Best Sunglasses for Running (Oakley, Tifosi, Optic Nerve)

Tifosi Pave Polarized Fototec Lens
I've seen people run with anything from your cheap gas station to high fashion aviator style sunglasses, so in the end it probably really doesn't matter but a few companies do market their wares to the consumer with an active lifestyle.

There are a number of popular choices when considering sunglasses for running. Let's look at what athletes look for in sun glasses, which is shielding from the sun, rain and elements, while fitting well and looking at your best. They should stay off cheeks and be stable running, jumping, bouncing and even when taking a fall.

Many runners prefer light frames that grip and will endure the elements during the activity. Popular models seem to be sun glasses with the bottom half of the lens exposed. This allows one's vision not to be obstructed by a frame at all, giving them full vision of the ground.

Nike Miler
Polarized lenses eliminate the glare away from wet surfaces, reflective surfaces and snow. Hydrophobic coatings allow moisture to run off the lens without streaks or smears.

Oakley Flak Jacket (LiveStrong edition)
Many runners profess their loyalty to Oakley. I am one of them. The polarized versions of Oakley Half Jacket and the Oakley Flak Jacket are two of the most popular among runners, triathletes, racers, and most everyone exposed to their marketing. The Flak Jacket does have additional benefits as they have a hydrophobic coating which repels moisture and also has a lighter frame.

New Balance (women's)
Also popular are Tifosi Optics which are popular with cyclists, Optic Nerve Sunglasses have gotten a lot of good reviews, then of course the big players Nike Running and New Balance provide some eye wares as well.

Sunglasses are not going to make anyone faster but you can look good and protect your vision getting to the finish using polarized lenses and get a hydrophobic coating kit.


2011 Bulldog 25k and 50k Ultras Recap

Preparing for the 50k start
This year's Bulldog goes down as one of the toughest races ever, seriously. On August 27, 2011 the 20th anniversary of the Bulldog 25k and 50k Ultras took place in Calabasas, California on one of the hottest days of the year. The 50k race started off without a hitch at 6:30AM and the 25k at 7:30AM. Many did not finish but I've read that some competitors finished the 50k under the 9-hour cut-off. Congratulations! It was no easy task!

According to, the 25k course was over 15.7 miles with 2500ft of accumulated altitude gain, double that for the 50k. On fire roads, through dried out creeks, hopping through smooth boulder out-crops and along engaging single track switchback trails, this course literally has it all. The views along the ridge overlooking Hidden Valley and the Pacific Ocean on the opposite side was a sight to see. Each aid station was well stocked, supported and sight for sore eyes after each segment. The final aid station was located in a shaded grove right next to a creek crossing a couple miles from the end of the course turning out to be a good place to take a dip and hydrate before continuing with the rest of the course. However, before one could finish, they had to get through the deathly hot single track switchbacks where it hit well over 100 degrees before coming out the hills towards the home stretch.

Getting ready for the 25k start
The heat was present in full force as it took it out on participants in numbers, causing many DNFs this year. I brought two 20z running NF bottles but only took one with me which turned out to be much too optimistic. After 2 hours of climbing uphill my left calf started cramping. Looking back, there's a lot of should have's, like I should have brought up both water bottles and spent more time at the aid stations. I had to bear down between aid stations as I ran low on water twice and with mostly exposed trails, it was one of the toughest runs I have ever encountered. It pushed me to my limits.

At one point along the last stretch of the single track switchbacks temperatures hit above the 100s which only increased my resolve to finish the course, as quickly as possible since I had crossed the 3 hour point. I simply couldn't get my body temperature down to continue at pace and early leg cramps had slowed me down already so I tried to enjoy it as much as I could. As I jogged/walked the last couple miles I could hear a number ambulances coming in and two helicopters in the air above me. Through all the heat, dust and 15 miles, I was able to smile as I passed a group of park rangers on horseback sweeping the trails. This Bulldog was well worthy of becoming a major accomplishment.

The 2011 Bulldog has become a conversation piece in the community. The volunteers, ambulances, the helicopters, the sweepers, the rangers and race director supported the event incredibly well. I tell my friends at one point towards the end I thought I was going to be in a really bad spot and had pushed myself harder than I thought I possibly could. I am constantly surprised by how strong and compassionate people can be in the trail running and ultra running community. Looking back at it all, I can't wait to do it again. Everyone who finished worked hard for their medals and those who didn't can still say they did something that most would claim is simply crazy. Next for me is likely the XTerra Trail Run series which start off on October 16th, I'm already itching to run it.

Dave's blog at Wonderful World of Dave also recaps the 2011 Bulldog with more pictures. 


Asics Blur 33 vs. Rush 33

Asics Blur 33
The Asics Blur 33 and Rush 33 are available. Finish Line has them in multiple colors and Road Runner Sports is taking orders too. I just happened to go by the local Sports Authority in town and they have two colors of the Blur 33 in stock and one color of the Rush 33.  At the store, I had a chance to try both the Blur 33 and Rush 33.

First, both Asics 33s have minimal to no heel to toe drop. They feel different from typical running shoes where they are supposed to feel natural and free. They are Asics answer to the minimalist running movement, however, they aren't very minimal. The Blur 33 is plush, includes gel cushioned soles and feels similar but not exactly like the Nike Free. In fact, my Kayano 16s feel stiff compared to the softness of the Blur 33s. There is good flex in the forefoot and the tread grips nicely. However, they are not as light as advertised and I am wearing the US9.5 Men's which come close to 11oz each. The shoes are true to size in length and fits a bit snugly around the midfoot with socks but they fit perfectly barefoot. The Blur 33 feel good running and have grown on me with the plush cushioning comfort without any the heel to toe drop. I've also been running in Kayano 16s and New Balance 890s which seem firm after running in the Blur 33s.

Asics Rush 33
The Rush 33, Asics low mileage minimalist shoe is a bit of a surprise and not in a positive way. They are stiffer across the outer sole and has no cushioning. On the ground, impact is not softened, the feel comes through. The Rush 33 are $20-$30 less than the Blur 33, however, the lower cost isn't all positives. It translates in to some attributes that make them seem less. The upper mesh is not very breathable nor does the materials used seem to be as of high quality. The Blur 33 is simply built better, breathable, comfortable, and uses better materials compared to the Rush 33. However if you're looking for a stiff, close to the ground feeling ride, the Rush 33 will deliver. The Rush 33 will make a great gym shoe because they are flat, complimenting a natural stance and help with stability because you can feel the ground through the non-cushioned soles. Two very different shoes in the same Asics minimalist line up but both can serve a purpose and they come in some great colors.

In conclusion, running in the Blur 33 proved they are well cushioned with a very soft, gel feel for those looking for cushioning in a shoe but prefers no heel to toe drop. The Rush 33, the closest to a minimalist shoe that Asics has produced has no cushioning, feels stiff and makes a good gym shoe but it could be improved by using the same light and breathable upper mesh material in its bigger sibling Blur 33s.


2011 Running Shoes - Asics vs. New Balance

Asics or New Balance? Here's what makes them different and both effective running shoes.
Please note, I post mostly men's shoes but all these shoes are available in women's model's as well.

The Essential Comparisons:
The biggest difference between Asics and New Balance are the Asics Gel sole and the New Balance Abzorbs Foam sole technologies. Asics Gel soles give their shoes a plush gel cushion making them soft in sensation. New Balance Abzorbs Foam also cushions well using a foam technology that is equally as effective but not gel like. Depending on your activity you may find that you like one over the other. I simply find them different and they both do a pretty good job.

Upper materials are also somewhat different between the two manufacturers. Asics typically use soft stretcheable mesh uppers in most of their shoes giving them a snug feeling as the material surrounds the foot. This gives them the snug and comfortable feeling to their shoes that they are known for and that many like. Asics also uses something called Ahar Heel Plugs which supposedly absorb shock from heel strikes and less prone to quick wear.

New Balance tends to use lighter materials in the uppers but just as tough and breathable. Although they don't tout a special heel plug the shoes are just as effective. New Balance shoes tend to feel more like a runner's shoe as they are different from the insulated feeling of most Asics. Also, it seems in most cases that Asics technology and materials in the more advanced Asics running shoes are just a tad heavier compared to New Balance of the similar models.

Fore-foot/Mid-foot support
New Balance 890
Asics DS Sky Speed 2
The latest models of the New Balance 890 and Asics DS Sky Speed 2 are direct competitors in the fore to mid-foot support shoe market. They are good everyday runners with sufficient cushioning. They are two very different shoes but are worth every penny for those looking for fore-foot to mid-foot support.

Asics Blur 33
While Asics running shoes have essentially made small changes in recent years and have been typically following innovations they went all out with the Asics Gel-Blur 33 and Rush 33. Asics has come up with something completely different. They have practically no heel to toe drop so they provide a solid, free feeling, and natural experience. The Blur 33 are quite unique with the softest gel like cushioning I've ever felt. The only thing I can compare them to are the way Nike Free running shoes feel.

New Balance Minimus
New Balance has moved forward with new designs and materials with the New Balance Minimus series, which are purely minimalist shoes with little to no cushioning and closest to the barefoot experience, they are comparable to Merrel Barefoot shoes and Vibram 5 Fingers.

While Asics and New Balance may be your first choices for running shoes keep in mind there are other brands such as Saucony, Brooks, Nike and Reebok.  A shoe that is comfortable and doesn't hurt you during activities is a good shoe but if you're looking for performance I recommend moving away from the heavier, typical shoes to newer, lighter technologies.

For Pavement:  
Asics Kayano 17
From Asics, the popular 2011 Asic Kayano 17 provide a lot of support and Asic DS Sky Speed 2 provide good support for fore-foot/mid-foot runners. These two are favored by many for those wanting a good amount of support and cushioning in a running shoe. Asics also released the Gel-Blur 33 the softest gel cushioning I've ever felt in running shoes which have no heel to toe drop for a free feeling running experience.

New Balance 1226

The New Balance equivalent to the above is the new 2011 New Balance 1226, focusing on good foot support and arch support. The New Balance Abzorbs Foam is somewhat lighter than Asics Gel technology. What gets me excited for New Balance are their newer lines of shoes, the Minimus for minimalists and NB890s for those who are not ready to go minimal but want something close with just as much cushioning but lighter than a typical running shoe.

For Trails:
Montrail Mount Mashocist
For trail runners, Asics makes the Gel-Trail Sensor. More popular are the NB101 from New Balance and the trail version of the Minimus. Many ultra runners also consider Vasque, Montrail, Salomon and The North Face as well as many others. From Montrail, the Mount Masochist is a women's Gear of the Year award winner is proven to be a performance trail running shoe which is also available in a highly water resistant GTX version (gortex). Also check out Salomon, another performance trail running shoe manufacturer well known around the world.


Montecito Half Marathon - Challenging and Fun

Kevin Steele Photography
The Montecito-Summerland Half Marathon, 10k and 5k fun run fell on July 16, 2011. There were over 360 participants and sunny weather along with last minute course changes. The course changed from about a 400ft accumulated elevation change to approximately 930ft a couple days before the event. For those who showed up in Summerland on Friday afternoon to pick up their race packets and pasta dinner waited in line for an hour to get their bibs however bout 30% of those who showed up didn't get one. Many runners had driven hours from far of parts of California were instructed to pick them up on the morning of the event. The poor volunteers working the tables took the brunt of some of the complaints. Despite the pre-race preparation issue for some, the event itself was enjoyable and event day was well executed. I'm sure everyone agrees that if this race director can be improve the pre-race organization and hold off on last minute changes, so will the attitude of participants. There's a lot of potential for the race director.

Photos of the event by Kevin Steele Photography

Kevin Steele Photography
During the race, I recognized many of the volunteers along the course from the Santa Barbara Athletic running and triathlon clubs. The weather was beautiful, sunny down below as runners were running in the clouds (literally) as they climbed the 1000 feet up through the Montecito mountains' low clouds where it cooled off at the peak of the out and back course. There were plenty of well stocked aid stations (fruit, pastries, water, electrolyte water, GU and friendly volunteers) to aid runners every few miles along the course. Montecito Police also held traffic at a few busy intersections (Thank you Montecito Police). At the finish, a crowd cheered on runners returning and there was aid waiting as well as an enthusiastic finish line announcer. I ran with an injury but still had a great time, this was a fun half marathon and I was glad the course had changed into a challenging hill climb. As I sat at the Summerland Cafe eating brunch with friends afterwards, we watched the last of the runners trickling in an hour later, finishing the 13.5 mile half marathon course (yes it turned out to be just about a half mile over). Montecito-Summerland Half Marathon turned out to be enjoyable, challenging and fun.


My 5th, 6th and 7th Running Races... I think I've got a problem

If you've read any of my earlier blogs, then you'll know that earlier this year I ran my very first race. It was a 4 miler and made surprisingly good time of 7:34 per mile. Since then I haven't been able to hit those times again in a 5 mile, 10k and 10 mile race but I'm hooked. I was either in the high 7s/low 8s or as in the 10 mile trail race in the high 8s/low 9s (probably slower due to terrain). I realize it could be a combination of additional distance and that I've stopped my hard core 3 hour work outs that I was doing 4 to 5 days a week. However the point has become moot as I've increased distance, prolonged endurance is now a factor. Running for 1.5 to 2 hours at a time requires hydration and nutrition so I've started to experiment with carrying a water bottle, GU, Clif Bloks and GU Chews. My weekly long runs are now 10 miles in preparation to run a 15k, a half marathon then 25k trail race all between now and August.

Are you a traveling runner or on the west coast this summer? Here are some of events in California.

Central California (near San Francisco)
Headlands 50 and Marathon - Tiburon, California. Sat. July 16, 2011
La Sportiva Table Rock Trail Race 25k - Stinson Beach, California. July 23, 2011

Southern California (near Los Angeles)
Mt. Dissapointment 50k - Mount Wilson, California. Aug. 13, 2011
Bulldog 50k and 25k - Calabasas, California. August 27, 2011


2011 New Balance 890 Review

New Balance 890
I recently started running in a pair of New Balance 890. It's their new middle ground shoe that falls between a traditional heel strike shoe and a minimal shoe. The materials used in the 890 are comfortable and very light. The shoe provides enough cushioning and support for mid-range to long runs and find them great to run in.

By using a new cushioning material called Rev-Lite and stitch-less uppers, New Balance claims the cushioning power is just as strong and 30% lighter than material used in other foam cushioned shoes. These shoes are only 9.7 ounces per shoe (size US9.5 men's). The shoes are also seamless/stitch-less so they fit very comfortably over the top of the foot with no seams or shoe laces felt at all.

The NB890 fills the spot as something new for those who aren't ready to try minimalist shoes such as the New Balance Minimus, Merrel Barefoot or Vibram 5 fingers but looking to for mid/fore foot striking support. These have quickly become my favorite shoes for light, cushioned mid-support daily runners. If Asics is your preference I would highly recommend also checking out the Asics DS Sky Speed 2 equivalent.


Luis Escobar's Born To Run Ultras - Los Olivos, California

Guillermo Medina, 1st in 100 Mile
Graced by the presence of the host, Luis Escobar and the Caballo Blanco (Micah True),  it was as if the stories in the book Born To Run by Christopher McDougall came to life before my eyes with its characters. The Caballo Blanco even led the morning with an oath taken by every runner before the run, echoing the story itself, "If I get hurt, lost or die. It's my own "effing" fault!" (He actually said the f-bomb and not effing). The course, two ten mile loops, the second loop with a nice steep hill climb towards the end and some of them mighty steep as the second loop merged back with the first loop along the course.

The morning, afternoon and evening was glorious. Rolling hills, virgin lands no one had ever raced on, brand new paths in the knee high foxtail grass that took runners into the base of picture perfect rolling hills. Around 11PM it became a wet and muddy event as the rain came down (only to clear up by the next day). The steep descent of a hill in the second loop became a slippery water slide as rains and winds came upon us in the middle of the night. However the image of being in the middle of a field, surrounded by rolling hills in the dead of the night, on a path barely beaten down by runners in faded moonlight behind the stormy clouds and chilling wind will always be a warm memory of the Born To Run Ultras event.

My 10 mile run was as enjoyable as could be as I my body drained a GU Roctane for the last few miles cruising past the true endurance runners pacing themselves for the long haul. (Luis Escobar is an established photographer, a character in Born To Run and ultra runner sponsored by Montrail). It was a grass roots ultra affair at its best attracting over 160 runners from around the country when they first only expected 20 people to show up. The other categories were 10 miles, 50k, 100k and 100 miles. My friend Eric Yan finished the 100 mile race achieving his personal best time of 19:59 (that is 19 hours and 59 minutes) finishing 4th. The North Face sponsored Guillermo Medina finished 1st in a blistering 18:58 and it wasn't even one of his best days. He had beaten Lance Armstrong just a few weeks before at the Santa Barbara Endurance Race. The Caballo Blanco (Micah True) even ran the 50k event I believe. Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton was also present promoting his new book on barefoot running.

Eric Yan, 4th in 100 Mile
I was able to pace a 100 mile runner on her 7th 10 mile loop through wind, rain and mud. She was moving along nicely until later that evening when she couldn't hold anything down. The upset stomach and throwing up had begun. I did my best to pace a racer through constant puking, sleep walking and what seemed like dire times in the middle of nature during adverse weather conditions, running ahead then running back just to keep warm as she stopped every few minutes to dry heave her guts out all the while sleep shuffling. She refused to take a gel or anything and when we finally reached the last aid station, set her head down to rest. Some hot food might have helped her recover for the last few miles to end this 7th loop but the race had taken her by this point and there wasn't any hot food at this aid station. She decided to quit the race on her own but sometimes I wonder if I should have pushed her to keep going.

It must be the crazy gene in me looking forward to going 50 miles but I always learn something new about something myself and as humans all the time. I noticed many runners at night had poor lighting and not enough rain/cold resistant outer layers when adverse weather hit. It seems like a good idea to have a good night light, pair of dry, water proof running shoes, gaiters and a rain proof soft shell waiting around just in case. I was shivering like heck when we had to grab a ride in a truck back to camp in my soaked long sleeve wicker shirt and shorts but the runner and I were all smiles as we sipped on our hot soup because these ultra runners are something crazy. Something good crazy.


Asics vs. New Balance vs. Merrell Forefoot to Midfoot Running Shoes

New Balance 890
The New Balance 890 are light, fast and has enough cushioning for pavement. This shoe falls in the mid to forefoot running category at 9.7 ounces, the light weight really lets the legs cycle through strides freely. The heel to toe rise is about 12mm which may be kind of steep for some people. The NB890 is up there in my top 3 shoes for everyday runners.

Asics DS Sky Speed 2
The Asics DS Sky Speed 2 are also a top 3 shoe. They are light, fore-foot support shoes that has a cult following of sorts. Runners who are fans of this shoe are incredibly loyal and for good reason. In the tradition of Asics Gel Cushioning and with light breathable upper mesh material they tend to win over runners who are familiar with Asics quality. The Kayano 17s are good however the DS Sky Speed 2 edges them as a performance shoe.

Asics Blur 33
The Asics Gel-Blur 33 have won their way into my top 3 everyday runners. These shoes have no heel to toe rise. They are claimed to be around 9.8oz (I found them to be closer to 11ozs)  and with stitch-less uppers (they actually have some stitching). However they happen to have a unique gel cushioning which may or may not be for some runners. I found them to be unique and extremely comfortable, some say they feel like Nike Free shoes. They have a soft gel sole which I've never really felt before and makes them interesting. They do fit snugly around the mid foot with socks on but are true to size in length.

New Balance Minimus Pavement
From New Balance are the Minimus Road and Trail whose outer tread material is made by Vibram, the company that makes the Five-Fingers. With essentially no heel to toe drop, they come in many different models customized for trail, pavement and everyday performance.

Asics Rush 33
In return, Asics is answering with the Rush 33 which are a bit of disappointment. The upper mesh is not really breathable compared to the Blur 33 while it does have a minimal and stiffer tread. This is my least favorite shoe out of the ones mentioned. But if you're looking for a stiff sole and shoes with no rise they are worth a look.

From Merrell are the Barefoot Glove and Barefoot Trail Glove. These are super light minimalist shoes, designed with little cushioning and no heel to toe drop like the NB Minimus to achieve a nearly barefoot experience without going barefoot.

It seems to be the consensus that running a couple times a week in minimalist shoes may improve form and may help strengthen the foot, ankle and knees. However, keep in mind the body needs to adjust and if you feel unnatural pain to rest and heal when changing from traditionally cushioned to minimalist shoes specifically if you run distances in them.


Gaucho Gallop 10k - UCSB Running Series

I ran the final of the UCSB Running Serices, the Gaucho Gallop 10k, 5k fun run and 1k Diogi Dog race. Coming from a 2 week vacation and just 1 week to prepare... I wasn't prepared but finished in a challenging 8 minute per mile race. I also mis-judged the finished and started sprinting much too early. This time in the race package, they included a package of Clif Blok chews, an electrolyte nutrition chew to be taken before and during the race. They helped me recover a lot quicker and I felt fresh after the race but I struggled through the run itself. Looking ahead to the next race, I hope to be better prepared for the Born To Run Ultras 10 mile race on the trails in Los Olivos wine country.


Salomon Trail Running and Hiking Shoes and Apparel

As I look further into trail running, my friend recently introduced me to Salomon trail running and hiking shoes (this link goes to the US site, please visit and choose your country). I've never tried them but they seem to get great reviews and many people swear by them. My next trail runners may be Salomon.


My Second Race - UCSB Shamrock 5 Mile

I'll be the first to admit, I didn't prepare much for the UCSB Shamrock 5 Mile Race. It had been raining a lot the weeks before and I kept to the gym and the treadmill, maybe making out once a week for an outdoor run but I didn't fare so badly either.  The course was a mix of trails and pavement, but in the trails it was wet, muddy and challenging.  Here's a short video of the UCSB Shamrock 5 Mile Race.  It was my first time running in adverse, wet condition. My shoes got wet and heavy, then I fell into a deep muddy hole falling flat on my face. When I fell, I experienced one of the few nice aspects of participating. A guy and his girlfriend briefly stopped to help me up before continuing on to finish the race. Big thanks to the class act.  The next race is the Gaucho 10k (and 5k) on April 30th which I won't have time to prepare for as I might be travelling but will be looking for every opportunity to put down some miles where ever I am to be in the best condition for the run. Two weeks later will be the Born To Run Ultra Marathons on April 14th on a beautiful ranch in Los Olivos which has a 10 mile course (in addition to the 50k, 100k and 100 mile courses for the Ultra marathoners) essentially a 20 mile figure 8 loop from the descriptions. There's camping the night before and seems like it'll be a lot of fun as well as a great experience in wine country.

Montrail Enduro Sole, Arch Molds and Sof Sole Insoles For Runners

I have recently started using performance insoles after having feet pain and other little things. They may not make a good pair of shoes better but they do save your feet, knees and body. Compared to very expensive custom orthopedic insoles which can be a couple hundred dollars, they do the job pretty well for around $30. I have a pair that float between my running shoes as they provide arch support, cushioning, aid form and  alignment. One caveat, some of the ones with strong plastic arch and heel support can be a little thick and take a little adjusting to.

Montrail Enduro Insole
Montrail makes Montrail Enduro insoles. Montrail is originally known for their great hiking shoes and boots, these insoles compliment trail running shoes. Now they make trail runners and the Enduro insoles. The insoles are thermal bake, which means you throw them in the oven to warm them up then immediately wear them around in your shoes for so they form to your feet. At $30-$36 they are a great value and a great alternative to the more expensive custom made orthopedic insoles. These insoles sit pretty low and seem to be the best ones out there according to most people who use the Montrail Enduro Sole.

Sofsole makes a line of insoles but my favorite are the custom bake Adapt which you pop in the oven at 225 degrees and mold them to your feet. They are well cushioned and mold well. The well known custom bake Arch Molds are similar design and make a wide variety of custom bake insoles. On a side note, I've gotten a blister on my right arch due to some rubbing against the high arches on these and re-baked them hoping to fix the problem. I will be putting an Engo blister patch on them as well.

Custom bake insoles are easy to use, just take out you old insoles and insert the new insoles. They take a couple miles to break in but provide a nice level of cushioning and support that the original in soles never can. These insoles are around $30 US.


Your First Race, My First Race - Running

I ran my very first race this weekend, a 4 mile race at UCSB sponsored by Citrix Online. I completed the course in a time of 29:39. That's about 7:34 a mile on a diverse terrain course (pavement and trails with hills). Having gone through the learning pains of wearing the wrong shoes, bad form and over running, it turned out very well. Five months ago, as a running newbie, I began running on soft trail runners on pavement and the treadmill nearly causing major damage to my feet. So I bought a pair of Asics Cumulus and began incorporating better running form. Taking things pragmatically, I've gone through various types of feet pain (I'm still experiencing an odd feeling on the bottom of my right foot from a 10 mile run two weeks ago) as well as having gone through leg and calf pains but I think I'm hooked (at least for now). I'm already getting a few races lined up for the future, which is giving me something to train hard for. I'm considering a quick 5k at the end of February, then a 10 miler in mid April before a mountainous 15k (good elevation changes and 100% on trails) at the end of April, building up to a 1/2 Marathon in October or November.
Romeo 4 Mile (2 mile loop)

If you are a traveling runner there's a couple events I'd like to share that may look interesting.

Santa Barbara Endurance Race  April 29th - May 1, 2011.
100 mile, 50 mile, 100k, 50k, 35k, 25k, 15k on mountain trail terrain with good amount of elevation change.

Marathon 26.2 miles, 1/2 Marathon 13.1 miles