Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rim to Rim

I'm back from 3 days and 3 nights of backpacking the Grand Canyon from the north rim to the south rim. We had great weather and lots of fun.

For most of us this was our first trip from the north rim to the south rim and we were looking forward to seeing the canyon from another view rather than from the south. We did run into a little unknown scenery snag, though. It just so happened the park was performing prescribe burns along the top of the north rim forest and the smoke settled in the canyon. This limited our views of the canyon while we were going down on the first day. But, the smoke was lifting while we were hiking to our first camp site at Cottonwood and the skies were clear for the afternoon and evening.

But when we woke up the next morning our camp site was clouded with smoke and we could hear people coughing from smoke inhalation. I was not bothered by the smoke and just chalked it as a rainy day in the woods.

After breakfast we continued to hike to the Bright Angel campground at the bottom of the Canyon where we did not have any smoke problems. Our entertainment for the evening was listening to a Naturalist talk about bats and the importance of their survival for the benefit of mankind. The naturalist did a good job of educating us, but when she made a comment about, proving scientifically that bats do not have any interest to fly into your hair, she lost our attention. After the show we went to our campsite to enjoy a beautiful clear night with so many stars never to be seen while living in the big city.

The next day we hiked from the bottom up to Indian Gardens. After setting up camp we hiked out to Plateau Point to enjoy great views of the Colorado river snaking through the canyon. On our way back to camp we stopped at a water fall to enjoy a cool refreshing shower. That evening we played a card game called mow mow for the canyon championships. One of the players said, he never laughed so much while playing cards. We were having so much fun teasing and bantering one another in good spirits.

The final day out of the canyon was a 4.5 mile hike to the top. My plan was to march up as fast as I could. I wanted to set a precedence of making good time on hiking to the top from Indian Gardens. I made it to the top in 2 hours and 5 minutes. I was met near the top by my sister-in-law who gave me a banana and an apple. I very much appreciated seeing her and giving me those treats. I dropped my pack off at the van and ran back down about 1 and a quarter miles to meet my wife to take her pack and walk with her to the top.

The time in the canyon goes so fast because we see and do so much. It also helps to share the time with those you love.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Worldwide Half Marathon results.

I ran the beautiful Canal Towpath Trail from Rockside road north to Old Harvard and a loop of the Canal Way Visitor Center Loop then back to Rockside. My brother from Arizona was in town and he was on a bike to assist me with water and encouragement.
Temperatures was around 50 degrees and the skies were cloudy. We were out on the trail by 11 in the morning.

I started the run with rocking tunes on the ipod for half the run. This was my first time running a race with tunes. I decided to give it a try and found it good to listen to but then I got to a point where I needed to finish the run on my own. I wanted to focus on breathing and staying on pace for the last few miles without loud tunes influencing me otherwise. After about 8 miles I took a CLIFF shot and washed it down with water. Because it was so cool I didn't need to drink water as much as I thought I would. I only drank maybe 12 ounces for the total run. I was able to finish the run feeling like I got in a tough workout for the day.

I'd like to thank my brother for being there with me on this race and for the neat pictures he took. Congratulations to all the other runners who completed their half marathon and to those who ran the couch to 5K run.

Here is a list of some numbers from the race.
My heart rate averaged 142 BPM.
Total time for the 13.1 miles was 1:24:57.
Total Ascent 1706
Total Descent 1751

Friday, October 12, 2007

Worldwide Half Marathon on tap.

I will be running this free event to promote the joy of running and to join with over 1,000 runners world wide to run a half marathon this weekend. My training this past week was hampered by an outer ear infection that I may have gotten from too much ipod buds poking in and out of my ear. Anyway, my doctor prescribed antibiotic drops for my swelled up ear and I should be feeling good enough to run the half this Saturday.
My brother from Arizona is in town and he will assist me on his bike while I run. He'll carry the water bottles and cheer me on to help keep me on pace. Although, he said he won't make it easy for me to get the water, that I'll have to catch up to him if I want some water. Big brother's can be such a tease. We'll have fun. Good luck to anyone else running the Worldwide Half Marathon. My entry number is 866 and I'm the only one from Cleveland, Ohio.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Some running updates & things

For the month of October our Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be hosting cross country trail races every Tuesday evenings with a final race on the last Friday at 9:00pm.
I ran this past Tuesday and hope to run them all. But I will have to miss the final race because I'll be backpacking the Grand Canyon then.

The race is different from what I've ever done. We had no idea what the distance was until we registered and we were given a choice to run 3, 4.5, or 6.4 miles. And we were placed on a team based on the month of our birthday. Our race bibs, with our designated team letter, was on our backs, so that we could see the competition and our team mates to cheer on.

After the last race, awards will be given to the winning teams, my guess, based on overall time and distances. I am just running for the joy of running on the trails and getting in a good tempo run.
According to my Garmin GPS watch I ran the 6.4 miles in 41:28 for a 6:28 overall pace.
Total ascent 1445 and descent 1436.

This week I've been doing more yoga and I actually realized and experienced something while doing the various poses. I started using this new yoga podcast and I found how to use my breathing to flow with the movements and how to release tension that I hold in my jaw, shoulders, and lower back while getting deeper into each pose.

The sessions only last 20 minutes and the instructor explains the poses well. Good stuff.

I'm off to coach my son's soccer game this afternoon. I am trying to teach the kids field position and to stay in their position but they tend to run all over the field. If they can learn positions then maybe we'll win a game.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pool Workouts

Below is my swim workout for today that I received from I am not used to such detail swim workouts let alone try to keep all the time, distance and amounts in my head without messing up the schedule. To help me swim without too much thinking I printed the workout and tape it to my water bottle and brought the bottle to pool side so that I could follow through the repeats.

Another trick to the workout was learning how to use the pool side clock. When the workout had me leave the wall on a certain time I had to figure out how to read my times and include the rest so that I would leave the wall at the specified times. I manged to figure it out and enjoyed the longer rest if I would swim fast. If I swam slow then my rest would be less. Anyway, I had fun with this workout.

Warm up:
• 4 x 50m Freestyle Swim (even pace), rest 0:15 / 50m

Build up (repeat 4 times):
• 1 x 50m Streamline Kicking, rest 0:15 / 50m
• 1 x 50m Freestyle Push & Glide, rest 0:15 / 50m

• 2 x 200m Freestyle Swim, leave on 05:40 / 200m
• 2 x 100m Freestyle Swim, leave on 02:30 / 100m
• 2 x 200m Freestyle Swim, leave on 05:40 / 200m
• 4 x 50m Freestyle Swim, leave on 01:20 / 50m

Warm down (repeat 2 times):
• 1 x 50m Freestyle Push & Glide, rest 0:15 / 50m
• 1 x 50m Freestyle Easy, rest 0:15 / 50m

Total Swim Distance: 2000 meters
Total Swim Time: 39:40

The nice thing about this program is that I can keep this effort at my current level and increase it when I am ready. I plan on taking a time trial 5 minute swim once a month to gauge my fitness level before I increase my efforts in my swim workouts.