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'

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


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'

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'

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'

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'

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'

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'


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'

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'

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'