Monday, October 28, 2013

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

I've been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis since mid June. I kept running with some discomfort for a month before shutting down the running and sought treatment. I ended up going to my chiropractor for three sessions with Soundwave Therapy (EPAT), one orthopedic massage, and a couple of acupuncture sessions. I had also been wearing heel seats in my shoes everywhere I go, which have helped. Although I can still feel some stiffness in the morning, there is very little discomfort left, especially during my runs or a friendly game of tennis. I finally see some light at the end of the tunnel!

So now, its time to start rebuilding my base and to start planning my racing for 2014! And there are so many options to choose from. Here are some races I am considering.  The Bandera 100K in January and Rocky Raccoon 50 in February sound like lots of fun! But I can probably choose only one, and on my limited training, the Rocky Raccoon race seems to be the safest race. The Bandera 100K sounds like a really tough race! Going into that race with minimal training is crazy! Crazy races also make things more interesting and adventurous though. Luckily both races will not sell out too quickly (if at all), so I have some time to train and decide later on which race to run. There is also the Miwok 100K in May (if I get in via lottery), the American River 50 in April, and the Western States 100 (which is unlikely but still possible)!

The Western States 100 Mile race is still my dream race. It also scares the heck out of me. It is the granddaddy of ultras, and it is a beast! If I do get in, I'll probably have to hire a coach to help me train and to hold me accountable to the training necessary for success at that monster of a race. Honestly though, I hope I don't get in for the 2014 race. My kids are still too young (2 and 6) for me to disappear for all those long training runs. I could probably do it, but I'd feel guilty for leaving my wife and kids to chase a dream that can probably wait a few years. Since I qualified for the race with my Rocky Raccoon finish, I feel like I owe it to myself to at least throw my name in the lottery hat. You never know...

On Saturday, I ran 7 trail miles with 2400 feet of elevation gain, and I followed that up with another 6.65 miles and 2200 feel of gain on Sunday (while my eldest daughter was taking a tennis lesson). Both runs took me to a scenic peak, where the views are always pretty amazing. Ultra running is like climbing peaks. Going up, it doesn't matter whether you are running or hiking (although its always impressive to see someone running up a steep incline). The object of the game is not to go fast. With so much variation in terrain and climates, the goal is simply to reach a peak (or finish line), and to overcome the obstacles along the way. And at that peak, when you worked hard to get there, the panoramic views just seem so much sweeter and more breathtaking.

 This is "Mission Peak" in Fremont, CA. Its one of the more popular local hikes in the San Franciso Bay Area. And it got really windy and cold up there!

 This is the view at a peak in Alum Rock Park in San Jose, CA. This is where I log most of my train miles.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Daughter's First Race - On Trails!

This past Saturday, my 6 year old daughter, Allyson, ran her first race! This is a free 1-mile kids race, but they got really nice medals for completing the race! I was so proud of her. I had invited her whole girl scout troop, but only one other girl could make it. The main events were a half marathon and a 10K trail race, put on by the Quicksilver Running Club. Although I am an official member of the club, I am fairly inactive with most of their activities (which I hope to change as my kids get a little older).

Having a fellow girl scout and friend to run with helps! They get to hang out before and after the race. And it probably takes off some of the pressure from having a crazy running dad! There were 28 kids running in the race and they all took off at a sprint at the start. Kids always do this! Me and the other scout's mom followed the kids for moral support. It's an out-and-back course. At the end of half a mile, the kids get a bracelet to prove they made it to the turn-around point. Ally started to take more walking breaks in the second half. When she did run, she ran fast! But the hills would take out her steam pretty quickly. This was not an easy trail!

She finished the race with one last sprint. And looked completely wiped out! I was so proud of her! She was close to last place, ahead of a couple three year-old kids, but placement did not matter.

I don't have any big expectations of my daughters. But I do hope they find some joy in running someday. Most importantly, I hope they find their own calling - something that they find a passion for. It has to inspire them to dream big dreams. Even if they don't reach the pinnacle of their heart's desire, the simple act of dreaming will enrich every day of their lives.