Monday, December 22, 2008

This and That...

It's been a while since I last posted here, things have been a bit crazy with work and home life. So here is a recap of the last few weeks.

I ran the Say No to Drugs 10K last week and set a new PR in the 10K, 50:40 (7:55/mile). I shaved 7:01 off of my previous 10K time. The race was a double loop through Griffith Park here in Los Angeles and we had many of our regulars from the running group in the race. Our running store was even a sponsor and 2 of their Elite women took 1st place in both the 5K and 10K.

The race started late due to lack of organization and people picking up their bibs. Once started, everyone seemed to be having a good time. After the race there was a pancake breakfast and mini expo going on. They ran out of medals, but they did say if you wanted one, they would mail it to you. All in all, I was very pleased with my time.

Last Saturday, I went out for an easy 6 mile run. About 3 miles in, I started noticing some pain coming from the outer side of my left knee. I walked for a bit and continued the run. I finished up and the pain was pretty great at that point. I took a shower and sat down for a while, the pain seemed to go away, so I ran some errands. When I returned, the pain was even greater than during the run. At one point, I thought I was going to fall over. I was able to see the doctor today and it turns out that it is exactly what I thought...IT Band Syndrome. No running for 2 weeks, daily doses of Advil and some stretching. Man am I running...I am going to follow his advice and use the time to rest and heal. I am running the Surf City half marathon on Feb 1, so I really need to heal...quickly.

I hope everyone has a very happy holiday season!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mount Baldy Hike

Last weekend, my friend Fred and I embarked on a journey to hike to the summit of Mt. Baldy. We met early in the morning for the drive out to the trail head. We we got there, it was a bit on the chilly side and the wind was blowing about 40 miles per hour. We headed off on our 8 mile round trip journey to the top and back. The first mile was on a paved road and then a dirt/gravel road with very little incline. Mile 2 was more of a hike and we were now on a trail. We seemed to be moving at a pretty good pace, probably a bit faster than we should but we were comfortable with the pace. We arrived at "The Hut" which is about the half way point in the trip. We stopped to refuel and get some more water before making our way to the summit.

Mile 3 was a bit more challenging as the grade became steeper and we were now moving along switchback trails. Our pace slowed a bit, but we were still ahead of schedule. We stopped for a quick GU gel and water and made our way up the last 3/4 mile to the summit. Once on the summit we sat behind some rock shelters and had a bite to eat. The wind was blowing about 50+ miles per hour on the top. After lunch we took a few pictures and decided to head down.

Going down is a lot easier than going up. We made record time getting back to the hut, where we stopped and had a cup of tea provided to us by the host from the Sierra Club. We then made our way down the last 2 miles to the car. Total time to hike 8 miles with 4,000 feet of elevation gain was 5:15...pretty fast by some standards. All in all, it was a great trip and look forward to doing it again in the spring. You can see all of the pictures here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My New Bike Trainer

A few weeks ago I ordered a bike trainer from Bike Nashbar when they had a sale and I had a coupon for 15% off. I decided to get a trainer as the only time I have to ride is either in the early morning or in the evenings and I am not really comfortable riding in traffic.

So I chose a Ascent Magnetic trainer with 3 levels of resistance and it arrived a few weeks ago. Last night I set it up and put the skewer that comes with it on my bike and got the bike on the trainer. I set up in the garage in front of the TV I have out there and aimed the fan right at the bike. I had the forethought to post a message over at the Runner's World Forums to get some help of what kind of intervals I should be doing. Another user posted an interval workout that he currently uses, so I thought I would give it a try.

1. Pedal easy for 10'
2. Drop a gear, maintain cadence for 2'

3. Go up a gear, Pedal easy 1'

4. Drop 2 gears, maintain cadence for 2'

5. Go up 2 gears, pedal easy 1'

6. Drop 3 gears, maintain cadence for 2'

7. Go up 3 gears, pedal easy 1'

I then repeat 2-7 maybe 3 or 4 times, then cool down for about 10'.

I did it twice on the lowest level of resistance and it was a good workout. The only problem was that my rear was getting a bit sore. I wore my good bike shorts, the ones with lots of padding, but I was still uncomfortable for the last 10 minutes or so. I am hoping that more seat time will cure the soreness. I am hoping to incorporate the trainer into my training regimen at least twice a week.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Santa Clarita Half Marathon Race Report

I have been looking forward to running this race for some time. I had my wife attend the expo and pick up my bib and chip as I had to work for a few hours on Saturday. Those few hours turned into 10 hours, but that is another story. Needless to say, after a bowl of pasta, I set the alarm and headed off to bed.

I woke up at 4:30am, at a Clif Bar and some peanut butter, took a shower and got dressed. There was a chance of rain but since it cam on Saturday afternoon, I figured it was slim at best. I walked outside to check the temperature and it was drizzling, OK I can deal with that. I grab a trash bag and cut a few holes in it and headed out the door. On my 25 minute drive to the race, the drizzle turned to rain...crap...I didn't want to deal with rain. I pulled into the parking structure and parked. I got out and looked down on the finish line area and there were a few people mulling around. I went back to the car and just sat for a while. While I was sitting there, the guy next to me got out of his car and headed to the start line, funny thing was he was wearing flip flops. After a few minutes, I noticed the dome light was on in his car. I decided to grab my stuff and head down to the starting line and see if I can find this guy and tell. As I was making my way to the starting area, I saw that gentleman and I stopped him to let him know his dome light was still on. (I'm a big believer in Karma) He thanked me and ran off to the parking structure. By now the rain had stopped and I could see some breaks in the clouds. I tossed my garbage bag and hit the porta-potty one last time.

After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, the starter's gun went off. The marathon, half marathon and 5 K all started at the same time. The first mile was uphill and other than being a bit crowded, everything was going well. My plan was to try to keep a 9:00/mile pace throughout and hit the downhill sections a bit faster so if I had to slow up a bit on the uphill parts, I would still be able to come in under 2 hours. Miles 3-6 took us through and industrial park and then on to the trail that runs along the dry riverbed. The trail had a slight incline all the way to mile 9 where we crossed over to the other side of the riverbed and headed down the trail. There were a couple of bands playing through miles 10 and 11. Around mile 10, I looked at my garmin and did the math in my head and thought there is no way I am going to make it in under 2 hours. At that point, I got discouraged and took a walk break. I figured if I could come in under 2:05:00, I would be happy, so I tried to get back to my 9:00/mile pace. At mile 11 I took my last Gu pack and some water and kept plugging along. As I passed the last water station at mile 12, I looked at my garmin again and re-did the math and figured if I could push myself, I think I can come in just under 2 hours. I was running along the riverbed and hit turn off for the half marathon to head to the finish line. I looked out ahead of me and I saw 2 paseos ( paths that cross over streets) that I would have to cross to get to the finish line...both were uphill. I got over the first one Ok and I could see the turn for the finish area. I got almost to the top of the second one and had to walk to the top, once I hit the top it was all down hill to the finish. I kicked had the last 200 yards with an all out spring the last 100 yards to cross the line. I grabbed my finishers medal and looked at my garmin...1:59:40 woo hoo...I made it under 2 hours. I grabbed a bagel and some water and walked around the finish line for a while. I headed home, took a shower and went for a massage, which as I write this, I feel it was great for recovery. Later that evening when the official results were posted, I got the added surprise of my official time: 1:59:30

All in all it was a great race and I will definitely put this one on next years calendar. The volunteers were fantastic and enthusiastic, many of which were kids. There were 2 downsides to the race, one is that I always forget to put vaseline on my nipples and boy did I feel it today in the shower. The second would be about setting the goal of coming in under 2 hours. That was always in the back of my mind and that is all I thought about, in a way, it kept me from enjoying the race. Maybe it was Karma that helped bring me in under 2 hours, who knows.

Here is a link to the data from my garmin 305:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

1:59:30...Woo Hoo

Official Results: Santa Clarita Half marathon: 1:59:30

Race Report coming later.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting Ready for the Santa Clarita Half Marathon

I will be running the Santa Clarita Half Marathon on Sunday. This will be my 3rd HM that I have run and I will be making an attempt to break the 2 hour mark. Is it possible? I would like to think so, after all, I just need to run 9:16/miles, which is a pace I can run very easily. Last weekend I did 2 runs (6.2 miles and 5.25 miles) both run at a 9:00/mile pace. Felt good after both runs and feel that I will be able to sustain that pace for 13.1 miles. There is a slight incline at mile 1 and then again from mile 6-9, but mile 9-12 has a slight decline. I may have to slow up a bit going uphill and make it up on the downhill. I am going to start out carrying my own bottle of gatorade so I can bypass the first 3-4 water stops. I used that strategy in the Disneyland Half and it worked well by avoiding those early, overcrowded water stations.

This week I have kept the mileage to just over 3 miles per day and will make my last run on Friday morning. I will have a race report on Sunday or goal 1:59:59.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Walk Through The Valley Death

A few weeks ago there was an article in the paper about a guy who walked solo, 225 miles, through Death Valley, here in California. After reading the article, it peaked my interest and I wanted to hear more about this trip. Fortunately, Roger Homrich, the gentleman who made the trek, was going to be speaking about his journey, "A Walk Through The Valley Death", at my local REI store. Tuesday night, I found my way to the back of the store to find about 6 people sitting in front of a projector screen waiting for the talk to begin. Roger Homrich started on time and discussed his adventure from the planning stages, to the final steps he took and everything in between. He is a photographer by trade and had many beautiful photos. He discussed his route via maps and photos but the experience is what really came through. After about 90 minutes of his fascinating description of his journey, he did about 30 minutes of Q and A. There were about 15 people in the group by the end of the discussion and there were some really good questions.
Although this is not a trip that I would ever take, it was interesting to hear one man's account of being in one of the harshest climates in the United States, all alone for 15 days and hearing about what was probably one of the greatest adventures of his life.

Check out some of his photos here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Making up for Lost Time

With the poor air quality last week from the wildfires, I didn't get to run until Thursday night with my group. Even where we run in Griffith Park, the air was very dry although it didn't have a taste like it does near the house. The run felt good, ran at a pretty fast pace (which is what I do on Thursday nights) and had a good time socializing at the running store afterward.

Friday is always a scheduled rest day for me, so Saturday would be my first chance to run in the area around our house. I got up early and the temperature was around 65 degrees. I decided to take a drive up the hill to the area where I like to do my Saturday morning hill runs. When I got up there, it looked like the surface of the moon...everything was burnt and there was still the lingering smell of smoke. I went back home and headed out for 6 miles of easy running. I headed east, away from the burn area and I didn't really notice a smell of smoke except for one area and was through that rather quickly. Turned out I ran 6.3 miles in 56:12. That is a bit faster than my PR for a 10K I ran in April. I spent the rest of the day working in the yard and then off to some friends house for a really great dinner and some fabulous wine.

I wanted to do 10 miles on Sunday as that would be my last long run before the Santa Clarita Half Marathon on November 2. After talking with my neighbor on Saturday about a route he ran, I decided to give it a try. It was only a 2.5 mile out and back, but it had a long incline coming back. I grabbed my water belt and Ipod and headed off and was moving at a pretty good clip as I let gravity pull me along. Got to the turn around, had some water and started back. The last part of the incline was a bit steep and had to slow my pace a bit to keep my heart rate in zone 4. When I got to the top, I felt pretty good and headed east to tack on some more miles. I ran about 1.5 miles and turned around and headed back to the house. When I got back, I checked the garmin and found I ran 7.2 miles in 1:05:05. I was a bit disappointed in the mileage, but I felt good as the last 2 runs, I have been trying to keep at a HM pace (9:00/mile) so I can try to come in around 2 hours. This week I will try and get back on schedule this week.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wildfires Hit Close to Home

Sunday morning I awoke to some thick, dark smoke coming from the East. After thinking for a while, I decided it would be best to skip my planned bike ride. I spent the rest of Sunday carbo loading (read drinking Newcastle) with my neighbor who also decided to skip his bike ride.

Fast forward to Monday @10am...I get a call from my daughter telling me she can see flames up in the hills above our house from her bedroom window. I went to the local Fox affiliates website and started streaming their live video to see what's going on. It turns out that a massive wildfire broke out up on the hills above Porter Ranch. It looked pretty bad and with the gusty Santa Ana winds, the fire was moving at a rapid pace. I continued to monitor the video as well as trying to get some work done. At one point, I saw some video of a couple of palm trees on fire in an area that I normally run. I watched a bit closer as that point is about 2 miles from our house, but the fire seemed to be moving down the hill. I talked to a couple of neighbors by phone and they assured me that everything seemed OK in our neighborhood, so I decided to stay at work. There was one moment where I started packing up and getting ready to head home after I saw a small spot fire break out in some trees about 3/4 mile from the house. Fortunately, LA City Fire were able to get to it right away and extinguish it. At 5 pm, I started my trek home. With all of the freeway closures, it took a bit more time taking surface streets, but it really wasn't that bad.

This morning, the fire seemed to move to the East and spread a thick smoke around the area. Once again, I decided it was in my best interest not to run. I went back to bed and then heard an abnormal noise coming from the laundry room...our water heater burst and was leaking water on the floor. Got the water turned off and cleaned up the water. Spent the morning getting it replaced and now everyone is happy they can take a shower.

The fire fighters made some progress in this area today and the smoke has dissipated, but the fire is now burning to the South and West. Hopefully the winds will die down on Wednesday and they will be able to get the upper hand. I am not planning on doing any running until Thursday evening when I run with my group. We run in Griffith Park, which is about 25 miles from the burn area and smoke doesn't seem to be a problem over there. We'll see about Saturday's long run in this area.

Here is a link to a recent run in the area.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Visit From a Movement Therapist

Last Thursday, our group had a special guest speaker who was a movement therapist from Kinetic Conditioning. He explained to us how the foot, knee and hip are all related to each other in running. He then went through a couple of stretching exercises with us on how to get the hips loosened up. He also went through a few strengthening exercises for the hips. After we were all loose...went went out for our 5 mile run. I use Thursday's as a tempo run as there are several faster people in the group and I try to keep pace with them. After the run we returned and Zac answered any and all questions we had about stretching. At the end of the evening, he gave away several free consultation visits.

On Saturday, I was invited to run with my neighbors half marathon training group. I took her up on the offer and we headed off for 6 miles running in the hills above our houses. I was really smokin', finished 6.1 miles in 54:56 with about 600 feet of elevation change. I wish I felt that good on all of my running days.

I went on a 10 mile bike ride on Sunday morning. I felt good at first, but then my legs started aching, probably too much workout for my legs last weekend. So far this week has been disappointing...Monday was an off day and now Tuesday, I am trying to figure out how to get 4 miles in and watch the debate. I'll figure something out.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Changing the Routine

For the last 6 months I have done most of my running early in the morning (5:30-6:00am) with the exception of Thursday nights, when I run with the group. This week, with a hectic work schedule that requires me to be in early and it's still pretty dark at 5:30am, I am switching my running to the evenings. I started this evening about 6:45pm and set out for a 3.25 mile run with my Firefly Super Nova light and a bottle of water. It has been pretty warm here in Los Angeles, today was about 100 degrees and when I started my run was at about 90 degrees. Who would have thought that I would be running my A/C on September 30th...October 1st is supposed to be pretty hot as well.

The biggest difference I noticed aside from the heat, is the amount of traffic and people out and about at that time of day. I started out at a pretty good pace (8:30 mile) and kept it for the first 2 miles. Mile 3 was a bit slower as I developed a side stitch and slowed up and walked for a few minutes. After I got back (28:32) I jumped in the pool...refreshing. The rest of the week, I will do all of my runs in the evening except for my long run on Saturday, which I will do at about 7am.

It's fun to change things up a bit, but I really enjoy the peace of the early morning and I am looking forward to some cooler weather here shortly.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Running With New Balance

Last night, New Balance came to our local running store for our Thursday fun run and brought with them a SUV full of their new 1224 shoes for us to try. Most everyone laced up and off we went for our 5 mile run through Griffith Park. Out of all of the runners in our group, I think I am the only one that uses New Balance shoes currently. I run in the 768 stability shoe and when I was told that the 1224 is the big brother to the 768, I got excited.

After the run, everyone gave their shoes back except for me. I asked if I could purchase the shoes at a discount, after all, they were used. The owner of the store and the girl from New Balance made me a deal I couldn't resist, so I came home with a new pair of 1224's. New Balance also had a bunch of stuff to raffle away including coffee mugs, socks, lunch boxes, tech shirts and a pair of shoes. Lots of winners, I managed to win a long sleeved tech shirt.

I was planning on trying Asics 2130's when I got my next pair of shoes, but I really found the 1224's to be very comfortable and supportive. Thanks again to New Balance for coming out on Thursday night and supporting us.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

L.A. City Council Approves Sale and Date Change

I was flipping channels Friday night and I came across our local Public access channel that broadcasts the city Los Angeles City Council meetings. The topic at the time was a motion to approve the sale of the Los Angeles Marathon from the current owner to the McCourt Group, the same people that own the Los Angeles Dodgers, and move the date up 3 weeks to President's Day Monday. They have over-corporitized (if that is a word) the Dodgers over the last couple of years that they have owned the team.

I have no problem with the sale of the marathon, but I do have a problem with moving the date up 3 weeks. Several churches here in Los Angeles made a stink about how the marathon affected their Sunday morning services, one day a year. The city council heard testimony from both clergy and Team in Training and the Aids Marathon Training group. Both groups had no problem changing the date, but they wanted it changed for 2010, not 2009 as they had already begun to recruit trainees and the marathon training schedule was now off by 3 weeks.

Only 2 city council members voted for a separate motion to approve the sale but not change the date. I am not a fan of the Los Angeles city council and I think one of the motives for this vote was to collect $530,000 of delinquent fees that were to be paid upon completion of the sale.

The city council made the case that the Boston Marathon is run on a state holiday in April every year and that President's Day would be great for the L.A. marathon. Remember, not everyone gets President's Day off and the traffic caused by the street closures would be a greater impact on President's Day than on a Sunday. The L.A. City Council wants to make the L.A. Marathon a world class race yet as a resident of Los Angeles, I don't care to run it as it is a boring point-to point course that is a logistical nightmare. The L.A. Marathon will never be in the same class as Boston or New York.

If you have any thoughts on this, please share them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Take It On the Run Thursday

As suggested by the fine folks over at the Runners Lounge, here are a few of my favorite running blogs.

Girl In Motion



The Running Fat Guy

Run To Win

There are a few more, but I will save those for next time.

Tough Week for Running

This week started out with a day off from work and a 5.4 mile run. I spent the rest of Monday working on my 69 camaro and headed off to bed early. When the alarm went off on Tuesday morning at 5:30am...I couldn't get out of bed, I felt like I had been run over by a bus. Tuesday night, I thought about doing a short bike ride, but once again, I had no energy and hit the sack at 8pm. Wednesday morning, I got up, felt great and went for a short 3.3 mile run. Spent the evening with a couple of friends, catching up over a couple of cocktails. Today is Thursday and that is my group run later this evening. I always enjoy the group run and I am going to try and run 4 miles in the morning. I will have to miss my long run on Saturday as I will be spending 8 hours in traffic light camera ticket...BS

I am also dealing with an issue in my suboccipital muscles, these are the ones at the base of your head and do most of the movement and flexion of your head. I have been getting some weird headaches due to these and need to figure out how to correct this problem.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's Their Story?

I have taken a few days off from work this week and have been starting my runs a bit later than the usual dark-thirty a.m. that I normally run. Over the past few days, I have noticed people in different settings and as I run by, I ask myself...What's their story?

I passed a woman with 2 pre-teen daughters sitting at a bus stop waiting for a bus. Why were they taking a bus? Did they not have a car? Was gas too expensive? Maybe they were trying to help both the environment and their wallets at the same time.

Not too far away, I ran past a girl, who couldn't have been any older than 16, with a small child, possibly 2 years old. They were walking down the street. Where were they going so early in the morning? How old is the mother? I must say that she looked very sad and lonely, yet she was taking care of this young child. When I past her, she put a smile on her face and said good morning.

On a later segment of my run, I passed a gentlemen who I have seen many times before. He is homeless and spends the nights on a bench on the side of the road. He has all of his possessions in a home-made cart. I see him wake up at 6:30am, pack up his stuff and head over to a public storage facility, where he spends the day. He always says good morning back to me when I say hello. Why is he homeless? Does he want to find a way out of this situation or does he satisfied with this lifestyle? Some day, I would like to ask him these questions, maybe stop at Starbucks, pick up a couple of cups of coffee and chat with him for a while.

I am sure many of you run past people like this all of the time. Next time, ask yourself...What's their story?

Have a good weekend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gettin' Back Into It

After last week's running of the Disneyland half, I just want feeling like running much. I went out with the group on Thursday and did 5 miles at a faster pace than I anticipated and 5.5 miles (easy) on Saturday.

The alarm went off this morning at 5:30am and I just didn't feel like running...don't know what it was, but staying in bed for an extra 30 minutes sure seemed better than running 4 miles. I gotta get it out of my system and hit the streets on Tuesday. I have another half marathon coming up on November 2, so I don't really have time to screw off. I must stay focused, I want to try and shave another 13 minutes off of my half marathon time and go sub 2:00:00.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Disneyland Half Marathon Race Report

We started out the weekend picking up our bib and chip at the Health and Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel. Got our goody bag and T-shirts and checked out all of the vendors and got some samples of different products. This years goody bag was pretty good, no coloring book though, but it did have some kind of plug in air freshener, not sure how that relates to running, but OK. This years T-shirt is short sleeved, OK, but it is silk screened on the front with the Disneyland Half Marathon Logo. I found that to be a bit uncomfortable, so I won't wear it to run in.

We then took a stroll through Downtown Disney and checked a few shops and made a reservation at the Italian place for dinner. We went to the hotel and got checked in and took a little nap. We went back over to Downtown Disney and had out pasta/pizza dinner, walked around a bit and headed back to the hotel and off to bed.

Race Day:
Up at 3am, quick shower and a little bite to eat. We decided to drive to Disneyland instead of taking the shuttle, which after talking with a few people that took the shuttle, I am glad we drove. We got parked, stopped at the restroom and headed for our corral. I was in Corral C and my wife was in Corral D, so we both headed to Corral D. Last year, since we didn't have an official time, we were put in Corral F with lots of slower runners and walkers. After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, and a quick marriage proposal, the race started. I was a bit disappointed in Disney in that they didn't have any fireworks to start the race. We were off and running, even in the earlier corral, there were some slow runners and walkers to maneuver around. The first mile was at a pretty slow pace due to the log jam of people in a small area. After mile 1, things opened up a bit until we made it into California Adventure where it narrowed and continued that way through Disneyland. It wasn't until mile 4 , then the course opens up quite a bit. I spent the next few miles trying to get into my groove, which I never really found. I got to mile 11 and started feeling a bit sluggish, so I took another Gu gel and walked for about 100 yards. I said if I want to hit my goal of 2:15:00 I would have to HTFU and get going...which is exactly what I did. I came back into California Adventure and knew I didn't have far to go. I looked at my garmin and I knew I was going to come in under my goal, but I started running at a much faster pace. I crossed the finish line, got my medal, had some snacks and then off to wait for my wife. I got to talk with some finishers as we were all waiting for others to finish.

For me, it was a great race. I hit my PR for this race, although my garmin said the course was long 13.35 miles.

Last year's finish: 2:41:31
This year's goal: 2:15:00
This year's finish: 2:13:19

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Countdown to the Disneyland Half Marathon

With just over 4 days to go, the countdown has begun for the Disneyland Half Marathon. I have started to taper my runs, both frequency and distance. We will head down to the health expo on Saturday morning and then get checked in to the hotel and rest up for the 3:30am wake up call.

I ran last year's race in 2:41:31, I had originally set a goal of 2:30:00 but due to starting in the last corral and having to maneuver through all of the walkers, it took me a while to actually start running. I also "hit the wall" around mile 11 and ended up walking that mile all together. I was also under prepared for the race distance, as my longest run was 4 miles. All that has changed for this year.

I have been training since March, I have logged 379 miles since then. I have run 4-5 days a week since March including several long runs over 10 miles. I believe that I am prepared for this year's race. I have set a goal of 2:15:00, which I believe is achievable. I will most likely be put in an earlier corral, but since my wife is walking the half marathon, I will start with her in her corral. When I was down in Anaheim earlier this year, I did a few runs through the Disneyland resort and down the narrow street the race starts on and was able to map out an "escape route" to get around all of the walkers.

I will be posting via twitter from Disneyland and may get a couple of pics before/during/after the race. Follow me on twitter. I will have a full race report on Monday or Tuesday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Benefits to Running with a Group

As you may know, I joined a running group from A Runner's Circle running store about 8 weeks ago. We meet on Thursday nights and run through Griffith Park, here in Los Angeles. The main reason I joined the group was to break up the monotony of training myself. I figured once a week running with other people would be good for me. Week 1, I went out with 2 people and we ended up doing 7 miles, my longest run at that time. Over the course of the next few weeks, I was running the 5 mile loop and increasing my pace each week. Fast forward to last night...I ran the 5 mile loop in 42:02 (8:30 per mile) without any walk breaks and I didn't feel tired at all. I was able to stay on the heels of one of the faster runners. It was fun coming back to the shop with the lead pack instead of the middle or last pack.

I think running with other people helps keep me motivated and pushes me to the next level. It is a great addition to my normal training.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Completed My First Triathlon

Today was the day...the day I did my first triathlon. I chose the Castaic Lake Sprint Triathlon (400 yd swim, 10 mile bike and 5K run) as my first because it was close to home and had a pretty easy course, as I was told.
We got to the lake about 7am and there were a lot of people already mulling around an jockeying for transition space. Grabbed a spot on the bike racks and headed down to register.
Got my race number and "inked" on my shoulder and calf and went and set up my transition area.

I met up with my friend from the running store, Bill and we went to the pre-race meeting. After the meeting we all headed down to the start and got into the water. The women started first with the men 5 minutes behind them. As the gun went off I waited a few seconds before proceeding in the water to let the crowd disperse so I wouldnt get kick or bumped. After about 100 yards, I felt that I was unable to get a rhythm going with the freestyle stroke so I flipped onto my back and did the back stroke for most of the rest of the swim. I could see that there were alot of people struggling with the swim as many were resting on the lifeguard's surfboards. I got out of the water and headed up to the transition area. Swim split: 8:22 (seemed like an eternity though)

T1 went well as I got my socks and cycling shoes on, grabbed a Gu gel and headed out. Spent the first mile catching my breath and focusing on what was ahead. Everything was going well until we hit the hill...we were told it was 1/2 mile hill climb that according to my garmin was more like 1 mile. The rest of the ride, I was able to make up some time until my chain came off the front chain ring. I stopped and 30 seconds later I was back on the road only to be passed by an ambulance with lights flashing and all. Rolled into the transition area feeling good. Bike time: 36:04

I changed into my running shoes, put on my ball cap and number, grabbed another Gu and bottle of water and headed out. I felt a little sluggish at first but then found my pace and kept going. I hit the turn around a felt good, but a bit tired. I walked for about 150 feet and drank some water. That helped me keep going and about 1 mile later...I could see the finish line. I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:18:24 (updated 8/10/08 official time) which was over 10 minutes better than my goal.
What a great feeling to cross the finish line feeling that you accomplished something that less than 3% of the population ever do.

I am thinking of doing another sprint next weekend but the swim really kicked my arse!

Link to all pictures:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My New Bike Finally Arrived...

After patiently waiting 10 days for my new-used Canondale Road bike to arrive from Dallas via US Mail, I got the call...the bike was sitting on my front porch. I spent Friday night assembling the bike and took it for a quick road test. I spent Saturday gathering the cleats for my shoes, spare tubes, tool kit and a CO2 inflater. Got everything loaded onto the bike and made the final adjustments.

Sunday morning I decided that I better do a brick workout (ride the bike an then immediately after, go for a run) since my first Sprint Triathlon is coming this Saturday. I took off for a 10 mile ride and everything went smoothly, even getting un-clipped at the stop lights. I ended up doing 10.69 miles on the bike and when I got home, I put the bike in the garage, put on my running shoes, grabbed a bottle of water and headed back out for a 5K run. When I looked at my garmin, I noticed that I was running at a much faster pace than I normally run, so I tried to slow down, but I couldnt. I ended up running the 5K in 27:18. It seems that riding the bike gets everything loose and warmed up. In the end, I felt good and confident about this weekends triathlon. Goal for this triathlon: To finish...under 1:30:00...I think it is possible.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My First 100 Mile Month

Today I ran an easy 5.4 miles on a new route with some rolling hills and subtle elevation change. When I entered the data into the computer, I suddenly realized that I had run just over 100 miles for the month of July. 100.5 to be exact, but with 3 running days left in the month, I may be able to hit 115 or 120 for the month. Here's the mileage for the last 4 months of training.

April: 50.3 miles
May: 74.5 miles
June: 78.0 miles
July: 100.5 miles and counting.

I took my old mountain bike out for a ride on Sunday, since my new road bike has not arrived yet.( I'll save that rant for another post) I rode just bout 5 miles and it was horrible. I am riding a 20 year old all steel mountain bike with big tires. I was discouraged when I returned home as I only did 5 miles and I felt horrible. How was I going to ride 10 miles in a sprint triathlon in 2 weeks? My neighbor gave me some encouragement...he got out his road bike which is very similar to mine and told me to take it for a spin. I went about a mile and it felt great and I felt like I could keep going except he was getting ready to go for a ride. When I got back we compared the 2 bikes, what a difference...about 22 lbs to be exact. I am hoping that my road bike arrives today.

Thanks to everyone for all of the kind words of support.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My First a volunteer that is.

This morning I attended my first triathlon, not as a participant, but a volunteer. I decided that I wanted to try a sprint triathlon (400m swim, 10 mile bike, 5K run) this summer but I needed to see what it was about. I emailed the race director and asked if he needed any volunteers and he told me to show up Saturday morning at 7:00am and he would put me to work.

When I arrived there were several volunteers hanging around and only a couple of participants. I got my instruction as to what my job would be and then took a walk around. I checked the lake where the swimming portion of the race would be held and then walked along part of the path of the 5k run. After a meeting with all participants, I took my place...I was directing traffic in and out of the bike transition area. The gun went off and I could see that there were swimmers in the water. About 5 minutes later the first women made it o the transition area. I spent the next 20 minutes waving my arms and telling people to be aware as they rode on the streets. After the last rider left, I moved up he road a bit and waited for the first wave of cyclist to come back in. It was my job at that point to not only direct them into the transition area but get them to slow down to a safe speed. Many listened, a few did not. Oh well, no accidents or injuries.

After th last rider came in, I moved down to the finish line to cheer on the participants until the last one came in. It was a great experience for me as I was able to get a feel for the sprint triathlon, give back for some many of the races that I have run, and to meet some really great people. I am hoping to do this same triathlon on August 9th...I am pretty confident I can do it, it is my equipment(bike) that I am unsure of at this point.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not Feelin' It Today

I headed out the door for a scheduled 4-5 mile run and after about 1 mile, I just wasn't feeling good. I decided to turn back and head home after 1.5 miles. On the way back I felt so sluggish that I walked for some time. Not sure if it was the benadryl that I took before bed, but I haven't felt so sluggish in a long time. Hopefully I can shake this funk today and back at it tomorrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My First 10 Miler...WooHoo

Today I was able to cross off one of my goals in this training I am doing for the half marathons later this fall, I knocked out a 10 mile run...10.24 miles to be exact. I did it in a time of 1:38:50 (9:40/mile pace) which was just below my goal of 1:40:00. I felt good for most of the run, I started to feel a sore knee about mile 8, but I just kept going. The knee seemed better by the end of the run.

I did try my new Amphipod Run Lite 4 belt today. I loaded all 4 bottles with liquid and headed out. The bounce was minimal although I did notice that the belt and the bottles seemed to want to move around a bit. About half way through the run, I stopped and tightened the belt a bit more and those problems went away the rest of the run.

Spent the rest of the day with family as we hosted my nephew's 6th birthday party. Boy did the pool feel good on my legs.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Split Workout Today

Today I decided to split my running into 2 segments, one in the morning and the other after work. I ran 4.1 miles at 5:30am this morning with a time of 37:27 and 5.1 miles (44:46) after work. I started out the afternoon session a bit too fast (about 8:00 per mile) and then cut it back a bit to about 9:00 per mile. I really have to force myself to run slower. I really like doing these split workouts as I can get more miles in during the week when time is limited.

Tomorrow, I will be running with the Thursday Night Fun Run group at the Runner's Circle. There should be a few more people this week, always fun.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My Longest Run to Date...

I set out this morning at 6:45am with 16oz of gatorade and 16oz of water for what I thought would be a 6.5 mile run. I ran the same route I ran last Sunday but in reverse. When I got to the street I should have turned on, I felt good so I kept going another 1.5 miles then headed south. I got to mile 6 and it felt like I was on mile 3, so I kept going. I had to make a quick pitstop and then trudged on, next thing I know I am hitting mile 8, so I decided to start heading back home. When I got home and looked at the Garmin, WOW...9.2 furthest run yet.

I had one issue and that was my Amphipod water carriers. I took 2 -8oz bottles on my belt, but the extra bottle made the belt bounce too much, so much that I took one off the belt and carried it my hand. I am looking for another solution to carry water. Possibly a single bottle containing 20oz, a camelback, I don't know. If you have a solution, let me know.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Thursday Night Group Run

Tonight was my second time running with the group from A Runner's Circle in Los Feliz. Had a great time, I started out with Chris, running a pace of about 8:00/mile for the first 2-1/4 miles. That pace was a bit faster than my normal pace and I didn't think I could sustain it for the entire 5 miles. I slowed up a bit to my normal pace of 9:00/mile for the rest of the 5 mile loop we did. Mike passed me at about mile 3 but I never lost site of him and finished not too far behind him.

Total time was 43:24 which gave me an average pace of 8:49/mile which is a bit faster than my normal training pace. Friday will be an off day for running, but wife and I will do a 4 mile walk in the morning. Planning on 6.5 or 7 miles on Saturday, depending on the heat.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Smokin' Deal

I saw that Sports Authority had Russel brand running shirts and shorts on sale this week. I made a point to stop by and pick a couple more shirts and another pair of shorts. I spent about 30 minutes cruising the aisles, found the Russell sale items under the sign marked $12.99, picked out a couple of items and headed to the register. Upon checking out, I discovered I was charged $19.99 for each of the items. I bought this to the attention of the cashier and he told me they were not on sale. I proceeded to show him the ad in the newspaper and he called over another cashier. When the other cashier came over, she said that these are not on sale and then began to put the shirts back onto hangers. I pointed out the section in which I got the shirts and shorts from along with the sign marked $12.99, all she could say was that they were not on sale. I asked for the manager to come over and speak with me. I stated my case about the $12.99 sign and all of the Russell stuff on the racks and shelves where these signs were. The manager went to the shelves with the ad to see if he could straighten it out. After a few minutes, he came back to the register and said that they had to honor the $12.99 price and that the signs were placed incorrectly. In addition I had a coupon for $10.00 off if you spent $50.00. When the smoke cleared, I paid $10.76 for each of the shirts and shorts. A good deal.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Morning Run

Today I did 6.5 miles at a pretty easy pace. I tried a new route as I am getting bored with he normal out and back route I normally run. This route had a bit of elevation change and some rolling hills. I felt good at 5 miles and decided to continue on. This week I ran 29.3 miles, my longest by far, 10 miles more than last week. Monday is going to be an off day.

As a side note: I spent yesterday morning with my neighbor at a rock climbing gym called Boulderdash. Lots of fun and what a workout. My forearms and fingers were quite sore this morning.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Welcome to

After listening to a few episodes of Phedippidations podcast with Steve Runner (no relation, but there aren't any names available on blogger as everyone and their mother has a blog that they don't keep up), I decided to take his advice and create a blog about my running/training. I am 40 years of age and I ran my first half marathon last year with a time of 2:41:31. I was hoping for 2:30:00, but for a first time, I was happy I finished. After a foot injury kept me sidelined for 6 months, I hit the streets again in March 2008. I try to run 4-5 days per week and have increased my mileage from about 7 miles per week to just about 20 miles per week. My next half marathon is scheduled for August 31st (Disneyland Half Marathon) and my goal is to come in under 2:15:00. I know that is a big chunk of time to lop off, but I have tripled my training this year and feel it is an achievable goal. After that I am planning on running the Long Beach Half Marathon on October 12th with a similar time. You can follow along with my training progress and check out my training log.