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 school...red 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