Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve 800's

View of the San Gabriel Mountains from the Bikeway on top of the Santa Fe Dam

I figured I had to end the year with a bang. December 31st fell on a Thursday. Thursday is speed work day! The plan called for Yasso 800’s – 6 x 800. I’m officially at work but I’ve been taking advantage of the light work load and skeleton crew and extending my lunches a bit to get my runs in during the day. The most convenient place near work for the speed work is the San Gabriel River Bikeway, so off I went.

The calculators told me that my goal time was 2:57. That seemed overly ambitious. Following are my times for the run – warm up, 800’s, and cool down.

Mile 1 9:27
Mile 2 8:55
Mile 0.5 4:25
800 3:32
Rest 2:22
800 3:34
Rest 2:47
800 3:37
Rest 2:32
800 3:28
Rest 2:45
800 3:39
Rest 2:45
800 3:33
Rest 2:58
Mile 8 8:59
Mile 9 8:45
Total 1:18 Overall Pace: 8:41

So my 800’s were no where near the goal, but they were pretty consistent. The 800’s are typically run on a track, i.e. flat as a pancake. The bikeway is not, so I feel pretty good about maintaining the 3:3X pace throughout. I’d forgotten just how hard these things are. Using the McMillan calculator backwards predicts a 2:07 half off these 800’s. This is no where near my PR goal. We’ll see how the rest of the training goes.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

6 More Miles

At lunch, 51 degrees, heavy cloud cover, light mist. Had the bike path all to myself.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

6 Miles

On the San Gabriel River bike path at lunch.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tis the Season

So many things to do during this time of the year; keeping the blog updated just hasn't seemed to fit in.

Thanks to the new economy in the 2000's I enjoyed a forced week of vacation last week. I made the best of it. I repainted the room recently vacated by the oldest son and reorganized the book shelf and closet. I took full advantage of the time off and got my runs in while the sun was shining. It was a beautiful thing.

Tuesday I ran in the late morning; 7 miles on the horse trails in Walnut. This was my go-to 7 miler last summer, but it has been months since I'd been there.

Wednesday I went back to familiar territory on my Sunday Morning Loop in Bonelli (It doesn't have to be Sunday to run the loop!) after a 1 mile warm up at the gym with back and triceps workout with the trainer.

The real work was on Thursday. I waited until nearly high noon and headed over to the bike path at the Santa Fe Dam. The plan called for 8 miles with 3x1mile repeats. The bike path is conveniently marked at 0.25 mile increments. The mile repeats were to be run at 10K pace. Based on my half marathon goal I determined that pace to be 7:13. After a couple of easy miles as warm up I took off on the first repeat. It has been a long time, since before HOA, that I've done mile repeats. I was huffing and puffing and my heart felt like it would explode. I got a side stitch, too. I almost never get those. I was ready to be done at the half mile mark. I felt like I was slowing, so I pushed as hard as I could and was shocked to complete the first mile in 6:56. WAAAAY too fast.

After 0.25 mile recovery, off I went. This time at 7:15, with the side stitch getting even worse. Another recover 0.25 and it was time for the last repeat. This time I actually stopped and took a few walking steps about half way through. I just didn't have the mental toughness to push through. I willed myself to the mile marker and a mile time of 7:06, surprisingly.

After the long run on Saturday (12.8 miles in Newport Beach under cloudy skies in the 40's) and another go at the Bonelli Sunday Morning Loop (this time on Sunday morning under clear sunny skies in the high 50's), I ended the week with 39.8 miles.

I'm one third of the way through the plan to get me to the Surf City Half. My times of the mile repeats on Thursday were encouraging, but man they hurt. I expect a PR effort at the half is going to involve some discomfort as well.

Eighth Day of Winter

The Harbingers of Spring (Indian Hawthorn) are already blooming.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Misery One Miler (and weekly recap)

Today, Dec. 21st, the first official day of winter, I ran a virtual race - the Winter Misery One Miler. Before I get to the details of that particular little jaunt, I've got to fill you in on the rest of the last week.

I followed up Tuesday's 7 miler with another 7 miler on Wednesday. I ran the exact same route - out the front door over to Covina Hills Road and back. Wednesday I was about 0:45 slower than Tuesday. No big deal.

Thursday, the weather was still on the warm side for my 8 miler with hills. It could have been hill repeats, but I did not relish the idea of running the hill in the dark. It is part of the dirt equestrian path and is somewhat rutted to the rains last week. The plan gave the option for just running a hilly route, so I took it.

Saturday was supposed to be another meet up with the old crew - Brian, Terry and Celeste. Friday evening, first one of the youngster and then the other dropped out. Terry and I went for an easy 5 miler in Bonelli.

Sunday I met "the girls" again for a run in Chino Hills State Park. We had planned on running Raptor Ridge but due to park closure we couldn't get in. We ran an alternate route on Upper Aliso for about 7 miles. I'd planned closer to 10 that day so I followed that up with 3 more miles in Bonelli on the way home.

37 miles for the week.

Roadrunner Sports has been having Daily Treat; special one day deals; throughout the month of December. Friday, the daily treat was my Brooks Adrenaline GTS10. I snagged a pair at a really good price.

Now for the Winter Misery One Miler.
It is pretty tough to call winter miserable here in So Cal. The weather over the weekend was near 80 each day. Today being the first official day of winter at least the weather cooperated a little bit. The high temperature today was in the low 60's with cloud cover all day. Actually really good conditions for a run. To at least add a little to the misery factor, I did my One Miler on the treadmill before a workout with the personal trainer. I did the first 0.25 mile with the incline set to 7 but then came to my senses and put it back down to 1. My time was nothing stellar, 10:20, but since I've never run a One Mile Race before, I guess it is a PR! I look forward to reading about everyone else's races over at RunningLaur.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This One's for Joe

Today, December 15, 2009, less than a week before it is officially winter, I walked out my front door at 6:00 p.m. in shorts and a short sleeve shirt for a 7 mile run. The temperature was 61 degrees F (16C). I wore a pair of Brooks Adrenaline 9's for the last time. At the end of the run, they'd reached 499 miles, time to be retired. The graph shows the number of times I ran the various distances in these shoes. There were 62 total runs covering most distances from 1 to 26. It looks like my fave distance to run with these shoes, the mode, was 4 miles, the median is 7 miles and the mean is 8 miles.

I started wearing these shoes on February 24, 2009 for a 3 mile run around the neighborhood. My pace that day was a nice and easy 9:25. This was when I was still in the middle of rehab for the IT Band Seize Up suffered at the St. Jude Marathon nearly 3 months before. Tonight's pace for the easy 7 miles was 9:05.

I obviously used these shoes to train for a marathon as evidenced by the nice progression of at least one run at 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 miles, culminating with that nice 26(.2) there at the end. When the marathon rolled around, the Heart of America in Columbia, Missouri, these shoes already had 355 miles on them. By the time I realized it, it was too late to start out on a new pair. The old blue GTS9's served me well that day. Since then they've been in the rotation mostly used for 5 and 6 milers. Today, 42 weeks to the day after their inaugural run, they are getting relegated to the garage with all the other pairs of 500 mile shoes.

This makes the fourth pair of shoes I've retired in 2009. There are two others in the rotation that won't make it far into 2010 before joining the stack in the garage; a pair of red Brooks Trance 6 with 474 miles and a pair of red Trance 7 with 437 miles. The fourth pair in the current rotation is an Adrenaline 8 with a mere 185 miles and there's a brand new pair of Adrenalines waiting in the closet for their turn to join the rotation.

Do you think I know too much about my shoes?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

No candy canes or silver lanes aglow, though. Well sort of.

Friday night was the annual CA Cruiser Christmas Light Run around Eastlake in Yorba Linda. After having rained off and on most of the day, we were treated to a relatively warm and dry little jaunt through this community in Yorba Linda that really decorates to the hilt. Almost the entire neighborhood participates with each little cul-de-sac having its own motif. After the run we had a soup and sandwich dinner at one of the member's homes nearby.

Saturday morning I make the trek down to Santa Monica in a drizzle to run the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run. There was both a 10K and a 5K. The races were timed so that you could actually run the both if you wanted too. I was there in time for the 10K, but my plan called for the 5K. It rained off and on all morning. I got wet during my 2 mile warm up run. It was dry when we lined up but before the gun went off it started raining again and then stopped again before we finished.

I'd worn two shirts mostly to combat the chill from getting wet. I had intended on removing the long sleeve before the race, but since it was raining I kept it on. During the race I was really too warm for it but I didn't want to take the time to stop and take it off. My intent was to give this race all I could, but I hadn't raced a 5K since June 2007. My PR, set back in early 2006 was sub 22, I didn't think I stood a chance of approaching that.

I lined up back a ways and spent the first few minutes passing others before finding my spot. I had no way to gauge my progress until we hit the 2 mile mark. I got there right at 15:00. I was pretty happy with that. I did the mental math and figured I should be able to go under 23:00 if I didn't lose my pace. I crossed the line with the clock at 23:05 or so, but thanks to chip timing my official time was 22:53.1. Considering I haven't done any kind of speed work since before my September marathon I was pretty pleased with my performance.

Later that day, Lisa and I joined a group from the Cruisers at the Christmas Concert put on by the choirs, orchestra and hand bell choir at Concordia University. One of the highlights of that performance was a rendition of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Wizards in Winter on the hand bells. The video below isn't the Concordia choir but it gives you an idea of the complexity of the song and the coolness of the hand bells.

Sunday morning the skies were clear after raining most of the day on Saturday. I was able to enjoy a muddy version of my Bonelli Sunday Loop before heading the the gym for that leg work out, the church and then a trip to Temecula.

I ended the week with 30 miles. Two less than the planned called for because I cut the hill run on Thursday short by a mile and I missed another mile today because the treadmill was malfunctioning at the gym. I warmed up on the elliptical instead. 93.75% on the Half Marathon PR Plan is a good start, but a PR performance is going to take at least 100%. On to Week 2 of the plan.

Monday, December 07, 2009


I've enjoyed 4 weeks of pretty much doing whatever I wanted to when it came to running. Taking the first week after Harrisburg easy was understandable. The last three weeks I've run between 30 and 35 miles. I did plenty of easy runs and some reasonable distance on the weekend. What was missing was any form of hills or speed work.

The 2010 races are approaching soon, so this weekend I spent some time putting together the plan, at least for the next 4 months or so. My first planned (and paid for) race of 2010 will be the Surf City Half Marathon. I've avoided this race in the past because I saw no reason to pay to run where I run the majority of my long runs. But, I've mentioned before that I'm a sucker for a good hook and marketing scheme so this year I succumbed to the hype and decided to go for it to finish off the California Dreaming Series. I've will have completed the half at all three races. Besides that, the medals for Surf City have got to be about the coolest things around.

At first I was only going to run the race for fun, just to get the medal and the CA Dreamin' medal and jacket. Lately though, I've been thinking that I should actually race it and try to better my PR at that distance. That wasn't going to happen on the Wingin' It Plan. I pulled out the Yasso book again and put his half marathon (seasoned runner) plan on paper. Once again Thursdays will be hill/speed/tempo day. By lollygagging around for the last 4 weeks, I'm starting the plan at Week 4, but I should be all right. The only real challenges I see are doing the speed in the dark and keeping up the motivation to do those semi long runs that Yasso requires during the week in the dead of winter (OK, in winter on California terms, but it is still winter, all things being relative).

I put the plan to paper none to soon because it calls for a 5K race on Saturday. There a plenty of Christmas runs in the area, so I may give it a go at the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run on Saturday. I'm only following the plan, you know. I did well in Santa Monica at the 10K this fall, it will be fun to see if I can pull out a decent come back 5K this time around.

Sunday is a new race in SoCal, the LA County Half Marathon. This race initially piqued my interest. It would be fun to run around the fairgrounds, down the Pomona Speedway drag strip and around Bonelli. But I would have only run it for fun and in the end decided to pass it up in favor of a leg work out with Chris and a trip to Temecula with friends later in the day. I'm sure the $80 I saved in entry fee will come in handy in wine country.

There's more to come in 2010, but I'll save that for later.

Beginning today I'm officially a slave to the plan. Already the plan has shifted a little. We've had dinner plans with friends on Thursday night for a couple of weeks now, so everything got moved up a day. I ran 6 miles easy tonight after work. It had rained all day, but abated just in time for me to go out on my run. The temperature was in the low 50's with a fairly decent breeze. I decided to wear the wind shirt that we got at Harrisburg over a short sleeve. On the way up and out the wind shirt was probably overkill but on the way down and back, running into the wind, I was glad to have worn it.

Say goodbye to Wingin' It and hello to the Half Marathon PR Plan.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Running With The Girls

The first weekend in December has been the weekend to get together with Joe for a marathon for the previous fours years (Tecumseh in 2006, Rocket City (AL) in 2007, and Memphis in 2008). This year we got together a little earlier to run the Heart of America in Missouri on Labor Day. It was a little odd not having a marathon scheduled this time of year.

I spent most of the last week in Minnesota. This time of the years days are so short there. The sun rises nearly an hour after is does here on the West Coast and sets sooner too. With the seminar scheduled from 8:00 to 5:00 each day there was no daylight left to run in. I was able to share a run on Tuesday evening on a unusually mild evening for December in MN. Wednesday we had an official dinner after class taking up precious time. Thursday morning we awoke snow flurries and temperatures in the low 20's and a fairly decent breeze. Rather than brave the elements I took the SoCal wimp way out an ran 4 miles on the treadmill in the hotel fitness center. I had my ipod so it wasn't such a bad experience, considering the alternative.

Saturday, the Cruisers were planning a fun run sponsored by a new running store in the area along our tried and true route along the Santa Ana Bike Path. Terry and her friends were running Chino Hills State Park. I opted to go with them, then I found out the friends were Carol, Jeannie and Jamie. I almost backed out, but the chance to run a new route in CHSP won me over.

We met on the south side of the park entering from the back near the Green River Golf Course. Running with the four girls was interesting at times, especially when they, or I should say Terry, was talking about how she couldn't find the hat the matched the rest of her running outfit. The self described themselves as a princess, 2 ragamuffins and a girly girl.

We ran the Lower Aliso Trail to the Ranger Station and back. It is a gently rolling fire access road. For CHSP it is one of the easier routes. One of the highlights was getting to run with the cows, not the girls, real cows. For some reason there is a small herd of cows that roams this end of the park. We startled a couple of them as we approached. They crossed the trail in front of us several times and kept following along through the brush, picking up a couple more members of the herd as they went. The last time they came out onto the road they were joined by a couple of calves. We kept our distance as much as possible because their actions weren't very predictable.

The sunny days of a couple of weeks ago were gone. We ran the entire time under cloud cover with temps in the mid 40's with a fairly decent breeze at times. I wore a long sleeve over a short sleeve and was perfectly comfortable. Terry and I ran a little extra for 14 miles; making this the longest run since the Harrisburg Marathon.

Today I ended the week with my usual 5 miler in Bonelli, but I didn't get out until the afternoon. The weather was partly sunny and only about 58 degrees. Very nice for running. I ran the 5 miles today in 49:31, 3 to 4 minutes faster than the same loop the last couple of weekends. Running later in the day and the cooler temperatures are likely the reason.

I ended the week with 36.5 miles. November ended with 128.9 miles. I'm still using my Wingin' It Plan but realized today that I'd better put something to paper soon as my racing plans for 2010 are on the horizon and will be here sooner than later. We are expecting rain all this coming week so will see what effect that has on the mileage, plan or no plan.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Drew on the Run

I've been writing about my running here at for a little over four years now. When I first started this thing running blogs were just beginning to proliferate, thanks to the Running Blog Family. The RBF later morphed into the Complete Running Network.
One of the first blogs that I began reading way back then was "A Running Gag" by Drew. At the time he and a group of other bloggers were training for the New Las Vegas Marathon. The all even bought matching shirts to commemorate the occasion. I was also running that marathon, but was too shy to make my presence know.
I've always enjoyed reading Drew's blog for several reasons. He's a SoCal runner, he's a family guy with son's, he's about my age and I' enjoy his unique perspective on things. He's taken a few hiati (or hiatuses) from the running and blogging but I've continued to read whenever he posts.
Drew has most recently been training for the Santa Barbara International Marathon which will be held this Sunday, December 6. If you've got a minute, stop on over at "A Running Gag" and wish him well.
**The picture above is of a sticker that I saw stuck on a window at Mount San Antonio College a while back when I was taking some basic business classes. I snapped the photo with Drew in mind. I have no idea of the original intent behind the sticker, but it certainly fits well here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Minnesota Mild

After having missed my first flight to the Twin Cities and enduring the post holiday lines at LAX I arrived in Minnesota safe and sound on Monday evening.

I learned some good basic stuff about how our customers use our products. My friend that is going to run the Twin Cities Marathon with me in 2010 lives in St. Paul and works at the same big company as me, but in a different division. We had made tentative plans to have dinner on Tuesday night. During the day I got an email from him asking if I'd be interested in a run. He told me that the weather was unusually mild for this time of year. Given the choice between the run and dinner, I naturally chose the run.

He picked me up at my hotel and drove back over to his neighborhood in St. Paul. He lives two blocks off the Twin Cities Marathon course. The weather was in the very low 40's. At the hotel it was quite windy but over in St. Paul it was milder. I wore shorts, but wore three layers on top - a UA base layer, a long sleeve tech shirt and a micro fleece pullover. It turned out to be too much. It turns out I was overdressed. I did find it funny that my buddy was dressed in tights, a long sleeve, a stocking cap and gloves (and he lives here).

He took me on a little preview of the Twin Cities course. He lives in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood. He ran the route backwards; west on Summit Ave and then north on Mississippi River Blvd. Soon after the Lake Street-Marshall Ave bridge we turned around and retraced our steps. It was a beautiful little run, even in the dark. I was pleasantly surprised to see about half a dozen other runners out there. It was a fun little run and the great end to the day. They are expecting the temperatures to take an extreme dip into winter within the next day or so.

After the run we got to hang out at his home for pizza and beer followed by chocolate cake and ice cream. So it turns out we got in a run and had dinner to boot. Thanks, Dave!