Sunday, November 29, 2015

Balance and Accountablility

Vince Lombardi is credited with saying that "there are three things that are important to every man in this locker room.  His God, his family, and the Green Bay Packers.  In that order."

Well I by no means am a football fan. However I appreciate these words are full of wisdom.  A balanced life means having the right priorities in place.  Once activities like work take priority over family, then your life is out of balance. Once family becomes more important than your relationship with God, then life is out of balance.

Trail running has its place in a balanced life.  It provides an a way to mitigate the stress at work, spend time with the family, and appreciate God's creation. 

However, if you have been occasionally reading this blog over the years, you may have noticed  that I haven't posted since May.  Shortly after that post, I stopped both running or commuting by bicycle on a regular basis.  One of the reasons was due to lagging injury caused by an ice skating fall back in January.  The fall caused a herniated disk in my neck that would sporadically flair up.  I also started a new job in January and I been having too much fun at work.  I have also allowed additional stress to prove I provide value since I fear time I was laid off 4 years ago as well as working at a company that was not that great of a fit.
Found this buck while I was hiking with my wife.

Well, on the positive side, I haven't had the neck issue in a couple of months.  The problem of taking this much time is that genetics have kicked in resulting in a 25 pound weight gain. This has added to my stress.  What has worked in to relieve stress?  Running and commuting by bike.  What have I not been doing during the last four months?  Running and commuting by bike.

Way past time to gain balance.  Which brings me to the second half of the title...


To be frank, when I started this blog, I used this to feed my desire to write.  I used to love to write when I was a kid.  It also brought balance by relieving stress. And by reviewing what I wrote I could make adjustments.  Also by writing down my thoughts it brought about a basic level of accountability.

Before this day, I never rode the trails with my daughter.
Blogging allowed me to bridge an old pastime with a new love, running, to be able to express my self.  Also, having lost a lot of weight, I found that maintaining this blog put a level of accountability to maintain a certain level of fitness.  I also have used Strava to further accountability.  Some how convincing yourself that you are accountable to your friends on Strava and those who read this blog keeps you pushing and trying to improve.  But it is easy to loose balance by putting too much focus on accountability. 

I also found that the reason I ran changed.  Instead of a fun activity I enjoyed with my family, running became a way to push my limits. That in itself isn't bad.  However, when it the family enjoyment in the activity suffers for my own selfish gain, well there is where I was imbalanced.  I think you will find that some of my posts reflect that.  
The morning of the Color run.

Back to Balance with Accountability

This past week I had the benefit of taking the week off.  We went nowhere.  We just did activities as a family.  We went and saw a movie.  We went bowling.  We took a short hike.  In fact we have been doing that a lot lately.

A couple of weeks ago we did a Color run.  Not my favorite activity.  I much rather be on the trails and having people throwing colored cornstarch at you as you are trying to breath, well seems contrary to a good time.  

One happy boy....and papa!
The course ran the Embarcadero, along my old running course when I worked at my previous company and ran through AT&T park along the warning track.  It had rained a couple of hours before so the course was a sloppy muddy mess.  Perfect condition for a trail runner not so much for these runners.  These folks were about to get covered in dust but tip-toed around mud puddles.  But my family made me proud  running with abandon through the brown slop as they were stared at with disgust buy these other runners.

At the end, I had a great time running with my family.  Balance......

Also, I have been running a bit.  Short distances. Some hills.  But I am taking the time to enjoy the run.  Yes I am still using Strava (I downgraded from Premium) but it is more for my accountability with my self, not others. Balance...

And thus the reason for this post.  I am back to blogging.  This weekend has further re-grounded and balanced me.  I will write because I like to write.  I run because I like to run.

But the real reason I will post is accountability to myself and to my family.  I need to be healthy.  And this blog has been a proven method to keep me accountable to healthy living.  So you may find me write more about my family here.  You may find activities that have nothing to do with running or a racing...Just more balance.....

That said, you will always find some awesome pictures of the Bay Area trails through out this blog.  I have also added my Instagram feed which will serve as a bit of micro-blogging also.  It seems like I am enjoying photography also.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Short But Worth Reporting Run in Red Rock Canyon

I will start by saying that I hate Las Vegas.  However, due to business in town I found myself at a resort in Henderson, NV.  So while everyone else was drawn into  The Strip with all its gaudy lights and glamor I was drawn 30 minutes east to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservatory.

What surprises me about this place is that it is so close and visible from Las Vegas; however, I think is one of the unspoiled treasurers of the Southwest.

Of course I wanted to cover as much as I could in the short window after work and darkness.  What is funny about this though is that when you enter the Conservatory you are given a map with exaggerated hiking times.  I focused in on Calico Tanks trail which really a reedy large pond at the end.  This is a pretty technical trail with the occasional climb over a boulder or two.  The trail map said to expect covering the 2.5 mile round trip trail in over two hours.  Huh?  OK, that's more than an easy challenge to take.
The Calico Tanks

What makes this trail runnable is the many rock "steps" that if you are paying attention to will get you to the top.

I would have to say this is one of the most beautiful places I have laid my eyes on.  With the Spring Mountains due east, there is a wonderful contrast to each zone.

Once I got to the pool, I did a little more exploring before heading back.  Thanks to Strava, I kind of figured there would be  a segement to place, and of course I wanted to place better than the bottom.  

The run back down went quick and I enjoyed every moment of it.  I suppose if I hadn't taken as many pictures I would have gotten down sooner.  Oh well.

Just before  I got back to the car, I took another trail so that I could get at least 3.5 miles.  In all it took me just longer than an hour.

If the casinos are not your style, I would recommend the visit.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Deer Flat Eagle Peak Loop #1

It has been a long time since I did a post.  There have been a lot of changes that have taken my focus on writing this blog, specifically starting a new job.  With the new job has meant a new much shorter commute that I can bike to and new (old) trails.  In fact, with the company only being 8.5 miles from the house, I even have tried a commute run.  That was pretty fun.

When I started this blog, I did so to keep my interest and motivation in running and health in general.  And over the last couple of months, this motivation has waned just a bit.

But I am back at it. This year will have a couple of events which I will write about the after the fact.  However, this year will be more about the getting back to basics, having fun, and celebrating accomplishments.  

Which brings me to the title of this post.  I have mentioned before that we live a little over a mile from the Mitchell Canyon staging area which provides access to Mt. Diablo.  There is everything from fire trails to some pretty awesome technical single track.

So last Sunday morning I pushed myself out of bed and decided to run the Deer Flat Eagle Peak Loop.  While only 8.5 miles long, this loop provides a nice steep fire trail to Deer Flat, then over to Macchio Gap and then down a saddle-back single track highly technical trail over and down Eagle Peak.  There is 2,300 feet of elevation.

This will be my training grounds this year.  With all the climbing and descending, I should be able to become a stronger runner and with all the technical, become a better trail runner.

My goal is to exceed the loop 10 times this year.  I hope to explore a longer loop, which will include Deer Flat to the Diablo Waterfall loop, but that will come later.

Enjoy the pictures from last Sunday's run.

submit to reddit