Monday, August 31, 2009

Motivational Mondays (Aug. 31)

I don't care.

I just don't care anymore. Refuse to. Not going to bother.

Whatever the scale says I weigh, I don't care.

(I'm trying real hard to fully convince myself here)

I'm happy, mostly.

It's funny because while that is (mostly) true, I used to say the same thing when I was ginormous. It got to the point where I was so big I never thought I'd get anywhere to the level where I am now. Never thought I could lose 120 pounds. Hell, I never thought I could lose 20 pounds.

But now, here I am, saying the same things.

Why?

Am I expanding again? Have I gotten north of 200 pounds?

No. And hell no.

It just seems my margin of error is small and every pound I gain (not that I'm gaining or have gained a lot), every pound I feel I should not have increases my frustration tenfold.

I don't know what I weigh. I weighed myself three or four weeks ago and I was at around 191 or 189, can't remember. I think it was 189 after a workout, 191 before. I'm carrying about 5-7 more pounds now than I was a year ago at this time. I haven't been as restrictive this year as last, although I've been running a helluva lot more now than ever.

Not sure if my body has plateaued or not and has gotten used to the running, but I might do well to try something in addition to running, such as weights or an elliptical session or two a week. I might do that once school starts when I can figure out a semblance of a schedule.

Still, I know I'm doing things right. I do well to avoid the really bad foods. I opt for salads and lighter fare when we go out. I try and eat five-to-six times a day and keep my calories around 1800 whenever possible. And I run. I ran eight miles on Saturday, for crying out loud, and burned more than 1,300 calories (according to The Polar).

So why am I going to give the scale more power than it needs to have?

Now, I'm not saying that I don't care what the scale says if it were to read (God forbid) 200-plus pounds. Frankly, I worked too damned hard to ever let myself slip, to ever let myself have a 2- in front of my weight. I deserve to reap the rewards of my lifestyle change but with that comes continued discipline that I must have now and forever. So this I-don't-give-a-damn attitude doesn't come without a disclaimer.

Despite all of my weight loss, I'm not 100 percent satisfied with how I look. I don't feel comfortable without a shirt on in public and would not think about running without a shirt, for instance. Most of the males on Desert Tortoises could run without a shirt, no problem, but I would not think about it. It's not all bad though. I don't fret about it or anything.

I'm happy with my appearance. That's the bottom line. I'm happy with how I look, I'm happy with the amount of exercise I get in and I'm happy about my nutritional choices.

I'm not a chiseled work of art like Kennedy's new soccer hero but I also am not afraid to post pictures of myself. Here's one from Sunday.

I know I'm moving in the right direction and have made lifestyle choices that will not only prolong my life but will provide me more happiness in my day-to-day life.

So why am I going to fret over what the scale says?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cooking With Yvie: Applesauce

Greetings all and welcome to another episode of Cooking With Yvie. For our latest culinary adventure, Yvie shows us how to make applesauce. Now, the show's producer added too much water to the apples so they came out watery. A quarter cup would have sufficed. But it all turned out good in the end.

Enjoy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pain Free

After last Sunday's 7-mile run, I had some lingering nipple pain all day. It was pretty bad. Not constant but whenever my shirt rubbed on them, I got nice jolt of pain.

Since we are taking a family trip to the beach tomorrow, I won't me able to go with my Lopers so I ran the scheduled eight miles today, on my own. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make the distance but I managed fine. I ran The Hill, ran three miles on the other side and scaled it again, so my total time was 1 hour 22 minutes.

I didn't want to experience any pain so I applied the Body Glide liberally before my run. It hurt a little when I got home though, but I showered and applied some more. Its the afternoon now and I haven't felt any pain.

This constant pain is infuriating, mostly because its a relative small area but causes an annoying, lingering and stinging pain. If one thing will chase me away from running long distances, it is this dreaded nipple pain.

But so far, so good. I'll have to keep the Body Glide handy. Not 100 percent worry free now, but also far more comfortable today than I was a week ago.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Playlist enhancer: Dick Dale's "Misirlou"

I had forgotten about this song.

Well, it's not that I forgot about it, per se, just forgot I had it. I have three computers at my house (one PC and two laptops) and I pretty much only use my newest laptop. But I forgot that I had this song in my collection on my PC. I scoured around for some more songs and found this, so now it's on my iPod.

Misirlou by Dick Dale and the Del Tones rocks. I really like running to instrumentals sometimes, like the very long Metallica instrumentals, but this one should be great to run to as well, since it's a bit of a lively tune.

The video... well, this version isn't what I have but I just thought this video was pretty cool.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Daddy-Daughter Work Day

I had the chance to take Kennedy out to work with me today, out for a soccer practice. It was fun having her go out there with me now as to before when she was young and extra squirrely. She's still a squirrel but at least now she can be bribed with promises of DVDs and chicken nuggets for lunch. Bribed I guess might be a strong word but it's a consequence thing. If she's good, she gets something good in return. If not, she doesn't.

Anyway, one of the cool things was having the chance to take this picture.

She doesn't realize how famous the soccer player is. She only knows he was a soccer player.

Bumps and Bruises

Lately I haven't had any setbacks with injury (knock on wood) but I thought I'd update my list of ailments to kind of help me gauge where I am with things and try and prevent injury. I think the one thing I'm most scared of right now is getting injured and having to miss Ragnar and/or Surf City. There's really no reason for this fear other than that it could happen, and while it's not exactly a predominant fear, it exists somewhere in the back of my mind.

* Foot: My feet are fine. I had some pain on the top of my left foot for a few weeks but it's been normal for weeks now. No pain, no nothing. I think the new shoes help. I bought me some new shoes and have worn them for about five runs now, and they seem to do well to cushion my feet.

* Heels: For some reason, my heels have been tender. Not really painful, and I don't feel them when I run, but there is definitely discomfort there mostly when I'm walking around the house. I have been wearing my sandals around the house as walking barefoot can lead to some discomfort. I'm really bummed that I won't be at the Lopers meeting Sunday because the topic is plantar fasciitis.

* Toenails: Sadly, my toenails are almost back to normal. I figured my black toenails were my badges of honor, but the right toenail is completely back to normal. You can't even tell which toenail was jet black not too long ago. The damaged toenail on my left foot is still damaged but it looks like before too long it too will be back to normal. No more black toenails for LB. Sad.

* Nipples: I bought me some Body Glide recently, actually when I bought my shoes. Body Glide helps stop chafing. I've used it a couple of times. On Sunday, I used it when I ran seven miles. There was no immediate pain but my nipples bothered me quite a bit the rest of the day. I don't know what to do to prevent it. I will give this Body Glide a try and then we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My New Favorite Lunch

This is my new favorite lunch and after scarfing it down for the second time in two days I just had to blog about it.

First, a bit of background. I'm always trying to find ways to add fiber to my diet. Sometimes I'll splurge and get the flour tortillas that have 11 grams of fiber (and about 100 calories) per tortilla. Fiber One cereal is good too but it's so expensive I hardly every buy it.

The standard way to get fiber into my meal plan is, of course, through veggies and fruits but sometimes I'm just not getting to my five servings a day, which makes it tough to get the fiber I need.

So recently I came across a wrap that offered something I'd not seen before: 21 grams of fiber per wrap! Unreal. Before I found these, I started making some veggie wraps. It came about fairly easily. I had a tiny bit of lunch meat left and went to put it in a wrap, but it looked nasty , all moist and stuff, so I tossed it. I figured I didn't really need to have meat so I sauteed some zucchini, summer squash, onions and bell peppers. I sprinkled some sea salt, pepper, cheese and thousand island dressing on it. My new veggie wrap! It was so good.

Lately I've been making it with these 21-gram wraps.


Each wrap has 200 calories, 21 g fiber and 8 g protein. Along with the vegetables, this wrap is loaded with fiber but not calories.

Here are my sauteed veggies. Today I used some yellow bell and serrano peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, cilantro, baby spinach and onion. I also added a bit of Monterey Jack cheese and thousand island dressing.

All told, I'm guessing the wrap had less than 300 calories. And it was so good!

The only problem is that the package of eight cost around five bucks. I suppose I can't eat this every day for lunch, but 2-3 times a week wouldn't be bad.

The Week That Was

Last week may have been one of my best-ever weeks in terms of running. It was also no coincidence that Mrs. LB did not work that week.

The week started off in Page, Ariz., as I ran my memorable six-mile run across the Glen Canyon Dam bridge. On Thursday, I ran 3.2 miles around my neighborhood while Friday was my 4-5 mile track interval run.

Sunday I ran seven miles with the Lopers and that was a great run. All told, in a span of seven days I got in four runs for a combined mileage of 21 miles or so. Great week, right?

This week, I did not run Monday nor Tuesday. My windows to run in are today and Thursday. Lamentably I won't be able to run with the Lopers on Sunday - and I really do hope that that will be the last Sunday I have to miss for a while - so Saturday I need to run as well.

The main reason why I was able to venture out so many times last week was Mrs. LB. She gets up early... we get up early... every morning. Today for instance I beat the 4:40 a.m. alarm by two minutes. She has a harsh commute and is gone by 5:30 most every morning. I feel bad for her as the commute is difficult - rare is the time she gets to or from work in under 60 minutes.

She does what she has to do for the family and we are all very appreciative of that. Which is why I don't complain much about not having the chance to run around my neighbordhood. I'd love to be able to get out at 6 a.m. and go on a run, even if it's only 2-3 miles. Especially right now, in the late summer when the temperature is nice and the sun isn't quite out yet but it's not dark at 6 a.m. That would make for some awesome runs.

But at 6 a.m. on weekdays, I'm home with the girls so running around my block is not an option. I've thought about getting up at around 4 a.m. to go on runs but that sounds about as appealing to me as having to walk barefoot over some hot charcoal. I am a morning person and all but that's overdoing it a bit.

Although, the Ragnar will force me to run even earlier than that, but that's another story...

Anyway, I took advantage of my wife's vacation last week and was able to get in three runs that I normally would not have had the chance to do. This week my windows are small and if something unexpected comes up and I have to miss my scheduled runs, I won't be able to make them up.

Still, I try to squeeze in trips to the gym when I can. Once school starts and Yvie goes off to first grade, I will be able to schedule runs because I know I will have some alone time, well, alone being just me and Kennedy. I'll be able to run at the gym more often than now and my Sunday runs are now fixtures.

I guess I long for the day when Mrs. LB works closer to home, mostly so A) she won't have to commute for long hours; B) she will be able to sleep in a little later; C) we can actually spend time together as a family in the early-morning hours and D) I can get in some 6 a.m. runs during the week.

For now, the gym will have to make do.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Quiz Answers

Thanks to everyone who participated in the quiz. I hope you enjoyed it whether you took the challenge or not.

Here are the answers.

1) B. The orange flag is for water skiers or wakeboarders, anyone who is outside of the boat. Kennedy was playing with the flag before we took off.

2) B. I was trying to catch a fish, mostly to amuse the girls.

3) C. I was looking for lizards but saw a lot of seashells. Kennedy liked the seashells.

4) A. Everyone was set to jump in off the rocks and I really didn't want to. I eventually did. And that bikini clad girl is my sister in law! I do NOT have eyes for her :)

5) C. Yvie totally loved trying to water ski. She really does want to try it again. Hopefully she can do it next time we go.

6) A. Yvie jumped in. She hesitated but decided to do it. She was proud of herself!

7) C. The water right around there was around 160 feet. That doesn't really scare the girls but it freaks the crap out of me!

Thanks again for playing along at home. Amanda and thrasherswife each got six right! Rock on!

More Pics, With a Twist

I wanted to share more pictures of our Lake Powell trip but figured I'd do so a bit differently. Since the only ones who know the story behind these pictures were at the lake, I figured it would be good to have a bit of a quiz.

So, I'll put a picture up with a question and will provide three guesses as to what is going on in picture. See if you can figure out what's going on in each picture. If you enjoy it, maybe I'll do more of these posts with just random pictures in some sort of semi-regular feature.

Let's see how this works out.

1) Why is Kennedy holding up the flag?

A) If you have a child under five on board the boat, you must have said child hold up an orange flag to warn other boats.
B) When the boat is carrying a water skier behind, you must have an orange flag visible to warn other boats that a person is in the water.
C) As punishment for pushing her sister into a pile of red ants, Kennedy had to hold the flag in the air for 10 minutes.

2) Why do I have a plastic cup in the water?

A) I was thirsty and wanted a drink.
B) I was trying to catch a fish.
C) Kennedy took a poop and I was trying to scoop out the remnants.

3) What am I doing up there?

A) Looking for my shoes - someone tossed them up here.
B) Trying to find somewhere to ditch the silly hat.
C) Looking for seashells or lizards or anything that Kennedy might like to hold.

4) Why am I standing so high on the rocks?

A) Trying to avoid being harassed into jumping off the rocks and into the deep water below.
B) Chasing after Kennedy - and the chase was successful.
C) See the girl in the bikini? Yeah, me too.

5. After Yvie's unsuccessful attempt at water skiing, how did she react?

A) She cried once she got back into the boat and said she never wants to do that again.
B) She complained that her arms and back hurt and admitted at being scared when the boat pulled away.
C) She said it was fun and she would be up for trying it next time we go to the lake.

6. This is Yvie on the edge of the boat, preparing to jump into the middle of the lake by herself for the first time ever. She ended up in the water, but how?

A) She went through with it and jumped in after slightly hesitating (and allowing Dad to snap the picture).
B) After a minute-long delay, she had her uncle drop her into the lake.
C) Kennedy pushed her into the water.

7. How deep was the water where Yvie jumped in?

A) About 10 feet; that's how we convinced her to get in.
B) Close to 30 feet, but we didn't tell her until she had gotten out of the water.
C) Somewhere north of 160 feet.

I'll be back later to post the answers.

If you get them all right, you rule.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Motivational Mondays (Aug. 24)

Small steps.

You have to take small steps in order to reach your goal.

It's great to want to run a marathon or a 10K, but if you haven't run such a distance before, it might seem impossible. Same with weight loss. You might want to lose 100 pounds or maybe 20 pounds or whatever, but it's a daunting task.

But you can't lose 100 pounds in a day or week. And you won't go from running 5-7 miles to all of the sudden having the ability to run 26.2 miles. It doesn't work that way.

I joked with a friend about wanting to run an 18-miler with her next weekend, but there's no way. I've never run more than 13, and the last time I ran double-digits was in my pre-Loper days. I think if I tried to run 18 miles next week, I'd collapse.

If you are on the path towards a goal, whether it's fitness-related or not, remember that it's a path, and that requires movement towards something, a movement that is a journey.

It's like you are driving from one city to another. You have to go through the suburbs, barren areas, unincorporated county land, maybe a small town or two and more suburbs before you get to your destination.

Along your path towards running 26.2 or a 10k, you will also have such milestones. You will run a double-digit mile run for the first time. You will run five miles for the first time. You might set a new PR time in a certain distance - if you've never run five miles before, your five-mile time will be your PR! And you'll have something to shoot for the next time you run five miles.

If you want to lose 100 pounds, you will have to lose one to start. Then another. Eventually you'll drop 10 pounds, 20, 30 and you'll feel better and better about yourself. If you hit a bump on the road, remember that it's just temporary and that if you've sold yourself on the goal, you will get there. It might not be as fast you'd like but getting there is the most important thing.

It's only natural to feel as if you are not moving fast enough. Or it might also be that you feel the goal is unattainable. My Loper calendar says that we will run 8 miles on Sunday, 9 miles the week after that and then 10 miles on the 13th. The distances only continue to climb, and frankly part of me is scared. From Sept. 13 to Dec. 13, I will complete double-digit runs a dozen times. If that's not intimidating, I don't know what is.

Well, maybe the 20-22 miles scheduled for Jan. 17...

Anyway, it might seem like a lot to get down. But again, I don't have to do them all at once. And you don't have to lose 10 pounds in one week.

As long as you are moving along the path towards meeting your goal, you'll be set. Everything else will fall into place after that.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thunderous Ride

Vacation cost me precious time to record a Cooking With Yvie, but she'll be back next Sunday and maybe even chime in during the week.

But I've got to give you an Yvie/Kenna fix today so here's a video I shot of them at Disneyland, on Thunder Mountain. They're brave and can go in their own car without too much problems.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tough Workout

On Friday, I got to run at the local high school track. I'm not the biggest fan of running in circles but the track is something I wish I could take advantage of more often, but it's not really a possibility since I like to run in the mornings and when school's in session, it's just not an option.

Anyway, I ran something that my brother Danny told me about last year. I walked a lap, then ran a mile at a comfortable pace. Walked another lap and then came the biggie: ran two miles but with a twist. I sprinted the straightaways and jogged very lightly around the bends. After eight laps of sprinting/jogging, I walked another lap, then ran another mile and then finally walked another lap.

I was worn out by the time I finished.

I ran the first mile in 9:03, so I suppose that was a decent time for me. I wasn't trying for speed, just settled into a comfortable pace. Average heart rate was 163 and maximum was 177.

After a lap of walking, I went into the sprints. My first two weren't that taxing but I really felt comfortable after the third one. I was flying, which is a relative term because I was probably going pretty slow still. I tried to look at The Garmin to see the pace and it was reading between 6:20 and 6:40 towards the end of my sprints, so that would be a very fast pace for me. I actually doubt I could hold that pace for anything more than a lap, and even a lap would be a struggle, but that's the purpose I suppose, to try and sprint and give it all you've got for short bursts.

Not only does it get you used to pushing through fatigue but it raises your heart rate quite high, lowers it, raises and lowers it over and over so it's a great workout for your heart, a bit of a different type of interval.

Anyway, my first mile I finished in 9:30 or so, just a bit slower than my first mile. Avg HR was 177 and max was 188. The next mile took me almost 10 minutes, just a hair under 10 minutes as my total time for the two miles was in the 19:20s. Avg HR was 181 and max was 189. I felt the sprints more in the second mile. I was tired and really going slow. But on my final sprint I pushed hard and glanced at The Garmin, which read 5:53 as I came out of my sprint.

I walked the lap, then jogged another mile. I finished the mile in about 9:40 I think, so it wasn't a slow mile. In fact, halfway through I was at 5:07 or so, so I figured I'd like to finish the mile in under 10 minutes. I probably should have just ran it to finish in whatever time but I was in the competitive mode because of all the sprinting so I pushed myself. The last lap was pretty tough as that's when I picked up the pace.

It was good to have gone out and done that, though. I had thought about an interval run at the gym but figured since Mrs. LB was home and able to watch the girls that I might as well take the time to head out to the track since I don't get to do that very often.

This week thus far has been a great week of running. Got in a six-miler on Monday, ran 3.2 or so on Thursday and that speed workout on Friday. With Sunday's seven-miler with the Lopers, I'll get in more than 20 miles this week!

But today's a rest day. Well, from running. I've got a long work day today, but that's fine. I'll have Sunday morning to look forward to.

New background

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I have a love of the Disneyland Resort. We have season passes and try to go as often as we can.

I put together this picture to serve as a background for my laptop. Originally I wanted a picture from either Disneyland or California Adventure but I couldn't settle for just one picture.

So I settled for seven.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. I could make dozens of backgrounds like this, I have so many pictures.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Run To The Dam

On my birthday - Aug. 9 - I bought myself some new shoes. It wasn't a birthday present to myself or anything, just happened that the local running store that gives Lopers 10 percent off shoes had a 15 percent sale for us, and I couldn't pass that up.

But I didn't get a chance to break them in until Monday. And did I ever set a high bar with this those shoes.

I took the shoes with me to the Lake and was happy to have gotten a chance to run early Monday morning. Like clockwork, I'm up by 5 a.m. most mornings, whether I need to or not. Vacations of course are for lounging around, sleeping in, enjoying some relaxation. And while I don't get the first two while running, getting in a run in the wee hours of the morning is very relaxing and the perfect start to any day.

It was the perfect start for that day, and the perfect way to break in my new shoes.

I got up a few minutes before five, laid in bed for about 5-10 minutes and then got my stuff together. By 5:30, while everyone else was sleeping, I was stretching next to my truck, picking out a playlist. There is a bridge near where we were staying, a bridge that on one side features a the Glen Canyon Dam and on the other a very deep gorge. Very deep. I had clocked the distance from the bridge to the hotel on the way past the day before and it was about 2-3 miles.

So I set out for it. With the sun just beginning to cast its light on our sliver of Arizona, I ran down the street our motel was on and turned onto the highway, State Route 89 I believe. It wasn't dead - there were cars cruising past - but it was light traffic even compared to the light traffic around my block that early in the morning.

The only thing I noticed right away was the ridges on the side of the road. Not sure if they are commonplace on most roads outside of SoCal but I've only seen these ridges on my long drives out of the state, the ones that will jar you awake if you doze off and start to slide off the road. Anyway, they were a minor hindrance on my run but I did well to avoid twisting my ankle on them.

Now, as I hadn't run since the Monday before, I didn't want to try and set any new speed records. I figured a good five- or six-mile run would suffice, and really would just be happy with running to the bridge.

I approached the bridge and realized that I would be quite a ways up. I wasn't scared or anything but certainly being on the bridge on foot would be a different experience than driving over it.

Now, the Glen Canyon Dam dams up the Colorado River in Page, Ariz., where we stayed. So not only would I have the pleasure running next to a colossal structure like a dam, I'd be able to say that I ran over the Colorado River.

It was almost perfect timing when I approached the river. Playing on my iPod was one of my favorite running songs, Highwayman by Johnny Cash. While Waylon Jennings was singing about being a dam-builder "where steel and water did collide... on the wild Colorado" I was looking at it. By the time I got on the bridge, though, Cash gave way to Metallica.

As I ran close to the bridge, I had to take a deep breath, not because I was tired or fatigued or anything. It was just a bit surreal to think that I was about to scale this massive divide.

How massive?


Pretty steep (I didn't take this picture but it's a great shot of the bridge).

I ended up running six miles on the nose in 59:55.

Not sure what order my runs rank but this one is certainly in my Top Five.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lake Powell Pics

Well, we're back in SoCal, back home. Our family vacation lasted about three days, and while that's not the longest time, Mrs. LB is off work this week and we'll have time to spend together as a family.

A few pictures from the lake...

This was right before we got to the lake on Sunday. We'd been in the truck for about eight hours and I'd driven about five of them. I was beat. I actually was sad that I didn't get to run with the Lopers on Sunday. We left our house at 6 am and usually at 6 am I'm driving over to Loma Linda to run with the Lopers. I missed out on a six-miler... but I ran a wonderful six-miler in Arizona on Monday that I'll have to blog about later.

Anyway, check this out:

Guess who that is being ultra-adventurous? Yup, that's Yvie in mid-air. Those swim classes she took were great. She never would have been willing to try this jump otherwise. Of course, she has on a life jacket and we wouldn't let her jump without it, or be without it period (except on the shore) but her desire to be in the water has increased significantly. Mrs. LB told me afterward that while Yvie was about to jump and in the the air, Mrs. LB's stomach was in knots and she was short of breath, kind of like a mini-anxiety attack. Not me. I was too busy taking pictures.

And remember the raft thing I blogged about?

Guess who is in the middle crying? That would be Kennedy. She was terrified! We weren't even going that fast and there was little chance of her falling off. But that didn't matter. I guess Mr. Toad's Wild Ride didn't properly gear her up for Ms. Kenna's Wild Raft Ride. She cried almost as soon as the boat pulled away. Yvie enjoyed it, though.

I've got more pictures and may post some later. The girls enjoyed the lake and with any luck they'll be swimming fully on their own and will be looking for bigger cliffs to jump from in 2010.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Future Timeline

As a second part to Tuesday's post (and I actually wrote this and the other one between Mexico City and Lake Powell trips), I wanted to throw it forward and try to anticipate what the future will hold for the LB clan. Let's see what we've got here in our crystal ball.

Aug 19, 2009. Mrs LB and I are married 10 years. Our daughters are 5 and 3. Yvie is about to start first grade. I'm a freelance writer and my wife is a manager at her LA-based company.

Aug. 19, 2010. Our daughters are 6 and 4. I've recently spent a month in South Africa, covering the world's biggest sporting event. I'm debating whether I want to run my second marathon of the year or if I should wait until Surf City 2011 to run another 26.2. Our four-year-old will soon start kindergarten.

Aug. 19, 2012. Our daughters are 8 and 6. Yvie has decided she prefers to dance instead of play soccer, so she does traditional ballet and ballet folklorico. Mrs. LB is now a director with her company. While my writing business is still going strong, I begin attending culinary school. I'm a four-time marathoner.

Aug. 19, 2014. Mrs. LB and I have been married 15 years. Our daughters are 10 and 8. Yvie's love of dance is a constant while Kennedy balances ballet with soccer. After spending a month in Brazil covering the world's greatest sporting event, I am now an ex-writer and work as a pastry chef. After seven years with her LA-based comapny, Mrs. LB has left the position and now works close to home.

Aug. 19, 2019. To celebrate our 20-year anniversary, Mrs. LB and I take that trip to Tulum, Mexico, we've always wanted to take. Our daughters are 15 and 13. Yvie just finished her sophomore year of high school. She travels across Southern California and performs with her ballet folklorico group. Kennedy will soon start high school, where she will be a top player on her freshman girls soccer team. I work as an executive pastry chef at a local restaurant.

Aug. 19, 2022. Mrs. LB and I have been married 23 years. Our daughters are 17 and 15. Yvie will soon leave home to attend the University Autonoma of Barcelona, where she will major in International Studies. We are excited, sad and worried. Kennedy enjoys soccer and plays for both high school and club. Mrs. LB has become a consultant and earns a lot of money for not-a-lot of work. I'm taking classes to try and get a Master's in business administration.

Aug. 19, 2026. Mrs. LB and I have been married 27 years. Our daughters are 21 and 19. Yvie graduated from her school in Barcelona and will soon begin a Master's program at Buenos Aires University in Argentina. Kennedy plays soccer for an out-of-state Division II University after having received a scholarship. She plays regularly and enjoys it, and we try and go when we can. She majors in entomology. Mrs. LB likes her consulting business but is attending law school because she wants a change of pace. I recently opened Bueno's Bakery & Cafe and business is thriving. We specialize in healthy baked goods, but we make some mean cinnamon rolls.

Aug. 19, 2033. To celebrate our 34th anniversary, Mrs. LB and I take a weeklong trip to Costa Rica followed by a weeklong trip to Montreal, for old time's sake. Our daughters are 28 and 26. Yvie works at the American embassy in Santiago, Chile, and we visit when we can. Kennedy works as an entomologist for an out-of-state zoo, where she is in charge of their butterfly gardens. She often travels to Central and South America to study and bring back different tropical butterfly species. Mrs. LB works as a lawyer, though mostly takes on unglamorous pro-bono cases. There are four Bueno's Bakery & Cafes across Southern California. I've run at least one marathon a year for 23 consecutive years, including ones in Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Santiago.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Timeline

My blog buddy Willoughby inspired me to write this. Last week, she had a post like this and I figured since I enjoyed it so much, I might as well do it LB style.

Today is Aug. 18, 2009, and I wanted to take a look back at previous Aug. 18s that have gone by. Although I don't know for sure what I was doing a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago, I know where I was at in my life during these respective landmarks. It's just essentially a random date for us, no wedding/birthday/anniversary attached to it, but it's nice sometimes to pick things at random.

Aug 18 2009. Mrs LB and I are married 10 years. Our daughters are 5 and 3. Yvie is about to start first grade. I'm a freelance writer and my wife is a manager at her LA-based company.

Aug 18, 2008. Our daugthers are 4 and 2. One will soon start kindergarten (and soccer) while the other is set for preschool. Two months ago, I ran my first race, a 5K.

Aug 18, 2006. Our daughters are 2 and 9 months. We've recently gone on a family vacation to Mexico, and while most of it wasn't great, we spent a wonderful day in Mazatlan. I've lost almost 50 pounds since March.

Aug 18, 2005. Our daughter Yvie is 1. Mrs LB is pregnant with a girl. Freelance business is booming. We've put our house for sale and are looking at prospective new homes. Mrs LB works at a hospital 10 minutes from home.

Aug 18, 2003. Mrs LB and I have been married four years. We are expecting our first child. We are hoping for a girl. I teach fifth grade in inner-city LA and am starting to get disillusioned. I probably weigh around 300pounds but I tell myself that I'm at 280 because that doesn't sound as bad. I have no desire to exercise. Next month, we will buy our first house.

Aug 18 2001. Mrs LB and I have been married for two years. We are both trying to finish our bachelor's degrees. We live in apartment in Temecula. She works for a newspaper in San Diego and I work as a substitute teacher. We don't have thoughts of starting a family anytime soon.

Aug 18 1999. Mrs LB and I have been married two months and are enjoying life as newlyweds. I work full time for the same newspaper that employs my wife, but not in sports. I don't really like my job but I'm trying to improve. I've put on weight since the beginning of the year but not sure how much. My guess is 30-40 pounds. I don't exercise.

Aug 18 1998. I've been going to my local community college for a a few years now and getting restless. I think about a change. I work part time for a newspaper in San Bernardino. Later this month I will meet a girl in my journalism class at college. Soon we'll start dating and before we know it we are planning a wedding. I live with my family, and my brothers and I go play basketball every now and then.

Aug 18 1995. I've spent most of this year looking for a job with no luck. In January I was fired from my bank teller job after I was out of balance a large amount of money. I'm getting ready to start attending community college, mostly as a last resort. I don't really have any ambition. I fight a lot with my mom. I don't bother to date because I don't have money or a car.

Aug 18 1993. I live in Mexico. After graduating from high school in June, I came down here. I spent last summer here and loved it so I wanted to come back. I like the simple life here. I work hard and enjoy it. I miss my brothers but we write letters back and forth. I have an open-ended timeframe and am wondering if I should try and stay here for just a few months or maybe a year or two.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Motivational Mondays (Aug. 17)

This one will be brief. I'm still on vacation after all.

We're at the lake today, on our way to try some water skiing, wakeboarding and a little swimming.

When I first started coming here with my wife's family, I was big. I couldn't water ski and didn't really enjoy the water too much. I didn't want to try things like the raft. They haul a raft behind the boat and you sit on there and try not to fall off. Its actually quite fun but when you fall in the middle of the lake it can be quite difficult to get back up. I'll post some pictures from last year of that scene. Anyway, when I was big I felt embarrassed to not be able to get back up. Last year though it went great. I was able to get up without too many problems.

I tend to be more adventurous here, now that I am fit. It makes it quite fun to be here.p

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another Trip

Greetings from the I-15. We're taking another trip, probably our last one for a while. We are headed to Lake Powell, which is on the border of Arizona and Utah. My wife's family has been going there for years and we've made it a bit of a tradition as well.

We're hoping to get some water skiing, jet skiing and other fun water activities in over the next three days.

Anyway, since I was in Mexico all week we didn't get a chance to record a Cooking With Yvie this week. Sorry. We'll shoot one this week.

So I'll try and report back from the lake when I can.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Breathe Deeply

Although I’ve been to three foreign countries now in the last two months, I’m not exactly a world traveler. I’ve been to a grand total of seven countries now but before going to Costa Rica in June, the last international trip I’d taken was in 2006, and before that in 2004.

One thing that I’d not encountered in all my travels before this week was high altitude. I suppose the highest-altitude place I’d visited was Denver, which is about 5,400 feet. I may have driven through a mountain range or two as well.

But Mexico City was different. It sits at an altitude of 7,400 feet above sea level. That’s 2,000 feet higher than Denver. Still, I knew this going in. I was well aware of the altitude, but wasn’t exactly sure how I’d react. I knew that in terms of athletics, athletes unaccustomed to the altitude can encounter all sorts of issues, but I wasn’t going to run a race or bike 50 miles. I was going for a business trip with maybe a workout or two thrown in the mix.

What I learned, though, was not what I expected. No matter what you do – walk, run, sit, stand, lie down, sleep – the altitude is an ever-present factor. It does not care what you are doing; if you are not used to the altitude, it will wear you down.

It wore me down for the better part of the week. Pretty rough.

As I wrote prior, when I first got into town, the first thing I did was to go on a run. I’d say around 2.5 miles or so is what I did, but that’s just a rough estimate. I was fine during the run. I expected to be gasping for air at some point but I didn’t gasp or do anything out of the norm. I struggled a bit towards the end, but it was my fourth consecutive day of running, so that likely had something to do with it.

Afterward, though, I felt strange. I lied down and realized I had a headache. It wasn’t a pounding headache but it was definitely present. Another thing too was I felt quite lightheaded. I don’t know if this is common – it happens to me every now and then – but when I was laying down I saw spots. They were like little spots that appeared and vanished quickly. They just sort of came up on me all of the sudden, tiny spots likely brought on by the altitude.

But the worst thing about the altitude for me was my ever-present state of feeling short of breath. I did not take a deep and effective breath for the entire week I was there. I always felt short of breath.

The only way I can describe it is with helium. Have you ever sucked on a helium balloon? I’m sure at some point of our lives we all have, or at least have been around someone who has. When you suck on that helium (and I’ve done it only to make my voice sound funny, not make me feel funny) you are in essence taking a breath, but it’s not oxygen you are breathing. So while you are breathing something in, it’s not exactly a refreshing breath. It just feels like some gas that isn’t quite serving its purpose.

Since the air is thinner at a higher altitude, it’s not exactly the same type of oxygen my lungs are normally used to. So while I was breathing the air, it was thin and didn’t really fill my lungs properly. So while normally I’d take a breath and fill my lungs with, what, 80-100 percent of capacity, it felt like I was sucking air in and only taking in 50-70 percent at best. It was almost as if I was purposely taking in short breaths. So often, I’d exhale deeply thinking I’d been cheating myself of a full breath of air when instead that did nothing.

My headache eventually went away, but others in our group experienced it too so I wasn’t the only one to have to deal with it. The first full day I was there, I slept a lot too. I think that’s another effect of high altitude: sleepiness.

Anyway, while it wasn’t necessarily a miserable time for me down in Mexico City (except for most of Tuesday when I had an upset stomach and was completely drained because of it), the altitude did have an effect on me. There was really no way around it, though. Some studies have shown that it can take up to 10 days to acclimate to the high altitude.

I didn’t want to stick around another five days to see if I could have taken a normal and deep breath of air.

Of course, the second I got off the plane in San Francisco and walked around that bustling airport in search of my connecting flight, I took my first real breath of fresh air since stepping onto the play in Los Angeles on Monday.

And I've been taking deep, random breaths here at home ever since.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Trip Wrapping Up

My trip to Mexico is all but coming to an end. I'll be flying out in the wee hours on Friday morning. I spent the first few days around the game, doing my freelance work. Thursday was my only real day to see the sights and since one person from our group was sick, we had to stay nearby.

We visited the National Museum of Anthropology and that was fantastic. If you're not familiar with it, this has all the artifacts from the rich-in-history civilizations of pre-Columbian Mexico.

They have many, many awesome displays, and we actually only traversed less than half of the museum (you could go two or three times and not see everything) but we saw lots of the Aztec and Mayan cultures.

And I had my picture taken with this. I think this might be one of my favorite pictures ever.


That's the Aztec Calendar, which I actually learned that the name is sort of incorrect as it was referred to as the Sun Stone. Regardless, I had my picture taken next to it. Just to think of all the history behind that, how famous that is and how inspiring it is and has been to millions of people throughout history... just a bit overwhelming.

Anyway, I'll post more when I get back to the States. It was good to have stayed an extra day but it's also nice to know that I'll be with my family at this time Friday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Karaoke Vid

Greetings from Mexico City! I haven't been able to do much except A) work and B) suffer. The altitude hit me hard and contributed to an upset stomach on Tuesday morning. On Monday night I went out with a group of friends and had about three beers and ate a lot of beef and chicken and tortillas, and Tuesday I suffered. I think it was a combination of everything - the altitude, being tired, this crappy rock-hard bed, lack of eating/hydrating - and I didn't start to come out of it until Tuesday night.

I'm fine this morning, though. Looking forward to the big game!

Anyway, before I head out, I wanted to post this video. As promised, by Wednesday, Metallica's Enter Sandman, LB style (which is to say terrible). This video from my camera is dark and not the best. My brother shot video from his video camera so hopefully that one turns out better.

In the meantime, here goes:


video

Monday, August 10, 2009

In One Piece

I'm checking in from my hotel room here in the sprawling metropolis that is Mexico City. My flight went rather smoothly, customs was a breeze, weather is beautiful, cab ride was flawless.

The best part about my trip, though, was when I got to my hotel. Three colleagues were here already and I went to say hi to them (I'd only actually met one in person). They had workout clothes on so I asked if they were planning on going for a run. One of them said to me, "You're a runner, right?"

"Damn straight."

So they waited for me while I went and put my running gear on. I'm so glad I brought my gear! So, I wasn't even on the ground for an hour and already I was running! I didn't bring my watch or anything so I'm estimating but I think we ran for 20-30 minutes, a good, fast pace. I wasn't actually planning on running today as I ran six miles on Saturday and five on Sunday, but I could not pass up the opportunity. Oh yeah, I also ran three miles on Friday. Forgot about that!

Mexico City, of course, is at a rather high altitude, more than 7,000 feet above sea level. I was tired at the end of the run but I don't know if it was because of the altitude or because I had ran the last three days.

Anyway, what do you think of the view from my hotel room?


That is one ginormous flag. The building down below is an opera house as we're staying in the nice part of town.

Anyway, just wanted to check in from my hotel room. Now to shower and rest up and continue adjusting to the altitude.

Motivational Mondays (Aug. 10)

I couldn't have asked for a greater weekend. Well, almost a flawless weekend...

Saturday, I went running with our Ragnar team, the Desert Tortoises and we laid down a lot the info for the race, which is now starting to feel real.

That night, I met up with family and friends to celebrate my birthday... and sing karaoke.

Sunday, I went running with the Lopers. Took a nap. Went to Disneyland Resort. I also bought me a new pair of shoes.

The only blemish was getting hit by another car. I'm fine and neither the other car nor myself were going very fast but the driver and passenger door on the left side of the car don't look very good. Icky mess now trying to fix it.

Aside from that, my weekend was grand.

Today, though, it's a whole new world. Literally. I'm leaving behind friends and family to go to Mexico City for work. I'll be there until Friday.

In some ways, it's nice to travel once more and visit a place I've never been too (I've been to a lot of Mexico, just not the capital). It's nice to have the chance to go somewhere like that, as it was nice to have gone to Costa Rica.

However, it's difficult because I'm heading into the unknown. And, worst of all, I'm leaving my family once more. It always makes things hard, to say goodbye to the ones I love and cherish most, knowing that our contact for the next five days will be minimal.

But what I do when I go into tough situations like this is to remember the good things and keep those fresh in my mind. Yvie drew me a family portrait and a note that I'll keep handy, and it'll be a reminder of what I'll have waiting for me on Friday. Having had a weekend like the one I had, when I saw so many of the people I care about the most, was about as good of a send-off as I could have asked for.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cooking With Yvie: Blueberry Smoothie

Greetings all! Here is Yvie's latest episode. On this Cooking With Yvie, she shows us how to make this blueberry smoothie recipe. She liked the smoothie quite a bit, and it didn't really come out too tart as she had feared.

Enjoy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Run

Nine of our 10-member Ragnar Relay team got together for a six-miler today and it went great! We all finished without any major problems. Two of our nine hadn't ran six miles before today! So we had some instant PRs.

The fastest runner came in at about 52 minutes and the times ranged from there to about 1 hour 20 minutes. I came in at 56:37 and the total distance according to The Garmin was 6.25 or something.

We also talked about the race itself and some of the logistics and I'll blog more about that in th coming days.

Anyway, it was a productive day and now the next phase of the relay training can get underway.

Coffee and a Winner

I'm headed to my six-mile run and I'm testing something new. I'm going to see if coffee really does reduce pain as I read recently. A thing in The Other Mag suggested drinking coffee 30-60 minutes before a tough workout, so I'll be sipping some coffee on my way out to Long Beach. I'm looking forward to the run. I had wanted to make a playlist and everything but I didn't get around to it so I'll have to figure something out. Oh well. Might go with the Cash-Metallica combo.

And speaking of Metallica, the winner is...

Raoulysgirl's choice of Enter Sandman by Metallica is the song I will sing and post right here. I was worried that I'd have to sing Bootylicious. That would have been pretty bad but I don't think I'll make anyone forget about James Hetfield.

We'll see how it goes. I hope I'm able to post the video soon, tomorrow would be best, but it'll be up at some point.

Meanwhile, here's what I'll be facing tonight. Let's all sing along!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Coach LB

About two weeks ago, I started to wonder when we'd get the call.

We signed Yvie up for her second season of AYSO and it was around early August when we got a call last year from her coach, and soon we were off to buy her soccer cleats, shin guards and a soccer ball.

Before too long, she went to a practice and then the season started.

I found myself both looking forward to the call and not wanting to take it. After all, soccer means fall, which means the summer is over and it's back to school and back to the grind.

Not really expecting the call until August, I got the call in July. However, it was not the call I was expecting.

"Hi Mr. Bueno. We have you down as having an interest in coaching your daughter's team."

A rock settled into my stomach. I knew then that, no matter what happened, no matter what I told the voice on the other line or what Mrs. LB and I would talk about afterward, that I'd end up being Yvie's coach.

Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But it is something I didn't want to do. For various reasons. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with that, and while I feel I can be responsible with things like that, I also felt that it might be taking on something that would put even more strain on my time. As it is, with the girls around me 24/7 and my freelancing and household duties, it might be the proverbial straw that did the camel in.

The voice proceeded to tell me about how they were in need of a coach and that all I had to do was to attend a coaching clinic and then I'd be able to coach the team. He was talking to me as if I was interested in doing it, but I wasn't. I listened, though, because I knew what was going to happen.

I tried to postpone it. I told him that I really had only wanted to be an assistant (and even that was a bit of a tale as Mrs. LB had checked the box that said assistant coach on the application for me and volunteered me for that), but this voice had apparently glanced right over the "assistant" part of the application.

I told them to let me think about it for a few days and that I'd have a decision for them the next time they called.

I tried not to think about it, tried to come up with a good reason to not coach.

I tried.

And tried.

Crap. There's gotta be something.

"Hey Mr. Bueno, we have you down for a coaching clinic on Aug. 1 and were hoping you could attend," another voice told me on the follow-up call.

"What?" I thought.

"No, actually I hadn't made up my mind yet," I told the other voice, and then since I knew the outcome I went ahead and asked for some of the details.

* U-6 girls, only girls as opposed to the U-6 mixed teams from a year ago
* No practice. Gameday consists of 30 minutes of skill training and then a 30-minute game.
* 7-8 girls per team. Everyone plays.
* Season starts Sept. 12
* Clinic runs from 8 a.m to 4 p.m.

There. I found it. I found the reason why I couldn't make it. I can't give up an entire Saturday. I had to work that Saturday night and it was going to be a busy night for me, a long drive out to Pasadena, lots of traffic, lots of people to deal with. Long night, late night, can't tire myself too much during the day or I'll have problems driving home.

I felt a bit of relief. I wasn't going to have to go through with it.

That lasted about one minute. I knew Mrs. LB would not care if I attended this clinic all day. She'd find something to do with the girls. And I'd be free to attend this clinic.

I told this voice the same thing I told the other voice.

"Let me think about it."

Of course, I didn't think about it. I went on thinking about other things except this. Until the Tuesday before the clinic, when a third voice called me.

"Hi Mr. Bueno. I just wanted to confirm that you'll be out on Saturday for the coaching clinic."

"Yeah, I'll be there," I said. "What do I need to bring?"

So now, I'm coach once again. I actually volunteered to coach an AYSO team in 2000, and I have no idea why to this day. It was like U-12 boys and it was not a great experience. I think in the back of my mind I had that bad experience as proof that I couldn't effectively do this coaching thing. And also there are the parents to deal with, and parents can be tricky. We lucked out last year and had a good group of parents on Yvie's team, although volunteering for some was a foreign concept. And while we might have to deal with irate parents when the girls are, say 10 or 12, I'm guessing when 5- and 6-year-old girls are playing 3-on-3 soccer, not too many parents are going to care about wins and losses.

But I'm at a way different point in my life now than I was when I coached a team nine years ago, and I put Yvie first. These soccer people may have had problems filling the coaching spot and it could have been difficult for Yvie to participate in that case. Or the soccer people could have been blowing smoke up my ass. Who knows? And really, who cares? I had to make a call to step up for my daughter's sake, and I did.

I suppose I always sort of expected this, always sort of knew that I'd have to get involved one way or another with Yvie and Kennedy in their extracurricular activities. Now, I don't mind volunteering. I don't mind giving up time or money to make the girls' experience better. I'm not going to be the kind of parent that drops their child off at a game or recital and leaves. I intend to make it to as many of my girls' games as I can, whether it's U-6 AYSO or a high school playoff game.

I have the freedom to do things that not a lot of parents can do, which is to be around during the week and on weekends for the girls. I work on my own time, at my own rate. And things like coaching come with the territory. It is my obligation to volunteer, and I don't mind doing so.

Part of me just wishes it didn't have to happen so soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Shoes!

I'm getting me some new shoes finally!

On Sunday, a local running store is celebrating Lopers appreciation day and us Lopers get a 15 percent off discount on all items, shoes and apparel, all day. I've got a busy day Sunday as I'll be running five miles with the Lopers, then off to Disneyland for a bit (on your birthday you get in free but if you are a passholder like me you get a gift card in the amount of a ticket), then back to Redlands to get some new shoes and maybe splurge and get some shorts or another shirt or something else. We'll see what else they have.

Anyway, I haven't done as much research on new shoes this time around. I guess I lucked out last time in that I ordered them online and I love my shoes. I loved them from the moment I put them on. This time, I don't think I'd order them online only because I feel like I'm a more informed runner now and have specific needs from shoes, so dealing with a person would be preferable.

What do I need? Well, I want to make sure I have the right amount of space between my toes and the tip of the foot. I have a lot of space there now but I don't know if it's too much or what. I think it's fine but I don't know for sure. I do have my toe issues and that usually happens when there isn't enough room for the toes to move around in.

Also, my foot pain which disappeared might be a concern as the shoes may have caused it. But again, I'm not sure if that's common or not.

Oh yeah, and Sunday is busy too because I'm packing for yet another trip. I'm headed to Mexico City for five days for business. No, Mrs. LB is not joining me this time. It'll just be me heading there alone, although I'll be with other people down there.

I guess I haven't thought about what shoes I'll take. I'm definitely on planning to take my running shoes with me, some shoes, to get a run in the hotel there. I don't know about running outdoors down there, even though we're staying in a nice part of town.

Still, I might just take my old shoes (can't believe they'll be my old shoes) down for one last hurrah. We might go visit the pyramids down there so maybe my old shoes will help me walk around the place where ancients walked. That might be pretty cool.

Fave Running Song

I should have put this on the list of karaoke songs. It's my favorite running song, Orion by Metallica. I haven't ran to this particular version because it's a live version but it's a great song to run to nevertheless.

What I like about it the most is the length of the song. I can usually knock out at least a mile while listening to this song.

And why should it be on the karaoke list?

It's an instrumental.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Magic Number

A friend of mine recently signed up for a 10-mile run and I was inspired to write about that today.

Now, that distance can be intimidating. It's double digits. It's funny because it's only one more than nine but 10 miles seems so much more than nine, so much more difficult, challenging and more of an accomplishment. I ran 10 miles probably about two months ago now and I remember thinking at mile 9 that I'd probably never run another 9-miler again. It's so close to 10 and 10 is more impressive, that why stop at 9?

Anyway, I've gotten to at least 10 miles I'd say around five times. With the Lopers, I'm going to run 10 miles on five consecutive weekends beginning in September, so I'll quickly surpass that figure but that doesn't make it any less of a feat.

Ten miles is around the distance where the runners separate themselves from each other. Six miles, seven miles... that's all good and long runs and all but once you get to 10, you are in rarefied air. That's a distance to be proud of, whether you are a veteran or beginner.

But the best thing about 10 miles is that it's attainable, and relatively quickly if you've never run 10 miles. The best way to go about that is to increase your mileage week by week, and slowly. The last thing you want to do is go from running 2-3 miles regularly and then try and crank out a 10-miler. That won't work. You can injure yourself easily or become so demoralized you'll quit.

If you run 2-3 miles, or 3-4 regularly, try increasing your mileage every weekend. So run five miles one weekend. Go for six the next. Then seven. Then eight and nine until you are ready for 10. Don't try and set any speed records either. You should try and run your first 10-miler without being concerned about speed or time or anything - just git 'er done.

You could also do it even more slowly than that if it's too intimidating. Try running five miles on consecutive weekends (Saturday or Sunday, or whenever your long run day is); then go up to six for two straight long runs, and seven and so on. That could help you mentally as it might not seem like such a Herculean task if you approach it slowly. Then, you can also trick yourself. In Mile 6 of your second straight six-miler, you might decide to go for seven.

Ten miles is a tough distance, an intimidating one but also something tangible to shoot for. It can also open the door for longer races, possibly a half-marathon or even the full distance.

If nothing else, you'll add another accomplishment to likely growing list of them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Desert Tortoise meeting

On Saturday, our beloved Ragnar group will get together for the first time in what might be the only pre-race gathering of the Desert Tortoises.

We're getting together to run six miles. Part of our groups Ragnar Relay duties is to submit a pace estimate. The gist of it is that we have to have some sort of estimate in terms of how long it will take us to complete the 180 miles. And they suggest to base that off a recent 10K time. Hence, the six-mile run.

And we'll also take the time to discuss other details with group members, including some training tips for those in the group.

While everyone in our group is active, there are not many runners in there. An uncle of mine who is part of the group is amped up for a marathon. We were both originally excited about the Long Beach Marathon but that's out, so he's looking at the Santa Clarita Marathon in early November, while I've got my sights set on Surf City 2010 in Huntington Beach.

Anyway, he's probably the most experienced runner of the bunch, with me coming in at number two. There is at least one other member whose history I don't really know, and he may indeed be a runner, but at the most there are three runners in the group.

Not to say that others don't run. Seven of us ran the Mud Run last year together. We all like physical challenges and this is certainly one of them. But having the ability to play hours of basketball or soccer on end versus having the ability of running 10 miles are two different things. So translating the cardio needed to play two-plus hours of basketball to now go and run 10-12 miles is the challenge.

Saturday is actually the first third of my Ragnar training plan, one I didn't really blog about because I wasn't exactly sure of the other two thirds. In fact, I'm not even certain of the other two thirds right now, less than a week before our group run. What I had originally planned was to train for this as if it were a 10K and then figure out a plan afterward depending on where I was after the run.

So on Saturday or Sunday, I'm going to go ahead and do that. I want to incorporate the Lopers Sunday runs as well, of course, and that was also part of my unplanned plan.

My plan for this week is this: run an interval run Tuesday at the gym, run either a tempo run or a five-mile run at the gym (I'd rather run outdoors but oh well), rest Thursday and maybe run like two miles or something on Friday. Maybe. Then Saturday is the big day.

We're meeting out in Long Beach as there is a nice running path along the beach there, one I've run a couple of times with my brother Danny. So I'm sorta familiar with it. It's pretty much the anti-Ragnar route as it is straight, right next to water, pleasant weather conditions, etc.

I don't think we'll be able to directly translate our 10K times over to figure out an ETA. In fact, there's no way we'll be able to do that. For instance, I'm probably going to run the following amounts:

Either...
7.8 miles; 6.3 miles; 4 miles
7.3 miles; 5.7 miles; 6.3 miles
8.7 miles; 3.4 miles; 6.7 miles

So, taking my 53-minute Mission Inn Run, that's about an 8:45 pace. I'm guessing I'll complete my first leg somewhere in the 9:30 range, and then at least 10 seconds slower for the second leg and another 10 seconds slower on the third leg. And it might even be slower than that.

It's a race, yeah, but we'll be tired before the second and third legs and we're not going to sap our energy for the first leg.

But that's all stuff that we'll discuss on Saturday when the Desert Tortoises get together. There are 10 of us now, might be 11 come Saturday and then it's just a matter of either finding a 12th runner or having someone step up and run in two spots (I'd raise my hand for that if need be).

Polls Are Open

The nominees are in!

Last week, I asked my trusty readers to help select songs they'd like to see me sing karaoke-style. I chose most of the songs sent in, tried to limit it to 12 to have a nice, even number.

The choices are over on the right side of the page, as I'm sure you've seen by now.

You can vote multiple times if you'd like. I have the poll closing on Thursday night as I'd wanted to give myself a full two days to prepare for it but I might extend that to Friday night. Should be interesting to see if what my readers want me to sing. I'll probably end up singing multiple songs but for sure the top vote-getter will be recorded and posted here.

Don't expect an accompanying dance, however.

My blog buddy Thrasher's Wife might want something like this, but I can't quite get down like this guy.



Let's hope that I won't wind up as some sort of laughingstock sensation. I suppose among my trusty readers here, a few laughs won't hurt :D

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cooking With Yvie: Yogurt Cream With Berries

Okay, here it is. The latest episode of Cooking With Yvie (CWY) a day late.

Anyway, we made this recipe for Yogurt Cream with Berries, from the Pioneer Woman. It's very good. I slice up some peaches and smother them with this stuff for Mrs. LB. I prefer this over grapes or strawberries.

Now, this episode of course produced a yogurt cream a bit more runny than I like. I think it's because Yvie didn't use as much yogurt as I do, which is fine. It still tastes good. Also forgot to mention that you need to cover with some sort of plastic wrap, but you can probably figure that out.

Enjoy!

Motivational Mondays (Aug. 3)

First, before I get to my motivational post, I want to apologize for not getting CWY up on Sunday. I've been insanely busy for quite a while now and just didn't carve out any time to get it together. Hopefully I can find the time to get it done today and if and when I do, I'll get it up when I do.

Now, on to motivation...

Patience.

We all need to be patient in a lot of different aspects. Sometimes, it's difficult to be patient though, particularly when it comes to weight loss.

You eat right. You hit the gym. You step on the scale. You want to see instant results. It's natural.

But it doesn't always happen that way. At least the fourth step. Eating right and exercising don't always translate into instant success and weight loss. In fact, there is nothing "instant" about losing weight. You can't lose 20 pounds in two weeks in a healthy manner and keep it off, and if someone's trying to tell you otherwise they're selling you a bill of goods.

All those get-skinny-now schemes are just that, schemes. Crash diets and, well, any diets, are temporary and don't really get to the root of the problem.

If you've gotten past all that and decided that you want to change for the better, eat healthier and exercise, it could be a bit unsettling then if you don't see results quickly. I've lived through it. During my weight loss journey, there were times I grew a little frustrated with losing weight. In a way though I contributed to my own frustration.

When I first started seeing a trainer, on our very first session, we had a weigh in. 308.6 flashed back at me. My trainer took measurements and we went through some light workouts. We also talked about nutrition and he gave me a sort-of meal plan. He had meal suggestions but it was up to me to actually plan my own meals. Anyway, he told me that day that we'd only weigh in once a month. There was a scale in the gym that I could have hit up whenever I wanted to but I listened to my trainer and never bothered to get on it.

The first month was a bit rough... okay, more than a bit rough. It was hard to adjust to both the food and exercise. But the payoff was after the month was up. I stepped on the scale to weigh in and had lost 10 pounds or so. How exciting! I was enthused. Another month went by and this time I lost 13 pounds. It was great to have that monthly weigh in because I could see progress, I knew I was on the right path and it was super-motivating. I remember a week before the weigh-in, I'd try harder, eat better and work out more to try and get an extra pound or two off.

The monthly weigh-ins worked. I lost double-digit pounds for the first four months. By November of '06 (I'd started in late March) I was down 60 pounds.

I stopped working out and didn't really gain any weight over the next three months but certainly didn't lose any, just maintained. But once I began again, I did it all on my own. I started to weigh in more frequently than just once a month. I guess I wanted to see my progress and figured it was good to see the weight come off, even if it was two or three pounds at a time.

It was hit and miss. Mostly miss. The weight was coming off but it just didn't seem like it was coming off fast enough. I remember one particularly bad moment, just like it was yesterday. I was weighing in about once a week at this point. I was down to 236.0, so it must have been around April or May. I remember having dropped from 238 or 239 from the week before, so I was happy about two pounds and happy that I was close to the 220s. I put in a solid week of exercise, shined with my meal choices and felt quite motivated for my Saturday workout. After the workout, I went to weigh in and was expecting a significant loss. I figured 234, 233 and then it would be no time until I got into the 220s.

236.1

I was floored. I hadn't lost anything. I was so disappointed, felt like I wasn't moving in the right direction. Felt like I was spinning my wheels but not moving at all. It was rather humbling.

That had two effects on me. First, I changed some things up. I started to use the elliptical more since at the time I was alternating between the (stupid lame) stairmaster and the elliptical (treadmills still scared the crap out of me). I decided to dedicate myself to the elliptical and planned a routine around that.

Secondly, I stopped weighing in every week. I forced myself to go at least two weeks between weigh-ins. Now, all along my weight loss journey I knew I was losing weight mostly when my clothes fit differently. The tent-like XXL shirts that began to drape over my body let me know that I was in fact losing weight. Once my belt reached the last hole and was still not holding up my suddenly-too-big size 40 pants, I knew I was dropping the weight. So that was actually more encouraging than the scale. But the scale offered a different form of gratification. It was visual proof that I was changing, tangible evidence that I could provide to others.

But I tried not to get caught up in numbers and instead tried to focus on the long-term goal, which was to get to 199 or below.

At times, it was difficult. I used to tell myself 'If you would have worked out harder, eaten better, dedicated yourself more, you could already be at 220." I tried to get that voice out of my head but it was tough. Having negative experiences on the scale made it tougher.

I had to be patient and ultimately forced myself to be patient. I figured it was better to take two years to lose 100-plus pounds than not lose the weight simply because I wasn't patient.

Losing weight takes time. Results won't come overnight. They just won't. You could have the best possible workout, crank out 20, 30, 50 minutes on your machine of choice, lift 20 pounds more than you thought, plow through your lunges and bridges, sprints and step-ups and still won't see instant results. It doesn't matter how good you do at the gym on any given day or week even, you won't see significant changes from day to day. I've weighed myself before and after workouts and there is usually a 1-2 pound difference from beginning to end. What does that mean? Nothing, because the next day the weight won't be the same no matter what.

If you are trying to reach a certain goal weight, it's best to weigh yourself once a month or at the very least once every two weeks. You see progress that way, if in fact you are making progress. And if you aren't you get a better reflection of that. It's motivating too, to go a longer time between scale trips. You can really use that as motivation to not only get your workouts in but force yourself to find new ways of working out, maybe trying something different to work out your core or a variation of an existing cardio workout.

Whatever the case, just remain patient. As long as you are putting the time and effort in to get yourself healthier and remain true to yourself, the scale will reflect that. Trust me. I'm in the 180s now, and I don't really care that it took me 20 months to lose the weight. I'll always be proud of the feat.

And you will be proud of yours too.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Good Practice

On Saturday I ran four miles at around 6 am. I went later that morning for a coaching clinic (I'm going to be Yvie's soccer coach, more details later) and I had to run and go through some drills.

Then off to work in Pasadena for the night. I got home late, probably slept around four hours and now I'm off to the Lopers for a 4 mile run.

Tired. Rather be in bed. But I guess its good training for the Ragnar Relay. This will be my second run in 24 hours plus that bit of activity during the coaching thing, well, more than a bit, about 2 solid hours, maybe more.

I'm off now. I will be back later with an episode of Cooking With Yvie.

If I make it through this run.