Sunday, April 30, 2006

Back to Bonelli

Sunday morning when I rolled out of bed, I was surprised at how good my legs felt after yesterday's long run. I was planning on running in Chino Hills State Park after I dropped my son off in Corona at the paintball park. He wanted to watch a tournament scheduled today. This morning though he couldn't drag himself out of bed. He had trouble falling asleep last night. I opted instead to run in Bonelli.

I hit the same trails on the south side of the park that I did last Sunday. I decided to run the loop counter-clockwise today. My intent was to avoid the uphill switchbacks between 3.5 and 4 miles. The crazy thing is I think the hills are longer, just more gradual, going this way. There is a fairly long downhill on the back stretch when you go clockwise, but it turns into a much steeper and longer uphill when you go the opposite direction. How does that happen? During the run I pretty much decided that this direction is actually harder than the normal direction. All the mountain bike races always go clockwise. There must be a reason for that. Maybe my legs were more tired than I initially thought.

Miles this week: 31
Miles for April: 168.8 (my highest mileage month ever!)
Miles for 2006: 504.3 (not bad I guess, considering January was less than 50 miles)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

20 Miles with Jeff

This morning I did my first of three 20+ milers in preparation for the SEAFAIR marathon. It was just about as perfect a day as anyone could ask for to do a long run. The skies were overcast with temperatures in the low 60's. Ideal. In addition, I had the privilege of running along side Jeff, the Amazing Hip.

He's an awesome guy; humble, affable and easy going; a real pleasure to spend time with. We ran Jeff's home turf, the San Diego Creek Trail. Oddly, it's in Irvine, not San Diego as you might think. Jeff had suggested the route including two out and back sections of the trail with a stop in the middle for refueling, etc. Jeff ran with me for the first 8 miles, then he switched over to his bike and rode the next twelve. He called out the mile markers and told me when to turn around. He even reminded me to drink. He did everything within his power to make the run stress free for me.

All I had to do was run. And run I did. Usually on long runs I take a one minute walk break every mile. Today, I just ran and ran, with only a couple of short stops at water fountains. Jeff let me set the pace when he could have easily blown me off the course. He always stayed half step off to my side and even biked just to the side and behind me, so I wasn't tempted to push harder than I should. We talked the whole way, about blogging, bloggers, Boston, family, church,India, racing and running. Our average pace was just over 9 minute miles. Slow for him, but right on target for me. I was very satisfied that I was able to complete a 20 miler without my usual walking breaks. It got me a little excited about actually achieving the 4 hour marathon goal.

I'd have to say this was one of the most enjoyable 20 milers in a long time. Thanks, Jeff! I hope we can do it again sometime.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Donald's post the other day got me thinking about this again. Recent events have kept it in the front of my mind. I'm in the 5K series with Jesse from my running group. Jesse's only a couple of months older than me but he's definitely faster. I don't really know how long he has been running but I know he trained really hard trying to qualify for Boston, but missed it by 15 minutes at Rock & Roll AZ in 2004. He disappeared from the group for a while after that. The effort took a lot out of him and he ended up hurting himself. He's back now over 2 years later but still in no big hurry to run another marathon. Now he's focusing on speed. He hopes to break 20 minutes on Saturday at the Donate Life 5K. Robb is also shooting for a 20 minute 5K. I'm pretty sure Jesse can shave off 26 seconds to make his goal. We'll have to wait a little longer to see about Robb. But if I had to predict, I'd bet he makes it too. My goal when I started this 5K was to catch Jesse or at least close the gap. Frankly I'm shocked that I've been at 22:43 and 22:20 these last two. I never expected that. My best before that was 24:00. I got here just doing what I always do with a little, and I mean little, speed work thrown in. Back to Donald's point how much improvement could I have gotten if I had trained harder, smarter, or better. Could I realistically achieve that 20 minute 5K? I've been a runner for just less than 3 years, I'm not getting any younger, and I can guarantee there's no genetic predisposition to speed in my family.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 110th Boston Marathon has really stirred my passion for that distance. How could you not get excited about Boston after reading Jeff's account and the RBF reunion there on the east coast. Listening to SteveRunner's podcast #41 was just amazing. The minute that anyone ever finds out that I run marathons, it's "have you run Boston?" Even none runners understand the mystique of Boston. I've pretty much resigned myself to choosing another one to cross Massachusetts of my state list. With 4:06 as my best, how could I ever hope to meet the 3:30 qualifying time. I'll be happy to break 4:00 at SEAFAIR, 2 days before I turn 45, technically requiring a 3:20 BQ. Do I have it in me to shoot for 3:30. Would my body hold up? Are there enough hours in the day? My wife is supportive of my running jones most of the time, but I do take the occasional hit. And rightfully so, I imagine.

My 4:06 was at Hartford after running 3 other marathons that year. I averaged only 25 miles a week leading up to that one. Last year for NYC, I averaged 32 miles a week over the same time frame including 4 weeks at 40+ miles. That one was my 2nd worst at nearly 5 hours. I would clearly have to run longer and faster to make this goal. Back to Donald again. I wonder if I could really do it? Am I willing to even try? I doubt I could do it alone. I believe I would need some coaching to provide a focused plan. Up to this point I've gotten where I am pretty much on my own. Something to think about. Definitely easier to write about than to actually execute.

This week was a scheduled easy week leading up to a 20 miler on Saturday. Tuesday I got whacked bad with a head cold, so no running. I didn't manage to make it up on Wednesday either. I did make it out tonight for 5 miles over on the roads in Bonelli. I took it easy and felt alright. Saturday morning most of my running group is joining Jesse at the 5K. No one else is up to 20 miles, so I'm heading down to Irvine to meet up with the RBF's hippest member. I'm really looking forward to that.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Surprise Wedding

Saturday we attended a surprise wedding. Our friend Jerry wanted to do something romantic for his wife to celebrate their 20th anniversary. He is a self described "unromantic". When he first told us about his plan I was somewhat skeptical about pulling it off and wondered what his wife' reaction would be.

He and his wife, Kellie, had planned a week long cruise to the Mexican Riviera as a celebration. Jerry suggested that they have a backyard BBQ before they left to celebrate with their friends. Kellie took the idea and ran with it. She planned invitations and decorations on a cruise theme. We all ended up getting two invitations - one from Jerry for the wedding ceremony/BBQ and one from Kellie for the anniversary party/BBQ. Kellie is one of my wife's best friends, so she kept Jerry informed on what Kellie had planned. Jerry had lined up our pastor to show up at 1:00. Kellie wanted to have the party at 3:00. After some emails back and forth to Jerry, they somehow convince Kellie to start the party earlier. Still the two invitations were an hour off. Kellie had lined up tables and chairs for the expected 90 guests. She did the lion's share of the planning for the BBQ not realizing what Jerry had going on behind the scenes.

Yesterday, Kellie couldn't figure out why people were showing up early. She also couldn't figure out why Jerry kept putting off firing up the bbq's. Right on cue the pastor showed up. Somehow they got Kellie to the door and at first she couldn't quite figure out what was going on. While Jerry proposed and Kellie got her head around the idea of what going on, some of us rearranged the backyard by moving all the tables and setting up the chairs like a chapel. Their son seated Kellie's mother and then cued up the wedding march. He stood as the best man and their daughters stood as brides maids. A neighbor had made a bouquet of flowers for her to carry. Jerry even surprised her with new matching wedding bands. Kellie was shocked and Jerry was proud for having pulled it off. It was really a personal ceremony. It was all very casual but the memories will live on forever. Twenty years ago they had eloped to Las Vegas under much different circumstances. This day was the wedding they had wanted but didn't have then.

On another cool note, this morning I opened up the newspaper to find Jarod Behee on the front cover. He and his family are also on the cover of USA Weekend magazine that comes in Sunday paper. His daughter's preschool teacher, Jennifer Vogel, had organized car washes to raise money on their behalf as part of Make a Difference Day. Jennifer was chosen as a winner of the contest and received one of ten $10,000 awards. I had written about Jarod a couple of weekends ago.

On the running front, this weekend was a low mileage weekend. While it was nice to have the lower mileage in anticipation of ramping up to the first of three 20+ milers before SEAFAIR, it seemed strange to be done so soon. Saturday I ran Robert's Loop. This route is just out my front door and is named for a friend who is one of the people who convinced me that I could run a marathon. This loop goes by his house as well and is a loop he used often when he trained for the Los Angeles marathon in 2002 and 2005. The 6.5 mile loop includes a quarter mile plus uphill and the horse trail in Via Verde that I frequent. Sunday morning I went to Bonelli again and ran the 5 mile trail loop on the south side of the park with a slight half mile detour to the facilities. When I first jumped on the trail I came upon signs for a mountain bike race. Cars were entering the park with bikes loaded up. I ran between 8 and 9 in the morning and expected at any minute to be overtaken by a pack of bikers, but never was. I'm not sure when the race was actually going to get started but it is going to be a nice day for a ride, overcast and not too hot.

Miles for week: 34

Friday, April 21, 2006

Simple Math

Thursday I did my run over in Bonelli Park. My schedule called for 6 miles. During the day I had contemplated doing the 6 mile route in my neighborhood. Then I remember a comment on my blog about running more in Bonelli Park. I have a 5 mile route on roads there, so I just figured I would add a little on to the end. That was my plan most of the day. But then...on my way home I realized I hadn't done my speed session this week. Now, what to do? I was looking forward to my Bonelli run. As a compromise I decided to keep my original plans but take the run onto the trails and substitute some hills for the speed work. I also decided that I spend way too much time thinking about where and when I will run. I am perhaps a little obsessive.

I got over to Bonelli and hit the trail on the west end of the park. This trail parallels the 57 Freeway. This is the biggest negative about Bonelli in that even on the trail you are often within eye sight and definitely within earshot of the local freeways. Bonelli is tucked into the intersection of Interstate 10 and 57. Its proximity to home being the biggest positive.

As I made my way up the first hill I caught up to and overtook a trio of mountain bikers. I know biking uphill is difficult but I always get a kick out of passing them on foot. The odd thing is they never caught up on the downhill. They must have turned around and went back the other way. After about 2.5 miles the trail ends and I was forced onto the road that goes over the dam. This then connects to an easy trail that parallels the road on the north side of park. Running on the trails, I am never quite sure of my distance. When I hit the road I was at 22 minutes. I thought I had kept up a pretty good pace on the trail so assumed 9 minute miles. Mentally I'm calculating when I will hit 3 miles to turn around. I come up with 9 x something = 36. So I'll turn around at 36 minutes. I didn't give in another thought. There is a natural turning point on this trail and I got there at 36 minutes and change. Good. I turned around and retraced my steps back to car. The trip back is unfortunately more uphill than the trip out. I got back in 39 minutes. I checked the time to find out it was 7:43. I had originally told my wife I'd be home by 7:30. Assuming 6 miles at 10 minute miles, worse case, and the drive back and forth I should have been done in about 1:15, not 1:30. I thought this was strange but didn't really give it another thought.

Upon my return home and after kicking my youngest off the computer, I g-map'd my route to find out that I had run out 4 miles, not 3, doh. Simple math. 9 x 3 = 27, 9 x 4 = 36. I guess I'm not the most lucid of thinkers on the run. No wonder it was so late when I finished. Oh well, no worries. It was a nice run.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Missing Week, Found

Being gone for a week, it now seems almost silly to talk about the runs I had then. There were thoughts I had while I was out there that I would have shared if I had been updating more frequently. My attempt at a semi short wrap up follows:

Last Tuesday: 6 miles on the Santa Fe Dam. Nothing special. I remember thinking that this was actually pretty boring.

Wednesday: before we finished packing for the trip I wanted to do my speedwork. I also had to redeem myself from the weak effort last week. I was inspired by Robb's speedwork session the day before. I planned to add in the 1200 I've put off. I also decided to do the laps as a ladder. I did a 400 in 1:45, 800 in 3:35, the 1200 in 5:29, back to 800 in 3:40, followed by a 400 in 1:46. I was pretty happy that my last 400 was basically the same as the first. Later that night we got on an airplane for our overnight flight from LAX to Cleveland, OH.

Thursday: after only 4 hours of restless sleep on the airplane I planned on running at Findley State Park. When I was a kid we used to go camping there all the time. It is only about 3 miles from my parent's home. We would frequently go out on a Sunday morning and cook breakfast. The proximity of this park to home is one thing I really miss living here in urban SoCal. Here we have to make reservations 6 months in advance and drive for 100's of miles to find a decent place to camp. Anyway, I knew that there was a trail that went around the lake and decided to see what I could find. I parked at the beach on the north end of the lake near the causeway. Almost immediately I ran into a marked trail, the Thorn Mountain Bike Trail. The trail wound around back and forth completely around the park. I had no idea when I started running where the trail went or how long it was. The trail twisted snake-like through the trees. The trees were not yet leafed out so you could see through the woods. I had to run fairly slowly because the trail changed direction every 50 feet or so it seemed. About 30 minutes into the run I was debating whether I should turn back or just keep going. I decided to carry on. The park wasn't that big and I still had plenty of daylight left. At some point I could smell wood smoke so I figured that I was near the campgrounds on the east side of the lake. Eventually I came to a place in the trail where the amphitheatre was. I remembered this from our family camping trips as a kid. This was the first place in miles that I had any idea where I was. I knew it wasn't that far back to where I had started. I followed the bike trail through the picnic areas and back to the car. After I got to my parent's house I looked up the trail on the web and found out that I had run 8 miles in 1:21. I had the trail completely to myself. Except for the constant turns and the mud it wasn't the most technically challenging course, but I really enjoyed being "lost" in the woods. I did come across three wild turkeys.

Saturday: Since I'm ramping up my training for the SEAFAIR marathon, my schedule called for 18 miles. I knew that there was a great trail system in the Cleveland MetroParks System, but I didn't really want to drive 40 minutes or so to get there. Like Drew, I was in OH for the weekend and had searched the internet for places to run. I turns out there there is a closer trail, the North Coast Inland Trail, the "Skinniest Park in Lorain County". The trail is built on the bed of an old railroad. This part of OH is pancake flat and the trail only takes on turn. It was very easy to focus on the horizon far in the distance and just keep moving forward. I really liked the trail because it was a new experience for me but it would probably get old after a while. The weather was cool and overcast for the first 2 hours. Even after the sun came out it was still comfortable. The trail was marked in most places with markers every half mile. The old stone mile markers from the railroad are also still standing in many places. Along the way, I saw many robins and cardinals, a couple of blue jays and tons of other birds I couldn't identify. A possum ambled across the path. There were at least a half dozen woodchucks burrowing into the embankment of the trail. Quite the little nature run. In the 2:45 minutes I was out there I saw 6 other runners, about the same number of bikers and maybe 10 walkers. I ended up doing 18.5 miles. My average pace was 8:55 and was consistent throughout, mile 2 was 8:55 and mile 16 was 8:59. Usually on runs longer than 16 miles I take a one minute walk break every mile. On this run I only walked a couple of times, for less than a minute, to take some gel and get a drink. I finished this one feeling good and even got in some dancing later that night at the wedding.

Sunday: Between church, Easter dinner with the whole family, except for my brother and his new wife, and later a trip to his in-laws house for wedding present opening and more food, I wasn't able to get out for my run until 9:00 p.m. I think my Dad thought I was crazy. I was a little worried about getting picked up by the local cop in town. In Wellington nobody up to any good is ever out that late! I ran the streets pretty much at the perimeter of town for a whopping 4 miles. It is a pretty small town. It is growing though, they even have a McDonalds and a Burger King, but no Starbucks. They are also all excited that a WalMart is going in 10 miles from town.

Monday: we spent the day visiting an old friend on the east side of Cleveland and met up with my wife's college roommate and her fiance in Kent for dinner at one of the bars we used to frequent back in the day. Who knew they actually served food too.

Tuesday: I ran down Prospect Street out through the new development Parkside Reserve (sounds pretty fancy for this small town) and out around the reservoir and back for 6 miles. I saw some old guy up on the reservoir sitting on a bucket. He had a pole with an American flag and a radio hanging from the pole. He was staring off to the north through a pair of binoculars and never moved from that position for as long as I could see him. I'm not really sure what he was looking at or for but he sure was intent on it. Later that afternoon we said our goodbyes and flew back home.

Today: It was back to work and 8 miles afterward, 4 with Celeste at the Santa Fe Dam and then I split the run up because my stomach was a little iffy. I drove home to make sure before finishing up the run with 4 more over at Via Verde.

Now I'm all caught up and I feel better. So much for semi-short. Thanks for hanging with me to the end. Now I'm off to catch up with all of you.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nearly a Week Away

Wow, time flies! It has been over nearly a week and a half since I've posted. I haven't even been able to really keep up with the blogs I read. I feel as though I'm out of the loop. I have definitely missed keeping up with all of you.

We left town late last Wednesday night to attend my brother's wedding in Ohio. We got home just about an hour ago, Tuesday night. It was a very enjoyable trip in that I got to see my parents and all my siblings and nieces. Everyone lives in northern OH, except for me. I especially enjoyed Easter dinner with the family. For 23 years I've missed most of Holiday dinners.

We stayed with my parents. They have a computer, but it is old, slow and on dial-up. I am so spoiled with DSL. Between that and a busy schedule I didn't devote much time to blogs. I of course got in all my scheduled runs. I had put plenty of thought into where and when I would fit them in. I hope to elaborate more on them, maybe tomorrow night. It is now 10:45 p.m. in CA (1:45 a.m. in OH time). It has been a long day so I am going to hit the hay. I am alive and well and am anxious to catch up on all that I missed in the last week.

Miles last week: 43.2

Sunday, April 09, 2006

End of Another Week

I didn't get my run in today until 5:30 this afternoon. I had thought of running in Chino Hills State Park in the morning after reading this blog, but as happens probably too often, I was unaware of other schedules in the family. I went to Bonelli instead, only 5 minutes from home. I did the 5 mile loop on the south side of the park. I still got in a trail run with hills and enjoyed every step of it.

Miles this week: 40.2

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Long Run and Big News

This morning I met the Cruisers at Rio Java Coffee Shop in Yorba Linda. I had 16 miles on the schedule today. I was planning on taking this run nice and slow. The rest of the group was only doing 10 or 6. I ran with John and Rochelle at first. Our first mile was pretty darn slow - 10:59. The whole group kind of hung together for a while before we all settled into our own paces. The next 3 miles were about 9:50 pace. John and Rochelle hung with me for a total of 3.5 miles. At that point they turned back and I decided to keep going rather than going back with them and then still having to go back out for nine more miles.

We started at the coffee shop and headed west. I really like going this way because after about a mile runners have the choice of running on the asphalt bike path or on a decomposed granite/dirt path that meanders along side it. I usually choose the DG. If we head east its asphalt all the way.

I ran out for 8 miles and then back to the car. No temptation that way to jump in and call it a day. Not likely I would have done that anyway, but why take the chance. After I was running alone, I tried to keep the pace nice and easy, but I sped up. My pace for those 12 miles was 9:00 minute miles. Overall the run took 2:28 for a pace of 9:15.

I took half a pack of Tangerine Power Gel at 8 miles. I didn't really feel like I needed it but thought it would be a good idea to get into the routine of taking them if I'm going to be ramping up for a marathon. I took the rest of between mile 12 and 13.

This run is the longest run I've done, excluding NYC and Vegas Marathons, since October 15 last year. At the end of the run, I felt really good, like I could have kept going if I had to.

Now for the Big News (and in answer to Rae's question a couple of days ago) -
As soon as I finished Vegas I went in search of my next marathon. I had several things to consider at the time. My trip to India took me out of running commission for January. I also had to consider a trip to Ohio for my brother's wedding in April; next week now.

Terry and I were originally considering Napa, but I really wouldn't have had enough time to prepare for it. Terry backed out somewhere along the way and Napa is in Californian (duh!) and I've already knocked that one off my list (three times actually, LA twice and Rock and Roll San Diego).

Some of the Cruiser's were heading up to Vancouver in May. I think it would be a beautiful marathon, but I'm so focused on the state thing, I decided I wasn't ready to start countries yet.

I really wanted to find something in June or July so that I could take February easy and then ramp into the 18 week program I mentioned last week. The list of possibilities included: Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon in South Dakota, Salt Lake City (although I really had my eye on Park City or St. George for Utah), Grandma's in Minnesota or Pacific Crest in Sun River, Oregon.

Then I saw the perfect one - The SEAFAIR Marathon in Bellevue, Washington. It's on July 9th, two days before my 45th birthday and I've always wanted to go the Seattle. I have this weird romantic idea that I want to retire there, even though I've never even been there. Of course, my wife, the practical one, thinks we should at least visit first. Anyway, it has been on my wish list. I even figured out my training program with the hope that I would be able to do it. On Thursday, we bought the tickets and I mailed in my registration. Woo hoo. My 6th state, Washington, and Happy Birthday to Me, here I come.

On Monday of this last week some of the Cruisers also submitted our names into the lottery for St. George. The pictures and reports I've heard about this one say that it is absolutely beautiful. If all goes well I'll knock off two more states this year. At this rate, I'll have all 50 by 2028. I'll ONLY be 67 years old, Yikes! So, Vancouver in 2029?

I Gave Up

I know running has a huge mental component and Thursday night I let it get to me.

I intended on doing some speed work at the track. When I got home from work I really didn't feel like going back out there. I contemplated not going at all. Then I thought maybe I would just go for a 6 miler and skip the speed this week. I've been trying to increase my speed distance a little more each week. I started with just 400's and have either added more 4's or increased a couple of them to 800's.

I finally decided to get going, hit the track and see how it went. I did 2-400's. The time was actually right in line with where I've been, 1:48 and 1:47. At this point I should have bumped it up to 8's but I kept on with the 4's. I did two more at 1:47 each and then I left the track. Even though physically I was doing fine I just wasn't into it. I ran my cool down route back home.

I wasn't really tired. Nothing really hurt. I just couldn't get my head into the idea of running those laps that night. I guess it takes a lot of mental stamina to pound out laps around the track and I just didn't have it.

I'll give it another try next week.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Windy One

We've had another one of those big rainstorms the last couple of days. This one was actually as big as the weather faces on TV predicted. It rained pretty solid for nearly 24 hours. This isn't much for most people but I'm here in southern California. Remember it never rains here. For most of us its just an annoyance, especially during the commute to and from work. It did cause some flooding and even some landslides.

Because of the weather I decided to get Tuesday's 6 miler in on Monday night to beat the rain. I went out at 8:30 p.m. It was a very calm night. It just seemed quieter than normal. The calm before the storm I guess. I'm glad I did that run because of the previously mentioned rain.

This week I am back up to an 8 miler midweek, so I packed my stuff for a run after work hoping that the weather would cooperate. I brought long sleeves and a hat just in case. At 3:30 it was still raining pretty hard, but by 4:00 the sky was clearing up. The wind was blowing out of the west, pushing the storm towards the mountains.

I went over to my usual after work run at the Santa Fe Dam. It was sure windy up there on the exposed part of the dam, about 2 miles. Looking west towards the ocean the sky was pretty clear and the sun was shining. Off to the north and west the clouds were all piled up black and gray at the mountains. It was kind of a cool juxtaposition to be able to see two different skies with a turn of my neck.

The first mile of the trail heads south. I was buffeted by a cross wind that pushed me around a little bit. After that, the trail heads east so the wind was predominately at my back. After about 2.5 miles the trail descends into the park behind the dam, so I was somewhat protected from the wind. Since Celeste wasn't running with me today (she is taking salsa lessons), I ran out for 4 miles before turning around. When I came back up out of the park I was running head first into the wind for a good mile. I caught up to a couple of kids on bikes. I said something to them about how hard it was to ride into the wind. They asked me a lot of questions - "how far does the trail go?" 32 miles from where we were all the way to the beach, "do you run every day?" almost. "do you every walk?" sometimes. "are you on the track team? No, I'm out of school. I slowed down a bit to talk to them. They were really struggling in the wind. I finally pulled on ahead of them. After the trail headed back north again, the headwind wasn't so strong so they caught up to me. They told me "you run pretty fast." Thanks, I appreciate that. "You never give up, huh?" I try not to. Even though they were young, I figured I'll take a complement anywhere I can get it.

Factoring the wind into the equation I think I got a pretty good workout with this run. The best part of the run - I started about 5:30 p.m. and finished the 8 miles and the sun was still way up in the sky. Yahooo for Daylight Savings Time.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Quick 5K Update

Before I called it a night, I had to check and see if the official results were posted for yesterday's La Habra 5K. My official time is listed as 20:19, cool!

I was 7th in my age group of 25. Jesse was 4th. In the top third!

I was 53rd overall, out of 299. That puts me in the top 20%. I don't think I've been that high up before. When I have checked it seems like I'm usually firmly in the 40 to 50% range.

Has anyone seen Meb Keflezighi's new commercial for Mastercard. I saw it tonight during Gray's Anatomy. I wonder how many people actually know who the runner dude in the commercial is? I was excited to see it. Runner geek, I know.


Having or deserving glory, characterized by great beauty and splendor, magnificent.

This word came to mind on my run this afternoon. I thought maybe at first that it was too flowery or too wimpy of a word, but it described the day perfectly. The weather here couldn't have been nicer. The temps were in the high 60's, low 70's. There was a light breeze. The sky was blue with wispy white clouds. The hills have all turned green dotted with yellow mustard, due to the recent rains. I felt good. I had no time expectations for the run, so I just ran and enjoyed the absolutely glorious day. We had lunch with some friends, picnic style, at Brackett Airfield. This is a small airport on the other side of Bonelli Park. I've mentioned them before. After we were done eating and hanging out I ran home. I didn't know exactly how far it would be. I had guessed about 5 miles. When I got home I checked g-maps pedometer and came up with 6.25 miles at 8:36 pace. Glorious.

Weekly miles: 30.4
March miles: 147.4

Our church has a satellite service at a movie theatre in the next town over. This morning Jarod Behee and his wife, Marissa we going to be there to share a little of their story. Jarod is a staff sergeant in the US Army. He was critically wounded in Iraq. We were aware of his story as he is a member of our church. His wife has kept a website detailing their ordeal. His recovery has been nothing short of miraculous and inspiring. This kind of story makes blogging about running seem pretty trivial. I am thankful that we have men and women like Jarod and his wife that have sacrificed nearly everything for the ideals of the USA. What ever your thoughts on the war, you cannot dispute the fact that Jarod and those in similar situations are truly heroic and deserve our support. Jarod's willingness to serve, his recovery against all odds, Marissa's strength and reliance on God, that's Glorious.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

La Habra 5K

Today, April Fools Day, was the second of the 5K races for the Puma Cup Series. This was the La Habra 5K/10K.

I woke up to rainy skies. I brought my cap and a trash bag to help keep my dry before the race started. I don't mind running in the rain but standing around waiting didn't seem quite as appealing. The bad thing about our trash bags - they are the tall kitchen variety, 13 gallons - not exactly big enough. I'm not a big guy but I guess I'm more than 13 gallons. With a hole in the bottom the bag fit over my head but I couldn't move my arms very much. I did serve its purpose though. Just before the race started I ditched the bag.

This race reunited, Jesse, Jim, Jay and I for a friendly competition. I actually don't really stand a chance against them but I'm trying. My PR was still slower than any of them. I just went back to the website to check my official time. It now says 22:43. This is the time I had on my watch but back on the day after the race they had me down for 22:36. Either way a PR, so today was the day to see if any of that speed work would be paying off.

The rain was coming straight down, thankfully there was no wind. The temp was maybe around 60 so it wasn't terribly cold. The description for this race was "semi-challenging loop course." I ran into Arcie before the race and she told me that it was hilly. Perfect, I love the hills. I didn't know how it would translate into an improved time but I knew I would enjoy it.

I seemed like we stood forever in the raining (actually about 5 minutes) before the race finally got started. Jesse took off like a bolt of lightning. Jim followed him and Jay and I brought up the rear. The course turned right almost immediately after the start and up the first hill. Jay and I talked for a little then off I went. Only a couple of people passed me up that first hill and then we pretty much maintained our positions for the race. Jim was always 50 to 100 yards ahead of me. On every up hill I would pass the guy in front of me and then we would go by me on the downhill. By the 4th incline I got ahead of him and he must have run out of steam because on the next longish downhill I never saw him again. The course was marked in kilometers rather than miles so I had no real idea of how fast I was going. I only knew that I was getting closer. I'm just not up to the task of converting minutes/km into minutes/mile in my head on the run. (Sorry Danny). When we turned the last corner into the home stretch, I wasn't really able to pick up the pace, but neither was anybody else.

I crossed the finish line in 22:20!! A new 5K PR on a more difficult course than the nice flat course in San Diego two months ago. I still wasn't any closer to catching Jesse but I'll take the 23 seconds. The official results are not on line yet but the finish line photo is and it shows the clock as clear as day. Jesse finished in 20:26, an 8 second improvement. The guy who kept challenging me on the hills finished 7 seconds behind me. I took a certain degree of pleasure in that.

This race included a 10K as well. Many of the Cruisers were running that. Both races started at the same time. The 10K was simply two loops of the course. Before the race Kara and Dorothy invited me to run the second lap with them. The finished the first lap in about 33 minutes. The second lap was a nice slow cool down. There was hardly anyone left on the course at this point. The rain had pretty much stopped as well.

I hung around for the award ceremonies. Jim and Jay won age group awards in 5K. John, Dorothy and Kara won age group awards in the 10K. They are all over 55. John is 71. So I guess the key to getting an award is to outlive (or at least out last) your competition.

My schedule for called for a 14 mile long run this weekend. So rather than trying to fit it in tomorrow, I drove over to the Santa Ana River Trail in Yorba Linda where we usually run and put in 8 more miles for a total of 14.2. This is probably not the most orthodox way to achieve a 14 miler but those 14 miles were all on my legs, so I'm going to put them on the books.

Running for Lasagna


On Wednesday I ran back over to my mother-in-laws for a lasagna dinner. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the she makes a killer lasagna. What I didn't mention is that she makes a lot of lasagna at once. Whether she's cooking for 6 or 26 she makes the same amount of lasagna. Luckily this time she stuck the leftovers in the freezer. Tuesday night she pulled them back out, warmed them up and we got a yummy lasagna dinner again. It was even better the second time around. The run over also went better than a couple of weeks ago. I finished it 2 minutes. I think most of that gain can be accounted for by not having to slow at intersections to make sure I was making the right turns. She only lives a couple of miles away and yes, I do know how to get there. But I needed to make the run 6 miles last time so I added some loops through her neighborhood, which is hilly and by no means on a grid so I took extra care last time not to get lost. Maybe I was just more hungry this time, who knows.

I have been following the training program form This week was an easy week, only calling for two midweek runs of 4 miles each. I still ran 6 the first day. On Thursday, Celeste and I ran the 2nd 4 miler at the Santa Fe Dam Trail. The nice thing about the shorter run was that we finished before the sun set. Since I do most of my weekday running after work, I will be very happy after Daylight Savings Time kicks in tonight.