Tuesday, December 30, 2008

1st Annual Bob Hazen's Birthday Ladera Ranch 5k Run - (or 1st ABHBLD 5K R for short)

Well I ran my race yesterday, and did pretty well. I'm currently writing the race report but haven't finished just yet so I wanted to get something out today. Anyone really interested on how I did can check out my log by clicking the link on the sidebar. If you don't want to spoil the race report you'll just have to wait.

Christmas was nice, and my Birthday was good too. Beth and the kids treated me well and I couldn't ask for a better life right now. I get a few days off later in the week so maybe I can get out on my bike on Thursday for Friday, but other than that I'm not planning much else.

Please sit tight for my race report.....

Keep Steppin'

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lazy Week + Christmas!

This week has been rather slow and I'm embarrassed to say so far I haven't run a measly mile - yet. The poor weather has finally passed us and I plan to get a few miles in today and tomorrow.

Christmas was great! The kids really enjoyed themselves this year, and we presented their Maui airfare tickets for our trip in Feb as one of their gifts, let's just say it went over well. For a while there when gas was so high Beth and I discussed leaving them behind. Now we should have a great family vacation together.

We spent time with both side of the family, and ate too much rich foods and sweets. Santa left Abby a new beach cruiser bike, and Cade got some cool RC 'monster trucks'. Alex pulled in about $70 in cash, and still had his Mom's side of the family to go.

I'll blog more about some running (once I do some.) I guess I don't have to 'taper' for the 1st Annual Bob Hazen Birthday Ladera Ranch 5k......

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Well its been a few days since I've posted, the weather was nice, then it's turned bad again this morning and now it's expected to be bad all the way through the holidays. That puts a crimp on my training schedule, but I still should be ok to finish out the year strong.

The family is doing well, the kids are really looking forward to Christmas this year, and the new house really looks good all lit up at night - I'll take a few pictures tonight before my run (if it's not raining) to share with everyone. Beth is happy that the kids are happy so all's good. Christmas Eve will be spent with my parents and Christmas day is split between Beth's and my parents houses' luckily we all only live 10 miles apart and no freeway traveling will be necessary.

I have Christmas Eve off from work and was planning to go for a 10-15 mile ride, but I woke up hearing that is supposed to rain so I'll have to play it by ear. With the cycling, I had planned a 39 mile week, but the plan may just go up in the rain if the forecasts are correct. Kind of sucks; maybe I'll pretend that I'm in Iowa and just run in the cold stuff......

Now to some good stuff; I hit two milestones this weekend.

1. 400 miles for the year! That's good for me considering I was only trying for 365 miles. I can tell I'm getting stronger, and my core work is beginning to pay off in recovery and during runs. The extra weight I'm carrying still hasn't come off like I wanted, but it is coming off.

2. I logged a new 'Long Run' of 6.2 miles (10k) kind of by chance. Sat I woke up wanting to run - so after getting some stuff done at the office I went running late morning, and finished an hour later. I only walked twice and today I feel pretty good. Tired but not sore.

I'm really looking forward to 2009 in regards to my running. Even though I don't have any long-term goals set for the year, I am very happy with my improvement this year and I fully anticipate growing as a runner this upcoming year.

Next Monday I will be racing in the 1st Annual Bob Hazen's Birthday Ladera Ranch 5k run. (By myself) and will report on my experience. It's a certified course (the same one I raced on in July) so that will be fun. The race report will be somewhat tongue-and-cheek since it is my b-day.

A final note; I did get two new 'readers' this weekend. Welcome and thanks for spending time reading! Tanya, I recommend your blog to anyone who is interested in running and wants to see the 'big' picture from a good starting point. Great read and it only took me about 2 days to get 'caught up' from your starting point.

Keep Steppin'

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cold / Wet Weather

This rant is in no way intended to insult anyone in non-sunny states (or North Dakota). If any offense is taken, please be aware I will plead weather insanity and 'black out' all knowledge of this post.

Ok - I know I'm a Southern California boy born and raised, but I really, really hate cold, wet weather. (That's why I still live here) Over the past 5 days it's been both. sub 50 weather and very wet. I don't do very well in this kind of weather let alone run in it.

And before you all start laughing at me or sending me comments about running in sub 0 weather - I don't care. I live in SUNNY Southern California, I have solar panels on my roof for God sake! If I wanted rain and poor weather I'd live in the Midwest or in the eastern seaboard....... Been there, done that and I don't like it. I pay more taxes to be a home owner in California, so our government should get together with Mother Nature and put my money to good use - go dump all that rain on North Dakota. Shoot we just fined our local water district for dumping raw sewage into parkland areas up the road from my home, why can we just fine Mother Nature for not holding up her end and allowing all this rain to dump on my house? BTW 392,000 gallons? Come on some yahoo at a control panel must have known something was up? No pressure sensors on that waste line? Damm my 2001 Saturn has a ton of sensors in it that tell me all sorts of stuff.......
Keep Steppin'

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Few Days Off

I've taken a few days off here just to re-group. Thursday I played in a doubleheader for softball (we won both games, and I played pretty well) so I haven't been a complete bum. Today I do plan on running sometime late this afternoon - hopefully at least 3 miles today. That won't make the whole week a complete loss. I need to gear-up and start planning another race. Otherwise it will be too easy to skip runs here and there with the cold weather setting in.

Other than that, not much else is going on - the family is great and the house is decoroated for Christmas. Beth purchased our Maui airfare tickets late last month so the family is set for our Feb vacation which I'm already looking forward to.

Work is busy, next Friday will be my last day in the old building so I have a ton of work to get donw before the end of next week. Hopefully that won't put a crimp in my training plans.

Keep Steppin'

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Updated Goals!

I've updated my goals on my sidebar, Nothing spectacular just added Jan 09. Near the end of the year I'll be setting some long term goals so I can start eyeing my long-term aspirations.
For the racing year, I'm eyeballing a 5k run in March 09 as my next race - beyond that will be another 5k in May 09. For July 4th next year I'm thinking I'll do a 10k instead or my normal 5k, and begin prepping myself for the 1/2 in May 2010.

Keep Steppin'

Monday, December 8, 2008

Consecutive Running Streaks

I love this story! What is it about consecutive days running streaks? I have mine listed in my side bar (only 14 days) but there are a whole group of people of have 30+ YEARS of running everyday! That's mind boggling to me. I wish I could do that (but I never will).

One of the things about this story for me was the comments I found on the MSN site (attached). Even though the article was written for the WSJ I used the MSN version so you could read the comments yourselves if you really wanted to take the time doing that. Overall the comments were very positive, but early on a lot of people were commenting on how this was addictive behaviour and unhealthy. Some even went as far to call it a 'form' of OCD. I found those comments interesting. You always hear that habits are formed after 30-60 days of doing the activity (running in this case) when does someone start to consider the habit as overkill? Or even dangerous? When does this habit or running become a negative connotation? What happens if this habit isn't running? Maybe we're talking about watching TV. Shoot I watch TV everyday - and I'm guessing 99% of the population watches 30 mins of TV per day - why doesn't that get a negative connotation? You hear about studies regarding the AMOUNT of time someone watches TV but never a study of if you actually TURNED the TV on for the day. In fact I'm guessing I could put together a 30+ year streak of watching TV.......... And don't even get into my streak on teeth brushing. (Dude, am I OCD?)

Anyway, I tend to believe that the people who labeled this running streak as bad - or addicting behaviour don't understand the accomplishment (or they're jealous, or lazy). I truly believe the people who accomplish these feats are just like you and I, no one in their right mind wants to get up at 4:00am in order to get in a 5 miler, or in my case a 8:00pm 3 miler. The very fact that these 'streakers' are able to step out the door everyday for 30+ years makes them special. (And I don't mean 'special' special.) I would love to tell someone that I've run everyday for 30+ years without missing a day. God that would be great! Image how good that would feel, talk about self pride. Therefore my 'Streak' sidebar PB will be listed here, and maybe one day I'll be able to upgrade it from 14 consecutive days.......

Keep Steppin'

Log Entry 12/3/08 / PB's & PR's

So much is going on with my training, I just don't have enough time in the day to write about it all. So once again this post is behind. Last Wednesday I went out form my evening run and logged a PB for 3 miles (again!) Now really I'm not trying to push these runs, but they are just occurring because I'm getting in better shape. My body really isn't sore - but my times are beginning to fall like stones in water.....

How I look at PB's and PR's is a little different then everyone else (or so I'd like to think.) As I get older, I have noticed that I was getting slower and slower - I mean who am I fooling? I'll NEVER hit 16:08 for a 5k in my life again - why should I mark (or measure) myself against a time that's over 20 years old? So a few years ago I began to make a distinction between PB's and PR's. In Aug 2006 I 'started over' with my records, before you cry out 'foul!' hear me out - It was in Aug 2006 where I was coming back from a long off period from running (2 years) - and I wanted a new challenge. 'Starting over' was my new challenge.

With the help of GPS, computers, Google, and certified courses I started 'qualifying' Time Trial' courses I could use for PB's. Qualification of a course would meet at least four of the five requirements:

1. run using GPS - in my case my Timex speed and distance system
2. run mapped on google (in my case I'm using the mapping function on RunningAHEAD)
3. certified course used in racing. Like my Thanksgiving 5k, etc....
4. course must be even miles or a 'standard' Km race ie. 5k, 10k etc...
5. PB can not be recorded as a mile split in a run - only the whole distance is considered for a PB.

Doing 4 of the 5 listed above pretty much gives me a +/- 1% variance over distance (5k) so I can live with that. And it's not like I'm running top class or anything.......

Personal Best's: Are then just really TT runs over a qualified course by myself. (yeah I know I don't have people to deal with, but a run is still a run. And doing this once every week (or every other week) keeps my training interesting.

Personal Records: are PB's made during an actual race - which I only do about 5 per year. Therefore I make a distinction. This helps me stay focused and upbeat during my long training periods throughout the year. I really don't expect to 'peak' during a race nor do I train that way.

So without any more fanfare:
12/3/08 : 3 miles in 28:43 (PB)

Where was this over Thanksgiving? The last week or so I'm starting to feel stronger and happier with my runs - still with the 5k trail run scrapped from my race calendar, I need to find something here in the next two months to work towards. Tonight I'll hop on-line and do a race search for the month of January, maybe I'll find something then.

Keep Steppin'

Friday, December 5, 2008

Month End Summary (November)

Well this is late in coming but I wanted to get it posted. The month was very good for me - a 5k under my belt in under my goal time was the crown of the month. But other than that, there were several other notable milestones.

I ran 24 out of the 30 days in the month, and a lot of times I did a afternoon then an evening so I'm very pleased with the effort I've put forth in being consistent.

I ran a 5k training run in 31:11 on 11/16. That was enjoyable - funny though I'm having difficulty remembering how the run felt (see my entry on Difficult Runs last month)

Logged a total of 91.8 miles for the month (a PB)

Ran a new PB long run of 5.48 miles in 54:48.

Finally I got back on my bike and rode 12.6 miles in the month. It's been over 6 months since I last rode so this was a nice accomplishment. I plan to include weekly Sunday rides from now on.

All in all a very solid month - health wise I struggled with a bad lower back and some pain in my left foot. The back is feeling much better, and the foot cramping comes and goes. I'm continuing to ice after runs to help in recovery.

I'm going to skip the xterra 5k trail run in December and schedule something in January (funds, plus I didn't get a chance to preview the course because of the rains last week.) I'm going to keep the link active because I'm very interested in starting some sort of trail running, and this race next year may be a good target point. NOTE: race is sold out.

Sometime in the next week I'm going to adjust my goals and include Jan's goals in my right sidebar so keep an eye out for that. One final note is I picked up my second follower, Thank you for reading (and sharing) with me. The extra motivation knowing someone is reading this is helpful on cold nights.

Keep Steppin'

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Log entry 12/2/08

I decided to run 3.4 miles today - nice and easy not pushing it too hard (trying to recover from a long run and cycling on Sunday) My legs felt pretty good and breathing is slowly coming around - but around the 1.5 mile mark I got cramping in my left foot again. I'm noticing that the cramping is occurring while I run downhill - I'll just have to make sure I don't injure myself over the long haul with something like this. Still with an easy pace I logged 10:53 per mile pace.

Keep Steppin'

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K Race Report

Well I've taken a few days to get this together, and I'm a little disappointed I didn't get any pictures (It was actually pouring rain during the event and I didn't want to ruin my wife's camera) so you'll have to conjure up your own images in your mind. Sorry about that.

Alex and I got to the course about an hour before our race time, but we sat in the car watching the 10k runners slosh back to their cars. The two of us warm and dry began to wonder if the rain was going to let up before our gun sounded. Alex was a little nervous so he was quiet and was answering my questions, comments with one-word phrases so the conversation inside the car wasn't very lively. Still it was nice having him there and I could tell he was excited to run.

About 30 mins before the race start we decided to start walking to the starting line which was about a half mile away. Stripping down to our running clothes we left our jackets inside the car. Low and behold the rain let up - but the temp was still roughly 52 degrees, so it was a little cold. I love running in this kind of weather, but poor Alex doesn't have an ounce of fat on his body and he was shivering during the walk down the hill to the harbor course.

Once down the hill, the over 39 5ker's were finishing up so I took the time to point out the 3 mile marker, Start and Finish out to Alex since he was going to reach all of this WAY before I did. I think that helped because he really started talking and asking questions. Before too long the starter asked for us to start 'loading up'. Over 2000 runners were in our race and over 12000 overall in the whole 5-10k event. Dana Point's largest race (And they have been running this event for over 30 years) So you can picture the crowding in that started to occur. Still everyone around us was very pleasant, and thoughtful and actually it wasn't that bad. Alex and I found a spot next to the barriers and was fairly open and we were about mid-way in the pack.

Once the gun sounded - it took us about a 1:30 to get to the line (of course this is chip timed) and I really didn't see Alex again except for the turn around points. Now for anyone who hasn't run this course before it's basically a capital "H" in design the the cross of the "H" being the harbor bridge. Very flat and very fast so people 'ship in' from all over trying for PR's (not to mention there are some good cash prizes for top place finishers.)

The first mile went by pretty quickly - I spent most of my time filtering my way through the throngs of moving people - Alex quickly disappeared into the sea..... My breathing was good, but I lacked any real strength in my legs. I was disappointed to feel that because I had taken off several days before to help eliminate this. My back that had been bothering me so much over the past four weeks felt pretty good and I clocked a 9:58 over the first mile. I briefly saw Alex right before the first mile marker and he was closing in on some of the front runners (he didn't wear a watch but at the mile marker they were calling out times - 7:43 was his)

Mile 2 is always kind of tough for me - once again we cross over the bridge, and by this time my breathing was coming a little harder. People started to pass me, not many but enough for me to notice. Growing up I never had to worry about that, but as I grow older (and slower) its pretty disheartening to happen. 10:22 was my second mile split which I was still happy with since I was on pace to break my 33 min goal. Quickly doing the math I realized that the sub 31 most likely wasn't going to happen unless I turned in a really good third mile. Once again I saw Alex at a turn around early in the mile and he looked really good - falling back in the pack a little, but still his form was good.

The final mile on this course usually gets me pretty good. I've run this course many times over and now it's just a mental block in my mind. I was struggling at this point early on in the mile as Alex scooted by me going the opposite direction (this time look pretty tired). Once he past I just fixed in on a girl in front of me and let her keep pace. All was fine and dandy until the it came time for the final turn around for 'us' she quit on me! Just upright stopped at the turn around! After barely avoiding her going around the pylon (along with several other runners) I looked over my shoulder and said: "Come on - you pulled me now it's your turn." Slowly she filed in behind me and I could hear her for a little bit, but after about three mins she fell off. By this time I couldn't worry about her since the third mile marker was coming up. 10:41 I'd fell off again - the sub 31 min was gone - all I could do was power it up and finish strong. :53 seconds later I had clocked a 31:55 on my watch, happy but a little disappointed I felt I had left some out on the course......

Alex greeted me with a big grin; "How'd you do?" Was the first question out of his mouth. Without his watch we wasn't sure what he had clocked so we had to wait until the results were on the web site: 25:05. Not bad for his first 5k. He was pleased. I think that put him in 386th overall.

I didn't do as well:

Overall 1147 out of 2334
Male 688 out of 1116
Age (35-39) 90 out of 144
Total Time 31:55

Well I finished my race - had fun and reached my race time with a minute to spare. I can't complain with anything. Next year I'll be running mid 25's though, that will be something to write about.

Keep Steppin'

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So here it is; 1:30 pm on the 26th and I'm already getting antsy for tomorrow. Shoot I won't even register for the run for another hour or so!

Now I'm just passing some time at work waiting for Alex to get out of school so I can pick him up. So instead of doing work, I'm going to be more constructive and highlight some points for tomorrow.

1. Have fun! I'm not a speed demon anymore - maybe someday in the future but not tomorrow.
2. Make sure Alex has fun and is comfortable. This is his first 5k race ever. He's done 1 milers before but never anything this size (4000+ runners)
3. Take pictures! I want to include them in my race report. This means I need a bag - store it etc.... (I've never done this before.)
4. Meet my sub 33 min goal. I still think this should be easy to do - but you never know since my back has been acting up over the past two weeks. (I really hope next year this goal will be more like a sub 27 min......)
5. Write an awesome race report. (I've never done this before - I run a ton of races but never written a report before.)
6. Eat turkey
7. Eat turkey
8. Fall asleep (with turkey in my stomach.)

Gobble Gobble

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finally a Good Run!

Well I've taken it easy over the past few days to see if my back would feel any better (I only logged approx 15 miles last week) - and it's slowly coming around. It's really just sore and tired, nothing I can't handle but it's just making me uncomfortable sitting all day at work right now. Since playing softball last Thursday I shut down my running completely just to be safe but played golf on Sunday; I was sore going in, but my back loosened up and I scored ok (18 over for a 91).

So with the encouraging results of playing golf, I decided to start running again on Monday - and I felt really good. After walking during my lunch, I went for a run once Beth and I put down the kids. The plan was 2 miles easy, nothing more nothing less. When it was all said and done I logged 2 miles in 21:02 and I could have ran 2 more at that pace. Breathing was pretty good (it still have room for improvement) and I really didn't start sweating until 3/4th of a mile into the run. In fact, I wore longsleeves thinking it was colder than it was - I could have gone shortsleeves and been perfectly fine.

This morning I'm still a little stiff, and I can feel the tension in my lower back and hips, but once again nothing really bad. Maybe an Advil later this morning and I think I'll be fine. Today I'm planning on doing the same thing - walk at lunch, then 2 miles tonight. The weather calls for rain today so that may change a little we'll see.

A couple other notes - I tried to sign up for the Turkey Trot this morning, but on-line registration is closed (even though it indicates today was the last day) Now I have to go down tomorrow and pay more. Dammit. I've been putting it off for a couple reasons, my back and making sure Alex really want to run with me. That's what I get for waiting for the last min. Also sometime over the holiday weekend I'm planning on going to Crystal Cove to test run the 5k course there. If I like it I'm going to sign up for that also (just myself this time.)

I'm going to set a PB for my monthly miles this month no matter what - my next run will do that. So that's a good trend. I'll do a complete monthly review next week after my race report.

Keep Steppin'

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Day Off - Kind of

Well I took yesterday off - kind of. I did my normal walk during lunch (1.67 miles) and then started back on my softball team. I play second base for an 'upper D' league here in Irvine California. Now this group hasn't been together for about 6-8 months and I haven't even touched a ball during that time so I expected to be rusty, but the whole team came out on-fire and we never were challenged after the first half of the first inning. It was good seeing the guys again after such a long layoff.

My plan was to run two miles once I got home after a 8:50pm game - but that didn't happen. I rolled into the drive at 10:45 and with my body still reeling from the hard runs earlier this week and now the bending motion(s) from playing softball I was really sore. (Plus I had recorded the Laker game that I HAD to watch.) I decided to just take a warm shower and relax. I iced my lower back and feet for pretty much the hour it took to watch the game and felt pretty good going to bed.

Oh my GOD! I woke this morning and my body was screaming at me. I could barely move; my feet, calves, lower back, ass and hips were all really sore - almost painful. (Notw I'm getting old and really didn't take care of my body when I was younger so normally I walk like a penguin when I get up but this was 10x worse)

Needless to say, I'm planning on taking another day off today - and I'll remember now not to run my long run after a quick race pace run like I did earlier this week. (stupid I know but I felt so good earlier this week.) I did bring my stuff to walk during lunch, but I might just use that time to buy/look at new shoes - My NB shoes are getting up there in miles, and I really haven't been happy with them in their cushioning and stability. (If fact I think they may just be aggravating my back enough to cause me pain after my runs.)

But like I mentioned in my last post - I'm going to take it easy the remainder of this week - the loss of mileage this week won't have any effect on my Thanksgiving race at this point. I just need my rational part of my brain to overcome the other part that is screaming; "You need the miles! Don't miss the miles! You lazy bum get out and run!" That's when running isn't fun anymore.....

Keep Steppin' <-- very gingerly today....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Difficult Training Runs

We know everyone has them. But even after 30+ years of running I'm always surprised when one of these runs 'hit' me. Yesterday I got home early and the family was away from the house so I decided to go out for a run. Now this wasn't a 'normal' run for me =<3 miles so I mapped out a course that wound through town and it turned out to be 4.6 mile. No biggie, I'll just go out in a 11 min pace and should be able to complete this with no problem. Low and behold as soon as I stepped out the door and took that first step; the discomfort started. Notice I didn't say 'pain'. That comes a little later......

Normally I'm a slow starter and need to get warmed up - so these first few steps of discomfort didn't alarm me too much other than the fact that I noticed right off that my legs were sore from the other night. "No problem though - I'll just start a little slower than planned. Plus I really want to do this course since it's new." I told my brain. Slowly the kinks worked themselves out of my legs, and my breathing was coming pretty normally. Unfortunately that lasted about a mile. My first split: 10:43. "Good - I'm right where I want to be. This shouldn't be too hard - that first mile was all uphill so this second uphill mile should be easy now I've warmed up." Don't you hate it when your head plays with you? Damm it's getting harder - glancing down at my watch only about 5 mins has passed, my breathing is becoming a little ragged and all of the sudden my left foot his killing me. Where the hell did THAT pain come from? It hurts so bad I can feel it in my right knee.... What!?! My RIGHT knee? OK what the hell is going on? I'd better slow to a stop. Walk a min, run a min, walk, run; mile 2 marker: 13:42. Damm what happened?

I eventually overcame the issue and went on to finish with mid 10 min splits for the final two downhill miles, but it got me thinking about how the mind works regarding these 'bad' runs. I can have good run after good run but somehow over the years I tend to remember the bad ones more. Don't get me wrong I do remember good ones also - but just not as clearly. Is it because of the pain? Some of my best runs that I remember have come with pain so that's a common feature. But I tend to believe that it's more that that. Somewhere in me is my brain's filing system that 'stores' milestones - and a lot of times these difficult 'bad' runs seem to be stored. Why? Is the old adage "No Pain No Gain" really true? Maybe to some extent it is. For me at least I tend to remember these runs better when there is pain involved. But usually these runs are also followed by a decision I need to make in my training. Do I continue to try to get better and take it to the next level? Or do I back off and keep the pain to a level where I enjoy running at and not get any better?

Now just because I choose to work with the pain doesn't mean I'm stupid and go out and get hurt. It just means I decide to plan a little bit better, and work smarter to get to my goals. (Adjustments are made)

Still it think is funny how the brain works on these types of runs.... I still remember painful runs way back from High School and college. One in particular run was when I was a freshman in high school. I joined the x-country team upon begging from the Coach (we were a small school and needed another runner to fill the squad) I ran a soft riverbed course in something like 26 +change (3 miles) I felt like I was going to die, and could have quit right there without any shame. After puking my lunch (hotdogs of all things and purple CoolAid) I decided right there to run a sub 20 min for that season. (I didn't hit that goal until my sophmore season, but I did hit it and went much further.) Still even though I don't remember the winning time of the race, the weather, or even the time of day - I still remember how I felt over that last mile and a half and how I overcame that feeling. Not because of the race or the finish, but because I overcame something inside telling me to quit.

Keep Steppin'

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday night run.

I didn't really do much this weekend - and Beth got on my case for not helping around the house that much. Friday night was a bust - I did go for a run but the Lakers got their butts kicked so everything kind of evened out. Saturday I didn't run and it blew my chance for getting 20 miles in for the week. Still I didn't let myself get down - instead of running Beth and I had some good friends over for a BBQ (since it was 95 degrees outside). After a few beers, Beth let on that I was keeping this blog - let's just say I wasn't prepared for that and turned beet red. I'm not sure why - I'm guessing it just because I've never thought people I know would actually read this....

Anyway, today I went out planning to run 2 miles, but it stretched into a 5k. (In pretty good time for me) I felt so good I decided to try an extra mile time trial. This I clocked a 9:04! An 8:52 is my record and this 9:04 came right after running a sub 32 min 5k! Boy, I'm really ready for Thanksgiving right now. From this point on I'm planning to run my remaining training runs very slowly - and this week I'm trying to log 24 miles. We'll see how it goes.

Keep Steppin'


Thursday, November 13, 2008

I've made some changes......

Well I've basically changed some format items on my blog. First and foremost, I've finally switched over to RunningAhead, and all the links should be working now. Secondly, I've added a Goals section on the right of the page so I can clearly see what goals are coming up and estimate in my head if I'm going to complete them on-time. I felt that it was good reference to all my readers if I mention something related to my current goals. Finally, I've added links from RunningAhead that show my weekly/monthly/yearly totals along with my last 5 workouts. That way I don't have to really type my Log Summary posts just to display numbers - I can rather spend the time writing something that maybe you guys could find useful in your own training (or at least entertaining.)

Yesterday I didn't go for my scheduled run. I think my son passed his head cold to me; my throat is sore and scratchy, eyes watering, and nose is running like a faucet. So instead I fixed my blog, and took some benedryl. Before too long I was out like a light sitting downstairs with the laptop on my lap. I think I woke up around 11:00pm and crawled into bed. Luckily I didn't disturb Beth, she was already tucked into Cade's car bed.

Other than the head cold I feel pretty good and anxious for Thanksgiving to come. I'm pretty sure I've put in enough training to easily break the 33 min barrier. In fact in my mind I'm picturing a sub 31 min 5k. But you never know. There have been times where I toe that starting line and nothing is in the tank. Then time where I feel like crap and I do very well. We'll just have to see what happens. In the mean time I'm going to continue working pretty much everyday to get stronger and faster.

Keep Steppin'


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Log Entry 11/10/08

The last few days have been really busy with work, soccer, family etc.... Still I've been running pretty much everyday. Sunday was my last day off in about a week time frame. Overall my legs are a little tired and sore and my back is still bothering me a little bit but other than that I feel pretty good. Breathing is coming around and I can tell I'm getting stronger.

Miles: 1.67
Avg pace: 18:16
Time: 30:29


Miles: 3.02
Avg Pace: 9:50
Time: 29:41

Splits: 10:04, 10:02, 9:35

I felt pretty good during the run once I warmed up. Hopefully tomorrow I won't be too sore. Overall I didn't try to push too hard, just hard enough at the end to break 30 mins.

I'm getting really close to linking my new training log, keep an eye out for the change.

Keep Steppin'

Friday, November 7, 2008

Walter Ris was my Uncle.....

For some reason driving into the office this morning I was thinking about my long deceased Uncle. Maybe it was the clear crisp skies that jogged something in my mind, or maybe it's just that time of year again. But for whatever reason my mind wandered off and he came to the front.

It was the Christmas morning 1989 when he passed away. I still remember the call from my Aunt (my Dad's older sister). Telling us he passed away in his sleep. Wally was a big man about 6'2" and 190 lbs - he was a former Olympian gold medalist, and could pick his nephew (me) up by my ears. Even though it's been almost 20 years since his passing, I can still remember his smile and loud booming voice. I was in awe of him every time we visited - and the best I could describe him was he was like a loving bear in a china shop trying to be gentle.

Still as I think back, we weren't really that close - we saw one another on holidays and family gatherings, but for some reason he made a big impression on me. I still remember the time I got to hold his goal metals that he kept stored away in his downstairs office. I must have been about 8 years old, and these things were heavy in my hands. The metal dwarfed my hands and he had kept them well polished and preserved some twenty plus years after receiving them. In my mind, his office shrank to encompass only him, me and the two metals - something like the 'one ring' in JRR Tolkin's Hobbit series. Holding the metals and seeing the look on my uncle's face clicked something inside of me, and to this day I'm not sure what turned on.....

Maybe that's where my competitive fire came from - just seeing my Uncle's eyes and holding that weight. I wanted to experience that he had experienced, to feel what he had felt it was infectious. I wanted to go to that place we all go during a difficult run in my mind - to feel the tingling sensation through our limbs knowing you are totally in the moment, and in-sync with your body. Pushing yourself to the very limit, and feeling every moment as it passes. Somewhere in college that moment, that drive slipped through my fingers.

Still thinking back to my Uncle - I was close enough to experience HIM; to experience what he had felt and done. And to his day I thank God for my Uncle Wally, my Aunt and my cousins because he was a good man, husband and person. This world should have more Wally's......

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I have a follower! And other running stuff.....

It's kind of hard to believe that Someone is actually reading this - I wasn't going to mention anything (I though maybe it's bad blog protocol), but Thank You Kelly for taking the time reading my little edge of the blog sphere. I hope it's not too boring and that you continue to keep reading. BTW I love your blog and encourage anyone to read it.

On to running related stuff - I'm currently in the process of switching my running log over to RunningAhead. I had been using FavoriteRun for about 15 months and haven't really been happy with it. The thing that sold me on RunningAhead was the creator himself: Eric. After dropping Eric an e-mail on Wednesday, I promptly received a e-mail back within 24-hours with answers to all my questions, and concerns. I'm convinced that this guy is dedicated to producing a nice 'free' running site. Eric has put together a nice easy-to-use site with custom graphing functions. Mapping is included with fairly quick page loading times, and a fairly active board where there are people who respond quickly and nice towards even the most basic of questions. (The fact that most of the BB'er are refugees from the old Cool Running site is a rather nice bonus.) If you're in the market for a nice on-line running log take at look at what Eric's created over at RunningAhead.

Now comes the personal running stuff; over the last few days I been struggling with lower back issues, at first I wasn't sure where it was coming from but I know the pain was enough to cause actual pain and difficulty in walking. So for about two days I popped some painkillers and waited to see if the pain would go away. What was it? I was leaning towards a pinched nerve and sleeping 'weird' but that didn't seem right to me. It was only after I pulled out the 'tens unit' did I get any relief. In fact it worked so well I decided to try running last night. Low and behold I felt pretty good, so I added another mile. Still in the back of my mind was; "Why am I hurting so much? Am I overdoing it with my running? Putting in too many miles too quickly?" Only when I went to do my sit-up for the day did I know where the pain was coming from. I'm USING MUSCLES that I haven't used in a while! The tens unit had loosened up my back to the point where I wasn't feeling any pain, but as soon as I tried to do a sit up it locked back up! Damm I'm stupid! At lease I found the cause, and I can work around it now. (I really need my core muscles stronger, otherwise I'll never get any better in my running.)

This morning I feel a little better - still hurting, and in fact I'm using the tens right now as I type. But I'm happy to find the source, and I know I can work around it. If I'm careful I'll stronger here in the next few days. I just need to get over this hump.

Miles: 2.0
Avg Pace: 10:09
Time: 20:18

Keep Steppin'

PS once I get my log transferred and reviewed I'll make it available for viewing. Hopefully that will be completed by this weekend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Raining!

It started raining last night, I know "So what?" But in Southern California it's kind of a big deal since we don't get much all year. It's not a lot of rain but enough here that the ground gets waterlogged and soft. It's nice, it clears out the air and reminds me of being a kid again - with the air clean and you can see for miles. I always picture in my mind clear days where from my parents house you could see all the way to Catalina Island.

Well on to other things - Ran pretty good last night before it started raining, put in three miles and set a new PB with 29:27. Really I wasn't surprised with this since my old PB was 33+ mins I just hadn't run the distance in a while. In fact I was disappointed in my time even though it was the first time I was running this course. Effort wise, I did push myself and can feel small aches and pains this morning. Feet, calves, and lower back all are hurting but I can live with it. If it clears up before lunch I'll be taking a walk to loosen up.

The plan this week calls out about 20-25 miles - about 6-8 miles of this will be walking the rest around a 10 min pace. I am planning a 4+ mile run on Wednesday so tonight will be very SLOW and easy. Recovery, recovery, recovery is the name of the game today. Friday I do plan to run two miles with a mile warm up then a TT mile to see if I can better my PB in the mile. Other than that, this week is all about mileage and easy pace. I really want to put together a solid month before Thanksgiving.

I broke my consecutive day running streak on Sunday (14 days) - I actually took the day off from everything. I didn't even get dressed for the day and just played hermit. (I didn't even shave until about 9:00 pm). It felt weird not running, but I think it was the right thing to do. Beth though I was lazy, but I needed some downtime.

The only other thing worth mentioning right now is that I'm thinking about changing my on-line log site. Currently I'm using FavoriteRun. This site is pretty good except load times for maps can be long, and there are too few graphs available plus I'm paying $12/year for the site. Lately I've run across a site: RunningAhead that looks pretty good and I might just go to it if they can convert my currently log. Does anyone out there have any experience with RunningAhead? It looks like it really took off when CoolRunning merged. Any input would be helpful. BTW - isn't it scary how Cool Running has become a ghost town? I remember back when that was the site to be on; you could ask ANY question and get a hundred answers within minutes, now looking at their forums, you're luck to see a single post in an hour or two.....

Keep Steppin'


Monday, November 3, 2008

Month End Summary (October 2008)

Well it's hard to believe that another month has past for this year already. In a blink of an eye I look up and see the year almost over and myself a year older. But really it's not that bad - my family is great! Alex seems to be doing well in his first year of High School, Abby if finally coming around after the move, and Cade is just classic! He's at an age where he really fun to watch.

In regards to my running this month, I feel pretty good. I logged quite a few mile for me and I seemed to get stronger as the month went along. I set some short-terms goals, and accomplished a few PB's so I really can't complain. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Total miles for month (PB): 61.58
2. Avg Pace: 10:02 per mile
3. Total time on the road: 14:12.41 (PB)
4. 74% of days spent running (PB)
5. 14-day-in-a-row running streak (PB)
6. 1.81 miles per outing

Personally, I think I could have done more during the month even though I did log PB's in several areas. The 1.81 mile per run is kind of wimpy, but it did increase over September. I do need to be careful not to try to increase pace and distance too rapidly otherwise I'll burn myself out.

Looking ahead, I do want to try to continue building for Thanksgiving. My body feels pretty strong except for an ongoing case of heartburn. Lately it's been really bad and I'm not sure what to do. I've tried altering my diet a little, not do situps, drink more water, etc but nothing seems to work for relief. If it continues over the next few weeks, I'll have to schedule an appointment to get checked out.

Keep steppin'

Friday, October 31, 2008


Well tonight is Halloween - growing up I was always grounded by my parents on this night, so it really doesn't hold anything special for me in memories. Don't get me wrong, there are a few memories that are good on this night, but overall I spent most nights in my room paying for something stupid that I did. Tonight we're having some family and friends over so the kids can trick-or-treat together with parent supervision. We make chili, drink a few beers and just generally 'kick' back as the kids go crazy. Alex is coming over tonight also, and he keeps asking me what we are doing - I completely forgot it was Halloween when I spoke with him. "Oh nothing, we're just going to hang out at home." Was my response. Anyway he's in trouble with his mom - he had an MySpace page without her knowledge and then he lied to her about it. (Yeah he's grounded - kind of ironic isn't it?)

Now to my running; it's going really well - I've logged 60 miles this month for a PB, I'm now on a 12-day consecutive running streak which is also a PB. I'm averaging low 10 min miles for the month, which is :38 seconds per mile faster than my September average. Body is feeling pretty good, not too tired or sore, so I imagine that I can continue on with my training at this pace for the next few weeks - then I'll have to 'tweak' some runs to get ready for Thanksgiving. I'm hoping to put in about 7 more miles this week before Sunday - I'm just not sure when that's going to happen. I'm hoping for some time tonight, but it's going to be tight (time wise).

On the weight front - I weighed in at 210.8 last night (not too bad; 5 lbs down 10 to go before Thanksgiving) The 180 lb weight is going to be a stretch though. I'm thinking 190-185 is more realistic for my frame. Plus Beth always tells me that she doesn't want me too skinny. :) (yeah that sounds like an excuse.) I'll keep everyone posted on my progress (or failure).

Finally as I've mentioned before I love my iPod during my nightly runs - last night I actually listened Mariah Carey's Bye Bye. Now I really hate her and her music, but Beth LOVES this song so I figured I'd listen to the words..... Beth (because I KNOW you are reading,) I get it now. I love you.

Keep Steppin'

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Looking Ahead

Last night and today I've spent some time looking towards the future, not the the distant future, but that which will occur in the next 2-4 months. I wanted to get it straight in my head of what I really want to accomplish in regards to my running and to what level I want to take my commitment to. I've been torn on how to plan and set goals due to the lack of time during the day. So today I've come up with a plan and some goals:

1. Run the Thanksgiving 5k. This has always been my plan, but originally my race goal has been to run it in a sub 33 min. That hasn't changed, BUT I'm adding a 'stretch' goal here with a sub 31 min run. I've mentioned before I'll be running this with Alex and Eddie. Alex will run this in approximately 24 mins, Eddie right now I have no clue. Back in July he pulled me in at 36 mins but I think 31 mins is pushing it for him. I'll submit a full race report (hopefully with pictures) after this event.

2. Run a 60 mile month in November. This is pretty straight forward - I might do this for October, but November is the key here. Right now my legs feel pretty strong, and everyday I feel like I'm getting stronger.

3. Get down to 200 lbs by Thanksgiving. That's about 13 lbs right now as we speak. Last week I lost 3 lbs so this is (in theory) an doable goal. I'm sick to my stomach knowing I've inched up to 213 lbs. Also I've read somewhere that for every pound you lose you'll decrease your mile time by 3 seconds. (Could I really get down to a low 8 min mile by losing the weight and training?) I'll run a mile TT the day after Thanksgiving and write a report.

Looking into December:

1. Run at least 55 miles in the month of December. (Now I may increase this once I'm getting close to finishing November, but I want to make this realistic for the time being.)

2. Run a sub 30:30 before by 37th birthday on 12/29/08. Also I'll run a 5k training TT on my birthday and submit a report on how that goes.

3. Run the x-terra 5k Crystal Cove race in mid December. I've never run a trail race before so I'm not sure what to expect, but I think this would be a good experience, and a challenge for me. Right now I don't have any expectations for this race so no target time is listed right now, but maybe sometime next month I'll get out there and run this course to get a feel for it. Last year's winning times reflect a VERY tough course. I'll post a race report along with pictures here also.

Now beyond the end of the year, I haven't really decided what to do just yet. May of 2009 has a 1/2 Mary that is local that I've always wanted to run (I always choose the 5k here). So maybe I'll start gearing towards that. Or I will continue to try to lower my 5k times..... Honestly I think I have some speed left in me and could log a low 20 min 5k with more (serious) training. The weight would have to continue to come off for this to happen, but I think I can do that. Also I have to plan for our family trip in Feb 2009. Maybe I can find a run in Maui during that time.

Keep Steppin'

Monday, October 27, 2008

Week Ending Summary 10/25/08

This week has been good for me. In terms of running I set several PR in training, and the family life is going well also.

Here's a quick summary:

Miles Run this Month (so far) : 46.22 (3rd highest in past 12 months)
Total Miles for week ending 10/25/08 : 22.14 (2nd longest distance in the past 16 weeks)
Avg Pace (running only) : 10:06
Best Pace (running only) : 9:14 (does not include splits)


2. Ran a 30:50 5k training run on 10/25/08. Was pulled along by Alex through pretty much the whole course. Note: this is the exact same course I'll be running on Thanksgiving where my race goal is a sub 33 min 5k.

Other notes of interest: I'm now averaging 1.71 miles per outing , whereas last month it was 1.55. This number includes my lunch/family walks so it's nice seeing that slowly creep upwards in addition to my mile time slowly creeping downwards. I'll have to make sure I don't overdo it over the next four weeks though so I don't burn myself out. Another note of interest is that in addition to the consecutive 8-day running streak I'm on is that I've now run 17 of the 25 days in the month! Can I continue this? I should be able to until at least Thanksgiving.

Talking about this, I'm going to have to find another run after Thanksgiving to set my sights on. I don't want to fall into a trap of just shooting for Thanksgiving and not continue on after that date. There is another 5k run I'm eyeballing for mid December but it's a trail run and I've never done a racing trail run before. So I'm wary of that (I really don't want to be outclassed). But then again it's in North Laguna above Crystal Cove which is one of my favorite places. Last year's winner for my age group was 29:49! So I know it's a tough course. Maybe I can get out and try running it before Thanksgiving. 28:45 won the whole thing.
As for my Thanksgiving run, I'm keeping my sub 33 min goal because I still feel that's a good time to shoot for. I'll be running with Eddie (a friend) who pulled me around the 4th of July run in Ladera Ranch this past year. Our time wasn't very good but he stayed with me while I struggled. This time around I think I'm in better shape than he is so I'll do the same for him. You never know though with Eddie - he's an x-marine so he could just kick my ass also. (I do know he's really not running right now, nor has he given me any training times.) I'm planning on taking the camera this year to try to get some shots so I can post them here.
Finally, Alex challanged me to a weight loss contest - if I get down to 180 lbs by our Hawaii trip in mid Feb 2009 he'll shave his head. Currently I'm at 213 lbs and I KNOW he's doesn't even dream I can get close. That will be a good goal for me to try to achieve. Now I really don't want him to shave his head, but I would like him to cut it so I can see his eyes......

Friday, October 24, 2008

Log entry 10/24/08

Yesterday was another good day in terms of my workouts. Once again I was able to do two of them (one at lunch, the other after the kids were asleep.) Walking during the day is becoming my refuge from the office craziness. We are getting ready to move the facility into a larger building, but upper management hasn't done a good job in planning even though we have an outside consultant in to help us.

So without further ado:

Miles: 1.56
Avg Pace: 18:55
Time: 29:32


Miles: 2.21
Avg Pace: 9:45
Time: 21:35

The run was the exact same route I did the day before, the only difference was that I ran the whole distance this time. My legs are a little tired I haven't logged 15 miles in a week since July this year, and I'm starting to feel it. Even so I'm not worried, I still feel pretty strong.

Keep Steppin'

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Log entry 10/23/08

Yesterday was a good day for me. I got out twice and felt pretty good each time. (Now granted one 'outing' was walking but I still consider that good. The day my heart rate doesn't rise when I go for a walk, will be the day I stop logging my walks.)

Miles: 1.56


Avg Pace: 19:20

Time: 30:10


Miles: 2.21
Avg Pace: 10:07
Time: 22:22

With Wednesday complete I'm sitting at 11.46 miles for the week and 34.54 miles for the month. Both are pretty solid numbers for me over the past year. This being said, I'd like to reach about 15 miles this week and 40+ for the month so that completely in the realm of possibility. Physically I feel pretty good, my legs are sore and tired but not to the point where I can't walk. They just feel heavy right now - because of this the rest of my runs this week will be very slow paced and geared to help with my recovery. As I get older, I've noticed that recovery runs are more vital to success (just as most of 'Running" books explain).

I will be running the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k again this year. This will be about the umpteenth time I run this event in it's history, and this will be the first time I run it with Alex. Now of course he's shooting for a sub 24 min 5k where as I'm looking at a sub 33 min time - so we really won't be running it together but at least he'll be there. So far my training is on track for my goal at this race so I'm feeling pretty good.

Keep Steppin'

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Getting Old

I still can remember what it feels like to run fast. It's been almost 20 years though, but I still remember how it feels like It was yesterday. Back then ('then' is just sometime in the past; I really don't try to quantify 'then' anymore.) I used to run track and x-country, low 5-min miles were common for me. Mid 5 min splits were common on longer runs also. If fact I was even able to clock a 1:49 800 meter in competition once.

Those days are long gone, and just now I'm realizing that they will never come back. It's almost sad when I dwell on that thought, but I try to push it down somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind when it does pop its nasty head up. Lately though I've let that thought linger during my runs, maybe it's because I've been running with my 14 year old son Alex recently (who's already faster than I was at his age), or maybe it's looking down and seeing a stomach for the first time in my life that I can't get rid of without cutting my diet, or even maybe it's reviewing my running logs over the past 3-5 years that has led me to this conclusion. (Personally I think it's a combination of all of these)

What disturbs me the most isn't the fact that my waistline is expanding, or that my times don't seem to reflect my effort level(s). But the fact somewhere in the back of my head it's ok to be slower than I once was. That 'acceptance' of being a slower runner is slowly creeping into my workouts and that's something I've never dealt with before. I know that it's slowing me down gradually over time, and somehow it's become acceptable. Does this happen to every runner over time? I'd hate to think it does - and I really don't want to make it acceptable, the problem then becomes an issue for time and quality of my workouts along with a better diet and smarter resting periods.
Do I really want to become so strict in my running again just to prove that "I've still got it"? That's the ultimate question......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Joys of Running!

Oh the joys of running! The other day I couldn't wait to got out for a run only to discover once I was out I really didn't want to run THAT bad.......

Legs were tight, sore and tired still I cranked out an 8:44 for the first mile (too bad it was almost all downhill). That would have been a PR for me if I was only running a mile (I don't count splits for PR's). My second mile was horrible; first thing is on this particular route is the first half of this mile is entirely uphill. Now this uphill is totally undetectable if you're cycling or even driving (if you could on this trail) but running...... OMG! It's brutal. Second, my breathing was really ragged. I mean I could hear myself over my iPod! The two poor girls ahead of me must have thought I was dying or something - at the very least I scared the living crap out of them by their reaction when I passed them (Yeah I said passed.) At this moment I would like to apologize for scaring you two, but really I could hear BOTH of you talking and laughing down the street and around the corner over NIN's Closer blaring through my headphones. Finally, as I mentioned my legs felt like old tree stumps; usually that feeling goes away after the first few minutes but the 'dead leg' syndrome lasted the whole run.

Oh the joys of running!

BTW I was .08 seconds off a PR - there's always next time.

Keep steppin'

Monday, October 20, 2008

Log entry 10/19/08

Well this weekend didn't really go as planned when it comes to my running. First Alex calls me up on Friday to tell me he doesn't want to spend the night but rather go to the football game. (I knew this day was coming, it just kinda feels wierd once it happens.) SO rather then going running by myself I was a lazy ass and stayed home with the family.

Saturday was really busy - I left the house at 11:00 am and wasn't back until 11:00 pm.
Sunday Beth, Cade, Abby and I went for a walk. I carried Cade on my back and at times even pushed Abby.
Miles: 2.57
Avg Pace: 20.49
Time: 53:32

This is a very difficult course with some massive hills over the first 1.5 miles. Toting Cade on my back was really tough.
I love walking with everyone - the extra time I get to spend with Beth is nice. Rather than her going out shopping or me watching sports all day we got to at least 'catch up' with each other for this hour.
Weather was really nice, some hawks were being bothered by come crows and were making loud noises overhead but not much else was happing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Log entry 10/16/08

I got out twice yesterday - once for a walk during lunch, then for a quick two miler at night.

Miles: 1.56
Time: 12:30
Avg Pace: 19:39
Total time: 30:40

Beautiful day too bad I had to work. This would have been a nice day to call in sick and go for an extended ride. I need to get the bike out and put some mile in on it.

Miles: 2.0
Time: 8:45
Avg Pace: 9:52
Total Time: 19:45

A couple of things happened on this run:
1. Legs felt really heavy over the first half mile then didn't bother me at all afterwards - this has never happened to me before in 30+ years of running.
2. I ran a sub 9 min mile over the first mile. This hasn't happened over multiple mile runs in quite a long time. It was nice seeing that when I looked down.
3. I ran a sub 20 mile 2 mile run. Once again this hasn't happened in quite a while.
4. Even though I struggled breathing due to my total lack of conditioning, I was able to move more fluidly during the run.

Keep Steppin'

Night Running

I love running at night - being a guy and living in a relatively save area I have little concern over being hurt. Now I don't encourage others to run in the dark especially in areas that aren't considered safe but if you have the opportunity I would highly recommend it.

My night running consists of concrete trails with little or no foot traffic, no streets, good lighting, and a good neighborhood. Why do I run at night? basically it's because of my schedule. I get up for work sometime before 5:00 am and get home around 4:00 pm. During lunch sometimes I squeeze in a 30 mins walk (we have 30 min lunches). Once I'm home I like to spend time with the family - my wife Beth is usually frazzled by this time with the little ones and is trying to cook dinner so I'll attempt to distract them long enough for dinner to happen. After dinner, I'll help Abby with her homework (2nd grade) and then lately we've been going out for a family walk of about a mile before it gets dark. Back home it's time to get ready for bed, then the kids are put down by 8:00 pm. So naturally I'll go running sometime after 8:00 pm. :)

Now don't get me wrong - over weekends I'll throw in some morning and afternoon runs, but I'd say about 90% of my runs are logged in the evenings. I find that it's a good time to go out (Beth gets some 'bath' time to herself) and I can get centered and relaxed during my run.
The next thing I will say is that I LOVE my iPod. All the hard-core runners out there are going to kill me, but this is the greatest invention made in the past 20 years for runners. I can't tell you how many times in the old days I would go out first with a walkman (battery issues), then a CD player (battery plus skipping issues). I would say to myself "Why can't they come up with something you can put different songs on? Something like a tape player where you can record different artists? I'm really getting tired of listening to the same 12 tracks of Whitesnake every time I go out for a run...." Now the purist out there will say that I shouldn't "block out" the world around me when I run - hey sometimes I run without my iPod, but I really like listening to my 400+ songs I have loaded on it.
Keep Steppin'

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My City

I've lived in Southern California almost my whole life. Born and raised in South Laguna had it's privileges - growing up I was able to travel, went to private schools, and enjoyed having a car at a very early age (That I didn't have to pay for). Yeah I know I was very spoiled but I didn't even know it. In fact, even now I'm still spoiled, and somehow my wife and I rubbed our dimes together and took advantage of the housing market downturn recently and purchased a actual house.

Now my family lives in Ladera Ranch California the community smashed in between the city for the TV shows "Real Housewives of Orange County" and "Laguna Beach", these rolling hills were a 'playground' for me and my friends growing up - I can still remember the small pond very close to where my new home sits, its where my friends and I used to play with the tadpoles and frogs. The pond has long since disappeared, and the rolling hills have either been plowed or groomed, but some of the trails like the I have pictured still remain and criss-cross the community.

Now normally I don't trail run these days for several reasons:

1. Allergies, Allergies, and Allergies

2. My ankles are really weak from playing soccer for so many years - I can't tell you how many times I've sprained them.

3. The trails here on the rolling coastal hills are a pain in the ass. Forget about any timed runs here - concentrate on just surviving unless your an elite running (or just crazy)

4. In the summer the heat on these trails are a bitch - even though you can see the ocean from a lot of the local trails, it gets hot (ok not Texas hot, or even Navada hot), but as you can see, there is no shade and these days I sweat like a pig when I run.

I personally like running on the streets and pathways now, and that was one huge reason why I chose Ladera - they were well know in my parts for putting together a master community that revolved around the family. My particular neighborhood was built at the 'green' neighborhood that includes solar panels, electric hookups for cars, walking paths tot he parks, stores, school and other centers most of these paths don't even cross a street and if they do it a 2-lane road.

The next couple of posts I'll try to include pictures of my actual runs - and thoughts.

Keep Steppin'


Monday, October 13, 2008

Getting Started

I've decided to log my daily running thoughts/expirences here on this blog. Having never really done anything like this, I'm not sure how this is going to work out.

Today isn't my first day running nor will it be my last. That being said, I'm really just a mid-of-the-pack runner who is getting older and a little slower but I still enjoy getting out there and running.

It's been 22 years since I laced my first pair of running shoes up and I can still remember my first pair: New Balance in a burnt orange. They were hand-me-downs from my x-country coach who had convinced me to run for the squad since they were short people to field a team. (We only had 8 runners including myself.) And ever since that first run, running has given me something I can't express really in words, and that expression has changed over the years, and in fact changed almost every time I lace up my shoes.

On this blog I hope to capture some of this feelings and expirences and share them with you in a somewhat interesting manner. I have choosen this time to write because my oldest child is entering High School and just recently has started running (and posting) faster times then myself.

Welcome! And enjoy the journey!