Thursday, July 30, 2009


"You've got to roll with it, baby" - Steve Winwood

This has happened in quite a while, but tonight's planned run didn't go quite as planned. The plan was another 10 miler with 8 miles at marathon pace. I did this same workout last week on Tuesday, 3 days after my successful 18 miler. I've got the 20 miler looming out there on Saturday so I thought about flopping this week's schedule around and doing the 10 miler on Tuesday and the easy 4 today. But thinking back to the weekend with the decreased miles and leisurely pace of the half marathon I figured I'd stick to the schedule as written.

Where I jump onto the river trail is just about midway of the run. I go 2.5 miles out and back one way and 2.5 miles out and back the other. Because its not quite half way my warm up mile was only about 3/4 of a mile. Off I went. My goal pace was 9:00 miles, just like last week.

Mile 1 ticked off in 9:06, 2 and 3 were 8:43 and 8:48. It was still early on but man I was tired. My legs had no energy and my arms were sore. Mile 4 was 8:57. Mile 5 and things deteriorated badly. I took two walk breaks during that mile and it took a lot to eke out another 8:57 mile.

At that point I decided to shut it down. I did two more miles of cool down, one at 10:02 and the last at 9:16 (so there was still something left) and then the last quarter of a mile or so to finish off the 8 mile run in 1:13:37.

I'm not really sure what caused the melt down. I may have been the heat. The schedule may have just caught up with me. It might have been the donut and chocolate chip cookie I had a work today.

I will take advantage of Friday's rest day and hopefully be ready to grind out 20 miles on Saturday morning. Roll with it, Baby!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I fell asleep in the family room chair and woke up just in time to get this posted before I turned into a pumpkin.

Seven miles, easy pace, on the dirt path that winds through the city of Walnut. I managed to make it past the first park bathroom this time around but did stop at the second one.

After dinner I forced myself off to the gym. I put off going Monday morning in SF and last night back home after the easy 4 miles. I worked out back and biceps. My trainer is still off in Hawaii. He was the best man in a wedding on Saturday and now I'm sure he's teaching himself how to surf. Hawaii is another one of those places I've haven't been to yet in my life. I will make it eventually for this or this. I may even learn how to surf.

Off to bed before the horses turn into mices.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


A pic of our little entourage the day before the race and some picks of the Golden Gate Bridge during the race. I'm in the third pic wearing my long sleeve light blue shirt from the Rocket City Marathon, December 2007.
I neglected to mention that Lisa finished the 5K on Sunday while they rest of us were out running the bridge. She walked the 5K in 52:26. I think it was pretty awesome that she got involved like that.
Today I was back to following the miles laid out for me by Mr. Yasso. By the way, I stopped by his booth at the expo and talked to him a little about the schedule. I made sure to tell him about completing the 8 x 800 just a couple of days before. He wasn't aware of the Heart of America Marathon and asked me to let him know how it goes. I'll have my people call his people, Ha!
My new fave 4 miler is out the trail on the west side of Bonelli and then onto the road over the dam and back on Raging Waters Drive. The bunny tally was 12 for a nice round 3.0 BPM. I saw something tonight I hadn't seen in quite a while in the park. I turned a corner on the trail and came upon pack of four coyotes. Luckily they scurried off into the brush. As I continued on past where they disappeared I hoped they stayed put. I had the distinct feeling that if they wanted to the four of them together could easily have turned me into Ken-L Ration.

Monday, July 27, 2009


The San Francisco 1st Half Half Marathon was a lot of fun. Terry, Mike, Carol and I ran together the entire way. The goal was to take it easy, enjoy the view, and have fun. And that's what we did. Our 2:22:09 finish time reflects that.

The trip up to SF was full of mishaps. The flight was initially delayed over an hour and then unexpectedly moved up nearly 30 minutes so we almost missed the last call to board. Once on board, we had to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes due to delays in SFO. We finally took off and then when we hit SFO airspace we had to circle for an additional 30 minutes before we could land. On the ground the luggage carousel went on the fritz causing delays in getting our bags. Luckily the trip on BART was uneventful; dropping us off within 2 blocks of our hotel.

Mark Twain's immortal quote about the warmest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco is so true. What a shock to the system to go from our 90+ days in LA to SF highs in the 60's. It was hard to believe that it was summer. During the day the weather was actually very nice, but the wind kicked up periodically making it seem colder than it was.

Race morning was cool; ideal conditions for the race. At the starting line at Mission and Embarcadero the sky was calm and clear. Terry had convinced me to wear both a short and long sleeve shirt. The long sleeve could just be tied around my waist if the day warmed up. Our wave, #4, started just before 6:00 a.m. We expected to be done long before the day began to warm up which was usually well after 10:00 when the sun finally burnt through the fog. After spending a couple of chilling evenings in SF, Mike convinced me that I should also wear my jacket. He thought it would be really windy and cold on the bridge. The jacket ended up tied around my waist before the race even started. The long sleeve stayed on the entire route. I could probably could have done without, but since I had it I wore it.

Race conditions were wonderful on the city. Running over the Golden Gate Bridge was a real treat. As is often the case the bridge was shrouded in fog. From afar only the bottom of the bridge was visible. On the bridge we could see about half way up. As we went out over the bridge the fog grew thicker and thicker. Our clothes got increasing wet. Once we turned around on the other side and started the return trip, it was so foggy you couldn't even see the bridge from a distance. The fog made the metal expansion joints very slippery so you had to be very careful. Back on the mainland, the fog dissipated and we continued on in ideal conditions.

Mike was our timer and we used a 5:15/0:45 run:walk ratio. The last 4 miles of the half were rolling hills. Terry and I kept pulling away on the ways. We had to be very diligent in holding ourselves back to Mike and Carol's pace. After mile 12 we had a really hard time staying back, but we ended up all crossing the finish line together. Our pace was a leisurely 10:51/mile. Overall the race is a well run event. There is a wave start with nearly an hour from the first wave to the last. The waves are necessary to control the flow of traffic over and back on the Golden Gate since the runners only get half the bridge. Congestion is already noticeable on the bridge with the wave start, without it the whole race would come to a virtual halt on the bridge.

This was our first trip to San Francisco and the city was everything we expected - fun, funky, alive. The city is very walkable and there is more to do than can be crammed into a weekend trip. So we stuck to the usual tourist things - rode the cable cars, walked Fisherman's Wharf from Pier 54 to 39, had clam chowder in a bread bowl, saw the seals at Pier 39, rode the #3 bus and the F trolley, Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies at Alamo Park and ate some good food. Some of the best food was the pre-race pasta we had at Ristorante Umbria - the food was to die for and service superb. After the race we enjoyed a great casual lunch at the quirky atmosphere of the Grove Cafe in the Marina District.

BART and Jet Blue got a safely and efficiently back home to some real summer weather back in Covina. I went for a 5 mile walk in Bonelli in the late afternoon. The same wind that made the 60 degree temps miserable in San Francisco, made the 90 degree temps tolerable in here.

I ended Week 8 with 4 days running & 37.1 miles on a schedule that called for 5 and 41. Back at it tomorrow.

Friday, July 24, 2009


A couple of days ago I shuffled things around a little because I was unsure of my runs this weekend. That isn't entirely true. I know what one of the runs is. The schedule says 20 but I'm only doing 13.1 on Sunday. I may try to throw in another short run on Saturday.

I running the First Half of the San Francisco Marathon. I signed up for this race way back in January, when at the time I didn't know if I could even run it. Happily things have worked out well. This is one of the destination races for the CA Cruisers. I'm flying up this morning with my wife. Terry and John from our Paso Robles trip and meeting another couple, Mike and Carole. Terry, Mike, Carol and I are all running the First Half together purely for the fun factor. Our plan is to take our cameras and take our time. While we're out running across the Golden Gate Bridge, twice, Lisa has signed herself up for the 5K. She'll walk it, but how cool is that.

We've lived in California for 26 years and this will be our first trip to San Francisco. I'm looking forward to it. I'm leaving the computer behind so I won't be back until W9D1 with a race report. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Today was the Yasso 800 day. There was another runner quandary associated with this run. The book schedule said to do 8 x 800. The magazine version said to do 6 x 800. This is the problem with trying to reconcile two versions of the same schedule. What's a guy to do?

First thing I did was choose my track. In years past on the rare occasion that I actually did speedwork I would go over to the middle school track near my home. The track at the local high school is locked up tighter than a drum. The middle school track is in disrepair, very rutted especially in turns 3 and 4. I decided to try a track in San Dimas that I'd seen for years. It was built by a joint venture between the city and the school so the track is open to the public.

I drover to with 1.5 miles of the track and began my warm up. Once I got to the track the temperatures were still near 90-degrees. I picked my starting point, hit the watch and took off. I completed the first 800 in a pace faster than intended. I jogged a lap between each 800 and ended up doing all 8 of them. My times were:

3:56, 4:03, 4:05, 4:06, 4:03, 4:02, 4:01 and the last one in 3:59:99!

I was pretty proud of myself for sticking it out for the entire 8 Yasso's. 9 miles total including the warm up and cool down.

This is what your shoes look like after 24 laps on the red dirt track.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


As adamant as I was about keeping to the schedule yesterday, today I played a little running plan shuffle. On paper, today was a rest day between the two big midweek workouts. But because of our weekend plans I don't know for sure exactly when or if I'll have time to run so I moved the weekend easy 4 miler to today.

I had another session with the trainer today, because he is going to Hawaii for 10 days so he won't be around for the next two weekends. We worked back and biceps. I warmed up with a mile and half on the treadmill and then headed over to My Park afterward and hit the trails for three and a half more miles. So the 4 became 5, but with a break in the middle.

I was more tired than I expected to be on the run so tomorrow's Yasso 800's should be quite the challenge.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


When I finally returned home from my run tonight around 8:30 p.m. the following conversation occurred:

Me: "10 miles sure is a long way to run on a week night."
Wife: "It is. So why did you go that far?"
Me: "Because the schedule said to."
Wife - rolls eyes
End of conversation!

10 miles MPW was on the paper. One mile warm up, 8 miles at marathon pace, 1 mile cool down. I'm still not completely clear on just what my marathon pace would be, but it seems that the MPW workout should be run at a pace a little more strenuous than a normal "easy" run. My typical pace on an easy day is 9:30 to 10:00 mpm so I settled on 9:00 miles as marathon pace.

After the mile warm up, I ratcheted things up but was having a difficult time settling into the faster pace. The first half mile at supposed MPW showed me to be still at 10:00 miles. I picked it up a little more. After the first mile I finally hit my groove and the 8 miles at MPW went down like this:
9:20, 9:02, 8:31, 8:47, 8:50, 8:47, 8:47 and 9:02

I had no trouble ramping back down to 10:00 pace for the last cool down mile.

In the end I got it done, but who runs 10 milers in the middle of the week after work? Its crazy. It pretty much takes up the whole evening. In 6 years of running I've only done it a couple of times and it was usually a long run I pushed into Friday or during a holiday week.

Except for the time commitment, it was a good run. I felt good. The old adage says - what doesn't kill you, will make you stronger. I'll go with that.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Gasp! Dead air space or in this case dead blog space. I didn't realize until I posted yesterday that I completely flaked out on Friday, W7D5. After 46 consecutive posts, I fell asleep, literally, on the job. Friday was a hectic day - work as usual, an unexpected visit from the in-laws, dinner, small group and prep for the long run. By 11:15 I was tired and anticipating the 4:30 wake up so off to bed I went. I never really intended to have a blogging streak but it was sort of fun to try to keep it going.

I ended the week with 41 miles. I've steadily increased my miles week by week from 1 mile 29 weeks ago. Today's run was an easy 3 miler. It was easy because it was "only" 3 miles. I was supposed to keep the pace easy too, but ended up with a 9:13 pace. Easy? I dunno.

I followed that up with a session with the personal trainer; chest and abs. It has been 10 days since my last session with him. It was good to be pushed a little.

Next week the midweek runs are crazy at 10 and 9, one with speedwork. I'm changing the end of the week up a bit from the prescribed 20 miler. I think I'll be fine without it. I've still got another 20 and 22 miler in the works and the change of plans should be a lot of fun.

W8D1 is a scheduled rest day. So now that the streak is broken I'll be back on W8D2 unless something really earth shattering happens.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Awesome - Every long run should be this way.

My friend Terry and I are on similar long run schedules. We both had 18 miles on deck. After getting notification from the CA Cruisers that the planned run this weekend was Two Parks, Two Loops, Terry and I decided to head down to Huntington Beach instead. The trip to HB gave us a reprieve from the hot temps expected in the valley. To further avoid the heat we decided to get started earlier than usual at 6:00 a.m.

Apparently we weren't the only Cruisers that headed to the beach today. We ran into Jay and Ron & Lisa. We also saw one of Terry's friends Myrna, along with a ton of other runners.

We used a 6:1 run:walk ratio throughout and finished up in 2:56 for a 9:47 pace. I usually dread the 18 mile distance. Somehow it seems harder than even the 20 or 22. But today everything went spectacularly. I had no major aches or pains, no chafing, and best of all no GI issues. I was even good at taking in fluids as evidenced by the bathroom stops (I did make three quick stops at the bathrooms along the bike path). Fluids in means fluids out, which is why I typically neglect drinking as much as recommended. I was even able to pick up the pace for the last mile and finished strong. Terry is notorious for her "horse to barn" finishes on long runs but today I outpaced her. Feeling strong at the end of a long run is a rare occurrence for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Two more really long ones before the big day at HOA. Right now I say - Bring it on!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


8 miles speedwork - that's all the schedule said. The description said not to worry about the miles, with the warm up and cool down the actual speedwork amounted to 3 miles. The rest was left up to me. Pretty fuzzy. I don't do fuzzy very well. I need rules, guidelines, parameters. Tell me what to do and I'll do it. I'd figured something out but I wasn't completely at ease with it.

8 miles speedwork - that's what the Yasso schedule in the book said. I took a look at the RW version. It said "2 mile warm up, 3 x 1 mile @ 10K pace, w/400 meter recovery, 2 mile cool down TOTAL: 8 miles." Now that's some rules, guidelines and parameters. That I can work with. That I can do.

Mile repeats meant I was headed back to the San Gabriel River Trail for this one. The trail is marked in 1/4 mile increments. After a 2 mile warm up it was time for the mile repeats. My 10K goal pace was 8:57 based on the 10K I ran back in November. I took off and settled into a pace that was fast but comfortable. The first repeat came in at 8:13; faster than expected but it felt comfortable, fast yes but doable. The second one came in at 8:21 and the third at 8:04. I followed that up with about 3 miles at 10:00 pace.

I did the mile repeats at a pace faster than 10K but at a pace I was easily able to maintain. Hopefully I didn't do any harm. It felt right. So I don't always follow the rules but at least I had an understanding of what they were.

On the way home I saw one of these. Now that's more rare than any bunny or hawk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Normally with 3 miles on the schedule I would have headed over to the equestrian trail in Via Verde but since half of it has now been converted to concrete I had to rethink my easy 3 mile route. It didn't take me too long to settle on a route in Bonelli. Surprising, I know.

I liked the old 3 miler for the dirt surface to run on, so the trails made good sense. I ran some of the trails I use infrequently. After getting into the park I headed out the Treeline Trail that goes over the ridge that intersects the picnic loop. At the end of that I crossed over the main street and jumped onto the Parkview Trail, one of the few single track trails in the park. That put me onto the Middlecrest Trail and eventually onto the fire road that leads up to the small reservoir. The fire road is the beginning and ending of my usual 5 mile loop. I paused for a minute or two on the fire road to watch a red tail hawk flying from tree to tree. I think it was the biggest one I'd ever seen, the wing span was easily 5 feet. The BPM for the run was 4.66.

The route is gently rolling, but on dirt. I took in easy in light of last night's marathon pace workout and the speed work slated for tomorrow. That is going to be fun.

After the run, we had take out Chinese for dinner and then a little later I headed off to the gym and did some chest and tricep work on my own.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Here we go! Right into the week with pretty big workout - 9 miles with 7 at marathon pace.

Just what is my marathon pace?

The pace at HOA will likely be approaching 11:00 miles. I imagine our projected finish time will be in the 4:30 to 4:45 ball park. If that's the case I'm already running my long runs faster than marathon pace. Not much of a challenge there, this would just be a relatively long mid week LSD.

I could shoot for 10:00 miles but that still isn't much of a challenge. A 4:00 marathon would mean the MP would be 9:10. My pie in the sky BQ pace (3:30 finish) would be 8:01 pace. Lets not get too crazy here.

I settled on a decent challenge and would try to keep the pace in the 9:00 to 9:30 range. To stay on pace I needed the comfort of mile markers so I went to the San Gabriel River Trail to get the miles in.

After the mile warm up, I picked up the pace. Mile 1 was 9:28. Mile 2 was 9:03; followed by 9:30 and 8:30. Clearly I'm not very good at gauging pace. Mile 5 was 9:03. I then messed up the watch an mile 6 was unknown. I was getting pretty tired. So I mentally gave up and decided to just cruise in the last 2 miles. It turns out I didn't slow down all that much Mile 7 was 9:33, still pretty much on track even though I had given in and tried to slow down. The cool down mile I was finally able to slow down to 10:10.

I was satisfied with the workout. I proved to myself that I could push the pace a little and held it for 7 miles. I've clearly got a way to go to get back to sub 4:00 shape, but progress is progress no matter how gradual.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Last weekend while Dr. John and I were celebrating our birthdays another stalwart member of the CA Cruisers was off running a marathon. John Creel (74) completed the Missoula Montana Marathon in a very respectable 4:34 for 2nd place in his age group. Missoula was his 10th state! 50 state fever runs strong in our little group.

As usual I started off the week with a rest day. I took advantage of the free time to go pick up my birthday present.

This is about an hour afterward and it is still wrapped in cellophane. It is on my left calf. I've toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo for at least 10 years. I hesitated mostly because I couldn't commit to a design, a tattoo is pretty permanent after all. This is a custom design bringing together some of my favorite elements.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Week 6 of HOA training concluded with an easy 4 miler this morning in Bonelli. I encountered 19 rabbits for an outstanding 4.75 BPM. Running the trails in the morning had to help that ratio out significantly.

The week ended with 35 miles in 5 days of running including the much fretted about hill repeats.

Next week things get interesting with a couple of pretty long runs mid week, one with the majority of the miles at marathon pace and another with 3 miles of speedwork. Determining the marathon pace will be an interesting exercise. The speedwork gives no other details than to cover a total of 3 miles during the speed session. These are the details that will keep my mind churning up until I actually hit the road for these workouts.

Tomorrow its back to the full time job and back to running after work rather than whenever the running muse hit me. Its a tough life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Today the CA Cruisers were celebrating the birthday of my running inspiration, Dr. John Strand. Dr. John turned 75 years old on July 3rd. With all the races in the area over the Independence Day weekend the Cruisers were flung far and wide so the celebration was postponed until today, July 11. It just so happens that today is also my birthday.

John Strand (age 75) and me (age 48) after my 14 mile run.

I’ve mentioned before that Dr. John's running was chronicled in a chapter of a new book Run for Life. As part of our shopping expedition yesterday, I purchased a copy and asked Dr. John to sign it for me this morning. John has run a marathon in 50 states, all 7 continents and is up to at least 115 lifetime marathons at this point. Quite the inspiration. His birthday celebration attracted quite the crowd of runners.

The 14 miler was done on the Santa Ana River Trail. I headed south for 7 miles and came back. My final time was 2:15:40 for a 9:41 pace, with the last mile being the fastest at 9:08.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Officially a rest day, but it felt really odd to be doing nothing in the physical fitness front on a perfectly good day off.

I did fill the day with activity none the less. I went to breakfast with my wife at a new place called Rocky's. It had moved in to what had been a Chinese buffet restaurant. It was reasonably priced and the service was good. Not much more you could ask for at breakfast.

We then went shopping at the Victoria Gardens Shopping Center out in Rancho Cucamonga (yes, cucamonga is a real place). Victoria Gardens is one of the new shopping centers that resembles a pseudo down town. The center is built around contrived main streets with open space and other old town amenities. VG has a fountain for the kids to play in, a Cultural Center with a playhouse and a library. This type of shopping experience is popping up all over the country. I visited a similar set up at Crocker Park in Westlake, OH a few years ago while on a business trip. Crocker Park even goes so far as to combine shopping and living in the same "down town". There are condos and apartments available above most of the stores. I guess these places are the new way to experience life in the city, plenty of shopping and restaurants nearby, but no grocers, doctors, post offices or jobs.

Today was our maiden trip to VG. We had no shopping agenda in mind but found a wine storage unit at Crate & Barrel at a 66% discount and a quilted comforter at West Elm at 75% discount. It is always fun to find a bargain when you weren't expecting it.

Later that afternoon I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a hike in Bonelli. I took the usual 5 mile loop (1.0 BPM). Although I was there during the hottest part of the day (3:00 to 4:30), there was a nice breeze blowing through the canyons so I never really broke a sweat. Because of the hike, today was the first day I didn't get an afternoon nap during this week's vacation. I'm not usually a nap person, but I think I might miss them next week when I go back to work.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Today was the day. It was inevitable. Hill repeats must be done today. My schedule said so.

I figured out the confusion of yesterday. I took my plan from Yasso's book, taking the liberty to switch the Sunday long run to Saturday. I also pulled out the RW version of the plan. Both are sitting next to the computer in my stack. The two are slightly different. The runs each week are the same, the weekly mileage is the same, its just that some of the runs have moved days and the rest days have moved from one version to the other. Either way the plan called for hill repeats in the middle of an 8 mile run.

The repeats had me anxious over all the details. I had to find the right hill. I had to find a route that got me to that hill after a 2 mile warm up. And then there's all that up and down of the same hill. The mental monotony is more than my little brain can take. I love hills, just not the same hill, up and down, up and down, 12 times.

I started the day with a visit to my personal trainer. The plan was back and biceps today. Chris decided it was a good idea to throw in some legs too, although I tried to back out due to the hills I was anticipating. I relented realizing that the leg work would be minimal by working three body parts and Chris agreed to keep it more aerobic than power on the legs. It was a good overall workout.

Then I was off to tackle the hill repeats. I settled on the Via Verde hill. After a little more than a 2 mile warm up the work began. I resigned myself to the task and dove in. The repeats were broken in thirds; a set of short ones, a set a long ones, followed by another set of short ones.

The first criterion was finding a hill that was at least 2 minutes long. The Via Verde Hill takes me 8:00 to tackle the whole thing. So check that off the list.

The first set of repeats were described as a set of short hills: three or four sprints half way up then jog back down. I set my watch for 1:00 and dug in for the climb and jogged back down when the watch beeped at me. 4 repeats done, so far so good.

The second set of repeats were described as a set of long hills: three or four hard runs all the way up, jog half way back down and sprint the other half down. OK, here goes. I kept the watch at 1:00 and stopped when it beeped the second time. The second minute was definitely more grueling than the first. The jog and sprint to the bottom were needed and fun. The only problem was once I sprinted to the bottom I was expected to continue with a hard run back up for another 2 minutes. I took the liberty of a 15 second "catch my breath" break between each of the 4 long repeats.

The third set echoed the first. I was pretty happy that although my legs were beginning to feel like lead by now I made it make up to roughly the same spot on the hill at each 1:00 segment.

I followed that up with an easy 2.5 miles to flesh out the 8 miles.

Hill repeats - DONE!

Next week we go to real speedwork. Yikes, something else to fret about for 7 days, in fact I've already started thinking about it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I woke up on my own at 6:30 this morning. I thought about getting my run done, the hill repeat run that I wasn't really looking forward to.

Instead I thought about my to do list and decided to get started on that instead. I almost always make time for my run in my day, but I've spent plenty of days off with undone to do lists. One of the items on the list was replacing the attic fan. I've put that off for a while now because by the time I think about it its 100 plus degrees in the attic. I made the trip to Home Depot, bought the fan and had it installed by 8:00, long before the day warmed up.

I followed that up with a couple of other smaller items on the list and then spent a couple of hours in the middle of the day trimming my never ending hedge. In the late afternoon I came inside and sat down to read the August Runner's World that came in the mail yesterday. Guess what, I fell asleep again. I hadn't even run yet.

Somehow dinner was ready before I was ready to run. I still had those hills to get done. I ate dinner around 6:30 and hoped it would be settled enough in an hour to go tackle the hills.

I changed my clothes and laced up the shoes. On the way out I checked the schedule one last time and found that the hill repeats were on Thursday not today. Hallelujah! I'd been mulling over the repeats all day. Today was an easy 4 miler. I was totally up for that.

Off to the Picnic Loop in Bonelli. I started running at 8:00 p.m. and by the time I was done it was dark. I did see something I don't see often, nor really want to, on the loop. There were 4 skunks along the way (1.0 SPM). Luckily they were far enough off the path that my passing didn't provoke them.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Thanks to the appointment, the visit to the DMV went smoothly. It didn't start off too well, though. It took my 15 minutes to find a parking space. Once inside I was given a number, F113. The whole process was 21 minutes from start to finish. Much better than expected.

For the 5 mile scheduled run, I decided to take advantage of the time at home during the day and run somewhere different than Bonelli. I headed east to the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. It has been nearly 18 months since I last ran there.

I got there at 11:30, before the major heat of the day. The main trail is a loop with connecting trail that can increase the distance if desired. The loop is "approximately 5 miles" based on the map at the trailhead. I suppose this run could qualify as a hill run, but the hills are on the schedule tomorrow. Today's run was supposed to be "easy." So I took it as easy as I could. I took it jogged slowly up and held back on the way down. There was a pretty nice breeze, so although it was mid day and most of the trail is fully exposed it wasn't terribly hot.My time was 53 minutes.

When I got home I had some lunch and then I sat down to work on the crossword before I got into some of the vacation to do list. Apparently the easy 5 miles on the Claremont Hills took more out of me that I thought. I ended up taking a good hour nap. Even after I woke up it took me a while to get moving at any decent pace again.

Oh well, I AM on vacation after all.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Day One of the mandatory summer vacation week:

Rest day on the running schedule.

Off to the gym at 8:00 a.m. for a session with the personal trainer (chest and triceps).

Then off to the beach with my lovely wife for a day in the sun.

Stopped and had frozen yogurt on the way home.

Did some yard work before and after dinner.

Watched some TV, started falling asleep in the chair, so I'm calling it a day.

I have an appointment at the DMV in the morning to renew my driver license.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


The long run fell to Sunday this week due to the 5K yesterday. Before I left I deleted some music and added some new stuff to the ipod and charged the thing up to make sure I got through the nearly 3 hours of running I was anticipating. When I started running I hit play button and the first song up was "Hit the Ground Running". This is the same song that came up first on my last long run two weeks ago. What a bizarre coincidence. I couldn't have planned that if I tried.

I headed over to the San Gabriel River Trail but this time I ran from the spill way of the dam, near mile 29.5, south to mile marker 21.5 and back. I'd had covered this ground just last weekend on the bike trip to the beach.

I had given myself the expectation of no less than 10:00 miles but I never checked my watch. I hit the chrono when I started and never looked at it again until I got back to where I started. Although I've dismissed walking breaks for nearly all my runs, I used a 6:1 run:walk ratio for this one. I drank 14 of the 21 ounces of fluid I brought with me, which is pretty good for me. I'm notoriously bad about keeping up my fluid intake. I took half a strawberry banana gel at mile 8 and the other half at mile 11, something else I'm not very good at.

My final time for the 16 miles was 2:41, almost smack dab on my preset target. I ended the week with 36.6 miles.

I read the July 2009 Runner's World magazine yesterday. I'm using the Marathon Challenge plan published there on page 57. I'm actually using the same plan from Yasso's book "My Life on the Run". I just finished Week 7 of the plan although I jumped in late so I'm at my Week 5.

Next week begins Hill Repeats. That freaks me out a bit. I love running hills, but finding the hill of the predetermined distance is stressful. I'll figure it out somehow.

Off to week 6 (or 8 depending on how you're counting).

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Me, Brian, his wife Jen and their friend Jennifer after the Surf City 5K.

I had the chance this morning to run with my good friend and old running partner Brian. Brian and I signed up together for the marathon training program back in 2003. We've started my first 4 marathons together but never finished one together. Brian went off to Boston to dental school at Tufts but now is back in SoCal practicing dentistry. We've been trying to get together for a run for months and this finally worked out. The Surf City 5K was my first race ever so I like to run it when I can. In all the miles that we trained together in 2003 and 2004, he and I've have never run a 5K together. He hasn't been putting in nearly the training I have so I let him set the pace. For me today was supposed to be an easy day. The race was just a good excuse to run with Brian. The 5K time was 29:05. I put in 1.5 warmup before hand for 4.6 miles for the day.
On my way home from the beach I got off the freeway right at Bonelli Park so I took the opportunity to go for a 5 mile walk (1BPM). Since I had the camera I took a couple pictures of the picnic area and the lake from the trail.
Along the trail it is not uncommom for me to run into mourning doves. They are ususally in pairs and fly off upon my approach with a flutter of wings and their characteristic cooing. I happened along a single dove on my walk pecking away at the dirt on the trail. As I approached, it scooted on further down the trail and continued about its pecking. All of a sudden a small hawk swooped out of the brush, grabbed the dove in its talons and took off. Kind of a crazy sight to see.
I headed home and then spent the afternoon hanging around the pool and we're about to sit down to tri-tip, potato salad, roasted corn, watermelon and a couple of cold ones.
The American flag hanging outside our front door
Happy July 4th to all. Enjoy the day and be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy.

Friday, July 03, 2009


A running friend passed this along. My apologies, but it made me chuckle.

No running or gym to report today, just a much appreciated rest day.

For many people today was a corporate holiday in observance of July 4th on Saturday. Our company, in their benevolence, moved the holiday to Monday and added a mandatory vacation for the rest of the weak to "assist you in meeting your vacation objectives." So we worked. No big deal really except....

There a small group of us that sometimes go out to lunch on Fridays and sometimes we go for dim sum. One of the group is leaving the company to pursue personal endeavours (she's going to start her own professional wedding photography business). I suggested that we take the opportunity to go out for dim sum one last time. That turned out to be a bad idea for several reasons.

1. Although we were at work today, nearly everyone else around us was on vacation.
2. Dim sum is a very popular lunch option on weekends and holidays. The wait can easily be over an hour, during the week it is a great lunch option.
3. The dim sum restaurants are located in a neighborhood that is predominately Asian, Asians that had the day off.

We picked the wrong day for dim sum. Lesson learned. We went to another traditional Chinese restaurant. The dim sum will have to wait until another day.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Apparently I've got the easy part down on the 5 miles easy that Yasso recommended today. The clock read 54:46. Ah... well, just following the plan.

My chosen 5 mile route was the Cottontail route in Bonelli. It is named because of my son singing Peter Cottontail as he accompanied on the bike a couple of summers ago in response to all the little bunnies on the trail.

Since I was on Cottontail I thought I'd try my hand at a something Jean does and calculate my BPM (bunnies per mile). How could I not come up with a pretty good ratio on the Cottontail route.

Only about half the route is on the trail the rest is on the road. Once I hit the trail it was a good while before the first bunny spotting. Two pretty close together and then nothing again up to the turn around point. On the way back I saw two bunnies in the same spot. For all I know they may have been the same two I saw on the way out. I'm not sure if repeat rabbits count. I''ll have to ask Jean for a ruling on that one. Later I saw two more for a final tally of 6 bunnies or 1.2 BPM. If you only count the trail part, where I actually saw all the little cottontails, I'd get a more respectable 2.4 BPM.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I neglected to give the monthly mileage tally yesterday. June was 129.3 miles. This was the highest mileage this year. That is easy to believe, what is harder to believe is I haven't run that kind of monthly mileage since August 2007.

Today called for the hilly 7 mile run. Back over to the route from 2 weeks ago I went.

Out the flat section of Via Verde
Up the long Via Verde hill (7:48)
Down the Via Verde hill (6:20)
up and down through the neighborhood on Via Palomares and Calle Cecelia
Out the flat section of Via Verde
Back up the Via Verde hill (8:07)
Back down the Via Verde hill (6:21)
Right back up Via Verde hill (8:23)
Right back down Via Verde hill (5:45)
and finally back out the flat section of Via Verde

The ups were a bit slower than two weeks ago but the downs were faster. Overall my time was 2 minutes faster than that run two weeks ago.

One cool thing happened on this run. About half way up the long hill the second time around a fit women was on her way down the hill. She gave me a thumbs up and a "Looking good" or "Good job." I cant' recall her exact words. My mind went blank for a second as I said "Thanks!" and smiled from ear to ear without breaking stride.