berkeley’s Tilden Park and back along the East Bay Skyline National Trail. The training provided some great memories. Here are some highlights.

I hiked one weekend in June, at Lopez Lake in San Luis Obispo County. Thanks Danny Plaza for joining me for a few hours on the trail.

In July, I returned to the Angeles Crest 100 to pace for Deno Dean. My previous longest duration run was pacing Allan Holtz at the 2010 Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run.


In August, I participated in the Bulldog 50k. This photo was taken by Coyote Running Crispin Lazarit as Kevin Chan ran the last mile with me.

I did not finish a race for the first time at the Orangeman Triathlon. I was unable to continue when my front wheel failed.


Coming into the Firetrails race in October, I ran a 10k to run a short, fast effort
I was eager to run the Dick Collins Firetrails in a region I called home for nearly a decade, from 1998 to 2007. The most difficult section of the course for me was a steep 1,500 foot descent into Tilden Park’s Lone Oak station.


In November, I closed out my season at Santa Monica Mountains 50k. It was a rainy and muddy run in coastal trails. where my friend Chris Price won yet another 50k race.

My next race is the Boney Mountain 21k on January 8th, 2012.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Post-ironman, now what?

Since my last post, my Triabuddy has become an official triathlete himself. At 12 years old, Ryan has already run several half marathons, been to the little league world series, and now... is a triathlete. I went down to watch him compete at Ironkidz San Diego on May 26th. He had a successful introduction to the sport and I look forward to seeing him progress as an athlete and leader in the diabetes community.

After Ironman Saint George, Councilman Danny Juarez invited me to a Hawthorne City Council meeting to speak about the ironman journey and my involvement with Insulindependence. Also, Board Member Hugo Rojas invited me to a Centinela Valley Union High School District Board Meeting to be recognized at my high school alma mater. Just a couple of years ago, I still thought completing an ironman was unattainable and really just for masochists. I have since adopted endurance sports as a lifestyle. “Racing” is a celebration of upholding a healthy, active lifestyle. Speaking at these local forums was a great opportunity to share that message and invite people in the community to participate in the free, open events that we host through Insulindependence.

On June 12th, incoming Insulindependence Captain Terry Keelan and I hosted another “Dawn Phenomenom” run/walk at the Hermosa Valley Greenbelt. Five of us walked about 6 miles on the woodchip trail. On June 18th, I ran in the Hawthorne 5k. This is my most local race and I was happy to support it as proceeds benefit the Hawthorne School District. I finished almost two minutes slower than last year, but it was a great learning experience. Instead of my usual steady pace, I started at the front and kept up with the leader for nearly a mile. This turned out to be good test of my anaerobic endurance, but the strategy led to burning out and barely jogging mile 2. I recovered enough to run the 3rd mile at a decent pace and finish strong.

Next week, I plan to drop in on the 2011 Insulindependence University in San Diego and join the next Triabetes captains' class in a group ride. They are going to represent Triabetes at Ironman Boulder 70.3 in August. I haven't ridden my bike since IMSG, so I'm excited to get out there and do something besides run. I also just received a call from a Triabetes friend, Will. A former water polo player getting into triathlons, he is considering doing a marathon swim all the way to Catalina Island. I told him about a couple of local ocean races this Summer and thanked him for motivating me to actually train for these events instead of just showing up unprepared.

I am dedicating this Summer to train for my first 50 miler in October. I recently ran an all-time high of 75 miles in a week. I am officially entered in the Bulldog 50k which will be on August 27th. In July, I will be a pacer for the last 25 miles at Angeles Crest 100. I will join my runner at Chantry Flats around midnight and run until the sun comes up. Someday, I hope to run all 100 miles at this epic race. For now, my sights are set on the October Dick Collins Firetrails 50 miler.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ironman Saint George

I thank Triabetes for inspiring me to complete an ironman. I have made lifelong friendships in the Insulindependence organization and am proud to say that we are revolutionizing diabetes management!

Swim 2.4 miles. My wetsuit, neoprene cap, and earplugs ensured that I stayed warm in Sand Hollow Reservoir. I maintained a slow and steady pace to ensure that I would make the distance, my longest swim yet. Thanks Coach Steve Hyde and the SOBA Master's Swim Team in Hawthorne for teaching me to swim efficiently. I swam with them regularly in 2008 in training for my first triathlon, the sprint distance Day at The Beach Hermosa Triathlon. I have not been attending their training sessions lately, but still credit them for teaching me to feel confident in the water.

T1:Race volunteers helped me take off my wetsuit and gave me my bike gear bag which I checked in yesterday. I checked my blood sugar to calibrate my Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor, put on my cycling gear, and set out on the long ride. Dexcom is a generous sponsor of the Triabetes club team and is widely recognized as the leader in cgm technology. Their accurate sensors are virtually pain free to implant and last an entire week.

Bike 112 miles: Many thanks to the North Torrance Performance Bike Shop for taking care of all my cycling needs. Performance offers good deals and excellent customer service. I also need to thank the guys at the Manhattan Beach Helen's Cycles for being supportive throughout the year, suggesting training routes and referring diabetic customers to the wonderful resource that is Insulindependence.

It was hot and windy out on the course. Temperatures reached into the 90's and the winds were blowing at over 20 miles per hour. My Dexcom alerted me to the fact that I was trending high and needed more insulin, probably due to having been disconnected from my insulin pump for nearly two hours while swimming. Having a high blood sugar discouraged me from eating as much as I had planned. My pace dropped a bit on the second lap, but my intensity may have actually been slightly higher to compensate for the wind and cumulative effect of heat and fatigue.

T2: It took me ten minutes to prepare for the run. I must thank Coach Jimmy Dean Freeman and the SoCal Coyote Running Club for some incredible training runs this year. I starting running with this Los Angeles based trail running group in training for my second marathon last year. I am now a competent marathon runner and an aspiring ultramarathoner. I hope to complete my first 50 mile run soon.

Run 26.2 miles: My Triabuddy and a bunch of other ID supporters were on the course cheering us on. It was uplifting to feel their enthusiastic support. Triathlon is inherently an individual sport, but their cheers reminded me that I was participating in this race as part of a cause much larger than myself. I am not the first type one diabetic to finish an ironman. In fact, through my participation in the club, I have met the pioneer himself, Bill Carlson, on several occasions. Over the course of this past year as a Triabetes Captain and especially on this capstone day, I was humbled to be in the privileged position to inspire others to explore their individual capacities.

At the start of the run, I made the mistake of trying to catch up on my calorie and fluid intake deficit too quickly. My stomach couldn't handle so much food at once, but I was simultaneously concerned about the high amount of active insulin in my body from the correction boluses. Around mile 6, I got a cramp in my calf which was a warning sign of dehydration. I felt the contents of my stomach sloshing around with every step and sure enough, I vomited all the food I had consumed in the first hour of the marathon. I slowed down from a jog to a walk, and started taking a gel, cola, and water at each aid station. My blood sugar was dropping, but fortunately never so low that I couldn't keep on moving forward. I recovered as I absorbed the nutrition at a more appropriate rate, and actually felt stronger than ever in the last few miles.

I told my family and friends that I would be done in 13.5 hours which coincided with sunset. It took me about two hours longer than I anticipated, but I was still happy with my 15:38 finish on the most difficult ironman course in the world. The finish was bittersweet, though, because I knew several of my teammates had been pulled off the course throughout the day, primarily due to heat issues. Dedicated as they are, I am not surprised to learn that they will complete their ironman journeys by extending their training over the Summer and competing in another full distance triathlon in September. My next big event will be volunteering and cheering on my Triabuddy at his first open triathlon race, Ironkids San Diego on May 22nd. Good luck, Ryan!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Recent Highlights of Training for Ironman Saint George

March 20th, LA Marathon. My ironman training plan had me scheduled for a 20 mile run today, so it would just be a few extra miles. It rained as hard as it ever does in LA with gusting winds and near freezing temperatures. I ran the first 6 miles at a comfortable pace, then sped up slightly for the rest of the race. Saw a friend after the race who has finished the LA Marathon almost 20 consecutive years. Many friends were able to achieve their goals at the marathon this year. Looking forward to running it again in 2012.

March 26th, Great Race of Agoura Hills. Unfortunately, due to heavy rain leading up the race, the trail race was canceled and we were transferred to the road half marathon. In addition this event also has a 5k and mile race. A great recovery run after last week's marathon.

April 2nd. Ironman California, Oceanside. Spent time with Triabuddy and other Insulindependence friends over the weekend. Attended an open house at iD's new headquarters in Solana Beach on Friday and a bbq in Carlsbad on Saturday. Sunday, several teammates competed in the Carlsbad 5000. I already registered for the 2012 Carlsbad 5000 and will consider the triathlon, too.

April 9th. Mulholland Challenge Century. 112 miles with almost 13,000 feet of climbing. 10:32 including aid station stops, probably 10 hours of pedaling. The start was freezing, around 32 degrees. I finished this ride despite a mechanical problem which a volunteer fixed while I refilled my water bottles and had a snack.

April 17th. Malibu Creek Xterra training run. I won't be able to race at the upcoming 50k at Malibu Creek on May 7th because Ironman Saint George falls on that same day. I am still attending the training runs as this is one of my favorite trail run loops. Last week's century ride passed through the roads in the Malibu Creek State Park. This was the on the same trails as the March 6th PCTR race.