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  • Thankful for Running

    Posted on November 27th, 2014

    12-Jaclyn451As the tagline of RunPD suggests, I’ve been running for about as long as I can remember. My sister, Jaclyn, got the family started by joining the Simi Valley Running Rebels (then it was part of the Simi Valley Vikings, actually). This motivated my mom to take it up as an adult despite never running growing up. It took just a couple of years following Jaclyn and my mom around track meets and cross country courses before my brother, Andrew, and I decided to join in on the??fun.

    Many years, practices, races, and careers have past since then.??To say running has shaped our lives is an understatement. Many of our closest friends and fondest memories came from the sport. Both Jaclyn and I would have attended different universities had it not been for our high school running, and it’s crazy to think how different our lives would be now. Heck, running is 1/3rd of my current profession!

    I am thankful for a lot of things, but it seems fitting to highlight running during this time of year for my family. For quite a while now, Thanksgiving and running have gone hand-in-hand.

    Today, my mom and I raced in a local turkey trot here in Simi.**


    A couple years ago, I raced in one of the biggest and oldest turkey trots in Cincinnati when I was in Northern Kentucky visiting some of Mo’s family for the holiday.

    I spent four of the six years I was at NAU in Terre Haute, IN on the Monday before Thanksgiving at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. In 2009, the Lumberjacks finished??4th.


    Before that, my family made a trip nearly every year between 1997-2005 to Fresno, CA for the CIF State Cross Country Championships. Jaclyn??was Royal High School’s first ever individual qualifier. In 2001, Andrew was apart of the school’s first team qualification — that team finished as a very surprising??runner-up. In 2003, my team backed that up with another 2nd, and then went onto winning Royal’s first state titles in any sport in 2004 and 2005.

    2005 Royal Cross Country

    Finally, as I joked on Facebook earlier this week, Hillside Middle School’s Turkey Trot was dominated by kids named “Pedersen” and “Ramirez”– our closest family friends — in the ’90’s and up until 2001. Back then I wasn’t racing for money, but only for glory in the form of t-shirts that didn’t actually fit until four years later.10620829_10203981574832348_1002107068959833302_n

    This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for running, all the people and memories it has brought me, and to be able to still find joy in it everyday.

    Tom the Turkey says, "Happy Thanksgiving!"

    Tom the Turkey says, “Happy Thanksgiving!”

    **I finished 2nd at Simi Valley’s “Thanksgiving Day 5k” today to former high school teammate, Jun Reichl. It was a fun race running in front with him. I don’t think either of us wanted to push it especially hard, and opted to leave it down to a sprint finish, and he won! My mom also raced, finishing 3rd in her age group! What’s more impressive is that she was preparing our turkey at 5:30 am before the race, and she hasn’t stopped cooking since! Strava file of the race (15:56) and some photos on Facebook??from my dad.

  • Simi Ride: Finally!

    Posted on November 16th, 2014

    The biggest perk of #offseason is that, more or less, I get to do what I want (so long as what “I want” includes swimming at least a few times a week…). I’ve been spending a lot of time with Mo, done a bit of surfing, and??seen family. Most workouts have been very easy and/or social because 1) I don’t get many opportunities for this sort of thing during the season, and 2) I haven’t been motivated to do anything too intense.

    While I have this??freedom I thought I should check out the famous “Simi Ride.” Many cyclists and triathletes in the area have told me about this group ride over the last few years, and I’ve been itching to try it. According to this Bicycling Magazine article, the ride is almost 50 years old and attracts some of the best cyclists around.

    I rode out from my parents house and met up with the group just as they were starting from the East end of LA Ave in Simi Valley. I knew this was a popular ride, so I was expecting to see a big group, but it was still impressive to me to see maybe 150 cyclists rolling down the road together. I jumped in towards the middle of the group. It took me a little while, but I finally found a friend and former teammate from Royal High School, Matt Gulden, in the bunch. Matt is still fairly new to road cycling, but he’s picked it up quick and it was nice to chat with him off and on over the next few hours.

    Norwegian Grade. This photo is from last week's ride, but you get the idea. Photo by: Steve Nix

    Norwegian Grade. This photo is from last week’s ride, but you get the idea. Photo by: Steve Nix

    From LA Ave the group continued onto Tierra Rejada and rode into Moorpark. Left onto Moorpark Rd and followed that up Norwegian Grade. A few cyclists rolled from the front to back up the climb, but the effort was fairly easy most of the way. As we got into Thousand Oaks, the group turned right onto Olsen Rd and continued onto Lynn Rd as we made our way into Newbury Park. Left on Reino Rd and another quick left onto Portrero Rd. The group rode steady until a small attack on some of the steeper sections near the top. The descent down into the flats of Hidden Valley and toward Lake Sherwood was one of the more intense sections of the ride. I got into a nice rotation at the front with about a dozen other guys. It was fun to get a little competitive again.

    Once we made it to Westlake Blvd things were pretty relaxed. We made a pit stop at Triunfo Park for water and bathroom. With a group that large, stops take a bit longer, and I was antsy to get back on the road the last few minutes. Matt and I led the group out around Westlake Lake and onto Agoura Rd. This section to Kanan Rd was very chill.

    #bikes #simiride

    A photo posted by Jason Pedersen (@jpbjorn) on

    Finally we got onto Cornell Rd and made our way to Mulholland. The faster guys that wanted to ride started to work their way towards the front here. Things slowly crescendoed until a couple miles before “7 Minute Hill” (or Dry Creek Cold Canyon Rd), where a massive attack was thrown down. One guy in a green kit (Canondale?) went off the front here. I led a chase group of a few others riders through the lower sections of 7 Minute Hill. The effort was pretty intense, and I definitely thought that maybe I was going “too hard.”??Fugg it! I do what I want!??I ended up 3rd to the top and a decent time of 6:35 (@ 368W).

    Regrouping at the top of 7 Minute Hill. Photo by: Jordan Bernstein from October 18, 2014

    Regrouping at the top of 7 Minute Hill. Photo by: Jordan Bernstein from October 18, 2014

    I guess the ride more or less ends at the top of this climb, and people roll out in smaller groups whenever they feel recovered. Matt and I continued down Mulholland and made our way north through The Valley via Topanga Canyon and Valley Circle. As the ride time crept toward four hours, my legs became total trash, and I rode Matt’s wheel back home (except when he dropped me up the Santa Susana Pass!).

    Though I was smashed by the end, I had a blast! and will hopefully make it out a few more times as training allows. As fall progress into winter, the route gets a little bit longer, a little tougher, and I hear the pace kicks up quite a bit!

    Here is a photo album one of the riders took from yesterday (though I’m not in any of them!). I found a video compilation from the 2013-2014 Winter Simi Ride that shows some cool shots of the route.

  • VIDEO: Early Season Hill Repeats at Challenger Park

    Posted on December 3rd, 2013

    On Saturday I had one of my last solo workouts before joining back up with The Triathlon Squad in Poway. I did some short hill repeats at Challenger Park in Simi Valley. I grew up running there as a kid and continued to practice and race there in high school. Some of the trails at Challenger are still some of my favorites to run to this day.

    My dad made a video of the workout and posted in on Youtube. If you have a few minutes, check it out. (at 5:30 into the video I explain the workout and say a few things about running at Challenger Park)

    Thanks, Padre!

  • Lasse Viren 20k

    Posted on December 14th, 2009
    Good bye Flagstaff. . .

    Good bye Flagstaff. . .

    After watching and celebrating my girlfriend’s graduation on Friday, my parents and I headed West back home to Simi Valley. The snow was nice for a few days, but training in it all Winter is just too much for me. Consistency and enjoying training are so much more important than any benefits training at altitude provides.

    Upon arriving in Simi on Saturday, I went out for a 10 miler in the rain. Bad news is you get a lot wetter running in the rain than you ever do running in snow. Good news, however, is it was 57??F which means no ice!

    . . . Hello California!

    . . . Hello California!

    Yesterday I decided to run the Lasse Viren 20k in Malibu, Ca. Before the race I started chatting with a guy that looked to be a pretty decent runner (and probably my main competition). He told me he had trained in Flagstaff in 2008. We began talking about triathlons and then he told me he won Ironman Arizona a few weeks ago. Then it clicked in my head that I was talking with Jordan Rapp!

    From the gun Jordan, myself and another guy took off. About 400m later, Mr. Anonymous dropped back and I took the lead. I came through 1 mile in 5:35 with Jordan a few seconds back. I continued pulling away with 5:43, 5:41, 6:07 and 6:44 miles (last two were hilly). I reached a flatter, asphault section and dropped back below 6:00 pace with a 5:53 and came through the 10k in 36:46. I ran 72:20 here in 2006, and was debating whether I wanted to take it easy-enough to just win or go for a PR. I thought about my dilemma while cruising a downhill 5:15 mile. These trails were the setting for many tough long runs this summer, including my first-and-only 20 milers. As I reminisced of the many times I have run Sycamore Canyon with friends, the choice disappeared and it was obvious that I would keep pressing on for a PR.

    The next miles were 5:36, 5:44, 5:36, 5:43 and 5:23. I opened it up just a bit the last mile and finished in 1:10:35. I am definitely happy with that performance: taking the win, running sub 5:45 pace for 20k at the end of my “first week back,” a ~1:45 PR. . . while being slightly under the weather. I probably shouldn’t be running so hard this early in my training, but I had fun. Assuming I didn’t injure anything yesterday, I am sure the effort will not have any adverse affects to my upcoming seasons.

    After the race I spoke with Jordan and his wife Jill for a while. Very nice people. I told them of my triathlon aspirations and they encouraged me to seek out some folks at USA Triathlon (USAT). They are currently living in the area and I tried to explain a few locations for great trail runs and hopefully I will see them around during the rest of my Winter break.

    Shout out to my mom. She also competed yesterday and won her 48-52 age group! Winning is in the family :). Great job Mom and thanks for driving!


  • Summer

    Posted on May 11th, 2009

    Summer is finally here! I made it through finals and I am back home in Simi Valley breathing the the thick air and enjoying the good life.

    Wednesday I had a break from finals and did a “triathlon day.” My roommate Kam Holbrook and I went for a 28 mile bike ride down to the Sedona overlook off of highway 89A. Awesome views. After the bike ride and a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, I headed to the pool to get in 1800m. I swam a ladder of 50, 100, 150, 200, 150, 100, 5o. Pretty tough. Ate some more food then went for my last run with the team until next season, an easy 7 miler. I was beat.

    89A going into Sedona

    89A going into Sedona

    View from Sedona overlook

    View from Sedona overlook

    Me and Kam

    Me and Kam

    Thursday I went for an easy 5 mile run in the morning wtih teammate Joe Withers (he had his last race of the season on Saturday so he was tapering) and then 1300m in the pool before my final. I made it to my final with about 5 minutes to spare. I think I still got an A?

    Friday, my girlfriend Tina and I headed out to summit My Humphrey’s (12,633 ft). There was still a lot of snow on the trail and we got lost several times on the way up. Tina unfortunately got light headed and seemed to suffer some altitude sickness at around 11,600 feet. She told me I should go on, so I made it to about 12,100 feet before realizing that I had just left my girlfriend all alone on a poorly marked trail over 11,500 feet above sea level. I still got a great view. Next time we will make it all the way up together.

    Tina and I before the hike

    Tina and I before the hike



    So close to the summit

    So close to the summit

    Agassiz peak

    Agassiz peak

    Looking West

    Looking West

    Saturday I finally made my way back home to Simi Valley. It is always nice to be back home. My parents and I enjoyed some great food at Limon’s Latin Grill (Flagstaff, Az isn’t known for its sea food) then we watched some old home videos.

    Yesterday my sister and I made my mom breakfast before she had to leave at 9AM to catch a plane for business. Then I biked up to Challenger Park and ran through Bus Canyon. Everytime I am come back to Simi, it seems like this is my first run. The runs here are just as hilly as I remembered. I biked back home after the run, dropped off my running stuff, and biked for another 13 miles or so (probably ~22 for the day).?? Yesterday was the first day I tried using the aerobars… I actually felt pretty comfortable in them, although I think I still need to make a few adjustments to make me more aero. It can be a little sketchy when cars are zooming by a couple feet away and I’m trying to tuck into a good aero position. I’ll have to practice more.

    I finished off the weekend with a Mother’s Day barbeque with family. I ate a lot of food and enjoyed some good beer. Life is good right now.