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!