Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bandit Trail Runs 2012 - Upgraded!

Bandit Trail Run never fails to impress me. After I did my first ever 50K event here last year, again, I was treated to a wonderful trail run experience. Scenic views, well-organized support, helpful volunteers and just the overall feel was awesome. And the medal, definitely a first class upgrade. Wearing it left no doubt about my gruesome ultra race finish. I am wearing it now as I do this, yeah, baby!

Medals compared. 2011 medal (top) and this years' first class upgrade.
Having ran the course in the past really helped a lot. I paced accordingly and managed to stay on target even on the most difficult portions of the trail. The course was physically taxing nonetheless. On the first climb, my Achilles tendons were about ready to burst (20% grade incline from mile 2 to 2.4, whew!). Las Llajas Canyon was all mental with what it felt like a never-ending ascent. And right about when you thought you've reached the top, there you'll see another quarter of a mile of nasty uphill.
At the start line, photo courtesy of Rowell Ramos

Since Rocky Peak is at the heart of this race, the surface of the terrain was the main challenge. I couldn't imagine myself tripping down on those rocks. I'll sure bust my knee (or face) if I wasn't careful. So, I was cautious but this didn't stop me from doing one of my favorites on the trails - down hills. And like the way I do it on any of my trail runs - I holler, yell and shout my heart out before I roll and plunge down hill. 

I improved my time by about 40 mins from last year. This I credit for having a positive mental outlook throughout the race. I greeted each runner I passed and the ones that overtook me. I offered the same courtesy to other trail users who were not part of the race greeting them "Good Morning" even when it was probably past noon (took me 6 hours to finish). I chatted with some of the volunteers manning the aid stations though briefly. I never got bored and was humming a lot of my favorite tunes. I was tired in the end but I felt strong. I even managed to do a movie night with my family when I got back home after the race; and the next day went back to work just like any other day (now I'm bragging). Overall, another very positive Bandit Trail Run for me and this race is definitely on schedule again next year. Click the link below for full result: http://bandittrailrun.com/BanditDocs.html

Thursday, February 2, 2012

goal this year - to be a better person

January is now gone and I haven't done my recap for last year. To sum, it's safe to say I made good progress in 2011. I broke my personal best in different distances from 5K to 50K. I ventured into a new distance, 50K, and fell in love with it. I trained consistently throughout the year averaging 25 to 30 miles a week. My kids got involved in youth cross-country. And on a personal level, I became more disciplined in training. Having said all these, there are still a lot of things that I need to work on if I want to be a better runner, and more importantly, if I want to be a better person.

View from top of Verdugo Mts at dusk. First 2012 run.
I'll make my goals simple this year and try to focus more on the transformative values of running. I admit, sometimes I get distracted by mundane things and tend to forget the reasons that motivated me to pick-up this sport. I concentrate more on the time of my race, whether I broke my PR, or how much mileage I logged. When really, running to me has evolved to more than just the numbers and distance but as a way of life.

Running has made me stronger not only physically but mentally. It led me not only to a healthier lifestyle but also to a healthier view of personal relationships. Yes, the long runs made me durable on the road, but it also trained me how to be more patient, how to measure up to my weaknesses, and how to harness my last reserve when needed. These are just some of the transformative values that comes with running that we often forget to consider when assessing the success or failure of our goals. Running really has a lot of potential that can transform us into a better person. 

I'll try my best to focus on these things as I try to accomplish each of my race goals this year. If I didn't PR, missed the cut-off time, DNF, or got sidelined by an injury. I know better how to take it because each time I raise the bar to become a better person, I know that I transform myself into a better runner. Belated Happy New Year to all!

Here are some of my goals this year: 
  • weekly core training "with love"
  • completed at least one 50 mi "fun run" race
  • focused speed work and "community development work"
  • transitioned to minimalist shoe and "pocket"
  • mapped-out local trails and "joints"
  • more local races and "picnic at the park"
  • volunteer local XC and PTA
  • yoga class and "cooking class"
  • logged a thousand miles and "smiles"