Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monserate Moment

On Tuesday, I climbed Monserate. For all of its beautiful Italian name, I would venture to say that it is easily the most grinding mountain that I train on. Located about 20 yards from the freeway, its an old hardscrabble eroded trail that climbs 1200 feet in 1.9 miles. It is surrounded by avocado farms, and the whole way up, I have to crank up my radio up to 11 to drown out the trucks on the freeway. When you get to the top, I'd like to say that the whole horizon opens up, with stunning views from Palomar to the ocean available. Instead, essentially you look down into some guy's pool. I've never even seen a hot chick sunbathing next to it. Even Jerry Schad has nothing nice to say about this trail.
Having said all that, I love to train on it. It is hardass. There's no flowers, no wildlife, no distractions. Just hot climbing. Bring it.

Did an up and back during the middle of the day on the way back from a meeting, which is always nice to break it up. Did the climb in 32 minutes which is a good sign. Was going to do a double, but duty called at work, so had to hustle back after just one trip. Made up for it by doing a good hour with Gator in the AM at a decent tempo, then 2:15 in the western fortuna hills including the Fortuna double north and south, shepardson canyon, and a bushwack to the top of Portabello hill. The highlight may have been finding a small horned lizard, my second in a week. These little guys are hard to find, so that was a good spot. Still no good pics however.

Run tonight felt pretty good. It was much cooler for some reason (only low 70's), so my frozen water didn't melt, leaving me pretty thirsty. My latest trick before runs has been nibbling on pretzels to up my salt intake to avoid cramps. So far, so good. I've felt a little full, but no cramps at all, so I'm going to stick with it for now. I'll leave the chia seeds for Scotty.

A lovely view from about 1/4 up Monserate. This was taken in 2006 just after everything burned, making it even more lovely than it is now . . .

The beautiful commanding view of the water tank from the top of Monserate.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mission Trails Hero, Part 2

So, my goal on Sunday, after two days of partying with my favorite pseudo super heroes and manga loving perverted old men was to crank out 3 laps of my course. Unfortunately, with guests in town, I didn't get out there until 1:40 PM. By that time, the temps were in the mid-90's. Gulp. So I loaded up my pack with 4 bottles and off I went. I was at the saddle in 35 minutes, which is my first goal, but things started to go downhill from there. With the heat from the clay soil baking my face like a piece of tandoori chickent, my legs got heavy and my bottles got emptier. I believe I had the early symptoms of heat sickness, getting lighthead and nauseous. My pace slowed to a crawl as I forced myself over South Fortuna and down the backside through Oak Canyon to the car. Ah, sweet AC. I had gone through 100 oz of liquid in 2 hours and 20 min.

With 60 oz . of water left, having spent 20 min bringing my temps down in the AC, I headed out again, with the temperature having dropped to a chilly 89 degrees. The second lap actually went better than the first. I made it around again in the same time, 2 hours 20 min., which tells me that a lot of that first lap was problems with the heat, not my legs, so that was good.

My adventure this time was on the second lap. As I came through Oak Creek Canyon, I ran into a lady and her dog. The woman was obviously upset and kept shifting from one foot to another. "There's a snake up there," she said, "and it won't move."
"What kind?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said. Since she didn't say rattlesnake, I figured it was probably a king snake or gopher snake coming out. Wrong. On the thinnest section of trail in the whole park sat a 2 foot ornery rattler, easily the orneriest one I've ever come across. The woman said she had thrown some rocks at it. Well, again, rattlers move when disturbed, so she must have hysterically chucked some gravel at it and missed.

I'll take care of this, I figured, picking up a baseball sized rock. An underhanded lob and PLOP it landed right on his midsection. The snake did not budge. I couldn't believe it. I picked up another and threw it with some velocity, nailing it again. Again, it held its position, rattle going full speed. There was no way around this guy either. The trail was probably 18 inches wide, and he was smack in the middle of it. We could have gone back over a hill, but I thought I could take care of it.

Looking around, I found a dead tree branch, about 4 foot long with some branched at the end. I picked it up and used it as a snake handling stick, entangling the snake in the twigs at the end and then lifting him off the trail. As I did so, he struck 4 TIMES at the branch, the whole thing shaking each time with the violence of his bite. Finally, I used the stick to trap the snake and urged the lady to come through while I still had control.

Unfortunately, the lady had freaked out by this point and froze right behind me.
"How sure are you that you have it?" she asked.
"Well, ninety-five percent sure." Wrong answer. She wouldn't budge. Finally, I picked the snake up again and forced it another two feet up the hill, but I could see him squirming.
"Lady," I said, "this is it. Now or never." She finally went behind me as I used the stick and my body to shield her and her dog. Then I left that crabby snake to himself and picked up my run home with some extra pep in my step.

Never a dull moment at Mission Trails. Tomorrow will be a double ascent of Monserate, which is 1200 feet of gain over a little less than 2 miles, then a run down the ridge, a few hundred more feet of up just for a kick in the pants, then all the way down to start one more time. Think it will be a good one. A lot like Fred's, and it will be hot, but I've done it before, and its not too bad, just steady. Again, good practice for Fred's and the rest of the race. Wednesday will be speed work, probably in the canyon, while Thursday will be an easy day. Loose plan is to get up to the mountains on Sunday for a San Gorgonio climb. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two laps!

Finally, two laps! As a reminder, each lap was about 1600 feet of climbing and 9.3 miles. My goal was to do the first lap in 2 hours and to do the second lap in enough time to equal 25 miles in 6 hours. My general plan is to do the first Teton lap in 6 hours, and try to get 8 hours in each subsequent lap. That would be 30 hours, which I think is not going to happen. I think I'll be a little over 8 hours at least, but if I can get the first lap in 6 hours, that means that I have to run about 20 minute miles to put me in at 31 hours. That would be pretty sweet and certainly plausible.

Anyways, to meet that pace, 25 miles in 6 hours, I needed to be able to do the first lap in about 2 hours and the second lap by 4:25 (figuring that I will need to do about 14 minute pace). It was a bit cooler than it has been (only 83 at the start) so that helped. I made it to the saddle in 35 minutes, which was about what I had planned. The climb up Fortuna was a grind, but on the way down I saw a San Diego Horned Lizard, which are relatively hard to see. They are getting rarer because their food source, which are native California ants, is disappearing due to competition from invading Argentine Ants. San Diego Horned Lizards won't eat them for some reason. Just fussy I guess. According to the web site where I found this picture, the poor guy pictured below had a honey do list.

The trip down from the saddle went well, and I was back at the truck at 1:55. I took 5 minutes to reload my water and gu's and grab my flashlight. Heading out again, my legs felt all right, and I was on top of the saddle again in the same time it took me to get there on the first lap. Unfortunately, it started to go a little south from there. I really started feeling tired on my next trip up Fortuna, and had to break out the flashlight.

The technical trail at night started to slow me down at night. It was difficult to pick out a good line as there was not a lot of depth perception. As I got to the saddle, there was a group of people coming up in the pitch dark with glow bracelets around their heads and wrists and no lights. I don't know who had the idea to have a rave on top of Fortuna, but I can think of better places. Don't know what kind of sound system they could carry up there . . .

Footing down the saddle was difficult, like skiing in the dark with a penlight, but made it down and stumbled through the tech trail, making it to the road, where I almost got hit by a bat. The run ended with the coyotes calling on Kway Paay. Total time: 4:15, 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Had it not been nightime technical trail, I think I could have shaved another 5 to 10 minutes off of that, so the run was a success.

By the end of the first lap, I was soaking wet. I think I sweat more than anyone I've ever met. So I was changing in the dark parking lot at 9:30 PM when a couple of guys pulled up in a jeep and got more of a full moon than they were expecting. Oops.

Probably no run today to give me some time to recover. I will try to grab a short one in the AM, but want to rest for a 3 lap effort on Sunday . . .

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Overdue update!

Man, its been a while. Sorry about that for the 3 or 4 people that actually stop by and spend some time reading this. So it started with my attempt at a double on Thursday. I wanted to do 2 laps of the Mission Gorge course in 4 hours, which I knew would mean 18.6 miles with about 3400 feet of climbing, right on par with the first 2/3 of a loop of the hundred. The run went pretty well, but real life intruded and I had to abort the second loop after making it up to the saddle, but I did the first loop in 1:50 and was on the exact same pace on loop 2. I had to leave off the loop from the saddle through the third climb and South Fortuna, but was able to do the rest and felt strong. Here are some pics looking down the saddle and back up the saddle. They don't call this the wall for nothing! And the footing is extra treacherous with loose DG all the way down so it is more like skiing than running. This was demonstrated all too clearly, but we'll talk about that towards the end of this entry.

Looking up the saddle.

Looking down the saddle. Not a fun run down, as you will read . . .

After that was an easy run to end my training week on that Friday morning just to stretch the legs. Then it was a long trip to Chicago. The drive from Chicago to Holland, Michigan was super boring and full of construction. It was a shrine to orange barrels, although the way back, where you could see all the rusty buildings, power lines, and burned out housing projects was probably worse. Anyways, took Saturday off and Sunday was an easy run with my brother and brother in law up Mount Pisgah, which is a sand dune you used to be able to run up, but now have to take stairs. Lame. Anyways, its about 160 foot climb in a quarter mile up some steps, so it was a good workout with some really fun sandy rolling trails through the woods afterwards.

Mount Pisgah Stairs looking down

Mount Pisgah Stairs looking up

Monday was 1:45 in the canyon with speedwork. Felt good to stretch my legs.

Today was an adventure. I was going to do 2 laps, but was thwarted again. Was a little slow on my first lap, but doing OK when I was coming down off South Fortuna. Suddenly, I saw a red and white helicopter circling North Fortuna which then came straight for me. He looked at me, then flew back towards North Fortuna. Then I started down from the saddle. I was about halfway down when a woman came running up towards me. "Are you the medic?" she asked. "My brother is unconscious and covered in blood." I said I wasn't, but sprinted for the top of the saddle to signal the helicopter. Reaching the saddle, I was able to get the helicopter's attention, and they lowered a guy via a cable. We then made our way to the fallen mountain biker who had gone over his handlebars when he wiped out on the loose DG I had been talking about earlier. We all pitched in to help to get him secured. They then hoisted him out, and I helped bring the bike back to the parking lot, but my 2 lap run was shot again. Hmmm. I'm hoping the karma will help me more than the extra lap would have. The guy looks like he's going to be OK, with just a minor concussion and a lot of road rash. Yikes!

Arriving helicopter.

His sister and friend helping to get him secured.

The guy was messed up with the biggest fat lip I've ever seen and lots of nasty road rash, but still managed to try to smile for his picture. Tough hombre. Nicely done.

Hauling him up to the helicopter . . .

. . . and off to the hospital.

Comic-con week. We'll see what goes down running wise. I'll be getting my geek on all week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Daily Double

I forget what the title is from, but doubled up today, and put myself in jeopardy. Get it? HA!
I am training every day, for several days in a row, because I am going to miss out on a weekend of training. But last night, real life got in the way, so that meant two today to make up. I went out on a rather flat 2 hour tempo run in the canyon in the AM that went remarkably well. However, because it was extra muggy out, by the time I got back, my clothes were all a different color from all the sweat gathered in them. Ringing out my shirt, I was able to almost fill the sink. Cool.

For my afternoon run, I headed out for an easy hour at Mission Trails. The legs took a while to kick in, but then I settled into a slow rhythm. On the way up the Quarry Trail, I saw a guy frozen in place. Looking down, I saw the rattler along the trail between him and me. I would say during summer, I see one a week, either in the canyon or at Mission Trails. Seeing two of us, the sucker realized he was outnumbered and headed back into the bushes. However, this was, as you will see, just part of his master plan.

I continued up over Quarry Hill, then down to the Rim Trail. However, where you had been able to skirt the construction earlier, they had constructed a new fence to stop poachers like me. Jerks. So I decided to retrace my steps back to the car as that was going to be about an hour anyways. As I came back down Quarry Hill, I looked off to the left just as my foot was landing. There in the bushes, at the same place I had saw him before, head sticking out maybe, MAYBE, 3 inches was my friend from earlier who had taken up ambush position in the low lying scrub. He made a strike at me but came up just short. He then high tailed it back into the safety of the bushes. WHEW!

This is my second close encounter with a rattler since living in San Diego. The first came running down the Dripping Springs Trail where a red rattler, fairly rare for San Diego, made a strike, but didn't get his mouth open in time, bouncing instead off my ankle. So far, so good.

Tomorrow night is a double loop of the Mission Gorge 15k, which will be 18.5 miles and 3400 feet of climb. The goal is 4 hours. We'll see.

I owe an NBA post. There's big doings on the horizon. I promise one tomorrow.

Did someone say Daily Double?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Recovery day

Today was an easy recovery run. My quads are totally busted up, which is actually a good feeling as its been a while since I've been really sore. The Cuyamaca Peak fire road is all paved, so running down it twice can definitely put a hurt on. Did a nice bike ride home to loosen up, then met Justin for a run in the canyon. Took a nice, easy pace and then a climb up The Slide. Not much else to report.

Oh, and a shout out to Who?!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend wrapup

Saturday I was thinking I would do something strong, but I wanted to get an actual run in instead of hiking up some ridiculous slope, so I hit the canyon with Gator and did 2 hours with her at a real steady pace. Felt pretty good and Gator, as you can see, was a trooper, especially when we got to the creek and she could cool her little paws off.

Today, I wanted to get some elevation and some climbing, so I headed to Cuyamaca Peak. The fire road is paved, but its 1700 feet of climbing over 2.7 miles, so pretty close to the 1,800 foot 2.8 mile climb up Fred's Mountain. I wanted to get the feel for it, so I went up to start the run, then did some of the course of the San Diego 100, then back to Cuyamaca Peak to get it in again. Temps ranged between 80 and 92 degrees during the 4 hour run. All in all about 3800 feet of climbing over 4:10 total time with a ten minute AC break in the car. Ended up going through 136 ounces of drink and still had bright orange pee. Also went old school, having a sausage mcmuffin for breakfast and then a bottom half of a second (sausage, cheese and half muffin) for a meal before the second climb. Felt pretty strong overall considering conditions such as heat and fatigue from several days of running and such.
Celebrated a good weekend of running with a treat of pizza port, with 2 beers, and a shake for desert. More than I should be eating, especially considering the breakfast, but seemed appropriate today. I'm not all that worried about it. Probably a break even day . . .

Oh, and good wildlife. Saw a flock of wild turkeys, a whip snake, lots of acorn woodpeckers, and a road runner. Pretty sweet.

View from Cuyamaca Road

View from San Diego 100 Course. Both burned in 2007, but the lower slopes of Cuyamaca burned fiercest, leaving a forest of charred skeleton trees.

This is the view going up the lower slopes of Cuyamaca Peak. This lasts about 3/4 of the climb.

This is the last quarter or so, maybe less. Nice and shady, even at noon on a 90 degree day. Great views from the saddle of all of East County and even, on a clear day, to Mexico and the Salton Sea.
Cuyamaca Peak the first time up.

Cuyamaca Peak the Second time up.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wildlife central

Well, I will label tonight's run a "recovery run". I was hoping for something better. I knew I needed a 2 hour run to kick off my weekend, having done a little bit of speed work yesterday, or speed work as far as I am concerned. So I decided to do my usual Friday loop with an extra loop up the quarry trail added on.

My legs felt like they were filled with sand and water on every climb, but I ran up most of the quarry hill. Reaching the top, I decided that I would be marching the rest of the hills. Even with that, had to stop for 2 min. on the climb up South Fortuna Stairs to pop a gel. Felt better after that and made it up to the top. Felt like I was dragging a grand piano the whole time, but ended up doing the 2 hours and did the Fortuna Loop in 1:31 while I was shooting for 1:30. Its only about 12 min. more than my best time, so while not great, it wasn't bad either. I don't know the mileage, probably around 8 with about 1700 feet of gain.

But, what was fun was running down North Fortuna. I decided to practice my footwork and power down this rocky technical trail. As I ran towards the intersection with the perimeter trail by SR 52 I was watching my feet and literally almost ran face first into a mule deer doe who was minding her own business. For almost getting run over, she sure seemed calm, neatly taking one leap over a bush, on which she promptly started to graze.

As I left her after watching for a minute, I almost tripped over a very healthy looking coyote maybe 200 yards down the trail. I didn't see any of his buddies, but coyotes don't hunt deer, so I don't think there was any association. I think it was goofy luck, but he sure was pretty. They can get pretty mangy out there. And it was only the 3rd or 4th deer I had seen out there, so that was cool. And seeing the wildlife seemed to put a spring in my step on what was otherwise a bit of sweaty drudgery.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking about Scotty out there killing it in Colorado. He seems to be well in front of the cutoffs, so that's looking good. GO SCOTTY GO! I put in for it this year, but didn't get it (for the first time in race history, no one got in from the waitlist). Maybe next year. And I'll get the scoop from Scotty. Anyways, I'll be hitting refresh several times through the night . . .

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good training tonight

Did a good trainig run tonight running the Mission Gorge 15k course. Its 9.3 miles as designed with 1560 feet of climbing. I do a little change just to make it 9.5 miles and 1600 feet. The last time I raced it, I did it with my friend Justin and paced him to a 1:46 finish in his first long race and first trail race. The first time I did it, they sent us up a wrong turn so we added another half mile and 300 feet of climbing and finished around 1:40. This time I did it as a training run. My thought is that eventually, I will do 3 laps to simulate one of the loops of the GTR 100. 3 loops would be 28 miles and 4800 feet of climbing, so its off somewhat, as I need 25 miles and 5000 feet of climbing, but its a good simulation.

So with that intro out of the way, I did it in 1:40 which I feel is pretty good for training. My thought is to do the 3 laps in 6 hours which will be a good goal for my first loop in the race. We'll see. Felt a little too tired after 1:40, but since I will probably try to do it in 1:50 or so when I'm doing multiple loops, it hopefully shouldn't be that bad. I'd like to feel decently fresh after finishing the first lap, take a 5 minute break and head out again. We'll see how that works out. But for now, I'm pretty satisfied . . .

Catching up

A whole 3 days without posts? What in the world am I doing? Monday was a day off. However, since I am going to Michigan a week from Friday and will do little if any running that weekend, I have a lot of training to pack in between now and then. So, I'm not expecting to take day off until that Saturday to make up for the 2 day enforced break.

On Tuesday I hit the trails around Crystal Cove State Park after my deposition didn't go. The area is a neat area of 5 or 6 intersecting parks, making it very easy to piece together a long trail run with lots of up and down. The hills are steep and hot, making it good training grounds with the reward of killer ocean views from the top and a run to the ocean if you want to do it. However, as I was to find out, they have some draconian rules of which I was not aware.

From where I started, the initial run to the top is fairly steep and steady, but manageable. There are a few hard pitches, but none too bad. I felt I had the strength to run the whole section, but tried to make myself walk some so I was training myself to walk fast. One of my surprises at North Face was that when I did walk the uphills, people were flying past me while usually I can walk right past people. That told me I need to practice that more, so I am.

At the top there were a number of options, so I ran about a mile or so down a number of the choices. As I made my way towards the far end of the park, I ran into another runner. As we chatted, he seemed surprised to hear I had come from Laguna Highway. "You know," he said, "that they close those lots at 4 PM. You must have come a long way to run to that entrance." Oops. I didn't.

Looking at my watch, it was a little after 4. I turned around and ripped as hard as I could for the parking lots. Luckily it was all flat or downhill on the way back. I made it about 4:25 or so, just as I was getting written a ticket. Fortunately, the guy was super cool and let me move my car. I found some street parking down the road, hopped a barbed wire fence, and headed back out.

Unfortunately, however, I had been counting on running to a water fountain at the end of the highest trail in the park, so I had no water bottle and was now going on an hour and a half without water. I decided to just run as much as I could to get a workout in. It was hard to get back into a groove, but I was able to get another hour in, including some steep climbs, so though it wasn't ideal, it wasn't too bad. The views were great, the cactus and thistle were blooming, and I was REALLY thirsty at the end. All in all, about 2:45 of hilly running, with 1:45 of real quality stuff including my pell mell downhill to catch up.

Last night I had to work late and had some stuff to do so I didn't get the kind of run I would like. I just went in the canyon and took Gator with me, which is always a plus. We did about an hour and half, but Gator's paws were still sore from Saturday's adventure, and I wasn't that into it. The plus was it was a night run on the trails with the light, which is one of my favorites. If I have any advantage, and I'm not sure that I do, its that I tend to run well at night. While most are looking forward to dawn, I can't wait for the sun to go down! All in all, a relatively flat hour and a half, but ran pretty well with a little bit of speed and felt I had plenty left at the end.

I'm afraid tonight will be the same, although I'm going to try to make it to Mission Trails. We'll see. This weekend I'm planning on a double ascent of Cuyamaca Peak which is simlar to Fred's Mountain in that it gains about 1800 feet over 3 miles. It will be tough and hot. Then Sunday, I'll probably head up San Jacinto via Marion Mtn. Both of these are tough runs and will give me time at elevation. San Jacinto, as I will write about, is ridiculous. A chance for me to work on my uphill hiking prowess as there will be very little running . . .

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Easy day

Not much to add today. Did my usual tailgate run which is a loop from Clairemont down to Marian Bear Canyon through a use trail along 805, then follow the canyon, under the 52 by I-5, then into Rose Canyon, and Rose Canyon back under 805 to where the Marine Base starts. There are only 3 climbs of note, and they all come at the end, and even then they are short but steep. Each of the climbs is probably 250 feet over 1/4 mile, so its three really steep efforts on tired legs, but not much really. All told, the run took about 3 hours, 10 min. A bit warm. Tried Heed for the first time. The jury is out. Took 3 gels during run. Probably should have taken more even with the Heed as ran out of energy at the end.

Tomorrow, a much needed day off . . .

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mount Woodson

Today I ran up Mount Woodson and took Gator with me. I got a late start, which was a mistake as I will explain later. Anyways, got there about 10:45 or so. I'd never been to Lake Poway. It was crowded for the 4th, with the smell of charcoal already in the air. The trail around the park went straight uphill then back down to the shore of the lake. That's where the trail up Mt. Woodson began.

From there, the trail is about 2.8 miles with approximately 2,000 feet of gain. It was double track for the first mile and a half, then a steep half mile of short switchbacks followed by a more mellow approach to the summit. By the time I was headed up this trail, it was about 80 degrees. I had a liter and half of water to share between Gator and I. Most of it was gone by the time we got the top. courtesy of my thirsty dog.

To make matters worse, most of the trail is along an area that burned two years ago, meaning the ground was dark and soaked up the sun, making it extra hot on poor Gator's paws. On the way back down, she would run from shade point to shade point, trying to lift her paws quickly to keep them off the hot soil. Finally, I had to leash her up and "encourage" her down the mountain, but that slowed us to a walk. When we got back down to the lake, Gator plunged in for a paw soothing swim.

The climb up took one hour, but it took about an hour to get back down as well. Had I been without the dog, the climb would have been about 55 minutes or so, not bad considering it was about 12 hours after my longer run last night. Temps at the finish were in the mid-80's. I'll be doing this run a lot as it almost exactly mimics the run up Fred's Mountain for the 100 miler, so I can build my strength and get an idea of exactly what I have to do 4 times. I expect I'll be doing some double climbs as well.

Tomorrow is my usual fall pre-tailgate football run to get some easier time on my feet to end my step back week. Should be about 3 hours or a little more with very little elevation gain. I will try to concentrate on running without stopping except at the water fountains. I am also going to bring Heed for the first time as I got a great deal on some at REI. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Weekend training plan

This is supposed to be a step back weekend, but having signed up for a 100 miler this week, it is hard to hold back. I'll try to take it easier this weekend, but I wanted to do my usual Friday afternoon run with a twist. As opposed to doing just one lap, I wanted to do the dreaded steps up to South Fortuna summit twice (see picture to the left). With the race coming up being 4 loops, I think I need to do a lot of loops around courses to get used to running the same terrain again and again. In that spirit, I ran my loop, cut down into Suycott Wash, then went back up S. Fortuna.

From the best I can figure, I did about 12 miles with 2,500 feet in 2.5 hours for 12.5 min miles. Had 3 gels during the run and drank 40 oz. of lukewarm water. I was tired at the end, but not dead by any long shot. This is in line with where I want to be right now. The loops at GTR 100 are 25 miles with 5,000 feet of climbing, so I did roughly half of one of those loops on pace for a 5 hour loop, although there obviously would be much slowing. Still, climbed well, used my sirius portable which worked remarkably well, and then finished with some music. All in all a good run. Tomorrow will do something more mellow theoretically and then a 3 hour non-hilly run on Sunday before I start stepping it up again on Monday.

On the NBA front, the only news is that Hedo Turkgo-glue is signing with the Raptors for "personal reasons" because he and his wife like the city better. I get that, but he's not going to have a lot to work with up there. He's a third bannana kind of guy, sort of a Lamar Odom-esque personality who needs someone to play off. Not sure if he can step up as a second guy and how well he'll play off of Bosh. Apparently they are paying him all the cap space they are getting from not resigning Marion, Delfino, and Parker. Lets see if he can keep his Magic karma going. I think he will regret not signing with Portland or the Magic in the long run professionally, but its cool that he likes where he is going to be.

Oh, and did a little decorating tonight. Can you say Fathead?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

NBA doings

OK, back to the NBA. Two major moves so far.

First, Detroit signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, signing each to a multi-year deal. I can't help but think that this is going to end badly. They still have about 4 mil in cap room, but do they really think these are the two players to get them to the top? If not, why bother? Gordon, at his best, is a streaky shooter capable of putting up 40 point games here and there. But he also disappears for long stretches. And while Charlie Villanueva is sort of like a very poor man's Rasheed Wallace, he also is inconsistent and is not much of a defender. To top it off, both have had motivation problems.

The real problem is by trading Billups, the Pistons do not have a floor leader to put it all together. Rip needs someone to get him the ball. Villanueva and Gordon need a strong floor presence or a strong coach to keep them in line. And as there is currently no coach in Pistons land . . . Don't get me started on how Dumars is ridiculously overrated. Yes, a good player and made some smart moves, but this is the latest in a series of bloopers.

Now, Artest to the Lakers. Hmmm. I'm not wild about this move either, but I don't hate it. It seems like a knee jerk reaction to the Spurs getting Richard Jefferson. The Lakers, of all teams, should know that you can't have too many people who need the ball. It was a lack of touches that led to Artest's split with the Pacers. Yes, he'll play great D, but he's a little older and he won't play the D they want without getting his shots. I'd rather see Odom getting those touches, assuming he's coming back, which I think he will be. And they signed him to a 3 year deal. Its going to be hard to keep him motivated. While everyone in LA still pretends to like Kobe, I can't see Artest falling in line. First time Kobe tries to do something, well, Kobe-like, Artest is going to punch Kobe in the face. But with so much talent, its hard to say no.

The other intriguing thing is what does this do with Phil coming back? Does he see this as another Rodman and pique his interest? Or is he, in the words of Lethal Weapon, too old for this shit?

And where does that leave the Rockets? Screwed. Yao's injury looks bad, bad, bad. Like not playing ever again bad. And now they got spurned by Martin Gortat. Gortat? Rockets GM Morley shows up at his door at 12:01 to woo him (with the idea of a T-Mac-Gortat-Ariza triumvrate?) and Gortat still goes to the Mavs, who just found the big man who can clean up around the basket that Eric Dampier was always supposed to be. A nice fit. Sorry Rockets fans. It looked so good just a month ago, but that was the apex of this team for quite some time.

And the Lakers did the right thing to not sign Ariza for what he was looking for. Ariza was unbelievably hot during the playoffs, but that is like signing the Super Bowl MVP from his one game performance. Ariza is a nice player, a good defender, but he has offensive lapses and is another up and down player. You knew he would command more than he was worth after his playoff run, and good for him, but Lakers did right by letting him walk. Now, whether replacing him with Ron Artest is a good idea? Hmmm.