Upcoming events –

Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon, July 20, 2014
Noble Canyon 50km Trail, September 20, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Long day of training

This morning was a typical day of 50km training. I got up early, thanks to my one-year old son, Miles, and had a nice breakfast of cold cereal, banana and a glucosamine supplement to keep my left knee from aching too much, washed down with a glass of my favorite fruit punch flavored Vitalyte. Then Miles and I played around a bit on the floor, put some toys in a box. Took some toys out of a box. Practiced our standing and walking around holding one of my hands. Rolled on the foam roller to loosen up my IT bands and hamstrings. Took the foam roller away from Miles who wanted to eat it. Stretched out a bit while fighting off Miles' flying body slams. He likes to crawl really fast towards me, stop and stand over me while I'm lying on the floor, then flop down onto my belly and giggle. It's a nice way to start the day.

By 8:00am, I filled five 20 oz. bottles with Vitalyte and water, packed two plain energy PowerGels into my bag, and had a dry t-shirt for after the workout. I was meeting John Nunn down at the Chula Vista marina. He's focusing on the 20km Olympic Trials a week from today up in Eugene so his workout was a little shorter than mine. I planned to do 30km at a moderate pace, just getting in the distance today. By the time we got started, the sun was out and it was warming up a bit. Coach Peña accompanied us and gave us liquids every 10-15 minutes along our route. We did a large 16km loop that has a few little hills. Usually we do smaller loops that have every 500 meters marked, but since we weren't setting a record pace it wasn't as important to have a real controlled course. I took my first PowerGel at 12km, just as I like to do in my 50km races. I like to practice for my long races as much as possible, and this is one small way to do that. Drink and eat the same stuff during workouts as you would during the race.

Our second loop was flatter and shorter, only 7km, then John finished his workout with a 2km out-and-back (we have several different loops measured out at the CV Marina). I continued on by myself with a final 5km loop. We were walking somewhere between 5:10-5:15/km the whole morning. It wasn't real fast for either of us, but not so slow that we got totally bored. Actually, it's hard to get bored working out with John: he's a great storyteller. There's always something to discuss or share. And even if the story is only worth four minutes of walking time, John finds a way to keep it interesting and stretch it into half an hour. If you're making a list of good attributes in a training partner, put storytelling near the top. Along with punctuality. And low body odor levels. Just some suggestions.

When I got home, I really wanted to eat a huge meal and take a nap. But my sister-in-law is in town, so we got out our bikes, loaded Miles onto the front of Liz's bike and rode over to a great brunch place called The Big Kitchen. I had the spinach, bacon & cheese scramble with home fries and toast on the side. I got my huge meal after all! And when Miles takes a nap later, I'll be sure to join him.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Athletes for Peace in Darfur

Every day, I walk around in circles trying to get a little faster and stronger. I've had incredible success, but some days it feels pointless. Who cares if I get a few seconds faster? There are real problems in this world. Illiteracy. Poverty. I'm walking around in circles trying to get a little bit faster. Human rights violations. Rape. Murder. I'm walking around in circles. Genocide. War. Walking around in circles.

So when I heard about Team Darfur, I realized I had to do something more than just walk. Please help get out the word that human rights violations in Sudan and other regions of sub-Saharan Africa must stop now. Check out Team Darfur, founded by Olympic Gold Medalist Joey Cheeks to help children in the Sudanese region of Darfur who have been driven from their homes, orphaned and persecuted by the Sudanese government or their militia. Call your senator. Write a letter. Get on the phone. Blog. Whatever it takes.

Links to check out:
Team Darfur
Gold Medalist Joey Cheeks in Washington Post

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Guerrilla Gardening

So, what does a racewalker do when he's not walking? One of my hobbies/interests is gardening but it's different here in SoCal than where I grew up in Oregon. It doesn't rain so much, so I have to use a lot more water than I'd like to. Because of that, I've taken to gardening with lots of succulents, cactus and other drought-tolerant plants. There are tons of beautiful native plants, too, that thrive in the desert-like conditions here in San Diego.

Here is a shot of my drought-tolerant front yard at the peak of its spring flower display.

And here's another of my backyard cactus garden.

Both have been neglected horribly in the last few months as I have been focused more on my training and preparations for the Olympics Trials and World Racewalk Cup. Now that I'm thinking about Beijing all the time, I'm glad my plants can take pretty good care of themselves without me.

In the gardening vein, here's a great article about guerrilla gardening, the practice of cultivating an abandoned patch of public, or private, land for aesthetics or food. There's a little patch near our place here in San Diego that someone else started with some drought-tolerant natives that I go up and weed every now and then. It's so much nicer than an unsightly patch of bare dirt.

LA Times article on Guerrilla Gardening