Saturday, January 30, 2010


Run.GPS Community Run.GPS Mobile Sports GPS Software

As usual, I loaded up my Christmas wish list with running related items - a couple of books, socks, a new running log, Moeben arm warmers, a really cool jersey from Pearl Izumi and entry into the LA Marathon. I got the socks and the running log. Something else I've been eyeing for some time was a smartphone. I'd personally never spend the money on one, but I was intrigued by the cool factor. Santa (my wonderful wife) got me the Droid for Christmas because she knew I'd never actually go get it for myself.

I've been having fun with it as you can tell from the picture posts since Christmas that are coming straight from the 5.0 megapixel camera and I changed my email address to a gmail account to take full advantage of the Google enabled Droid.

I've always run with nothing more than a watch. To determine distance I rely on friends with a Garmin, marked routes or my favorite standby I downloaded a trial application the other day to use with the Droid - Run.GPS. The map up there is of my 4 miler on Saturday evening.

I was very happy to see that the route came in at least 4 miles. I was very afraid of finding out that my old standby routes were all under distance as compared to a GPS. The route came in at 4.11 miles (I hit the lap button in the car on the way home and added a few extra tenths by accident). I'm all excited about being able to see the map.

I used it again this morning on my run at the beach. It kept great track of the time I was running, but I forgot to enable the GPS satellite part of the program so it only tracked the actual route for 8.32 miles. I ran with my old running partner Brian. The 10 miles was the longest he'd gone in years. Our pace was slower than my usual but it was a good to help Brian get back into the swing of running the longer distances. The pace chart clearly shows where we took walk breaks and a bathroom break as well.

Running with gadgets can be fun! Something else to take up my time, gaaah!

This was a really off week for running. I didn't do a very good job of sticking to the schedule. There was no focused workout, only easy runs. I managed 19 miles for the week. Next weekend is the Surf City Half. Pretty much all bets are off on me reaching anything even remotely close to a PR.

With today being the end of the first month of 2010 - time for the monthly update: 143.5 miles.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Five Days of Rain us this beautiful view.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Go Figure



Severe Winter Storm Front!

Whatever.....its just rain.

....and I'm a wimp, it was raining cats and dogs when I left work so headed to the gym treadmill to knock out the 4 miler on the schedule.

When I walked out of the gym, the rain had stopped. Go figure!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rest Day Interrupted

It rained pretty much all day today. Fairly hard at times, almost horizontal according to my wife as she was trying to pick up her lunch at the drive through window (chicken soup, not a burger, FYI). When we left work I was surprised to see clearing skies.

I took full advantage of the opportunity to get a run in even though today was a scheduled rest day. I wasted no time in changing into my running duds and out the door I went for the Bonnie Cove 5.

It was supposed to be an easy day. I finished the run, much to my surprise, in 42:43; an 8:32 pace. Now that's more like it. I guess after two weeks of feeling a little under the weather and some slow paced runs I was finally feeling it.

I hope the respite in the rain was just a lucky break. We really need it around here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wet Runs in the Forecast

Although I just announced my intentions to run the Los Angeles Marathon, my schedule has been geared with an eye toward that as well as the Surf City Half - which is in three weeks by the way. I've been sticking to Yasso's Half plan during the week and hybridizing the long run distances between his Half and Full plans.

I'd planned 16 this weekend. Running buddy Terry had planned 14. She invited a couple of her old friends (old as in long time friends, not old as in aged friends). I had invited the "kids" along too. Brian was able to make it, Celeste was not. The run was very fragmented as Terry's friends were running 10, Brian has finally worked up to 8. I ran a mile before we started, ran 8.5 with Brian and doubled back to catch Terry and then a final four miles with Terry to end up with 14, a nice compromise between the two plans. Brian and the friends necessitated a slower pace, which worked out well with the way things have gone the last two weeks. When Terry and I were alone we cranked up the pace noticeably, but still ended the run with an overall pace of 10:21. It was really nice to feel strong at the end of the run.

Later that day I'd gone for a hike in Bonelli. I came around a corner upon a little Chihuahua dog, who immediately did a 180 and scampered back from where he came. It is not usual, although probably not very smart, for people to let their dogs off the leash on the trails in the park. I've always encountered friendly dogs and owners, thankfully. I expected to come upon his owner as I got further around the corner, but there was no human attached to the dog. I tried to get the dog to come to me, but he was a skittish little bugger. He ran around another corner and I never saw him again. He was about a mile onto the trail into the park. I fear that unless he followed the trail back out the poor little guy is going to become coyote chow or hawk bait.

This morning I got up and went to the gym on my own (the trainer is still on his snowboarding weekend in the local mountains). I worked out chest and biceps and abs for good measure then headed over to Bonelli for a 6 miler on my usual Sunday Morning Loop. It was still bright and sunny at 11:00 when I was done. When I was done I was famished. I had only eaten a handful of raisins before going to the gym. I'm not sure why. I usually eat oatmeal or a pb&j before a workout and running. The veggie burrito from Taco Ready I had for lunch sure hit the spot.

The rain that has been predicted for the last couple of weeks as finally arrived. Next week's training will be interesting.

Only 3 weeks until race day. This coming week I have the last speed session before the race. It is another half marathon pace workout. I'm not sure exactly how I will fit it in. Besides that run, the others are easy paces at shorter distances - easier to fit into a rain challenged schedule. I really don't mind running in the rain, but we usually get enough of a break to get in a few miles out of the wet stuff. We'll see how it goes.

Early Bloomer

First bloom on my saucer magnolia shrub (magnolia x soulagiana). I planted this nearly 8 years ago. After this bloom cycle we will likely get another before summer.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sub Par

My wife made it back to work on Wednesday after having slept pretty all of the previous 96 hours. She was exhausted in the early afternoon and was home by 3:30 then and again today. I fought it off better, but I'm still feeling the effects.

Tuesday I took a big goose egg on the schedule against a 7 miler. When I got home from work I felt like I needed a nap. By the time I felt even remotely like running I decided it was too late.

Yesterday I had an appointment with the trainer (he has a ski weekend planned this weekend so he worked me in mid week). It was supposed to be a speed day, 6 x 800's. There was no way that was going to happen. Instead I ran to the gym, ran a mile on the treadmill at the gym and then ran home after the workout - 5.7 miles in total instead of the 8 that was planned. The trainer made me end the workout with a crazy burn out. 10 pushups using 20 lb dumbells then jump up and do 10 curls with the dumbells, then back to pushups for 9, up for 9 curls, down for 8 pushups, up for 8 curls.....all the way to 1 pushup and 1 curl. Its a lot harder than it sounds. After finishing that the idea of having to run home didn't seem nearly as good as it had when I got there.

Tonight I finally got out for a 6 miler; the same one I did last week. I got the pace down a little bit to 9:15. My legs still fell like lead and I'm just generally lethargic, but I was glad I wasn't asleep at home like my poor wife.

2010 is getting off to a slow start. Maybe it will be like that lion/lamb thing in March and I can expect great things at the end of the year! What do you think?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Breaking The Rules

As you may or may not know I have a rule against running any more marathons in California before I finish up my 50 states goal. In 2008 I decided to break that rule and signed up (and paid for) for the Big Sur Marathon and the Catalina Marathon, with plans to run the Big Bear Marathon in the fall. A few days before Catalina I got the news of my stress fracture in my right tibia. The first two were officially DNS and the third I never signed up. I was healthy enough by year end to run the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in December 2008, my one and only marathon that year.

As you also know I'm a sucker for a gimmick. My hometown marathon, the Los Angeles Marathon, is mixing things up a bit this year with yet another new course and new date. This will be the 25th running of the LA Marathon. The last time I ran it (and swore to never run it again) was the 20th running. The new course is a point-to-point course starting at Dodger Stadium and running to the beach in Santa Monica. The marathon was traditionally run on the first Sunday of March, for 23 years, until last year when they changed the date twice finally settling on Memorial Day. Registration was significantly down from prior years. This year it has moved back to March but a couple of weeks later. Another nice change is the 7:20 a.m. start. The race has traditionally started at 8:30 or so to enhance TV coverage, but in LA often put us into the heat of the day, as evidenced by the 93 degree day in 2004 when I ran it the first time. This year my friend Terry is running it hoping to qualify again for Boston in 2011. Joe and his nephew John are running it. So at the risk of taunting the running gods I've signed up.

The 25 anniversary, new route, home town appeal, Terry, Joe and John - how could I not run it. I'm not sure I'll run with Terry. I have nothing to prove so there's little to gain by attempting a 4:00 marathon. I'm not sure what Joe and John are planning pace wise. It might be fun for the three of us to run together, but if John is hoping to break 4:00 as he did in San Diego, he might consider running with Terry. Who knows?

Let's just hope the running gods are kind to me this time around.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Beat Lightly

Many people I come in contact with have been battling a cold this year. Since I started running and gotten healthier, I'v successfully battled against most colds and won. This particular is a worthy opponent. While I'm not flat out sick, I am nowhere near 100%. My legs have been sore most of the week. The first couple of days could be attributed to the leg workout on Sunday, but by Thursday it had to be something else. My energy level is down while the times on my running routes are up.

Tuesday's Easy 6 were done at 9:30 pace. I'm usually 30 to 60 seconds faster than that on the same route. At this point I didn't give it much thought, it was supposed to be an easy run after all.

The 7 miler on Wednesday was split into two sections. I ran to the gym, worked out chest/bi/shoulders and ran back home. The pace on the way was 9:16. After the workout, the first half mile towards home, I began wondering if I'd even make it. I had no choice. I hadn't brought my cell phone and neither my son or wife were home anyway.

Thursday's Half Marathon Pace workout confirmed that I just wasn't myself. Due to a planned work trip to PHX leaving around 6:00 p.m., I left work early for my workout. I headed over to the bike path near work. The workout called for 9 miles - 1 mile warm up, 7 miles HMPace, 1 mile cool down. My goal HM pace is about 8:00.

My warm up mile was 9:31, right where I'd been all week. I took off at the mile marker and my legs were heavy. I made the first mile in 8:05, not too bad and I kept going. On the second mile my legs didn't get any lighter. I pulled mile 2 off in 7:53, but I was already spent. I took a 30 second walk break and headed into mile 3 - 8:25. I basically just gave up at that point there was no way that I was going to get 4 more miles at 8:00 pace. I was determined to complete the entire 9 miles, at this point I had to go back the 4 miles to the start, so I might as well gut out the next half mile before turning around. A couple of minutes into that and I changed my mind. I was back to the mile marker in 3:46. The four miles back came in at 9:28, 9:38, 10:08 and 9:41 with ample walk breaks. One redeemer factor about the run was that it was 2:00 in the afternoon and sunny, so at least my suntan got a workout.

I had contemplated a trial half marathon on Saturday, but in my beaten down state, I opted for an easy LSD 10 miler with the Cruisers on the river trail in Yorba Linda. 10:00 was my nice and easy pace.

I could tell that the cold still had some grip on me this morning at the workout with my trainer. After that I ran the Bonelli Sunday Loop, again really slowly. I just don't have any pep in my legs and I can't seem to breath deep enough to pull off a decent pace.

It (the cold) hasn't gotten me completely, but it has definitely made its presence known. My wife unfortunately has been down for the count since Friday and it looks as though she may still be in bed tomorrow.

I've got four weeks until the Surf City Half. I'm not sure what effect this little setback in the training will mean to my PR attempt.

Stay healthy everyone. This year's cold seems to be a tenacious little bugger.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2009 Retrospective

2009 was the year of rebuilding. After the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, TN in December 2008 I ended up with a terrible case of ITBS that extended from my right hip down to my knee. The first few steps walking were difficult and running was out of the question. Most of the month of December 2008, I continued to walk but there was no running. I began the first full week of 2009 still walking. On the first Saturday group run with the Cruisers I met them at Peter's Canyon. Again I walked while the rest of the group ran. I'm usually at the front of the pack, it was odd bringing up the rear. It had been nearly a month since I'd run a step. I decided to give running a try and ran for about 10 minutes before walking in the rest of the route. I continued physical therapy with a PT who is also a runner up for the first several months of the year. The graph below shows my mileage buildup to the marathon on Labor Day.

The orange dots are my marathons - Heart of America in Columbia, MO; Des Moines Marathon and Harrisburg Marathon in PA.
I ended the year with 1443.7 miles, my second lowest full year mileage since 2004. My monthly mileage totals look like this.

Besides the three marathons in 2008, I ran 6 other races.
Two half marathons, both for fun, both with Terry - The Wine Country Half in Paso Robles and the San Francisco Half. I had the opportunity to meet Dori and her husband in Paso. What nice people they are. Running the Golden Gate, even shrouded in clouds, was still a blast. Lisa joined it at this one and walked the 5K along the Embarcadero.

I ran one of my fave trail runs - the Malibu Creek Trail Challenge 14 miler. It was my slowest time ever at the event, but in May I was just glad to be running pain free again.

I ran two 5K's - Surf City on July 4th with my old running buddy, Brian and recently the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run. In Santa Monica I got a little hint of the speed I used to have, coming within 60 seconds of my PR.

The highlight of the year was probably setting a 10K PR at the Santa Monica 10K. I was shooting for sub 50:00 and just made it. My friend Terry is eternally upset with me for that one. She has run many 10K's and has never been able to go sub 50, so me doing it the first time out set up the challenge. Lisa walked the 5K here as well.

The three marathons brings me to 16 total in 6 years, 32% if the way done. At this rate I should be finished by 2023. I'll be 61, yikes!

The plans for 2010 are still pretty fuzzy at this point. On the horizon for sure is the Surf City Half Marathon where I'm shooting for a PR and will finish up the California Dreamin' Series. I had really wanted to finally run the Camp Pendleton Mud Runs this year. Registration opened on New Years Day and was sold out before noon, so I missed out again. So that's one race that will be on the plans for 2011, already.

More of 2010 plans to come in future posts.

I took the photo at the top of the post during my Sunday Morning Bonelli Loop this morning. The perspective makes it look like my legs are huge and that I have a pinhead. It took several tries to get a half way decent shot.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

First Run of the New Year

I met up with the CA Cruisers this morning for our Two Parks/Two Loops route. There were 19 of us this morning. Even Jesse was there, I can't remember the last time I've gotten to run with Jesse. Actually I followed Jesse for about 3.5 miles and then I never saw him again. Terry joined us as well and we ran together along with Leslie for most of the way.

The route always includes the option of running the Summit House Loop as well which adds an extra four miles and a couple of hills to the 10 miles of 2P/2L. Apparently no one was in the mood for the extra mileage today. We usually veer off to Summit House less than an mile into the run before completing the circuit of Craig Park - Rolling Hills Drive - Tri City Park. Once we completed on loop of the parks, rather than continuing we did a 180 and did the second loop in reverse. Its odd how doing a familiar route in the opposite direction can give you a whole different perspective.

I was really hoping for more than the 10 miles so I peeled off near then end and added the Summit House Loop solo. The picture above is taken from the highest point along the route looking towards downtown Los Angeles. Although it doesn't show up very well in the photo it was clearly visible to the naked eye.

My 14 miles today was a much stronger start to the new year than last year's.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010

I awoke this morning and headed straight to the family room to turn on the TV. I was in search of the Rose Parade. The Rose Parade is the best way to start of the New Year as far as I am concerned. I always watch the live coverage on KTLA and hearing the voices of Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks confirms to me that the new year has officially arrived.
I made banana nut muffins for breakfast and then headed off to Bonelli for a walk around noon. If you watched the parade or the Rose Bowl later in the day you know that we started off the New Year with typically beautiful warm -72 degree and mostly sunny skies - weather.
We watched the game with some friends and then came home and had our traditional NYD meal of Jenny Joes, a sloppy joe take off with chicken gumbo soup as the sauce. I got the recipe from my uncle, but I have no idea where it originated.
Remember the Winter Misery One Miler I ran a couple of weeks ago? Well, runninglaur has posted the carnival here. She also provided these nifty personal artworks to commemorate the occasion.

We ended the day watching Julie & Julia, which in a weird sort of way seemed appropriate with the chili, muffins and Jenny Joes I'd made recently. I certainly got a kick out of the blogging connection. I just wonder did Julie ever actually get to me Julia. Does anybody know?