Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mt. Hamilton Hill Climb Time Trial

I've got 4 followers! I thought I had zero. OK, now I feel bad I've neglected this blog for months. Mostly I post on Facebook now, but I do like the better graphics here. I'll try not to go so long w/o checking in...

Thanksgiving is becoming traditional now for Ferrel and I to do the Low Key Hill Climb series finale, climbing Mt. Hamilton from Alum Rock Rd. Rick was a somewhat sniffle'y and not in top form. I was feeling pretty good and was able to put in a strong hard effort all the way to the top. Rick went 10 minutes over last year's time, and I clipped 11 minutes off mine - sweet!.... but he still beat me by a mile, even with my half hour lead. Ferrel's tough. Beautiful weather, beautiful fall colors, and it's always inspiring to be at the first great astronomical observatory in the United States - Lick Observatory, on top of the mountain and at the finish line. By the time we were back at the car, it was 40 miles and 5,000 ft of climbing, on the nose. A good guilt-reducer for the feasting to follow. More pix are posted here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Celebrating 1/2 Century of Personal Astronomy

50 years! Could it really be that long ago? My first contact with astronomy - a notice in the LA Times about a solar eclipse on July 20, 1963, which I watched and saw it unfold just as predicted. The 10 year old me was enthralled they could calculate these things with such accuracy. So rational, so beautiful. And nothing addresses the Big Questions like Astronomy. Today, to celebrate, I decided to visit a newly re-accessible place - a beautiful place I had not been to in 1/4 century. Five Finger Falls, which had been cut off by a landslide from the lower Nicene Marks State Park soon after the great Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989. I'd last visited Five Finger Falls in 1988, with Cabrillo's Sandy Lydon's "History of Nicene Marks" class. This time, I would do a "brick" (a bike+run) in prep for my Donner Lake Triathlon next weekend. I would bike from downtown Santa Cruz, up to the epicenter where the trail begins, and do a 9 mile run up to the falls and back, and then bike home. See more pix here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Gentleman's Half Marathon

I'm way behind in my postings. Egged on by Ferrell, last night I got the March 17 Paso Robles GrapeStomp Half Marathon adventure run through Photoshop and posted. I had a great time, even though I was not run ready, dealing with a hip injury, and planned from the start to be photographer for Rick Ferrell, biking the distance. Enjoy the story...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cleared for take-off

It's now been 6 years since my surgery. I'd worried this Spring about my nagging hip pain on running, to the point I worried the bone/metal interface might be in trouble. Seeing local orthopedist Dr. Christoffersen didn't allay fears, as his blanket recommendation for anyone with a hip implant was "don't run! Period!". However, he was unfamiliar with the Biomet cementless system and the excellent record of Dr. Gross, so I was highly skeptical of the advice. I got X-rays, which showed an unlikely but possible separation at the terminal edge of the bone/metal interface. However, metal ion levels were quite normal, and the pain symptoms didn't match what you'd expect from a loosening. Got a bone scan and it showed only the normal bone rebuilding to be expected throughout the femoral head and acetabulum from the ongoing rebuilding from the severe osteoporosis I had and the running stresses I do to stimulate bone repair. My surgeon agreed with the diagnosis and my main theory - tendinitis from the metal edge - as the most likely pain source. Rx is lots more stretching and strengthening. I'm cleared to run! And have been. Including a recent gratifying run up to UCSC to celebrate the new Hyades supercomputer system introduction
   The layoff during these medical uncertainties seemed to do me good, and I'm now able to run reasonable distances w/o significant pain.
   Did the run at the Wildflower Triathlon at Lake San Antonio and here's the story. And this past week, did the Uvas Reservoir Triathlon. Now, on this one, I did the bike and had a fast transition and IMMEdiately felt the hip tendinitis when I started to run. A painful debilitated 10K set a new record for me - slowest 10K ever! But the day was still quite fun to look back on and glad for having jumped in. Enjoy the pix.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rio Resolution 10K Run Pix

Sprained my ankle yesterday, running up to UCSC to listen to a talk on new evidence on the Earth's impact history during the Archean period. Alas, it swelled up, and today I'm sidelined from doing the Terra Bella Century as I'd planned. Took some time this early morning to finish the post page for the Jan 1 Rio Resolution Run. Enjoy the pix!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

60 for 60

Too many friends the past 2 years have been going "Skalk!", clutching their chest, and getting bad news from the heart specialists. Better athletes than I. Stronger, lower heart rates... and better family history genetics so far as can be determined too. Of course I'm worried for their sake. I'm also wondering about my own ticker. I scheduled a stress EKG test. I've always had good low blood pressure (112/72 typical). I've got no symptoms when doing "hard exercise", but how hard HAS been my exercise, since my left hip issues slow me down before I get a chance to really work hard?  I decided to take the opportunity to do my 60 mile standard Saturday ride (InShape gym - Corralitos - Eureka Canyon - Highland Way, to Summit Store where I treat myself to a sandwich, then on to Hwy 17, down Mtn Charlie to Scotts Valley, Granite Creek, to Branciforte Rd, up  to Mtn View, up the steep climb to St. Clares Retreat, down to Castelegno's, Old San Jose Rd, to Soquel, to Capitola and the gym. But this time, I'd make a point of doing it hard, and especially on the steepest sections to go hard, and this time wearing my rarely used heart monitor. My highest heart rate was on Mtn View up to St. Clares Retreat - at mile 54. 162 bpm. As a 20 yr old, I once had it up to 210, climbing 11,500 ft Mt. San Gorgonio. And even in my early 40's I did a max heart rate test on my own, and found it was 182. Now, at 60, I suppose it should be a bit lower. Still, I didn't feel I had gone completely all out - my legs were feeling the burn from a hilly 9 mile run 2 days before. The point is, I felt no heart symptoms (pain in chest, pains in jaw, neck, left shoulder, dizziness, shortness of breath). That's got to be good, right? Will look forward to my stress EKG. It's in a month.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Desert Trail Running

I've been eager for a chance to go trail running in the desert ever since last year's Death Valley weekend. It's a long drive, and I need an extra motivation to get out there - it came with the opportunity to help Dave Wyman teach our annual Route 66 Photo Workshop. The workshop didn't start till Sunday night, so I had a chance to spend all day Sunday running and exploring the slot canyons in the famous fossil beds north of Barstow... Owl Canyon Running

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


On Friday I did one of my favorite new habits - run from home up through the Pogonip to UC Santa Cruz to attend one of the weekly astronomy, physics, or geophysics seminars. In this case, the IGPP Friday seminar, on chondritic meteorite age dating and what they reveal about the major impact events in the history of our solar system. It's a 9 mile total run. But after 3 miles I could tell my hip was not good. I didn't want to be late so I pressed on, and figured the ~70 minute rest during the seminar would give enough recovery for a relatively pain-free run back down the mountain before it got dark. But, this one hurt. What's interesting is that my left hip "clunk" which disappeared about ~18 months after my '07 surgery with strengthening and stretching, is back (to a minor extent). Not painful, but perhaps predisposes me to painful runs. Maybe the ~1000 mi/yr pace of the first 2.5 weeks of the year was too much, combined with missing a couple days of roller work? I'm speculating, don't really have answers. Anyway, I can still bike and swim OK, which is what I've done the past 3 days. Enjoyed biking around Pescadero (sunset pic above) and harvesting kiwis on Sunday.  Back to heavy roller work. We shall see...

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Fall Creek Runners High

A frosty morning to try a new trail - at Fall Creek State Park. I wanted to test my mettle after a long 60 mile frosty ride yesterday, with a 9 mile run today - again in prep for a Yosemite ski backpack next weekend. I'm gratified it all went very well. Awesomel scenery and very quiet trails. I ran to the tippy top of the Park on the Truck Trail, then back down to the Big Ben trail, to Fall Creek, and then miles of beautiful creekside running back to the start. No issues with my usual soft spots - again thanks (I assume) to the diligent scar tissue breakup work with the roller.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cold Training

I hope to do a solo XC ski backpack in Yosemite next weekend. I celebrated my hours of Astro classes prep this week with a little Cold Training to prepare for Yosemite. My favorite long ride - 60 miles into the mountains and redwoods north of Santa Cruz on a very crisp January morning. My toes were not happy as I pedaled up Eureka Canyon with my cyclocomputer's thermometer reading 41F, and I couldn't wait to switchback up higher and get out of the cold air pooling along the canyon, and maybe see some sun. Turns out, I'd miss those balmy 41F miles, because as I climbed higher the thermometer dropped further. 37F as I got to Ormsby and headed downhill towards Camp Loma. As I got into the sun later, the temp climbed back up to 40F as I arrived at Summit Store and had my little reward - an avo+kale sandwich - and bantered with a few hardy mountain bikers sharing the patio. Darn if the temps didn't drop back to 37F as I continued on to Mountain Charlie Road and the bumpy descent to Scotts Valley. I nursed my Cliff bar and Chomps for every calorie. Arriving back at InShape gym, I couldn't feel my feet as I hobbled in on frozen stumps, and a welcome soak in the hot tub. Maybe that wasn't so bad! Next weekend in the snow will be great.