Monday, January 29, 2007

More On Access Issue In San Diego

I blogged on this subject a few weeks back. It's getting down to crunch time. Jeff Brown will be on Full Focus KPBS San Diego, tonight

This is concerning the access issue which could be about a lot more than San Diego. Tune in or head to the San Diego Access page to see how you can help.

Full Focus KPBS

January Report: Base Training

Wow, that was a quick month! Lots of work. Not so much training. All the smog you need.

With a big year ahead, this report card is going to look pretty dismal. However, it doesn't feel dismal. I'm building base, not injured, and not sick. Given we've had 25 red alert smog days this January--compared to 3 all of last year--I think I'm going to be okay with it. After all, my main challenge for the year is to remain uninjured.

Jan Report

Days trained: 31
Longest day: maybe 3 hours
Shortest day: 20 minute set of pull-ups (push-ups, etc)
Long run: about 9 miles of steep trail
Longest ride: Hmmm, maybe an hour fifteen on the hippy bike
Longest trainer session: 45 minutes
Days on the bike (trainer included): 4 or 5
Days skiing: 4
Days climbing: 7 (includes gym)
5.12s: 0
12s attempted: 0
Swim days: 0
Trad routes: 0
First ascents: 0, though one bolted at The Owl Tor, which is no small matter
Summits: 1
Injuries: 0

Grade: C +

As bad as this sounds, I feel pretty good. I would have gotten on my bike more had it not been for the inversion which forced most of my training up into the canyons. And I've been backing off on workouts to ensure I don't overdo it. Slow steady progress will be fine. There's no rush. Some of my chronic injuries could use a bit more love but they aren't really bothering me at all, which is huge. I am jonzin' for a big day, which is going to happen soon.

photo: me n' ratso on Grandeur peak

Unhappy Meals

This is the kind of stuff I might write on a reactionary day, albeit with great detail. It's great, for the most part, and will worth your time (12 pages, so it takes some) if you're concerned with your health. It's by the guy who wrote the Ommnivoire's Dilemma, Michael Pollan.

There are a couple points of conjecture that I'll address now. First, in regards to the female study where he does a bit of math to state they lied, he could be flawed (though I complete agree about their lying over how many calories they are eating). I've had many clients (hundreds, if not thousands on the Message Boards) that do get stuck in low cal mode and can't drop weight. This is especially true if one is on an exercise program. If you undereat chronically your body will shut down your metabolic processes, in a survival-type response, in an attempt to keep you alive. So an under eater will go into an overtrained state, resulting in a weight plateau.

He also states that science shows that supplements don't work. This is not true. They often, if not most of the time, don't work as advertised (which I believe is his point) and there is definitely a huge issue with taking supplements and your normal diet due to your body's pH balance, meaning a healthier person eating a balanced diet will benefit more from supplements than someone eating crap. But they can aid your diet, for certain. There are plenty of studies to show efficacy. Besides that, I have trial and errored just about everything on the planet. I know when something is doing something and when it's not.

Regardless, it's a fine piece of research and should be considered.


Unhappy Meals

It's the NY Times, so you may have to sign up (which is free)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Running In The Snow

I've found a new sport: snow running (like I really need more options around here). Our trail system stays in place during the winter, at least the main ateries, and you can pretty much access all of the peaks and canyons. After a couple of slogs up stuff in my Gor-tex boots, I decided it was overkill and reverted back to my running shoes, with Yaktracks added for traction.

With my new found ability to cover heaps of soft ground I'm actually thinking that the winter might be the best time of year to get a lot of base mileage. I think it'll add ten years on to my body's ability to run.

Perhaps even more important, it's adding to Tuco's ability to run. At 12, he's slowed quite a bit. I can't really run with him at all on streets anymore and, even on trails, it's purely aerobic training only. In deep snow, however, he smokes me, at least downhill. I think that because there's little pounding on his well-used joints he feels like a puppy again. It's fantastic.

A typical day has us both putting in a two to six miles, usually with a lot of elevation gain. Then the old man takes a powder while I head out for another loop or, perhaps, a ski. My base is starting to come and, more importantly, nothing hurts.

I was thinking yesterday that it's so fun I'm going to have trouble getting used to running on hard ground and that all those rocks in Moab next month might be kinda rugged if I don't make myself do something different.

Today is on-snow demo day at OR. Good times...

Sandbagging the Rat

Me n' Ratso headed up to Sundance this week to see a couple of friends and, let me tell ya, Tuco loves film festivals; especially when they're heald in the snow. He's a very social animal, which comes from growing up in Isla Vista (college town) where he could roam and socialize at will. At Sundance, he was king. At one event he made himself the official greeter. As he welcomed a van full of actors to their premier, they'd each say 'hi'(or woof), pet him, and ask if he was the official dog of Sundance. On that day, he pretty much was.

It also didn't hurt things that Park City is dog friendly and snowy. We ran all around town, played with dogs, and even poached a ski run. I swear that as we were getting in the car he said to me, "You mean we could have lived in a place like this my entire life instead of Southern California? You're such a sandbagger!"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The 10 Toughest Events In The World

I'll be back to blogging shortly. In the mean time, I'm tying to compile a list of the 10 toughest events that the public can enter. I promise to do something fun with the list. It can be any sport, any place, any amount of time. The only rule is suffering. Mas suffering.

For example:

What's the toughest ultra (Hardrock, Barkeleys?)

The toughest tri (a quick search came up with Powerman Zolfingen, even though it's a du)?

Badwater is probably on the list.

The toughest RAAM qualifier or, perhaps, RAAM itself: even though it's not public, qualifying isn't that hard.

Toughest adventure race?

Iditarod (can anyone enter)?

Mtn bike race (Trans Alp)?

Toughest road race (Everest Challenge)?

Toughest ski tour?

Climbing El Cap in a day, even though it's not an "event"?

Lookin' for ideas. Hit me up.


Challenges for 2007

So far, I've trained every day this year but, as was the case all of last year, it's been without much focus because I'm in "transition". Well, I'm officially not in transistion any longer and been pondering the road ahead. After months of random consideration, the objective, for 2007, is...(insert drum roll)... endurance.

I do so many sports it's always difficult which ones to focus on. At first I thought it'd be climbing next, since I now live so close to a lot I haven't done. Then it was performance racing (ie - short) as one of these years I'd like to make a focused effort on a good placing at age group worlds. Instead, I've decided to focus on distance.

I know, I know, I've said things like "distance is boring" during Furnace Creek and "I'll never swim four miles again unless it's from a sinking boat," during my challege in 2000 but, as tends to happen with me, I've turned a fatalistc staying on its head to creat a new challenge. Maybe it's because I'm dating an ultrarunner. Who knows? Certainly not me. All I know is that I'm constantly looking for new ways to push my limits, both physically and mentally, and that if I don't have that proverbial carrot to chase, I begin to wilt.

Regardless, it's time to get something on paper and focus my training. Henceforth, 2007 is the year of Never Say Never. My main objective for this year--because it's something that I've never done--is to go that entire year without getting injured.

So here's the plan:

Finish a 100 mile race. I've done a lot of running around in the mountains and have no real idea how far I've gone in a push but I'm pretty sure it's not been 100 miles. Furthmore, the pressure of "racing" 100 miles is something different altogether (as opposed to the pressure of staying alive, which I've faced coutless times). Furthermore, this race has the be considered 'hard' in the world of such things. Since Hardrock is considered the hardest, I must choose a race that qualifies me for Hardrock. This short lists what they consider to be the world's hardest ultras.

The Firecracker 400. Yeah, yeah, so I was bored during Furnace Creek. That was on my home turf. This time, I'll head to Alaska, a place I've never been, and ride 400 miles in a push. I'm sure the new scenery will help, as will not starting the race injured. I'll need a crew. Anyone in Alaska want to drive through the night at 18mph?

Climb 46 5.12s. This used to be easy but it will require a consistant level of climbing training throughout the year. I once thought my days of inspired climbing were over but, somehow, I've found a bit of spark again.

Establish 46 first ascents. Again, I've said my days of bolting were mainly over but it's time to update my guidebook and I've found some new crags that would be a major addition. This will be my main act of public service for the year. It's a LOT of public service!

Do a big wall in a day. More inspired climbing. This will force me to a place I haven't been in a while.

Swim 4.6 miles in one go. That quote, above, happened here. I really dislike swimming, epsecially in a pool. An the ocean is now a long way away. My goal is to spend enough time in the pool that I come to peace with this negative place in my mind.

Finish the "40 Peaks" run. This is a twice failed challenge for me. Both times I ammended it and did something but my original course, one that makes the Angeles Crest 100 mile race seem like it's flat, is still un-done.

Complete a solo 24-hour mtn bike race. Why not? I like riding my mtn bike. I don't know if I ever said I wouldn't do this but it falls into that boring catagory, for sure.

Ski 46,000 vertical feet in a day. As a brand new skier, this is just something that sounds like I should do. Will it be hard? I have no idea. It might be hard just to ride the lifts this much.

Ride the 6 Canyons around SLC. This is the local cyclist's holy grail. Actually, it's 5 canyons but I read a report about one guy who added a sixth so that's what I'm going to do. Since it's also my friend Dustin's birthday challenge for the year (or at least part of it), I'm sure I'll be inspired to train.

That seems like enough. I'm sure there will be plenty of other challenges along to road. Step one will be the Red Hot 50 in Moab in a little less than three weeks. Time to get training.