Wednesday, June 27, 2007


1. bad beyond correction or reform
2. impervious to constraints or punishment; willful; unruly; uncontrollable
3. firmly fixed; not easily changed
4. not easily swayed or influenced

(from dictionary dot com with some editing on my part)

The copy machine in my department is frequently on the fritz, usually with a continuous paper jam. Sometimes the last person to use the thing just walks away to leave the next poor soul who needs a copy to fix the problem. Most often they tell the administrator and put an "Out of Order" sign on it. Today somebody but a sign on it with the word "Incorrigible". I couldn't help but chuckle every time I walked by the thing. These odd little words get stuck in my head.

Tonight called for a 5 mile run. My plan was to turn it into my midweek tempo run. I headed over to Bonelli for the flat Cottontail route. I started off the first mile fairly easily then tried to kick it in gear. I felt like I was moving along at a decent clip. At the turn around point I was at 22 and change. Even with my limited math skills in motion I could tell I was over 9 minute miles, not exactly tempo worthy. I don't think I could have gotten much more out of my legs. I was beat by the time I got back to the car. My 9:15 pace isn't exactly where I need to be or even expected to be.

Just two months ago I ran a marathon in 8:33 pace. Yes, it is still really early. Only Week 1. But that silly little word popped into my head. At this point the copy machine and I have something in common - incorrigibility

Monday, June 25, 2007

Great Minds

We were all pretty much on our own tonight for dinner. Lisa was at the hospital visiting her Mom. She's been in there since Friday suffering from some kind of blood infection that has settled in her knee, which had been replaced about 10 years ago. Bryan was at work. Tyler was at the gym with his friend. I had come home from work early to help Tyler take the dog to the vet. She's 13 and was acting quite peculiarly. She's was diagnosed with Vestibular Disease. She was experiencing vertigo symptoms and was acting like a drunken sailor. The vet said the symptoms could last for 72 hours, but 5 hours later she seems to be doing much better. She's even eaten and drank water.

Anyway, I ate dinner early (left overs) and decided to put my run off until it cooled down a little. After the run I went to the grocery store to pick up some dessert. We like to have a scoop of ice cream nearly every night. I had just picked out a couple of half gallons and was on my way over to grab a bag of Chocolate Chip cookies. As I turned the corner at the end of the aisle I almost ran into Lisa. She had stopped at the store on the way home from the hospital for the same thing. She had a bag of cookies in her hand and was on her way to the ice cream aisle when we ran into each other. Great minds! We sure had a good laugh about that one.

Tonight's run was over in Bonelli for 3.3 miles. I did the Picnic Loop with little added spur trail along the lake.

My mileage last week was 16.1. My goal next week is to finally break 20 miles again. Sunday I wanted to get a run in and I really wanted to try to stay on dirt. The Via Verde horse trail is only 3 miles, I wanted more than that. I was apprehensive about repeating my Sunday Morning Bonelli loop as I had done it Wednesday and experienced a few little twinges on the top and side of my foot a couple of days after that. I finally remembered the Cottontail Trail that I used to take last year with Bryan on the bike. It is about half on dirt and basically flat. I hadn't done this since we lost Daylight Savings last fall. It is funny how a run that was a staple last summer had been out of my repertoire for so long I had forgotten about it.

Today is the official start date of the MCM training. I also realized on my run that I had just run 3 days in a row. It's been weeks since that happened. Keep your fingers crossed that my foot holds up to the increased frequency. I made it through 4 days last week, but not without minor reminders from my foot. I'm not sure how it will react to a 5 day week. I'm more than a little anxious about the outcome.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Founder's Day 5K

This was my second chance to run a race with my oldest son. Since the first 5K he has been asking me to find another race to do. Like many of us he was finding it difficult to get out there and run without a goal. His three week summer break offered the perfect opportunity. We had our choice of several races this weekend but settled on the Lomita Founder's Day 5K and 10K. With California being a relatively young state Lomita was celebrating their 100th anniversary.

We got there in time to find parking and get registered for the race. This is the first time that I've not registered for a race before hand. Tyler called almost daily to see if I had registered yet. We did a 1/4 mile warm up, basically just because we had the time.

The race got started on time. It took us about 10 seconds to cross starting line near city hall. The route was basically a big square taking us through the neighborhood and back to the starting line. The course was very gently down hill on the first leg of the square which meant that the third leg was up hill. Tyler's A goal was sub 30:00, with his B goal of improving on his last time of 34:00.

The first mile came in at 9:23, way ahead of where we needed to be to break 30:00. I'm not very good at judging pace. The fast start would come back to hurt Tyler later on. Soon after the 1 mile mark Tyler asked for a walk break. One minute later we were running again. At this point we began leap frogging an older gentleman (turns out he was 75). He was in a cotton t-shirt, gray sweats and what looked like cross trainers from the 70's. He was just plodding along steadily.

Mile 2 came in at 10:36, including the walk break. That was still less than 20:00 for 2 miles but we couldn't afford to slow down at all to be able to break the 30:00 goal. Mile 2 was followed by the second walk break. Mr Gray Sweats ambled on by us. Soon after we turn the corner for the long uphill.

There was a short but significant climb at the end of this leg, around mile 2.5. I really tried to encourage Tyler to keep going up the climb, but he opted for a walk break. I insisted on keeping it short. He had also complained of a side stitch earlier. We slowed down some to help ease the pain.

On the last leg and just before the 3 mile mark, Tyler took another short walk break and then took off like a bolt of lightning for the finish. The last 1.1 clocked in at 11:50 for a final time of 31:48 on my watch. He managed to pass someone just before the finish line. I finished a few seconds later. With the addition of the 10 seconds to get to the starting line our final times look like this:

So although he didn't make his sub 30:00 goal, he did set a new PR by 2:03. It was very cool. Tyler was shocked when the winner of the 10k (twice around the square) crossed the finish line in 35:30, just 3.5 minutes after us.

While he's home we are going to run the Surf City 5K on July 4th. That was my first race back in 2003. He will finally get to run a completely pancake flat course. I expect this PR won't stand for long.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Final Detail

I registered for Marine Corps Marathon on May 9th, the day that registration opened. Registration has long since closed. I booked my hotel the following day. I've had one last detail left. Wednesday, I finally booked airfare to Reagan National Airport. It's a done deal. Now I just need to get a couple of 20 milers under my belt and on my feet and I'll be ready to go.

Nothing to stellar to report on the running front. Tuesday was another easy 3 miles in Via Verde. I'm getting really good at easy 3 milers. It seems to be my fall back distance when things aren't going well. I clocked a whopping 8:50 pace, which is slow compared to where I was 6 months ago, but about on par with everything since my foot started acting up. The easy pace seems to keep the pain in check. I'd rather run slow for a while pain free than faster, in pain and risk not running at all.

Wednesday I had taken a vacation to run an errand. I turns out my errand was done by about 8:15. I had a whole day to myself to do whatever I wanted. My wife was at work as was #1 son. #2 son was at summer school. It was such a beautiful morning and my foot had been feeling pretty good so I decided to make my way over to Bonelli for my 5 mile loop. I wore the Trance for stability rather than the Cascadias. Again I kept the pace really easy. The hills really kicked my fanny. I walked up way more than usual. My lack of consistent high mileage training, the extra couple of pounds and temperatures in the low 80's all kept me moving slower than I used to. I was super happy to out there though and my foot didn't seem to mind it either. I was a little horrified when I stopped my watch to see 56:27 for 5 miles (11:17 pace).

I enjoyed a couple of weeks of relatively pain free running, but I'm a little afraid to push things up notch just yet. I almost ran today to get 3 straight days of running but ended up putting that particular hurdle off till next week when the marathon training is scheduled to start. I'm still toying around with plans but I'm pretty sure I will be taking a low mileage, just make it to the finish line approach to MCM.

Saturday I will accompany Tyler (#1 son) on his second 5K race. He asked me to find a race to do while he was home on break. He is hoping the break the 30 minute barrier this time out. The way I've been going lately, it may be me that is the rate limiting factor this time out. I'll be sure to let you know.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Run with Forrest

First off I want to thank everyone for the good thoughts and suggestions on the foot and ankle pain. I really want to thank David and Ryan for their suggestions. I've stretched this week like I've never stretched before and the frozen bottle of water has gotten a lot of use on the soles of my feet. I've even sat on the floor, rested my calf and achilles tendon on the bottle and rolled back and forth on that. Things have not worsened for sure and even seem to be getting a little bit better. Kim, if you're reading, check out their comments on the last couple of posts, hopefully it will help you too.

My mileage is still on the low side with only 16.5 miles on the legs this week in three runs. I did take the (mountain) bike out on the roads Monday evening for 11 miles in 55 minutes or 12 mph. Not exactly burning up the rubber, but it was good to be out there. Tuesday and Wednesday were exactly like last week, 3 miles each day mostly on dirt in 8:40-ish pace.

Saturday was another excellent running day with the CA Cruisers. We ran the loop around the Newport Back Bay. I'd last run this route with Jeff back in August of 2006, my how time flies. I had decided to wear some newer Trance 6, from Brooks. I'd bought these back in March and had only worn them about 20 miles so far. I really wasn't fond of the styling and even though I've always worn a size 10 in Trances from NXR, NXS, and NXT, these seemed big and clunky. I was hoping that their "stability plus" rating would be beneficial to my PF symptoms of last week. The Back Bay loop is a good 10 miles and because it's a loop around a body of water there is no short cutting the thing no matter how bad you feel. If the feet started hurting at 5 like they did last week, those last 5 wouldn't be pleasant.

We had a pretty decent showing this morning with plenty of people for me to run with. Jay was there, as was Jim and so were Julie and Gary who I hadn't seen in months. We all ran loosely together in various groups. Along with us regulars was a new guy, Forrest (I'll resist the obvious one liner). Forrest is the 16 year old son of another member of the group. Jay teased him about being able to run much faster than us "old" guys, but Forrest knew what he was in for. Since his Mom and grandfather were both runners he knew that slow and steady was the way to treat the long run. Between the five of us in the lead pack we all took turns kind of looking after Forrest.

Forrest is in training for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September, his first. He's a member of the marching band at his high school and works out with weights. Couple that with youth and he was in decent shape. He had recently gotten fitted for running shoes at the local Snail's Pace store.

By the time we had hit 6 miles we had already tackled the hills of the run. Forrest was with Jay at that point and was beginning to tire. Jay pointed out a small shortcut through a parking area that saved him about 1/2 a mile. When Julie, Gary and I caught him next he had run out of fluid. Julie and I ran with him and found out that except for one 8K race he had never run more than 3 miles; no wonder he was tired. We were both a little surprised that his Mom hadn't eased him into this a little more.

He was still in good spirits. We suggested that maybe a walking break was in order. He plugged along for a while and then finally decided to take us up on the offer. I walked with him. After 2 minutes I suggested that it was time to get going again. We ran together for 8 minutes when he asked for another walk break. Somehow Julie was right there with us so the three of us walked up Back Bay Drive together. I watched the clock and suggested we only walk for a minute. I also convinved Forrest to drink from one of my as yet untouched Fuel Belt bottles. Between miles 7 and 9 we took 3 maybe 4 walk breaks. At that point Forrest was pretty much done. I debated with myself whether I should push him to keep going or suggest that he take it easy. I ultimately let him decide how and when we was going to finish the run. He told me that the soles of his feet hurt and that maybe he would just walk the last mile or so in. The others in the lead pack had all gone ahead, as did I at that point. I stopped periodically to make sure that Forrest was still coming. I even caught him running a couple of times.

It was good to see the smile on his face when he was done. All the others made a huge fuss over him for completing his longest run ever. He took off his shoes and had a nice blister on the arch of each foot. His final pace for the 10 miles was somewhere around 10:15. Not too bad, considering he'd never covered that distance before. I was pretty proud of him for running with us when he could have run with the middle or back of the pack. It was a good run, seeing everyone encouraging Forrest and getting to know him along the way.

The good news for me is that my feet felt pretty good the whole way. There was very little hint of the pain in the arches that plagued me the previous week. There is still the weird roving pain in the ankle of my right foot. I think the stretching and icing worked their tricks. Later in the afternoon on Saturday my feet felt more achy than normal, but were tolerable.

Father's Day, the whole family went for a short hike on the Lower Monroe Trail in the foothills above Glendora. I had originally invited Lisa for a walk in Bonelli, but Tyler (home for a 3 week summer break) suggest the other trail. The boys spontaneously ran parts of the trail today. Wouldn't it be cool if I could get them out for a trail run. We only went in about a mile and back out, but I definitely viewed it as a possible running route some day. Earlier in the day we went out for Mexican food. It's a tradition we started back in 1987 when Lisa was pregnant with Tyler. We haven't always visited the same restaurant over the 20 years but we've always managed to have our fill of chips and salsa, and a lot of other good stuff, on Father's Day.

I hope all you fathers out there were able to spend some meaningful time with your kids.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Peters Canyon

Between the CA Cruisers, the 6:42 group and members of the Brea Boot Camp we were 21 happy runners on Saturday morning at Peters Canyon. True to the dependable June Gloom of southern California, it was a wonderfully cool, overcast morning for a run. Although this was my first time to run in Peters Canyon Park, others of the group had done this run many times before. The Cruisers are mostly Orange County residents of Brea, Yorba Linda and Orange. I'm a commuting member of the group driving 30 or so miles each way from my home in LA County.

Peters Canyon is a small suburban park in Orange, CA at the edge of civilization. The trails remind me of Bonelli, but more exposed. There is a small reservoir with a 2 mile looping trail and then a small finger like projection of land that is surrounded on all sides by fairly typical southern California subdivisions. The finger like part of the park is less than a quarter of a mile wide in most places and a little over a mile long.

Although I had committed myself to staying on flat land for a while, I had talked to Dr. John during the week and he assured me that the run was mostly flat. I had discussed the "hills" at Saddleback with his wife just a week or so ago. She felt that Saddleback was hilly. I would call it gently rolling. Based on that definition I thought it was safe to give Peters Canyon a try.

The conditions Saturday morning were ideal due to the June Gloom but I could imagine that during the summer the heat would be borderline intolerable. At the far south end is a small eucalyptus grove that offers a very brief respite from the sun. The trail here is also curvier with several easy switchbacks compared to the relatively straight sections elsewhere. The trail on the east side of the park, East Ridge Trail, has the parks major hill followed by a few rollers as it heads south. (Although I think any hill that you can clearly see the top from the bottom isn't really all that major. I'm also sure that it is less than a quarter of a mile long.) After the U-turn through Eucalyptus Trail the Peters Canyon Trail on the west side of the park is a long straight gradual up hill grade back to the reservoir loop.

As it turns out, the hills although small by most definitions and small to me under normal foot conditions, were bigger than I would have like to subject my foot to. I ran the gentle ones at a slower pace, but walked down the steeper ones as a precaution. I took the up hills as usual.

All told, I ran 7.5 miles and Peters Canyon is worth another visit. My right foot felt all right most of the way. About 5 miles into the run both my right and left arches began to hurt, almost a burning sensation. I'm now convinced that I've got myself a case of plantar fasciitis. Oh, joy of joys. This is not the turn of events I expected following my crash month. Celeste seems to think I should be refitted for shoes. I don't think there is going to be any quick fixes with whatever is going on with my feet.

After the run, we met up at a coffee shop/bakery. The muffins and cookies sure looked good, but I controlled myself and had a chai tea and a banana. One really bad side effect of my decreased running of late is the 6 pounds I've gained since the Eugene Marathon at the end of April. I am going to have to give bike riding some serious consideration this next week along with some frequent and consistent stretching exercise. Only 2 more weeks before MCM training is supposed to officially begin.

This last weekend and next some of the Cruisers are taking part in the World Famous Mud Runs at Camp Pendleton. These runs have been on my radar for awhile now. They fill quickly and I have missed out. Running and crawling through the mud looks like fun to me. How about you?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Back to Back

Back to back runs is something I haven't done in over 6 weeks. April 19 and 20 were the last two consecutive days of running until today. It's hard to believe. Between my cold, marathon taper, marathon recovery, and injury I haven't put together a decent week of training in a long time.

I ran 3 miles yesterday and then I ran 3 more today. Both runs were over on the dirt in Via Verde. In keeping with the nice and easy theme I even left my watch at home. I had originally planned on running Tuesday and Thursday, but a bunch of us are going out after work Thurs. to celebrate a co-worker's graduation. Our Admin. Professional got her Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management at 53! She deserves a party.

The foot feels.....OK....not great, but OK. Its funny that the aches and pains seem to move around. Another blogger with foot problems mentioned the same thing (sorry I can't remember who; there are several of us ailing at the moment). Sometimes I don't notice anything and others the pain is in the arch, sometimes on the top, even on opposite sides at times. No running now till Saturday when I meet up with the Cruisers for a jaunt in and around Peters Canyon, down in OCTR country. Will I run into Jessica?

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Second Half

I got it done, not exactly the way I had envisioned it, but I got it done; and I really did enjoy it. Last Monday was the Saddleback Half followed 5 days later by the Fontana Days Half. This is the only local race that I have a three year streak going. I would have four except that in 2004 I ran the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego that occurs on the Sunday following Fontana. I'm not sure I will ever do that particular combination. Although it sounds more doable now than it did in 2004, I've got 41 other marathons (states) to run first.

The funny thing is that the two races/runs came down almost exactly the same. I've spent more time than I should have comparing the numbers.

The similarities include:
  • I ran the first 9 miles with a friend, Jay at Saddleback, Terry at Fontana
  • I made a bathroom stop during mile 9, a convenient portojohn at Saddleback, a convenient bush at Fontana
  • I ran the last 4.1 miles faster than the first 9 miles in both races

In retrospect, running 2 half marathons within a week wasn't that tough of a challenge. It pales in comparison to back to back marathons or an ultra but it was a fun little series to do. It was made that much easier for me because I really only ran them rather than race them. I held back early on and only sped up for the last four miles. This seemed to be prudent considering the foot issue.

I met several people that I knew at the race. I saw Larry, a coworker. We've both been running since 2003, but this is only the 2nd race we've run together. The first was the LA Marathon and there's little chance of seeing each other in that crowd. I also saw an associate pastor, Ron, and Ed from our church. And then I met, Mike, a guy from our old church when we lived in Rialto.

Although my times were faster at Fontana, my placings were significantly lower. I guess a lot of people come to Fontana intent on taking advantage of the downhill course.

The foot seemed to have faired well. I of course iced it when I got home, again more preemptively rather than in response to any specific pain. I've finished the series of anti-inflammatories so the next few days and weeks will be telling. David asked in a comment whether I've ever suffered from plantar fasciitis? Although I haven't received that diagnosis, I'm leaning strongly towards thinking that may be what I've got. My heels have been hurting for nearly a year. My increase in mileage and recent change in shoes may have just been enough to aggravate it even further. I do plan on babying the foot for at least a couple more weeks to assure no further damage.