Thursday, September 20, 2012

Saturday Long Run Description (04/02/16)

Here's a map link for you to reference:

Saturday's Run Course.

A few things to keep in mind for Sunday's run:

1)You will be running gradually uphill for the first half of your run! This course isn't terribly steep, but there is a GRADUAL uphill for much of the first half of the run. Keep this in mind as you may need to dial back your pacing a bit when you head out.

2)Watch your footing! There's a reasonable amount of this run that will take place on a dirt path/fire road. This means small rocks, tree roots(sometimes), and uneven ground at times. I don't want to see anyone take a tumble. Stay tuned in! This is particularly important for those of you who wear MP3 PLAYERS! Stay particularly alert on the RETURN when you will likely be a bit fatigued and traveling gradually DOWNHILL!

3)Water Stops. Roughly a mile into the run(not too far after you pass the Bison Paddocks on the left) there is water fountain on the LEFT adjacent to Lake Spreckles. Also there is a water fountain at the intersection of JFK/Transverse on the LEFT side of JFK. These descriptions will make more sense once you read my course description below.

Here is a description of our course:

Everyone will head NORTH from the Beach Chalet and promptly take a right turn to get onto JFK. You will run along the dirt path for about a quarter of a mile until you come to a stop sign. Turn LEFT at this stop sign at the pedestrian crosswalk onto the dirt path running along JFK.

You will continue running along this path for some time. As you close in on the first mile you will see the 'Bison Paddock' on your left. Shortly after you pass the paddock, you will see Lake Spreckles on the left. If you need water, cross the pedestrian crosswalk over to Lake Spreckles and you will see the water fountain on your left.

Continue running on the dirt path for close to a mile and you will eventually come to a 4 way stop at the intersection of JFK/Transverse. This is roughly 2 miles. If you cross over to the LEFT side of JFK, you will find another water fountain.

Continue running on the RIGHT side of the dirt path past JFK/Transverse for roughly a mile. You will see a stop sign and traffic joining JFK from 'Conservatory Way'. (this is just prior to the Flower Observatory) There is a pedestrian crosswalk here. THIS IS 3 MILES. CROSS OVER TO THE LEFT SIDE OF JFK AT THIS CROSSWALK!

Run past the Flower Observatory and follow JFK all the way to STANYAN. This is a controlled intersection with traffic lights. Once you get to JFK/Stanyan, this is 3.5 miles. Beginner runners will turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet for 7 MILES!

Everyone else will run through the intersection of JFK/Stanyan and onto the panhandle (the strip of land that runs between Oak/Fell). Run on the RIGHT side of the Panhandle! You will run along the panhandle for roughly half a mile along OAK.

One block PAST Oak & Masonic (again, this is a controlled intersection with stoplights), keep your eyes peeled for OAK and CENTRAL. This is 4 MILES. Intermediate runners will turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet for 8 MILES!

Advanced and Race level runners will continue running on Oak Street. Continue running parallel to Oak until you reach the intersection of OAK/SCOTT. This is 4.5 miles. Advanced and Race level runners will turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet. Upon reaching the Beach Chalet, you will have logged 9 MILES! Advanced level runners are done for the day!

Race level runners will head SOUTH along the paved path that runs parallel to the Great Highway. At the intersection of Great Highway/Moraga you will see a chalk 'MM 11' on the ground. RACE level runners turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet for 11 MILES!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I run because the window is closing..

Nearly seven years ago, I ran what was then my fastest marathon ever. It was one of those rare days when all the stars aligned. I trained my ass off for months, tapered well, and the running gods smiled on me.

I blew through the first half in 1:20 and found myself wondering if perhaps a sub 2:40 might be possible. Shortly after mulling this thought over, my stomach started to complain. As the race progressed, these complaints became more and more pronounced.

I gritted my teeth and tried to fight through the increasing GI distress as I was having the race of my life. At mile 21, I simply couldn't bear it anymore and had to make a pitstop at a portapotty. I was disappointed, but I was already en route to a monster PR and I was confident I'd be back to break 2:40 in short order.

3 years passed before I would toe the line again to run another marathon. In the intervening period, my business boomed and I contracted a terrible case of plantar fasciitis that effectively derailed my running for nearly two years.

When I finally did toe the line again in 2008, I wasn't confident I was ready to run sub 2:40. I settled for a more modest goal of simply running faster than the 2:45 I posted in 2005. I pulled off this goal by posting a 2:43. Once again, I thought I'd be back in 2009 to finally put to rest this goal that had been haunting me for years.

My old nemesis plantar fasciitis returned in 2009 and derailed any serious running for several months. While I did manage to toe the line for another marathon at the end of 2009, I had no illusions that I was in the kind of shape to go after a sub 2:40. Again, I settled for a more modest goal based on my current level of fitness which I achieved, but it was a far cry from the sub 2:40 I wanted.

2010 arrived and my running was going swimmingly. I was hesitant to embark on yet another training cycle for a marathon, but I was feeling strong and confident again. As the spring arrived, I signed up for the Seattle Rock N' Roll Marathon with the idea that I'd finally exorcise the demons and crank out a sub 2:40.

I was in superb shape and my training was coming along nicely. Taper was but a few weeks away. The morning of one of my final long runs, I felt some mild discomfort on the outside of my right leg. I chalked this up to a tight IT band and did some additional stretching before starting my run.

A few miles into my run, the mild discomfort became pronounced pain. Very few things stop me from completing a run, but something was very wrong. I would discover I had incurred a stress fracture in the right femur. My dream of running a sub 2:40 was put on hold yet again. It began to feel as though the fates were simply conspiring against me.

2011 was a year of transition, personally and professionally. Big changes on both fronts effectively prevented me from doing any kind of serious training. But, I hadn't let go of the idea that I would one day run a sub 2:40 marathon. It was no longer simply a goal, it was an obsession.

I shifted gears a bit in the first half of this year and conquered a 50K and 50 mile trail race. I notched a couple 100 mile weeks. I spent more time on my feet than I had in my entire life. I did some things that I never thought I would. I did some things I characterized as ridiculous just a few years ago.

As I spent countless hours alone out on the trail, I wondered if these new journeys would somehow, some way lead me to accomplishing my ultimate goal of running a sub 2:40 marathon. I'd come close so many times, surely my day would come.

It took me a couple months to fully recover from running 50 miles. During this period, I tried to listen to the messages my body sent me. More often than not, the message I received was 'rest'. I listened to this message for the most part and didn't force anything.

July waned and I realized if I was going to take a crack at sub 2:40 this year, I needed to ramp up my training pretty soon. I pulled the trigger and signed up for CIM. Rather than pressure myself into starting a tough training cycle, I tried to ease into things organically.

I started increasing my mileage gradually. I started throwing in a few faster workouts here or there. I logged a few miles at my target pace (6:05). The body hasn't complained much so far. I hesitate to express any confidence about running a sub 2:40 at CIM this year given my history, but I've always been of the belief that you just keep fighting and maybe something good happens.

I'd be lying if I said there isn't a sense of urgency around accomplishing this goal. I don't bounce back as quickly as I used to. I don't feel as spry as I once did. My body complains a bit more than it used to. I feel like my window is closing.

If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I can live without notching a sub-2:40 marathon. But, I can't live with the knowledge that I didn't try everything I possibly could to make it happen. The window is closing, but it's not closed yet. So, I keep running...

Friday, September 07, 2012

Sunday Recovery Run (9/9/12)

Everyone will be logging 6 miles for Sunday's recovery run. Here's a link to the course map for your reference-

Sunday's Golden Gate Park Run

We will be launching from the top of the staircase that leads down to the ballfield and heading WEST on Martin Luther King. We will run along MLK for roughly half a mile before turning RIGHT onto Stow Lake Drive.

We will run clockwise around Stow Lake and eventually run into John F. Kennedy. Turn RIGHT onto JFK and get on the LEFT side of the street.

You will follow JFK through Golden Gate Park all the way to the intersection of JFK/Stanyan. From here cross over on to the RIGHT side of the panhandle (the side that runs parallel to Oak Street) and follow the path all the way to the intersection of Oak/Masonic. This is 3 MILES!

Turn around and head back the way you came for a total of 6 MILES!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Saturday Long Run Description (09/08/12)

We'll be covering between 5-9 miles on Saturday depending upon your training level. Here's a link to the course map-

Saturday Long Run Course Map


In short, we will head NORTH from the Marina Green Monkey Bars on along Marina Boulevard for roughly 1/2 mile until we reach the grassy, volleyball court area on the right. Take a right and cut through the volleyball court area and run through the parking lot behind it. Turn LEFT onto the Marina Promenade which is a fire road/dirt trail.

Continue running on this path for roughly a mile. Eventually, this path will veer to the right towards the Warming Hut. Continue running towards the Warming Hut. For the uninitiated, the Warming Hut is A BIG WHITE BUILDING WITH TABLES AND BENCHES IN FRONT OF IT. Hopefully, it will be hard to miss). The Warming Hut is 2 MILES!

Continue past the Warming Hut onto a paved road that goes past a series of buildings (including some restrooms). You will pass these buildings and continue running along this path next to the water towards the base of the bridge. The path curves around and dead ends at 'Hoppers Hands'. This is 2.5 MILES. Everyone will turn around here and head back towards the monkey bars. BEGINNER level runners are done upon reaching the monkey bars for a total of 5 MILES!

Everyone else will continue running SOUTH along the paved path past the Marina Safeway and up Fort Mason Hill. Intermediate level runners will crest this hill and run to the point where the path starts to head down towards Aquatic Park and then return to the monkey bars for 6 MILES!

Advanced and Race level runners will continue down the hill into Aquatic park. Run along the sidewalk adjacent to the waterfront. Advanced runners will turn around At the end of Aquatic Park/Edge of Fisherman’s Wharf. There is a large, circular cul-de-sac at the end of Aquatic Park. This is where you turn around. Return to the monkey bars for 7 MILES!

Race level runners will run through Fisherman's Wharf on Jefferson and continue onto the Embarcadero. Run to the intersection of Embarcadero/Bay. There is a Hillstone restaurant on the right for a visual cue. Upon returning to the monkey bars from here you will have logged 9 MILES!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

I run because of the juice guy...

I've been asking a lot of questions recently. What am I doing? What does the future hold? What is my business all about? What am I all about? What defines me? What's the significance of what I do?

Someone recently said to me, 'You live the dream. You get to do something you would do anyway and parlayed it into a career.' I somewhat jokingly said 'It's a dream that can sometimes be a nightmare.'

If just 'running' was all my career was about, it DEFINITELY would be a dream. During the actual 'running', my job is always a dream....even on the bad days. But, there's so much that goes into building, protecting, and evolving a brand/business beyond the beauty of logging some miles on a stellar afternoon in the park.

The reality is there are nightmares associated with what I do. I don't talk about them much. A few people hear about them and I am forever indebted to them. These nightmares have at times made me wonder if it's worth it. It's true....even 'Marathon Matt' has moments of fear, self-doubt, and anxiety.

But, I had the good fortune to meet 'The Juice Guy' today. I saw a random bright green sign for 'Juice Alley' as I was driving home and on a whim turned to follow the sign behind a seedy liqour store.

Behind the liquor store is this tiny little room that looks like an in-law unit. It's not a terribly attractive/inviting exterior and the front door sticks a bit. But, I get inside and everyone greeted me as if I was a member of their family. The owner and proprietor (AKA-'The Juice Guy') who's probably 20-something and looks exhausted staggers towards me.

He starts talking. His passion for what he does immediately strikes me. This kid is pouring his heart and soul into what he's doing. The Juice Guy treated me like a close friend immediately...and he didn't even know me.

I looked at the Juice Guy (Justin, btw) and I saw a younger version of myself. Justin exuded the unbridled passion that I had when I first started my business. He hasn't taken any licks yet and I hope he doesn't because he's a really solid guy....I mean 'Juice Guy'.

As I grudgingly left Juice Alley with '3' free bottles of juice (he insisted), I realized I do what I do for the same reason the Juice Guy launched Juice Alley....I f'ing love it. Not surprisingly, the juice I got from the Juice Guy is the best juice I have ever had in my life.

That's my true north. Thank you for reminding me of this Juice Guy. When all else fails and uncertainty is everywhere, follow what you love. The money may or may not follow, but it's the only path that makes any sense.