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Archives for April, 2010

Today’s short blog entry has a simple message:  Thank the volunteers!

It’s a simple enough request that truly goes a long way with the people organizing and helping support the events we sign up for.  The volunteers are unpaid, usually get a T-shirt and the simple satisfaction that they were able to help out at an event.  It’s not a glamorous job – and sometimes is very demanding – but it’s an effort that very few are willing to make.

As someone who has volunteered and participated in organized events, a simple “thank you” really makes a difference.  Remember that volunteers have a vital role in the way an event shapes up — and can impact how much fun some athletes have before completing an event.

(If you’re an athlete who has never volunteered, I’d strongly recommend finding a local race and signing up to volunteer.  It’s a great experience, and it’s neat to see a race from a different perspective.)

Wildcat Half Marathon

… race recap will be later.  Ted is napping and I’m thinking about sitting on the beach.  Lots of photos and thoughts will be posted.  I’ll tweet you guys the link.

Ted is up from his nap now.  I am rested and fed after a grueling day at Wildcat.  The pictures are posted here.  The people at Brazen racing put on another great event.  It is amazing how they can put on these fun events in the middle of the San Francisco Bay area.  We are not exactly type-A racers as you can tell by the photos.  We stopped for a photo-op with Pete who was directing traffic.  Then we stopped and goofed off for more photo’s at an aid station.  At the time, we did not know about the nasty hill that was going to begin right after we left the aid station.  After 9 or 10 miles in the hills, that last hill did not feel good.

I have a 5k charity run tomorrow morning.  I do not foresee any 7 minute  miles out of me.

Athletes HoneyMilk, a company we recently interviewed, has released its latest online newsletter (which you can view by clicking here).

Specifically, the newsletter discusses how company CEO Tim Doelman recently had a podium finish at the Sea Otter Classic, while Web 2.0 super geek, Michael Don won the Run for the Roses 10K.  The newsletter also has a few recent blogs posted on the Athletes Milk Web site regarding stretching, working vs. working out, and an inspirational story about a runner many people doubted. (Link originally found courtesy of Athletes HoneyMilk Facebook page.)

I am all for sharing similar newsletters, pages, etc., so if you have something news worthy, feel free to get in touch! 🙂

Alamedarunners and civic duty

Alamedarunners went to a town hall meeting with our local councilman who is running for mayor on the platform.  Alameda is a small city of about 70,000 people located between Oakland and San Francisco.

I don’t know how it is with all politicians but Frank is doing it a little at a time.  His meeting had about 18 people in attendance including one guy who seemed to have a bit too much to drink before he arrived.  He was deftly handled by Frank on most occasions.  Here is a quick outline of what we covered.  Please forgive any inaccuracies as I am doing the best I can here.

As you may know, we at are getting involved in local politics in an attempt to make some improvements in our running options.  We already have a great area for running but we are trying to make it better.

First order:  “Support Alameda business”.
Next:  Today is Earth day, keep Alameda green:
Discussed various options regarding cycling and bike riding in the city.
Legislation passed – No Styrofoam takeout containers, working on limiting plastic grocery bags.
City policy for clean vehicles – Frank has an electric car for use in and around the city.  The city issues translink passes to city employees.  Para transit buses loop Alameda for free use by people over 62 or handicapped.  Alameda has a contract with ACI for waste removal.  ACI has replaced 3 trucks with  natural gas trucks and is moving to convert the whole fleet that is used on Alameda Island.

Alameda power is generated with an 85% carbon free foot print.  Approximately 50% of the power generated is from renewable resources.  $300-$350 million has been spent to date on hazardous waste cleanup at the old Alameda Point Naval station.

Alameda Point is planting trees with formerly homeless people as workers.  Alameda has community gardens that we are encouraged to take advantage of.  Everyone is responsible to look at what we are doing to the environment.  Tune in to what we are doing and do what we can to make things better.  We need to change our behavior and encourage environment awareness in others.

As runners or people who enjoy the great outdoors, it is our responsibility to help form the policies to keep our trails open and keep them sustainable for the future generations.  This is not just an Alameda issue, it is an issue for everyone in the world.  We are learning how to treat the environment responsibly.  We need to do the best we can to protect the environment.

It is a bonus if we can protect the environment while we get to live the good life.  We are doing our part by getting out and working with the politicians who are willing to help.  I encourage you all to do the same.

Just a friendly reminder for all S.F. East Bay runners who want to run a 5K this weekend (and for a good cause).

There will be a 100-yard dash at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, with a 5K run scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.  (All participants in the 100-yard dash who are 10 or younger will receive a ribbon.)

There is no registration for the 100-yard dash, while the 5K will cost $25 per person or $50 for a family.

Here is what Christine Strena, Alameda Education Foundation Director, said to reporters:

The first 150 5K runners to check in will get T-shirts donated by Alameda Town Centre.

“We hope 200 participants will register and are really excited about this year’s event,” Strena said.

Proceeds will be used to support classroom grants and athletic programs in Alameda public schools, such as middle-school volleyball, basketball and track.

“We would love to raise several thousand dollars, but $2,000 would be great,” said Strena.

On-site registration is available at 8 a.m. at Shoreline and Park Street (in the parking lot near Sushi House).  You can also register at Alameda

This is the type of event I would normally jump all over — but I’m still unsure if I’ll be able to move after running the Wildcat Half on Saturday.  If my legs don’t feel like jello on Sunday morning, I think I’m down for running a 5K on Sunday.

(The Alameda Town Centre image is courtesy of Flickr / Blind Grasshopper.)

I’m running the Wildcat Half Marathon trail race this Saturday, so my mind continues to wander towards the topic of trail running quite a bit throughout the day.  What’s going to happen on Saturday?  Have I prepared properly? Am I going to suffer more than I expect?

The training is done, so I’ll find out how well prepared I am when it comes down to race time on Saturday.  I’ve learned some tricky little lessons while running in the Coyote Hills and Marin Headlands during training runs leading up to the Oakland Half Marathon — and can’t wait to see how badly my legs explode on Saturday morning.

This recent blog posted on lists the basics of trail racing, why usual pacing speeds can be forgotten about, and how to properly refuel and hydrate during the event.

Certain races are completely unsupported; participants are expected to carry all of their own calories and water or at least arrange their own support crew. At the other end are the bigger ultras, where aid stations look like the Saturday night buffet at a Las Vegas casino… everything from soup to baked potatoes to lasagne.  Most races fall somewhere in between these two extremes, but racers need to be mindful that locating an aid station in a place without access roads or running water can be challenging and amenities may not be available at conventional intervals. Check your race’s website or email the race director for information on the locations of aid on the course.

I plan on carrying my Fuel Belt Sahara (22 oz.) Palm Holder during the race, so I have some water between aid stations.  This is my first trail race, but I’ve learned what it’s like to be thirsty and hungry on long runs — and I’ve also listened to race experiences from Ted and other trail runners.

Regardless of the pain I’ll be in on Saturday, I can’t wait for the experience.

Thanks to @iRunNation for originally posting the link on Twitter.  I highly recommend following @iRunNation and occasionally visiting the Web site, as it has a good amount of useful information.

This post is not just for the Alameda runners.  It is for everyone who gets out to do things.  If you enjoy using parks, trails and running areas, you should make your voice heard.  We are going to visit Frank Matarrese (who hopes to become mayor of Alameda) to ask for  his assistance in getting us access to our local community college track.  We understand that using this track is a privilege and not a right.  It would be a right if we paid for it but we did not.  If you want something that you think may be a privilege for the public, you will have to work for it.  Realize the political world moves very slowly and you have to be patient.

I am not asking anyone to vote for Frank.  I am asking everyone to get involved in the process.  So far, Frank has done his part and we are doing ours.  It may or may not end up with us being allowed to use the track but we are trying.

We are going to visit Frankformayor at one of his campaign events on Thursday, April 22, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.   It will be located at the High Street Station Cafe 1303 High Street at Encinal Ave., in Alameda.  Come join us in our quest to open the track.  It will also give you a great insight into your election process by actually working with one of the candidates in a cause.

This weekend I’m running the Wildcat Half Marathon hosted by Brazen Racing, a tough race that will be my second half marathon.  It takes place in the Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, which will provide tough terrain but extremely scenic views.

I recently interviewed Sam (the boss man at Brazen), and the article can be found here.

Brazen will also host a 10K and 5K on Saturday morning, though I already decided to extend the punishment my legs will get by signing up for the half.  The half marathon course is mainly fire trails in the park, with 2,204′ of total elevation gain for everyone running 13.1 miles.

I’ve enjoyed all of the trail runs I’ve done in the past (even though I’m still new to running in general), and know that this will be a great challenge on Saturday.  I had a blast helping pace people during the Oakland Half Marathon — I hope I’m able to remember the lessons learned from that day.

For example, I know I have to run at my own pace, don’t speed up even if I’m feeling good, and stay hydrated.  I know what it feels like to crack, but I’ve learned to do a better job of controlling it.

I just confirmed with Sam that spots are still available in the race, with race day registration also open to interested procrastinators.

Thursday is Earth Day!

April 22 (Thursday) will be Earth Day, a day dedicated to our wonderful planet.  We’ll be able to watch the first green supersonic jet launch on Thursday, and can look forward to 50 green Apple iPhone apps to celebrate the 40th Earth Day.

Earth Day has developed into an international day of celebration that is now acknowledged by 1.5 billion people.  As athletes we often see views of the world only a small number of people are able to enjoy, such as the top of hills and mountains, lakes and oceans up close, and exploring the woods.

After running in Coyote Hills last weekend, I discovered a copy of the Tri-City Voice inside the Coyote Hills Visitor Center – and the front page of the April 14 – April 20 edition has a great front page spread about Earth Day.

Specifically, the newspaper’s article is best for S.F. East Bay residents — but the start of  Earth Day also is listed in the second paragraph of the article written by Sargunjot Kaur.

For those in the East Bay, here is one of many events scheduled:

East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) will also be celebrating Earth Day by enhancing existing trails and constructing new trails for Regional Parks through the Ivan Dickson Trail Project. Since 1996, the project has managed over 121 trails with the help of nearly 6,000 volunteers and 25,000 plus volunteer labor hours. Maintenance projects will include pruning, erosion control, post installation, trail improvements, and new trail construction.

As athletes and beginner triathletes look to sign up for new events, some people show interest in purchasing a triathlon bike.  For a regular cyclist who has never ridden — or may not have seen triathlon bikes up close — it can be a relatively frightening experience.

(I remember my first ride on a bike built specifically for time trials – and it was a very unique experience, even after years of cycling and mountain biking.)

To hopefully make it easier, here is a short blog posted on Competitor Triathlon that discusses triathlon bike geometry, positioning, and the basic differences between road bikes and triathlon bikes.

Short blurb about some tri-specific geometry:

“Triathlon bikes have a steeper effective seat tube angle than road bikes. This moves the rider further forward relative to the cranks and allows the rider to get low in the front without discomfort in the hips. Tweak the geometry in a few more places to accommodate a lower position and improve stability, slap an aerobar under the rider’s elbow and you have a tri bike.”

The article is short and precise, easy to understand, and is quite informative.  (Kudos to @TriathleteMag for tweeting this great link a few days ago.)