Sunday, February 26, 2006

Brea 8K

Sunday morning I woke up at 6:00, 30 minutes before the alarm went off. I had slept really well. Usually the night before a race I don't sleep well because I'm so fearful of oversleeping. Maybe it was the spaghetti. I might have to reconsider my decision on OSF!

I've been hearing about this race for the last three years from the members of the A Snail's Pace Training Group. I trained with them for my first marathon. The CA Cruisers are an offshoot of the official training group. A Snail's Pace is a running store in Brea and is a sponsor of the race. I have never run the Brea 8K because it is usually the weekend before the Los Angeles Marathon. This year the LA Marathon was moved back two weeks to accommodate the Academy Awards. I had decided long ago not to run LA again so I was free to run the Brea 8K this time around.

Everybody had good things to say about this race. I didn't had no expectations for time since I hadn't raced this distance since a 5 miler back in August 2003. I was just getting started running back then. My time then was 51:something. Obviously I would be faster now but how much I didn't know. I had a 7:17 pace in the 5K on Superbowl Sunday, but didn't think I could keep that up for 3K more. The Brea 8K is known for its rolling hills. I don't mind hills, in fact I kind of enjoy them. I did make a rookie blunder and not familiarize myself with the course. I wasn't really sure where the hills were; when I needed to save energy for the up and when I could kick it in on the down.

I had decided that my goal was 40:00 or less. I was only a couple of seconds off the starting line. The first mile started downhill but after we turned the first corner we got our first taste of uphill. My first mile came in at 8:33. I wasn't really pushing at all but I didn't want to go out too fast and die at the end. Between Mile 1 and 2 there was a longish, gentle incline. Mile 2 was 8:01. Getting there, but at this rate I wasn't going to make my 40:00 goal. From Mile 2 to 3 included the worst of the hills. In actuality it wasn't that bad. Earlier in the race I saw a t-shirt that read "Kraemer Sucks, Only for you Eric A. 2003, 2004, 2005" Kraemer is the hill. This runner was apparently talked into this one once but keeps coming back. Mile 3, with the hill, was 8:17, not bad I thought, but still off pace. After Mile 3 the course took a nice long downhill. I decided that I had better get moving. Mile 4 in 7:22! Mile 4 to 5 was mostly slightly downhill, a very mild incline and a downhill finish. The last 0.97 miles was 7:17 for a final of 39:38 (official). A PR for the 8K distance. Of course anything would have been a PR for 8K, but it was nice to meet my original goal. Thank goodness for the downhill finish. In the end I think I probably ran this one too conservatively, but still no complaints. I really enjoyed the rolling course.

The post race food is really another special feature of this race. The organizers have the food set up in an area open to racers only. I've been to plenty of other smaller races where the general public often has access to the post race goodies as well. That's not really fair to the back of the packers. Often there's little left by the time they get there. At Brea, about a dozen or so of the local restaurant/chains are there with food. We were able to sample Chinese chicken salad, focaccia sandwiches, lemonade, pasta, Jamba Juice and even pizza from BJ's. Maybe not your usual post race fare and maybe a little early for salad and pizza, but tasty and cool to see the support from the local businesses.

I hung out for a little while and watched the little kids finish their 1K Fun Run. What a blast that was to see little 5 to 8 year old kids give it their all at the end.

In the goodie bag, we got coupons to Souplantation. My wife and I went for a late lunch without the boys and had a nice quiet meal for a change (and no server to apologize continually!)

Weekly miles: 30

Twelve and Slow Spaghetti

Saturday the plan called for 10 miles. Most of the Cruisers were planning on running the Brea 8K on Sunday, so Saturday's plans were each on their own. I decided I would just stay close to home. I had pretty much decided to run over at the Dam Trail. I had also decided that since I was staying near home that I wasn't going to set the alarm and just get up whenever I woke up.

I was able to sleep in until 7:30 a.m. That was pretty nice. My wife was going to work to finish unpacking her office, so I hung out at home until almost 8:30. I drove over to the parking area off of Route 66. I picked up the trail at mile 35. The plan was to run south to mile 32.5, return to 35 then head on to the end of the paved part of the trail at 37.5 and back. At the 32.5 mile turnaround, Mother Nature was calling in a bad way. Fortunately at this point the trail is adjacent to the Recreational Area, equipped with flushable toilets and TP. Since I was now in the park I decided to run the roads in there. When I got to the back part of the lake I went onto the trails. I didn't know exactly where they would go. I knew that they connected back up with the trail somewhere. It was very enjoyable to run the trails, not thinking about mile markers and time but just to run. I rejoined the trail around mile 34 and proceeded with my original plan to go to the end and back. I ended up running for 1:44. My pace on the marked sections was 8:40 or so. I don't think I ran much slower on the trail. I estimated that I put in about 12 miles total. It was a nice run. There are definitely more offshoot trails to be explored. Its all down in the flood plane so its pretty flat. It can be a little rocky in places.

In the afternoon I took my youngest son to a paintball expo. He got himself some new lenses for his visor, a barrel squeegee, a head band and a t-shirt. He was looking for a circuit board for his gun, his got rained on and stopped working. Since he couldn't find one, the money got spent on other things. He did win a door prize, a t-shirt, but for the $9 entry fee for him and $13 for me and $7 parking fee, I could have bought him a t-shirt that he would actually wear.

Later that day we went to church. We've been going on Saturday night. The Sunday morning services are really crowded. We of course were going to the most popular service time. The pastor had asked for people to consider going Saturday, so we made the switch a couple of months ago. After church we made it a habit of going out to dinner as a family. We try to decide where we are going before we even leave for church, otherwise we spend way too much time afterwards trying to decide where to go. There is no lack of opinions in our family on where and what to eat on any given night.

This time around I had suggested The Old Spaghetti Factory. My wife and at least one son were in agreement. The other son wasn't too happy. OSF is about 10 miles from our house. His argument was that it was too far away. It also meant being away from his computer and World of Warcraft for longer than 5 minutes. This particular OSF is in an old school house that opened in 1909. It is decorated throughout with old school memorabilia and historical pictures. It is really pretty interesting.

We got to the restaurant about 7:00. They said it would be a 45 to 60 minute wait. Normally I would have probably not waited, but I hadn't had OSF in awhile so we stayed, much to the boys disappointment. Once we finally got seated our server was a little slow getting to us. His first words were "I'm sorry..." The kitchen must have been really backed up. Drinks took forever, the food took forever. Everytime the server came over he started his spiel with "I'm sorry". It was getting on my nerve. Then we heard the server at the table next to us say the same thing. It got so bad, that the boys both started cracking up everytime the server even came near our table. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It was pretty pathetic actually. One son had ordered meatballs and didn't get them until after he had finished his spaghetti. When they came they were raw inside. Gross. The server was of course "Sorry." At least we didn't pay for them. After a quick trip to the grocery store on the way we didn't get home until after 9:00. I guess it will be a while before we return to OSF.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Easy Weekdays

It has been nearly a week since I've added my two cents to the blogging community. I have kept up with reading others but haven't taken the time to type out my own thoughts. Guess I wasn't really having any!

It has been a fairly hectic week. I knew that I had dinner plans on Wednesday and Thursday and Bible study on Friday, so I wasn't really sure when I would be able to squeeze in the runs. I ran Monday night even though it is usually one of my two days off. I ran a 4.5 mile loop around through the neighborhood. My legs were feeling pretty beat most of the way. I felt like I was struggling and going pretty slowly. I was pleasantly surprised later to see that I had kept up an 8:33 pace.

Tuesday I put in an easy a 4 miler after work. Earlier in the day I was reading Drew's blog and just had to Google "Koyaanisquatsi". The film looks intriguing. The term perfectly describes the phase he's in right now, only days away from his 2nd marathon, Napa Valley. So I wonder is Drew a fan of the film or fluent in Hopi?

Our Thursday dinner plans were postponed. My wife was planning on staying late at work. Her company is consolidating and her department is moving to a new building. Besides that she is filling in for her boss and someone in purchasing that's on jury duty. All that meant that I could run then. I packed my clothes in the morning so I could run the Santa Fe Dam Trail right after work. When I got to work I realized that I had left the backpack sitting in the kitchen. I hate when that happens. So after work I drove home and ran from there. By then I really didn't feel like going out for a run. I seriously contemplated taking the day off. I finally got motivated but decided to take it nice and easy. I ran the same route I ran Monday but took a minute longer.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Three Strikes, You're Out

Sunday morning, I woke up about 6:30 intending to run the trails over at Bonelli. The half marathon I'm running in 2 weeks is partially on trails and is somewhat hilly. I thought it would be a good idea to get some hills in. Plus, with the rain the last couple of days, I knew the trails would just be a blast to run.

I checked out the kitchen window for a look at the weather conditions. The street was beginning to dry out. I could tell that it had rained overnight. The sky to the east was blue with big puffy white clouds. It looked good to me so off I went. When I pulled out of the driveway and went down the street, I got a good look at the western sky. Not exactly the same as the eastern sky. I turned right back around and grabbed that darn baseball cap again. I wasn't going to take any chances after yesterday's run. The weather here has been a little squirrelly lately. Ran off and on with bright blue skies in between. I guess this is pretty normal for most of the country. I remember from when I grew up in northern Ohio they always said "if you don't like the weather now, stick around for half and hour, it will be different." I realize my posts lately have centered around the weather. But when you live in southern CA you can pretty much count on the same weather 90% of the time. . . sunny and dry. Even the smallest amount of rain is billed as "Stormwatch 2006" on the nightly news.

The trails were muddier than I expected. The mud just stuck to the bottom of my shoes and built up a couple of inches (and pounds) thick before it would fall off. Of course, it would never fall off both shoes at the same time, so I ran heavy and lopsided half the time. About 2.5 miles into the run I came upon a coyote crossing the trail. He crossed in front of me, went off the main trail about 20 feet then stood there and watched me run by. My planned route consisted of two loops. One on the south side of the park and one on west side. Just I was finishing my first loop, about 5 miles, it started to sprinkle. I debated whether to just call it a day and go back to the car. I was really hoping for 7 miles or so. I could go home now, stay dry and get in a few more miles later in the day. In the end I decided that since I was already there, I might as well just go for. Of course the skies just opened up about a mile into the second loop. But at that point I was committed. So I got soaked again, for the third time in three days. We really need the water and like Raul's friend commented yesterday, it is "preferred to run in the rain than in the heat." I would pretty much agree. Although the more I run in either condition, the less that I dread it. If I'm prepared for the weather, I can pretty much deal with it.

And true to form, by the time I drove home (Bonelli is only 4 miles from my house) the rain stopped and the skies began to clear. After a warm shower, my wife and I went over to Chino Hills to hear a band play at the Seattle's Best. The band is set up in the court yard outside. Thankfully the weather held out for them to play. The bass player is my running buddy and coworker, Terry's husband. I am not sure of the name of the group. They play covers of Elton John, The Allman Bros., David Grey and John Mayer. It's pretty mellow stuff and a nice way to spend a couple of hours together with friends and coffee.

Weekly miles: 36.4

(coyote picture from:

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I Was Ready, This Time

I woke up Saturday morning intent on running 13 miles with the CA Cruiser down at the Santa Ana River Trail. I checked outside and the sky was mostly clear. The sun was already peaking out. I'm so happy that the days are getting longer. I checked for the weather in Yorba Linda. The forecast called for scattered showers, 30-50% chance of rain. The sky looked good, but just to be safe I brought my trusty baseball cap along. When I got to the lot, it was an absolutely beautiful day, blue sky with scattered clouds. I debated leaving the hat in the car, but in the end decided to bring it along.

This turned out to be a good move. By mile 3, the clouds were moving in and getting darker. At mile 4 it started sprinkling and from mile 5 to 8 it was just flat out raining. I was very glad I had brought the cap. No water spots on the old specs. At mile 8 the sky cleared up again, the sun came out and it was back to beautiful weather for the last 5 miles. The run took about 2 hours. I didn't have a watch with me, since the band broke on Thursday night. I got it fixed this afternoon. In general I hate not having a watch, especially on runs. I'm so used to keeping track of splits and total time.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Almost Wimped Out

Friday morning I packed by running gear up with the expectation of running 5 miles at the dam after work. This is what I had planned to do last week but I helped out a coworker with a ride back and forth to the Mazda dealership. Nearing the end of the day I got somethings finished, changed into the gear and stepped out the door a minute or so before 5:00. Great, maybe I could even get the run in before the sun had completely set.

But no! It was raining. Or I should say by CA definition it was raining. Almost everywhere else you would probably call it a sprinkle or maybe a light shower. But anyway, I wasn't in the mood to get wet and cold. (I don't know if there is such a mood, but I know I wasn't in it). I called home to see if maybe it wasn't raining there yet. The sky looked a little clearer in that direction. My son confirmed that it sprinkling there too. I thought to myself "I would run if I had my baseball cap." I never wear a hat unless it's raining. The cap helps keep my glasses dry. It's a bummer being blind, especially in the rain. It's like driving in the rain without windshield wipers.

The dam parking area is a couple of miles from work. It was barely sprinkling there. So after all the whining, moaning and complaining, I just pulled the car into the lot and started off down the trail. It was windy up on top of the dam and of course it started raining harder. But at some point you can't really get any wetter. The last 2 miles of the run it was definitely raining, by any definition. Yeah, I got wet and was a little cold, but hey I survived. I got my planned run in and beat back the inner wimp a little farther. Of course on my way home it stopped raining and now as I sit here and type this two hours later is hasn't rained anymore. Whaddya gonna do?

Let's hope the weather holds out for my long run in the morning. But I'm taking my hat with me when I go!

You Run Funny

Monday - Day off
Tuesday - I went over to Via Verde for an easy 4 miler. I hadn't been over there in a couple of weeks. I took it easy on the way out and decided to kick it up a notch on the way back. I did the return trip nearly 4 minutes faster than the out. A decent negative split, I thought.

I had originally planned on doing my speedwork session on Thursday this week. But then I got an opportunity to go out for sushi on Thursday with my wife (no sushi for her) and a friend from her work. The friend wanted to see my India pictures. I'll take any excuse to have some sushi. So I decided to move my speed session to Wednesday. Doesn't this sound familiar?

Wednesday - When I got home from work my wife informed me that she was waiting for her friend Kellie to pick her up.

me - "Do you have some scrapbooking thing tonight that I forgot about?" This is a normal question for me. My wife scrapbooking and me forgetting something are both perfectly within the realm of possibility.

she - "No, we are going for a walk." A walk? Not normally within the realm of possibility, but...

me - "Oh, that's cool. Where are you going to go?"
she - "Over to the track at Royal Oak."
me - "Really, me too. I was going to do my speedwork tonight."
she - "Oh....."

It seemed a little weird to be running around the track while she and her friend were walking. I don't really know why. There is almost always other people walking or running the track. Its not as though I have the track to myself. I think we both felt a little self conscience about having the other one there. Anyway, Kellie comes to pick her up and they drive over to the track. I ran over to to get in my warm up.

I started my speed work with a 400m lap. As I ran by them the first time, Kellie yells out "Run, Forrest, run!" After that we pretty much ignored the fact that we were there together. I think it helped a lot that there are no lights at the track so you can only really see people as you pass them. I did three 400m laps each followed by a slow recovery lap. I decided it was time to step up the program and try an 800m leg. Twice around! I usually feel like dying after once around. But I made it just fine. The first lap in 1:49 and the second in 1:54. I felt like I had just broken some great barrier. I could do two laps "fast" without exploding or something. I did a couple more 400m legs then started by cool down run home. My wife and her friend ended up walking 2 miles. Yeah for them.

When I got home we talked about it and decided that it wasn't that weird that we shared the track. But then during dinner she dropped the bomb - "You run funny." What??! She said that I don't pick my feet up very far off the ground. I guess she's right, I do kind of shuffle along (like an old man). The funny thing is I only passed them during my speed laps not my recovery laps. I shouldn't be shuffling when I'm trying to do speedwork.

It's been 2 days since then, but I can still hear "You run funny." I promise to work on that. I could probably go faster if I picked up my knees (and feet) a little more.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Sunday morning I decided that I would run over at the Santa Fe Dam bike trail. As I was leaving, my wife asked me how far I was going to go. I told her the scheduled had called for 16 yesterday and 5 today, but I only ran 10 yesterday. She suggested I run 11 today. 21 miles for the two days, it seemed like a reasonable choice. Probably not based on any sound training advice but what the heck.

I was determined to run this nice and slow, shooting for 9:30 miles. When I got to the 5 mile point I was feeling pretty good and since I had been keeping the pace to 9:20-9:25, I decided to keep going a little farther. I eventually turned around at 7 miles. On the way back for some reason I picked up speed. Mile 9 was 8:55 and 10 was 8:45. I had no idea why I was going faster, I hadn't consciously decided to. By mile 12 I was feeling the effects of my "speed". Mile 13 and 14 were at 10:00 pace. I probably should have listened to my wife's advice and only done 11. Oh, well.

I realize now that I enter the mileage into my log that this week was a 25% increase over last week and a 100% increase over 2 weeks ago. No wonder my last two miles this morning were so hard. When I got home I made pancakes and bacon for breakfast. When I woke the boys up at 10:30 they complained that it was too early. My oldest (18) commented "how am I supposed to stay up all night if you are going to wake me up so early? Sorry dude, 10:30 ain't early.

Weekly miles: 40.9
2006 miles: 116.7
Lifetime miles: 3563


Genesis 6:3 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

This is the premise for the show. The story, a musical, begins with the announcement that one of the occupants of Paradise has eaten the forbidden apple and is now on the outside. In this version of the story Paradise is staffed by "angels" performing the function of waitresses, maintenance workers, therapist, tennis coach and activities director. The staff is wondering which of the occupants has caved in first. Obviously we know the answer to that. In the biblical version of the story it would appear that Adam ate the fruit almost immediately. In Bite!, Adam discovers that Eve is outside of Paradise later that day. Paradise and "the outside world" are separated in the play by a low fence and a gate. Adam and Eve are able to converse and touch over the fence but Eve is not able to come through the gate. At one point she comes back through and an alarm goes off and she runs back out. It is at this point that she realizes the consequences of "biting" the apple. At first Eve is scared and unsure of her future out in the world. She hears the howls of wolves that Adam is not able to hear inside Paradise.

The staff in Paradise are set into disarray by the loss of half of their clientele. They apparently realized that eventually Adam too must "bite", but are prohibited from openly trying to convince him to do so. They cleverly try, so that the rest of history can proceed. Adam is quite reluctant to join Eve on the outside.

Eve returns to the fence several times throughout the play to try to convince Adam to join her. They were after all "meant to be together" and the outside world was created for them. Each time that Eve returns she begins to show subtle signs of aging. At one point she has acne. At another she has discovered various health and beauty products to improve her appearance. The last time she returns, years later, Eve has aged to the point that Adam does not immediately recognize her.

Adam is portrayed for the most part as somewhat naive and brainless. Eve goes from being scared to being a seductress trying to lure Adam out of Paradise. Finally between Eve's multiple returns and the interactions with the staff, Adam come to the realization that he cannot go on without Eve and takes a "Bite!" The rest, shall we say, is history.

I think the play was well done without being too far off base. Although we would assume based on Genesis that Adam succumbed to Eve's invitation to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life very soon after she did, it is possible that time had gone by. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3:8. I also think that Adam and Eve were meant to share Paradise rather than the "outside world" as the play implies. But of course we know the outcome of this particular play before it even starts.

Although I'm not a very good critic of the arts, I enjoyed the songs and thought that the characters were cast well. The actor playing Adam, reminded me of Donny Osmond, while the actor portraying Eve, reminded me of Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy). This presentation was billed as the "World Premiere". My last observation of the play is "Who emptied out the old folk's home?" I've never seen so many canes and walkers in one place before. We were definitely on the low end of the age curve. This is probably mostly due to the Saturday matinee showing. We went to the show with two other couples as an early Valentine's Day dinner. We enjoyed the meal, the company and the show. The specialty drinks and desserts all had an apple theme. Kind of a nice tie-in. I was at first hesitant to go, but ended up enjoying myself and would recommend Bite! as a fun retelling of the Adam and Eve story.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Flexibility, that's one reason I enjoy running so much. If my schedule changes, I can still almost always fit a run in sometime, somewhere. I like that as the rest of my life dictates I can change days, change miles, change workouts but still maintain a level of fitness.

Wednesday I took the day off. Our Friday night bible study was moved since the host family had planned to attend the Valentine's Dinner put on by our church. No big deal, just move Wednesday's mileage to Friday, the day I normally take off.

Thursday, I ran a 6 mile loop around my neighborhood. As I was running, I was thinking that I hadn't run this loop in quite a while. I dug through my 2005 log and found out I hadn't done this since May 16. Flexibility. How often is it that you can run 5 days a week and not run this particular 6 miles loop for 10 months. I've run 6 mile runs since then but somehow not on this particular route. I don't know why, but I find that interesting.

On Friday I had planned to do 5 miles on the Santa Fe Dam. I packed my clothes and took them to work. I was hoping to cut out a little early and get this run in before the sun set. Thursday afternoon a coworker asked me to pick him up at the Mazda dealer a couple miles from home. "Sure, no problem." I hadn't thought it through any farther than that. On the way to work he asked if I could take him back after work? Flexibility. "Sure, no problem." I decided to stop at home after I dropped him off, change and go get my 5 miles in at Bonelli Park. By the time I got to Bonelli it was about 5:30 and the sun was disappearing, and fast. My 5 route there is half on roads and half on trails. Officially, the park closes at dusk. I decided to go for the run anyway. Running on the roads was easy, there were street lights. Running on the trails was a little bit of an adventure, no street lights there. The moon was approaching full but I still had to run on blind trust. It's easy to spook yourself in an empty park by moonlight. At the transition between the road and the trail I came across a flock of mallard ducks. They were content, settled into the lawn until I came ambling by. They all took off into the air. It was quite the sight, about 50 dark flying creatures in the moonlight. Definitely a run I've never duplicated before.

Saturday, my schedule called for a 16 miler in preparation for the 1/2 marathon in 3 weeks. Again flexibility came into play. My wife had made plans for us to attend a matinee performance of Bite! This didn't leave me enough time to complete 16 miles before the show. Unless of course I wanted to get up at 4:00, no thanks. I'll just move the long run to Sunday. Flexibility. I decided to go down to Yorba Linda to run with the Cruisers. I ended up running 10 miles with Jennifer in 1:28, 8:48 pace. The last mile was 8:07.

Now I just have to figure out how many miles I should run tomorrow, 16 or less? Flexible (but not casual).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What Gives?

Saturday I ran the Super Run 5K and set a PR. I was amazed that I could run 3.1 miles in 22:36, 7.17 pace. I almost never run that fast. I started second guessing the course measurement. But decided it must have been close since Jesse and Jim's times were on par with their prior perforances. So I had convinced myself that I had really lowered my time significantly.

Then, I did my speed workout today. I went over the old dirt track at the local junior high. There are no lane markings and I'm making the assumption that it is a standard size track of 400 meters (440 yards) therefore 4 laps per mile. I did 5 - 400 meter speed laps with a recovery lap in between, just like a couple of weeks ago. I did the laps in almost the same times as before, but I was beat at the end of each lap. I walked the curve during the recovery, then jogged on. Then I started calculating in my head, 4 laps at just less than 2 minutes a lap ... that's less than an 8:00 mile but well over a 7:00. Right?

When I got home I added up the time for the 5 speed laps (9:06), divided by 1.25 miles and come up with a 7:17 pace. The same pace I kept in the 5K. The thing that bothers me is that during the 5K, I felt good, a little pushed beyond normal but not exhausted. At the track I felt pooped after only a 1/4 mile and looked forward to the slow lap.

Am I doing the math right? Why does a 7:17 pace on the track seem much harder than the same pace during a 5K race? I'm probably oversimplifying or misunderstanding some basic concept. What gives?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

22:36 - A 5K PR!

me, Jim, Jesse and Jay

Saturday was the first race of the Puma Race for the Cup. I picked up Jesse and his friend Jim at 5:00 a.m. for the 1.5 hour drive down to San Diego. I planned on getting up a little before 4:00 a.m. I did not sleep well for fear of not hearing the alarm. I must have been awake at least a half dozen times, waking in a panic, only to check the time and try to fall back to sleep. We got to the race in time to pick up our numbers and goodie bags (not much in them), make a stop at the porta potties and get in a little warm up jog before the race. The weather was in the low 60's and overcast.

There was both a 10K and a 5K race. There were 555 finishers in the 5K alone. There were a lot more people there than any of us had expected. On our way to pick up our bibs we ran into Jay, another friend of Jesse's that he had talked into the series. Jesse hadn't know ahead of time that Jay had actually signed up.

I didn't really have very high expectations for this race. I hadn't raced a 5K since the July 4th run last year. I was only hoping to at least match my best time of 24:00. Jesse, Jim and Jay lined up in the 2nd row. I took my spot a couple of rows back. I never really looked back to see how many people were behind me. The gun went off and it seemed as though everybody took off and left me behind. I got passed right away by quite few people. I felt like I had to be bringing up the rear and going pretty slowly.

I hit the first mile in 6:59. I was stunned. I think I've only done a 7:00 mile once before and I was really trying then. The course was basically an out and back. At the turn around I realized just how many people were behind me, I really wasn't bringing up the rear. I was running a few feet behind the same guy most of the way at this point. I hit mile 2 in 7:23. I began to wonder whether I could keep up this pace for much longer. I really tried to keep up with that guy a few feet ahead. When we got to the final approach I picked up the pace well before the finish line. The time on my watch was 22:43. Woohoo, a PR by 1:17. Not bad! I owe my rabbit a big Thank You!. I was really tired at first, but after I cooled off, I felt great. Today I checked the website for the official results and found this:

Place Name Age No. Div/Tot Sex City 5k Pace
115 DARRELL JAMES 44 853 15/36 M Covina 22:36 7:17

7 seconds faster than I had on my watch! I'm not sure which one is right but either way it was a great start to the 5K series. Now I have my work cut out for me to improve in the next three.

I attribute my improvement mostly to the relatively low mileage that I have been running since December. Jesse's time, by the way, was 20:34.

I really wanted to get some more mileage in this weekend. My half marathon is only 4 weeks away. The schedule had called for a 14 miler today. After I dropped of Jim and Jesse, I decided to go over the the Santa Ana River Trail and put in 10 miles. I felt pretty good at the start, but I was running in the middle of day. It got pretty warm, 75-ish and sunny. I hadn't brought any water. I started getting pretty tired by mile 7. My form (such as it is) had gone to pieces. I kept hitting my leg with the opposing heel.

Terry called in the afternoon and invited me to run at Chino Hills State Park on Sunday morning with some of her running friends. I really enjoy the trails so I couldn't pass it up. We ended up doing 8 miles in about 1 1/2 hours on a beautiful Sunday morning.

Weekly miles: 32.6
2006 miles: 75.8
Lifetime miles: 3522.1

This week's mileage is the most I've put in since the week of the NYC marathon.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Back Home

On Wednesday, my adventure wasn't quite complete. A Marketing Manager and I drove down to San Diego to visit two more doctors. It is a two hour drive each way from work. February was starting out in a frenzy already. I need to visit one more orthodontist in southern CA area to complete the evaluation. Hopefully I can get that one lined up next week.

I talked to Jesse that afternoon and finalized our rideshare plans for the first of the 5K races on Saturday. Ironically it is only about 2 miles from the orthodontists that I visited earlier that day. In a way it seems crazy to drive nearly 2 hours to run a 5K race that will be over in 25 minutes or less, but what the heck. My wife is spending the weekend scrapbooking at some hotel with a couple of her girlfriends so she won't be missing me anyway.

Thursday, after work, I went over the Santa Fe Dam and put in 5 miles, 41:43. Since I have the 5K on Saturday I decided not to do any speed work this week. I will get back to that next week. I did do some short pick ups during mile 2. There are painted markings every 20 yards or so. I "sprinted" 20 yards and "jogged" 20 yards for the entire mile for a 7:52 mile. I don't know how productive or not this was but it just added in a new little element to an otherwise ordinary training run.

Next stop is the 5K and trying to keep up the Jesse. When I talked to him yesterday, he wasn't sure what to expect out of this first one. He hasn't gotten much running in the last couple of weeks. I'll let you know how it goes.


Monday afternoon we drove back to Green Bay, Wisconsin. I was being chauffeured by our local sales rep, Ray. By the way, Ray is a super nice guy. I had only met him for a couple of minutes the week before when the sales reps were at the home office for a training meeting. I was somewhat worried about spending two days and countless hours in a car with someone I barely knew. Ray made it very easy for me. He kept me entertained and hopefully I didn't bore him to death. At least he never fell asleep at the wheel. I am indebted to him for lining up the five visits in such a short time frame. Monday night we had dinner at Curly's Pub at Lambeau Field. Lambeau Field is a really cool looking football stadium. I'm not that much of a sports follower, but it was still cool to have been there.

Our hotel in Green Bay was just of State Hwy 41 and at the edge of a residential neighborhood. When we checked in I had scoped out the neighborhood and was plotting a run for Tuesday morning. I had set my watch to 6:00 but fell back to sleep. Luckily the last person to have my room had set the alarm to 6:30 and I got up then. This morning, being on the far eastern edge of the Central Time Zone, dawned bright. The clouds had all cleared away and there was no wind. The clear skies meant colder temperatures. I turned on the TV just in time to catch the local weather reporting the temperature at 23°. I hesitated for a couple of minutes but finally decided what the heck. This may be my only chance to run in the cold weather. Besides, I definitely wasn't up to facing the treadmill again.

So I put my sweatshirt on over my long sleeve tech top. Pulled on my hat and gloves and went out the door. Oh and yes I had my shorts on too, just in case you wondered. 23° wasn't that bad after all. I headed out, up Bond Street. The streets were free of snow and in better shape than the sidewalks. There was very little traffic, so I felt comfortable on the side of the road. I only saw three other people outside, kids on their way to school presumably. They were definitely dressed for the weather. Every time I car drove by, I wondered what they must be thinking about the goofy man in shorts running outside on January 31. I ran out Bond and turned onto Platten. After about 15 minutes I turned back and headed to the warmth of the hotel. Just as I got back to the hotel, Ray was looking out his window checking out the sun and clear skies. He was a little surprised to see me out there. I'm really glad that I sucked it up and went for the run. It was really enjoyable and not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. I mapped the route later and determined it to be 3.5 miles.

We visited the last 2 of the 5 doctors, then Ray dropped me off at the Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay for my trek homeward. The airport has two concourses with 6 gates apiece. Pretty small but very modern. My route took me back the way I came, off to Chicago, on to Denver, and finally to Ontario, CA and a 20 minute drive home. In January, I spent 15 nights in my own bed and 16 nights in a hotel. Definitely not my normal lifestyle at all. It has been a whirlwind of activity and January is gone in a blur. Time flies!


Three flights and a 4 hour car drive later I made it to Marquette. MI. I was there to visit five orthodontists. My company manufactures orthodontic products, braces to most people. I work in R&D and was sent out into the field to get feedback on a new adhesive that we plan on introducing. My wife teases me that this trip is my bosses way of getting me back for taking three weeks vacation for the India trip. Lucky for me they have been having a relatively mild winter. Friday was 50 but Sunday through Tuesday they were expecting daytime highs in the low 30's, with overnight lows in the 20's. Our first appointments weren't until after 9:00 each day, so I was really hoping to get in a run. I thought it would be cool (pun intended) to say that I had run in WI/MI in the winter. I had found an article that suggeste guidelines for dressing according to the temperature. 20 to 30 degrees called for two upper body layers, 1 lower body layer, a hat and gloves. Shorts were going to have to do for the lower body. I wasn't going to invest in tights for 2 days worth of cold weather running.

Monday morning I woke up at 6:00 and it was still dark outside. It had snowed overnight, but only a couple of inches. Our hotel was on a main highway, so I had pretty much given up the idea of running outside in Marquette. It wasn't going to be safe to run down the side of the road. At 7:00 it was still dark outside. Instead of missing the run all together I went to the hotel exerise room and ran on the treadmill. By the time I was finished it was finally a little more light outside. Part of the problem was the cloud cover, but part of the problem is that Marquette is on the very western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, so morning comes later there than say in New York City on the opposite edge of the same time zone. Back in Wisconsin, Central Time Zone, morning comes an hour earlier or seems to anyway.

In 2 1/2 years of running I had never run on a treadmill. I guess I had to have the experience, but I can say that I definitely didn't enjoy it. I felt like I was running about my normal pace but it took longer than normal to cover the miles on the treadmill. I had set the program for rolling hills, so the thing changed incline and speed every 5 minutes or so. That was sort of neat, but running inside you definitely heat up and at least for me it was pretty boring. Even watching TV, "Saved by the Bell", didn't help much. I think I really enjoy running outside because I either run a loop course or an out and back and I have to keep going until I get back. With the tread I felt like I could stop any old time, it was hard to keep going. I ran 3 miles according to the odometer and called it quits.

The doctor visits went well that day. I took my new camera and captured some images of the snow. The highlight for me was seeing my first ice fishing huts. Frankly I can't understand the allure. To me fishing is about the most boring thing on earth. Couple that with standing outside on a frozen lake and I can't possibly see the fun in it. But it is obviously quite the pasttime in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Bonelli Run

Boy, I feel like I'm way behind on the updates. Last Saturday my youngest son had earned back some computer priviledges so I couldn't get anywhere near the thing. Then early Sunday morning I left town for two days of work in Wisconsin and Michigan. I don't have a laptop so I had no computer access for awhile. I've decided that this post would be tooooooo long if I put it all in one so I'll break it into more reasonable chunks.

Saturday morning I met a few of the California Cruisers at the Park and Ride lot near Bonelli Park in San Dimas.

The first picture is our little group in the parking lot before we started. By the look of us you might think we were in Antarctica or something. It was probably in the low 40's. Southern Californians are such wimps when it comes to the "cold" weather. Later on you can see that people warmed up a bit. It was a clear sunny morning, a great day for a run. But then again most days here are. Since noone had been here before, I would run ahead a half mile or so and wait for the rest of the group to catch up. My proposed route took us across the dam, passed the group picnic area and out and around Brackett Field, back through Eastshore RV Park, and around the picnic loop in Bonelli. Everyone else stopped about 3/4 of the way around the loop. At that point we were close to the cars. This was about 7.5 miles. I ran the rest of the loop around again for about 9.5 miles.

I chose this particular route, fairly flat and on paved roads because some of the group, especially Dorothy (blue hat, purple gloves above) are running in the Pacific Shoreline Marathon next weekend in Huntington Beach. This is the 10th running and Dorothy is a Legacy Runner. She will have done all ten come next Sunday. In 2005 the PS Marathon was her husband John's 100th marathon. They are quite the running dynamos.

Everyone really enjoyed the run and realized that it wasn't that far away from the Yorba Linda area. I hope to plan another run and maybe venture out onto the trails next time.

Sunday morning I got on a plane at 6:00 am and spent the rest of the day getting to Marquette, MI in the Upper Pennisula, so there was no running that day.

Weekly miles: 19.2
2006 miles: 43.2
Lifetime miles: 3489.5