Sunday, February 22, 2009


Lisa and I spent the weekend in Temecula, again, and it was rememberable. (more on the use of the word in a bit).

We started off the weekend by meeting Joe and his wife for breakfast. Joe was in San Diego taking a much needed break from the Midwestern winter visiting family. Happily, Temecula is about an hour drive for both of us. We had a great time over eggs and pancakes. Our time together was short but Lisa finally had the opportunity to meet Joe. She and most of my friends thought I was a little crazy three years ago to fly to Indiana to run a trail marathon with a complete and total stranger. I'd have to say it all worked out quite well. We've met twice more and I even stopped off in Indiana for a weekend during a long business trip a couple of years ago. Any fears of this guy from the Internet being a crazy ax murderer have long since been dispelled.

Lisa and I become regulars in Temecula of late. We spent the rest of the day picking up club selections and trying a new winery known for their reds. We met some interesting folks during the day. We met a couple having issues with their young teen that echoed many of the same issues we were having with our youngest. We commiserated. They recommended a winery that we hadn't tried before. We met a lady dentist from a town near home that knew a lot about my company and some of our customers. We took a break during the day for a light lunch around 3:00 and headed to our hotel for a nap.

We went to dinner around 8:00 to Rustico. We had eaten there in December when we'd picked up our last club selections. We'd had a really great meal and enjoyed our server. We ended up with the same server, again. She welcomed us back, which is always nice. We talked for awhile and she recounted what she had remembered about our last visit. Along the way she commented that we were "rememberable." We decided to take that as a compliment. After the meal we chatted with her for about 20 minutes. It was a nice way to end the day.

The next morning we had brunch at a local country club. The food was satisfactory, but for the price, I'd have to say it wasn't worth it. We visited the winery recommended the day before and then headed home.

On the running front I was pleased to tally the mileage today and find that I had broken the 20 mile barrier for the first time in 2009, with 21.3 miles. I wasn't expecting that since I wasn't planning on a long run due to the early morning drive to Temecula on Saturday.

I got a 5 miler on the roads in Bonelli on Wednesday, followed by a 3 miler in Via Verde on Thursday. Friday I warmed up on the treadmill for 10 minutes before beginning my workout with the trainer. I gave myself credit for a mile. Saturday morning I had time for a 5 miler on my Bonnie Cove 5 loop before heading south to meet Joe and his wife. That run was done in a 9:24 pace. The fastest I've gone in a long time.

I got up early on Sunday morning and left my wife to sleep in before brunch. I ran the same loop around Temecula I'd run back in August. When I was done it had only taken me about 36 minutes. I wanted to run a little more so I ran another block and ended up running for 70 minutes. Mapping it out later I determined I'd run 7.3 miles; for that 21.3 total.

Starting with the run on Wednesday I bumped my run:walk cycle up again to 5:1. Working with the PT and regular stretching seems to be keeping the ITBS in check. There is still some of the quad pain that plagued me before and during St. Jude that I will talk to him about at my next visit.

I ordered and received a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9 to get into rotation. All my current Adrenlines have 400+ miles and the PT isn't crazy about my Brooks Trance. I'll give them their first spin next week provided it doesn't rain all week.

I hope all your runs were rememberable.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Run for Life

I've mentioned Dr. John frequently on this blog. He and his wife are the de facto leaders of the CA Cruisers. They are instrumental in planning each week's running destination and taking pictures at each and every outing. We all get weekly emails letting us know where to meet each Saturday morning and another with pictures from the run the week before. They encourage us all to run the myriad of races and distances available to us in SoCal. They are also plan our yearly destination race. The CA Cruisers have been to Chicago, Washington DC, Big Sur and are planning to run the Redwoods this year, thanks to the Strands. Any one we happen to meet along the trail or at the race gets invited to join the group. The email list has grown quite large. I mentioned that at the Surf City Marathon we had well over 50 runners associated with the Cruisers to some extent. We even had our own tent in the organized group area.

John is my running hero and inspiration. John completed his 50th state, in his late 60's, during the time that I was training for my first. I thought the accomplishment was so cool I adopted it as my own goal. He has also run marathons on each of the seven continents, as well. His marathon total is currently over 110. His running has been chronicled in the local newspapers.

Now you can all read about Dr. John. His running exploits are part of a new book by Roy Wallack, Run For Life. Roy identifies his book as “the anti-aging, anti-injury, super-fitness plan to keep you running to 100”. It has a lot of interesting chapters, including one on John Strand. The book describes fitness plans and devotes a section on people who have distinguished themselves in athletics. Pages 204 through 209 cover the story of John Strand and his marathons.
This is John and Dorothy with Roy Wallack at the unveiling ceremony. Roy is the author of Run For Life. The book is available on

I'm adding it my my amazon wish list. I may not meet the author but I intend on getting Dr. John's autograph somewhere on pages 204-209.

Happy Reading. Happy Running. Both good prescriptions for a long happy life.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Good Patient, Bad Patient

Good Patient:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I did the complete compliment of stretches prescribed by the physical therapist. Based on the advice that I could run if the pain level was a 2 or better (from both the orthopedic doc and the PT), I ran three miles on Wednesday evening. I had my second PT appointment on Friday - more exercises and stretches, heat, ultrasound, massage and ice.

Bad Patient:
I had made the decision on my own to dial the mileage back just a bit for this week. My goal was 14 miles for the week, including an 8 mile long run on Saturday. When I first met the PT I told him I'd run 10 the weekend before. On Friday I told him I'd run 3 mid week. I noted improvement in the ITB and hip pain. I guess all that stretching did some good. When the PT was done massaging/torturing my ITB he told me I could run 3 miles over the weekend. What!! 3 miles?! I met my friend Terry at the Santa Ana River trail and ran the 8 miles I'd planned. I obviously still have an IT band, but I was able to run. The pain level was within the "2 or below" range so I made the decision that it was OK to run. We kept to the 4:1 run:walk. Our pace was around 10:00 minute miles.

Sunday, I walked my traditional 5 mile loop on the trails in Bonelli. The trails were a little muddy so I wore my Cascadias. After the walk I headed back to the car, changed my shoes and shirt, and put in 3 miles of running around the Picnic Loop +. Total weekly mileage was 14.

Good news about the orthotics and shoes. I wore my Brooks Adrenaline 7's with the orthotics to the appointment on Friday. Jeff likes these shoes better than the Trance and he gave my orthotics a "B" grade. He gave me the go ahead to stick with that combination for the time being.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Active Runner

This was written on my prescription to the physical therapist. The owner and PT is Jeff. I get a kick out of the description "active runner". That's me, pretty cool.

I had my first appointment with the PT on Monday. I was there for nearly three hours. Right off the bat he told me that if I'd ever had PT before that this was going to be completely different. I really liked my old PT that I saw last year after the stress fracture. But it didn't take long to figure out that he was right this place was different. That fact that Jeff is a runner made a huge difference. He knew what my shoes were at the first glance and had an obvious opinion about them. He also wants to see my orthotics (I hadn't thought to bring them). I went through a whole new regimen of stretches and strengthening exercises.

Some things are the same as before. I need to work on developing some better flexion in my ankle, I need to strengthen my gluteus behindus and I really, really, really need to stretch out my hip flexors. I got heat. I got ultrasound. I got ice and e-stem. I got it all!

I go back on Friday. Jeff will evaluate my orthotics. They've already checked my insurance and I can get another pair if needed. He will also likely make a shoe recommendation. He wanted to know if I was in love with my Brooks. I've worn Brooks Trance or Adrenaline pretty much exclusively since the beginning. I love my Brooks, but if it means running pain free then I'm open to try whatever he suggests. I just hope it won't be Nike. (I've got a thing against super giants like Nike.)

I'm allowed to run as long as the pain is no more than a 2. He described a pinch as a 2, a headache as a 5. So it looks like I will continue to run as planned for the week. Although no hills and no cement allowed.

I had planned on heading to the gym after the PT for an hour on the bike and some upper body work. Jeff suggested 20 minutes each on the bike, elliptical and stairmaster. So being the good patient that I am I did just that. I've never used the stairmaster before. He said it would help with the glute strengthening I need. If it works so be it.

Tonight I went back to the gym for another round of bike, elliptical and stairmaster followed by shoulder and bicep work. I followed that up with nearly and hour worth of prescribed stretching routine. So far so good.

I'm doing what I can to live up to my prescription description - Active Runner!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Groundhog was Wrong

Wednesday's mid-day doctor appointment gave me the opportunity to take the day off. I headed over to Bonelli, of course, got some vitamin D exposure. I walked my usual 5 mile loop and then I ran 4.5 miles on the trail that heads north on the opposite side of the park. It is 2.25 miles of mostly down followed by 2.25 miles of mostly up. I was pleased that I did both directions within a minute of each other. The temperatures were in the low 80's and the sun was shining wonderfully bright. I got a little head start on my summer beach tan. I love that.

The next day, a cold winter storm rolled in from Alaska. It rained pretty steadily until Friday and has rained off and on through this afternoon. The weather heads say we'll get more tomorrow. On Tuesday I was pretty happy that the groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter. Our winter so far has been exactly like the day I described above. Who wouldn't want more of that. But winter decided to come a couple of days late. So much for the the groundhog.

There was a wonderful break in the rain during the Cruisers planned run on the 2 Parks-2 Loops course in Brea. I upped the ante to 4:1, nothing too drastic. After about the third cycle I fell in step with John, a 73 year old member of our group. He'd just had double hernia surgery 4 weeks ago and was back running. We ended up running the remaining 8 miles together. He walked when I walked. The pace pushed him a little but he was happy to have the company. He's got some great stories from a long life lived well, that's for sure. I ended my run after the second loop while he continued on for a couple more miles.

Today I headed out after one of our scattered showers and was able to get 3 miles of running followed by 3 miles of walking on the Picnic Loop at Bonelli. My legs were feeling a little tired so I decided to give the muddy wet trails a chance to dry out before I wandered them again.

I ended up with 17.5 miles for the week. A nice gradual increase from the 1 mile I got 6 weeks ago in Peters Canyon. The weekly progression has been 1 - 5 - 8 - 12.7 - 14.6 - 17.5. My legs were kind of tired and the ITB was singing pretty good on the 3 miler so I think I may scale things back a tad next week before heading on up towards 20. Right now I'm only running three days a week. Once I can run 20 for a couple of weeks comfortably I will try to add back in the fourth day. Ultimately I'd like to get back to being a 5 day, 40-50 mile a week runner like I was back in 2007. That may take until 2010 for all I know.

That doctors appointment I mentioned earlier went well. My wife has been seeing the same guy for her knee and we both had appointments within an hour of each other. In addition one of my wife's coworker's wife had a knee replacement done by this doc. According to the girls he is "easy on the eyes." Apparently he is one doctor's appointment they don't mind keeping. Anyway, my hip problem is just really bad IT Band Syndrome and bursitis. The doc is a runner so he understands that not running is not a good prescription for someone like me. He prescribed a regimen of Aleve and is sending me to a physical therapist for a couple of appointments. This guy is a runner as well so I am optimistic that I will be getting good care and advice and should come out the other end OK.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Meep, Meep

On each of my last two walks in Bonelli I've seen a road runner. It was doing exactly what you'd expect it to be doing. It was running across the road (fire road in this case). No coyote in chase though; that would have been awesome. I haven't seen a road runner in Bonelli in at least a couple of years.

This week I've stuck to the 3:1 run:walk. It seems to be working out for now. I upped the total weekly mileage to 14.6 in three runs. Saturday I joined the CA Cruisers on our home turf, the Santa Ana River Trail. Many were running short because they were running the Surf City Marathon on Sunday. We had about 60 members and friends signed up for either the full, half or 5K. I used to be one of the faster members of the group. Couple the short mileage for the rest with my current pace and run:walk strategy and I was one of the last ones out there. My pace over the 8 miles was 10:32. The days of 8:30's are a distant memory for now.

Besides the running, there was 105 minutes of bike riding and 10 miles of walking.

The end of the month calls for mileage totals. January 2009 was a whopping 37.7 miles. It has been a slow and steady climb on the weekly mileage since the beginning of the month after nearly 5 weeks off after St. Jude.

I'm going to rely on my inner Wile E Coyote and keeping chasing that Road Runner towards the next marathon.

For now I'm off to partake in the national day of denial and escapism from the real world and watch the Super Bowl. I have no real interest in either team but its my civic duty. Come to think of it I'm supporting the Cards; dislike of the Steelers runs deep in this ex-Ohioan.