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LA Roadrunners: Dodger Stadium! January 31, 2010

Posted by Richard Lowe in LA Roadrunners.
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Yesterday was a field trip for us Roadrunners: we got to run at Dodger Stadium! I had to start the morning off extra early to give myself time to drive the extra distance, but it was a gorgeous morning, as far as mornings go.

Interstate 10, 5:50am.

Downtown LA.

Dodger Stadium off ramp.

The full moon was absolutely gorgeous.

Since this year’s marathon starts at Dodger Stadium, we got a sneak peek at the first mile or so of the race. The marathon begins as a lap around the stadium then heads out Elysian Park Dr. toward Sunset Blvd.

However, that route is only a mile, so with the Roadrunners, we added a few more loops and the LA Marathon 5K route to the training for a total of 6.4 miles.

Distance: 6.4 miles
Time: 53:07
Pace: 8:18 mile

Around Dodger Stadium.

More loops.

Hitting up Elysian Park.

A beautiful route.

Rod Dixon cheers us on.

The final hill.

Of course, 6.4 miles wasn’t enough! I could tell that everyone in our group wanted to do more. After all, our scheduled runs during the week are between 7-8 miles! A Saturday run of 6.4 miles wasn’t enough. So my friend and I decided to log six more miles around the stadium.

Distance: 6 miles
Time: 52:30
Pace: 8:45 mile

The route around the stadium has long, steep inclines, which are good for hill training. And it was a lot of fun to mix up the running paths. As pretty as the beach is, it’s nice to run a different part of LA.

Also, it was really beneficial to experience the beginning of the marathon. I think race day will be intimidating enough as it is—not having another thing to be nervous about is good.

The best part of yesterday’s run, though, was that they opened Dodger Stadium after the run! We got to go on the field and stretch. Definitely one of the most memorable stretching sessions I’ve been a part of.

All in all, it was a great training day. Dodger Stadium, hill training, 12+ miles, great running routes, felt fantastic… What more could I say?

Well, I guess there’s one thing I should say. Despite all this love for Dodger Stadium…

Go Giants!

Born and raised in Northern California!


20 Miles: Better Than Legos January 23, 2010

Posted by Richard Lowe in LA Roadrunners.
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Do you remember when you were a kid and you built your first Lego set? The exhilaration and excitement of accomplishment you felt? Well, today was so much better than that.

The dreaded and ominous 20 mile run was on today’s LA Roadrunner schedule. For months it has sat there on my calendar, staring me down, hanging like a guillotine ready to drop.

Since I’ve returned from Japan, my whole goal has been to not skip the first 20-miler. That gave me two weeks to get back into game shape and I made sure not to miss a single day of running. Additionally, I was mentally trying to prepare myself. “I can do this, I can do this.” But, in the back of my mind, I wasn’t so sure. This whole week I had been wondering whether or not I was ready. My longest run in over six weeks was only 14.5 miles and I had missed the Roadrunner runs of 16, 17, 18 and 19. Could I manage 20?

The answer is yes. And then my realization was this: nothing can prepare you for a 20+ mile run mentally. You just have to go out and do it.

Distance: 20.2 miles
Time: 173:23
Pace: 8:35 mile

It’s hard to see any detail in the route on this map, but even at this distance, you can see it was a daunting course. We started at Venice Boardwalk, went up through Santa Monica, through Rustic Canyon, back down the beach, then into Marina Del Rey. And it was absolutely gorgeous: post-rain blue skies with white clouds, damp and cool roads, misty air, and a dewy forest through Rustic Canyon.

I’m really bummed that I didn’t take my camera with me. I was figured it’d be too much to worry about on my first 20-miler and it was true: I wouldn’t have been able to focus on my running. But, I do want to share images of the run so I got creative and took some screen grabs from Google Maps and hit up Flickr. It’s hodgepodge, but it works.

Rustic Canyon from the Google Cam.

Despite it’s hilly terrain, I could definitely find myself running through Rustic Canyon again.

After that portion of the course, we shot out onto the Pacific Coast Highway and crossed over to the beach to complete the middle miles 7-16. We went back through Venice and into Marina Del Rey and I found that part to be more challenging than the hills of Rustic Canyon. It was mainly due to the compact nature of the marina that made it so difficult. With 30+ runners trying to cram onto the narrow walkways and alleys of the boat docks, it’s hard to zone out because you’re constantly worried about hitting a fellow runner.

See the narrow docks? Marina Del Rey from Das Bobby via Flickr.

I was feeling fine pretty much all the way until mile 18. Before this run, the my longest run ever was 15.xx miles so I was pretty happy with my legs at 18. But as we headed back for the final two miles, It Got Tough. My legs were so tired and tight. I was losing speed, even though my endurance was fine. I was keeping with the group, but it was a struggle. As I looked around, I could tell that the entire group was feeling the same thing. A few runners were tripping and one even fell—common occurrences with tired legs and uneven roads. Needless to say, we were exhausted but not nearly done.

Our pace leader kept encouraging us, yelling out the remaining distances and some morale boosters. “1.7 miles to go! You can do it!” “1.2 miles to go! You’ve got this!” That really helped mentally. I kept reminding myself that, “Hey, I’ve run 1.2 miles before! This is easy!” and surprisingly, that little mental trick did help. I was able to find some guts that I didn’t know I had remaining and eek out the final two miles, despite my legs. When our pace leader announced we had hit 20 miles, we all cheered, and when we finally crossed the finish line, we were all relieved.

There’s nothing quite like achieving something you never thought you could do, while also setting a personal standard. If you had asked me five months ago if I thought I could hang with a 20 mile run, I’d have said no. And even with five months of training, I still woke up this morning thinking to myself, “Well, if you can only do 17 or 18, that’s fine. Don’t push yourself.” But now, I can say I did it. I ran 20.2 miles and survived.

Now if only I can find a way to add 6 more miles, I’ll be set.

Full Steam Ahead!

A Good Day December 13, 2009

Posted by Richard Lowe in Training.
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Today was a Richard day. Everything was turning up Richard. It was magnificent. I love these kinds of days.

Let me break it down for you:

First: the weather. LA’s been in the midst of a massive, non-stop, absolutely terrifying storm. It’s true—don’t believe what the others say. It’s far worst than you can imagine. I even had to break out my galoshes. Anyway, I haven’t wanted been able to run because of the downpour, but I needed to get in my long run for the week. So yesterday I had decided that I had pushed it far enough: Sunday was the day, rain or shine, to run 15 miles. Well, I woke up this morning and the sun was out and the sky was blue. It was a brisk 60 degrees. It was perfect.

Second: my awesome new Under Armour leggings. I knew that since I’d be visiting my parents over the holidays, I needed to get some warmer wear. I didn’t want a fleece or any sort of insulating pants—I get warm enough while I run. I just wanted something to protect me from the wind. Leggings are perfect because they’re tight and don’t move as much as track pants might. Plus, they add a layer of warmth for the initial miles, but help keep me cool during the final ones. They’re fantastic in every sense—except looks.

Third: I got a fuel belt. I picked up the Nathan Trail Mix belt; it has room for two 10-ounce bottles and a pouch to hold stuff. It also has a clip, rather than velcro to keep it secure. Let’s cut to the chase: it’s great.

(No photos of it on me, because the fuel belt with the leggings is—wow.)

Fourth: I tried running fuel for the first time. I picked up some Clif Bar goop (real name: Clif Bar Shot Energy Gel). It was the chocolate flavor. I was expecting the worst—after all my friend Kekona tried GU’s version and said it was terrible—but this was great. Well, not great, but good enough. I was happily surprised. It tasted like fudge that you would put on a sundae, and who doesn’t like that?

Fifth: I ran 15 miles and felt fine.

Distance: 15.14 miles
Time: 125:47
Pace: 8:18 mile

Sixth: the totem pole during the run. It’s good luck.

Seventh: lunch. As part of it, I had a giant chocolate chip cookie from Whole Foods. ‘Nuff said.

Close enough. Photo from esthereggy via Flickr.

Eight: dinner. Had pho at my favorite Westside pho joint, Pho 99, with good friends.

Again, close enough. Photo from aJ GAZMEN ツ GucciBeaR [?] via Flickr.

So yeah. It was a good day.

More photos from the run:

At Olympic & Barrington.

Heading South.

This was interesting…

How bizarre. (click for video.)


…and it’s signage.

The Venice Boardwalk.

Where we gather for Roadrunners.

December in Los Angeles. Yeah, we’re lucky.

A little early morning beach volleyball.

You may recognize this from previous routes. It’s always nice to have a familiar path on a long run.

The Brentwood Farmer’s Market.

A great day.