Thursday, March 15, 2012

proud dad

That's my boy in the picture, Léan (lee-yan). This was taken in front of the Alex Theater after we crossed the finish line at the 2012 Glendale Dash where he won first place in his division, 1-12 yo male. He ran the course 23:22.3 at 7:31 min/mi pace and almost beat me.

Looking at him in this picture I noticed how tall he's become. Whew! another parental moment... either I'm getting really old, or he's growing too fast. But he seems to be enjoying running. Although I think we may have to do more races together while I can still beat him (ha ha) because pretty soon I may have a hard time doing it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

snow and sapporo

Rattlesnake Trail
Last Sunday, we drove up to one of the highest peaks (7000’ elev) in the Angeles National Forest and hit the backcountry for a 13-mi high altitude run.

The timing was just perfect because the high winds subsided the night before and although there’s plenty of snow in the trails, the forecast was not too cold which means we can run light and enjoy the trails without having to worry too much of the elements.

The route we took follows the AC100 route from Cloud Burst Summit to Eagle's Roost Point. We saw human tracks on the snow along the Cooper Canyon campground but past this area there were none but ours except for the occasional animal tracks here and there. There were a couple of times when we have to circle back to find our way because the snow literally covered all the outlines of the trail.

I’d be easily lost lost if I were to do this alone but since I was running from behind, I just followed the snow foot prints of those running ahead of me. There’s comfort when you’re with the company of devout trail runners. They’ve been here many times and knew the place like the back of their hands. I say this because I'm no stranger to getting lost in the trails and for all the troubles I made they're always there to look out after  me.

Little Rock Creek
The notion of getting lost was probably due to the movie Gray that I watched the night before. It helps however to be up-to-date on the news because the lone wolf we have in the state crossed the border back to Oregon a few days ago.

The trail we were climbing parallel to the creek became too slippery at one point. While some in our group run right through it without any problems, I was a bit tentative since I wasn’t wearing spikes or ice cleats. Also, its a narrow trail with a good fifty feet fall down the rocky creek.

Then just like that Jose, who was running in front of me, slipped and landed on his back. He lost his footing again trying to get up; and with this balancing act was how he managed to make it across safely. Now, me and Harry were ready to turn around and call it day because we thought it was too risky to continue and there are probably more slippery trails ahead. But the guys who've done this many times showed us how to lean on the mountain side and to step on the fresh snow for traction. It worked.

We made slow progress on the trails because in some areas the snow is about a foot deep making it difficult to run. Still, every step is a workout considering also that at this altitude the air is thin so I was breathing more heavily.

We got off the trail at the Little Jimmy campground and took the road until we reach the tunnel. We then turn around for another 6 mi run along the Angeles Crest highway to the Cloudburst Summit where we started. As usual, I was the last to arrive and the guys are already enjoying our post run meal courtesy of Adan – beer and Mexican tostadas.

Believe it or not but this outing is part of our training for the LA Marathon. I am baffled myself at the choices of our training locations and can't help but wonder sometimes if we're doing this to prepare for the marathon or to simply just make our runs more exciting by visiting different trail locations (I made an earlier post about this, read here) . Regardless of the reason, the ideal training for me is the one that I enjoy and the one that makes me happy. And outings like this score high in the enjoyment and happiness scale.

So, while we were busy talking about the upcoming LA Marathon, Abel, out of nowhere offered me a challenge. He'll buy me a pack of Sapporo if I beat or even if I'm within 10 mins behind of his finish time at the LA Marathon. Otherwise, I have to buy it for him. Abel is 20 years older than me so the answer should be easy, right? But this 58-year-old in our last run at the Santa Clarita Marathon, clocked at 3:23:55 and won 1st place in his division. He was ahead of me by 20 mins. That means I have to improve my time by 10 mins if I were to beat him. He did his math well. But I know his intention was to simply encourage me to run my best, otherwise he would have offered a different challenge or at least get the beer of his choice, Tecate. Obviously, my chances of winning is almost zero to none but I appreciate the gesture. Abel knew how hard I've been training for this race. It took me a while to answer but I happily accepted it. If anything else, win or lose, me and my stinky feet will still get to enjoy our favorite beer.

Here's a small clip of our run that day: