Saturday, June 30, 2018

2018 MM4K Rock to Pier 10k Run Morro Bay to Cayucos, CA; Race Report #27

     It's been awhile since I updated my blog but I've been really busy with pressing family matters, and they have finally slowed down enough that I can get back on the computer and catch up.
     On April 21st, Robin and I were joined by Trevor, Andrea, Mark, Joan, Ray, and Melissa for a 10k on the sand from Morro Rock to Cayucos Pier to benefit the Miracle Miles for Kids charity. We all arrived Friday afternoon with six of us renting a beachfront condo while Ray and Melissa stayed in a pet-friendly hotel a few hundred yards away. Our condo was awesome so we elected to only go out the first night for dinner, and Schooners was our destination of choice.

The view from the balcony of our condo in Cayucos

Sitting down for dinner the night before the race at Schooners

     We all had a great meal as is the norm for everyone who visits this restaurant. After dinner and deserts, we decided to have a nightcap at the Cayucos Saloon across the street before turning in. We ordered some beers and played the jukebox while the band set up. When we got there the place was fairly empty but it didn't take long for it to fill up. We finished our drinks and headed back across the street to our weekend getaway for a good nights sleep before the race the following morning. 
     I slept great, in fact, I slept so well I missed all of the fireworks that took place at the saloon during the night. Apparently, someone had too much to drink and the bouncer had to intervene until the local gendarmes showed up. We all ate, Robin and I had our usual of bagels with avocado, then piled into Trevor's truck for the six-mile drive to the start line at Morro Rock.
     We all got our bibs and I went for a warm-up run along the beach. It didn't take long to find the first water crossing.  Our feet would be wet in the first half mile. At this race, I always wear some old Nike Zoom Streak cross country racing flats so I wasn't worried about the water causing extra weight. After my warm-up and strides were over I headed to the start area to find everyone before the horn signaled the start of the race.

The seven of us in front of Morro Rock before the start of the race

The view of Morro Rock where we started.

This would be the first river crossing in the race

Mark and Robin warming up in the parking lot

     There was an eighties style mass aerobics warm-up for everyone who was there and felt so inclined. I stuck to what works for me. I found everyone that rode with us, wished them luck and headed to the starting line to await the horn that would signal the start of the race. Trevor and Mark headed over there with me and some little kids merged in front of us right before the start. I told them they better go hard or they would probably be face down in the sand. I think it scared them because they did take off and ran hard for about 200 yards. I settled into a decent pace and headed to my left to stay as close to the water as possible so that my route to the pier would be as short as I could make it. Some people actually ran in the water but I figured the added resistance would just slow me down.  

The crowd of runners gathering before the start

My view shortly after the start. Trevor was right in front of me.

Everyone approaching the first water crossing

     When we got to the first water crossing some guy on my right decided to cut straight across the front of me to cross at a different spot. I wasn't too pleased with his move and let him know. My first two miles were 6:42 and 6:46. I was running a decent pace despite the fact I hadn't trained much in the last few weeks. A tough thing happens in this 10k between miles two and three. We go from running along the hard packed sand near the surf to hiking and running over wet rocks after navigating some softer sand. This takes a lot out of my legs and I struggled to return to the pace I ran prior to the rock crossings. This was the biggest crossing, but there were two smaller rock crossings to follow. My pace slowed down to a 7:22-7:23 pace for the next three miles. 

Heading to the first rock crossing

Up into the rocks we went. I took it easy.

It was slippery going back down to the sand,

     The last mile seems like it took forever but I did manage to drop my pace down to a 7:15 with the Cayucos Pier in view. I stayed along the water as long as I could before heading through the soft sand to the finish line. My official time was 43:01 which was my best time in many years on the course. This race is unique in that we get our shirts after we finish. Old school. I grabbed my shirt, and bag and headed back out onto the course to cheer on my friends. 

This was my view as I attempted to sprint to the finish in the soft sand.

Robin heading to the finish line.

     It wasn't long before Trevor, Mark, Andrea, Robin, Melissa, and Joan finished. We all traded stories about our race and got in line for the breakfast burritos and to listen to the music. We browsed the many vendors and checked out the results while Trevor went back to the start to get his truck. This race is tough to get an award at. Only the age group winners get a medal. The best I had ever done here was second many times, but this day, at the age of 58, I won the 50-59 age group. It was awesome, and another reason to start celebrating. Like we needed an excuse.

The two sides of my first place medal.

     We spent the afternoon hanging out on our balcony overlooking the beach enjoying some adult beverages and each others company. That night we all did a potluck dinner with awesome food and friends before heading over to the saloon for a quick nightcap. 

Dinner in our weekend beachfront condo.

The Cayucos Saloon where we have spent many a dollar on many a night.

     We went to bed and I slept like a baby after the long day of sun, running, eating great food, and consuming some adult beverages. The next day we all got up, cleaned house, and headed out to breakfast before heading home and getting ready for our next "run-cation" which would be the Wild Wild West Marathon in a couple of weeks.
     This race was fantastic, especially since we took advantage of the 15.00 entry a year ago. I consider it a lager race and give it a top rating of "6".

Saturday, April 14, 2018

2018 Laughlin Runnercard Half-Marathon and 5k; Race Report #26

     Two weeks ago today Robin, Andrea, Trevor, and I lined up behind the Avi hotel for the Laughlin Runnercard Half-Marathon and 5k. Robin, Andrea and I entered the half-marathon, while Trevor opted for the 5k. We were staying at the Harrah's in Laughlin which was about 20 minutes away so we all were up early and at the starting line for warm-ups about 6:15. I did about 1.5 miles of warm-ups and drills before the start. The weather was fairly warm, about 68 at the start with a forecast high of 92 later in the day.

The sun about to rise before the start of the Laughlin Runnercard Half-Marathon and 5k.

     The course was flat, but all dirt and gravel. I elected to wear my Nike Terra Kiger shoes as did Robin and Andrea.

Our Nike Terra Kiger Trail shoes ready for action

     The race started promptly at 7:00 AM when race director Ken Carlson gave us all the go-ahead to take off. Trevor and the rest of the 5k runners would start at 7:15. I went out easy, trying not to do my usual banzai start. I hit the first mile in 7:30 which was close to what I wanted to run. The traction was terrible, we were all looking for the best place to go. I tried tire tracks, running on the edge of the road, following other runners, but the footing wasn't conducive to fast times and I knew if I pushed it too hard I would pay for it at the end of the race. My second mile was a 7:23 so I backed off a little bit, and I started drinking my Tailwind about 20 minutes into the race. It was increasingly difficult to maintain a steady pace for me because of the footing so I concentrated on maintaining the distance between me and the runners ahead of me. I did pretty well staying in the 7:30's and 7:40's to the turn around point and heading back the other way. I was ninth overall at the turnaround so being in the top ten felt good. I think it was around mile 8 or 9 for me I saw Robin and Andrea running together on their way out. We all waved, cheered, and high fived as we went by each other.

Andrea took this photo of Robin and I passing each other. Note the cool shadow

     I felt really good at the pace I was going for 10 miles. Miles 11-13 were tough for me to stay under 8 minute per mile pace but I did it. After the turnaround, I was passed by two runners, but I managed to pass two myself, one right before the finish, so I still ended up in ninth place. My official time was a 1:40:26.5. I averaged 7:40 miles on a dirt course. It was a little slower than I had hoped to run but considering the conditions I was happy. I know on a paved course I can go 10-15 seconds per mile faster.

Trevor took this photo of me finishing

     Trevor was at the finish and I grabbed a water, my finisher's medal and walked around. The only thing that felt tight was my hamstrings. One of the cool things about this race is you get a card with your finishing information and age groups awards within minutes of finishing. There was no waiting around and sitting through a long awards ceremony. I got second in the 50-59 age group so I grabbed my medal and headed to the Avi for a cold beer while we waited for Robin and Andrea.

The wallet-sized finishing card with unofficial results on it that we got right after finishing

    The first cold beer tasted great, and Trevor and I enjoyed them while waiting for our wives to finish. I fared better at the running than I did at what little gambling I did. We slowly drank our beers then headed back out to the start finish area to cheer Robin and Andrea in. 
     Andrea was the first of the two to finish in 3:10:07. Robin was the very next runner in a minute and a half later in 3:11:27. They both said they had walked the last 2-3 miles. Robin did good enough to snag second in her age group.

Andrea getting her finisher's medal

Robin getting her finisher's medal

     Everyone collected their medals and we headed back to Harrahs and some lunch. Trevor had finished 5th overall and second in his age group so he scored some medals too. We all decided to go to a little cowboy bar next to Harrahs for lunch and more cold beers. The food was decent and the beers were cold. We ate, then headed back to Harrahs for some more fun. 

We all signed a dollar bill and Trevor added it to the collection on the wall

     The rest of the day was spent drinking a few more adult beverages and playing some of the adult games available to us. We did manage to try out the Guy Fieri Mexican restaurant for dinner before walking to the other end of Laughlin for some ice cream. By then we were all tired and went to bed early so we could get up and head back home.
     I would consider this a lager race since there was a lack of hills. The organization, communication, price, and awards were all fantastic. There were enough porta-potties, they even had one on the course. This is a small race, but lot's of fun. I will give it a full 6 lager rating.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Studies Show Moderate Exercise Slows Prostate Cancer Progression

     On February 15, 2018, the Prostate Cancer Foundation posted an article about exercise slowing the progression of Prostate Cancer. The article is based on studies by Dr. June M. Chan from U.C. San Francisco that shows that vigorous exercise such as running or cycling can slow down the progression of prostate cancer in men that have been diagnosed with the disease.
     Here is a quote from the article:  “We observed that three or more hours a week of vigorous activity, as opposed to less than one hour a week, was associated with an approximately 60 percent reduction in the risk of dying of prostate cancer.”  Chan and colleagues observed similar results among 1,455 men in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE).  These findings suggest that “engaging in relatively vigorous physical activity and/or having higher cardiorespiratory fitness may protect against prostate cancer progression.”
     The article doesn't claim that running will stop the growth and spread of prostate cancer, but it can slow down the spread of the disease. Here is another great quote from the article: Biochemically, exercise could help deterMetastasis of the Tumor by changing the environment for the cancer” – in effect, spraying fire retardant on the tumor.  Not necessarily extinguishing the flame altogether, but making it burn slower, and helping the body set up fire breaks to keep the cancer confined to its current location. 
     I find this news, along with that of a healthy diet helping which I wrote about on February 7th of this year and you can go to that story here, to be great news on the prostate cancer front. This means we can help control our destinies after a positive diagnosis of prostate cancer with a simple change in diet and exercise. Exercise has never been a problem for me and I'm trying to add more time and effort on that front as we speak and I'm already seeing my 5k times being faster than they were at any time last year. The key is getting with the right group of people to workout with. Make getting your exercise social and fun. Reward yourself afterward with something you don't get very often, a beer, frozen yogurt, slice of pizza, but, as Nike says "Just Do It".
     For a link to the complete article on the Prostate Cancer Foundation Website click here.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018 St. Patrick's Day 5k; Race Report #25

     Yesterday Robin and I again headed to Bakersfield for the St. Patrick's Day 5k. It had rained all night but we were hoping the storm would clear out enough for us to run and be dry. I was looking forward to running on a flat fast course to gauge my fitness. Last Tuesday I did my first track workout since last July and I'm confident I'm over the plantar fasciitis issues I was having a few months ago. The track workout went well, so I was hoping to break 21 minutes in the 5k.
     Another reason I was pumped up about the race is my son Kris had sent me some new Nike Zoom Fly shoes and I was really excited to try them out.
     We got to the race about an hour before the start and grabbed our bibs. I put the new shoes on and did a mile and a quarter easy run to feel them out. They definitely felt different than anything I had ever worn. I could feel the plate inside the shoe as I rocked forward while running slow. After my warm-up, I headed back to the car to shed my sweats and get ready for the race. By this time Trevor, Andrea, Mark, and Joan had joined us. We all headed to the start area where we found Melissa and Lacey, also from Lebec. I did my drills and strides and moved towards the front to wait for the starting command.

Spectacular morning for the 2018 Bakersfield St. Patrick's Day 5k

     Jeff Moffit, the race director came to the front, gave us all the pertinent race instructions, and we were off. We had only gone a few hundred yards when I checked my Garmin watch for my pace and I was running way too fast. I made an effort to slow down and I settled into a pace that felt fast but comfortable. Soon I forgot all about the shoes and just zoned in on my race. I felt my watch buzz and I looked down to check my split. I was shocked to see a 6:20 on the screen. I figured it was too late to do anything about going too quick now so I decided to keep pushing until I blew up and staggered into the finish. It wasn't much farther when I came across the two leaders running side by side on their way back. 

The two leaders battling it out at the 2018 Bakersfield St. Patrick's Day 5k.

     When I got close to the turn around I saw there was nothing to go around. There were two trash receptacles on the left side and the two guys in front of me that I could see just turned around at the second yellow barrel. It seemed a little strange but according to my watch, we were close to halfway. 
     The way out on the out and back course was a slight downhill which meant the way back would be slightly uphill. The bike path also had two underpasses each way we had to navigate which threw a little hill in at each one. Soon my watch buzzed again and I looked down to check my split. It was a 6:23. I thought not too bad considering I had to slow down and re-accelerate at the turnaround. Now I just had to maintain the pace to the finish. 
     I really concentrated on my arms, just keep them moving but I could feel myself slowing down ever so slightly as we went up the gradual grade. Still, I was way ahead of where I thought I would be time wise. One of the underpasses happens relatively close to the finish and it really did me in. I dug deep and tried to maintain form all the way to the line. My third mile was a 6:37, so I slowed down 15 seconds over mile two. My final time for the race was 19:35, but I think the course might have been a little short. My Garmin said 3.05 miles so I was probably 20-30 seconds short of a 5k but my time was still about a minute faster than I expected to run.
     I quickly grabbed a bottle of water from one of the many helpful volunteers and started walking backward on the course cheering on the finishers as they came in. It wasn't long before I saw Trevor, then a few minutes later came Mark.

Trevor powering to the finish sporting his green colors at the St. Patrick's Day 5k.

     With Mark and Trevor finished I started running back along the course to look for Robin. Somehow I missed Lacey, but I did see Melissa, then a few seconds later I found Robin. I ran with her to the finish to complete my warm down. 
     The awards ceremony happened soon after everyone had finished. I was 8th overall, and first in the 50-59 age group. Melissa took 1st in the 60-69 females with Robin second. Mark won a couple of prizes for his costume so we all left happy and headed to BJ's for post-run nourishment and beverages.

The cool age group medals had a built-in bottle opener on the back.

My Bison Burger and salad at BJ's after the St. Patrick's Day 5k.

     The course was easy so I'll call this a lager race. The entry was fair, 25.00 for a late entry that included a shirt. There was an abundance of volunteers to help with everything except for the turnaround point. In spite of this, with the cool awards that were given out, I'm going to call this a 5 lager race out of a possible of six. The race needed a cone to go around at the halfway point, and free Guinness for the adults would have been a nice touch on St. Patrick's Day. On top of all this, I really liked my new shoes and a shoe report will be forthcoming after some more miles in them.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

C.S.U.B. PEAK Valentine's 10k Run 2018; Race Report #24

     On February 10th, Robin and I once again made the trip to Bakersfield for a 10k run at Cal State Bakersfield. The PEAK Valentines Day run benefited the kinesiology department and is always a great race with awesome awards. Last year at this time the Valentines Day Race was the first time I tried to walk and run after my prostate surgery and I did the 5k with Robin. This year since we are currently focusing our training on Robin being able to run the trail marathon at Lone Pine in May we opted for the longer distance. I also thought it would be cool if I could run the 10k as fast as we did the 5k the previous year but a recent bout with a bad sinus and chest cold nixed that plan. Our friends Trevor and Andrea pre-entered also but were kept away because of the flu and late night issues out of town.
     We arrived, got our packets and shirts, and I went for a warm-up run along with my several pre-race bathroom stops.

Everyone checking in prior to the start of the race

     The race was timed by the Bakersfield Track Club, and they were trying out a new system where we wore a tag on our shoe as well as pinning one on our hip. This brought about a few glitches which meant the race started a few minutes late but it wasn't a big deal. The weather was warm for this time of year so it's not like we had to keep doing strides to keep warm. When the gun went off I started out easy and tried to settle into my 7 to 7:10 pace so as not to burn myself out too quickly.

Everyone taking off at the start of the 5 and 10k.

     My son Kris gave me a pair of Nike Lunarepic Flyknit 2 shoes for Christmas and I decided to wear them in the race. They were very comfortable, and after I do a few more runs in them I will do a shoe report on them.
     I hit the first mile in 7:03 which was right about what I wanted. I hit miles 2 and 3 in 7:01 and 7:07 and felt great, but that's when things changed. First, most of the runners took the turn to run just a 5k. I had no one left to chase. Second, the course had a lot of tight turns in the fourth mile which made it hard to keep up a steady pace. Between having no one to follow and hitting the sharp turns I lost my momentum. My pace for the fourth mile dropped to 7:26. On mile five I picked it back up to 7:19, but then fell back to 7:26 for mile six. I finished the race in 45:36 and the race came out to 6.3 miles. I didn't quite reach my goal of mid 42's that I had run the 5k in a year earlier after surgery.
     I grabbed a bottle of water and headed out back on the course in search of Robin for my cool down. It took me just over a mile to find her. She was running for 2 songs and walking for one and looked great. I paced her into the finish chute in a time of 1:22.

Robin heading to the finish of the PEAK Valentines Day Run.

     There was a lot of confusion after the race since some people that signed up for the 10k actually ran the 5k so it took quite awhile for the results to be finished and the awards to be handed out. When it was done though the awards and raffle were awesome. I was first in my age group, even though they announced me as second. The other guy ran the 5k. Robin got second in her age group and we both won fantastic raffle prizes. 
The awards for the race were fantastic. Each one was unique.

     After the race was over we headed to Lengthwise Brewing next to the C.S.U.B. campus for some much-deserved post-race food and refreshments.

Tacos and beer at Lengthwise after the race.

     As far as a rating for this race I have to mark it down 2 beers. It was a fantastic race, great awards, inexpensive to enter, and great raffle prizes. Since it was a flat course I'm, calling this a lager race. It's good for flatlanders and walkers. My final race rating then is a four lager race. We are definitely looking forward to next year and doing it again.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Aggressive Prostate Cancer fueled by Western Diet

     When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer I read about some natural remedies that many people claim to help ward off the disease. One of the things I noticed was that in certain parts of the world prostate cancer is rare as opposed to how common it has become in the western world. I have changed my diet, eating more salads, fruit, and less red meat. I also researched that many hospitals have their patients on a "cancer diet" to help fight off the disease.
     Last month I read an article posted in the Daily Mail about a breakthrough in research that finally connected the western diet with aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Click on the Daily Mail link in the previous sentence to read the article. The research was done by Harvard and Beth Israel. For those of us who have had the prostate cancer diagnosis the fact that we can change our diet to help prevent the disease from metastasizing is fantastic.Notice I said help prevent, anything that slows down aggressive prostate cancer is a great thing, but it doesn't say it reverses the disease. It's not that hard to only have a cheeseburger once in a while instead of on a regular basis. Not only that, it's good for my running. I already have switched to veggie pizza, and I eat raspberries with my cottage cheese every day for breakfast. I do enjoy treating myself to a good meal when we run, but that is now my exception, not the norm.
     I was one of those people that thought that because I ran so much I could eat anything and burn it off. My doctor in the 1970's even said this to me. We all know now that this isn't the case. No matter how much we train we must still be watchful of what we put into our bodies.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bakersfield Fog Run 2018; Race Report #23

   Yesterday Robin and I headed North to the outskirts of Bakersfield, CA for the 29th annual Fog Run. Unlike most years, there was no fog and it was warm. A few sprinkles greeted us as we arrived in Bakersfield but they quickly dissipated as we got close to Lake Ming where the race would start and finish. When we made the turn down towards the lake I couldn't help but reminisce about the 1980's when we used to come to the same exact spot for the Bud Light Triathalon that was an Ironman Kona qualifier back then.
     We were early enough to get lakefront parking close to the start and finish area. With close to 600 runners entered many who arrived late had to park outside of the gates and walk to the start/finish area. Robin grabbed our bibs and shirts, we filled out our raffle tickets and dropped them into the box hoping to win tickets to a Bakersfield Condors game. I started getting my stuff ready. I elected to wear my Nike Terra Kiger trail shoes for the race.

Runners getting checked in and ready at the Bakersfield Fog Run.

     I set off on a mile and a half warm-up while Robin elected to stay in the car. The temperature was 60 degrees, and it was the sixth of January. This was probably the nicest day for a Fog Run in the 29 years of the race. There were some high clouds and no wind. 
The view across Lake Ming towards the sunrise while I was warming up for the Bakersfield Fog Run.

     I finished my warm-up and decided it was too warm to wear my arm sleeves. I had sunscreen on already in case I went this route. About this time our friends Trevor and Andrea showed up and we all headed towards the start. 
     The race consisted of a 5 and 10k. The 10k would be starting first at 8:00 AM and the 5k started ten minutes later at 8:10 AM. All four of us elected to enter the 10k to get the mileage in since we are training for the Wild Wild West Marathon that would be happening in just four short months. 
     Before the race started we were treated to a color guard and a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by a local California Highway Patrol Officer. 
     My goal for this race was a sub 46-minute race based on my training coming in and the fact that I'm still afraid to run too hard because of my plantar fasciitis issues. My goal early on was to try and hit 7 to 7:10 per mile pace and not push the hills too hard so I could stay consistent throughout the race. 

The start of the Bakersfield Fog Run 10k.

The course was well marked. 

     I soon settled into a nice rhythm as the course wandered along the outskirts of the Lake Ming campground towards Bakersfield CALM Zoo and the Kern County Soccer Park. I hit the first mile in 7:06, mile two in 7:07, and mile three in 7:27. Mile three had the biggest hill, and soon after that, we got to run on some dirt and soft stuff for a while.

The 10k course took us through the Lake Ming Campground.

The paved part of the course heading towards the Kern County Soccer Park.

     Shortly after hitting the third mile we were back at the 5 and 10k split close to the start. Where the 5k runners went on a paved bike path going out and around the lake we were sent on a dirt path that paralleled the paved path before joining the 5k course and looping back around to the finish.

Running along the dirt path you can see the 5k runners heading back up on the paved portion of the course.

     My mile four split was 7:22, then I got back into rhythm for miles five and six running 7:08 and 7:06 respectively. The finish was a slight downhill and I got there in a time of 44:32. I was pleased with my time. I grabbed a bottle of water, reset my watch and headed out to cheer my wife and friends to the finish. I didn't go far before I found Trevor, then Andrea and Robin heading towards the finish. The three of them did a great job getting to the line so we could wait out the raffle drawing then head for lunch. The race did provide sandwiches, chips, bananas, and other goodies for the participants. The race was only 25.00 to pre-enter. 
     The 5k awards were first, so we all headed back to the parking lot to change and have some more post-race nourishment. My name was called for second in my age group but all of us struck out on the raffle so we headed to Pyrenees Basque Restaurant in downtown Bakersfield for some more food. 

My Chili Verde burrito and hash browns from Pyrenees Cafe in downtown Bakersfield.

     It's time to rate the race. The course wasn't very tough so this race will be rated in lager beers. I think the price, organization, timing, and porta potty availability(important for runners) were all top notch. The volunteers were very courteous and the music was decent for the most part. Did I mention the race was only 25.00 to pre-enter? The race was lacking a beer sponsor so there weren't any free adult beverages after the race. For this reason, I am knocking one beer out of the six pack and rating the race a 5 lager race. Happy running in 2018 everybody.