Sunday, July 30, 2006

Month and Product Reviews

Celeste did give me a call Saturday afternoon, so we planned a run on Sunday morning over on the Bradbury Horse Trails. The dirt path would be gentler on her ankle. It is still stiff and sometimes hurts the way the stress fracture hurt last fall. She has a bone scan scheduled for Tuesday.

I woke up to wet ground Sunday morning. It had "rained" overnight. Rain in SoCal on July 30 is not expected. Our average rainfall in July is 0.0 inches. We should have known it was going to rain, my wife got her car washed yesterday. Oh wait, that only happens in all those other states, not in California!

I met Celeste and found out she had driven down from Ventura, just for our run. She had been staying at friend's in Pasadena only about 15 minutes away. After having lived alone for three years she is finding it difficult to live at home again and the hour drive each way was a good excuse to get some time away.

The weather was perfect: cloudy, cooler, a little misty, albeit humid. We got the 5 miles done in a comfortable 9:15 pace and then stood around and caught up on things for the next hour or so. She was telling me tales of running through the fields of Ventura. I may just have to make the hour drive up there. She and Janice were also talking about a run next weekend, so I may get to run together again then.

Miles for the week: 38
Miles for July: 136.9

My lowest monthly mileage for the year. Not bad considering the first week and a half were marathon taper followed by a week of recovery. If all goes well I expect to hit 200 miles in August.

On my run yesterday I used a couple of new products I forgot to mention. At SEAFAIR, the electrolyte replacement drink offered was Gluekos. I didn't want to try it that day, I carried by own Gatorade Endurance Formula. Today I mixed up the punch flavor. The punch flavor was colorless and tasted pretty good. I had no stomach issues with this product, but I generally have an iron gut. Nothing really special about this would make me recommend it, but I wouldn't rate it unfavorably either.

I've always depended upon PowerGels as my gel of choice. Mostly because it was easily available at my local sporting goods store. When I went to get my supply for SEAFAIR, they only had this new stuff with 4x the sodium. Chocolate was my favorite in the old formula. It was like eating chocolate frosting. (I love frosting - throw out the cake, save the frosting). Thankfully I had enough of that left, along with the gummy bears someone was handing out that I was able to get through the marathon. This morning I tried the Tangerine flavor Powerbar Gel. All I can say is YUK! The 4x Sodium results in a salty orange flavor. It was gross. I gagged about half of it down and threw the rest out. I guess I'll be looking for a new source of PowerGel or switching to ClifShots maybe.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Moonlight and Surf

Thursday I put my run off until the evening. Luckily it has cooled down a little. At least the high for the day was finally in the double digits rather than the triple. The normal Thursday routine prevailed: wife at aerobics, kids and I eat a quick dinner, I sit down to do the crossword and let dinner digest a little before the run. Just like last week I feel asleep midword. I woke up in time to get over to Bonelli just before 8:00 p.m. I wanted to put in 6 miles, so decided on the trail on the east side of the park that is adjacent to the 57 freeway. There was still plenty of light when I got started. Official sunset here in the southern end of the continent is around 8:00. When I got to the turn around point, I had a decision to make. Should I take the road or take the trail back. By now it is nearly 8:30. It will be 9:00 by the time I'm done. There was definitely not going to be any light left by then. During the day, as I run through the trails, I hear things rustling around in the bushes and don't really get too concerned. The same rustling in the bushes in the dark is a little more concerning. I thought of Robb's recent post about adventure/challenge and decided to go for the adventure in the dark. I run roads after dark all the time. The trail is semi cleared fireroad in spots and is a little more single track in others. I only got spooked once bad enough to make my skin crawl and took a couple of minor missteps but fortunately no twisted ankles or knees. On my drive home I realized that the moon was only a very small sliver. It was a pretty fun run, but I think I would have felt better with someone else along. My crazy imagination came up with a few scenarios that didn't have me ending up in a good place.

Saturday morning I met the Cruisers at Huntington Beach for a longish, 15 mile run. The weather was overcast but not particularly cool and very humid. Some people were planning on 10 while others were going for 18. Jesse is still nursing his hamstring so I was pretty much on my own. I came across Jay from the 5k series with a couple of his running buddies. They just happened to be down there for their run. I doubled back and ran a mile with them. My time was 2:21 (9:20 pace). Sort of slow compared to where I was at before SEAFAIR. After my run, I decided to take a quick swim in the ocean to cool off. The water was amazingly warm by normal standards. The Pacific Ocean very rarely gets anywhere near any temperature that you would call warm, even in the middle of summer. I always get used to it but the first wave that hits above the knees is shall we say exhilarating. I swear my heart misses a beat the first time you get completely in. Luckily running shorts dry pretty quickly since the swim was rather impromptu. I hadn't planned ahead to bring a towel. A little jump in the ocean isn't a half bad way to end a run.

Celeste emailed me earlier this week. She may be in town this weekend so we may get a run in tomorrow. Next week my training schedule gets interesting. I've always had Monday and Friday as off days. Starting next week the schedule moves up to 6 days a week of running. So long Fridays off. This will get me to the 50 mile weekly goal with nothing longer during the week than 8 miles. I'm not ready to step up to 18 milers midweek, like Ironman Mike. Next Saturday is supposed to be the first (of 4) 20 miler. I was pretty tired after today's 15, so I'm currently rethinking that. The Cruisers are planning a run in Aliso Woods on Saturday. It is going to be nice, with trails and hills, but may not be the best place for 20 miles. I guess we'll see how I feel then.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Music in the Park

The Concert in the Park is an annual occurrence in towns and cities all over the place. This is one part of Americana that I've never really taken part in. Have I finally aged to the point that I would actually consider going to this kind of thing?

Anyway, over July 4th we were invited to go see "The Answer" and a Beatles cover band. Unfortunately the show was in Murrieta, CA, 60 miles from home. I bowed out of that one. As luck would have it the Answer has a full schedule of events. This weekend, they played in Monrovia only 12 miles from home. Our friend Kellie is a huge fan. She's has seen them several times and did go to Murrieta. The Answer is a classic rock cover band and was totally fun. Even in the blistering heat the crowd was pretty substantial. They obviously have a loyal following. Many people had on The Answer t-shirts. They are pretty interactive with a dance floor (packed from the get go by the way, my wife and I even took a turn), t-shirt tosses and other souvenir give aways. Besides the music, the people watching was the best. "Classic" rock sure brings out the wild and crazy old people. I'm talking my parent's age. Who knew?

To continue the theme tonight we went to the Concert in the Park in San Dimas, about 5 miles from home. We saw The Bratz. The bass player is my coworker and running buddy Terry's husband. They billed themselves as an eclectic mix. The lead singer has a coffee shop vibe. They opened with Babylon by David Gray, played a lot of Van Morrison, and ended the show with Mustang Sally (Wilson Pickett), Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones) and much too my wife's delight Rosalita (Bruce Springsteen). The lead singer is not a strict cover artist per se. Each of the songs is recognizable but he makes them his own.

The Answer is playing in San Dimas next Wednesday night, so I guess we'll be back. I was telling Kellie that I thought the idea of being a groupie for a cover band was a little odd. Then my wife reminded me that we used to follow Fairweather, a cover band back in our college days. They played The Tubes, Genesis and Gentle Giant. We actually met at a Fairweather show. I had to change my stance on the cover band groupie thing.
This week has still been hot (big news, I know). I usually run after work but in an attempt to beat the heat I've gotten up early and put in 6 miles before work on Tuesday and Wednesday. They weren't my best efforts ever, but I hovered around 9 minute miles. Until it cools down, I think I will just have to accept this dead running feeling.
I saw this license plate frame the other day:
"Printers make good impresions"
Apparently not very good spellers though.

Stay cool!

Edit: After I posted this I went looking for info on Fairweather. I finally came across the correct spelling, Fayrewether and a couple of websites, including Thanks Google! Looks like he's still around, going strong. I'll have some catching up to do.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Summit House Run

For what it's worth I see this is my 100th post!

Saturday morning while I was getting ready for my run I heard the air conditioner kick in. It was only 5:30 a.m. and I've got the thermostat set to 80 degrees. This was not a good sign.

I drove down to Fullerton to meet the Cruisers for Jesse's Summit House Run. After an initial snafu over the course (a couple of gates were unexpectedly locked) we got started. Jesse wasn't running because he had hurt his hamstring doing speed work the night before. We were joined by a good sized contingent from the 6:42 group as well.

The run was on streets through a nice quite neighborhood in Fullerton. It worked out well that Jesse wasn't running. He drove back and forth on the course giving directions as our group got more and more spread out. Jesse added in an extra hill run up and down Acacia Avenue and a loop through and around Hillcrest park for the front group, me, Dave, Jim, Randy, Michelle and Ana. It worked out really well because we caught up to the slower runners just as they reached the gate to get back to Summit House, 5 miles for them, 7 for us. The original plan was do run the loop twice. We decided just to double back on Skyline drive to Hillcrest Park then back up Skyline again and around to State College to get back to Summit House.

I added a second loop through Hillcrest Park alone and then caught up to Kitty and Kara to finish the run, with 12.7 miles. I commented to Kitty that with the hills on Skyline Dr., I felt like we were back in Bellevue. Although we did end up running the same stretch of asphalt three times is was a really enjoyable run. Skyline drive is rolling and curving and at the highest point in Fullerton. Traffic was nearly non existent and we were accompanied by several other runners and walkers. After all none of us, except Jesse and Michelle, had run here before.

This is one cool thing I find about running, besides pushing myself physically and mentally, I also get pushed geographically. We spend so much time with our routine travels from work, school, kids sports activities, etc. that we rarely venture off our well worn paths. Especially in SoCal we spend so much time on the freeways where everything starts looking pretty much the same mile after mile that we forget that there are plenty of interesting neighborhoods and town centers in this metropolis of LA/Orange County.

This morning thankfully the air conditioner hadn't kicked in before I left for my run. I was planning on going to Bonelli as usual, but couldn't decide which 5 mile route to take. My hilly route that I like or the flatter newly minted Cottontail Run. I'm not sure if it is just the heat or the post marathon fatigue but my legs have felt pretty flat lately. I hadn't made up my mind for sure until I got there and realized I had forgotten my watch, so Cottontail it was. Don't ask my why, I'm not even sure myself, but somehow no watch meant take the easier route. I'm glad I did because by mile 4 I was pooped and took a walk break for a very long "minute" (no watch remember). On the drive home the dashboard readout was 85 degrees, it wasn't even 8:00 a.m. yet.

After breakkfast I checked up on Sam Thompson's 50 state progress. Last Wednesday he put in his fastest marathon of this trek on the 19th of 50 at Twin Cities. Amazing!

Miles for the week: 33.7

Friday, July 21, 2006

Peter Cottontail Strikes Again

It has been a busy week. We fit in my youngest son's 16th birthday dinner, cake at G'mas and Ed Young speaking at church. I started this post yesterday at lunch, and I'm finally finishing it now, Friday night. I had a run I wanted to talk about.

On Monday evening, I overheard my wife and son discussing when we could go out to dinner for his birthday. His birthday was Thursday and he had already planned on going paintballing. My wife has water aerobics on Tuesday. I heard him tell my wife we couldn't go to dinner on Wednesday because that was his day to ride with Dad! I chimed in that we could go on the bike/run Tuesday since that seemed to work better for us all.

During the day on Tuesday I texted him ( I have to take advantage of the technology they love)to see if we were still on. He was good to go. When I got home from work he was firmly planted in front of the computer. It took some arm twisting, but I got him out the door.

He rode faster than previous runs. I think he's getting more confident with the route and with his abilities. We of course ran across the ubiquitous rabbits. I overheard the dulcet tones of Peter Cottontail; being whistled this time. I asked him, "Is that Peter Cottontail, I hear?" I heard "NO!" I guess he just couldn't help himself. I've decided to name this little 5 mile route in Bonelli the Peter Cottontail Run. I hope this is something that we can continue together for some time to come.

I saw this quote over on Rob's site "My feeling is that any day I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy."John Bryant. It sure felt apropos for me this week. I squeezed Wednesday's run in between work and dinner since I had unexpectedly started work early that day. On Thursday my run was planned for late, about 9:00 pm, after Ed Young, but instead I decided to accompany my wife in picking up Bryan from paintball. I intended on getting up "early" Friday morning. Somehow both my wife and I missed the alarm. I had woken up once, realized it was getting light out but went back to sleep with the assurance the the alarm would be going off any minute. When I next woke up, it was obviously very light outside. It was regular time to get up. I still went out for the run and was only a couple of minutes late for work. It was Friday after all, and nobody noticed anyway.

I have to apologize, I didn't realize the repercussions of a blog name when I started this thing. Five down... represented where I was at the time and defined me here in Blogger and with the RBF. I still find the blogs I read through the Running Blog Recents page. Apparently many others us Bloglines or something similar and the Six Down name didn't quite register. I guess we are all in for a lot a future changes as my 50 state quest continues. I'll be Seven Down... in October after St. George, Utah. I have nothing scheduled after that, at least out of state, so that one may stick for a little while. I don't really know, but hopefully you'll all hang in there with me. The URL remains the same unless I too get fed up with Blogger's picture disability and follow Susan's advice to Steven "to move away from Blogger. Far away and never look back." So don't get too comfortable.

The CA Cruisers are off to a new running route tomorrow morning. Jesse has been trying to get us up to Summit House for a while. It should be fun. With a 6:30 a.m. start we should be back home to the A/C before we hit tomorrow's 107°F expected high. Three straight weeks of record heat is getting a little old. I'm ready to go back to Seattle.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

On To The Next One

On Tuesday night when we got home from Seattle, I was greeted at the door with a home baked Birthday Cake from my mother-in-law. Even though it was 11:00 p.m. I had to have a slice. It's official, as of July 11th, I'm 45 and in a new age bracket for Boston Qualifying! 3:30. I'm going to try not to think about it too much.

I had already worked out a schedule for the St. George Maraton in October before I'd even run SEAFAIR. My goal was to finally hit 50 miles at least a couple of times before then and to get in as many 20+ milers as possible. I also wanted to give myself a couple of easier recovery weeks before getting into the new cycle. I typically take a complete week off after a marathon, running 6 to 8 the Saturday after. Im using a schedule from the NYC Marathon website as a guideline. It is described as "Competitive Marathoner...a schedule for a veteran marathoner aiming to improve race time (from a 30-mile-per-week base for a least one month to a peak of 50 miles per week)." I can accept the veteran label, but I'm going to have to work on embracing the competitive marathoner label.

I decided to ease back into it with an easy 4 miles on Thursday evening. It was HOT when I got home from work, so the kids and I ate dinner quickly and I planned to go out about 8:00 p.m. when it would have cooled down somewhat. My wife was at her water aerobics class. After dinner I fell asleep in the chair working on the crossword puzzle. I woke up after 8:00 when my wife got home. I was beat. There was no running going to happen that night.

Friday morning I woke at the first alarm and made a made dash out the door to get in the 4 miles before work. My wife thought I was certifiably insane. I went over to the Via Verde horse trail. I hadn't run over there since March before my training for SEAFAIR began in earnest. I cut the run to 3 but it felt great. I still had time to shower and made it to work only a couple of minutes late.

I met the CA Cruisers, including Kitty, in Valencia for a run we call Tricia's Run. The last time I had run there was with Dr. John. He and I were paired up again. I should have known better. I had planned on 8 miles. As before, I figured the run with Dr. John would control my pace and be good for recovering from the marathon. John was planning 10. No problem I thought, 2 more miles won't kill me. We were just rolling along at a fairly relaxed pace down the horse trail in Yorba Linda. I wasn't paying much attention to my watch and I had no real idea how far we'd gone since we don't run here often. John runs with a Garmin. When I finally asked him how far we'd gone we were just short of 6 miles. OOPS! John was still determined to find the link in the trails that we hadn't found back in November. I figured we were close, so I told John we'd just keep going and find the end once and for all. Luckily we were only about 0.5 mile away. By the time we got back to the cars we'd covered 13 miles. Just a little beyond my plan (note the sarcasm), but when you run with Dr. John you never know what you're going to get. At least the pace was easy at 2 hours 25 minutes.

This picture is at one of the places the trail crosses a street, we didn't run much asphalt at all.

Sunday morning I went over to Bonelli and ran the road over the dam and the Puddingstone Dr. Trail for 5 miles, no hilly trail this week. My pace was 10:17. Between the heat and the marathon recovery, I'm guessing the slower pace is OK for now.

Miles for the week: 21

In other news, I got a phone call from Janice this morning. She completed her second half marathon today, the Carneros Wine Country Half, in 2:02:10. A PR for her on a gently rolling course, woohoo. She improved by 3 minutes from Fontana which is all downhill. Now I've just got to get her to start a running blog!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Sub 4:00 SEAFAIR Marathon

Wow! It's been four days since the marathon. I've had a lot of time to mull it over and try to put it into words. I'm not so sure how I'll do, but here goes. First of all I want to thank everyone for the encouraging words and support. I know some of you have been waiting for this report. I'd like to say that I put together the ultimate essay on the epic battle of mankind against the forces of nature. Isn't that what every race is? Instead you just get me yakking on about my best marathon, ever.

On Saturday afternoon we drove the course with a fellow CA Cruiser Kitty and her husband. Kitty was there to run the half marathon. She used to live in the area and her sister still lives in Snohomish. Driving the course was a real eye opener. The course is not advertised as "flat and fast" and I didn't expect that it was. I'd read the reviews of the 2005 course on and talked to Jeff about the course. The 2006 course was flatter and deemed to be twice as easy as the 2005 course on the website. Even with all that, knowing that there will be hills and expecting hills is not the same as actually seeing the hills. It was good to see the course but I walked away from the experience thinking "so much for the sub 4:00". The first 5 miles of the course were uphill. I thought of the last longish run I'd done over in Chino Hills with the 4 mile uphill at the start and how agonizing the last 8 miles of that run had been. What had I gotten myself into?

I got a decent night's sleep that night thanks in part to having gotten up at 4:00 a.m. that morning to catch the flight to Seattle. I awoke and felt immediately uneasy. I was just flat out scared about how the day was going to go. We drove over to the start by 6:00, the temperature was 64°F. The sky was only mostly sunny with only scattered clouds. At first there was almostno onee there. Kitty and Leroy showed up and we chatted and I sort of forgot about my fears. Runners were showing up so we decided to go walk a little and I we ran into Rob. He wasn't really hard to spot. There weren't that many people in the park and he had mentioned that he would be hanging out with the Marathon Maniacs. It was cool to meet him. I guess I freaked him out a little when I told him about driving the course the day before. We parted ways so I could hit the portapot on last time before the race.

I could hear the announcer calling the runners to the starting line but it seemed like a lot of people either didn't hear him or weren't payingattentionn. I made it out of the john just in time to run to the street and realize I was on the wrong side of the start line when the race took off. I quickly ran around the gate and got on with the race. This was not the best way to get started but, I was off. About a quarter of a mile into the race Rob caught me, wished me well and took off. He had gotten a late start, along with a lot of other people.

I had found a pace chart on the marathon website that used varied paces accounting for the hills. There was nearly a 2 minute difference in pace between the biggest uphill, at 9:59 and the steepest decline at 7:38. My goal was sub 4:00 (I think I've mentioned this) so to be optimistic I had used the 3:50 pace chart. I printed it out, protected it with packing tape and carried it in my fuel belt. I checked it at every mile to assess my progress. The pace chart suggested 9 to 10 minute miles for the first 5 uphill. I ran most of mile 2 with one of Rob's Maniac friends, Lisa. She was shooting for 3:45 to 4:00. At the 2 mile mark she took off. I decided to maintain the suggested pace. I hit the 5 mile mark in 45:00, a little ahead of the projected 46:52. I definitely wouldn't say I went out too fast on this one!

At this point we had a nice downhill section. It was here that I finally came to my senses and realized that most of the uphills were followed pretty much by equal downhills. I guess this seems elementary but all I was focused on during the drive was the uphills. At mile 8 I turned a corner and there was my wife. That was a nice surprise. I pulled over for a quick kiss and then on my way again. After the nice 4 mile downhill, I was at 1:16:53, ahead of the scheduled 1:19:38.

At mile 11 I started feeling a hot spot behind my right big toe, the beginnings of a blister. This was mostly annoying since I hadn't had a single blister this whole training cycle. I realized I had used Body Glide on my thighs but had neglected my feet. Too late now to do anything about it.

About this same time I caught up with Sam Thompson. Rob had told me about him before the race. He is running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days to raise awareness and funds for Katrina victims. Go check out his website, he even has a blog. Apparently he had this idea before Dean Karnazes. Sam was running along side Tony Phillippi, one of the Marathon Maniac founders.

I hit mile 13 in 1:52:16, nearly 4 minutes ahead of schedule. After the race I had talked to a few people by phone about the race and had mistakenly reported a negative split. I was looking at my 13th split, which was actually mile 14 since I had missed a mile somewhere along the line. I feel bad that I overstated my performance. My official 13.1 mile split was 1:53:41. I still wasn't convinced at this point that I would meet my goal. Between mile 13 and 14 my wife appeared on the sidelines again with camera in hand. Another quick kiss and off I went. At mile 13 I started my second gel. I had used my first at mile 7 and 10, a half pack of PowerGel Chocolate at a time. I had also been grabbing a cup of water at every water stop. I took a couple of short steps, pinched the cup, and sipped the water without missing a beat. I was pretty proud of this. I used to walk water stations.

From mile 14 to 20 I kept leap frogging Sam and Tony and about a half dozen other runners. I was going slower on the uphills and taking advantage of the downs just like the pace chart prescribed. At mile 18, there was my wife again. Yes, one more kiss and go. She yells to me that I'm going to go sub 4:00. I yelled back not to get so confident yet, I still hadn't gotten to the "WALL" yet. I was at 2:35:53 compared to 2:39:58. I still had a 4 minute cushion for a 3:50 finish. I got a little excited but made myself forget it, at least for a couple of miles.

The Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder Drumline were at mile 20. I wish they could have followed me to the finish. Mile 20, I was at 2:54:45. With only 6.2 miles to go I figured worse case scenario 10 minute miles and I would still break the 4:00 barrier. Mile 20 is also where the half marathon course joined back up with the marathon course. Mile 7 of the half, mile 20 of the full. The half runners were already finished, so we were sharing the course with the half marathon walkers. This was a very bizarre experience. The marathon runners were very spread out by now, so I just weaved my way through walkers. It made me feel like I was going slower than I really was.

There was no way to deny that I was slowing down. By mile 22 my cushion had dwindled to about 2 minutes. Mile 24 I was at 3:30:18, just 6 second ahead of schedule for the 3:50 finish. Around here were passed a little breakfast joint called Chace's Pancake Corral. It smelled so good. My wife and I returned there Monday and Tuesday for breakfast. Mile 25 to the finish are a gentle uphill. I kept plodding along.

Around the 26 mile mark, I recognized Rob up ahead of me. I was very surprised to see him there. My goal became to catch up to him. I called out his name a couple of times. I caught him right at the finish line. I put my hand on his shoulder just as he crossed the line. He finished 1 second ahead of me. This was a very cool way to finish the race, along side a runner I admired through his blog and met in person just over 4 hours earlier.

My wife took this shot just after the finish. I think it says a lot about the kind of guy Rob is. I've got to hand it to a guy with a wife, 4 kids and pursuing his masters degree who still finds time to put in crazy miles every week and races a lot. After we chilled at the finish area for awhile Rob joined my wife and I for lunch at a TexMex place and chatted some more. Then it was off to pick up the kids and Lisa and I went off to explore the Pacific Northwest.

The temperature at the end of the race was in the mid 70's under still mostly sunny clear blue skies. The latest update the marathon has my finish time at 3:52:10 (chip time). The splits are 1:53:41 and 1:58:49. Only a 5 minute slow down on the second half, cool! Now it shows Rob as #104 and me as 105. I'm not sure how these things change since Monday but that's the latest. There were only 550 marathonfinisherss, not including the half and the relay. I'm really surprised and thrilled with my finish in the top 20% overall and 13/58 in my age group. With such a small field, we got so spread out, and it's easy to convince yourself that there'sno onee behind you. The other thing I'm really proud of is that I ran this whole marathon. Now I can say I've RUN my first marathon. All the others have been done with the run/walk method. I have nothing against that method, it worked for me, but it's a big confidence boost to know that I can run this thing.

I've been trying to figure out what I did differently this time around to get me to this point. Somehow on the hilliest course I've ever run, I set a big PR. My best marathon up till now was 4:06:49. I surpassed that my nearly 15 minutes. My three marathons last year were no where close to besting that time. Here's what I think I did right:

1. My last marathon was 7 months ago.
2. I took 3 weeks off completely in January 2006.
3. I added speedwork and competed in the 5K series.
4. I increased my week day miles to include 8 milers midweek.
5. I did 3-20+ milers, 1-18 miler and 2-16 milers during this training cycle.
6. April and May were my 2 highest volume months ever.
7. I took full advantage of a two week taper.

Thanks to all who commented, supported and cheered me along the way. Now its Six Down and off to St. George, UT in October. Let me think about my goal for that one, it's downhill you know. ;-)

Friday, July 07, 2006

I'm Outa Here

It's Friday evening and I just finished mowing the front yard. The typical postage size stamp yard in Southern California so it didn't take long. I'll get to the edging next time around. I've got better things to worry about right now.

I've got to go make a last minute trip to the store; food for the dog and PowerGel for me and then get back home to pack up the suitcase. I'm putting my running gear in a back pack and it goes on the plane with me. They can lose my luggage but at least I'll have the clothes on my back and my running stuff.

My wife and I arrive in Seattle mid morning tomorrow and then off to the Expo. We are both really looking forward to the long weekend away and to exploring the area. I looking forward to a carbo load dinner with Kitty and Leroy, fellow CA Cruisers, and definitely meeting up with fellow blogger and SEAFAIR marathoner, the real deal Ultramarathon Man (not Dean K), Rob for a post marathon celebratory meal.

Just a quick recap of my week:
Monday - I took it easy pretty much all day.

Tuesday - I went for a 13 mile bike ride with the guys and a couple of the wives and kids from our small group. We rode a gentle uphill and back down private road up the West Fork of the San Gabriel River. You can read about the trail here. No running that day. My schedule called for 6 miles. Normally when I go on one of these rides I still make an effort to get my running miles in. I have to have something to put down in my log book, you know. But since I'm in taper mode I decided not to be quite so anal about it this time and skipped the run.

Wednesday - I went for a bike ride with my youngest son back over in Bonelli. This time we both rode bikes and we went a little farther than last week. Somewhere along the way, he commented to me that he wasn't going to sing this time because he didn't want to end up on the blog. I guess that tactic didn't work, sorry bud.

Thursday - I took him to a paintball place in Anaheim, so I went over to our usual Saturday morning run on the Santa Ana River Trail for 4 miles. I went out 2 in 16:11. I was pretty happy about that. When I got back to the start I checked the watch and it said 16:11. Before you start thinking that I had a nice consistent run, don't. I hit the wrong button on the watch at 2 miles so I have no idea how fast or slow I ran the second 2 miles.

Friday - rest day except for the lawn mowing.

I won't have internet access after tonight. (Its kind of hard to lug a desk top computer around. )So just in case your interested in my performance at SEAFAIR you can check here:

Unofficial: Unofficial results will be posted 30 minutes after the first person finishes. Results will be posted online at immediately following the event.

Official: Official results with be available approximately 24 hours after the marathon's completion at

Just look for Darrell in the finishers under 4:00, I hope! I want to thank everybody for all the good wishes you've sent the last few days. The RBF is awesome. We'll get back home late Tuesday evening, so hopefully I'll get a race report up Wednesday evening at the latest. I'll catch up with you all then.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mind Games and Body Aches

It Monday morning and I'm sitting here catching up on email and blogs. I have the day off; thank you big corporate America. This weekend was a long and I'm tired.

On Saturday morning I volunteered at the 2nd Annual Villa Park Red White and Blue Freedomfest 5K (that sure is a long name for a short race). The RD is a member of the 642 group that the CA Cruisers run with often. I helped register runners on race day. There were 115 preregistered runners and we signed in another 110 or so that morning. The race is a very old fashioned grass roots affair. All finisher got a tshirt and medal, but there are not official times or age group awards. The first three male and females got a pretty substantial place/medal. Some Mom took on the responsibility of calling out finishing times. My friend Jesse came in 4th for the men behind a high school kid, Matt, John from the 642 group and another guy that was somewhere in 30-40 age group. I handed out water to the runners as they crossed the finish line. It is so cool to watch a race from this vantage point. The various emotions on people's faces runs the gamut from pleasure to pain. Boy was it hot out there, too.

My weekend scheduled called for 10 miles on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. I planned on getting my run in after my volunteer duties. I drove over to Riverdale Park on the Santa Ana River Trail and headed south. I was hoping to take advantage of the shade. There was some but not enough. It was 9:00 by the time I got started and hot. My intention was to get the 10 miler out of the way today. When I hit the 2 mile mark I decided to turn around and be satisfied with 4 today. I could always put in the 10 on Sunday morning. I promised myself I would get started earlier trying to beat the heat. On the way back I realized that with all this rationalizing and procrastination, I was sounding like my sons. I wondered if they picked this up from me?

I spent the rest of the day in the heat (OK, now I'm whining and really starting to sound like the boys) getting the back yard ready for a pool party we were having on Sunday. I mowed, edged, trimmed hedges, moved every piece of furniture twice, swept and hosed all afternoon and into the evening. I did manage to take a short break to shower and get to Saturday evening church to hear one of the younger pastors give a message on Hebrews 12:1-3. Coincidental? These passages have inspired a few runners of a certain faith, I am sure.

Sunday morning I woke up at the crack dawn, OK it was already 6:00 a.m. When I woke up my left knee hurt and my right hamstring was tight. I thought this is going to be a fun 10 miles. I drove over the the San Gabriel River Trail. This is the bike trail I run often after work. I realized Sunday morning that I have always referred to this trail by the wrong name. The trail is the San Gabriel River Trail (I saw a sign I've apparently missed for 3 years), the dam is the Santa Fe Dam, so I assumed it was the Santa Fe River. I guess not.

My plan was to do two out and back sections. From where I parked the trail only goes north 2.5 miles, this is my favorite part of the trail. I headed off south to save my favorite part for last. I went out 3 and turned around. My knee and hamstring actually felt pretty good. My right heel was bothering me though. When I neared the 6 mile mark, almost to the car, I began to rationalize that I could stop here. I really didn't need the extra 4 as far as marathon training went. I also remembered a show I had seen last weekend on FitTV about the triathalon. They said that the difference between athletes at any ability level is nutrition and mental toughness. I decided I couldn't lose this mental battle today so I continued past the car and made the other four miles. I finished off the 10 in 1:24 or 8:24 pace.

I made it home in time for a quick breakfast and a shower and back off to church with the family to hear Jim "The Rookie" Morris speak. I've never seen the movie based on his story. He was a great speaker with a great message about chasing your dreams. He had some other great points about treating people well, being a positive role model for the younger generation and being a person of integrity. Good stuff.

Later that afternoon, we hosted a pool party for about 30 people, families from our Friday Night Bible Study group. Where else but southern California would you celebrate the 4th of July weekend with carne asada, rice and beans! It was a great time of food, fun, friends and fellowship. After the last people left and we cleaned up, I sat down and almost immediately fell asleep in front of the TV.

Its now Monday morning. I'm still tired but awake. I've caught up on the computer world and have iced my heel. I hope to spend the rest of the day off my feet as much as possible.

Happy 4th of July to all. I hope you can fly the flag proudly, watch a parade and celebrate the freedom we enjoy here in the Good Old US of A!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ooo, Ooo, Ooo, My Turn

Matt tagged me so here goes:

4 Jobs IÂ’ve Had
Paper route as a kid
Deli/grocery clerk
QC/Process Technician
Lab Tech/Engineer/Chemist (at the same place for the last 20 yrs)

4 Movies I Watch Over And Over
October Sky
Rush Hour
The Italian Job
Scary Movie (its always on TV and my son watches itevery timee)

4 Places I Have Lived
Wellington, OH
Kent, OH
Rialto, CA
Covina, CA

4 TV Shows I Watch
Desperate Housewives
GreyÂ’s Anatomy
What Not To Wear
Trading Spaces (when Paige Davis was on)

4 Places I Have Been on Vacation
Wellington, OH (to visit family)
Stamford, CT (to visit family)
Niagara Falls

4 Websites I Visit Everyday

4 Favorite Foods
In-N-Out Burgers
Almost any pasta, except Alfredo
Ice Cream
Chocolate chip cookies

4 Places IÂ’d Rather Be Right Now (Now being 10:00 pm)
Getting ready for tomorrows pool party
Trying to figure out when I can fit in my run

favoriteite Bands/Singers
The Beatles
Kenny G
Third Day
Audio Adrenaline

4 Bloggers I'll Tag
No one, I think I've pretty much seen this on every blog I visit on a regular basis.

Filling in the blanks was harder than I thought it would be. I did figure out that I sure am a creature of habit. I rarely watch any movie more than once, especially now that the kids are older. 10 years ago, I couldn't tell you how many times I saw The Lion King, Beauty and Beast, Rescuers Down Under, etc. I pretty much spend most of my vacations going back home to visit family. I haven't bought any new music in years. I don't watch much network TV, but I'll will watch pretty much anything on HGTV or TLC. I need to get out more often.