Sunday, January 31, 2010

Six weeks old! And, January Update

I started blogging because I wanted to log my running activities and keep a record of important events so that I can look back and see my thoughts/words. I am going to try incorporating Brooklyn into my blog more and how she relates to my running (at times even how she does not relate to my running).
My running is very important to me (not as important as Brooklyn and my family). For me, it is very important to stay in shape. Before I started running, I was overweight and had high blood pressure. I am going to be 40 this year and with a newborn, I want to stay in solid/strong shape as she grows. I love running so it is something that I can do to stay in shape.  Here are two pictures before I got back to running (pictures in late Feb and early March of 2008) and a picture after my last marathon:

Brooklyn is now six weeks old (on 1/30/2010). I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. She was born on 12/19 (after a 48plus hour labor). I took the next two weeks off work . . . or at least tried to. I had some urgent client matters so I ended up having to work some from home. That was very stressful - trying to work from home with a newborn. I wanted to take a little more time off (at least 1 more week), but it was clear the client matters would not die down and it would be too stressful to be at home trying to get the matters done so I went back to work on 1/4.

Here are some adjustments that I had to make:

One big adjustment has been working from home. Before, I would always have my laptop open and be able to get back to clients even if it is 11pm or past midnight if something urgent came up or if I just could not fall asleep. My wife, Jill, is on maturity leave so she is with Brooklyn all day. When I come home I have tired to watch Brooklyn. Jill would go to sleep about 9pm or 9:30pm and then I would take the next feeding. Well, those days working an hour or two at night have disappeared. It seems that Brooklyn tends to get fussy from about 10pm until midnight or so. So I generally have to hold her or walk her. Although at times it came be frustrating (when a baby is crying), I'm thankful for the time it gives me to spend with her.

Another big adjustment is my appreciation for the treadmill. I am thankful for the Treadmill! Yes, the Treadmill! Brooklyn loves it. She can be fussy and crying and crying and crying. Yet, 95% plus of the time, all I have to do is turn on the treadmill and walk. Within a minute or two she relaxes. I generally get a mile to two in. Often she will fall asleep and I can put her down after. I do not walk too fast on it (maybe only a 20-21 min a mile pace), but generally I will use the incline and feel like I get a good walk in. I do read, on blogs, a lot of complaints about the treadmill . . . however; in my case I am so thankful for it. It is amazing to help calm her!

Another big adjustment is with running. It is difficult to get runs in. I can not plan on watching Brooklyn and hope to get a run in while she sleeps. However, the treadmill has also been a major help. In Jan. my running log for all my short runs shows either "treadmill at home or treadmill at work". If my wife is nursing (when I get home), I can jump on the treadmill for a 1/2 an hour or so and get 3-4 miles in. Or, I've been forcing myself to take my lunch (generally later in the day) on a treadmill at my office (we have a small gym with three treadmills, other machines, and weights. I will jump on it for 3-4 miles. So the treadmill has significantly helped me get my runs in.

Sleep is also a big adjustment. Generally, for the past 15-20 years, I have been able to function on 4-6 hours sleep a night. So it has not been too bad. The major problem is "falling back a sleep". As I mentioned, I take a night feeding as I watch Brooklyn. The time my wife takes over seems to vary it can be from 1:30am to 3am. It just depends on how Brooklyn is doing that night. Most times I fall a sleep with Brooklyn, either on the coach or in her room. Generally I only get an hour or two of sleep before it is time to wake my wife. The problem is falling back a sleep. There have been many nights when it is 4am, 5am and I'm still flopping around trying to fall asleep . . . knowing that my alarm is set for 7am!

I have still managed to get in long runs during the weekends. My wife has been great in allowing me to continue the long runs on Sat am. I try to get back before noon so that I can help out with Brooklyn . . . the rest of the weekend. My wife has also tried to get out of the house for a little while (dinner with friends or a movie). We also have a horse (she is not ridding now due to the C-section). But, after my runs, she will be able to go to the farm, while I watch Brooklyn. So it seems to work out.

Here are some pictures of Brooklyn in her first six weeks

Me and Brooklyn

Brooklyn taking a bath


Jenny and Brooklyn

So even with Brooklyn, I was able to continue running.  I logged nearly 120 miles this month.  One long run during the week and 3 times a week a run of 3-4 miles on the treadmill (at work or home).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dipsea run (when you can) - Mill Valley to Stinson Beach

I am officially one week behind.  :( 
I had a very busy week at work and then when I get home at night (about 7:30pm-8pm), I watch Brooklyn.  It is hard enough to get my runs in; I'm falling behind writing about them.

Last weekend Sat. (1/23/2010), we ran the Dipsea trail from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach.  Our goal was to generally follow the route of Dipsea Race.  The Dipsea Race is the second oldest race in the USA, behind the Boston Marathon. We planned to run the "Double Dipsea", which is an out and back version of the race.  The trail climbs up from Mill Valley, over the top of the hills, through Muir Woods and down into Stinson Beach.
Here is a Dipsea Race course description:  It begins in downtown Mill Valley with a sprint down Throckmorton to the Old Mill Park, then up three flights of stairs as tall as a fifty-story building, and up some more through an old horse ranch to Windy Gap. Then it plunges down into Muir Woods across Redwood Creek and begins a tough grind up through the trees over trails named "Dynamite" and "Cardiac." At the top of Cardiac, the course levels out before it plunges down through the "Swoop", over the rocks and roots of "Steep Ravine" and the discouragingly steep climb up "Insult Hill." Finally, as the course follows the relatively gentle slope of The Moors toward the ocean, Stinson Beach is in sight a mile ahead.

We met at 6am at a park and ride spot in the Silicon Vally to head up to Mill Valley.  We arrived in Mill Valley a little after 7am for the run.  Here are pictures, along with my thoughts on our route.

It was raining most of the week and was raining when we arrived, but we were all very excited to run this historic route.  One of us had run the route before, but not in a while, so it took us a little while to find the stairs.  Three flights of stairs to start off.  Hundreds of stairs throughout the trail (over 600).  Here is a picture looking back down of one of the sets of stairs.

This is the last flights of stairs.  We made our way up. These were nicer and more modern.  The rain made the stairs difficult to run; unless you wanted to risk falling back down.

When we got to the top of the stairs, we had good views to enjoy:

After the top of the stairs you have to run on the street for about a 1/2 a mile or so until you get the Dipsea trail:

This part of the trail is open with some hills to climb.

You do run close to houses and the street - that will change.  However, before we could get away from civilization we had to cross a street and get back on the trail.  After crossing the street we came across this sign: 

Oh no!  We were only about 2 miles in!

We had a map and knew that we could follow the street and hope to connect to the trail. We did not know if we would be able to get back on the trail (whether it would be open) but it was worth a shot.  And, it worked!  We were able to get back on the Dipsea!  Yet, after another mile or so, we came to another sign that the bridge was flooded.  And, it sure was.

Even though the bridge was out, there was a fire road which we could use (about 3/4 a mile away) that got us back to the trail .  The fire road and dipsea trail were very steep as we went up, up, up and over hills.  On the other side of the hills, you had to go down to get to the beach.  There were hundreds of stairs, which were unrunnable.  The trail thought was very nice.  Great views. My one complaint is that I wish there were not as many unrunnable parts (due to the rain the stairs were very slippery).

The fire road:

The Trail:

Trail blocked off:

Going over a hill:

A real great run to the beach:

Getting closer to the beach:

We made it to the beach:

Then, we turned around and headed back.  We were going to take a different trial back.  Got a nice rainbow:

Here are some of the many stairs:
And, we got to climb a ladder on our return trip (another trial):
Great views heading back:

We took the ben johnson trail to Mur Woods.  The Ben Johnson trail was very runnable.  Mur Woods had a lot of people so the last mile (through Mur Woods) was a bit of a pain (weaving around people).

After Muir Woods we were still about 2-3 miles away.  We got back to the Dipsea trail, took some streets and finally the stairs:

Overall, it took 17.05 miles to complete (some added miles due to the dipsea trail being closed).  It was a great run. Well worth it.  I wish there were less unrunnable parts on the way out (maybe, that was because of the rain).  Yet, I'm very glad I did it and highly recommend it.  Maybe, one day I will even do that actual race.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oakland Marathon - March 28th!

With my long runs on the weekend, I started thinking about running a marathon in March.  Soon (hopefully, I'll have time tonight) I'll post about my 17 mile run this past Sat.  After the 17 mile run, I was quite sure that I could do a marathon in March.  I wanted to do the LA Marathon (I'm from So. Cal). However, that weekend was not good for me.

So, I signed up for the Oakland marathon.  It is close.

With the newborn, I am not going to plan a time.  I'm just going to go out there and have fun.  I'm going to run the marathon because I want to run it and enjoy it.  I'm very excited!!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rancho and Hidden Villa Run

I was not sure if I was going to make it for our Sat long run.  Before I left work on Friday night I started feeling under the weather.  My throat was sore and I was feeling very hot.  I got home and just felt worse.  I generally watch baby Brooklyn at night after work so that my wife can go to bed early and get some sleep from about 9pm until 1/2am (I do a 11pm or so bottle feeding). Friday night I felt horrible so had to go to bed early (before 9pm).

Our running group planned to meet at 7:13am at Rancho so I questioned whether I would make it.  However, I woke up early (about 5 am) and felt okay.  I tried to get another hour in and felt better when I finally got out of bed after 6am.  So I decided to go on the run.

We started at Rancho Santonio and started early to make sure we got parking.  If you go there on the weekend, it seems you have to get there early otherwise parking can be a problem.  The lower lot was already filled and the upper parking lots were getting filled. From Rancho we were running to Hidden Villa in order to see new baby cows that were born (not my idea) and then we would make our way back. 

It was a beautiful day.  There were strong chances of rain but we stayed dry the entire time.  The clouds even cleared out for part of the run.  There were lots of hills; some of them very steep. Getting out to Hidden Villa took about 6 miles with some tough hills.  After seeing some animals we took the Hostel Trail back (very steep parts).  I felt good the whole way.  It was tough at times and some hills I had to walk for short periods (too tough), but it was great being outside.  We had a large group today (8 of us).  I generally stayed with the front of the pack . . . which is great because you get to rest at the top of the hill when we regroup!  I love regrouping.  It makes me want to run faster up the hills so I have more time to rest at the top.  :)  At mile 13 we hit a trail that could take us back if we go left or go longer if we go right.  Some wanted to run longer; while others wanted to head back.  I ended up heading back with the majority of the runners.  The run ended up being 15.1 miles (I was very glad I headed back at mile 13).

The only negative factor was that about mile 14, I sprained my left ankle.  I looked back to make sure we were not leaving a runner too far behind and ended up landing on something.  My ankle was (and still is) sore.  I have iced it and it seems to be getting better.  I'm not sure if I can run on Monday, but I'm hoping it will allow me a short run on Tuesday.  So it does not feel that bad.  Fingers crossed.

Here are some pictures with some notes (sorry about the quality of my pictures, I take them with my iphone):

We are still at Rancho in the above picture and going up
one of the first Hills.  The sun was coming out,
but it was very cold at first.
My fingers (even with gloves on) were freezing.

A picture of some of the runners heading up a hill (great day)

A look at the silicon valley:

At Hidden Villa (about 6/7 miles into the run) - one of the animals we saw:

The Mother cow and, trust me, the baby cow is in the hay behind mother cow (if you click on the picture and look very, very close you can see the top of the baby cow)

Up the Hostel Trail:

We ran to the historic windmill (no windmill anymore, just a sign of where it used to be):
A view from the route back: