Thursday, June 29, 2006

Text Message Run

"Hey tonight i want to ride my bike with you then when we are done go back out and run one mile...K? -Bryan-HK-"

I received this text message Wednesday morning at 9:03 a.m. from my younger son. Never mind that he was in class, summer school taking World History. How could I refuse this offer? When we went camping in Carpinteria over Memorial Day, he rode along with me on a run. When we got back home he said he wanted to keep going with me some days. Several days after work I'd ask if he was going with me. The answer was usually "Not today" or "Maybe tomorrow". After a while I just stopped asking.

So Wednesday night after work, with the temperature hovering in the low 90's, we loaded up the bike in the truck and drove over to Bonelli. I figured the paved road over the dam and the Puddingstone Dr. Trail would be a nice 5 mile run/ride. If he wanted to run another mile, I would switch and get on the bike. We both carried water and took it easy. I'm not sure if he rides slow because of me or what but I seem to run slower when we are together. I noticed this in Carpinteria, as well. It was hot, so slow was good.

The best part of the run was on the trail. Rabbits crossed our path as usual. My nearly 16 year son was singing "Here comes Peter Cottontail..." as we hopped on down the bunny trail. He is normally absolutely appalled at any behavior that might bring attention to himself, so this was quite funny to me.

Tonight and Friday are days off, so I'm done for the month of June - 155.3 miles. Nothing spectacular, no record high month, just a good solid month of running (at least for me).

10 days to SEAFAIR.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm Not (Flying, That Is)

I mentioned before that Janice had signed up for the Wine Country Half Marathon in July. Her scheduled called for 13 miles on Saturday. She asked me to run it with her. She was more than a little concerned about this distance. She had only covered this much ground once before at the Fontana Days Half, with the down hill advantage. I was sure she would be fine but was happy to run with her. I figured I would let her set the pace and that would keep me under control.

We met at the Santa Ana River Trail along with about a dozen of the CA Cruisers. Most of the group was planning on 10. The plan was to run south on the trail. This is good because of the dirt path next to the bike trail for much of the way in this direction. We had met at 6:30 to avoid the heat, forecasts were calling for a 100 degree record breaker. We were fortunate in that the day dawned overcast, no sun in sight. We all ran the first mile together. It was fun for me to have Janice meet some crazy running people. After the first, Jesse and Michelle broke away, followed by me and Janice then the rest of the group.

We made it to the turn around point with Janice feeling strong. We just ticked off the miles at a nice easy pace, at least for me, between 9:30 and 10:00. Janice was doing great. At the 9.5 mile point or so she asked me whether we had hit 10 miles yet. She was beginning to get tired. She and I both recognized this as her "10 mile wall" when she mildly panicked at Fontana. At 11 miles Janice asked for a walk break and took a whole 30 seconds before she started running again. Although she was getting tired, she was still running strong. She did not drop the pace as the run went on. The sun came out just as we hit the 12 mile mark. We couldn't have asked for more. Our final time was 2:08, not that far off from our downhill half marathon finish of 2:05. Janice was worried that she would be a lot slower without that advantage. The Wine Country Half is rolling, so she has some concerns about that and about running it alone. I'm confident based on todays run, that she will be awesome that day.

Saturday - 13 miles in 2:08 or 9:51 pace. My slowest pace in a long time where hills weren't involved.

Sunday, I went back over to Bonelli. I was supposed to meet Terry there, but she backed out last minute. On the drive over (<10 minutes) I debated with myself whether I should run a flatter road route or run my normal Sunday morning hill route. I finally opted for the hill route and vowed to take it very easy, especially on the uphill. Well, I was successful at that. My time was 57:06 for 5 miles, 11:25 pace. I can't remember running that pace since I first started running.

I'm hoping the slow miles are a part of a good taper program. But, I fear in the back of my mind that the slowness will continue. Well maybe not so much in the back of my mind! I'll be the first to admit that I think about this way too much!

During the next two weeks the mileage decreases and I get an extra rest day. Woot! On another "happy" note the temperature in Bellevue, WA is a sultry 86°F, with a heat advisory for the area. Lets get this over with and then get back to normal averages come July 9th (I told you I think about this too much, LOL!).

Miles for the week: 38

Time Flies

I'm in taper mode, right? Isn't this supposed to mean less running and more time.

Well so far it hasn't really translated into less miles. Slower miles maybe, but not less miles. More on that later. As far as more time, yeah, not so much. Maybe that's an effect of the slower miles, more likely it is just an everyday fact of life that there is never enough time to do everything I need to do, let alone all the other things I want or like to do.

Earlier this week Janice sent me the pictures she had taken after the Fontana Days Half Marathon. It was only 3 weeks ago, but it seems like an eternity ago. Her note with the pictures said something to the effect that she expected to see the pictures up on the blog, pronto. Sorry, Janice, I didn't get the pronto part down very well, but here's one of the pics.

Dr. John (red shorts on the right) took some pictures of our "brutal" hill run last Saturday at Chino Hills State Park. The first is the whole group that started the run. We all look pretty happy and ready to go at this point. We hadn't found out yet what the North Ridge Trail had in store for us. The ladies on the left were there for a walk. They took the kinder, gentler route up and back Telegraph Canyon.
The last picture is me and Jeff, the stragglers, after our 16 mile adventure. We're still smiling! Thankfully from the photo you can't tell how absolutely wiped out we are. Dr. John and a few others had hung around waiting for us to return. They were nearly ready to send in a search and rescue party to find us.

During the week I put in my usual 6/8/6 mile routine. Tuesday and Thursday, I ran a route through Bonelli that is mostly paved and flat. On Thursday I did the route in the opposite direction from Tuesday. I ran nearly 2 minutes slower overall. This was the beginning of the pre-marathon slow down.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

An Easy Recovery 5

Just a short post to sum up the week before I hit the hay .

No Bonelli this week. After yesterday's hills I didn't think my legs were up to any more. Instead, I got in a very easy 5 mile run with Celeste. She was back in town to pack up her apartment. This was likely the real last run. Next weekend she packs her stuff into a moving van and heads to Oxnard full time. She started her new job last week. We met at her place and ran the very north end of the Santa Fe River Trail. Although I was completely wiped out yesterday this run didn't feel too bad. Thankfully it was short and slow. I let Celeste dictate the pace.

Miles for the week: 41.2
A few less than the updated plan but more than the original. I think I will scale back to the original plan for the next three weeks to make sure I'm good to go for SEAFAIR. I keep wavering between feeling totally prepared and totally over done. I'm anxious about how the next couple of weeks will go.

Anyway, Goodnight JohnBoy.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Worlds Collide

Or at least met in the parking lot at Carbon Canyon Regional Park…

Earlier this week I got an email from Jeff asking about my plans for the weekend. He was looking for 15-17 miles. I was originally thinking 18 for me, but after last weekend’s long run, decided a slightly scaled back run might be in order. My planned run was near home and included 4 hills throughout the loop. The loop is run in the bike lane on some fairly major streets. When you live in the middle of suburbia, you have to run the routes that are close by every once in a while. The rolling hills would be a nice preview of Bellevue.

I sent an email off to Jeff and we were good to go. I invited Terry from work to join us. She wasn’t up to the full 15-17 but would hang with us for the first few then turn back. Celeste was going to be in town packing up her apartment and would likely join us as well.

Thursday evening I received an email from the CA Cruisers. This week’s run was a combined run with the 642 Group in Chino Hills State Park. There is some cross over membership between the two groups. I shot Jeff an email and suggested this as an alternative. We have talked about running there before and I was certain he would like this option. I liked it too, thinking that the trails would be more forgiving on the legs. Jeff’s reply was, “AWESOME. I'm really looking forward to this now! I wasn’t relishing the idea of 17 miles in the bike lane.” And just like that we had a new plan. Terry was on board, she lives in Chino Hills. The bummer is Celeste bowed out. She’s not much of a nature girl. Dirt, bushes and bugs aren’t her thing.

So here’s where the worlds collide. My running friends from the Cruisers/642 world, met up with a running friend from my work world, and met up with a running friend from the blogging world.

In the email a distance of about 4-10 miles was discussed. For some reason I assumed we would be running up Telegraph Canyon, possibly to Four Corners and back. I guess I thought this because it was the only trail I’ve taken from this side of the park. Before we got started I found out that the plan was to run up North Ridge Trail. Telegraph is a nice easy uphill, barely noticeable most of the time. North Ridge is way more challenging uphill for over 4 miles. We quickly spread out on the trail, with Jesse, Michelle, Jim, Jeff and I leading the pack. Dave and Randy were not far behind. Dave and Randy and the others took the Gilman Trail down to Telegraph and back for about an 8 mile loop. Terry was in this group. Jesse, Michelle, Jim, Jeff and I continued on to the Sycamore Trail then down to Telegraph. Jesse, Michelle and Jim returned down Telegraph for about an 11 mile loop.

The trek up North Ridge was challenging but fun. My legs felt the effort by the time we reached the turn off. We took a couple of breaks on the way up to regroup. Thankfully, Sycamore is downhill. Sycamore was completely overgrown with thistles. They were way up past head level, maybe 8 feet tall. Our legs got pretty scratched up through this section. We took a short break at the intersection with Telegraph to rinse off our legs in a stream to relieve the stinging. Jesse and the others headed down Telegraph while Jeff and I continued up to get in our 15-17. By now all the uphill was definitely taking its toll on my legs. I commented that my legs were getting tired. Jeff asked if it was the quads or the calves. My answer was, Yes! We made it to Four Corners and continued on. Up to this point Jeff kept reminding me that all the uphill meant a nice downhill return. After Four Corners we continued on the trail to the South Ridge Trail that leads to the Equestrian Center. This trail was downhill so, you guessed it, an uphill return. We crested a small uphill, decided we had gone far enough based on Jeff’s GPS and started back.

The uphill back toward Four Corners was the beginning of the end. Jeff suggested a short break at Four Corners and got no argument from me. At this point I started having thoughts that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Remember I was squeezing in this extra longish run on the advice of my blog readers. By now the sun was way up in the sky, the trails are exposed (no trees in SoCal) and my legs were spent. Jeff reminded me of the down hill return on Telegraph.

Telegraph is technically downhill but it is slight. Coasting on a bike is one thing but running still requires effort. At some point on the return, Jeff said we were doing 8:40 miles. Not all that fast for a downhill but not bad I thought for being 11-12 miles into a mostly uphill run. We took one short walk break after crossing a stream but ran on through to the finish. At some point I asked about our pace. It was in the 9’s, the high 9’s.

Jeff was feeling the effects of the run himself. It always does my heart and soul good to know that runners I see as far superior struggle at times too. For whatever reason, I assume that the guys that are faster or put in more miles are somehow superhuman. I figure if I’m getting through, they will just be breezing through. I really need to work on that. As I’m writing this, I’m reminded that Jeff just did his first triathlon last weekend and ran a marathon the weekend before that. It’s no wonder that he was feeling the effects of this run. I know I was struggling but I felt like Jeff was still running like a rock star. If it weren’t for him being along, I’m certain I would have been walking rather than running in. Jeff summed up the end of the run in one world – BRUTAL.

A few of the 642 group had hung around to make sure we had made it back. They were somewhat worried that we had gotten lost and were considering coming back in to find us. I owe a big thank you to the lady runner that offered me the end of her Gatorade. Runners are good people, don't you think?

I was as tired as I had ever been after a run. The unofficial stats for the run are 16.25 miles in 2:38, somewhere around 9:45 pace. This is on par with my pace at Bonelli on Sunday mornings, and the run was 3 times longer. Jim told us that our 16 mile run on the hills was probably equivalent to a 20 miler on the road. I think I will hang onto that assessment, but I will claim 16.25 in the training log.

I am officially done with the long runs for this training cycle. It’s all downhill from here (pun intended). Thanks to all of you, especially Jeff, for getting me through this training. The work is done, now I just have to take it easy and recover from the training effort before the big day in three weeks. The current temperature in Bellevue, WA at 5:30 p.m on Saturday, is 67°F compared to 88°F here in Covina, CA. Lets hope it stays like that.

Happy Father’s Day to all the running Dads out there.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Setting the Record and My Son Straight

The results for the Rosie's Garage Almost 5K are now online. I had to know how many people ran the race and more importantly how many runners were in my Age Group, M 40-44. As you remember my son teased me that I got 3rd place out of 3. Well....

The total field was 169 runners. I finished 18 over all. Just outside the top 10%.
The M 40-44 was 10 runners. That puts me in the top 30%, cool.

My official time was 21:02. 2nd place was 19:51. 4th was 23:02. I met and talked to him after the race and didn't even realize until now that he was 4th in our age group.

I'm pretty convinced that I achieved the Age Group win due to the Almost 5K distance. The less than standard distance probably kept the super competitive, sub-elites home or at another race. Whatever, I've got the medal! So there Bryan, I wasn't 3rd out of 3, just thought you'd like to know.

Get Over It, Already

I got so wrapped up in my own little world of losing running partners and slow final miles that I forgot to mention all the race reports I'm looking forward to:

Jeff - his first triathlon
Robb - Lunenburg World Heritage 5K (attempt at sub 20:00)
Rob - Lake Youngs Ultra (1 week after a 50 miler)
Matt - Valley Crest Half Marathon (1 week after his first marathon)
Donald - The Dipsea Race
Angie - Sugar & Spice Ultra

and from last week check out:
Joe - Sunburst Half Marathon

A Farewell Run

Sunday morning brought me a 22 miler. Normally I do my long runs on Saturday, but had to shift things around to accommodate my 3rd place Age Group finish yesterday. I’m still smiling about that one. 8-) I chose to run the bike path at Huntington Beach. It is about a 45 minute drive from my home, but worth it I think for the generally cooler climate at the beach, plentiful water and bathroom stops and well marked mile indicators. The only negative, especially in light of the terrain in Bellevue, WA, it that the trail is pancake flat. This makes for a nice run but doesn’t adequately simulate race day conditions.

Today’s run was a somewhat poignant affair. Celeste joined me for the initial 5 miles. This is likely the last run that we will get together. Celeste and I have worked together for the last 5 years. She is leaving Monday for a new job in Oxnard, CA, about 1.5 hours north. Celeste started out as a tech aide, moved into a full time position in the lab and then into Technical Services, always performing well above expectations. She was my coworker, running buddy and friend. I will definitely miss her.

Celeste was the third member of the little running group that formed at work, Brian and I being the first two. When Celeste joined the marathon craziness, I was the old man and they were the kids, they were both 20 years younger than me. Later on Terry joined our little trio. At least then we were balanced; two guys, two girls, two “kids”, two “adults”. Brian left us for dental school and life has been hectic for Terry, so Celeste and I have been the most consistent together. We made a pretty good pair, being about evenly matched for pace. Celeste and I have run three marathons together; most of the miles were really together.

Our first was Los Angeles in 2004. Brian was there as well. It was a hot, hot day, reaching the 90’s. In what became a signature move for Brian, he rocketed off early. This of course is not the best race strategy, but that’s another story. Celeste’s training for this one had not gone well. She had suffered a stomach bug that kept her out for a couple of months. Her longest training run was 16 miles. In the marathon we stuck together for 16 miles. She had been urging me to go ahead. My staying back was just upsetting her, so I finally took off. She was struggling from the heat. Soon after I left her I heard an ambulance siren and imagined that she had succumbed. Many runners that year had suffered heat stroke/exhaustion. Her biggest fear was that we would have to wait for her at the finish line. I caught and passed Brian who had burned out and then my right IT band refused to let me run anymore so I walked pretty much the last 6 miles. Somehow Celeste passed us both and finished first. Her fear of being last, keep her moving forward.

Later that year we ran Rock and Roll San Diego along with Brian. Brian repeated his performance at LA, leaving Celeste and I to get each other through. We stayed together until somewhere between 18 and 20. At that point she was hurting and urged me onward. There is no sense arguing with her, so again I continued on alone. This time she came in after me, followed much later by Brian.

Our final marathon together was Los Angeles in 2005 along with Terry, in an attempt to conquer the course in hopefully better weather conditions. 22 miles together this time before she fell back.

We were all set to run NYC in 2005, with Brian joining us from Boston, when Celeste suffered a stress fracture in her ankle. She was understandably bummed but made the best of the day by riding the subway to various points to cheer Brian and me on. This time Brian stayed with me, until I made a pit stop around mile 16 and finally finished a marathon strong.

The point of all this is to say that I have shared a lot of miles and marathons with Celeste, probably even more than with Brian. My log is full of entries “w/B,C&T, or B&C or C&T or just w/C. Since we worked together even the midweek runs were w/C. I missed Brian terribly when he left for Boston and I will miss Celeste too. When you spend that much time on the trail and road with someone, you know them about as well as you can know anyone. Good Luck Celeste. I know you will do well in your new job. It’s going to be hard for a while running without you.

Back to today’s run.

The morning started off cool and overcast, my favorite type of weather. I started the run at Huntington Harbor, Warner Ave and PCH. The first nearly 6 miles were out and back with Celeste, pretty much dead on 9:00 pace. Then I headed out for the rest of the run on my own. The first couple of miles ticked off in 8:30 pace; Slow Down Dude, or you aren’t going to make it 22 miles.

I missed the next mile marker and then ran into Tom, a guy I had met at Huntington Beach back in March 2005. I turned around to run with him a bit. He was nearing his turnaround point, so mile 10 was a little long. I missed the next mile marker as well from talking. Finally I got the next mile marker with an average pace of 9:18 for the last 4 miles. Running with Tom had been good for slowing the pace a little. Tom is retired as a Director of Public Health and still teaches at Loma Linda University. He can knock out a 2:00 half marathon, so he’s no slacker. At that point, he was back at his car, where I met his wife and her friend and continued on my own again.

Back on my own, Mile 12 in 8:41. Could stand to slow down a little, this is a training run not a marathon. Mile 13 in 9:08, under control again. Mile 14 went long because I missed my turnaround marker for a 9:43. Up to the turn around point the clouds were still holding and I had been running into a breeze. Just as I hit the turnaround the sun broke through and now the breeze was at my back. This combined to make the return trip a whole lot warmer. Mile 15 clocked in at 8:27. I really have to get this under control. Mile 16 in 9:02. Now that’s better. Mile 17 and 18 in 8:37 and 8:39. Here we go again! Then the downward spiral began. I was really started to get tired at this point. Mile 19 in 8:58 followed by a 9:16 and 9:17. At this point I really wanted to walk but I refused to let myself. I’ve been really excited about my last two runs with Jeff when I hadn’t taken my usual walk breaks and didn’t want to cave in now that I was on my own. Mile 22 was a whopping 9:44 and I still had about a half mile left to go to get to the car. That last mile was pretty demoralizing. If this is how the marathon goes, 4.2 more miles at that pace and I can kiss my 4:00 marathon goodbye.

All told I ran at least 22.7 miles today, maybe closer to 23 counting the doubling back with Tom and the missed turnaround. My running time was 3:25. Conservatively for 22.7 miles, if my math skills are right (they are better at home aided by a calculator and clearer thinking than in my head while on the run) my final pace for the day is 9:03. This is still good for a sub 4:00 as long as I don’t fall apart at the proverbial wall. I want to think that I will still make it but I won’t deny that the 9:44 mile has me more than a little concerned.

Miles for the week: 39.5
This is on the money for the original schedule but falls short of the 46-50 increased mileage goal.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Rosie's Garage Almost 5K

I returned home from my business trip to Cleveland very late Wednesday night. Due to mechanical issues and weather conditions in Phoenix I arrived 3.5 hours later than planned into LAX rather than Ontario (CA not Canada). My luggage and car spent an extra day in Ontario until I could get out there Thursday after work to pick them up. Not the end of the world but if I were recommending airlines it wouldn't be America West/US Airways. I'm just sayin'.

The orthodontist visits went well and provided us with some great feedback on a new adhesive. I was able to meet up with some family. My little sister picked me up at the airport, my parents drove over (about 1:15) for dinner on Monday, and on Tuesday I was able to meet up with my middle sister and her three daughters for dinner.

I got two runs in - 6.5 miles on Monday evening and 6 more on Wednesday morning around the town of Twinsburg, OH. Twinsburg is home to a hugely popular Twins Day Festival in August. Since the half marathon last weekend my legs have felt pretty dead. I'm not sure if the extra miles are finally showing themselves or if it is in my head. I was also somewhat disturbed about how easily my schedule got derailed. One business trip and the snafu with luggage and car and I feel lucky to have just gotten in my originally scheduled miles let alone any extra.

That brings me to today and the Rosie's Garage Almost 5K, the last race in the Puma Cup Series. On the way down to the race I gave Jeff a call to wish him well in his first triathlon. I really hope it went well for him. I had toyed with the idea of dumping my Almost 5K to go show support for Jeff (the event at Bonelli is basically in my front yard) but ultimately decided to see the Cup Series through to the end. I had received a map of the course earlier in the week, mapped it with g-maps pedometer and determined the course to be 2.95 miles, Almost 5K. This was confirmed by both Theresa and Jim's Garmins at the race, within a couple of hundredths. I met Jesse at the registration table, then ran into Jay on the way back from putting the race T into my car. I did a warm up run with Jay, then another short one with Jesse. We got all lined up for the 8:00 a.m. start to end up standing around for nearly 30 minutes before the race finally started. Apparently there was some miscommunication with the local Police about coning off lanes for the runners. Once that was done the race went off without a hitch.

I decided I wan't going to push myself too hard today since I couldn't really PR for a 5K. An Almost PR for an Almost 5K just didn't seem that important. Like I said the legs have been flat and I still had the long run tomorrow to get through. Early on we settled into our usual positions with Jesse in the lead, followed by Jim. It took me about a half mile to overtake Jay. We stayed that way throughout the race. I felt like I was running strong but not pushing myself. I concentrated on keeping a smooth consistent pace. I crossed the finish line in 21:06. By the time I saw the clock and realized how close I was to breaking 21:00, I just didn't have it in me mentally to get there, too hung up on the Almost 5K part I guess. When I got home I extrapolated my time out to a full 5K and came up with 22:10. This is about in line with where I've been lately, but not a PR effort.

The coolest thing about this race is I won my first age group award. I got 3rd place in the Male 40-44 category. Yahoo! I've never placed before. I was, needless to say, pretty stoked. When I got home my youngest son read the medal and gave me a High-5, then humbled me by saying "there were probably only 3 guys in your age group!" I will definitely check that out when the official results are posted on line. At the race I never looked past my own name. I hope he's not right, but even so 3rd place is mine. Yahoo, again! Jesse placed 1st in the 45-49 age group. Jim took 2nd in his AG and Jay took 1st in his AG. Theresa took 3rd by a few feet in her AG, while Cathe came in 1st for the walkers. Even with the late start Rosie's Garage turned out to be a pretty good day for our group.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Fontana Days Half

First, I want to give a big Thanks to all you who weighed in on my long run question. For the immediate future I just decided to run the half with Janice and not add any extra miles. I will do the 22 miler next weekend and then see how I feel after that before I decide my exact mileage three weeks out. If I had to decide right now, I'm leaning toward 18 for that week. I'll keep you all posted.
Today I ran the Fontana Days Half Marathon. It is billed as the World's Fastest Half Marathon Course, due to the fact that it is predominately downhill. I did this one last year and PR'd by 15 minutes (it was only my second half). This year's race was not about me. It was all about Janice. She is a Tech Aide at my work, or as we fondly call them, a Lab Monkey. The term isn't really a fair assessment of the tech aides abilities. Tech Aides usually are working towards or recently completed a science or engineering degree. Janice was completing a post baccalaureate program in science in preparation for entry into dental school when she started working with us. She was accepted to Harvard and the University of CA at San Francisco. She ultimately decided on UCSF. So she is one smart cookie and accepts the Lab Monkey designation with humor.

Somewhere along the line she got it into her head that she was going to run a half marathon. She had run the Nike Run Hit Wonder 5K last year. She picked Fontana since it was local, but she only really gave herself about a month to train. She asked me to run with her. My goal was to get her through. She planned to run 10 miles last weekend but didn't get around to it until Tuesday, 5 days before the half. On Wednesday, based on the time she took for that run I estimated her half marathon finish at 2:15 to 2:30.

My job, at least as I saw it, was to keep her from going out too fast on the downhill start and to keep her motivated from mile 10 on. At the starting line it was fun to see how excited and nervous she was. The first few miles are the biggest decline and is partially shaded by the mountains and trees of Lytle Creek. We took off, I was determined to let Janice set the pace. I did the best I could to hang just half step behind and not pull her along. Mile 1 went by in 9:13. Not too bad I thought considering the downhill. Mile 2 in 9:13. I was impressed that she was so consistent. Mile 3 was 9:02. I suggested that we try to slow down a little. I was expecting 9:30 miles and really didn't want her to wear out in the last few miles. These miles are hard enough anyway but at Fontana, you've lost any downhill advantage and the course is exposed to the sun for at least 7 miles, expected highs were 100°F.

Mile 4 came in at 9:43 and included a walk break through the water stop. I was OK with that. Mile 5 came in at 9:48. I didn't panic but felt we hadn't really slowed that much. Mile 6 was 9:08, back on track or maybe mile markers were off a little. We walked the next water stop for Mile 7 at 9:24. At this point Janice still felt good, she was setting the pace. Mile 8 - 9:04, Mile 9 - 9:25. By the time we were in Mile 10, Janice was starting to get tired. From mile 8 on only one or two people passed us and we slowly reeled other runners in as we went. I tried to let her know what a great job she was doing. She was getting a little frantic looking for the next water stop. I talked her through it, spotted the water stop, we walked it and finished Mile 10 in 9:55.

At this point, I think that she realized that she was now in uncharted territory and the heat was beginning to take its toll. I missed the Mile 11 marker. We took an extra walk break and made it through Mile 11 and 12 in a combined 20:41. We were definitely slowing down. I looked over at Janice and realized that she had stopped sweating. She also said that she felt a little tingling especially her hands. I was afraid that she was showing signs of dehydration. Somewhere during this stretch, Janice was having difficulty staying motivated but she kept going.

After mile 12 we could clearly see the finish line ahead and I said "No more walk breaks, let' just get this thing done." The last couple of miles I was pulling her along. With about half a mile to go, Janice picked up the pace and we finished Mile 13.1 in 10:39.

Finish time by my watch 2:05:20. The official time is probably about 10 seconds longer and will be on the web by Wednesday. I think this is a great finish considering her relative short training plan and the near 90° temperature. Janice proved me wrong, she was not going to settle for a 2:30 or even a 2:15 half marathon. She was very pleased and felt great. It was a very happy moment, knowing that she accomplished her goal. Last week before even running this one, she signed up for the Wine Country Half Marathon. I'd say she's hooked on running. I'm so proud!

Today is my birthday! Three years ago today I went for my first run. I'm celebrating three years as a runner. What a cool way to spend it, by helping another runner achieve her goal.

Other significant accomplishments:
Miles for May: 181.3, another all time high (I'm beginning to sound like a broken record)

Tomorrow I'll go back to Bonelli for my Sunday morning run, then I'll be away on business. See you all next Thursday.