Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bermuda Day Marathon Derby 2018

It was that time of year again for Tanya and I to make our annual pilgrimage to Bermuda to run the Bermuda Day Marathon Derby; well almost an annual pilgrimage. We didn't run in 2017. For over 100 years the race which is actually a half marathon was run on the 24th of May, but starting this year, the race will be run on the Friday or I assume the Monday that is closest to the actual day. Allowing for a 3 day weekend. If you haven't visited Bermuda, going at this time of the year will give you a great experience of what Bermuda is about. The atmosphere is electric, the entire Island come out to support the cyclist and the runners; which is followed by a parade through Hamilton with representatives from all of the parishes Gombey's group dances, traditional Bermuda bands, dance trucks, musicians, floats, pageant queens, community groups. Color, food, music, and fun!

 The race always finishes in Hamilton but switches starting locations between Sandy's parish and St. George each year. This year began in Sandy's. We decided to take the ferry to the start line this year, in years past family usually takes us to the start. We love riding the island ferry's to various locations such as Dockyard, Hamilton, and St George; so we decided lets give it a try this year. The ride was awesome, all traffic was avoided, and the family was able to begin post race festivities setup early, so plus's all the way around. We were joined on the ferry by our nephew Coolidge who also is a annual participant.

Coming from California I am always concerned with the the islands humidity. I am accustomed to running in heat; but heat and high humidity adds a challenging element. We knew we were in for one of those days because as race time approached it was already sunny, warm and sticky!  

Race preparation and always time for a selfie.

Tanya and I decided to run the race together this year and just have fun interacting with the crowd; Tanya seeing and even stopping to hugs friends along the race route. But we also said if one was having a better day it was okay to split, just let our legs decide.  

The race started right on time at 9:00 am sharp! That was the last time we saw Coolidge for the rest of the race. He is a fast starter. Tanya and I tend to cruise the first few miles with the intention of running a negative split. I'm not sure but the race entrants seemed to be much lower than past runs. Usually there is an ocean of people leaving from the start, but not this year. I wonder if changing the run date had anything to do with? 

As I have stated in the past, of all the races and places I have run; this one is my favorite. Not only because it takes place on one of the most beautiful islands and places on earth; but because! No disrespect to my caucasian brothers and sisters, but seeing so many brown and black faces running and lining the course cheering their hearts out is so uplifting to me! I just LOVE it!  

First mile down in 9:15:00 on track to run a sub two hour time. That was today's objective  cruise have fun, but have a finishing goal in mind. As time and the miles passed the temperature began to rise and so did the humidity. The first half of the race went by fast; we both felt strong and had a good rhythm going each taking turns setting the pace.  We saw family, friends and the energy of the crowd made the miles just flow; it was great!  But Harbor Road can be a drag and around mile 8 I started falling off the pace and feeling just plainly uncomfortable. I hung on for another mile hoping to push through it, but by mile 9 just before Lovers Lane a said to Tanya "Roll on baby", I wasn't feeling it. I wanted her to finish strong and maybe reel back in that sub 2 hour goal. We had fallen off pace.  I slowed my pace, walked through a water stop at Aberfeldy Nursery drank a few cups of water ate some sour gummy bears and just like that the energy came back. Time to finish strong! The crowds on Front Street will energize the weakest of runners and that they did! Just awesome. But the finish is no walk in the park; you still have,  short but steep hills to go over through Hamilton; enough to drain the energy of the strongest runner. But one step at a time and soon you will be crossing the finish line in Bernard Park. But not until we get our last burst of energy from the family who are set up on Marsh Folly Road just under a half mile to the finish. It is like a party when we come around that corner! Cheers, screams, horns, mayhem, pure energy! If your feeling down, not for long they are going to pick you up and help you finish strong!  Tanya crossed the line in 2:06:00 and I in 2:09:00; big props to Coolidge who crossed in 1:59:00 just getting under that two hour mark. 

Sporting our Medals

Family Support always helps!

The Francis Sisters

Time to get cleaned up then head to the family tent to enjoy the parade, festivities, and family fun. If you get a chance, visit Bermuda! Its a special place. 
Cool Runnings. MJ

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 Trail Running in Claremont

The first weekend of 2018 is almost over. I'm writing this on a lazy Sunday; but yesterday was not a lazy day we were up at the crack of dawn! Up early to knock down some trail miles in the foothills of Claremont CA. I mapped out a 7 mile loop the day before that would combine a mix of road, trail, and paved trail. We have a few new fitness goals for 2018, but the first step to achieving them is to put in the work.  As the sun rose we began the first climb, too steep to run so power walk it would be. What's the ultra running saying " Run the flats and the downhills, and power walk the hills"; this has served us well through the years! By the time we reached top of the first climb our bodies were nice and warm and ready to hit the first trails running in Johnson's Pasture.

As we rolled through Johnson's Pasture, it was nice to run into a few other early risers already enjoying the beautiful morning and trekking along. After a few miles the trail linked to the Claremont Wilderness Park system. All of the climbing was over, time to open our strides a little and roll downhill for a few miles. 

Feeling Good

2018 BABY!

After we left the Claremont Wilderness Park our loop continued on Mills Avenue to the Thompson's Creek Trail; then it was smooth sailing back to our starting point. The loop was 7.02 miles, done in just over an hour. Nice Mon! Time to head home for some citrus. 

Fresh Picked and Cut Citrus

Ruby Red Grapefruit and Navel Oranges are great to help recovery after training. They both contain simple natural sugars which are easy to absorb; plus plenty of Vitamin C an antioxidant which has countless benefits. Thank you for reading and can't wait to see you on the trails.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Mt. Baldy was Calling

The New Year was fast approaching; Tanya and I realized we had not gone to the summit of Mt. Baldy all year. The trail systems on and around Mt. San Antonio (aka Mt. Baldy) are not just some our favorites; they are in our backyard. So nice to only drive a few miles from home into the Angeles Forest and be able to Hike to elevations of 10,000+ feet., Southern California offers so much for trail runners! We arrived at the trail head at Manker Flats around 6:30 am dusk was upon us. We took a few minutes to gear up and then we were on our way just as the beautiful mountain skies began to brighten. The morning air was fresh and crispy chilly just enough to keep our beanies  and gloves on. We chose to ascend the mountain by way of the "Ski Hut/Baldy Bowl trail. This route is a shorter route to the summit (3.5 miles roughly) but that also means that it is steeper than the other routes. Our decent route would be via the Devils Backbone trail to the Baldy Notch then the Fire Road back to Manker Flats. This route is 8 miles. Don't think there is anything better than spending the morning on the trails with my best friend. Being outdoors in the natural elements, just us having an experience with the mountain is so Irie.

Which way do we go?

Crossing the bottom of the Bowl

Relaxing at the Summit 10,054 FT 

Cruising down the Devils Backbone

Mama Sheep and her lamb

Having fun at the notch

2017 Summit Mt. Badly check! This past year was another year full of outdoor adventures; we are looking forward to fill 2018 with many more! I hope who ever is reading this makes 2018 a year of adventures also! Do something you thought you could never do; remember "The only way reach the summit of a mountain is to start climbing". All the best in 2018. Looking for coach? Send us a message.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Back in the Saddle

On Sunday December 3, 2017 Tanya, Jeannette and I traveled to Ridgecrest Ca to run in the "High Desert Ultra; though this year we all decided to run the 30K and not the 50K. At race start the weather was chilly, windy and clear but not as frigid as it can be this time of the year in Ridgecrest. As always the race had a big turnout and seeing many ultra friends and meeting new ones is always fun. In many races we often start together and then gradually separate as we settle into our individual paces; but not this morning for what ever reason we all went our own way. When it was all done we all had a good runs! Man! It always feels good to be on the trails! Tanya had a fantastic day with a 1st place finish in her age group and a 2nd female overall finish. Jeanette and I ran good runs respectively, finishing strong, healthy and injury free. See you on the trails! MJ