Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm getting old

On Aug. 9, 1975, a young woman in Orange, Calif., gave birth to her second child.

Nearly 34 years later, that child realizes that 1975 was a long time ago, and he's getting older by the day.

I'm turning 34 in a little more than a week, and while I don't exactly feel bad about that - I realize I hit the wall a few years ago - it's still a little bit of a shock that I'm getting up there in age. I mean, I used to think 34-year-old athletes are over the hill, still do, and sometimes I'm shocked when I come across an athlete in, say soccer or baseball, that I perceive to be old and washed up only to realize that he is a year or two younger than me. That's pretty sad.

Anyway, to try and celebrate the passing of another year I'm having a birthday party. Originally, I wanted to have some fun with it. I was going to have it somewhere with karaoke and have all of my guests sing at least one karaoke song, but while that is a fantabulous idea, the thought of having nobody show up for fear of singing in public was apparently too much for me to handle.

Instead, karaoke is optional (boo!). Mrs. LB put on the invitations for the guests to not bring presents because I want to get together for some fun, not to collect presents, but I did toy with the idea of giving guests the option of buying-out their karaoke performance by bringing a small gift. Instead, I nixed that too. If people want to bring gifts, fine, but that's not a requirement. Neither is karaoke, sadly.

However, I will take the lead and sing at least one karaoke song in an attempt to get others to join me. Now, I'm not the most outgoing person in terms of getting up in front of a crowd and being the center of attention. In fact, I'd just as soon not be in front of a crowd like that. But I have a strange fascination with karaoke. I've only done it once but it was fun. I guess it's cool to have fun with it, singing and all. I have a horrible singing voice so it's pretty cool to poke fun at myself every now and again.

Anyway, what I wanted to do was to have some blog involvement. I wanted my trusty readers to submit songs they'd like for me to sing karaoke to. I figure I'll open it up to suggestions and then put it to vote. Afterward, I'll sing the top vote-getter or two, record it and put it here on video for you all to see.

I don't have any ideas as to what sorts of songs to sing. The one song I sang was to my girlfriend back in '98, well, I think I was courting her at the time. Not sure we were together. I sang AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" to her. She was a bit mortified by it - mostly because I kept pointing at her while I was singing ("YOU!" LB points to mortified female friend "shook me aaaalllll niiiight looooong!!!!") - but it worked because we still talk about that night after 10 years of marriage.

So what you got for me?

Nominate as many songs as you like. I'll put up one of those voting polls next week and then we'll figure this karaoke thing out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ideas?

Well, since I celebrated my 500th post earlier today, I figured I'd start post number 501 by asking for some feedback.

In my ever-present quest to keep my readers entertained, I wanted to pose a question or three.

What sorts of things do you want to see more of? What would like for me to blog more or less about? Are there any topics that I don't blog much about, be it fitness/motivation/nutrition related or not? Anything is fair game.

500th post!

I've got to take some time this morning to blog about the blog. This is my 500th post, after all.

500!

I can't believe that I've made it to 500 posts on this here trusty blog. When I started this blog back in April 2008, I wanted to keep track of training for the Mud Run (Oct '08) but also try and share some of the things that helped me lose weight. It was tough at first because I had A) little idea of what to blog about and B) I had one regular reader and I could just call him and fill him in on what was going on in my life. For the first three or four months, I had one reader and then I guess I just lost my motivation to post because when your audience is virtually non-existent it makes it difficult to post.

But the Mud Run neared and I started to blog again and this time some readers came along. Slowly I've added more readers and am up to 21 followers, which is amazing. It's nice to have readers. If I had zero readers, I'd shut the blog down. This blog is a labor of love in some ways as it helps me get out my thoughts, ideas, hopes, and I do hope that people get something out of all of my posts.

I don't consider myself special but I do think I achieved something special in having lost 120 pounds, and I know that there are a lot of people out there like me who can lose the weight but just have to find whatever I found that helped me lose the weight. I'm not gifted or talented or anything like that. I just have some drive, motivation and discipline but I struggle with things on a day-to-day basis. Like trail mix. I have a weakness for trail mix. It calls my name. Loudly.

But if I can help others reach their fitness/weight-loss goals, I'd be content. Because life is so much better when you're in size 33 shorts and a large t-shirt than size 44 and a XXL. Believe me.

Blogging about nutrition and running and motivation, that's enjoyable. I have lots of things to share and I hope that others can gain from my experiences, past and present.

I wish I had a cool giveaway or something like that to offer as a thank you for helping make this blog what it is and what it's become. But I don't. All I can give away are my thoughts and the promise of more posts, which I realize isn't a whole lot but it's what I've got.

Anyway, thank you all for coming here and reading up on my fitness journey. I have a long way to go before I'm done so if you're up for more fitness/nutritional/running/motivational/family/etc. posts, then I'll gladly have you along on the voyage.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More speedwork

Earlier today, I blogged about some simple ways to cut down on your time and increase your speed.

Here's a sampling of one training program you could follow that would also increase your speed, although it's a little bit more hard core.

This five-week program is designed to help marathoners cut down on their half-marathon time.

Week one: Mon off (yay!); Tue 8 miles; Wed 10x800 meters at 10K pace (2-min recovery between efforts); Thu 9 miles; Fri 6 miles; Sat 9 miles; Sun 12 miles.

Week two: Mon 5 miles easy; Tue 6 miles; Wed 10 miles, last 4 at 10 seconds per mile quicker than goal pace (ie last 4 miles will really suck); Thu 5 miles; Fri 8 miles; Sat 9 miles, last 5 at goal pace; Sun 13 miles

Week three: Mon 4 miles easy; Tue 7 miles; Wed 3 to 4x3200 at goal pace (3-min recovery between efforts); Thu 5 miles; Fri 7 miles; Sat 9 miles; Sun 15 miles.

Week four: Mon off (finally!); Tue 7 miles; Wed 5K time trial with 3 mile warm-up and cool-down; Thu 7 miles; Fri 10 miles; Sat 8 miles; Sun 14 miles

Week five: Mon 5 miles easy; Tue 6 miles; Wed 10x400 meters at 5K pace, 1-min recovery time; Thu 6 miles; Fri 7 miles; Sat 9 miles last 5 at goal pace; Sun 13 miles.

Wow. That's intense. I think I'd rather try to speed up by taking off my iPod than following this hellish plan.

The no-duh comment is by the person who designed this plan, the head coach of the Boston Athletic Association. "This plan isn't easy... but you'll be prepared on race day if you follow it."

Easy? There's nothing easy about this.

In a way, things like this can easily discourage me. The person who follows this plan probably isn't trying to build himself up to a marathon, probably smashed my 2:14:50 time at my half-marathon and doesn't struggle to run sub-eight-minute miles.

But I try to just take some elements from things like this and utilize them. For me, running on a track would be nice, even if it were only every now and then. Also, the different types of speed work are enticing, albeit grueling.

In the end, though, I think I'll stick to my 11-minute-mile pace group in the Lopers. Speed is important, but not that important.

Speed tips

There are ways to improve on speed, and then there are ways to make yourself a little quicker.

To improve speed, there are many types of runs you can do, intricate plans you can use to build up your anaerobic threshold speed and build up your endurance (intervals, tempo runs) but there are other ways you can improve time that don't involve a lot of miles and tough runs. According to The Other Mag, here are some simple tips that can shave off the seconds/minutes.

Lose Weight: Five pounds can take two minutes off the half-marathon time. For me, I could probably stand to lose about five pounds and I think once my marathon training takes off I'll get closer to 180, maybe dip into the 170s. The more miles you log, the more calories you burn so training for long runs helps shed the weight.

Wear Less: I don't necessarily agree with this as they say to ditch the fuel belt, headphones, iPhone, heavy shoes and the long-sleeve shirt around your waist. I have an iPod, not an iPhone, but I would not ditch the iPhone. It's tough for me to run without them and is something I'm adjusting to with the Lopers. I haven't worn my iPod when I go running with them. But the rest of the stuff makes sense - dragging a shirt around you on your waist only slows you down.

Sleep More: Athletes who get more sleep during training have better reaction time and speed. As little as a 20-minute nap can help performance. I'm still working on getting more sleep. Last night, for instance, I went to bed at about 9:30 or so and got up at about 4:50 this morning, although I was in bed trying to shake off the cobwebs for about a half hour. Age...

Drink Caffeine: Caffeine is supposed to increase alterness, focus but it also improves pain tolerance; they suggest drinking plain tea or coffee (NOT a mocha frappuccino) 30-60 minutes before a race or hard workout.

Limit Junk Food: Sugar can trigger hunger and can lead to weight gain. Whole-grain rice and pasta are much more beneficial than sugary foods. I tend to avoid sugar in the morning, which is when I run the most, so this isn't usually a problem. I should try and get more pasta in on the night before a long run but that doesn't always happen. Once I start logging in the double-digit miles with the Lopers, I'm going to throw in more pasta to our meal rotation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Semblance of a Schedule

At the start of the summer, I didn't have as much time to run and work out as I thought I'd have, and I was a bit frustrated. But when thinking about runs to accomplish this week, I'm actually excited because I have options. Finally.

I'm getting my butt to the gym this morning for a short run, probably will do three easy miles. Then, I want to do intervals on Wednesday and Thursday I will have a rare chance for a midweek run outside, so I might take advantage of the time and take on The Hill's challenge once more. Friday I'll rest, might do something short on Saturday and Sunday is a four-mile run with the Lopers.

Ahhhh, soothing.

Just the thought of having some free time is soothing. If only it weren't 100 degrees out here, things would be pretty good.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Motivational Mondays (July 27)

Well, it's almost Tuesday - might be for some of my readers - but I wanted to get out a motivational post anyway. I was away all day so I wasn't able to update this trusty blog.

In my Lopers meeting Sunday, we heard a bit of talk about running equipment and such. You see, every week we have a 30-minute meeting before we go running and Sunday's talk was about running shoes and shorts and socks, etc.

But before we got to that, one of the speakers told us to think about our goals and to focus on the end result. It's something that was good for me to hear because it reinforces what I've been doing for some time.

I like to focus on the end result and not the day-to-day or week-to-week steps I take. There can and will be setbacks, no matter what plan you are following. Whether you are trying to run a marathon for the first time or trying to reach a certain weight, you will encounter highs and lows.

For me, one recent experience I had was my half-marathon in April. I didn't train the best I could have as I had setback after setback, with injury, illness and work robbing me of valuable training time. But I trained hard when I could, focusing on the ultimate goal which was to run the half marathon. I did and was able to overcome my obstacles. Had I become frustrated with not having had the time or health to get in my planned training runs, I could easily have decided not to have run the race altogether, and I would have robbed myself of one of my best achievements to date.

Same goes with weight. Between March and November of 2006, I lost 60 pounds. But between November '06 and February '07, I lost exactly zero pounds. I went for nearly three full months of not working out regularly, not losing weight and not following through with all that I had learned before.

If I would have looked at myself in, say, late January and become frustrated with my lack of weight loss and/or exercise, I could easily have quit. But I had made it a goal to get my weight to 199 and I damn sure wasn't going to let a setback - even one that lasted nearly three months - get in my way of achieving the overall goal. Otherwise, I'd still weigh more than 200 pounds, probably closer to 250, and would be living as I had before.

You will have setbacks.

You will have difficulty achieving your goal.

You may as well get that out of the way now, understand that so you can deal with it when obstacles and setbacks attempt to derail you.

But you have to be mentally strong. You have to have the right mindset.

"I will lose the weight."

"I will run my marathon."

"I will reach my goal."

Set your goal. Focus on the goal. Work backwards from your goal to figure out the proper steps you need to take in order to reach that goal.

And don't give up.

Because you'll only cheat yourself.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cooking With Yvie: Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Welcome back to another episode of Cooking With Yvie! I am happy to have the show back here. I apologize for having taken so much time in between episodes. I guess with the heat going on here in Riverside (95 degrees plus) I haven't been wanting to use the oven much, and it seems a lot of the stuff we make involves the oven.

I'll have something next week that is not a baked good, though, so keep an eye out for that.

For now, though, here is Yvie's latest efforts: Iced Pumpkin Cookies. (one thing, the cookies probably should go about 16-17 minutes at least, 15 was just a wee bit soft, fine and everything, just soft, maybe I'm nitpicking...)

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Holler

Just wanted to wish my blog buddy Angie Eats Peace and her hubby Mr. Eats Peace good luck on their half marathon.

They are participating in the San Francisco Half Marathon, which is on Sunday.

This is Mr. EP's first half-marathon! For the Mrs., it's her second half-marathon of the year. She's also a two-time marathoner. Her first-ever race was last November, the Mission Inn Run 10k. So in a span of eight months she's run something like six races. Amazing! She is a member of the Loma Linda Lopers as well, part of the 11-minute-per-mile pace group as I am.

She's an inspiration for sure.

So here's wishing the two of them the best of luck on their race experience Sunday.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Up Tempo

I'm getting prepared to hit the gym soon and I'm going to try a new run. I'm going to try a tempo run, something I think can have some good benefits.

A tempo run means you sustain a greater pace for a few miles or minutes, whatever you want to use. So let's say you want to run a 4-mile tempo run. The first and last miles you'd run them at a slower pace, so like a 5.8 or so on the treadmill or like a conversational pace outdoors. Then for Miles 2 and 3, you would increase the tempo, so instea of 5.8 you go up to a 7.3 or something. As long as you increase the pace and hold it there for a couple of miles or maybe like 20 minutes or more, that's the key.

I am not looking forward to it though. That's fast for me, the 7.3, and I would rather just run 5 or 6 miles or an interval but I can't do the first and just did the second. So I have no choice.

I'm blogging about it so I have to see it through. Ugh.

I guess I'll be back later to report on my progress.

UPDATE:

What a great run! I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous about it and wasn't looking forward to it. I biked for six minutes before the run so I got my heart rate up a bit. I walked for about a minute on the treadmill before starting. I ran the first mile at a 5.8, which is a little slower than 10 minutes per mile. That's a comfortable speed for me; slow, steady, comfortable.

Then at exactly one mile, I jacked it up to 7.3, which is an 8:13 per mile pace. I suppose that would be my 10K pace, since that would be a 10K in under 50 minutes... well, then it would probably be faster than my 10K pace because I've not been able to run a 10K in under 50 minutes.

The first mile went by okay and the second mile was a little tougher but I didn't feel like I was going to hurl or anything at any point. I sort of wanted to keep going at the higher pace but I didn't want to get ahead of myself so I slowed back down to a 5.8 for the last mile, and that was pretty slow going there.

Overall, my time was a little more than 36 minutes for the entire four miles. I walked until I got to minute 40 as a cool down.

Next time - and there will be a next time - I think I'll run a little longer so the last mile won't be so long. I may try to keep the overall running time at 40 minutes so I may run like 2.25 or 2.5 miles at the higher pace. Gradually I'd like to increase that so I'm running three or maybe even four miles at that pace. I guess that's one way to make myself run a little faster, to run these tempo runs and force myself to run faster.

Whatever the case, I feel very good both because running usually makes me feel good and that I was able to accomplish something I felt was challenging. Maybe for Mr. Super Marathoner that's not an accomplishment but for me it is :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Raising the Bar

As far as breakfasts go, mine can be fairly boring. Now, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it, just that variety is lacking.

Most mornings I have an energy bar for breakfast. Its the easiest thing for me to have as I can grab it and go if need be, or munch on it while I get the day started around the house.

Plus, at around 210-240 calories, I have some leeway in terms of setting myself up for a positive day with calories. I hate to reach my pm snack with only 600 calories or so to spare because that makes for a light dinner.

For the longest time, I ate the max zone energy bars from Costco but last time there I bought cliff bars and they were quite good. Still gave me plenty of energy and quelled my hunger.
I think my favorite bar though is the snickers marathon energy bar. I don't know why but it seems the only place I find these are in convenience stores. I was in Utah last year and found some in some out of the way place. And recently I got some in Arizona as I stopped somewhere on the way home and came across them.

Maybe I don't look in the right places here but I can't find them. I don't remember the exact moment I had my first one of those but I had an awesome run after eating that. I believe I got a free sample in one of my early races and I got hooked.

Anyway, I've often tried mixing up the breakfast. Usually that's when I'm out of bars. One thing I like is fiber one cereal but its so expensive. That's a good alternative. Plus you knock out so much fiber in one serving that you are set for the rest of the day.

I also like to have fruit sometimes, with yogurt or just by itself.

But I like my energy bars best. Give me a bar and a glass of water and I'm a happy man.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Intro to Running: Plan, Learn From Your Runs

The third post in my Intro to Running series.

About a year ago, I went through one of my most humbling experiences as a runner. I don't know for sure when it was - my blog was in its first month of a three-month slumber - but I do remember that it was in July, a Saturday in July.

Since I didn't blog about it then, I'll blog about it now, to kind of help new and potential runners understand that bad runs will happen but are a part of your running evolution. After all, it's July and the same thing could easily happen now, except that I learned from my experience.

At the time, I had not run more than eight miles. I think seven-point-something was the most I'd run. So I felt a bit confident in my ability to run. Instead of setting out on my jaunt around 8 or 9 a.m., I didn't get going until 11:30. For some reason, the morning had gotten away from me.

But that wasn't a hindrance at first. The day was not hot, not like the weather we've been having now. There were still clouds in the sky and I was feeling fine. I got to around two miles when I got to a point where I should either zig or zag. Zig meant go back home, and finish with about a 4-mile run. Zag meant heading the other way, taking a big loop and getting close to a 7-mile run.

I zagged. Big mistake.

I was probably in mile three when I realized I was running out of steam quicker than normal. I still felt like I could go through it but by the time I got to a street that was really far out of the way, I knew that I was in trouble. I had no choice at that point though but to keep pushing forward. I didn't know how much I had in me, but I knew finishing the run was going to be impossible.

I checked my mileage later and I was around 4.85 when I finally stopped running. I was gassed, the sun had come out and was beating down on me and I just couldn't run any longer. I walked for a few minutes, crossed another street and kept walking. I mustered up enough energy to set off on a run again but that lasted about a minute before I finally quit for good. I probably walked about a mile and a half, maybe two, after that to get home.

The run-walk had taken quite a long time and Mrs. LB had been worried. She was waiting for me out on the lawn and was relieved when I finally got home, about an hour and 45 minutes after I originally set out on my run. I was embarrassed for having thought that I could just, on a whim, run seven miles.

But that was a learning experience. I started to plan longer runs like that instead of just setting out on them at the spur of the moment. Also, I figured running through the lunch hour was not a great idea. For me, the earlier the better. And if I can get out on a run before 9, I'll do what I can to do so.

Running takes time and preparation. You have to plan out runs, not just because of the weather but so you can adequately fuel your body beforehand. I like to have an energy bar about an hour before I run because that gives me the best fuel for a run. Sometimes if I don't have an hour I'll eat a piece of fruit or a bagel or something, but I don't just pick up and go without having planned for a run first.

If you're just starting out and have not run more than 2-3 miles and then feel like running 5, it's good to plan for that instead of deciding during mile 2 that you are up for another three only realize that you didn't have it in you that day.

I'm headed to the gym now for an interval session, and I've already gotten my energy bar - plus several glasses of water - in. I'm amped up for it because I've been planning it since Monday (haven't run since Sunday, starting to feel sluggish) and I'm excited for it.

Planning also helps you build anticipation for a run and helps you prepare mentally for it. I'm preparing for The Interval but if I get to the gym and tell myself that I have to run 6-7 miles, I won't have adequately prepared for it mentally and it may not be a great run.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tees (for) me

While sorting through my t-shirt drawer recently, I realized that I had a lot of race t-shirts but not a lot of running t-shirts. Now, I don't mean the kind to run in - I have several of those. Rather, I mean the kind that advertise my love of running.

Wearing race shirts is one thing. People will assume I participated in the, say, Mission Inn Run if I wear the Mission Inn Run t-shirt. Maybe. Or maybe passers-by wouldn't pay it any mind.

To better advertise my love of running, I came across some t-shirts that pretty much leave no room for mistaking that I'm into running. I found these t-shirts on Cafe Press, which has an endless amount of t-shirts apparently. I made it to about 20 pages worth before my eyes started seeing double.

Here's just a sampling of the ones I found that I found amusing:

It does. I may as well say what I think.


This would be a cool shirt to wear at the Mud Run.


This one I thought would be good for a female. Not me. I'm not delicate.


That's one way to look at it. And who doesn't run a paltry 10 miles to warm up every now and then?


Nice motivational shirt.


That's how I feel about it, pretty much.


TMI? I think not! And to keep you guessing, I won't tell you if that's true or not :)


The shirt says "Runners Do It For A Long Time." Well, it's true.


Now, here are a few I thought would be good for my girls:

I think Kenna will be more into running but I don't want to discourage either of them so maybe one for one and the other for the other.

And this shirt, well, I'm hoping/planning on running the Surf City Marathon on Feb. 7, 2010. I might send Yvie to school on Feb. 8 with this shirt.

Playlist enhancer: OMD's "If You Leave"

Great 80s song.

I like it because it serves well as a warm-up or cool-down song, or something to hold a steady pace to.

OMD, by the way, stands for Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, but you already knew that I'm sure.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Motivational Mondays (July 20)

I thought about some long post today about motivation, about the various levels of motivation you need to get through the day-to-day grind.

Instead, I'll show you my motivation, why I get up in the mornings, what prompted me to change not only my approach to fitness and nutrition but how I view life in general these days.

For me, it's pretty simple.

video

Everything else falls into place after that.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Update

Couple of things to get to this morning:

* Just got back from my second Lopers club meeting. We ran two miles today. It's only been my second meeting but I'm really warming up to this. One of the great things about the group is running with my blog buddy Angie Eats Peace and her husband, Mr. Eats Peace. I found her blog by doing a blog search of the Run Through Redlands on the day of my half marathon since I figured only a fellow running/blog freak would update their blog the day of or after a race (much like I did), and sure enough there she was. She's been very helpful and encouraging along my whole process of becoming a Loper so it's cool to run with her and her hubby.

* I'll blog a lot more about the Lopers soon enough, their training plan and my experience with the group thus far.

* I finally recorded another episode of Cooking With Yvie! The new show though may not be ready today. But after our unintended hiatus, we'll be back soon enough.

* I asked my pace leader (the Lopers are divided into different groups based on ability, I'm in the 11-minute-a-mile pace group) about my foot. She suggested new shoes since I've had mine for more than a year. I didn't feel it all during my run but now the slight discomfort is there. Maybe a bad wheel is the cause after all.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Foot Chronicles

My foot pain/discomfort has not been present the last day or so. I ran some intervals Friday and went to Costco. I took a nap on Friday afternoon (the only way I can get both my daughters to nap is to nap with them) and I felt it a little when I lied down but after that, it sort of left.

I spent some time in the kitchen yesterday, making cookies and a cheesecake. I mowed the lawn this morning and did a few more things on my feet. I'm actually going back in the kitchen soon, for some time. My wife is hosting Bunco and I'm "catering" it so I have to get the food together.

My foot feels normal through all this. Which is good. The only negative about today is that I won't get to eat the food I prepare: mini-Latin burgers, shredded chicken quesadillas, BLT dip, and the cheesecake. Oh well. As long as my foot feels good I'm happy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This pain of mine

I mentioned briefly at the end of my second post Thursday about pain I've been experiencing on the top of my foot.

The pain hasn't really gotten any better or worse, but my fear of it has increased substantially. I fear that I did something wrong to my foot and now I won't be able to run for a few weeks or longer.

Of course, I've been known to play the role of Chicken Little before, so I'm not exactly looking for crutches or making arrangements for a walking cast. But still, the pain is there and Thursday was the day I felt it the longest.

On the top of my left foot, there is a constant discomfort/pain. It's increased in feeling as I didn't notice it much until recently. It's on the top of the foot, kind of behind the big toe.

I punched in my symptoms on Web MD and this is what it spat out (aside from 'You should go see a doctor') as possible ailments:

Broken Foot
Sciatica
Peripheral Neuropathy
Corns, calluses
Metatarsalgia
Stress fracture
Poorly fitting shoes
Lumbar spinal stenosis
Multiple sclerosis
Bone infection
Thoracic spinal stenosis
Shingles

Nice list. I can instantly eliminate several. It's not fractured (I'd be in much pain). I doubt I have a stenosis (blood vessel type of ailment) or that I have corns or calluses and my shoes don't fit poorly.

I'm actually worried that I have a stress fracture. Yikes. Again, this is me playing the role of Mr. Little. The sky is falling and it's landed on my first metatarsal. Stress fractures are pretty bad. They can knock you out of action for 4-6 weeks, and I don't need that right now or ever.

Now, the pain hasn't really lingered before Thursday. And even then, it's not something that is keeping me from walking or anything. I ran on my foot just fine on Wednesday. But the discomfort did not go away, hence the worries. Still, stress fractures can sometimes make walking unbearable, and I've been on my feet a lot these last... well, I'm always on my feet.

I suppose one thing I have going for me is the Lopers. With so many runners far more accomplished than me in the group, someone has to have had the same symptoms before and might be able to help me narrow down what I've got.

UPDATE: Okay, I woke up today (Friday morning, wrote this really late on Thursday) and felt dumb for having posted this, making it seem like I have a serious injury. I don't know what's wrong with my foot (I can feel it still) but it's probably not a fracture or anything too traumatic. I probably tweaked it somehow, got a bruise or something and it's just been lingering a little too long. I need to calm down about things sometimes :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enticing interval

I blogged yesterday about my fartlek run and about enjoying intervals, and I figured I'd share one interval suggested in The Other Mag.

It's something you probably need a track to run but I'm sure you could replicate it on a treadmill.

Run one mile at 88-90 percent of max HR. Recovery time should equal to one-fourth the time it took to run mile. Repeat three times. Rest three minutes. Run 200 meters at 3K pace. Rest for same amount of time. Repeat three times.

This one sounds pretty good, as far as intervals go.

For me, 88-90 percent of my max HR would be 164-168, which is just under my most comfortable running HR of 170. So essentially it wouldn't be as tough as the short bursts of Wednesday's fartlek. Still, it's a pretty good clip and by the fourth mile I'm sure I wouldn't have to run as fast to get my HR up to the 164-168 range.

The 200-meter runs at 3K pace would also be challenging since that would be about the 8.0 speed I ran at yesterday. I'd have to figure out what my 5K pace would be first though and increase the speed a bit.

Still, what I like about this is the distances you have to run. Running hard for one mile is tough but also doable. With a built-in rest, it gives you some sort of ease in that you know you will get to rest once the mile is done. Now, it doesn't exactly say what sort of recovery would be good, but you could probably either walk or run at a slow pace.

The quick 3K-pace intervals at the end are great because it forces you to run quickly when you are already exhausted or close to exhaustion. That way, when you are in it for the long haul and are exhausted or close to exhaustion, you have the experience of running through that, and you probably won't be running at a 3K-pace so you can extend yourself longer. And if you do run that quickly, say near the end of a race or long run, you can push yourself knowing that you've already pushed yourself hard in training and that should provide an extra boost of motivation.

I may have to try this interval on the treadmill Friday. If I can sneak away to the local high school, I might try that as well. My foot hurts though, the top of my foot, and it's been an off-and-on pain I've been experiencing for a few weeks, so I may rest today and get back at it on Friday.

Cheap Thrills, LB style

My beloved blog buddy Willoughby planted a bug in my ear about Cheap Thrills. What is that? Well, it's basically taking a trip within driving distance that costs, without the price of gas, less than 20 bucks. Her guidelines are simple: within driving distance so no overnight stay is necessary, little or no fee to enjoy, appeals to both children and adults, and have a place to picnic nearby.

So when Mrs. LB called me on her way home from work on Wednesday and asked if I'd be up for a trip to the beach, I thought of a Cheap Thrill and agreed to go.

We went down to Newport Beach for a quick weeknight getaway. We got there around 6:30 and although we were on our way home just two hours later, we had a great and memorable time.

We parked in a terrific spot, some 10 yards from the sand. It cost us a dollar to purchase time, as we found a spot with 30 minutes on the meter already, and entry to the beach was free of charge.

It was in the mid-90s during the day out where I live, but on the beach it was considerably cooler, probably in the 70s by the time we got there. The water was cold! I'm not crazy about cold water so I didn't get in all the way but that didn't stop Yvie.

Kennedy isn't quite as adventurous as her older sister quite yet but she had fun running in and out of the water.

I made dinner for everyone (on short notice, so I made myself a sub sandwich with mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, spinach and red bells; it was decent). We ate right there on the beach, so we didn't spend money on dinner. We only spent money on a snack afterwards, as the girls and Mrs. LB had donuts while I had a large coffee.

All told, we spent about, maybe five dollars or so, not counting gas. So it was all in all a great trip.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday's run

I was all set for a relaxing morning around the house and a nice interval run at the gym, but a longtime friend called me up and asked if he could come over. Of course I said yes and he came by and was here for a couple of hours. Some issues had come up and I was trying to help him out as best I could.

When he left, it was about 8:30, and the free movie was slated to start at 10. I usually give myself 15-20 minutes minimum to get to the gym and sign in the girls so I knew The Interval was out of the question but I really didn't want to miss my run, even if it wasn't really my own doing.

So I left for the gym anyway, was about five minutes out and realized I'd forgotten my shoes (I'm a scatterbrain sometimes), went back home and then went back on my way. I got the girls signed into the kids club at about 9:10 so by the time I got on the treadmill, I had about 30 minutes.

I had been prepared for this, so it wasn't a surprise. I had two options: run for the entire 30 minutes at around the same pace and get in about three miles or run some sort of intervals and try to maximize my time. I chose the latter because I felt it was the best thing to do in such a short time. I like to run 3-4 mile runs outside and if I'm on the treadmill I figure why not do something on it that I can't do on the street.

It turned out to be mostly a fartlek I suppose. I walked for 3 minutes, 30 seconds, then ran at a 5.5 until the 8-minute mark. Then, for two minutes I ran at an 8.0 (which is a 7:30 mile per minute pace, way faster than I normally run) and then at the 10-minute mark, went back down to 5.5. Essentially, I ran four minutes at 5.5 and two minutes at 8.0. My heart rate climbed and climbed every time I went to 8.0. During the first session, it got into the low 170s and went down into the 150s once I slowed down. By the end, the last 2-minute sprint, my HR climbed to 189.

I hit the wall a little bit on that last sprint but felt good afterward. It's nice to run like that because it helps you get used to running at faster speeds. As I said, I don't normally run at 7:30 pace. That would be a sub-50:00 10K, and my 10K PR is 2:55 north of that. Since I don't run that fast, though, it was good to kind of feel what it's like to keep up a sustained faster speed, even if it's for two minutes.

And this type of run - a fartlek - can be applied to anyone at any level. If you aren't a long-distance runner and you run at about a 5.5 or 6.0 at max speed (6.0 would be 10:00 minutes per mile), you could have a low of 4.0 or 4.5 and a high of 5.8 or 6.0 or maybe even a 6.5, just depends on what you could handle. Or if you normally fast, you can have a low of 6.5 and a max of 9.5 or 10.0, which is really fast!

It's just another type of run that you can use in your training arsenal. It's nice to run 3-4 miles on a straight shot, but if you mix it up and run a fartlek, an interval and a regular run in a span of a few days, you are really making the most of your mid-week runs.

Oh yeah, I did make it to the movies. It was packed but we got a good seat anyway, and we enjoyed it. Lunch at home (with ice cream for dessert) and a nice two-hour nap for me and the girls... pretty much a great day.

Skipping to run

It's not that I'm anti-safety but I'm going to skip the Safety Day for the girls today.

I'm being selfish, I know. I should just take them and have them learn all about pool safety. It is important, but then again they had the same thing on the last Wednesday of their previous session (two-week swim classes). And they did not enjoy that because they did not get to go in the pool. Thursday is free day and they will love that, but the safety lesson they wouldn't enjoy.

So yesterday I told them it was Safety Day today and they both groaned. They remembered. I asked them if they'd rather go to the Kids Club at the gym and they both said "Yeah!" So I said "Yeah!" back and we have a plan now. I can get in a run, probably an interval run.

And then afterward, we're going to the movie theater right across the way for Harry Potter. Well, no, actually, I'd love to go watch Harry Potter but I'm going to have to wait. The girls are too young for that and they'd be scared. Actually, the movie theater is Regal Cinema and all Regals around SoCal show free movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer. So we're off to watch Madagascar 2, which we have on DVD and we love. The movies are from last year but I don't care and neither do the girls. It's free after all, so why complain?

I guess today is one of those days where I don't have to complain about not having time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Eight greats

After a run or workout... well, actually after a run since that's all I do (I hate weight lifting), I usually have some sort of snack afterward, within 30 minutes. Usually it's a fruit and it alternates between oranges, apples and bananas.

An apple used to be standard but then I started getting burned out on them so I threw in other fruits.

But I always wonder what the best foods are to eat after workouts. I just assume fruit is good because that's what I've seen athletes consume after workouts or training sessions or whatever. But I don't know for sure.

Well, The Mag has a list of eight good fitness foods, foods to eat after workouts that target specific needs.

Here are the foods and what they help in:

Pineapple and Papaya - Muscle recovery
Salmon - Cardiovascular fitness
PB&J or Pasta w/Meat Sauce - Muscle building and repair
Pork Tenderloin - waist-trimming
Eight ounces of chocolate milk - Hydration
Coffee - Pain relief
Cold Water - Endurance
Green Tea - muscle recovery

There is a bit more info on each on the link above, but I wanted to focus on my own specific needs. I'd say of the eight things above, I am most interested in cardiovascular fitness and muscle recovery, followed by endurance and hydration.

Of course, I do not like salmon. Which is a shame. According to the article, an Australian study "found that cyclists who took fish oil for eight weeks had lower heart rates and used less oxygen during intense bicycling than a control group did."

Lower heart rates are great. I'm fascinated by heart rates and I firmly believe that if you get to know your body and get to know the way your heart rates alternate during workouts, you will maximize your workouts and they will be more effective. I know my heart rate well enough to know when I am close to exhaustion, when I have more to give and exactly at what point I hit the wall. Usually, the wall is at about 185 for me, if I've been running for a while. During a long and sustained run, if I climb up to 182, 183 I start to feel it but when I get to 185 - WHAM - hello wall. My max heart rate is 187 is my max heart rate so it's pretty close to that.

Anyway, you want lower heart rates during workouts. This is a good thing. It builds up your stamina, allows you to work out for longer periods of time and drives weight loss.

The article says that the good stuff from fish oil is incorporated into heart cells, thus providing the added boost. It suggests taking fish oil pills on a daily basis to do the same.

As for muscle recovery, I don't drink tea but I like pineapple. The pineapple and papaya have enzymes that break down protein for digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Unfortunately for me, I don't necessarily have a lot of pain issues. I guess it comes and goes, and when it comes it's nipple pain. Coffee apparently helps reduce muscle soreness. Still, it's good to know that I can have coffee after a run and it will be beneficial. Usually after a run I drink lots of water but sometimes I'll drink coffee once I've quenched my initial thirst.

As far as the cold water, the article says this: "cyclists who drank about 30 ounces of a chilled drink in the half hour before riding in a hot, humid environment-and smaller amounts as they rode-were able to bike 23 percent longer than riders who downed lukewarm liquids. Drinking cold water may be the most direct way to reduce core body temperature, so it takes you longer to heat up and slow down."

That makes a lot of sense. I wonder if the same holds true for runners. But 30 ounces in a half hour? That's a lot of water! Not only would I risk feeling bloated and maybe hearing the water swish around inside (that's always fun) but it might make me feel like going to the bathroom. I don't often get that feeling when I run but when it happens, it's terrible!

Still, cold water on days like today, even in the mornings (Wednesday is supposed to be 73 degrees at 8 am, with temperatures topping at 97 degrees between 2-3 pm), it might be good to down a really cold glass or three of water before heading out on the run.

Accept it

In the spring, I looked forward to the summer so I could have some time with my girls but also to have a sort of regular schedule in terms of working out. It seemed the time slipped by quickly on certain days as I had obligation after obligation before I could even think about squeezing in a run.

Now, its summertime but I find myself with even less opportunity to work out.

Guess that's just how things work out.

I can't run outdoors during the week. Actually I could but it would have to be before 5. My wife leaves for work at about 5:30 or so, and that doesn't give me much time to run. I am usually always up before 5 but I'm too tired to go running since I'm usually up late working. its usually 5:15 or 5:20 before I muster up the strength to get out of bed, and then its too late for anything. I suppose one day I'll have to sack up and run at that time. Hopefully it will happen soon.

Swim lessons are great but leave me no time before for the gym (babysitting opens at 8, swim starts at 9, logistics don't work out) and afterward is either work stuff or library or something else for the girls. I can't run in the afternoon or evening (despise it).

Weekends are good though. Now that I'm an official Loper, I'll be getting in my long runs on Sundays which works out great. At least I'll have one part of one day set aside for me.

As for the rest of the days, I just have to accept that there is nothing typical about my schedule, about my day-to-day life really that is normal. I'll just have to plan runs on a week-by-week basis. Not ideal, but its what I've got.

Monday, July 13, 2009

LB's Randomness

I'm almost back to my neck of SoCal. The way back was worse than the way there. Guess I just wanted to get home. To pass the time, I thought. A lot. I got some of those thoughts down to share with everyone.

Random thoughts that ran through my head during my drive from Phoenix to Riverside:

Should I get coffee, even if its 100 degrees outside?

I would never run outdoors here, from May to September anyway. Too effing hot. 95 degrees at 7:30 in the morning?? You kidding?!?

I wonder if local runners get adjusted to the heat and are able to run here.

Why does Arizona have these inane "photo enforcement zones?" Is that Arizona's way of generating revenue in this economy?

There is a ghost town named Bueno, Arizona. I don't know if anything remains though, or where the hell it is, but I should find it one day.

How did people in the Old West survive this heat? How did the native Arizonans (Hopi, Pima) survive this heat?

I wonder if I can make it back in time to take the girls to library storytime.

I'm not going to complain about the 90-degree weather in Riverside. For at least a couple of days. Maybe a week.

I should just get a mohawk. I wimped out and got a faux hawk. I should just do it.

I wonder what that plum I left in the trunk tastes like.

Why can't California have a speed limit of 75 like in Arizona? At least between Blythe and Coachella.

I have to remember to buy the girls the They Might Be Giants CD, Here Come The 123s.

I wonder what it would be like if I ran to a playlist made up of childen's music.

I probably know more children's music artists than regular acts, like top 40 artists. Not that I was ever into that, but I'm just so out of touch.

Still, I'd rather listen to The Jimmies singing about peanut butter sandwiches than some of the crap that passes for music today.

Why did bands in the 90s kick so much ass and bands now suck so much ass? White Zombie. Tool. Korn. I mean, there is not one band that rose to prominence this decade that is better than Rage Against The Machine. There isn't. Not even close.

The Chiefs are going to be better than a lot of people think this year. But the Broncos are going to blow.

I just don't know why my wife doesn't like The Fugitive. Ok, so its not like one of my favorite movies but I can watch it over and over again and not get sick of it. Like Groundhog Day.

What is it about the Golden Girls that she likes? I don't get it.

I can't wait to watch Burn Notice on the tivo tonight.

Maybe I should borrow Dexter from my brother. A lot of people seem to like that show.

I really don't want to stop for a third time to use the bathroom. Shouldn't have drank all that water. Oh well. Better than eating chips or that entire bag of trail mix you passed on at the gas station.

Twentynine Palms. Thousand Palms. Palm Springs. Palm Desert. I see a pattern.

Ok, you always say this when you pass here but you Gotta figure out what those spinny things outside Palm Springs are and how they work.

CFI Trucking. What might CFI stand for? Corrupt Federal Informants. Confederate Flag Ignoramuses. Crappy Fuel Injection. Constantly Faking Injury. Can't Feel It. Cilantro's Far-reaching Influence.

Wow. Random thoughts. Hey, wouldn't it be funny to get some of these thoughts down and put them on my blog?

Motivational Mondays (July 13)

Greetings all. Its Monday again. Ugh.

I wish I had something more profound to say today, but I'm just leaving Phoenix and must post via mobile phone. And trying to post a long and thought-out post my phone is like trying to run 3 miles in a hotel corridor. Kinda cramped.

But I did want to motivate everyone. Since I have a long drive ahead of me, I guess you can feel motivation in that you don't have to drive five hours through the desert like I do.

Yes, sucks to be LB today.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Made it

I'm in Phoenix. Just really posting to say that I posted from another city. San Jose, Costa Rica; Montreal; now Phoenix. A month from today I'll be in Mexico City, so that's another city. Now, this doesn't happen often. I haven't traveled like this in a long time.

Anyway, how do you like the view?


Not bad. The stands will be packed soon enough.

Anyway, also wanted to blog a little about the Lopers. I signed up and am officially a Loper now! Yay! I ran one mile this morning, ran it in 8:09, so that got me to the 11-minute-per-mile pace group. It's fun to have run that mile and to have signed up for the group. There is a detailed plan in terms of training for the marathon, the Surf City 2010 on Feb. 7, 2010. Every Sunday there are runs and they increase, so next week is two miles, then three, then four, and so on and so on. By September we'll be running double-digit miles and then it's no turning back.

I'll post some more stuff on the Lopers in the coming days, but I am quite excited about talking the plunge and getting stuff done.

Well, gotta get back to work.
Late Night For Loper-To-Be

Its 12:30 am and I'm not home. A late night of work has officially blended into morning as I head home for a brief nap. Later today I will head out to join the Loma Linda Lopers running club. The intention is to become a better runner, train for my first marathon and hopefully make some friends. I'm hopeful, but we'll see how it all works out.

I'll probably sleep four hours before getting up again, will head out to the club meeting, then I'll head to Phoenix for work, a nice 5-hour drive. Temps there will be 115. Nice.

Anyway, just wanted to update you all. I'm sure i'l check in on my long commute.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Three cheers!

One of my trusty readers commented recently that she has a 5K to run on Saturday.

I'd like to take the time now to wish Amanda good luck on her 5K! And from now on, if any of you trustworthy readers have races, please do let me know. I'd love to hear experiences, both pre- and post-race.

Suerte!! (Good luck!!)

Restraint

Eating out is not always fun when you try and watch what you eat.

Recently we've had to go out for dinner. The first time we hit up Carl's Jr. (one of our only options) and last night we went to Coco's, I suppose a bit better than what I'd expected.

The first time, I really wanted a burger but opted for a salad instead. Carl's Jr. actually does well to provide nutritional information which is grand but the burgers were in the neighborhood of 700 calories (some had more than 1,000!) so I chose the 250-calorie salad along with the 35-calorie lowfat Balsamic vinegar dressing.

Yesterday I went with the Mushroom Veggie Burger. Since it was listed in the under-600 calorie section, I'm assuming it had less than 600 calories. Incidentally, that section had four things to choose from, three of which were salads.

I don't know what I felt like since I didn't allow my mind to linger. But I had gone running earlier in the day (intervals, and they felt great!) so I didnt' want to spoil an otherwise good day for nutrition and running by making a poor dinner choice.

It's small sacrifices like that, though, that help keep the pounds off, and several years of discipline that got them off in the first place. It's baby steps but it pays off.

Incidentally, the burger wasn't half bad.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Meeting in place

The Desert Tortoises, which at this point could be known as the Ragner 9, will get together exactly one month from Wednesday. On Aug. 8, we're going to get together and run a 10K. While I would have preferred to have found an actual race, we're going to run 6.2 miles to determine our potential pace times and sort out the relay race, which from then will be about two months away.

I want to show well on that day and in the Ragnar Relay itself and I know the whole ordeal will be demanding, from the training to the race and the logistics of it all. It's all tough... good, but tough.

But I'm going to try my best to train for this in sections. First, I'm going to try and get to Aug. 8 in as great shape as possible. It's kind of a downer though because from Aug. 10-14 I'll be in Mexico City for work (just a solo trip this time) so I'm not sure how much running I'll be getting in down there. I don't even know where I'm staying at yet. But after the Tortoises get together, then I'll begin the second and more difficult part of the process, which is to throw in some longer runs, as in double-digit runs, as well as some other types of runs I'm not looking forward to.

The first is a pre-dawn run. If I'm going to run in the middle of the night, I think I should train in the middle of the night, at least once. I've thought about possibly setting my alarm for 2 a.m. and getting out of bed and running four miles. I dread the thought of that but I think I need something like that.

Another run is a second run, as in a day. Train hard in the morning, well, train as usual in the morning but also throw in a second run in the day. Makes sense, since I'll have to do that anyway. Maybe I could run a six-mile run in the morning, run two or three easy miles in the late afternoon and get my butt out of bed in the middle of the night to complete the cycle. Ouch!

But that's still a long time coming. I've got lots of things to keep me busy from now until then. One of them is the local running group. I'm set to head out there and see what it's all about. The only problem is that A) I'll be tired, got a late night of work on Saturday that I'm not really looking forward to and B) I've got to be in Phoenix by 1 or 1:30 P.M. Sunday, and I have to drive there. Luckily the first meeting only requires you to run one mile, and I actually have no worries about that. It's just the lack of sleep I'll have and then the time crunch I'll face in heading out to the Valley of the Sun. It's about a four and a half hour drive, so I'll need to be on the road by about 8 or 9 Sunday morning.

Anyway, the Lopers will also help me in my running. I've no idea how just yet but I know I will benefit from it, so my training plan for the Ragnar will likely be influenced by them as well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Playlist enhancer: The Police "I Can't Stand Losing You"

I forced myself recently to run to something differently. Too often I get caught up with one or two artists and I'd been listening to the same stuff over and over. Now, that wasn't a bad thing per se but I felt that I was going to burn those songs out and then I'd really mess things up for myself.

I'm not the kind of person who can listen to the same song 1,000 times and not get tired of it, and that's true with some very rare exceptions.

So I started rifling through some of Mrs. LB's music and came across The Police. It's not that I disliked them, but I just never really took the time to listen their music, apart from the well-known popular releases. Actually, their Greatest Hits album is quite good.

This song is probably my favorite, and I've ran to it now many times. It's quite enjoyable, relaxing but not too slow and upbeat enough to help me keep going. I'd definitely recommend The Police... although, the one song I always skip is Every Breath You Take since I heard that song for the 1,000th time quite a long time ago.

Intro to Running: Picking Your First Race

A while back I did an Intro to Running post where I wanted to blog about things that might help new runners or prospective runners in case anyone was randomly searching blogs for any sort of running advice, or to help any of my trusty readers in case they had questions/concerns of their own. I don't consider myself an expert in running but I am a bit of an expert in the I-went-from-nothing-to-running category as I, well, went from nothing to running.

I've run in several races but there was a time when I was searching for a race to participate in and had no idea how to go about finding races or registering or training for them.

Actually, running a race can seem both daunting and exciting at the same time. On the one hand, being in a race setting is exciting. There are all sorts of people out at races, some trying to win, some trying to place near the top, some out there trying to set a personal record and still others just there to add another race name to their list and pick up another t-shirt.

On the other hand, it's daunting because it's a competition. It's about as real as it gets in running. Yeah, you can run for health reasons and run for fun and all that but when you have a race, you are trying to finish the distance and presumably beat or get close to a certain time.

If you are new to running or have never run a race before, it can be overwhelming. The best advice I can give is to take it slowly and don't rush into anything. If you are new to running and have made it a goal to run a marathon, great, but I'd suggest a few races before then, maybe a 10K at least or a half-marathon. Build slowly to it. If you want to start off with a 5K like I did, that's great too. Same principle applies: build slowly to it.

You want to pick a race that's far enough away that you can train for it. Even if you run 10-15 miles a week or more, scheduling a 5K from one week to the next might not be a great idea. When I first had the desire to run a race, it was early May 2008 and I wanted to run one quickly. But the soonest race that was within range of me was not until the first weekend of June. It worked out well because I had about four weeks to really train for it, to visualize what the race might seem like, try and run the distance a few times, maybe get in some work like core exercises, weights, that might help you gain strength.

If you aren't into running or can or have only run 1-2 miles at a time, you probably need some time to build up to the distance. Something that may help in that regard would be doing some cardio work. Build up your endurance by running but also by doing work on the elliptical. Maybe throw in a swimming or bike session every now and then. If you can't run more than two miles at a time and you sign up for a 10K, you might not make it to race day. You might just skip the race all together. You might even burn yourself out before you ever give yourself a chance to really enjoy running.

If you are up for running longer distances and want to start with a longer race, a 10K would be the best option. I like 10Ks probably the most since that is a good distance. It's not a super-long run like a half or full marathon but it's longer than the 5K, so it challenges you a bit differently than the 5K. I'm not a fast guy and I prefer to challenge myself with longer distances rather than trying to beat a certain time.

Every race, though, has challenges, whether it's a 5K or a 42K (marathon), so whatever race you choose as your first, be proud of it. Take pride in your race and dedicate yourself to running it and enjoying it and you will do fine.

Some links that might be handy:

The Other Mag (Runner's World) has lots of good resources all over their site but particularly here. There are tips on how to train for and run 5Ks, 10Ks, and all race distances.

Also, Active.com is one of the best resources out there in terms of being able to find races.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flip 'em off!

Lately, I've been a bit hobbled.

Not really because I've been running too much. In fact, I've been running less than I want to because of my schedule. But I hadn't really thought too much about the discomfort I felt while walking.

It was odd when I finally realized I was feeling discomfort, but even then I didn't think too much of it.

Until I saw a story in The Other Mag.

The story had six different sets of footwear and had pros and cons of each. Among those featured included high heels (which I've never worn), crocs (nope) and thin-soled shoes, flip-flops to be more precise. I have a pair of those. Mrs. LB bought me flip flops a few months ago as part of some new summer clothes she was awesome enough to pick up for me. I'd never worn flip-flops much in the past and figured I'd give them a try.

I instantly fell for them. They were lightweight and I felt quite comfortable in them. So I wore them. A lot. Perhaps too much.

The story says to wear them "If it's for a short period of time, you won't be walking around a lot or you don't have a history of foot injuries."

Conversely, it cautioned against them: "They offer no arch support, cushioning, or shock absorption, which can lead to plantar fasciitis and shinsplints."

Oh no! What did I do?

That was on Saturday, when I realized that I'd been wearing flip-flops almost exclusively for the past month-to-six weeks. It took its toll on my feet. Now, I'm back to my old sandals, which have far more cushioning and padding and have never given me problems.

It's kind of a shame because I really do like my flip-flops but now I just have to be more selective in how I wear them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Motivational Mondays (July 6)

Back to the basics.

Sometimes, when you are trying to find something that works, something that's going to jumpstart your training regimen or help you re-dedicate yourself to eating right, all it takes is getting back to the basics and starting from where you started from in the first place.

For me, that means getting back to what's worked for a long time.

My little saying.

I don't really have a great name for it. I just kind of referred to this as "my little saying" which I'll grant you isn't the greatest name. But it's known as that, so I guess it sticks.

What is it? I've blogged about it before, but I think it bears repeating every now and again. After all, I say this to myself before every workout, every run, every time I'm going to test and challenge myself physically.

Yesterday's over. You can't do anything about it.
Tomorrow's too far away.
It's all about this moment.
It's all about today.
It's all about right now.

Are you willing to give yourself everything you have for this moment?
For right now?

It just works for me.

It helps me regain my focus when things aren't going so great during a run, or when I feel as if I've given all that my body has to give. Usually, all I have to do is to think about that and I snap back into shape and find something that's inside of me.

It also helps me keep things in perspective. While I might be struggling to get something done in that moment, I know that moment will pass. I know that I will be resting at some point, possibly soon. So all I have to do is tough it out for just a little bit longer and I'll be good.

It's just a reminder that you have to be true to yourself. When you work out, you're doing it for yourself, your own benefit. So if you are willing to give everything you have to yourself, you will be doing yourself a great favor.

So why sell yourself short?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Got Lucky

So I said late last night, or early this morning I should say, that I'd be lucky to get in five hours of sleep. I got into bed at about 12:45 or so and drifted off to sleep a short while later. I was jarred out of sleep at about 3:30 by a frightened Yvie (she said she rolled out of bed, poor girl). I got her back in bed and dragged myself back to bed, thinking I'd be up soon enough, but the next thing I knew it was 7 am.

An hour later I went on a run. I decided to run The Hill and it was great. It was already very warm but I was determined. I got up The Hill, down it, turned around and went over it again. All told, five miles on the nose in about 49 minutes.

Now, I'm tired again. Better rest up before fireworks.

The Problem With Working Late

It's 12:23 in the am and I'm just getting home. Had to work and then of course the long drive home is always fun.

I was hoping to go on a run tomorrow... or later today, I should say. I hope I get a good night's sleep but I'll be lucky if I sleep five hours.

I guess I should take this as a chance to begin preparing for the Ragnar as sleep will be a luxury then, but still would rather get some solid rest.

Oh well. Such is life, right?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Shopping Craze

I'm going to take a page out of my blog buddy Angie Eats Peace and blog about my recent shopping adventures. She wrote recently about grocery shopping so I figured I'd follow suit.

Now, first I think I need to tell you a little bit about my shopping habits. I'm addicted to shopping. I can't deny it anymore and in fact I came to terms with this addiction a while back. I just love going to the store and buying vegetables or fruit or dairy products or bread or whatever. Sometimes I really do need some things but a lot of times I just kind of go to browse and then buy stuff that I may or may not need.

I usually go to the store twice a week at least but it's not uncommon for me to hit the grocery store four or five times a week. I've been known to go to two different grocery stores on the same day. See, I shop at Stater Bros. because it's nearby and I've kind of always gone there (those of you who don't live in Southern California probably aren't familiar with this local chain). I like it, but another store called Fresh & Easy just opened up nearby and I've fallen for that place as well.

See, that place has good deals on certain fruits and veggies. Basil is 2.88 for uh, I forget the exact amount but you'd have to pay a couple bucks more for the same at Stater's. Also, the baby spinach and regular spinach are way cheaper, as are bananas (19 cents apiece). Strawberries tend to be a better bargain there too. Tomatoes, zucchini, onions... they can all be way cheaper at Fresh & Easy unless Stater's has a really good sale. The bread is very good there too, though it doesn't last that long.

But for other things like cilantro (49-69 cents a bunch), parsley (about the same) and peppers, it's better to go to Stater's. And Stater's has some things that Fresh & Easy doesn't.

Anyway, I recently went to Costco. That's the worst because you can't just go there and get a few things because it can get pretty expensive. But there are some staples that I get there and when I run out, it gets difficult to cook or bake or do anything.

I stocked up, and here's what I got.

Cheese
2-pound blocks of Monterey Jack (3.89) and Mozzarella (3.39).

Cheap cheese. It actually was cheaper but went up in price. Love cheese.

Meats
Zesty Italian sausage (6 pounds worth)
Salami
Chorizo
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Hot Dogs (Hebrew national)

Those hot dogs are so good! We recently had them at a birthday party and agreed that they were better than what we usually buy.

Breakfast-type stuff
Coffee creamer (powdered)
Eggo waffles
Cliff energy bars
18-pack of extra large eggs

The energy bars are usually my breakfast unless I opt for some fruit or yogurt. The waffles are for the girls and the eggs, well, none of us here likes eggs. Those are for baking.

Etc.
Coke Zero
Salsa
Refried beans
Tomato paste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Canola oil
Fruit by the foot (snacks for girls)

I'm ashamed to admit it but I can't cook refried beans. My mom would be disappointed if she knew. I went for so long not using tomato paste until I started making my own marinara sauce that now it's become a must-have item. Olive oil is also a must have but canola oil is great for other things like baking. And if I drink a soda, it's either diet something or Coke Zero.

Alright, there you go. As you can see, no fresh fruits or veggies. After all, I can't rob myself of the fun of going to the local grocery store multiple times a week.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What's in a name?

Team No. 99 of the Las Vegas edition of the Ragnar Relay is the Desert Tortoises. That's us. I think it's going to be an appropriate title as I'm sure we won't be setting any course records.

Actually, the way it's staggered, the race will sort of take care of itself in terms of keeping everyone competitive with each other. Not everyone starts at the same time as the elite teams start later and the slow-legged teams like us will start earlier. Each team must submit a fairly detailed pace breakdown stating how long it will take runners to complete their legs. I'm not certain how detailed it has to be as the team captain takes care of all that, and I'm not the team captain.

We're all planning on getting together (all nine of us, still room for three runners!) sometime soon to figure that out. I think for my runs I'll plan on running between 9:00-9:30 a minute, with the last leg at 9:30-9:45. That's just a guess though.

Anyway, the Desert Tortoises are amongst some stiff competition. Scanning the names of the other 135 teams are some rather interesting ones.

How about 11 Runners and a Walker? I like that name.

Or how about On The Rag-nar, an all-female entry? Clever.

Wile-E-Coyotes makes sense since it's in the desert.

What Happens in the Van Stays in the Van? Yeah!

But I think my favorite name and one that I'd like to think I'd have a spot in is this: Toenails Are For Sissys.

The only one that could possibly top that would be something like The Bloody Nipples, but I haven't come across that one yet.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Awards

Apparently some of you like this blog :)

I was given a pair of awards by two of my must-read blogs, This Stop Willoughby and Tattoos and Teething Rings. Thanks for thinking of me!


Here's the list of rules for this award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated

First, I have to pass this on to seven blogs so here goes...

Dash of Life
Marvelously Mundane
One Step at a Time
Who Has The Thyme?

Okay, well, I'll just do four... a seven-miler into a four-miler...

Now I've got to leave seven things about me that others might find interesting. Hmmm... seven things... that might be tough. Here goes.

1. When I was three, I squeezed a chick to death. I don't remember doing it, but I apparently was holding a chick in my hands and squeezed it so hard it died. I asked my mom why it wasn't moving anymore.

2. I did not like chorizo or zucchini much at all when I was growing up. It's not been since the last two years or so that I started to warm up to both. I count them now among my favorite foods.

3. I don't like sitcoms. Mrs. LB tried to get me to name 10 sitcoms that I like and most of them were from the 80s (Three's Company, Diff'rent Strokes). I watch South Park but she didn't want to count that as a sitcom.

4. I've never seen the movie Titanic. I avoided it like the plague. A former co-worker summed up the reason why I refused to watch the movie: "There were so many real stories, good stories of people on that boat, and they had to make up a story?"

5. After my recent trips, I've now been to the following countries: Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago. I spent the least amount of time in France (a day trip to Bitche) and the most in Mexico (lived there on two separate occasions).

6. Mrs. LB and I have been taking dance lessons this year (a Christmas present from me to her). I really enjoy it. I like the waltz and rumba the most but we are also learning tango and a bit of fox trot. I'm not very good at tango but that's probably the most intriguing because it's a pretty sensual dance. It's a bit ironic because I never danced and didn't care for it one bit but I think I'm enjoying the dancing more than Mrs. LB.

7. I've thought about pursuing a career as a personal trainer, like to work at a gym or something. Maybe when Kennedy is in first grade and I won't need to play taxi as much I can have time to take classes or whatever. I've also thought about maybe getting my teaching credential to teach math or special ed. I think those are the only two things I could handle after my botched attempt to teach fifth grade six years ago.

Wow, that was kind of hard! Hope you enjoyed it. And thanks again, Tats and Willoughby.

No Skipping

As I write this, its almost 10 am. I spent this morning in a rather hectic fashion. Did some work, lots of work actually, sent some emails off for work, washed the truck and took an important phone call. Before I knew it, the morning was gone.

I'm at the pool right now while the girls are having their swim lessons (today's is on pool safety, they aren't actually in the water and I know they will leave disappointed). Next up is library and then when its done back home for lunch.

So far, I haven't had time for breakfast or a snack. I'm hungry.

Not good.

Its not a good thing to skip meals. For several reasons.

First, the longer you go without eating, the more your body holds on to fat and the unwanted stuff. Eating twice a day, then, is not good, even if they are small meals.

Also, the longer you go without eating, the more likely you are to make bad choices. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a vulnerable situation. I'd probably find it tough to resist a plate of, say cupcakes. I don't like cupcakes. I normally don't eat cupcakes. But if I'm super hungry, it would be tough to resist.

It's better to eat five or six times a day, every couple of hours. So if you follow an 1800-calorie meal plan, you could have a 200 calorie breakfast at 7, 100 calorie snack at 9, 500 calorie lunch at noon, 100 calorie snack at 3 and you would 900 calories heading into dinner.

What does that look like?

Energy bar with water at breakfast (210 calories)

Banana (100 cal)

Turkey grinder (400 cal) with side of plain yogurt with fruit (160)

Peach (60) and plum (30)

Baked penne with roasted veggies (600) and garlic bread (100)
That doesn't sound bad at all, does it?