Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Moment Of 2010: My Bib

This year has been an amazing ride for me. To have run the races I ran far exceeded the expectations I'd set for myself at the beginning of the year, and to have logged the countless training runs and logged more than 1,300 miles is also rarified air for me. All those miles left me numerous moments that I've stored in my memory.

There were moments that made me smile (finishing a 5K in 23:02), moments that made me cry (after a brutal, solo 20-mile run in June), moments in which I showed myself what I can accomplish (every time I made it up Mt. Rubidoux). Hopefully I've done well to log as many of those moments as possible here on this blog so I can recall them as the days, weeks and months progress.

Still, in thinking back on the year that was, there is one moment that stands out above the rest.

Wearing this on my back at the Surf City Marathon was something I will treasure forever.


Wearing this on my back brought my two toughest journeys together - losing weight and training for my first marathon. It was my way of saying not only "Look how far I've come" but also of telling others that nothing is impossible. I believed that before I ran my first marathon and I believe it now.

Nothing is impossible.

That was a pretty good day, pretty good moment.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tres Cosas Jueves

Damn. I did it. I didn't think I'd ever follow the trend set by my rockin' blog buddy Morgan but here I am, blogging about Three Things on Thursday. Well, I changed the title to protect the innocent and to give it a little spin. Nothing wrong with TTT but I just like to march to my own beat, but because of time constraints and because I have to ramble about more than one thing, I decided to join la fiesta (by the way, I'm dedicated an entire blog post to the aforementioned Morgan so stay tuned).

1. End-of-Year Cram Session: I've run 1,327.26 miles in 2010. Unreal! How awesome is that?? What will my final total be? Actually, I'd love to get to 1,350 but that would mean 23 miles in two days and that ain't happening. I might shoot for 1,335. Who knows? Whatever number I end up with will be a personal best and will set a high bar for next year. I will go to the gym on Thursday morning and will probably do intervals, which will get me about four miles. We'll see how much I run on the 31st to close out the year.

2. Year Of PRs: One of the bloggers who really sets a high bar for me is Lisa of Discovering the Meaning of Stonehenge. She's just very workmanlike in the way she puts in her miles, the way she sets goals and how she goes about getting it done. She's a blue-collar runner and I like to compare myself to her. She wrote a great blog post about her year in running and I'm inspired to also mention some of my personal bests in 2010.

I already blogged about all the races I ran in 2010 but I do want to mention the following - I set PRs in the four major race distances.

5K - 23:02
10K - 49:42
Half marathon - 1:55:03
Marathon - 4:37:51

I'm proud of all of them. I like that I set my marathon PR at San Francisco. I don't know that that will happen again in 2011, but you never know. I set a remarkably fast (for me) 5K time that I don't think will get broken soon simply because I don't know if I'll run a 5K anytime soon. Anyway, just wanted to get these thoughts and stats out before the year's up.

3. New Year's Plan: On Jan. 1, 2009, I ran five miles and was happy. On Jan. 1, 2010 I built on that tradition. I ran 10 miles and was happy. On Jan. 1, 2011 I will continue my tradition of running on New Year's. However, I cannot run 10 miles like I'd wanted to. I figured that running double-digit miles on New Year's would be a great way to ring in every New Year from here on out. However, I will run two miles on Jan. 1, 2011. Why only two? On Jan. 2, 2011 I will run 20 miles. So running 10 miles on Saturday and 20 the next day is not something I think I'm ready for. So two miles will have to suffice. Anybody else running on New Year's? I'm guessing if you are, you probably will run more than two miles. If so, run an extra one for me :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Friendly Words Of Muddy Advice

Are you up for a Mud Run? The mother of all Mud Runs, the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, is coming up. Well, not really. The actual races will be held in June - on the 4th, 5th, 11th and 18th.

But the date to sign up for all races is on Jan. 1. As in Friday night.

Let me give you a little bit of a warning:

DON'T WAIT

Ahem. Let me repeat myself:

DON'T WAIT

This race will sell out.

It. Will. Sell. Out.

It will totally sell out. All four races will sell out. How quickly? Race number one sold out in less than 12 hours on Jan. 1, 2010. Race number two and three sold out in a day or two. Race number four sold out quickly afterward.

They have Marines stationed at the race entrance looking for bandits, so don't even try to crash this party.

I will sign up for race no. 4, on June 18. Now, while the course is no different than the other three, that one's the ASYMCA one. Not really sure what the difference is but there are different pictures for this race. A different company shoots the pictures for the ASYMCA run versus the other ones, and those pictures are better. So if you like to see pictures of yourself in races, I'd recommend signing up for the June 18 race.

Anyway, one thing you must do on Jan. 1 is to sign up for the race. Wherever you are at midnight, sign up. If you plan to get blitzed, please be sensible enough when the ball drops to log onto the site and register. If you think "That LB, he seems like a nice guy, but I'm sure he's exaggerating," well, you are mistaken (about me exaggerating - I do think I'm a nice guy). Don't wait or you will miss out. And you will be sad. You will cry. Okay, maybe you won't cry but you will be sad.

If you haven't decided if this race will be part of your 2011 race calendar, you best decide by Friday.

Register here.

If you need help deciding whether this is a race you should participate in, let me offer this as an argument.

Do it. This race is so much fun. I've run marathons, half marathons, 10Ks, a Ragnar Relay and this race is still very much fun, still very much a race I look forward to running.

So do it. And do it on June 18 because I'll be there.

Just remember to sign up on Friday.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking Ahead To 2011

Well, Christmas is over. Thankfully. Too much food and temptation and lately I've not been disciplined enough to resist. Grrrr..

Anyway, today is the start of a brand new week and another opportunity to prove myself. I did not have a good week last week but I am set to redeem myself beginning this morning. I suppose one good way of helping me focus is to take a look at what lies ahead. I'll have to train hard to accomplish my goals and complete these races.

With that, here's what's on my race calendar in 2011:

Feb. - Surf City Marathon: I'm already registered for this, Marathon No. 3. There are only five Sunday runs left before the marathon! Insane!

March 20 - Los Angeles Marathon: I'm going to try and run two marathons in six weeks. It should be interesting. My plan as of now is to try and PR at Surf City and then run LA mostly for fun. Well, I'll try and have a good finish time of course but I don't know if I'm going to bust myself to PR. I think I'll be glad to just finish it when it comes around.

June 4 - Fontana Days Half Marathon: I've been wanting to run this race since 2008! Okay, that's only two years I've missed but seriously, I've been dying to run this race. Fontana Days was my first-ever race as I ran the 5K in '08 but I was not able to run this race in 2009 or 2010. I made sure to prioritize this race for next years. The finish line for this race is about four miles from my house! Plus, the half-marathon course is all downhill.

June 11, San Bernardino Mud Run: I'm not quite sure if I'm actually going to run this - I probably will end up doing this - but my daughters are really wanting to run the kids Mud Run. Yvie will ask me periodically 'When's the next Mud Run?' June 11, sweetie.

June 18 - Camp Pendleton Mud Run: The big daddy of them all. There are four dates in 2011, all in June - 4, 5, 11 and 18. We're running the 18th next year mostly because of my conflicts with the other weekends.

July 31 - San Francisco Marathon: Famous last words - after finishing the San Francisco Marathon last summer, I told my wife "Never again. I'm glad I did it but I don't want to run this race again." Ha HA! Joke's on me because not only am I going to run the full marathon again, I am actually really looking forward to it. I wonder if I'll stick my foot in my mouth next summer.

After August... ??? I'm not quite sure. In 2010 I wanted to run three marathons, including one marathon at the end of the year but I wound up not doing the third one because I just didn't want to go full speed all year long. I might have the same feeling come late summer. I would like to run four marathons next year which would mean a fall/winter marathon but I don't want to put any extra undue pressure on myself right now.

Still, a possible full marathon option would be the Long Beach Marathon in early October. I'd like to run a race around here so I wouldn't have to travel, so that would fit the bill. But that would also mean little to no rest after San Francisco, so we'll see if I'm physically and/or mentally up for the challenge.

Well, there you have it. My 2011 race calendar, which is a work in progress. If that doesn't help kickstart me today, not sure what will.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tagged Before Christmas

It's almost Christmas! Yay! We've got a great time planned and I hope you do as well.

I was going to shut it down for the weekend but figured I'd get this up before then. I was tagged by Kerrie of Mom vs. Marathon, an awesome blog, so if you haven't read it yet, please do so.

1. What is your favorite time of day to run?

This isn't even a question. It's morning for certain. I like the feeling I get from running, and I like it when that feeling lasts all day. It's also easier for me because the longer I wait, the more stuff I have to do and it can get impossible to fit in a run in the afternoon/evening, what with having to take care of the girls when they get home from school, prepare dinner, make sure they're doing their homework, etc.

Ideally - and this doesn't happen that often - I'd run at 7 a.m. But anytime between 7-9 in the morning, I'm good to go.

2. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

Travel writer. I don't know why I've never tried to submit a travel writing sample to anyone, probably one of those things where you say 'Nothing would happen so why bother?' but I never have. I don't do tons of traveling necessarily but I have been to some places and I could have maybe tried to write something for someone...

Anyway, it would be great to travel somewhere, indulge in the local offerings, take some pictures, talk to some locals and then write about it. That wouldn't suck.

3. Do you have a guilty food pleasure? (ie What's your favorite empty-calorie food?)

Hmmm.... I do, just trying to figure out what's the one thing I can't freakin resist...

Mexican Sweet Bread, aka pan dulce. That stuff is dangerous. I can't have it around because I can't help myself.

image borrowed from google

Yeah, that stuff. The piece with sugar sprinkled on it is called an elote, and that's pretty much my favorite. The sprinkle kind is also good, and it was my favorite as a kid. That's Kennedy's favorite kind.

Yum. I was going to try and get some for Christmas since we're hosting it but not sure if I'll have time to do that. That's probably for the best.

4. How and/or why did you start running?

That's a really long story, but long story not-so-long...

I'd dropped more than 100 pounds and wanted to mix up my cardio. I wanted to try running since I had barely done it during my weight loss journey. I started slowly and it wasn't too bad. My brother then signed me up for my first race, the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in Oct 2008. I had to train for it (it's a 10K obstacle course run that if you've read this blog at all you know all about it). I ran a little at first, 2-3 miles, and then increased it to 4-5, and so on. I wound up running a 5K in June 2008 as my first-ever race and I was onto something. After the Mud Run, I was hooked. I loved having trained for and met my goal, and that still drives me now.

5. Do you have any special Christmastime traditions?

Well, we used to see something called the Festival of Lights, which is this huge ceremony nearby. There's all sorts of lights and fireworks and it's the day after Thanksgiving, so it kicks off the season. However, the last two years we went (and we'd gone every year since 06, wanted to have that tradition for the girls) there were just way too many people for our taste, and too many people can be rude. So we scrapped that.

On Christmas, my brother takes turns hosting Christmas with us. The last two years actually we were at his house and this year we're here. We have a huge breakfast spread and have my family over. It's a great way to spend Christmas.

6. What race/event are you most looking forward to in 2011?

Well, as of right now, the first race and the only one I'm officially registered for - Surf City Marathon on Feb. 6. But I am looking forward to taking on the challenge of the San Francisco Marathon once more, which is on July 31. It was dubbed "The Race Even Marathoners Fear" by the Wall Street Journal and while I've already conquered it (I PR'd there this year!) I want to tackle on that fearful race once more.
---

Alright, well thanks for reading up. I'm supposed to tag a couple of people and while I don't usually tag anyone I'll pass along this to...

Jewels of One Step At A Time
Tahoegirl... oh wait, she doesn't have a blog ;)

Well, I guess that's it. Thanks again for tagging me Kerrie.

And have a Merry Christmas!

Rain Rain Go Away

In case you haven't noticed, it's been raining in Southern California. Like, a lot of rain. As in, I can't remember the last time it rained for five consecutive days. I don't think it's rained as hard as it has around here in at least a decade.

That, combined with Mrs. LB's vacay, has thrown a wrench in my running this week. As in, I have run zero miles. Sad. The sun's out this morning though - queue Hallelujah music - so I'm going to squeeze in a five-miler.

I was able to run on Sunday, though. I had 18 miles on tap and there was no way I was going to miss that. It was a Loper run but only seven members of our pace group showed up. Actually, three regulars showed up and we had four others run with us. Of those, only four were going to do the whole 18 miles.

I can't blame those who didn't make it. The rain was coming down hard as soon as I woke up. I was getting dressed to the pitter-patter of rain, drove in a downpour and met up with the rest of the group in the rain. I thought to myself "You can just go back home, have some coffee and stay warm" but of course I was only joking... sorta...

Anyway, all I wanted to do was to stay as dry as possible. Kinda hard to do when it's coming down as hard as it was, but mostly I wanted to not step in puddles. Of course, it took all of one-tenth of a mile to splash myself. I stepped in a puddle and kicked up water to hit the other shoe. Good times.

We started off slowly and took a strange course. Since it was a bit of the blind leading the blind, we mapped out a route that we thought would get us to 18 miles. Part of the path we took - which was unavoidable - took us up a busy street, so we had to deal with that. And of course the rain had not let up at all.

We got to about 12.5 miles and turned around, figuring it would take us about 5.5 miles to get back if we went the short way back. My legs had felt great and despite my early puddle-splashing problems I had managed to stay relatively dry. The skies had opened up and were relentless but even that wasn't a problem. Once I'm out in the rain, it's not a big deal so long as I can avoid the puddles, and I'd done that.

The only problem I'd had was time. I wasn't worried about time necessarily but I did have to get back home in order to shower and get dressed for church with the in-laws. Luckily, one of the other runners in our quartet was up for a bit of a fast finish. We knocked out the last four miles in about 37 minutes. It was a great way to end the run and gave me some confidence that my legs are going to handle this marathon better than the other ones. Will that equate into a PR? Who knows, but I'm mostly concerned right now about getting in these long runs. I have 20 miles on Jan. 2 and then 20-22 on Jan. 16.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate more then. Still, having run 18 miles in the rain gives me confidence that no matter what the weather is like I'll be able to finish them as well. As long as I don't succumb to the allure of coffee next time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Now, Where Were We?

Greetings!

Where were we? Oh yeah, I was talking about taking a break. Well, break's over.

Did I enjoy my break? Yes and no. It was nice having some extra free time, but on the other hand I felt stifled. I had some thoughts that I wasn't able to expand and then they just died. Oh well.

Still, the best thing about taking a break is my fingers are moving fast now. When I don't write for a bit - which for me is tough since I get paid to write, not a lot, but I do get paid - I hit the keyboard running if you will.

So here I am, back in tow. What's happened? Well...

1) The skies have opened up. We are under a deluge of rain here in SoCal. It makes it tough to do much, but ...

2) ... I ran 18 miles in the rain on Sunday. It rained for all but about 1-2 miles of the run.

3) Christmas season is in full effect. I got a really awesome gift exchange gift that I'll have to blog about.

4) Soccer refereeing is also in full effect, unfortunately. I get paid, so that's about the only redeeming quality of it.

Well, that's about it in a nutshell. Oh, I crossed the 1,300-mile mark for the year and don't think I'll make it to 1,400. We'll see what my total mileage for the year turns out to be, but it will be north of 1,300 which is pretty cool.

Finally, thanks to everyone for understanding and for coming back (if you came back). I didn't lose any followers while I took my break, so I'm hoping that everyone will be back shortly as well.

Will I blog every day? Maybe not. I might just blog a few times a week, but I'll be around. That's for sure. Break time's over and I'm glad.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taking A Break

I'm tired. I just am. Got lots going on it seems - physically, emotionally, professionally... Everything's coming at me from all sides.

I need to take a break from blogging. How long? It might be a few days, a week, a few weeks... not sure. Knowing me, I'll be blogging here soon enough. I do have some ideas and things to blog about: buying new shoes, races for 2011, getting my girls involved in running more, my adventures as a quasi-pace leader, refereeing high school soccer games (yes, the season has started, oh joy), music tunes to run to and of course more weight loss tips and advice.

You can always friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (@RunnerLuis) if you're so inclined.

So I just need to take a breather. I've hit Mile 20 of the marathon and my legs are screaming so I need to refresh my body, recharge my mind so I can continue to trudge along.

Until then, I'll be "relaxing" by running. Yay for running. I love you running.

Later days.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Motivational Mondays: Best Racing Year Ever

It's not quite the end of the year yet, not quite time to do year-end recaps, but for me it is.

When I ran the Mission Inn Half Marathon on Nov. 14, I also completed the races I'll have run in 2010. It's kind of a downer to know that I won't race again until February but that just means I'll be able to focus on my next race, the Surf City Marathon on Feb. 6.

Anyway, I wanted to look back at the year I had in races. In terms of running, this has been the best year ever.


Feb. 7: Surf City Marathon

My first marathon! How superb it was to start the year off with a bang, jumping feet first into my first-ever 26.2-mile effort. I'd trained for the marathon so hard and did everything by the book beforehand. I was nervous, anxious, excited and worried about the race. The race itself went off without too many problems until I got past the Mile 22 mark. I hit the wall hard at Mile 23 and it felt like the last three miles took an hour. But I survived and shuffled across the finish at 4:42:26.

The whole race and the days leading up to it were very special moments to me. It sort of culminated all of what I'd gone through for the previous four years, from having weighed 308 pounds to having lost 120 to then having taken up running. I wore a bib on my back with an inspirational message I wrote and it really hammered the point home. I became a marathoner on Feb. 7, and that's something that nobody can ever take away from me.

Race report here.

Will I run this again in 2011? I am already registered! So, barring injury, this will be Marathon No. 3.

March 13: ARMC 5K

After having tackled a marathon, the thought of running a 5K seemed insignificant. However, this race was anything but. First, I wanted to get a more accurate read of the type of runner I was now. My only other 5K had been my first-ever race, back in 2008 when I was a newbie who didn't know what was going on. Also, I bet my brother, my more-athletic, in-shape, works-hard plays-hard brother, that he couldn't beat me in a 5K. We had a lot of fun talking smack before the race and we really did want to compete and beat one another.

I had one of my strongest performances here. Since it was only a 3.1-mile run, I went all out. I hit top speed and stayed there. I finished in 23:03 and beat my brother by more than one minute. I still talk smack to him about this race, and I know it eats at him. I've offered a re-match but he's scared; he just won't admit it.

Race report here.

Will I run this race again in 2010? Well, considering it was free, I'd like to. But I won't run it for speed. I'll save my thoughts on this one until I know it's going to happen but I'll probably be there one way or another.

March 27: Lefty's 5K

Another free race. I signed up for this mostly because it was free, reason enough to get me out there in the fierce wind and run. Also, I enjoyed the race because it was at a bit of a unique place. How often, after all, can you run on a NASCAR track? The best part of the race, bar none, was running on the track at the California Speedway. There were so many skid marks and tire marks on the course, it was unreal. My favorite memory of this race was running down pit row and seeing all the pit areas up close.

Race recap here

Will I run this race again in 2011? Not sure. If it's held again I might want to run it again.

April 19: Run Through Redlands Half Marathon

The challenge, should I have chosen to accept it, was to run a half-marathon in under two hours. I ran with Loper pal (and then-blog buddy) Angie since she also wanted to PR. It was a hilly course and the sun began to weigh on us the further we went along but that wasn't enough to stop a pair of determined runners. We each set a PR, each got under two hours for the first time and each were proud of our accomplishments. My year wasn't close to being over after this race but I believe this was my best performance of the year, that I ran my best race in April, in Redlands.

Race report here.

Will I run this race again in 2011? If I don't take a break after the LA Marathon, I might want to run this again.



May 1: Run For Rescue 10K

I had run my first marathon, shattered my 5K PR and gotten under the two-hour mark in a half marathon. But there was one more obstacle to tackle. I wanted to get under 50 minutes in a 10K. The Run For Rescue course was uphill for a good portion, making the task more difficult. Despite fretting about the hills, I got through them just fine and at the end of the race I knew I was close to a sub-50 minute finish. I was all but out of gas but still fought through and crossed the finish at 49:42. I even placed fourth in my age group!

What also stands out is that my daughters ran their first race afterward. It was called the Kiddie K but it really was just a loop around the parking lot. It was a fun experience for all of us.

Race report here


Will I run this race again in 2011? Probably not. The race was actually for a good cause and it's a small race but I don't know that I'll be up for a 10K in early May.
May 22: San Bernardino Mud Run

I didn't want to find a closer and better race than Camp Pendleton - and didn't - but rather I wanted for my daughters to participate in a Mud Run. The SBSD Mud Run had a children's 1K Mud Run and this was the main reason why I chose to run this race. The course was not as challenging as Camp Pendleton and the obstacles seemed to be just pure mud, mostly mud pits. It was a 5K so not a lot of running either but I still enjoyed myself out there and got plenty muddy. The kid's course, though, was a true 1K; the first portion mostly running and the last part the same exact obstacles we had to go through. Yvie surprised me with her determination while Kennedy cried through a lot of the race but still pushed through. In the end, we were all muddy and all proud of what we'd done.

Race report here

Will I run this race again in 2011? It's a pretty safe bet that we will. I don't know if I'll do the 5K but the girls ask about the Mud Run and seem excited about it.
June 5: Camp Pendleton Mud Run

The race that started it all for me. The bonus this year - I got to meet blog reader Anne (aka Tahoegirl) and her husband. The race was fun as always, perhaps made even more challenging because of my inactivity. I didn't run at all the week before to see if rest would help my ongoing heel issues. I didn't bother trying for a PR and I didn't come close to it. But that didn't diminish from the experience at all.

Race recap here

Will I run this race again in 2011? Yes, the only question is the date. I'm hoping for June 18.
July 25: San Francisco Marathon

The mother of all hilly runs. I took this one on head-first. I wanted my second marathon to be special, and this one certainly was. Mrs. LB and I traveled up to San Francisco and made a weekend out of it. This race had so many special moments, it's tough to narrow them down. The few miles I spent running on the Golden Gate Bridge were an absolute highlight of my running life. The hills, though, took their toll on me and the last few miles my legs were shot. However, I tried to finish strong and fought through the hill-induced aches. I finished in 4:37:51 as I bested my Surf City time by about five minutes. I also got to meet three blog buddies! Amanda of Fat Wuz Here, Katie of One Run At A Time and Jill of Run With Jill. And Mrs. LB and I had a fantastic weekend - how's that for a race experience?

Race report here


Will I run this race again in 2011? Even though I told my wife as I hobbled walked back to the hotel room that I would not run the full marathon there again, I am all but sold on the idea of running that race once more.


Oct. 17: Long Beach Half Marathon

I had already set a half-marathon PR earlier in 2010 but I wanted to beat it. I wasn't sure if I could but my previous PR was on a hilly course. Long Beach was advertised as "flat and fast" and it lived up to the billing. Despite sleeping only four hours, I was up for the race. My Garmin, though, was not. The Garmin was not reading accurately in Mile 3 so I stopped relying on it.

The loss of the Garmin made me focus on simply getting to the next mile marker. I enjoyed the beachfront path and the smell of the ocean. Once off the path and headed down the stretch, I knew I was close to a PR. I cruised into the finish but still wasn't sure what my official time was. However, a few minutes after finishing Mrs. LB sent me a text with my official time - 1:55:03!

Race recap here


Will I run this race again in 2011? If I run this race, I might run the full. Otherwise, I might just pass altogether.


Nov. 14: Mission Inn Half Marathon

I closed out the year with my local race, the Mission Inn Run. I'd run the 10K the last two years but opted for the half marathon this time (it's only been the second year the race has featured a half marathon). I wasn't feeling confident about setting a PR - and didn't - but I knew I had a strong race inside of me. I figured that if I ran strong and ran a good race, I would be happy. I did that and finished strong. My time of 1:56:20 is not my PR but it's still a time I was very happy with.

Race recap here


Will I run this race again in 2011? I'd like to. It's my local race so that makes it very appealing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Leftovers: post-Thanksgiving Day edition

Aw, what the heck? I was going to relax and stay away from the blog today - I mean, isn't everybody out shopping anyway? - but what the heck. I'm up, I have the energy so why not?

Thanksgiving Day Run

I could get used to this.

On Thursday morning, I joined a bunch of fellow Lopers in Loma Linda and ran 10 miles. It's the second consecutive year I've done that, so I guess I'm making this a bit of a tradition. That's nice, considering I never used to do anything but eat on Thanksgiving. This year, and last, I really felt like I earned my bird.

It's also nice just to hit double-digit miles during the week. I don't do that often, and I think I should try and do that now that my work is slowing down a bit.

Word Association

Play along here.

1. Emotional :: Crying
2. Bite :: Head off
3. Get off my :: ass
4. Heroic :: Deed
5. Clothing :: Store
6. Home :: Sweet home
7. Spelling :: Bee
8. Attitude :: Adjustment
9. Argument :: Fight
10. Satan :: Devil

Nothing out of the ordinary I don't think.an

5QF

Here goes with another version of Five Question Friday, the post-Thanksgiving edition.

1. What is your favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal?

Turkey and stuffing. I just love the combination. It just does not get better. At my mom's, we'll have cranberry sauce and I like that on my turkey but the turkey/stuffing combo will do just fine.

2. Are you a host or a guest for Thanksgiving this year?

We've never hosted Thanksgiving and not sure if and when we will. Both our parents cook and enjoy cooking on Thanksgiving (we think). Actually, the last couple of years we've had Thanksgiving early at my in-laws and then have spent the day at my parents' house but this year it's Saturday at my mom's while Thursday was spent chowing down at the in-laws.

3. When you think of one Thanksgiving tradition, what comes to mind?

To be honest, there isn't one tradition... until this year I suppose.

But as far as family goes, aside from the usual - visiting with our families, etc. - there isn't really any one thing that's a unique tradition.


4. You have two pieces of pie in front of you and you HAVE to eat one...do you choose pumpkin or pecan?

Pumpkin. Having said that, I'm not really a big pie person. We never really ate pie growing up and whenever I did, it was just okay. But I do enjoy pumpkin pie so I'll take that.

5. Are you a Black Friday Shopper?

Absolutely not. We used to deal with the crowds on Black Friday but in 2003, when Yvie was a baby, we had such a horrible time we opted to not go anymore, and we haven't. My last Black Friday memory is of pushing an almost-2-month-old Yvie through a mass of humanity at Montgomery Ward's, feeling utterly frustrated and irritated.

It's just not worth it. Wasn't then, isn't now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mt. Rubidoux Excursion

Just had to share these pictures from our excursion to Mt. Rubidoux on Tuesday.

Since the girls are out of school this entire week, I wanted to take them up Mt. Rubidoux at least once. They ask to go a lot, so I figured why not?


Ready to rock Mt. Rubidoux!
It was a little chilly when we set out, but the girls got warm right away so I took their ponchos and put them in my backpack.

At the top of the mountain
The girls made it up Mt. Rubidoux with minimal complaining. That's a great step forward. We even tried running a little but that lasted a few steps each time. We went up the steep side since it's about one mile from bottom to top, as opposed to two miles from bottom to top.

 
I am a champion!

There is a giant flag at the top of Mt. Rubidoux. Yvie was happy to be in front of the flag for a few pictures.

Yay for us!


Then they both got into the act.


Now, after this Kennedy took a little tumble. She scraped her left wrist and got some cuts. She I told her she was brave for going up there in the first place to try and quell her tears somewhat. So she had a bit of a strange look on her face when they were asking for peace.


Peace, baby!
Now, this has to be my favorite picture below. On the way down, Kennedy started running. I didn't ask her to run or didn't run and then try and have her follow me. She just took off. She asked if she could run and I said yeah.

She ran a long part of the way down. She'd stop and look to see where we were every now and then. I don't know if she felt good running downhill or just running, period, but she took off and barely looked back.

Runner in the making

Afterward, she asked me if I could call her Kenna Brave Runner Girl. I said no problem.

Tired and ready for a break
All in all, a good walk up, run down Mt. Rubidoux.

Weigh-less Wednesday: Ordering Salad? Not So Fast...

For most people, there is one rule that seems pretty simple and valid when it comes to eating a nutritious dinner.

Salad = healthy

If you have a salad, you are eating healthy. You are making the right choice and you should feel happy for yourself.

wrong

I hate to be the spoiler but that's wrong. Now, salads can be healthy. If you prepare them yourself, you control everything there about your salad and you can toss in whatever you like. But of course when you go out to eat and leave the preparation up to somebody else, then you throw that all out the window and you are the mercy of the restaurant you are at.

The always-trusty Men's Health has compiled a list of 20 terrible salads and while I'm not going to list all 20 here, I will post a few to give you a quick idea of the dangers of the salad.

How bad are these salads? MH actually says you'd be better off eating a Whopper at Burger King than you would eating any of these salads.

Some places you'd do well just to avoid. Chipotle and PF Chang's each consistently get poor grades and/or poor reviews when it comes to healthy eating, and this is no different. Each has a salad on here. Chipotle's Chicken Salad has a not-that-healthy-at-all 720 calories. The vinaigrette alone has 260 calories and 25 g fat, and they don't have any alternatives to the dressing.

PF Chang's Chicken Chopped Salad w/Ginger Dressing has 730 calories and about 1,200 mg sodium. PF Chang's also has the saltiest food in the land, so it's no surprise they also weigh in here on this list.

Fast food salads can be tempting especially if you are stuck going to a fast-food place. However, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Wendy's and El Pollo Loco all have a salad on here. Still, one thing I learned was that if you omit the croutons and use light dressing (some of these places do offer light dressing, you just gotta ask) then it cuts down the calories. I used to get a salad at McDonald's (I think they did away with it) and I'd just leave out the croutons and use about half the dressing it came with and that would cut down like 75 calories. That doesn't sound like a ton but that's an AM or PM snack.

One thing too is portion size. MH dings Quiznos for not providing accurate portion-size descriptions. Their Chicken Caesar Flatbread Salad (with bread) comes in at 920 calories, 66.5 g fat (20.5 g saturated, 0 g trans) and a whopping 2,090 mg sodium. This is the "regular" size, and they recommend a "small" salad, the Raspberry Chipotle Chicken Salad, that comes in at a much more reasonable 350 calories.

California Pizza Kitchen has four salads in the top 10. That's just not a great endorsement for that place. I don't necessarily think of it as an unhealthy place to eat but the salad choices there are obviously pretty bad. MH says that their "salad menu is filled with gigantic gut-bombs" and by the looks of things, that seems like a fair description.

No. 4 is the Waldorf Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing at California Pizza Kitchen. This salad has 1,570 calories, 30 g saturated fat and 2,082 mg sodium. The calories are bad enough but throw in that much sodium and this salad is just a poor choice all-around.

You'll have to see the full list for the top three, but if you like TGI Friday's you might want to check out the top spot.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day After Video

Well, the morning is crazy busy around here, which happens when the girls are home. No school this week for them so we're going to Mt. Rubidoux this morning. We haven't been in a while and the girls are happy to go, so off we go.

For your viewing pleasure this morning, here's a video that I've been meaning to share. It's pretty funny. I've been told that I'm like the last person.

I might check in later today. Until then, enjoy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Motivational Mondays: Me, A Leader?

I've been with my running group, the Loma Linda Lopers, for two years now. This is my second year, and I feel like I've learned a lot and have a lot to offer because of it.

Now, I've been given the chance to influence others a bit more directly.

I have the chance to become a pace leader of my pace group, the 10:30s. I filled in a little bit on Sunday during our 14-mile run, and filled in a little bit the time before that, two weeks ago on a 13-miler.

Our pace group has two leaders already but one is 15 weeks pregnant and probably won't be able to log long runs before too long. We have 15 planned for Sunday and then have 15 and 18 on consecutive Sundays in December. Our other pace leader has had foot problems and recently was forced to take a month off from running. He's slowly working his way back.

So they've turned to me to see if I would be able to fill in. I said I'd do it and am grateful and humbled to be thought of in that way.

To be honest, I thought that it would be interesting and perhaps enjoyable to be a pace leader someday. I thought that it would be rewarding to help first-time marathoners get through the training and then run a full marathon for the first time, run it alongside them and help them get to the finish, but I didn't expect it to happen so quickly.

Now, the thing about our group that might make it more appealing to have me aboard is that this is an experienced group. We've had some members drop off so we have either one or two runners who haven't run a marathon yet but not sure if they are still with our group since I haven't seen them in a few weeks. Nevertheless, had our group had more first-timers maybe the group would have needed someone with more than two marathons to help the first-timers run their first marathon.

Still, I do feel that I have some good qualities that will help me be a good pace leader. The main quality I feel I bring to the table is strength. I can get through runs. I'm determined to get through runs. And group members need a leader who is strong and who can finish runs.

Sunday was a good example of that. I really didn't feel like running 14 miles in the rain but when I was out there on the course I felt good. After two miles, one of the pace leaders asked me if I would be able to lead and I agreed so I jumped to the front and led. My first mile in front, I ran it at 10:35. That's perfect. I kept us in that range for the four miles until our group had whittled down to four. We were pretty much running in pairs at that point but I still wanted to be strong for the other runners' sake. I think it's more encouraging when you have someone who looks like they're strong and have energy remaining, and I don't anticipate that being a problem when I'm in charge.

Next week we have a 15-mile run planned. I may be in front the whole time next week or it may be a mixture as it was this week. Whatever the case, I'll be up for it.

All eyes will be on me so I don't have a choice but to respond with another strong effort.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Four Questions

I was recently tagged by Tales From The Back Of The Pack to answer four questions about myself. Pretty cool questions so I figured I'd take the time to answer them. I was also tagged by another cool blogger for another set of, well, questions I suppose, so keep an eye out for that. Was going to include them both in same post but will post separately.

Anyway...

1. What is your favorite holiday and why? Any special traditions?

My favorite holiday is definitely Christmas. It's not so much the presents and things like that but being a dad, I really do get into the Christmas spirit. All holidays have either taken on new meanings or been re-born now since the girls have been a part of my life. Christmas is awesome because of them. Of course, they love the presents they get but they also love decorating the Christmas tree, enjoy making sugar cookies, enjoy the lights on all the houses, enjoy the Christmas carols (in both English and Spanish) and all the awesome food as well. And because they enjoy it, I enjoy it.

2. What songs are on your go-to playlist? Describe how or why the music motivates you.

We go from warm and fuzzy to this. Well, I'm not much of a soft music guy, so this is anti-warm-and-fuzzy. My playlist consists of Metallica and others. I've actually changed up my musical selections. Before I would load the last half of playlists with Metallica, figured it would give me a huge boost when I needed it the most. Lately though I've been putting their stuff throughout. Part of me realized that I wasn't getting to some of the good songs on my playlist because it would be over by then. I had a few just-in-case songs near the end, figuring that if I needed them they'd be there just in case I wasn't done, but more often than not I was done.

My top three runnings songs, though, have not changed.

3. Highwayman, Johnny Cash
2. Damage Inc., Metallica
1. Orion, Metallica

Orion is an instrumental and lasts about 8:30, so I know that when it starts to when it finishes is roughly a mile, give or take. The beginning has a bit of an ominous feel to it, which is cool, and once it gets going, it just totally allows me to get into a groove.

Lately I've been running to a lot of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as well, and I also listen to a lot of Flogging Molly, but I think I had eight Metallica and eight BRMC songs on my Long Beach Playlist.

Highwayman kind of goes against the grain but that's just an awesome song. I can lose myself in that song. It's too bad it's only about three minutes long.
3. What is your dream vacation? Money is not an issue.

Tough question. I've been to and had a great time in Costa Rica, Montreal, Trinidad & Tobago and would love to go back to one or all three. However, I'd also like to visit new frontiers.

I don't know though, I like the idea of going to some far-off remote location. I don't really have a bucket list of must-visit places but one place I'd like to go to is Perth, Australia, simply because to me it seems like the most remote location possible. Australia is remote and far off, and Perth is remote and far off within Australia. Maybe just for kicks, Perth with visits to Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock while I'm at it. What sucks is my brother visited the last three places, not Perth, but the others. I mean that's good for him... so I guess I'll have to live vicarously through him.

4. Looking back at 2010 so far...what are you most proud of?

Running two marathons. I'm proud of having run my first marathon, the Surf City Marathon in February. I did that with a group, my beloved Lopers. I trained with a group and about 10 of us ran it together... for the first 12-14 miles anyway. But I'm proud as well for having trained and ran another marathon all on my own, the San Francisco Marathon. I'm also proud that it was San Francisco, "the race even marathoners fear." And I set a PR there! I beat my Surf City time by about five minutes.

Well, that's what I've got time for. I think I'm supposed to tag other bloggers but I've never been any good at that. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the answers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mission Inn: No PR; What's Up Next

It's been a few days since my half marathon but I wanted to take a look back at the race and write about some things that didn't make the race recap.

No PR

I don't want this race to be remembered for not having set a PR. I did, though, have a stretch where every race I did, I did just that. I set PRs in each of my two previous half-marathons, this year; had improved my 10K time the last two 10Ks I ran; had bested my marathon time in the second one over the first.

So this is sort of new to me, running a strong race but not setting a PR.

I'm not upset. I wasn't upset during the race when I realized it wasn't going to happen, wasn't upset after the race and am no upset now, a few days after.

It would be one thing if I didn't know why my time wasn't what it was in Long Beach. I hadn't run as much as I should have been running after Long Beach and, perhaps more importantly, I didn't do any speedwork. Speedwork is critical for improving time, and I did none of it.

Still, I managed to get a 1:56:20 so I'm not exactly lamenting over a poor time.

Hometown Race

I've lived in Riverside since 1989 save for a two-year stretch Mrs. LB and I did in Temecula (yeah, it was like a prison sentence). Oh, and then there were the few months we picked up and moved to Mexico, in 2002. But aside from that, I've lived here in Riverside since '89, and Mrs. LB longer than that.

But it wasn't until 2008 that I participated in the Mission Inn Run. That year was my first year as a runner, and by November '08 I was embracing that. I ran the 10K that year as there was no half-marathon option. Last year I ran the 10K again because the Lopers recommended that I do as much, but I was pretty bummed that I didn't run the half as it was the first year.

After having run this race for the third consecutive year, I think I'd like to keep running it for the foreseable future. I might not run the half every year, might try to set a 10K PR or something, but it's cool to know that I have a hometown race that I enjoy and now have some history with.

That being said, it would be nice if the course ran through more streets and less of the out-and-back bike path.

Tape Issues

When I went to Seattle, I bought some medical tape for my nipples. It's worked great, and considering I lost the other tape I had it's been a bit of a lifesaver.

(If you aren't aware, I have nipple issues as they bleed on me like crazy if I don't take care of them. Don't believe me? Look here)

Well, I had taped the nips before the race... okay, well, let me rephrase that. I had tape on them. I'd had tape on them from earlier in the week. Sometimes I just like to let the tape stay on there because it kinda hurts to take off.

Late in the race, I felt the unmistakable nipple pain that's cause me so much grief since I've been running. I dismissed it though because I was focused on the race. Also, my undershirt of choice is one that's pretty skin tight so it helped stave off pain and blood.

Later, when I took off my shirt the tape was indeed gone from both nips and I felt some tenderness in the area.

I'm just lucky I didn't bleed.

What's Next?

Sadly, I have no more races to run in 2010. This was race number 10 and it concluded a memorable and busy calendar.

My next race won't be until Surf City 2011, on Feb. 6, when I will run Marathon No. 3. I would like to run a half marathon in January, to use as a training run for Surf City but not sure if that will happen.

My next half-marathon won't be until much longer. Next spring, the Run Through Redlands will present another challenge but I'm not sure if I'll run that. I will run the Fontana Days Half Marathon in June and will look to PR there since it's all downhill... literally. The course is downhill from start to finish. Can't beat that.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weigh-less Wednesday: Places To Avoid

One of the things that helped me lose more than 100 pounds was controlling what I ate. That meant eating at home and not eating out as much.

Now, by not eating out, I mean that I stopped relying on fast food as much. I ate out a lot before, yes, but it wasn't like I was eating at a sit-down restaurant every night. But fast food is not the only place where you can down 600, 700 or 1,000 calories without really breaking a sweat - it's just the easiest.

Men's Health rated the five worst restaurants (well, four of them are restaurants) in the nation.

So if you need another reason to not eat out (or at least cut down on it; I mean, you can't avoid restaurants altogether), then take a look at these calorie disasters.

5. Claim Jumper

I've always known Claim Jumper for their gigantic portions, which the mag mentions. Claim Jumper features a beef-rib supper worth 2,253 calories and a chocolate-chip calzone worth 1,794 calories.

Here's their items, at least the ones with nutritional info available, per CalorieKing.com

4. Regal Cinemas

The lone non-restaurant on the list. Going to the movies can be an expensive proposition if you add in the candy and sodas and popcorn and whatever else you might want to indulge in. But what sets Regal apart is that they offer a bucket of popcorn for free. And who doesn't mindlessly eat popcorn while watching a movie? That's a death trap.

Now, popcorn is actually a good snack, but it's a good snack when prepared at home. At the movies, it can be too much of a good thing.

3. CiCi's Pizza

I've never heard of this place so I'll have to take their word for it. But according to the mag this place offers a five-dollar endless pizza buffet, which includes some 170-calorie-per-slice pizza choices.

I don't know if I'd have the willpower to stop piling pizza on my plate if it was endless like that. Best to just avoid that place altogether.

CiCi's Pizza on CalorieKing.com

(Further research reveals that there is a CiCi's Pizza by me, in Chino Hills, and there's another in Gardena... and one in San Diego... but those are the only ones anywhere nearby, which is a good thing)

2. Red Robin

Red Robin makes the list at number two because a) they offer bottomless steak fries with each burger - two baskets of fries equal 868 total calories - and b) half of their gourmet burgers are more than 1,000 calories.

And if you think you'll get a wrap there and be good, their Whiskey River Wrap has 1,112 calories and 2,500 mg sodium. Yikes!

Red Robin on CalorieKing.com

1. Shula's Steak House

Again, not heard of this place. The red flag is the restaurant does not have nutritional stats for its foods (according to the mag) and that's never a good thing. The mag says their 48-ounce steak has about 4,000 calories. That's just insanity.

Obviously, no stats available at CalorieKing.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Disneyland Trip

I made it out to Disneyland last week after all and I'm glad I did. Even though it was crowded (Veteran's Day) and we didn't actually go on many rides, we had a great time at Disneyland. That's the thing - we always did. Even when the crowds were ridiculous, we always made do.

Anyway, I wanted to share some of the pictures from that day.

The Christmas decorations were all up, including the most massive Christmas tree you'll see.

The tree seems like it goes on and on towards the sky...


We had hoped to ride It's A Small World but we were unlucky. Little did we know but Nov. 12 (Friday) was the first day of the Holiday season at Disneyland. We were a day early.

We were bummed.


But we did get to see some characters up close. The girls got their umpteenth picture taken with Goofy.

That Goofy sure is a card.

We also got a rare picture taken with the Big Cheese himself...


We went to California Adventure and got our picture taken with Lightning McQueen and Mater.


Probably, though, the most memorable picture is this one. We got FastPasses for Space Mountain right away, pretty much when we walked into the park. We went back later and instead of the 45-minute wait, we were in line probably 10 minutes before boarding. Since there three of us, we got into a car by ourselves. Actually, not sure how that happened but it did, and I wasn't complaining.

The best part was that it made for a great picture opportunity. The girls sat up front and I sat right behind them. Both of the girls had been on Space Mountain before and hadn't cried or been afraid or anything. While we were in line, Yvie told me she was "a little nervous" which probably meant she was crapping her pants. I can only imagine what Kennedy felt. It is a bit ominous in there, with all the space stuff and sound effects, and that's just in line. But neither wanted to bail on the ride so we went on it.

I could hear the girls at the beginning and they seemed fine and looking forward to the ride. Once it got going, though, it was dark and I couldn't hear anything but the music that's played on the ride and the ride itself.

Towards the end I knew we were near the part where the cameras are. Sure enough, some bright lights popped at us and I hoped that the picture was going to turn out.

About the same time, I heard Kennedy sobbing. She'd been crying. Apparently the ride was too much to handle.

It did make for a great picture...

Of course, Yvie is quite concerned about her sister. And I'm all smiles in the back.

It kind of reminded me of another picture of us, well, of Kennedy and me anyway.

Yes, we are going to use these pictures as torture later in life.

Just some of the many memories we had at Disneyland.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Motivational Mondays: Mission (Inn) Accomplished

While it's fun to race in a new location, there's something to be said about familiarity and close proximity to home. Such was the case Sunday as I was running in the local Mission Inn Run. I woke up at 5 a.m., tossed and turned until 5:35 and then got up to get ready. By 6:10 I was in my car, and by 6:20 I was looking for a parking spot.

The Mission Inn Half Marathon offered a close location to home but also offered the chance of running another half marathon, my third of the year and fourth all-time. I had been going back and forth on whether I wanted to PR or not and ultimately decided I was going to go for it but knew that it was possible, likely even, that I would not come close.

While the Mission Inn course was relatively flat, it was not flat and fast as Long Beach. Add to that the wind that was blowing in from the north and it was going to be a challenging race.

I walked around towards the start area, ran into some friends and hung out for a few minutes. Then, I warmed up by running almost back to where I'd parked and then back towards the start line. All told, I ran about .8 mile, which worked out great.

Once near the start line, I felt the usual pre-race excitement. I was happy that I was running yet another race and trying to soak in the moment of what would be my final race of 2010.

The horn went off and the half-marathoners spilled forward onto Market Street. Very early on I had to dodge around plenty of other runners. The street sloped downward and helped my time, but I was also eager to get out in front and set a strong early pace. But after one mile, I felt I'd come out too fast. I'd run an 8:04 mile right off the bat and needed to slow down. Mile 2 swung us around a park and back through some residential areas, and at 8:42 was a more comfortable and manageable pace. I felt good, felt strong and did not feel any wind.

The course took us right by the entrance of my beloved Mt. Rubidoux, a place I've run sparingly since the spring, when it became a once-a-week fixture on my racing calendar. I felt the urge to run on the path briefly, just to say I ran on Mt. Rubidoux during a race.

We meandered through some more residential areas until about Mile 4, when we went around the base of Mt. Rubidoux, and the course was then a paved bike path. Eventually I came up behind the top of Mt. Rubidoux and saw the flag and cross that are prominent displays atop the local landmark.

At this point, we crossed the place that was the turn-off for the 10K. The 10K course deviated back through the park we originally ran through, past some houses and back towards downtown. That would await us near the end, but before then we had to run about four miles along the bike path, turn around and run four more miles back.

Miles 3 and 4 were run at 8:44 and 8:30 while Mile 5 was at 9:13. Most of Mile 5 was run with the wind blowing against me. While the houses and the park had offered protection from the wind, I was out in the open on the bike path.

I plugged along though, trying not to think about how awfully far it would be before I could turn around. I tried to keep landmarks in mind for the return trip. The course took us under four streets/freeways, which was about the only protection we had from the wind. I'd turned my hat around early on so it woulnd't be a casualty of the run. Somewhere along the path, the wind blew a hat clean off the runner in front of me. I reached for her hat but couldn't get it and she had to dart backwards to grab it.

I wasn't sure how to run in the wind. I tried to keep my arms close to my body, tried to stay compact but didn't want to throw off my mechanics.

But the wind wore on me. Mile 6 (8:54), Mile 7 (8:47) and Mile 8 (9:26) were all run into the wind.

I'd wanted to be at Mile 10 before the 1:28 mark. I figured if that were the case I could give it a good final three-mile push to get close to the 1:55 I needed to PR. So Mile 9 then meant some pushing and I ran it in 8:17, which was encouraging. But it also seemed to take a toll on me. The next mile was at 8:55 and I was at about 1:29 when I finally got to Mile 10.

Still, I felt strong and felt encouraged by that. In Long Beach, I felt like I was stuck in the same speed, a not-too-fast speed, for the final 4-5 miles but I felt like I had a kick in me this time. I wanted to stay strong, stay at my pace and then pick it up for the last stretch.

Mile 11 (8:43) was done and I finally was off the bike path shortly after. Originally, I wanted to pick up the pace here, once I was done with the bike path and close to the finish. But that did not happen. I didn't have much left and wondered if the wind had indeed won the battle. Mile 12 (9:13) was tough mentally but I kept reminding myself that it was my last race of the year, that it was only a small amount of time before I'd be done, that I would be upset with myself if I didn't give it my all here.

Now, earlier Mrs. LB had called and told me she was setting up with the girls. That was the big carrot dangling in front of me. I wasn't sure where they would be but figured it would be near the finish. I hoped that their presence and cheers would give me the energy I'd need to tear through to the finish.

The final mile was probably the toughest. This one was the only one that featured any sort of hill, and it weighed on me. I trudged up the hill and while I was giving it a good effort, my speed was not exactly there. Finally I turned the corner and had to keep running at an incline but only briefly.

Up ahead I saw the girls. Mrs. LB had the camera poised and ready and the girls were cheering loudly.

"Go Daddy! Run Daddy! Yay Daddy!"

Both the girls had their hands in the air, smiling broadly, jumping up and down, and their energy was the boost I needed. I didn't feed off it right away but once I got back on Market I went into a sprint. Mile 13 (9:06) could have been worse but I picked up the pace enough to make a bit of a difference. Finally the last corner was ahead of me and I was giving it all I had at that point. I saw the finish line, saw the time was at around 1:56:xx and knew that I was in fact not going to PR.

But it didn't matter to me then. I knew I had given it everything I'd had in me, knew that I ran a strong race and felt happy about my effort.

I tell this to my girls all the time: "It doesn't matter to me if you win or lose. What matters to me is that you give it your all. As long as you try your hardest, I'm happy."

So I took my own advice. I tried my hardest (my muscles constantly reminded me of just how hard I'd tried) so I had no reason to not feel happy about my effort.

What made the race a truly unforgettable one, however, was this:

How could I not be happy when I've got this kind of support?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mission Inn Run Is Done!

The Mission Inn Half Marathon is in the books. I finished with a time of 1:56:20. I didn't PR but I am happy with the time because:

A) I ran a strong race, the kind of race I wanted to run

B) I feel like I gave everything I had

C) There was a lot of wind to contend with, and few obstacles to block it, mostly miles 5-11

D) It's a half marathon, for eff's sake!

I'll have a full recap later. For now, it's time to try and recover and hopefully nap.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mission Inn Half

I barely had time to blog about the half marathon but I am running a half marathon on Sunday! The Mission Inn Half Marathon! Yay.

I'll update shortly after the race. The race starts at 7 a.m. PT and I'm hoping to finish before 9 a.m. I'm going to go for it, go for a PR but am fully aware that I may not be able to get it. I will be much more well-rested than Long Beach and the course isn't hilly. It is an out-and-back, for about six or seven miles.

Anyway, I'm ready. My legs feel ready for a long, fast run so here's hoping the rest of me is too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Leftovers - Number 1,000

Greetings! Welcome to Friday and welcome to my 1,000th post.

I'd been thinking for a while to do something special for number 1,000 but I never did come up with anything exciting so my 1,000th post will be just like numbers 1-999; a little bit of everything.

Thank you for taking the time to read this trusty blog and for all your comments and supports and everything else along this journey. It would be less fun and less rewarding to run the races I run and to write about what I write about, running or otherwise, without having this blog to plan/vent/share with you all. So, muchisimas gracias.

Word Association

As always, play here.

1. Everything :: Anything
2. China :: Doll
3. Essence :: Fragrance
4. Immediate :: Gratification
5. Obstruct :: View
6. Force :: Delta
7. Constellation :: Stars
8. Intuitive :: Felt
9. Complain :: Not satisfied
10. Train :: Rails

I used to like the Delta Force movies when I was younger. I can imagine how bad I'd think they are if I watched them now. Maybe I'd still enjoy them, who knows?

Five Question Friday

And the usual Friday staple, the Five Question Friday. Thanks to Mama M for hosting this every Friday. Makes for a good end to the week.

1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?

At the end of each marathon, my body was in pain. It's the only time in my life that just walking was painful, and by painful I don't mean a few things hurt - everything hurt. It hurt to walk. It hurt to stand. It hurt to sit. It hurt to sit down. It hurt to stand up. After Surf City (my 1st marathon) the pain lingered but I felt much better after San Francisco sooner. Don't get me wrong, I still felt like I had been hit by an 18-wheeler but the seemed to dissipate quicker.

Ah, but the pain leaves your body and the medal and the accomplishment remain. So to me, the marathons are worth the pain. Easily.

2. How much sleep do you get at night?

On a good night, about six hours. I wish it was more but my schedule always seems out of whack and since I work from home and am responsible for a lot of the household duties, I sometimes have to put off working until they're asleep. So that means working at night and that cuts into my sleep time.

** SPOILER ALERT **
3. How long did you believe in Santa Claus? How did you find out that he does not exist?

Well, I hope I didn't ruin the spirit of Santa for you. I don't quite remember when I stopped believing in the big guy but it was early. I don't really remember believing in Santa for too long so I'm guessing by 7-8 it was gone.

We're trying to keep Santa's presence alive and well here but we know before too long our girls will stop believing. It's fun though for now. They believe and they get excited about Santa's visits.

4. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?

Megamind. One of the girls had earned a trip to the movies and we went and saw that. It was pretty good, had stuff for both the kids and the adults.

5. What do you wear to bed?

Usually just a pair of shorts. I can't sleep with shirts. They get all tangled up because I tend to move around a lot at night so they bother me. I'll sleep with socks on sometimes but I tend to just take them off at night.

I also wear my C-PAP... does that count? Well, I don't wear it every night but that's something that has to change. I need to wear it every night. So if I have my C-PAP and a pair of shorts on, it means I'm having a comfortable night's sleep.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

End Of An Era

Part of the reason why I think I was (and am) so emotional about this whole Disneyland thing is that it's essentially the end of an era, the audible closing of one chapter of this book of life.

The girls aren't little anymore. I know that, of course. But Disneyland was so ingrained in us that it just felt like second nature. However, that's a part of life when the girls were little. School and the girls' extracurricular activities dominate their lives now, and we can't really bend or mold that any other way.

So when these passes expired (well, at least when Yvie's did), it was the final passing from one stage to another.

We'll get passes someday again, I'm certain of it. And when we go back, it will be fun but it'll be different. Better in some ways. They'll be able to do more things on their own and will be able to stay up later and last longer. But the time we went when they were younger will be treasured time for me.

from our first trip, in November 2007


from our last trip, November 2010

It was a fun ride and I'm lucky I had the chance to partake in it.

D-land

Thanks everyone for your comments on yesterday's post.

We will, in fact, be at Disneyland today. We'll enjoy it and it won't be our last trip. It might be for a bit, but not ever. And I'm trying not to think about that.

Off to Adventureland!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog...

Alright, I need your help/advice/ears (or eyes I guess)...

If you've read this blog for a few minutes, you know how much I love Disneyland. We've had season passes since late 2007 and we've been to the Happiest Place on Earth more than 50 times easily since then.

On Thursday, Yvie's pass expires. Kennedy's expires next month and Mrs. LB's pass, along with mine, expires in late January. Not sure how that happened but...

Yvie's pass expires 11/11/10. Sad.

What's even more sad is we've decided not to renew. Sad sad. Triple sad. Quintuple sad times infinity...

Why not? We barely went this year. We didn't go at all from early March to mid-September. Not once. Not even during the summer. We went once in September and once in October. Our weekends are usually filled with other things, and last summer was short (six weeks) and packed, with camping, family vacations, our San Francisco Marathon trip and swim lessons. There was no time to squeeze in even one trip to Disneyland.

I would still like to renew, but at $329 a pop, we can't justify spending that much money for such few trips. We just can't.

So it's the end of an era and I'm genuinely saddened by it.

My question is this: should I go on Thursday? There is no school so we can go old-school, like when the girls were 3 and 1, 4 and 2, and we could go whenever the hell we wanted to, at whatever damn time we wanted with no restrictions.

But I'm pretty sure I'll be a little emotional and not sure how I'll enjoy the trip.

Every time we go, the girls have so much fun. Their eyes light up now at the same things that lit up their faces the first time we went. That place does not get old no matter times we've gone. The girls enjoy it to the max and that's what will make me sad, knowing that they won't get the same enjoyment there any more.

Part of me wants to go, to do all of our favorite rides one last time: Small World, Pirates, Buzz Lightyear, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and the ride we've gone on the most, Alice in Wonderland.

But part of me doesn't want to go because it will be too painful. I know, I'm being selfish, possibly turning away a potentially memorable day because I don't want to deal with the emotional fallout.

So, what say you, dear blog reader? Should I go for old time's sake? Or should I just concede defeat and find something else to do with the girls on Thursday? I'm guessing that if we stay home, we'd probably watch a movie, bake some muffins/cookies, maybe go to a park, nap... fun stuff but nowhere near as fun as Disneyland.

Sad LB...

Weigh-less Wednesday: Arm Yourself With Knowledge

When you put something in your mouth, do you think about the calories? About how much, if any, fiber it has? About the amount of sodium or carbs it has?

I don't. Well, I don't always think about it, I should say. That's in part because I've already got some things programmed in my mind. An apple is between 80-100 calories, for instance, while a banana is about 100. A handful of chips is... bad... but it has maybe 70 calories, maybe more (most serving sizes for chips are between 10-14 chips).

One simple way to figure out what's working for you in your meal plan is to figure out what you're ingesting. It's easy sometimes to just grab something and eat it without thinking about the nutritional part of it, but a quick glance at the nutritional facts box on the packaging will help you decide if you want to eat it or pass on it.

However, not all foods have that. I've been on a sweet potato kick lately, and have a bowl of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes in the fridge. I can't exactly look at the packaging to see how many calories one serving is, and exactly how much one serving is in the first place.

But there's a great web site that has all that info handy. Calorieking.com is easily the best site to find nutritional info.

Now, I sort of did it the backwards way. I ate first and asked questions later. But I had a rough idea of what I was eating. So for lunch... and dinner... I took out a measuring cup, got myself one cup of the sweet potatoes and went to town (after I heated them up and added a few things - a splash of milk, some cinnamon).

Later I checked calorieking.com and was pleasantly surprised. One cup of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes has 250 calories, 58 g carbs and 8.2 g fiber. Since I had two cups of that throughout the day, I got in more than 16 g fiber just in those two meals alone. Add in the 4.4 I got from my apple and I have more than 20 g fiber. I'm pretty sure I got what I needed in terms of fiber.

Calorieking.com is the best resource I've found for any sort of nutritional info.

How many calories does a baked potato have?
I ate a Fiber One bar but threw out the packaging - what did I eat?
I had a cup of grapes with my lunch, how many grams of fiber did it have?

and the site provides answers...

About 141
Fiber One bar - 140 calories, 9g fiber
Only 1.4, but it was only 100 calories to begin with

Also helpful is their restaurant info. I've done it many times where I'm at a restaurant and am on my phone, scanning the site for any sort of meal info. Let's say you are Olive Garden and want to order the Lasagna Clasico but aren't sure if that's more calories than you have left. A search on my phone reveals that it has 850 calories, not terrible, but 2,830 mg sodium, which is bad. So I start scanning for alternatives and stumble across the Cheese Ravioli, which has 660 calories and 1,440 mg sodium, so I opt for that. I'm also trying to ignore the fact that each breadstick is 150 calories.

Anyway, that's just a scenario that could happen.

I didn't get sponsored by the site or anything. My trainer told me about that site a long time ago and I've used it quite often since then. It's the best starting point for me with regards to calories and nutritional information, and I do use it often on my phone, when I'm out at places.

So you can't memorize the nutritional facts for every little piece of food and not all foods have that info handy. The best thing you can do, though, is to give yourself a fighting chance by finding that info out on your own.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marathon No. 3

I did it!

I signed up for my third marathon, the 2011 Surf City Marahton.

On their Facebook page, Surf City announced that their races were almost near capacity and the last thing I wanted to have happen is to not be able to participate in either the half or the full. So I took the plunge.

I have had so many things running through my mind since registering. I was mostly excited that I'd done it and that I will run 26.2 again, and to do it where it all started for me makes it more exciting.

I wasn't sure whether to do the full at all because this would have been... will be, I guess I can say that now, the first of two marathons I'll run in a six-week span. I plan on running the Los Angeles Marathon on March 20, six weeks after Surf City (Feb. 6). I think I can do it, and now I suppose I won't have a choice.

As far as a goal time, it's too early to say what time I want. I do want to break my PR which I set in San Francisco with a time of 4:37:51. How much time I think I can shave off remains to be seen.

But that's secondary. For now, I'm pumped that I did it and that my next marathon is within sights. It's not exactly right around the corner but there is a time and date now to look forward to. And look forward to it I will!