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'

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'

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'

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'

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'

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'
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'

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

10 Days and Counting + A Lazy Day

Well I'm deep into a consecutive day streak now - 10 days and going strong. Yesterday I only did 2.7 miles though. Instead I played about an hour of B-ball with Alex. Damm he's good - I'm just not fast enough on my feet as I used to be...... Still it was a good workout.

I just found out that the whole factory is taking this Friday off, it was supposed to be a half day so I'll have to use a few hours of sick pay, but that also means I'll be able to put in a long run on Friday. Originally I had planned for a long run on Easter (7 miles) but I just may attempt this PB in distance this Friday.

Currently I'm on pace for 85 miles this month, so once again I'm off to a good start. My average pace is off quite a bit though - but I'm not worried about that because I'd rather get more constant in my month mileage than average pace. I figure pace will come down over time.

This week I hope to log about 30-35 miles if everything goes according to plan - that means I'll extend my current consecutive days streak to 15 by this Saturday. That would be a PB also. Today my legs are a little sore and tired - but not too bad considering how I've upped my mileage over the past two months.

I have about 25 miles run on my new Brooks GTS 8's so far. I want to have about 50 miles done before I write a fair review on them - so hopefully sometime next week I'll post what I think.

Also I'll be treating my 7 miler on Friday like a race and include a full race report for you guys - hopefully it will be an interesting read for you all.

Finally - in regards to my cycling neighbor...... I still owe you guys the 'full story' but I haven't gotten it yet. (Actually I'm kind of afraid to ask.) But I'll make a few inquiries on the block this weekend.......

Keep Steppin'

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mile PB (and a few other things...)

This weekend was pretty good for me. Saturday I did go into work for a few hours to get caught up on some paperwork, but other than that it was good. Late Saturday afternoon I went out for a walk with Bogey and then decided to put in a quick mile by myself. 8:44 later I had a PB by :08 seconds. Really I didn't try that hard to set a PB - I didn't give any prior thought in attempting this other than I felt good and lets 'put the pedal down' today. Looking back in my log; my old PB of 8:52 I set on this course in August of last year so I was happy to see that disappear off my sidebar here. (Progress is always good).

Beyond that - since taking that week off in March I'm now working on a 10-day running streak. 20 miles in the past 7-days and 88 miles in the last 30-days. I'm on a roll right now, with little (if no) discomfort in my body. If fact yesterday's mileage of 4-miles (total) was the first time I've struggled in a run recently. With with my lower legs wanting to shut down - I was still able to complete my run in decent time using a decent effort, so I'm very pleased with my results and overall improvement.

Along with yesterday's PB; that makes four new PB's in the past 30 days. It's obvious that I'm hitting a peak in my training right now, so I'll have to remember this when I start coming off of this high. Keeping that in mind I thought it was a good time to start planning my next 'phase' of training. Since July of last year - I've basically been working on getting my base mileage up to about 20-25 miles per week and in a few months, (If I'm constant) I'll be able to say I've reached that goal and have would have held this mileage for approx 10-weeks. Armed with this information, I've decided to launch myself into a 12-week 10k program that will end right before the 4th of July. During that program I'll race twice: Memorial Day (5k) and 4th of July (10k). My goal for the 5k will be to run a sub 30 min race, and for the 10k - since it will be my first? Just having fun. I'm sure I'll set a goal time here, (1:04:11 is my PB right now) but that's still a ways off. Beyond this, I'm tossing around the idea of a half next year for Memorial Day - but I'm hoping to throw in a few other races before the end of the year first.

Oh - I almost forgot: I try to welcome all of my stalkers - I mean "Followers" here. Thank you for signing up and actually reading this stuff. I try to keep it interesting and I do welcome your comments (I read them all ;) )

Keep Steppin'

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Running Partner Eddie?

I've mentioned Eddie in previous posts about running with me, racing, and texting. Lately we've chosen to run on Wednesday afternoons. Eddie is a great guy, we met because he's one of my larger vendor reps and we get along really well. After a few lunches together, we decided last year that we'd run a 5k together. That was the 4th of July run that he just pulled me through the course. Ever since then I've taken my running a little more seriously and have tried to remain consistent - and I think I've done a pretty good job.

* Graph didn't turn out too well - it's supposed to be total miles per month, last 12 months......

Other than Feb of this year (vacation) - I've done a pretty damm good job. But I digress, back to my topic. Eddie lately has been flaking big time. Every week he calls or texts asking me if we're running on Wednesday. Every week I answer with a yes, and every week he either bails or cancels. Shoot even this week - he pulled a no-show didn't no-call. Now I'm a pretty laid back guy, but no call? That's pretty uncool.

Why do I put up with this? That's a good question. Overall he's a good guy to hang out with. A former marine, father, and husband we have a lot in common (other than the military part). I like his stories, and it's very easy to get along with him. I think I put up with it because during our talks together he's opened up to me and I know he's going through a difficult time with his wife - I think it takes more out of him than he realizes.....

Still I'd like the chance to help him on his running like he did for me last year. I just hope I get that chance.

One finally note: My darling wife the other day commented to me, "It's our 8-year anniversary and not one mention of it on your blog? You devote a whole post toward Bogey, but not even a line for our anniversary?" OK, yeah, hindsight says I most likely should have mentioned it because I know she reads this from time-to-time. My thought process was that I wanted to keep certain things private and excluded for this blog since it's essentially a running blog - so I didn't see the need to 'spread my joy' with my readers (the few and faithful). But Beth is right - I should have mentioned it. I love you and thank you for the 8 wonderful years we have spent married together. Thank you for giving me a family, raising our children, and keeping our house and lives (including our finances) together. You have made me the man that I am today; the man I wanted to be. Thank you for putting up with my crap, my 'personality traits', and weird mood swings. Thank you for letting me disappear on my 'long days' to run. I remember our trip to Cabo, the juant to TJ, the times at the river. I remember buying the condo and then the house - you were always the stable force behind me. No words I can say or posts I can make could even start to describe my love for you. You are my best friend and will always be. I can't wait to spend the next 8 years of my life with you......

Let's Keep Steppin' together -

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Chic Runner is having a great giveaway - I wasn't going to post this because it decreases my chance of winning the money if more people know about it - BUT since her blog is such a great read I'll link it here.

More later.

Keep Steppin'

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Future Running Partner - Bogey

So here he is - the newest member of our family, Bogey. After Beth searching long and hard she found him at a rescue shelter very close to our home. In fact the shelter and animal hospital is run by a former High School friend of mine. I have to tell you he runs a top class center, I couldn't be more impressed. You can check out the center here. There's more pictures of him and some of his brother's and sister's known as the St. Patties pups here.

Bogey's mother was rescued from up in Northern California, she was pregnant and abandoned with a litter of 14 pups. Bogey is the runt of the group. Half black lab and half who-knows-what, he's a typical 11-week old puppy.

*Bogey's on the left

Over the past few days - I've been slowly training him on the leash and he's taken to it very quickly. So quickly in fact yesterday we actually ran a little together. Bogey's mile times: 24:02 on 3/30, and 19:00 flat 3/31. Not bad for such a small little guy.

The doctor's have estimated that full grown he could be anywhere from 40-80 lbs depending on what breed the father was. I see a lot of beagle in him so I'm thinking he'll be on the smaller end, but I could be wrong.

Getting back to training him - I was worried about him being male with marking but he's doing rather well as long as we keep on top of him making sure he's got access to the outside. We are crate training him, and if you're not familiar with that please watch this video. But overall he a very mild puppy and well mannered.

As for running with him - currently I'm just having him walk with me over my cool down mile, I'll do this for a few weeks and then add the warm up mile. Eventually I'll move him into my main run then drop the warm up and cool down miles - and we'll see what we'll do from there. But this is already looking out about 4 months so saying anything beyond that is not really worth trying to plan out. (I have a hard enough problem with MY schedule.)

Welcome new running Buddy!

Keep Steppin'

Another Month Completed

I'm still working on my teasers that I listed the other day but I wanted to go over my month end numbers because I was so close but yet so far in some areas....

Last month I ran 89.8 miles. Yeah 89.8. What the hell is that? How could I not realize that I was so close to 90 miles and not go over it? Shoot 91.8 miles is my monthly PB - how did I not even stretch for that?

Oh Yeah - for some reason I decided to not run last week. Could that be why I didn't hit these numbers?

Still overall I'm not displeased with my effort during the month. Last year I only logged 30 miles for the month so I'm way ahead of last year's effort, and I feel really good physically compared to last year. My average pace was 11:23/mi so I'm slowly creeping that downwards also but still I'm at a comfortable pace for me. (That's down from the 12:08 I did last November.)

Looking ahead - I can see myself breaking the 100 mile barrier in the next few months pretty easily. Once I get there I plan to hold that mileage for about three months before I start any type of speedwork. I figure if I can do this the clock stuff will take care of itself (for this year at least.)

Even with the small disappointment with the monthly mileage, I still had three PB's this month. I ran my first 4-mile distance in 47:28 (11:40 training pace), I rode 21.6 miles this month and I set a new PB for the 2-mile distance: 19:02! So I can't hang my head.

Keep Steppin'