Sunday, July 29, 2007

Life's a Beach

David asked just how does one “accidentally cut a route short”? Rather than running my usual Sunday morning Bonelli loop I had ventured out onto the streets in my neighborhood. I headed out on my Bonnie Cove 5 route. The route has many right and left turns on some of the same streets that I use for other routes and distances. I hadn’t run the BC5 since earlier in the spring. By Sunday, I was beat. Couple that with the fact that I don’t compute well on the run and I made a right turn one block too early. About 50 yards down the street I suspected that I had turned early but wasn’t up to backtracking. I confirmed my mistake when I got home, so 5 became 4.7.

Thanks to all for the suggestions and encouragement on last weeks malaise. Anne suggested vitamin B. I used to take B as part of a daily regimen including C, E and glucosamine & chondrotin. I ran out of B four to six weeks ago and haven’t made a trip to the store for more since I had plenty of everything else.

I believe Michelle suggested a massage, which luckily I had already scheduled for Monday along with a chiropractic adjustment. I also enjoyed her seemingly contradictory suggestions of focusing on healthy eating and indulging in something decadent. I suspect much of the problem can be attributed to a diet a little too far on the decadent side for too long. I’ve been getting away with it for quite a while now (remember my love of ice cream and cookies).

This week was a much better week for running. All my weekday runs were done in Bonelli, in part because I just plain enjoy running there and in part to keep the pace easy. Monday evening and Friday morning I did an out and back route on the Sunday morning loop for 3 miles each. On Wednesday night I did a different out and back on the north side of the park for 6 miles. I think having a rest day in between each run helped out. During these runs I wasn’t rocking the speed but at least the legs felt up to the task.

Saturday, I met my Cruiser buds down in Corona Del Mar for a run along Ocean Blvd then ultimately onto the beach down to Crystal Cove. This was a 12 miler that included 5 miles of running on the sand. The tide was relatively low so we had some great hard pack to run on. I got to run with Michelle. She has been experiencing a battle with plantar fasciitis as well. She has also been struggling with here speed since coming back. I could certainly relate.

As we ran along the sand on a beautiful sunny morning I couldn’t help but think to myself that a run can’t get much more “California” than this. We finished the run in 1:50 with is about the same time as last weeks 12 miler on the HB bike path. We followed up the run with coffee and bagels at Bruegger’s Bagels on PCH in Newport Beach.

I stuck to the streets around home this morning for 6 miles. I could tell today that three straight days of runs were beginning to take their toll. I was about half way through the run before things finally began to flow. I finished off the week with 30 miles, as planned.

Next week is a cut back week, again. It seems like I just had one but I’ll take it. It will be just a few more weeks before I break the 15 mile barrier on a long run. I will eventually get in a 17, an18 and two 20’s before MCM.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's Late

I started a post earlier this evening but never quite got it done. I also realize it wasn't heading in a very positive direction so instead I'll just put up a quick recap of the week.

The good:
A 5 mile run in Bonelli with a collegue from corporate.
A 3.5 mile run near Portland
A 4 mile run in Huntington Beach on Friday and the rest of the day playing in the surf with my oldest son.
A 12 miler run in Huntington Beach, again, with the CA Cruisers.
A 4.7 mile run on Sunday morning around home. (I intended on 5 but accidently cut the route short).
Overall, meeting my mileage goal for the week of 29 miles.

The not so good:
I feel sluggish during my runs.
I was wiped out after a measly 12 miler.
My whole body is really stiff and sore.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Work Related Runs

My company is part of a huge conglomerate based in the part of the country where "Don't ya know?" is a common phrase. We have a small contingent of people; scientist and engineers, up there working on projects for us. On occasion we bring them out to work with us for a week or vice verse. It's a good thing.

One of the guys is out here this week. When I heard he was coming I invited to go on a run. We met last year, so I knew he was a runner. He has run three marathons in past - Twin Cities, twice and Grandma's, his PR at 3:28. Unfortunately at his age it doesn't come close to qualifying him for Boston. I know that when I travel I like to find a place to run. So I took it upon myself to be the running tour guide.

Monday was the only real night that worked out. When I planned this thing the heat was in the mid 80's which is still tolerable. Then last Friday and over the weekend the temps were into the high, high 90's until well past sundown. Luckily Monday things cooled back down. By the time we left work at 6:00 them temps were in the reasonable mid 80 range.

We of course headed over to my favorite trail for my 5 mile Sunday morning Bonelli Loop. I had warned him about the hills in advance. I had a great time and I think he really enjoyed it too. He agreed that the last big hill was pretty killer, but we made it up. It turned out to be one of the slowest times for the loop, but I think that was due to my non stop chatter. Normally I'm running this thing alone and in silence.

And then since my wife was at her gym class and Bryan was at work he and I headed downtown for some Mexican food and a Dos XX's.

Today I'm up in Portland, actually somewhere in the Beaverton/Tigard area at a Embassy Suites in Washington Square. I'm up here for a study group to sit in on a presentation by one of our regional managers on bonding. This is something that fits within the responsibilities of my current job, so I'm here to learn from the master.

I landed in Portland at 7:00, grabbed the rental car and drove over to Tigard. I quickly checked in and changed to get out there while the sun was still up. The nice thing about being so far north is the fact that daylight lasts so much longer than I'm used to in SoCal. Official sunset was listed as 8:55 but it was still plenty light enough nearly 30 minutes after that.

I only needed 3 or 4 miles today. The plan was to head over to Greenway Park. I quickly left the hotel to head over to the north side of the park only to make a wrong turn and ended up on the freeway. Off the freeway and exit later and back to the right street only to be met by a train blocking the intersection. I was able to turn around and tried to get to the southern end of the park and was again blocked by the train. I was afraid that the precious daylight was going to wear out before I got there.

Finally the train began to move and traffic slowly thinned out. I drove down Scholls Ferry Road and could see the trail off to the right. I pulled into a shopping center and parked. I wasn't sure if you were allowed to use the shopping center parking to access the trail but I took my chances. The sun was setting any slower. I was able to head north on the trail until I hit Hall Blvd. Along the way there are many places that you can jump onto the trail from the neighborhood that abuts it. There are basketball courts and play grounds interspersed along the length of the park. It would be nice to have something like this literally in your backyard. The only downside I could see, is that it would drive the poor neighborhood dogs absolutely crazy.

After I got back to Scholls Ferry I took the bridge under the road and continued south until I came to Windsor Place where I turned around and went back to the car. I ran for 29:11 and figure I covered about 3.5 miles (8:20 pace). Breathing some of that same air as Iron Mike must have been a good thing.

When I got back I took a better look around and turns out I was parked in at a shopping center that included the Portland Running Co. Ironic. By this time tomorrow I will be back home and will rest for 2 days before running again. Today's run marked 5 days in a row, a milestone that hasn't been seen for a while and for the most part my body is holding up.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Super (Real)-Wife

My wife is super amazing and supportive (and sneaky). Without her I wouldn't be able to even try this goofy little quest for a marathon in every state. Heck if I just wanted to run a lot of marathons there are more than enough options just here in the southern half of California to fill up each year. But that is not the topic at hand.

Last Wednesday was my birthday and as usual a week or so before my birthday my wife asked me what I wanted. I told her I could use some new short sleeved shirts for work (exciting stuff, I know). But she being the super supportive one asked me about marathons - "wasn't there something somewhere you could do between now and Marine Corps?" She was worried that I was only going to get in two marathons this year and one of them wasn't really a state.

I got on line and checked the calendar. The states that looked interesting in August and September were Alaska, Montana or Wyoming. I convinced here that I probably shouldn't push my luck with the foot and that I really could use some shirts. The then asked me about a race in December. I had mentioned a while ago that Joe and Wes were running it and it would be fun to join them. I told her that since the registration for that one was very reasonable, why didn't I just wait to see how things went, and I really could use some shirts.

Well, on Wednesday evening after we got home from Red Robin (my FREE Bleu Ribbon Burger hit the spot), Lisa gave me my birthday gift. She handed me a bag that looked too small for shirts, but with Lisa you never know. It could have been an IOU or a gift certificate. I'm not the easiest guy to shop for, so that seemed reasonable.

The gift was a series of folded sheets of paper with a specific order for opening. The first was registration for a marathon. The second was air fare to said marathon. The third was a string of emails to a fellow blogger working out all the details. It turns out wife had already researched, my blog, my saved emails, a certain marathon's website and had worked in cahoots with Joe to get me to the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Alabama. She had taken care of all this before the conversation we'd had about shirts.

So 6 weeks after MCM, I will be heading to state number 11 thanks to my super amazing, super supportive and super sneaky wife. I couldn't "fly" without her.
Joe and Wes I hope to see you at the start and finish line at Rocket City! I guess I'll have to go buy my own short sleeved shirts.

As for this week's mileage, I hit the goal on the dot at 22. I did every run planned just shuffled around a bit. Next week, things ramp back up a little to 29 miles. I've got a quick trip up to Portland on early in the week and hope to get a run in up there on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

When I'm 64...

(The following is a gratuitous birthday posting)

I'm not exactly sure when it started, but with these numerical candles, we started reversing the numbers. It may have been the year that my mother-in-law turned 59. We made her 95 so she'd really feel old.

Today, July 11, I'm finally older than my youngest son, who's 61 for a few more days. On the 20th he'll turn 71 and be older than me once again. My wife is a nice even 44 no matter how you look at it. Tyler is just plain ancient at 91. I think it’s funny that I'm still younger than my MIL, at 86 and yet older than my sister-in-law at 63. Goofy I know, but we have fun with it.

The cake by the way is a totally from scratch banana cake made by my irreversible wife. Sadly scratch cake baker is not a phrase she usually identifies with. She made it to go along with Tyler's dinner the other night. Homemade banana cake is one of my faves and reminds me of my childhood. It was darn good and much appreciated.

I'll celebrate tonight with a 5 mile run and dinner at Red Robins. A birthday burger sounds good to me.

So how "old" are you?

Monday, July 09, 2007

He Cooks, Part II

Tyler has been home for the last three weeks on summer break. His school is on year round schedule. He will get 12 quarters, 4 years at a traditional school, completed in 3. He left this afternoon to head back to San Diego for the summer term. When he first come home on June 16 I asked him to cook a meal for us sometime before he went back. In true teenage style he waited until the last possible night to rise to the occasion. Lisa took him shopping earlier in the day. Grandma and Aunt Leslie were able to join us. Bryan was at work.

He made a salad with mixed spring greens with pine nuts and feta cheese and a strawberry vinagrette dressing he made from scratch. The entree was pan seared oven roasted chicken breasts, apparently his favorite (very similar to what he made last time). This time he paired it with garlic mashed potatoes and carrots and asparagus sauteed with minced garlic and shallots.

It certainly looked good and was yummy to boot.

On the running front I met up with the Cruisers at Tagge's Gym for a jaunt through the Redwood Grove and into Chino Hills State Park. The usual loop up Northridge, down Sycamore, returning on Telegraph is 14 miles. I only had 9 on the schedule. I suggested just heading up Telegraph, turning around at about the appropriate point and heading back out. My primary motivation was babying the foot by missing the uphill work.

The cool thing about this run is that Jeff from Time to Run showed up to run with us. Another cool thing is that between runners and walkers we were 29 people. Some people were doing the 3 mile Tagge's loop, while almost everybody else followed my lead on the Telegraph out and back run. Jeff and I ended up taking the lead once we hit Telegraph. From Tagges to CHSP is about 2 miles. The back end of CHSP is mile marker 8. The plan was to run to mile marker 5 and then retrace our steps.

Mile Marker 8 is actually somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 mile into the park. Jeff and I ran along, not really knowing the pace. Not too far behind us was Jay and John (not Dr. John). Running east on Telegraph was hot, even at 8:00 in the morning. We finally came upon the 5.5 mile mark. Only 1/2 to go before we turned back. We ran for another 6 minutes or so and never did see the mile marker. Jeff over ruled my desire to hit the landmark so we turned around.

I was having great difficulty seeing from the sweat dripping into my eyes. The trip back down Telegraph was a blessing, we had a nice breeze in our face most of the way, which helped keep the sweat under control. We figured we'd traveled at least 5.5 miles out. By the time we hit 8 miles I was pretty much toast. I started lagging behind and finally told Jeff just to gone on without me. He was still running strong, while I was not. I had met Jeff several years ago, the one time I met up with the 6:42 group on a Sunday. That was long before either one of us were bloggers. It was a lot of fun to get to share the trail with him.The approximately 11 mile run took 1:45. The 9:33 pace was acceptable but it sure hurt far more than it should have.

Sunday I got in 4.5 miles before waking the family for breakfast; hash browns and scrambled eggs this week. With that I met my goal of >25 miles for the week at 26.6.

Tonight after my massage and chiropractic appointment I put in 3 miles on the trail is Bonelli. It wasn't a speedy effort but everything felt in good working order which hasn't been the case far too often lately. Week 3 of the plan calls for a drop in mileage, as does every third week for the first 12 weeks. I plan on taking full advantage of it.

Enjoy whatever your week brings your way.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mr. Consistent

Tyler and I ran the Surf City 5K in Huntington Beach this morning. This was my inaugural race back in 2003 after picking up running just a month before. My time was 34:27. I ran that race a lot like Tyler runs these races now.

Ten days ago we ran a 5K in 31:48, my watch, or 31:57, official. Today's 5K came in at 31:55, my watch, 32:24, official. The big difference today was the size of the crowd. There were 1642 finishers compared to 269 at Lomita.

Tyler postponed the first walk break to the turn around point rather than at the mile marker. He took 2 more, one for a 60 seconds and the last for 30 seconds. As usual he turned up the speed near the finish line. At Surf City the actual finish is around a left turn. Tyler overestimated his ability to sustain the final kick.

During the race I tried to convince him to use some of that final kick during the race when he feels compelled to walk. I really think he can do it. The battle is more mental than physical. On the way home we discussed strategies for getting faster.

I'm a little disappointed with this race. For starters; no goodie back. Not that big of a deal really, but noticable. And my pet peeve; t-shirts only in large and extra large. Why? Do I really need another t-shirt? Not really. It iss just that I come to expect these things, especially at a race of this size. I guess more a reflection on me than on the race.

On the plus side I like that they have 3 divisions for this race that go off at 3 separate times. There's a HB resident only race, an open division race, and a stroller race, along with 1/2 and mile race for the kids. There were 8 choices of race venues in So Cal this morning. Next year it may be time to try another race to celebrate Independence Day.

At the finish line they were giving out 32 oz bottles of Deluge Sport Drink. I tried the "Intense Lime" flavor. It reminded me of KoolAid. We drank a lot of KoolAid as kids. My parent's rarely bought "pop". Deluge has the same calories as Gatorade, but only about 1/2 the sodium. Deluge also contains taurine, l-glutamine, and l-carnitine. The one thing I do like about it is the lack of high fructose corn syrup, the number 3 ingredient on the Gatorade Xtremo flavor I was using as comparison. It appears as though Deluge is trying to expand their market. They seemed to be linked to motocross currently.

At the race I also picked up a hard copy of the Race Place magazine so that Tyler and I can find our next 5K.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Just Like Starting Over

A couple of weeks ago, during the run with Forrest, I was also running along with Jay. Jay mentioned the Villa Park 5K. This race is put on by a member of the 6:42 group. This year Jay was sharing the RD responsibilities. I had volunteered at this race last year. I told Jay that I would be willing to volunteer again this year. He told me that they had the volunteers covered and invited me to come out an race it instead. I'd never been an "invited" athlete before. I couldn't very well turn down the RD.

The race starts and finishes at the Villa Park High School Track, which is right across the wall from where the 6:42 group meets weekly. The plan was to meet there, run the 6:42 route, beginning at 6:42 and making it back in plenty of time for the 8:00 start. The turn out for the warm up run was 4 women and 2 guys, me and Dr. John. We got a late start so we cut the route short and got in 5.5 miles rather than the normal 6.42. The women ran a 4 mile option. The 5.5 miles were done in 9:29 pace. I already felt tired and wondered how the race would go.

We finished up just in time for me to change shirts and run into Vons to use the facilities. I lined up some where near the front and was joined by Gary and Julie. Julie is fast, but was planning on taking this one easy. Gary was hoping to break 30:00. I told him that I had better break 30:00. I didn't really have any expectations for this one. I hadn't raced a 5K since I set my PR (21:54) in May 2006.

We took off and I somehow got the jump on Julie for maybe 100 yards, then we ran together for about 100 more then she was gone and soon out of sight. She ended up finishing around 21:00.

I hit the 1 Mile mark in 7:46. I wasn't really pleased or disappointed with the time. It just was what it was. Not too much later I started thinking that this was going to be a long race. I was wishing that Tyler was along with me so I could take a walk break. I hadn't told him about this race since he had just raced last Saturday and would be racing again on July 4th.

Sometime after about a mile and a half I saw someone up ahead that I recognized. It was Sam from the Jingle Bob and Brea 8K rivalry. I hadn't seem him at the start. He was walking, I just cruised right by. In that instant I knew that I didn't have it in me for another race to the finish. I'm not sure if he recognized me but soon after I passed him he began running again and caught me.

At the 2 Mile mark we were pretty much side by side. After I hit my watch, he asked where we were at. I misread the time and told him that I was at 18:00 and commented that I was sucking big time. I thought I had slowed down considerably. I realized after the race that I had actually done Mile 2 in 8:14 for a total time of 16:00. Soon after that Sam started walking again.

I knew he was back there and suffering so my goal became to gain as much ground as I could to fend off another photo finish like the 8K. The last 3.1 came in at 8:09 for a finishing time of 24:09 (7:47 pace overall). This is back where I was nearly 2 years ago.

Sunday I woke up just late enough that I didn't feel like I had time to get my Bonelli run in and get the family up and moving towards church. I definitely didn't have time to run and cook breakfast. I opted for making breakfast. After church we went to lunch and then did some shopping for the boys. That put me in the middle of the hottest part of the day. Lisa went over to visit her Mom (She is back home now, the infection seems to be under control). Bryan was at work, Tyler was gone. I got caught up on blogs and did some other reading and finally decided to hit the road at 4:30. I wanted to attend a special service at church later that evening and wanted to run Bonelli, otherwise I could have postponed the run til later and one it on the streets.

The goal was a recovery run. The 95 degree temperature guaranteed that I kept the pace nice and slow. I even took my fuel belt along, something I never do on a usual 5 miler. I was very glad to have it with me. It was hot. I never saw another person on the trail. I wonder why! I made it back home in time for a quick jump in the pool and a shower and made it to church with time to spare. I was definitely still cooling down for the first 15 minutes or so of the service.

With that run I made my weekly mileage goal of greater than 20, with 21.9. Not counting the double half marathon week it has been 9 weeks since I've broken 20. Next week's target mileage is 25.

During the service the pastor brought up a young man, Patrick, who was preparing to ship out to Iraq on July 16. It reminded me of our friend's sons Will M. in Japan, Matt O. in Iraq and Joe's son David in Iraq as well. We should all pray for these guy's safety and well being every chance we get.