Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Look for a New Year



I've created a new look for my Blog today - Please give me some feedback, if I get compaints I'll switch back to the old style.  I just thought this was easier to read, and its easier for me to use.  I'm not sold on the colors so I'm up for suggestions.
Tonight I'll write about my Brooks and my run today.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2nd ABHBLD 5k Run - RACE REPORT

Well it getting late, but I wanted to squeeze this race report in before I go upstairs, shower and get some shuteye. Before I start, I do want to thank those who wished me a great and wonderful Birthday. I think yesterday's was the best birthday I've ever had. Surrounded with my family, I couldn't have been happier.

That being said, I didn't actually run my 'race' on my birthday. The day started out very nice, got up early and was on the golf course by 8:00 am. Our tee time was at 8:30 so I got in a little putting which helped me. I shot a 16 over, 10 over on the front nine and 6 over on the back for an 87. That's pretty good for me. Considering that I was 5 over on a two hole stretch on the front nine I'll take the 87 any day. Getting home at around 2:30 pm, I had to drop off two of the kids with Beth, and go pick up the third at my Ex's. An hour later I made it home, got in a little stock work in even though the market had already closed and then showered and made our way over to my parents for dinner. Long story short, I got home after 9 pm and was just a little too tired to go out and make a serious stab at a 5k PR so I waited until today.

In direct contrast to yesterday's 80 degree and sunny weather, today was overcast, drizzle and 52 degrees. I like running in this stuff every once in a while; it reminds me of my senior year in High School traveling up to Big Bear for soccer training. We'd do a training week up there in altitude for conditioning purposes - it was always COLD and wet. Running in this stuff always brings me back to that time. It's nice, but only if it once in a blue moon - I'm a Southern California fan through and through. Shoot I was wearing my flip-flops yesterday. :)



As you can see it's not a particularly difficult course, but it's no cake-walk either. Today for my RACE I did start at the 1 mile marker instead of the actual start, the reason for this? It's because the 1 mile marker is the closest to my house and I used the distance between as my warm up and cool down. Anyway, the first mile went really well, I felt pretty good even though my back was sore from playing golf yesterday, I knew I had a sub 30:00 in my legs - running in my new birthday mock turtleneck running shirt, nike sleeves, and gloves I actually felt a little 'overdressed'. Usually I make fun of runners that looked like me today but I didn't care, in fact no one was out so it just made me feel better, I was braving the elements to get his run in.

Mile 1 split was 9:23 - not too bad, the first hill grouping was finished and I was feeling strong. Water was dripping of my hat, and my watch was soaked (secretly I was worried about it breaking), but I plodded along attacking the second uphill mile. Clocking a 9:30 here I knew that the final stretch was all downhill and I could really push myself since I feel good. My breathing was coming harder but at least my heart wasn't going to jump out of my chest or decide to quit on me, so I opened myself up more than I have done since I tore both of my hamstrings back in 2004. I put in a 8:32 third mile feeling like I could have gone even faster. At this point my lungs were starting to hurt a little and my left arch was starting to cramp up, but I pushed out the final tenth of a mile and clocked a 28:04! Yeah a PB by about :20 seconds! I had just missed my stretch goal by :04 seconds - and I had it in me. Still I learned a few things tonight.

1. I can go faster much faster, I just a little scared that I'm going to hurt myself. Mentally I'll have to gt over this. When I started to push during the third mile I felt my hammies pull a little, but they didn't give out. Surprising that mentally I'm still a little scared.

2. I need to get my core stronger if I'm going to get faster. It's sore now afterwards. Beth has been trying to get me to start Pilates - for some reason I'm holding back.

3. My hard work is paying off - since last year my PB pace per mile for the 5k distance has lowered from approx 9:56 per mile to 9:04 per mile. That a :52 second difference per MILE! Or approx 3 min difference over the total distance! Could I make these kinds of strides in 2010? That would put me down at around a 25 min 5k. I would be very pleased with that.

4. The pain I feel making a PB really isn't that bad - I've felt much worse (see my 8 mile run entry.) I can ignore this and go faster.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas - if you did run this virtually with me, feel free to give me your times, age and splits (if you have them) and I'll put together a good post with links to your blogs for your reports. (If you want). Have a fun and safe New Year.

Keep Steppin'
Bob


PS - I'm going to do an update on my Brooks for my next post. I just hit 500 miles in them I wanted to give you an update.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Finishing the Year - and 'Other Stuff'

Well the year is almost over and tomorrow is my 2nd Annual Birthday Race (2nd ABHBLD 5k Run for short). (See this for last year's report). Even though I through out the challenge for people to join me tomorrow, I haven't been contacted by anyone that they will show up. Hmmmm I don't know if I should be depressed or ecstatic that I'll be first overall again this year. Last year I completed this in 30:45 missing my goal time of 30:30. So to set my goal I look a gander at my log and noticed that I've only run this particular course three times, two of these have been races:

7/4/08 - 36:27 (RACE)
12/26/08 - 32:10 (TRAINING)
12/29/08 - 30:45 (RACE, last years' ABHBLD 5k Run)

Funny I haven't run this course this past year. I was going to run in on the 4th of July, but they changed that 5k course this past year. I didn't blog about that race but long story short, I thought I was going to run this course and didn't check the web site before I left. Beth brought the kids to the lower end of the 'old' course (closest to our house) while I went out for a warm up. I didn't know the course had changed until we took a left turn instead of a right turn. Poor Beth and the kids never saw me since they weren't on the course...... It took a while for me to live that one down. :)

Back to tomorrow's plan, I'm planning on running this after 8 pm tomorrow since I'll be playing golf, and then having a birthday dinner at my parents. I might try to squeeze it in after my golf game but I might not have the time to do that. I'm going to have to play it by ear, but that's ok since I'll be running alone.....

Race goal time is going to be a PB attempt to break 28:27 (9:11 pace) which ironically was set at that 4th of July race I mentioned above. Yesterday on a different course (slightly longer and steeper) I clocked a 9:13 pace over 3.19 miles so I think this is totally possible on this course. My stretch goal tomorrow is going to be a sub 28 mins. I really don't think I can do this because I haven't really trained for a sub 28 but physically I feel pretty good so I'm going to throw it out there as a stretch.

Naturally I'll post a race report so please stay tuned, I'll try to get it up within 24 hrs.

On to training - I basically took the week off. I'm not sure why I tend to take complete weeks off and I really want to change this tendency about my training this upcoming year. After tomorrow's race, I'm going into 10k training mode, with plans to up my mileage to 30 miles per week for the next 10-12 weeks. The 10k I'm planning to sign up for will be Newport's Spirit Run in late March. So far I don't have a race goal, but I'll set that after the New Year.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


I don't have really anything much to say. Running this last week has been slim to none. I did get in a golf game and I'll be playing again next week. I really just wanted to take the time to all my readers to wish them a very Merry Christmas.


Keep Steppin'
Bob

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Distance PB Made!

Yesterday I set out to conquer some of the 'ridge' hills I have around my house. I've mentioned them in other posts before; looming 200-300 feet high they are pretty much straight up/down. Really there wasn't a reason to hit these hills, and in fact I didn't know I was going to run them until I made a turn toward them in the first half mile once I stepped out the front door.

After scaling the first two miles at an 11:55 pace, I decided that since my time sucked I might as well go for a distance PB. I talked about trying for a distance PB in my last post and I knew that this was the day I was going to get my chance. Beth was watching the kids and the weather was beautiful for a mid December. So I stared plotting a new route in my head. Something to get me to 8 miles. Continue straight here, turn right, straight, right, left, add that loop and another hill. Before I knew it I was home. 1:40:35 - the last two miles were painfully slow with a ton of walking mixed in, but I did finish the course I had set in my head. The only question was did I map out the distance correctly in my head? I've always prided myself in being able to gauge distances - even back in HS riding my bike to my girlfriends house - I knew I was going 13 miles. Running to soccer practice 6 miles, riding to my friends house 10 miles. It really didn't matter where or how, I just knew how far it was. Now I couldn't wait to map it out. (see below)




I was .03 off! Wow! What a great run. Slow, but a good run. We'll see how I feel tomorrow morning and how I recover over the next few days.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Friday, December 18, 2009

800 Miles in a Wimper

Not exactly what I had planned for my 800th mile for the year, but I'll take it. Walking the girls to school this morning I clicked over 800 mile mark. No fireworks, no really good story, shoot Cade just wanted to get home so he could go pee. Still I'm happy that I reached this goal this year.

Since the year is coming to a close, I've come up with my goals for next year. Without further ado:

1. Run my first half marathon on Memorial Day. Sub 2:15:00 race goal.
2. Run a 10k in March - Sub 60:00 min race goal.
3. Run/Cycle/Walk 900 miles - stretch goal 1000 miles.
4. Run a 5k race on 4th of July - sub 28:00 min race goal.
5. Consecutive day streak - 25 days.
6. Run a 'long run' of 10+ miles.
7. Run/Cycle/Walk 120 miles in one month.
8. Become much more consistent overall - (example: every month total mileage ie 40+) I don't want to have such wild swings off my average.
9. Get my weight below 185.

All of these would be PB's except #8 since I can't really track that.

There's a few other things I'm eyeing, like a few more races, and maybe even another half sometime next year but beyond what I'm listing, I think I should be good for the upcoming year. I just want to run injury free and enjoy myself, but at the same time push myself a little more this upcoming year and see if my mile times start coming down. This is my last year in the under 40 group so I want to make it count.

The other night I took Bogey out and we did 6.8 miles pretty easily. I actually ran up a few hills that I couldn't make it up earlier in the year. If fact one hill at the 6 mile mark I've never run up until this run, ad even though it hurt I still made it up with extra in my legs. So I'll take that as a win this week. Overall my pace was 10:05 per mile which was right in the middle of my target pace for a long run. Afterwards I could feel my legs were tired but not too bad. The following day (yesterday) I was sore but nothing I couldn't handle. I'm thinking sometime next week I'm going to shoot for a 8 mile distance for a PB to close out the year. That with my upcoming attempt at a 5k PB on my birthday should close out a good year.

Looking back, I didn't quite progress like I wanted to, but really it's tough when I haven't been consistent like I wanted. Below is a graph out of my log book - it's my overall monthly mileage for the last 24 months. You can see what I'm talking about regarding consistency.

My graph

Really What I'd like to see is me 'beating' the mileage for the month that is 'dropping' off this chart. This will begin to start in March of next year. Until then I want to log over 40 miles in Jan and Feb to try to keep my average up. I'll post this again in July to show my progress. I'm putting stock into this metric for the upcoming year because I believe that if this graph does continue to climb my overall times will decrease. In fact I think I'll be in a better position (stronger) to start more tempo runs this upcoming year. If you notice the overall percentage of my tempo runs are almost nil. I did that on purpose because I wanted to spend the last two years building a solid foundation, lose weight, and make running a part of my life again. 2010 has always been my goal year in regards to distance and speed. I'll just have to see how it plays out.

Another graph I wanted to share that I look at quite a bit recently is my overall time spent running/walking/cycling - see below:

My graph

My goal here is to really have the whole 30 days over 1:00:00 or 30 hours of workout time for the month. Once again consistency this upcoming year is going to be important to me. I'll post this again in July for comparison.

Switching gears I wanted to once again take time to say Hello and Welcome to my new readers, and everyone who has started following me from FB. Thanks for taking the time and reading what I have to say. As long as I get more readers I'll continue to write about my progress - I might take time off here and there but I'll always be around. I'm starting to see quite a few more hits on this site which means to me that what I'm writing is either helpful, funny, or at least interesting. Thanks!

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Closing in on a Major Goal

The title pretty much tells it all - I'm closing in on a major mileage goal I set for myself at the start of the year; 800 total miles. After my walk this morning I'm within 10 miles of that goal and should hit it later this week. It's hard to believe that I'm going to reach this since it's a stretch goal. (600 miles was my actual goal.)

There is a ton of room for improvement on this though. Next year I'm looking to log 1000 - 1200 miles. Consistency is my goal next year - I now have 12 months of solid base that I can build on, and I'm pretty sure I can reach this goal next year. But before I can look into next year I want to finish this one strong.

None of this could happen without my wonderful wife - Beth. She puts up with the late night runs (and even later showers). She'll drive me to some location to let me ride my bike home, and lets me 'take off' while she watches the kids. I can't thank you enough Honey for your support.

Switching gears - I promised a few pics from our Yosemite trip last month. I have all the pic uploaded to my fb account (100+ pictures) but I wanted to put a few of my favorites here (since I DID promise). Even though I didn't get the chance to get a run in up there we did bike and did a lot of hiking. That week I logged about 20 miles and I think half of that was done in the Valley. As a family we had a great time and I'm very thankful we made the drive up there even though on the ride home poor Cade had an "accident" and we didn't even know for about 2 hrs..... Ahhh the memories. :)


The Valley Floor


I love this picture - even though Beth has 'Shrek' hands

At the bottom of Yosemite Falls


Abby all bundled up


Had to do the 'Standard' Yosemite picture

Keep Steppin'

Bob

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Good Day

Things are going rather smoothly recently. Training runs are clicking along and physically I feel pretty good. Will I be able to say this by the end of the week? Tough to say but for now I'm glad everything is going well.

Couple of notes: Use a rolling pin on your lower legs after your runs. If you are like me and have horrible flexibility, I'm finding this is helping me on following runs. I've mentioned before that sometimes I get bad cramping in my arches, well my lower legs are actually the problem. Just roll your calves and shins for about 5 mins and you'll feel 100% better on your next run.

It's about time for my Annual 5k Birthday Run, this year I'd like to invite anyone in spitting distance to join me - 29th (Tuesday)of December. This is an interesting race, no support officials, no water stations, no crowd, no expo, no photo ops, shoot the course isn't even closed to traffic. I haven't set a time yet because I understand that the date is a Tuesday, but if you feel inclined to join me drop me a note. Remember this isn't another training run - this is an year end race on an official course (it's been used locally before for some big races). I'm not asking you to join me in a training run, but to BEAT me in a race. I will supply maps on-line and at the start if people do come. If not, I guess I'll will this event fr the second year in a row. Final note, for those who are saying' "I live too far away." No excuse, I have two queen size pullouts and a bedroom that will be open. I'll let you spend the night for free and if you do stay, I'll make dinner also.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, December 14, 2009

Morning Running

This morning's run was really nice - a little cold for Southern California (48 degrees), but still nice. As usual I walked the kids to school and then took Cade out for a 4 miler. My pace was really slow - 10:42 per mile but I wanted that because yesterday's runs were 9:40 and 9:55 each. So I'm pleased with how my legs responded this morning.

I've decided 100% to run a half marathon in May, so I'll be running a 5k later this month and then a 10k in March. Beyond that I'm planning on upping my mileage to about 5-6 per day with long runs extending out to 8-9 miles. Starting in Feb 2010 I'll be following a 16 week half marathon plan (I haven't picked on out just yet, but I'll start looking at a few here sometime this week.) Right now I think I could really do a 2:15:00 half without too much trouble so maybe after the first of the year I'll re-evaluate this time and stretch this to a sub 2:10:00 (sub 10 min miles). I think that realistic for a race distance I haven't done in over 20 years.....

Since it's about year's end I'm going to post my 2010 goals soon. In addition to the above half, I'm really going to kick up my training this year. I'll be 39 years old at the end of this month and I want to see what this body can do if I really take care of it, and push myself a little harder. So one of my goals this year is to drop my remaining weight. I want to get down to 185 lbs before my May half. That's only 5 lbs a month with I'm sure is a reasonable goal. With a few adjustment to my diet and an increase in my mileage I should be able to do that easily. I'll keep everyone posted on my progress (BTW I'm sitting at 203 right now.)

Don't worry I'll post my complete 2010 Goal List later this week.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where has the year disappeared to?

Lately I've been very bad about bloging about my experiences. Maybe because I feel that I don't have anything very interesting to write about but more likely it's just because I've been feeling lazy. That's not a good excuse and I wanted to take the time to apologize to everyone who faithly read my little blog. I promise to at least write about my mundane training runs on a more continual basis.

Ok with the apology out of the way - I have been running. Not as much as I want to (yea its the lazy thing again). Honestly life has gotten in the way recently for me. I've been spending a lot of time with my younger boy right now, cleaning the house and trying to learn / take instructional classes about stock trading. Now and then I do get a good run in so everything isn't lost in regards to my conditioning.

Just the other day I got without a kid or dog in tow and the weather was beautiful. Crystal clear with crisp air. I'm guessing the temp was around 55 but the sun was out without a cloud in the sky. Everything felt really good and my body responded to my run without any aches or pains. I live for these runs. After an hour I found myself back home and disappointed that the run was over. I could have gone another hour easily but I was out of time and needed to get the kids picked up from Grandma's.....

Other things I have going on is my laptop is on the fritz over the past few months. So far Dell has come out and replaced two touchpads and a HD. And STILL I'm having issues. Once this gets cleared up, I'll download pictures my my external HD and get them posted. I have Thanksgiving and Yosemite family pics I wanted to share. The colors in Yosemite was beautiful!

I'm slowly becoming addicted to FB. So I'm going to start linking this blog to my FB page and vice versa. Up to know I've kept them separate, but I guess the people I know can read this without me feeling too much shame..... :)

Final news is I've made up my mind and I'm going to run a half this May. My conditioning is good right now and I feel good about being able to finish without embarrassing myself.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Parent / Teacher Conference

Ahhh, I'm going to my daughter's conference on Thursday morning by myself (she's 8, third grade). This will be my first conference I've ever been to. (My ex-wife has gone to my 15 year old son's every time) What do I do? Do you just sit there and listen to what the teacher says? Do I come with a list of questions/concerns? Can I show up wearing my running gear so I can get in a three miler afterwards before I have to pick-up my kids at Grandma's?

Other note - I'm taking the family to a late season visit to Yosemite at the end of next week. Has anyone ever run the trails there? I'd like to squeeze in a couple of runs just so I can say I ran Yosemite.
Finally I'd like to welcome my 'new' readers - please check out their blogs. Everything I read are great follows and I love following your stories.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Slowly I'm Progressing

It's been about ten days since my last post (really?!?) and I've been really busy with both personal stuff, family, and my running. Currently I'm on pace for a 90 mile month so I'll have to pick it up this week if I want to hit that 100 mark again. Stroller runs ARE making me stronger, and I'm not doing enough running with my partner Bogey.

Have you ever heard of a dog bonking out on a run? Well that's exactly what happened to Bogey and I last weekend. My wife took our kids out to watch their cousin's football game and that left Bogey and I with a couple hours to burn, so I decided to go out on a 'longish' run. Now when I though of the ides I was thinking of a three miler, but within 2 mins of leaving the house I knew I could go for 7-10 by just how I felt. Immediately I changed course and set out for my longer loop that I could add to as we went. The loop itself is about 6.5 miles and the add on could increase this distance by at least 4-5 miles if I wanted to. Weather wise it was kind of hot for this time of the year (82 degrees) for the late afternoon but I wasn't worried about myself - but I should have been worried for my partner. (Small note: last attempt at this particular loop I myself crashed sometime last year.) About 2 miles into the run I noticed Bogey was lagging behind me, tongue rolling out of his mouth and panting hard. At first I thought it was because we had just past the Dog Park and he wanted to play, but very quickly I realized he was completely out of gas - so for the next 10 mins we waked so he could cool down and catch his breath. After that it was a slow jog downhill straight home, no addons, shoot we didn't even complete the loop (4.5 miles only). Still it got me thinking, I guess even dogs can have bad days.

My other runs have been good though - I'm still pushing Cade in the stroller and I'm getting quicker, below is my pace chart (weekly) in regards to my stroller runs. I'm impressed with myself because I'm not trying to increase pace here - just working on getting in longer more meaningful runs.

My graph

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A new PB in Distance.....


The picture is from Beth's Grandfather's house in Ill. He past away this past summer at the age of 90. It really doesn't have anything to do with the post, but I liked seeing his backyard again.

Well another week has already past and I wasn't thrilled with my effort in getting out the door this week. Because of this, I decided to go out and run 7 miles tonight just so I can say I put in a PB for distance.

I chose a location that I'm familiar with and easy to run - flat and fast. In fact I still have my 3 mile PB on this course from earlier this year. The course itself is a single mile loop that I decided to run 7 times. I wasn't sure if I was going to get bored running this loop over and over but I do enjoy people watching and this course does get a lot of foot traffic.......

Mile 1 split was 9:45 on the nose - a little faster than I had planned. My goal here was to run an average of a sub 11 min mile so I felt this was a little fast, but I felt really good and my breathing was coming easy. Because of this I decided to keep going at this pace to see how long I could hang on.

Mile 2 split was another 9:47. Still feeling really good. Now I NEVER bring along any water on my runs, but because I knew I was going 7 today I brought long a bottle that I was taking sips about every half mile. (It lasted until mile 6 so it worked out well.) I was worried that it would be too hard to keep pace carrying a water bottle, but it wasn't causing any problems.

Mile 3 split was unsure - I do know I was at 29:23 at the mile marker though - so I was still on pace and feeling pretty good. Right about here I started to eyeball a possible sub 10 min mile average. The first 30 mins seemed to click along rather quickly and with the sun starting to go down, my 'people watching' group was dwindling - soon I wouldn't have any distractions, would it make the final 5k difficult?

Mile 4 I really stopped watching splits - I was in around 39:40 though. Slightly slower, but I was still feeling good. Sun dipped below the ridge and the sunset was beautiful.

Mile 5 was around 49:30. Faster than mile 4, but I started hurting a little though. My bad knee (left) was a little sore under my messed up kneecap (old HS injury). By now the sun is gone and it's starting to get dark. I'm pacing myself by seeing where "Running Sucks" t-shirt guy is.....

Mile 6 I'm on the home stretch now and already know I'll be finishing under 1:10:00 - I feel that good. 59:50 at the marker and I start to pick up the pace a little.

Mile 7 - t-shirt guy is finished - couldn't hold our pace and I blow past him, now it's only the 'serious' runners out on the path and I'm starting to pick off some of the slower people. 1:09:45 at the finish, and I could have run another 5 without any difficulty. Maybe I should consider running races longer than 5k? I'll wait until my race pace is under 9 min miles though.

Overall I am very pleased with the run. All the stroller runs are making me stronger and keeping my everyday pace down that helps with my recovery. When I get out without the stroller and my 30 lbs kid I feel like I'm moving along without any difficulty. Pretty soon I'll have to start mixing in some speed work since I'm planning to keep my base around 120 mile per month. (I'm around 100 now.)

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, October 12, 2009

Solid Week

Well a new week starts today and I've just finished putting in a nice solid week last week. I've pretty much kicked my head cold but I'm still feeling a little congested.

This morning Cade and I went out for a little run after we dropped the girls off at school. Just a little small run to get the blood pumping. My pace was 9:36/mile so I'm feeling stronger running with the stroller.

A couple of things to note this week.
1. Distance goal: 30 miles
2. Attempt a PB at 10k distance.
3. Last month I finally broke 100 miles for run/walk/bike distance!

I was looking at my log this morning and realized that this PB has stood since early March. I'm pretty sure I can break 1:04 maybe even a sub 60. So this Saturday I'm going to make the attempt.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Been a Long Weekend.

I've had a pretty bad head cold since last Thursday. I'm not sure where it came from but I starting to feel better today. So because of the cold I didn't run either Saturday or Sunday and only did very minimal mileage on Thursday and Friday. Today I did get out this morning but the run was very difficult, I'm still having difficulty breathing through my nose, and my upper chest is a little congested still, but I'm going to try to get through the day without taking any medication.

Planning for Thanksgiving is going along well, with my PB in the mile the other day I'm leaning towards setting a PB goal for a 5k race then. I want to run a 2 miler sometime in the next week or so and see what pops up with that run then I'm going to set a time goal for the race.

My stocks last week took a pretty hard hit, but I'm working back this morning. The ISM Index report this morning was favorable so that helped us get off to a good start. FUQI is my big mover this morning up 1.46 at the time of this posting. Ten day high sits at 31 (current the stock is at 27.8) so I'm hoping for a larger jump in the next few days - I'm still being defensive overall until the Jobless Claims on Thursday come out. We really need to see this number turn - Got that Mr. President?

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Got To Love It!

Yesterday's run was good - as most of you know I currently run pushing my 3 year old during these outings......

Cade - Daddy, when will we be home?

Me - About 10 mins *puff puff*

Cade - What?

Me - I said about 10 mins, all we have to do is run up this hill.

Cade - What hill? That one? He points to a wilderness ridge that dominates out local skyline (It's about 600 ft high straight up)

Me - No, we're following the street today. (Silence, insert crickets here.)

Cade - Daddy?

Me - Yeah? *puff puff*

Cade - This isn't a hill.......

Damm I ran up the whole damm thing.


Keep Steppin'
Bob

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A PB Falls.

Well last night I decided that I was going to do my mile TT that I missed this last Saturday. I don't know why, but I've been nervous about this run since I started eyeballing a possible attempt at it about three weeks ago. I'm not sure why I had so much apprehension regarding this run but I'm thinking it's because I really didn't want to know where I was conditioning-wise . I know this might sound counter productive but in the back of my mind I was terrified that I wasn't going to better my PR and the thought of missing this PR was giving me fits. I've put in so many good runs (mentally gauged) that I was afraid that I wouldn't get results.

I started out with a 1.18 mile warm up - nice and easy because I wanted to see how my knee reacted to my cycling the night prior. It was fine, but then I was worried about my breathing. I felt sluggish and slow. Every step I took a little doubt and fear seeped into my mind so I took the warm up slow. After about 14 mins I crossed the starting point and picked up my pace. Lengthening my stride I began to struggle right away. I could feel the tired feeling in my legs - just an overall sluggishness as I tried to power myself up the first hill (approx 105 ft in elevation). Still I increased my stride turnover, and I couldn't even feel my bothersome knee. Hey a good sign! At the top of the course (half way) I was cruising along pretty well, glancing at my watch, I saw 3:50. "Hmm maybe I need to measure this course again", was my first thought. "No, I've run this a thousand times, the distance is right." Anyway the second half is uphill again, this time the route is a more subtle incline but it's higher, 150 feet elevation. Now I was struggling. "Come on - it's only a half mile and half of that is downhill." The hill seemed to last forever but soon I was over it and travelling downhill towards the finish. Slowly I was picking up speed and I took a quick glance at my watch: 6:55. "Damm that went by fast - I'm really going to have to push it." Then came the pain. about 400 meters out I put down the pedal and finished with an 8:15 mile. I finished up the night with a cool down 1.18 miles in 16:28 (yeah some walking).

The mile distance is interesting - and clocking an 8:15 on this hilly course I'm pleased with my results. Still, now I want a sub 8 min mile and I know I'll attempt this again before the year's out. Funny how that works.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, September 28, 2009

Change of Plans.....

I kind of changed things this weekend. My knee was still tender to the touch, so I decided not to run my planned mile TT. I'll reschedule this for sometime in the next week. Instead I took the opportunity to pull out the bike and go for a ride. I always forget why I don't ride more - I enjoy it so much and yesterday was no exception to this. I started pretty late (5:00 pm) and tried to 'race' home the setting sun. 19 miles later I made it home just after the run sun dipped beyond the ridge that dominates the skyline at my house. I can't even start to describe what the sky looked like and I didn't have my phone so I couldn't even try to capture a picture.

I'm pretty pleased at where I'm at with my conditioning right now. I have plenty of room to improve but I'm making good progress. I think I'm going to have to try for a PB on Thanksgiving, I'll be in a better position to gauge my goal once I get in that mile TT though so I'm waiting until I get that run in before I set any concrete goals for that race.

Stock wise, I got caught with RIMM stock last week and took a pretty big hit before I dumped it. I did capture back some of my losses by getting in on a option put with RIMM, but the damage was already done. Today is another day and the market is doing well and I'm about 1/3 of the way back as of right now so I'm doing ok. My buy stock today is YGE. Chinese solar stock that does pretty well fundamentals are ok, but I'm looking for a move off the $12 range up to about $16. The big investors are putting money into the account, and if I can capture just a single point here that would be nice.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beautiful Morning!

This mornings run was beautiful. The sun came out to a cloudless sky and the air was crisp (well as crisp as Southern California can be.) and what started out as a 3 miler quickly turned into a 4.5 mile run when I decided to take a right turn instead of a left on the upper end of my planned course. Cade as usual was catting away and I tried to keep up the conversation but it was hard. Pace overall was 11:08 not too bad for a stroller training run and I'm pleased with my results even if I had to walk a short uphill section for about :30 sec.

Saturday is going to be my last official attempt at a mile PB this year. I don't run this distance anymore on it's own, but with my increased mileage this year I think I might be able to break 8:44. The plan is to run a warm up 1.18 miles then do the TT and finish with an easy cool down of 1.18 miles. I'll still get in over 5k for the day and that should also get me over my weekly goal of 28 miles and get me very close to my monthly mileage goal of 79 miles. Physically I feel pretty good. My legs are a little tired but my recovery between runs seem to be OK. My left knee (my bad knee) is a little sore and yesterday I found out is hurts when I kneel on the tile to clean it. I know Beth I won't use this as an excuse to get out of cleaning the tile. :)

Tonight I'm filling in for softball (it's amazing they've asked me to play every game as a backup since I told them I wasn't going to play this season) The scabs on my knees just healed up this morning from the last double header we had - hopefully I won't have to dive too much tonight.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stoller Pacing

My graph

Pace for my stroller runs....

I'm improving on these runs, but I'm not sure if it's because I getting into better conditioning or if it's because I'm getting used to pushing the stroller. I'm guessing it's a little of both. Over the past few weeks - I feel like I'm getting stronger, and it's reflected in my pacing here.

Now please understand that I never start a training run with a pace in mind unless I'm planning on running a tempo run. Stroller runs have been strictly 'easy' runs on my calendar so effort wise I'm not trying to 'bust' these runs out so I feel good about my progress at this point in time. I still can't understand the runners in my races that pass me pushing someone at a 9 min pace. That to me is just a monster pace.

Maybe in a few months I'll re-run this report and publish it again. That may be interesting, hopefully I'll be pleased at the results then also.

Last night I got in a easy run with Bogey - I only went 2.2 miles, but that put me at 9 miles for the day so I was pleased with the effort here also. 10:29 was my pace so I was right where I wanted to be for this run. Even with my legs feeling really tired it was nice to run this with little effort.

This morning's run was only 1.6 miles - just enough to test out my legs after yesterday's big mileage. Tonight I'm planning an easy 5k which will put me over 70 miles for the month. My mileage goal this month is 79 miles so I'm well on pace to reach that goal and I feel pretty good about that.

Saturday is my mile TT date. 8:44 is my current PB and I really want to beat this. It's been sitting at this time for a while now (I haven't tried to break it to be honest) and I'm not feeling too confident right now in being able to beat this. Mainly because even though I've put in some good training runs over the past few weeks, I don't feel like the speed is there to break this yet. My weight hasn't gone down like I've expected and I think that's going to hold me back this weekend. (I'd rather be around 198 rather than 203). Oh well we'll see how it goes - I'll keep you posted.

Stocks are going well, I reached another cash out goal this morning (that's five this month, where I was only planning two). Right now I'm just sitting back and waiting for some purchases to move before I can cash them out. I'm guessing sometime before Friday I'll be making another cash out. Currently I have two different trading accounts, an IRA account that is non-taxable and setup for long term investments. On this account I'm also invested in companies that hand out dividends. My other account (which is much smaller by about 60%) I use for income. Here I work in $400.00 groups. Every $400.00 I make, $300 comes out as income and the other 25% get re-invested so I can grow this account to over 25k (for those who don't know 25k is the cutoff the government has created to let investors have unlimited day trades. Right now I'm only allowed 3 days trades in a 5 day period.) All this means is that I need to make sure I hold onto a stock overnight in most cases. Most of the time this is good because I can then catch the up gaps that have been occurring recently on this market's bull trend we've been having since March of this year.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

5 Miler in the Bank

Got out and pushed Cade for 5 miles this morning and it felt pretty good. The run was on a pretty hilly course and I did struggle, I even had to walk about :45 seconds at one point, but I'm sure this training is going to help me a ton later on. My pace was slow (11 min miles) so it's difficult looking at my log knowing I'm putting up these very slow times, shoot I even entered a new running category (stroller runs) so I know why the pace is so slow on these runs. That helps a little.

My legs feel good today - a little tired but not too bad overall. Conditioning is slowly getting better and I'm gaining confidence in my ability.

I've been slacking on my evening runs so far over the past several days which is unfair to my running buddie Bogey. He doesn't seem to mind too much but I really need to get out with him tonight. Last night I put Cade down and completely crashed with him, Beth work me up around 9 pm and I was just beat. So I did a little work and came to bed around 11 pm.

Today is Beth's actual B-day. Happy birthday cutie! I love you. She's celebrating her 2nd 30th birthday today. From here on out it's going to be difficult remembering how old she is. :) Her Boss gave her a day at the local spa. All expenses paid on him - shoot he's even paying her salary today. So right about now I think she's getting some sort of facial and foot rub.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lazy Weekend

I didn't get a run in this weekend at all - I spent time with the family, and just never got out. Saturday Beth and I went out to dinner for her Birthday. It was nice getting out by ourselves without the kids (Mas and Papa watched them overnight.) We went to a great place in San Clemente (El Mariachi) and had just a little too much to drink. There was a nice couple next to us out on the patio who kept eyeballing out margaritas and finally asked what out bill was (they were $16 each!) A little more than what we'd normally spend, but it was good for us to get out.

Saturday morning/noon we spend at Abby's soccer game. I don't know if I've mentioned this but I've been coaching her for about 4 years now. They played really good, but fell apart in the final 5 mins of the game. After missing several chances to score early on they gave up three goals in a 5 min span and lost 3-0. Much better than the 9-0 skunking from last week. Even with the loss, I was pleased with the girls effort and they played much better this week. For practice this week we'll work on scoring more.

Sunday was spent cleaning, picking up the kids at the Grandparents and then watching my Chargers blow a game. I can't remember such poor play calling from the coaching staff in the past 10 years. I really hope they fix that problem.

Running this morning was great. After walking the girls to school, Cade and I went for a short run. I originally wanted to get in about 2 miles, but once we started I changed the course a little and it turned out to be 3 miles once we were finished. Pace was roughly :30 seconds faster per mile than we have been running so I was pleased with the effort. The only issue I had today was my feet. Both were cramping up a little, so I'm thinking I needed to stretch them out a little before my run. I'll keep an eye on this because my shoes are getting up there in miles (260 miles). I'm hoping to get closer to 500 mile though, but this is the first time I'm running with Brooks so I'm going to monitor this closely.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Friday, September 18, 2009

Boy I love working out of the house.....

Well today is Friday - and I love what I'm doing. The weeks seem to fly by, and even though I'm not making a ton of money just yet, I am hitting my start up income goals already and I'm ahead of my plan. Now I'm sitting here thinking that I'm bummed out that today is Friday - that means no market tomorrow; but I DO have plenty of research and training I can do - it's just that it's not quite the same. Today was another great day for me market wise and I'm basically done for the day other than watching, and spending time learning.

As for running, I'm doing very well. Last night I did take off since I was already sitting at 20 miles for the week and during my morning run yesterday my legs felt like lead. But this morning I did put in a 4.5 miler after I walked Abby to school. Even though my legs are tired, it felt good to head out pushing Cade into the morning mist. We had a pretty heavy marine layer and drops were hanging off the spiderwebs along the walking trails. Cade wanted to do a 'long' run this morning and since he was armed with Coco Puffs, juice, and his transformer I headed out and ran a course that we haven't tried before. Overall the run wasn't bad - I took it very slowly and my legs felt ok (at least much better than yesterday.)

I am planning on getting another 2-3 miles in tonight with Bogey and maybe I can talk Beth into joining us since Alex will be over and he can watch the little ones sleep.

Racewise I'm starting to think about a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot (5k). It's about the perfect time out training wise so I think I'll sign up for this next week. My goal here is to beat last years time (31:55) and my stretch goal will be a PB time (sub 28:27). There's a pretty big gap here but I don't want to put too much pressure on me right now. As I get closer to the race date I'll decide which side I want to be closer to.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wild Morning!

I woke up early this morning with a feeling the market was going to go crazy. If fact over the past several days I've been prepping for today. Low and behold it DID blow up to the upside! I started cashing in stocks left and right and before I knew it, I had already reached my personal income quota for the month! So I walked away from my computer took Abby to school and then when for a nice 3 miler this morning without having to think about anything.

Abby on the Papa's boat


And the run was nice - the sun was trying to break through the marine cover so the temp was staying low (about 69). Cade kept looking for his shadow which wasn't coming out to play. Needless to say he wasn't happy about that and kept shifting around in the stroller. Talk about making it difficult to run! Still I'm getting used to having Cade with me and even though he doesn't stop talking, or asking questions, on days like today it doesn't bother me at all. If fact today I was happy to spend time with him chatting about clouds, Abby's school, the local tunnel (and shouting inside it to listen to our voices echoing), and looking for our shadows. Before I knew it we'd finished and I clocked 3.3 mile at a 11:19 pace which is pretty good for lugging a 30lb kid and stroller.



Damm, It just didn't look like he wanted to join me.

Hopefully I'll get another run in tonight. Last night's run I didn't take Bogey so I felt kind of bad, and I need to make it up to him. Plus last night's run turned into a tempo run - I think it was because I was by myself and just opened up a little. So tonight I want to run a 3 miler easy to give my legs a little chance to recover.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nice Morning(s)

I'm starting to shift my running time to the mornings, the reasoning has to do with being home now. I walk Abby to school and then take Cade out for a nice run in the stroller. I've already mentioned that I'm still getting used to running with a stroller, but in the long run it should help me.


Yesterday's run was a (very) short but it's so nice being out at that time (8:00 am). When I'm out running, all I think about is that last year I'd be stuck in some stupid meeting trying to figure out how to make someone else money just to keep my job. Now I'm enjoying time spent with my son as I try to figure out which researched stocks I need to buy/sell for the day. Less than an hour later I'm making those changes and I'm dictating HOW I'm making money. Now you have to realize that I'm also spending 2-4 hours daily just researching stocks, and another 1-2 hours listening to analysis discuss stock plays. During this time I'm also checking my inventory for interday trades trying to make sure I don't miss anything that might make me some money or I'm taking an on-line class about day trading or how to use my desktop platform. I still have a long way to go and I'm just barely scratching the surface with my knowledge on the subject, but I'm starting to make some money now so that's encouraging.

I'm planning on keeping my evening running in place 3-4 days a week though. Hey I have to keep my running partner happy (see above) Can you believe he's 9 months old now? And he doesn't have any problem keeping up with me on a 4 miler. The evening runs will be longer and quicker pace - these runs are still 'my time' so I want to keep them going.

The morning running is really helping me put some focus on my morning planning - it forces me to evaluate my decisions BEFORE I go make any changes. That way when I choose actions I'm sure I'm doing the right thing.

Today's run was difficult not because of the weather or my conditioning; it's just pushing the running stroller. I know once I get used to it, it will help me in the long run but man it's tough! On top of pushing, Cade wouldn't stop talking - asking questions........ And anyone who has kids that are about three know when they ask a question (about a million in 30 seconds) and you give an answer then NEVER hear it the first time - SO they ask you again. So here I am gasping telling Cade that "Yes, the house is in that direction, and Yes we are going away from the house." Sigh.......

Hopefully I'll get a nice run in tonight.

NOTE: WLP had a nice pullback this morning - still in an upwards trend. Good chance to get into the stock. Also take a look at DVN (I think I've mentioned this already - Natural gas play) and PALM. PALM is having its having it's earnings report tomorrow after the market closes, I think they are going to report earnings better than expectations.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, September 14, 2009

Taking a Day Off

Yesterday I took a day off - I originally had a small run planned, but I never got to it.

Beth and I took the family and joined my Father-in-law on his sail boat for the Tall Ship Festival here in Dana Point, Ca. It's a fun event. All these replica period ships get together just outside the breakwater and have a 'mock' battle at sunset. This year we invited our neighbor's that have two young children, the boy LOVES pirate ships so it was a no brainer.

The weather was nice and the kids really enjoyed themselves.


Us joining the 'fray'



Tall Ship Califorian - I spent 3 months on this ship in HS.



Califorian scaring the seagulls.

Got to love the local wildlife

Other that the sail - I did get in a nice run on Saturday night, nothing big just 2.2 miles at a 9:47 pace. That's a little fast for me, but I wasn't running with the stroller so I decided to pick up my pace a little. Legs feel pretty good, but my conditioning is horrible.

Tonight I'm planning a 3.1 miler at an easy pace - nothing fast this week except a little mile TT I'm scheduling for myself on Saturday. I want to see if I can break my 8:44 PB. That should give me a good gauge on where I am and what I need to work on next.

On the stock front - I'm trading several different potentials this week - (WLP) Wellpoint Inc. is a healthcare company that has been getting good scores since March of this year the stock has steadily climbed from 30 to 50 per share and the company is most likely the strongest in its sector. Even though the Phase 1 and 2 scores aren't anything to write home about, the cash flow in the company is strong. All current patterns are still Bullish and the stock is still climbing. I bought at 52 per share and I'm looking to sell at about 58. Currently I'm about a third of the way there. (+54). So if you are looking for a Healthcare play - I'd recommend WLP as a short term investment (less than 6 months) - if Obama get a health program into place. If not this could turn into a keeper.

Keep Steppin'

Bob

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Morning Outing

This morning was interesting - I took Cade for a run in the jogging stroller. I don't know how people do that every run. It's really tough and kind of unnatural - your arms are up, and you really can't swing them very well while holding the jogger. Oh well I'll get better at this.

2.73 miles on a hilly course pushing Cade in 32:11 I'll take that today. I'm still going to log another 3-5 miles later today so I'm just glad to get out and run.

The market is going crazy this morning - I'll have to keep a close eye on a few stocks. More later after my night run.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hello Again

Well it's been about three months and I'm back. Getting used to being Mr. Mom, and learning a new 'trade' has been exhausting. Abby went back to school today, so I'll have a little more time to get some runs in during the week.

Today was nice to get out again. Overall I put in about 5 miles today and I feel great. Tomorrow I'm planning about 8 miles all together. We'll see how that goes. I guess a summer of cleaning and taking the kids to the pool didn't hurt my conditioning that much. In fact I think I could have gone much faster than the 9:52 pace I logged today for my basic run.

Since I'm now spending time doing stock market trading I'm going spend a little time here charting my success and failures. If you do some investing yourself feel free to use some of my research for your own investing if you want. If you are not interested at all in this stuff feel free to skim over this since I'll still put plenty of running thoughts in this blog. If fact the blog will still be 90% about running.

Today with the market being up - I was limited on my buys, but I did buy a stock BJ (yeah a pretty funny name, but it's easy to remember.) For the West Coast crowd, BJ's is a whole seller warehouse store very similar to COSTCO. This company is put into the same group as TJMaxx, COSTCO, Big Lots, etc... After doing some research, I chose to invest in BJ's about two weeks ago, and cashed in last week making a profit of about $100.00 on an investment of about 3k. With that in mind, I took advantage of a small pullback in the stock mid morning and purchased the stock again. We'll see how it preforms.

Well I have to get caught up on some blog reading - three months of reading in fact. (It's going to be a late night.)

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 3rd, 2009

It's been a while since I've posted but I do have a great reason. I'm now Mr. Mom for our household since the 12th of last month. Yeah that's right, I was finally laid off. Don't worry though Beth went to work full time the following Monday and we're doing ok.

Being home has been a huge adjustment for the whole family - the kids being out for the summer, with Mom not being home has been a almost like a shock all of us.

As for the running - I've slacked a little but not too bad, Last month I logged about 80 miles and tomorrow I'm running my first race of the year. I'll post a race report sometime over the weekend.

Got to get caught up on my blog reading - more later.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Friday, June 5, 2009

Padre Game

I've got to admit San Diego has a great stadium. Unfortunately, their team is really bad....

I got the company tickets to Wednesday night's game, which I almost didn't take because I go into the office at 4 am - and I know that I wouldn't be home until about midnight but because of all the political stuff in the office right now I figured to take advantage of this offer and I've always wanted to see the 'new' stadium in San Diego.

Armed with four tickets on a school night, we left the kids with my sister (she spent the night) and had Beth's parents join us since they are HUGE Padres fans. The extra bonus was my father-in-law drove so I was able to rest a little.

The Stadium is beautiful - with a nice and intimate feel to it. It help being on the field level seven rows up off first base though! The seats were perfect, so I had to take some pictures with my crappy cell phone........



It's nice being on the field.


Supposedly there were 15k in the stadium - I'm guessing only 10k were actually there though.



Downtown building - by the stadium - Yeah I was walking....


On the running front - I'm still taking the week off. My legs are feeling better, but overall I'm still feeling worn down. Starting Monday I'm planning to pick it up again and really push myself over a four week cycle finishing with my race on the 4th.

Beth with her Mother

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summary - Month End May 2009

I'm a few days late posting this, but I've been busy with life stuff. Running is slacking, mostly because of how I'm feeling physically lately. Nothing really important just a little run down.

Last month's numbers looked pretty good - 41.6 miles for my final week and 99.6 mile for the month........Wait..........99.6? WTF?!? I did it again? How and I possibly get any closer to a 100 mile month? Oh well, anyway both are PB's for me so I can't complain and my overall mileage goal was only 77 miles so I made that also.

For June's goals I'm playing it rather safe - 79 total miles total, but I'm really trying to get ready for a 4th of July run right now. Other than that it's been quiet.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Wife Signed Me Up.

Well Beth was tired of me being a slug and signed my up for a 5k on July 4th. I've got to get my training up now.

I'm basically taking the week off right now though. My body feels pretty tired over the past three-four weeks of training. We'll see how I feel at week end.

On the personal side - Beth and I get to go to a Padres game later this week, I got the company tickets (which are supposed to be good). Hopefully I'll get a few pictures of the ballpark - I've never been to the stadium there (I'm a Dodgers fan) so it's going to be nice to see what the park is like.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's Been 14 Days Since my Last Post?!?

Man has this month flown past! The holiday has come and gone, and the month is almost over. And I have a ton of stuff to update everyone on.

First and foremost, my workouts are coming along great! I've had a couple of wonderful workout since my last few posts that have really shown my improvement over the past few months that I'm going to share a little further on in my post.

Work is another story - I'm starting with this topic because everything else will fall in as I explain. I work as a Buyer / Materials Manager for a private manufacturing plant in Southern California. We specialize in electronic components that are great in extreme conditions - that coupled with the ability to dispense heat in the materials we work with make us a prime contractor for the government in military and space applications. Up until recently we hadn't felt any of the current slow-down of the economy, but that's slowly changing. Late last week I was told by the owner's son that they are consolidating purchasing into our Corporate office in Chatsworth. Now for anyone who has been reading knows I just went through a office move with the understanding my job was stable. We've had meetings upon meetings indicating that everyone job was safe as long as we hit target numbers....... Long story short - we f'ed it up over the last few months and showed a loss due to yields and production mistakes - production pointed the finger at materials, I supplied the reports and low and behold - I have a meeting with the owner's son.

So now I'm kind of in limbo - they have indicated to me that I'm not going to be laid off and I'll have plenty of work to do - I'm just not convinced that what they are telling me is the truth. So I've been spending time putting my finances in order and cutting out excess spending (for the whole family) Luckily Beth and I are in pretty good shape - we own two homes (one is a rental) and my overall debt is fairly low. Both of our cars are paid for and credit cards are paid monthly. I do have some expenses coming up that I'm worried about, but worst case scenario would be that we'd sell the second house and even in this market I could have the other house paid for and zero debt.

That all being said - my $25 fee for my 5k race was scrapped. Instead I rode my bike 30 miles on the day enjoying the nice afternoon weather. The day prior my Father-in-law treated me to a free game of golf and of course my running is free :). I'm back on-track for my monthly mileage, and in fact I should have record mileage for this week and finally go over 100 miles for the month.

As for other items - I have shown improvement in my conditioning several ways over the past two weeks.

1. A local small hill I have in my warm up/cool down route - normally I come down it, but the last few times I've reversed my route direction and I'm able to run up it without difficulty.

2. Riding 31 miles on my bike. It's been a while since I've physically been able to do that. Granted I took it easy with my pace and I wish I'd had worn my HRM because it felt easy. I'm guessing my HR didn't get over 170 the whole time (2+ hrs in the saddle) In fact, my a$$ is still sore but my legs feel pretty good.

3. I run a 2.23 mile route pretty regular, normally with a mile warm up and a mile cool down before and after. On the 22nd I ran this with Beth and Bogey (yeah I said Beth) as a warm up in 28:45 (12:54 pace) and felt great so I dropped them off and did another loop - 20:50 (9:21 pace) and it felt easy, effortless. I actually felt like I was running a training run back in High School. I finished off with a mile cool down to top everything off.

4. I'm currently on an 8-day streak and my legs feel great. My time to recover is getting better, that means I can put more quality workouts closer together.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Friday, May 15, 2009

Disappointment

Disappointment in myself is my general theme this past week. I haven't hit any of my weekly goals I have made for myself and that combined with last weeks' illness kind of has me down a little. Just a couple of weeks ago I was on a high and now I'm struggling. We all go through these ups and downs so mentally I'm ok.

This weekend I'm planning about 8 miles running and another 15 cycling so I should be right back on track for the month. Also I'll sign up for my race - just a little over a week before the event. I'm looking forward to that also.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm not Dead - Just Sleeping :)

It's been a difficult last few days. Mother's Day weekend started off bad - I really hadn't gotten rid of the flu and it hit me full force on Saturday. Sunday was nice we spent the morning at the park with Beth's family then the afternoon with mine. It's nice having both sets of parents living only 10 mins from each other. My older sister was in town from Alaska and it was the first time I had seen her since her bad car accident - she's doing well, with only a little scarring on her face and arms. God she's luck to be alive.

Running was nil this weekend, but I got in some good miles yesterday after work. Legs were tired and my conditioning was a little weak but it was good to get out and put in some miles. My overall mileage goal this month is 77 miles, and right now I'm slightly behind that number - I'll have to pick it up a little if I want to reach that. My other goal is my race on Memorial Day - I still haven't signed up for it, but I should get that done tonight on-line.

The only other thing I want to accomplish this month is getting in some more 'easy' miles - my percentage of easy miles over the past few months has gone down relative to my overall mileage. I'm not concerned about pace, but I need to get some solid miles in over the next few months. July I'm possibly planning a 10k (My first in about 10 years) so I really want to get some good miles in between now and then. I'm not going to follow any specific plan - and haven't set any time goals for this race yet - we'll see as I get closer to the actual date.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Friday, May 8, 2009

I've Been Sick.

Well over the past 24 hrs I've been fighting the flu bug. Everyone in the house had it before I got a small touch of it. Nothing too serious, just enough to keep me up at night and feel rundown. I took the day off from work and just slept until about noon.

Started eating again around 1 pm and even though I was still feeling queasy I made it out the door for a nice walk with Bogey at 8 pm. I did miss my softball game (I called out earlier in the day just to be safe. I had to give the guys time to find a replacement....)

Because of the bug, my actual running has been minimal, but I have walked quite a bit so far this week. Hopefully I get get another 6-10 miles in before the week ends for me (Sat) and I'll have a pretty decent week in mileage. Not the 30+ miles I wanted but low to mid 20's still isn't that bad.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, May 4, 2009

Month End April 2009

Well I kind of puttered out again at the end of this month. I must have an mental aversion in reaching 100 mines in a month. 97.5 was my miles logged.... A PB (but I didn't break the mythical 100 like I was hoping to.) After Friday came and went I was in a funk - mentally I didn't want to run because I knew I missed that 100 mile goal again. Isn't it funny how you 'play' mind games with yourself without really realizing it?

Still this past month was very good to me. I hit several PB (See the sidebar) and overall felt really strong physically and mentally up until the final days of the month. I've taken three days off now and feel ready to start this month. The 27th I'm planning to run my first official race of the year so I have about 3 weeks of hard training to put in - then I'll scale it back a little just so I'm sure my legs are fresh before the race. I'm not concerned about my conditioning, and I fully expect to set a PB at this race.

Goal wise, short term this month It's pretty thin. I want to hit 77 miles for the month and run a sub 30 min 5k in my race. I'm not going to 'tweak' either of these because I set them about 6 months ago and (hopefully) I'll accomplish both and I can look back over the past 6 months and feel good about my progress. Long term - I'm starting to look at late 2009 and early 2010. Pace wise I'm hoping to be in the mid to high 8 min mile pace for a 5k distance at that point. If I can do that I'll start planning my first half mary at that point. Mileage wise - I'm thinking I top out at around 130-140 miles per month. Beyond that I really don't have much more time in the day. I see some early runs on the weekends - I'll have to give up my 'sleeping in time.'

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two More PB's

This month has been fantastic! Last night I went out for a run with all intentions of just getting some miles in. (I really want to break 100 miles this month.)

During my warm up mile my legs felt pretty tired from my cycling on Saturday but I just said to myself, "We're going to take it easy today, that's why you're not wearing your HRM...." So as I started my planned 2.3 miles, I just cruised along. After about 5 mins I was feeling so good I decided on the spot to g0 another direction and stretch the run into a 5k. Mile 1 slipped by at about 9:40 plus some change and I felt better than when I had started, so I decided to pick up my pace a little over the next mile that was mostly downhill so I could turn this into a Tempo run. Mile 2 split was about 9:25! Even now my legs felt pretty good, I was still running on my toes and my calves were starting to tire a little but nothing I couldn't handle. Conditioning is there - I could have talked pretty easily at this point, in fact I was singing with my ipod under my breath. On this course, mile 3 is entirely uphill - nothing too difficult, just a good finishing mile for a 5k. Now I've run this course 4 times previously and back in Jan of this year was my PB on it - a 30:21. Sitting right around 19 mins at the start of the 3rd mile I knew I was going to blow this out of the water. Surging uphill, I felt relaxed and my breathing was coming pretty easily. This was the first time since I started running again (July '08) that I've actually felt like I was running and not sloshing through waist-high water. It was a nice feeling, after all these miles over the past couple months, I actually felt good when I started to pick up a pace. Now granted a 9:30 pace isn't blistering - but it's really nice to run a faster pace without laboring during it.

Getting back to my run - I finished mile three around 9:30 also (I didn't look at my watch) and finished the course in 29:26. Finally my sub 30 min 5k...... It took a while to get here but I did it. Now I have to focus in on a sub 28....... (It never ends.)

Adding a final cool down mile put me at 94.3 miles for the month - also a PB. April has been kind.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Been a Week Already?!?

I logged in this morning to catch up on some of my reading just to find out that it's been a full week since I last posted! How did that happen? Life overall has been good - busy but good. Workouts have been going great this month and it looks as if I'll break the mythical 100 mile barrier this month. (I'm sitting at 87 miles with 4 days to go.)

Even though I didn't get my running streak to 20 days I did set a PB - and just the other day I ran 2.23 miles with Alex very easily that was at a 9:35 pace. I'm guessing I could have run 3 or 4 miles at that pace since we were going so smoothly but I didn't want to stretch myself too thin since I had done a warm up mile beforehand and was doing a cool down mile afterwards - that's pretty much my limit right now.....

I'm really pushing Alex to start training. At the age of 14 he's growing like a weed and he's faster than his old man was at his age, also taller. (My senior year I clocked a 15:02 for a 5k) He would be faster than that if he trained. He ran a 25.05 for his first ever 5k race last Thanksgiving - and I'm sure he'd destroy that now and run it in a mid 21 without any additional training just because of his growth and strength at this point. I'm going to try to talk him into running the Memorial 5k with me this year.

Another note: I'm on pace to log 800 miles this year. That's my stretch goal this year and I feel really good about sticking to my program I've set for myself. Physically I feel better than I have in about 4 years, and my weight is beginning to fall off again. In fact the scale read 200.7 last Saturday. It won't be long before I'm under 200....... The weight thing isn't a goal though - it's just another indicator that what I'm doing is working. I always look at mileage, duration, heart rate, consecutive day streaks, pace, personal feeling, and then weight. Weight is a nice side effect of what I'm doing.

Speaking of personal feeling - I feel pretty good over the past few months. No major headaches or nagging colds - if you know me the headaches are constant for me, and for me not to have any it a huge deal for me. I feel like a weight has been lifted and I'm starting to come out of a fog bank. It's nice. Heartburn is almost gone now - it flares up every other day or so but that's mostly caused my a trigger food or a small panic attack over finances. But this is very treatable and I can live with it.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shoe Review - Brooks GTS 8

Personal Stats:
  • 9-9.5 foot size / fairly wide - size depends on the shoe manufacture.
  • Current weight -204 lbs
  • No history of any running pains other than some small cramping which I have mentioned before.
  • NEVER have had any blistering issues, nor nail issues.
  • I run in addias, NB, Asics, and Nike - so I'm not very picky.
  • Finally, my gait is fairly standard - I do tend to pronate though.
I normally run in New Balance or Nike, but after not being thrilled with my last pairs of shoes from both of these companies, I decided to look for something new. A few of the blogs I read mentioned Brooks as a good shoe so I set Beth on a search for a good deal on some Brooks.

After a small search - Beth found the GTS 8 on sale for $59.99 (reg price was $109.99) These shoes have already been replaced by the next generation - GTS 9 in the sales market, so this was more of a clear out then a sale - but heck, I NEVER buy new models....

The shoe comes in two colors (that I'm aware of) - Yellow and Lime Green. After trying on a couple pairs I realized that the 9.5's would fit getter than the 9's and since I do have a fairly wide foot this isn't uncommon for me. Plus I like just a little space for my foot since they tend to 'swell' when I run (just a tad). Since I chose the 9.5's; all that was left was the Lime Green color - not my first pick but they'll do.

This particular shoe is a stabilizing shoe - or a shoe that puts your foot in the correct ground strike position. If you know me at all, I'm really not 'thrilled' with all the different kinds of shoes, stability, cushion, racing, etc... so I've tried all different types of shoes - I've never been fitted nor will I ever - shoot I used to run barefoot on the sand growing up. (Talk about rubbing your feet raw, but that's a different story). But for all of the different 'types' of shoes, stability seems to be the best fit for me.

While trying the shoes on in the store - two, count them, two people asked If I'd run in Brooks before. Now realize these people were customers not sales people, both of these 'runners' told me they swear by this shoe and were buying 'stock' because they loved them so much. Now in all my years of trying on shoes I've never had this experience before - were these shoes really that good? And good enough for a lady to buy 6 pairs for herself (yeah and this is the men's version....)

Getting home I didn't waste any time getting them on and getting them out the door, and about 5 miles later I wasn't really sold on the shoe. The shoe fits good for my foot - wide in the toe box and snug around the heel. Padding is good and overall the shoe felt good. But dang it - no 8 min miles were produced by putting these on........ (really 6 pairs?!?)

Since that time I've now put 49.1 miles on them and I'm really liking the shoe. Stable but soft is the best description for them. Light enough not to weigh you down, but enough material to be pretty durable. You give up cushioning and flexibility in the shoe for the stability, but for me right now in my running this fits my needs. No blisters to report, and the shoe itself cools pretty well since I haven't experienced any 'hot' spots during my time in them. The arch support in the shoe is a medium range support - not too high but not too low - I think this has helped me with my cramping a little since I haven't had to deal with this issue too much since I started using them, but I contribute this more to the old shoes being old than the these shoes solving the problem.

Traction seems good - puddles on concrete with alge don't cause any problems (I was surprised) but don't expect to have good traction if you're running SoCal trails - got get a good trail shoe for that - but these weren't designed for trails.

Construction on the shoe seems solid also, the seams are all stitched well and there isn't any loose material inside the toe box. The tongue of the shoe is well placed and doesn't "slide" off to one side as some shoes tend to do. The interface between the fabric and sole seems to be well done and I don't anticipate and issues with the shoe not being able to hold up over time.

Wear (so far) seems to be good - I can't see any outward signs with 50 miles, but it's still early in the shoe's life and I really didn't expect to see wear at this point. Reading customer reviews on-line this tends to be the shoe drawback. Several reviews I've read indicate less than 300 miles logged and the shoe broke down. I'll let you know when I get there.

Overall I'm fairly impressed with the quality and design of the shoe. Running pain free (arches) is a plus - and it has helped me record several PB's over the last two weeks. I'd go out and buy another pair.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Streak Ends

Well yesterday I didn't get out. After working 12 hrs plus the 1.5 hours spent driving to and from the office ate up my whole day. I rolled into the garage at just a tick or two after 7 pm. Getting up and being out of the house at 5:15 am makes a long day...

Lunchtime I could have gone out for a walk - but Eddie swung by and we went to lunch together. Pat and Oscars - if you haven't been try it. The bread sticks are to die for..... And the rest of the menu isn't that bad either.

I'm not disappointed that I didn't reach 20 days in a row - I feel pretty good in fact 18-days is nothing to shy away from. I should be able to hold my head high for a few weeks at least.

I've already logged 44 miles this month (my goal is 75) so I should be able to hit that goal fairly easily. Basically right now I don't want to 'take a week' off like I did last month. Other than that, not much is going on. The weather here in sunny Southern California is kind of cold - we had a cold front move through this week bring colder air that I expected for this time of the year.

Tomorrow I'll be posting my review on my Brooks GTS 8. I've logged 41 miles in them so far so I think I can give a solid review.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm a wuss....

OK I didn't even attempt the 7 miles yesterday, but I did get out and logged a couple miles with Bogey. Too much going on and too much good food.

Still I've had a couple of very good weeks and can't hang my head because I didn't get this run in. As I mentioned in my last post I was concerned of the the distance, and I'm thinking I'm not quite ready mentally to handle that. I'm guessing in the net few weeks I'll be making the attempt though. Physically, I'm basically ready - and actually I most likely could struggle out a 10 miler without too much pain, but mentally I'm not quite there.

This week I'm planning about 25 miles total - legs feel strong, and even though I'm 16 days into a streak I'm surprised that my body feels so good. Thursday will be my 20th day in-a-row and that will be a completed goal for me so I'm eyeing this pretty closely at this point. Will I extend this streak? I'm not quite sure at this point, I'm guessing that I will but I'm not planning anything beyond Thursday at this point.

Hopefully I'll get some cycling miles in this week - it's already been a couple of weeks since I rode last so I'm itching to get in the saddle again. I'm really tossing around (in my head still) about doing a biathlons after a half mary next year. First I have to do a 10k this year though.

Keep Steppin'
Bob

Saturday, April 11, 2009

More PB's Fall.......

I really can't believe how this week is going - I've posted another two PB's since my last post. Four mile PB is now 42:47 and my consecutive day streak is now 15 days. Now really my PB on the four miler is kind of a default because I've only run the distance one before and didn't really run it very well. And even this time my legs were pretty much shot.

The consecutive days streak is nice though - I'm shooting for 20 days straight so I feel good about this one so far. Looking how everything is coming together over the past few weeks - I'm definitely on a peak regarding to my training. Hopefully I can keep this going and not regress too much before my 5k race on Memorial Day.

I don't think I mentioned this before (if I have forgive me.) But this course goes right past my deceased Grandparents house. They both past away over 10 years ago, but I do have fond memories when I see their old place. The old house is located in a gate guarded 50+ retirement community and this is about the only time they open the gates for the "younger crowd." It's a cool event because they also run a half mary here so the community gets out and plays music, cow bells, and their lawn chairs. It's all community driven - the bands are all 50+ citizens, food and drink are sponsored by the community, etc....

Bogey is doing well potty training and leash training so far. He's growing like a weed and I'm getting in about a mile a day with him so far. On the leash he's still a little confused but overall he's doing very well. He's learning how to sit and laydown on command right now and has taken to the kids really well.

On a final note, tomorrow (Easter) will be my attempt at yet another PB, my 7 mile run. With a mile warmup and cool down I'll be putting in about 9 miles tomorrow - I should be able to handle it but it just seems a little overwhelming thinking about it.


Abby and Her cousin - Easter 2006.

Happy Easter Everyone.
Keep Steppin'
Bob
PS Shoe review to be written next week!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another Record Falls........

I really can't believe how this past month is going. Yesterday I didn't get out for my normal lunch walk due to an all-hands meeting at work. They fed us pizza - well actually I didn't get any because being part of the staff I always try to be one of the last people in line, and guess what? Yeah - well anyway I didn't need to eat.

Other than that yesterday was pretty good. Because I missed that lunch walk I decided to run in a new/old location. About 20 mins away from my house is a man-made lake, well it's really not a lake but rather a glorified cement pond. The concrete trail that surrounds it is exactly a mile long. (That's how they do things in Southern California, I don't know why, but they do..... Shoot we have another lake out here that is exactly 5k to go around - but that's a different story.) I used to run this lake path about 6-8 years back, but then we moved about 30 mins away and haven't been back until yesterday.

If you have looked at my log at all, you'd notice I start and finish each run with a warm up and cool down mile, that's exactly what I planned to do here. Sandwiched in between I was going to click off a three-mile run at an easy pace. Little did I know that another PB was about 30 mins down the road.

Starting my warm up mile I felt really good, there were a ton of people enjoying the 75 degree weather we are having and I couldn't keep my pace down, in sharp contrast to the other day's run, my legs were ready to go. That coupled with not wanting to look like an ass, I clocked a 10:17 warm up mile! Normally I shoot for something between 12-16 mins that would include some walking just so I can work up a small sweat and get the blood pumping. As I launched into my first mile I knew that I could run fast today. Still in my head I planned to take it really easy today - "Just get in the miles Bob." I kept telling myself. As I ran counterclockwise around the lake, "Why always that direction? It must have something to do with HS track all those years ago." I was thinking when before I know it, I've clocked another mile in 9:10! Now I know that this distance is exactly a mile around - I've most likely logged 200+ miles in this location in the past - using GPS, foot pedometers, and mapping software but here I am thinking: "Maybe this is just short of a mile. Could having no rolling hills really make this much of a difference? (Since this course is very flat.)"

Anyway, as I started my second mile I wanted to slow down my pace because my plan was to run an easy 3 miles not set a land speed record. (For me anyway) That second mile was fun - slowing down I spent time watching other people. Now I don't know about everyone else but I love watching people. Shoot, when Beth and I started dating we'd go to the local mall(s) and watch people there. And that's how I spent my next 10 mins - watching people. There's the couple nuzzling each other on the park bench with their small kid in the stroller, or the old lady walking her long-hair terrier, then again there's the 30-year old woman who's chasing down her poodle who's decided he wanted to jump into the water, and we can't forget the 'racing guy' all decked out in his UnderArmor shirt and Nike shorts with Oakley's and NB shoes with the 405 garmin...... Damm he looks fast.

By now I've logged another 9 something mile and I'm feeling pretty good - I've got a woman off my left shoulder who's been using me as a pacer over the past 1.5 miles. Shoot, I know she's there, I can hear her footsteps over my iPod, and every once in a while I see her shadow rise to my feet when the sun's angle is just right.... You'd think she'd poke her head out front at least once over a mile and a half. Right about then I decided that I'd go for a PB. Not having the exact split on mile two made it a little difficult, but I decided to try and catch UnderArmor man. Slowly stretching out my stride, I pulled away from my shadow - within a quarter mile I finally looked back as I rounded the lake - there she was : about 100 yards back now puffing hard, looking like I had punched her..... Now I focused in on Mr. UnderArmor man - still about 400 yards up on me with about three quarter miles to go..... Shouldn't he be farther ahead? He really can't be that slow can he? Shoot he's got about $1000 worth of gear on. Slowly I started to reel him in, and I started timing the gaps - he'd pass a tree; 34, 35, 36, 37. He'd pass that lamppost; 28, 29, 30. By now we're closing in on the final quarter...... there's another tree; 15, 16, 17, 18. I've got him now, rounding the final bend I'm on his shoulder and pass him right before mile 3. BAM! 28:30 a new PB and I feel great!

My final cool down mile I clocked at 14:38 feeling good about myself.

Can you tell I need to race now? Normally I'm running all by myself, and maybe see 3 other living people out when I run. I'm guessing with a steady race calendar I could improve greatly at this point.

Keep Steppin'
Bob