Monday, March 31, 2008


As further heat training, today I spent a half-hour before my run in the sauna with temps hitting 195 degrees F. I spent most of the time doing sit-ups, leg-lifts and crunches. Then I spent the last 10 minutes pacing back and forth at a brisk pace. Overall, it is getting very comfortable in the sauna. I then did a nice easy 4 mile run to stay loose for this Saturday's AR 50 miler.

After the run, I decided to try some more heat training. This time I opted for the steam room as I have the Florida Keys Ultra 100 coming up in about 6 weeks and felt the humidity/heat training would be good.

I swear, it felt impossible to get a lungfull of oxygen (maybe this will help with my altitude training for Leadville and MontBlanc) and HOLY SHI! was it hot! The steam made it seem so f'n hot. I lasted 10 minutes and then decided I had the choice of fainting at the feet of two naked guys sitting next to me or leaving.
I opted for leaving.

I then went back to the 195 degree sauna and it felt almost cold by comparison.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Well, things appear to be going my way....I just learned yesterday that my lottery application for a summit climbing permit for Mt. Whitney for July 16th was awarded! This is the last day of the Badwater Race and my birthday. It is aggresively optimistic, but I would love to buckle Badwater, which means I have to finish before the end of the 15th. Then I'll crawl into bed with a cold beer in my belly and hopefully ascend Mt. Whitney the next day. The permit is good for 6 people, so that includes me and any of my crew plus I may have room for one or two others.

Thus, the plan is to go within a 3 day period from the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere to the highest point in the contiguous United States. Ouch!


I have been increasing my hot weather training the best as I can. I have used my stationary bike with heat lamps placed around it and a space heater blowing in my face.

The other day I picked up my desert running hat and have been running my training runs in it to get used to the added head cover and the feel of the hat/flaps.

I have also been using the men's locker room sauna at the local gym. I tend to go in after my runs and stay between 20 minutes to 30 minutes. I start with about 5 minutes just sitting in the sauna between 190 and 195 degrees and then I get up and spend the next 15 to 25 minutes pacing back and forth or doing sit-ups(sometimes wearing a fleece jacket over my running top). I plan on increasing the length of time in the sauna to at least one hour.

Overall, the high temps are not too bad - maybe my self-created automobile sauna (windows rolled up, heater on full blast, wearing a wool jacket) might have helped a bit. This sauna is a lot more comfortable than the auto-sauna or other options.


Well, my physical therapy really seems to be working. Dr. Hal and Steve (the P.T.) both at ChiroMedical Group have been working kinks out of my lower back and piriformis. I have noticed a definite improvement. I did a great 16 mile trail run over the weekend at about a 4 hour 50km pace. I followed that up with a 7 miler, a 10 miler (sub 7 minute miles), another 7 miler, and yesterday did 21 miles at around 3:15 marathon pace. Never felt any knee/ankle pain from the piriformis. At times felt some tightness and soreness in the piriformis itself, but overall that 21 mile run gives me some confidence for AR 50 miler, RA 100km and the Keys Ultra 100 coming up.

Monday, March 24, 2008


This is the first official line-up of the “Get That Lazy Ass of Alan’s Across The Badwater 135 Finish-line Crew".

These three have unwisely…I mean graciously volunteered to assist me in this endeavor. My plan is to get at least one more member and one alternate in case of a last minute scheduling issue.

Short intros:

Chris Pickett is my brother-in-law (pictured above with my sis and their daughter Winter). He routinely exercises and has helped support in various ways both my mother and sister when they did the Breast Cancer multi-day walks. He is also the owner of a possible support van that he has offered up for the cause.

Rajeev Patel is a friend from years ago with whom I have recently become reacquainted with via ultramarathoning. He is the Race Director of the Ruth Anderson Ultraruns and a finisher of numerous ultramarathons. He has crewed and supported runners in the past and has coached with the Team Asha group. Raj will serve as the Crew Captain.

Willy Nevin is a long time friend and co-founder of the San Francisco Triathlon Club. He and I have suffered some heat racing when we did the Kona ½ Ironman together (above). He is also a finisher of the Furnace Creek 508 – a 508 mile bike race through Death Valley. Here is his race report: He also has a support van all set-up for racing support that he has offered up to the cause.

The old saying is CREW stands for Cranky Runner Endless Waiting. We shall see - no doubt I'll get cranky, but I will do my best to keep the waiting to a minimum (less than 60 hours anyway).

Here is my fundraising site – please go there and donate to the Challenged Athletes Foundation - and then send the link to everyone you have ever known, met, seen, heard of, or spoken with in your entire life – even those you see walking, sleeping or driving down the street telling them about the race and the CAF (it is for a GREAT cause):
Endurazone Fundraising

For more information about the race, here is the official website – it is full of great info:

....and did I mention my fundraising site? Endurazone Fundraising

TRAINING EVENTS: I will be traveling down to Death Valley at least once or twice before the race to do some training runs. My therapy is progressing and my body is recovering. I did a great 16 mile trail run Saturday averaging a nice clip. Today I did a bit over 10 at just under 7 minute mile pace. Looking forward to the Death Valley training runs.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


As mentioned in the post Close Call below, I was running and was nearly hit by an out-of-control car.

Well, when I climbed down the ravine to help carry out the boy, it has now become obvious that there was poison oak in the ravine. I don't think I came in direct contact, but my right arm that I wrapped around the boy to carry him is now covered in a poison oak rash, as is a little of my same side and my right knee.

I guess the car landed in a patch of that fun plant. While I am itching a bit, I feel real bad for the young driver and her son as they must be covered in it from getting out of the car and climbing through it (and she returned once too to look for her cell phone). They must be miserable now.

As I hear the trail at the American River 50 miler that I am running in a few weeks has lots of poison oak, I'll just put this down as "conditioning".

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I have decided to join the fund-raising efforts for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). I am using my Badwater Ultramarathon as a means to raise funds for CAF to help it help people with physical disabilities pursue an active lifestyle through physical fitness and athletics. CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, competitive lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love.

This is a great cause that I first started supporting and for whom I raised funds back in 2002 for the San Diego Triathlon Challenge. I have been amazed at the results that the CAF has produced, helping numerous challenged athletes not only compete in and finish marathons, triathlons and other events - but to grow to the point of crossing the finish line at the Hawaii Ironman! It is great that I can combine my athletic endeavors with such a worthwhile cause.

If you would like to contribute to this cause (no amount is too small) please use this link, click "Sponsor Fundraiser" tab and enter my name: BADWATER CAF

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I sometimes get so caught up at work that I end up missing my run or having to cut it short. So, I decided to order some inspiration that I will look at and it will motivate me to get out behind my desk and out on the road. I found that on eBay and purchased this print:

The photographer gave me permission to host this image. His name is Gordon Hastings and he is specialized in photographing landmark sites across California and the Southwest. All his images are hand printed on silver gelatin paper. Each image is limited to a maximum of 24 prints and he also provides a written narrative for each photograph setting the context for the location and image. He sells a lot of his work on ebay (for unbelievably low prices) - his ebay name is: f128shooter
This will be hung above my desk and will hopefully help me escape my office and get my butt out there on the road.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I have been thinking about Badwater and trying to come up with good heat acclimation ideas. Over the weekend, I purchased some heat lamps and indoor thermometer and will set them up around a treadmill and/or my bike trainer in a small enclosed area so as to make my own "sauna". My friend Eric is also sponsoring me for a gym membership at Oracle so I can start utilizing their "real" sauna.

I have also been utilizing this technique that I read about on the Badwater blog - anytime I drive, I push the heater up full blast as hot as it goes (my car goes 90 degrees F) with the windows up and usually I put on a heavy wool coat. This really gets the sweat going....which reminds me, I need a new car freshener.



Sunday I was out doing my long trail run in the hills. Had a really good run with only minor irritation in my piriformis. On the way out the park I was running down the road. About 200 feet ahead of me I saw a black car suddenly swerve between two other cars (it appeared the driver attempted to avoid an opossum in the road...unfortunately for the animal it was already dead, I noticed it on the run up earlier that day). After just missing the two cars, it over-corrected and spun 180 degrees and was flying backwards...directly at me. Not a lot of fun realizing a car is barreling down on you and not being sure if it will go straight, left or right. I dashed into the two lanes (luckily there was no on-coming traffic) about 1 second before the car flew over exactly where I had just been standing. It then went off the road down the embankment.

I pulled out my blackberry and called 911. I climbed down the hill and helped the driver and carried her son of around 4 or 5 out of the car. Luckily they were not hurt.

Later that day I witnessed more speeding vehicles when I watched my eldest son win a trophy at his Scout's Pinewood Derby races. I enjoyed that a lot more than the morning experience.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


My employer's North American headquarters is in Morristown, New Jersey. This was the site of General George Washington's headquarters during the Revolutionary War. The patriots used a path to transport weapons and supplies to the troops. Today that path, along with some abandoned railroad lines, form the Patriots Path. I run this path each time in NJ and took my blackberry with me yesterday to snap some some photos.

I pick up the trail near what appears to be an old mill and waterfall.

While not exactly the most condusive for my Badwater heat training, the trail was beautiful.

The trail winds along some rivers and streams.

And crosses some old country roads and bridges.

A front with a lot of wind and rain came in last night (beat across my hotel room window all night). The run on the trail today should be fun, muddy and slippery. I'm off now to find out.


Well, I did the run. The rain certainly swelled the streams and the waterfall.

At times the streams would overflow their banks turning the woods into swamps:

I was intending to do 10 miles (5 out and back). But came across this at around 3.5 miles and with no way around (and not wanting to do a swim-bike biathlon this morning), ended the morning with 7 miles.

Kind of like this:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


My feet are almost recovered from RR100 and the training miles. Here are my battle scars: 3 black toenails about to fall off, the nail that has fallen off and the skin peeling away from my blisters. Fun stuff!