Monday, May 31, 2010

Motivational Mondays (May 31)

May will come to an end today and with it the first five months of 2010.

Through the first five months of this year, I've ran 644 miles. That's an average of 129 miles per month, an average of roughly 30 miles per week.

As I look ahead to June and July, something is motivating me quite a bit. And that's not adding mileage to that.

It's rest.

I've been pondering rest for some time now but I think I've all but set my sights on a clean break from running as soon as I cross the finish line at San Francisco.

Don't get me wrong - I love to run. I love everything about it, but that's part of the point. I want to keep loving it. I want to look forward to my long runs, want to approach every run with vigor and excitement.

It's not that I haven't been lately but there have been parts of runs that I've been not enjoying. On Friday, I had a disastrous treadmill run. I was on there for an hour, but it was a chore to get there. I seriously wanted out after two minutes. I wasn't in the right frame of mind and I figured that since I'd run an hour on the 'mill a few days before that it was just a bit of treadmill overload.

Sunday morning I set out on a 12-14 miler and I just didn't feel like leaving the house. I felt like staying home with my family and spending a lazy Sunday morning at home. Now, once I got out and got to running, I felt great. I got in 13.1 miles and it really felt good. And I still got to spend plenty of time with my family.

But thinking about preparing for the Las Vegas Marathon kind of gives me an unsettling feeling. Since that race is in early December, that means I'd have to start back up in September and would have an 18-miler sometime in early October. Not that that doesn't sound enticing or anything but I believe I'd prefer to take it a little easier.

Part of this possible ease-up on running includes the start of the Loper season. The Lopers will start once again on Aug. 1 (right now it's more informal runs than anything) and I want to participate and run with the group from the beginning. With Kennedy going to school on Aug. 11 (YIPPEE!!!) I'm thinking of switching my long-run day to Tuesday or Wednesday, at least for a bit. Once the Lopers start getting up in mileage in late September then I'll go back to the Sunday long run of course. But I could probably squeeze in a 10-12 miler every Tuesday or Wednesday.

My racing calendar will pick back up in October as I've tentatively planned for the Long Beach Half Marathon (Oct. 17) and Ragnar Relay (Oct. 22-23), and then the Mission Inn Half Marathon shortly after (Nov. 7).

I would like to focus on those races as well. And I think re-charging my batteries come August will help set up a good final stretch of 2010 for me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Leftovers (May 28)

Ah Friday, the last Friday of the month.

Is it really already almost June???

Word Association

Play here, as always...

1. Cream :: Cheese
2. Be with you :: Night and day
3. Pancakes :: Syrup
4. Believe :: In me
5. 45 :: Colt
6. Eat :: More
7. Background :: Desktop
8. Pane :: Window
9. Aim :: High
10. Collapse :: Fall

I laughed at number three. I did this after I filled out the Five Question Friday underneath, so once you read that you'll know why. And I'm not a cream cheese fan. I order bagels often at places like Borders or Panera Bread, and always I say "No, thanks" when I'm asked if I'd like that with cream cheese. I put butter, sprinkle some equal or sweet n low and a dash of cinnamon if it's available and eat it that way. Hmmm... that makes it kinda sweet, which actually contradicts one of my answers from below, kinda sorta... strange.

Eight Years Ago Yesterday

On May 27, 2002, I boarded a Japan Airlines flight in Los Angeles and landed a day later at Narita Airport in Japan. I went as a writer to cover the World Cup. I thought it would be exciting, an adventure to top all adventures. I mean, that's the pinnacle of the sport, the pinnacle of sports writing, so what more could you ask for?

It. Was. Horrible.

Wait, that didn't do it justice...

It. Was. Horrible.

Now, the games were fantastic. I remember those games clearly, very vividly, and not just the games but getting to the games, sitting in the media center before games (the whole lots-of-Europeans-don't-wear-deoderant stereotype is true, I found out the hard way)... things like that, but everything else was abysmal. I went alone, which was my first problem. I felt so stinking alone, ironic considering the mass amounts of humanity there are in Japan. If you've ever seen the movie Lost In Translation, that captures my feelings exactly.

I stayed there for 27 horrible days, my only saving grace the actual games.

I was well over 300 pounds so I did no running - now, I'd run like crazy over there - I did no sightseeing save for a trip to some museums in Hiroshima, did nothing adventurous. I guess the positives aside from watching some really awesome games was seeing Mt. Fuji, riding the shinkansen a million times... and not much else. Visiting Japan I guess counts for something.

As far as where in Japan I went... here are the cities I slept in and visited: Tokyo, Yokohama, Sendai, Nagoya, Kobe, Osaka, Oita, Niigata. I went to a game in Shizuoka but didn't stay the night there. I stayed the most in Nagoya even though there were no games there.

The happiest part of my trip was flying out of Osaka International. I remember feeling so happy that day, so excited to finally end that disaster of a trip. Like, I felt so happy then that thinking about getting on a train bound for the airport conjures up happy feelings inside of me right now.

I think at some point in the future I need to go back to Japan, if nothing else to exorcise those demons. If I go back, it won't be by myself though. And I will get some awesome runs in.

Five Question Friday

Here's the latest edition of Five Question Friday. Interesting questions... here we go...

1. Is there something you've always wanted to try but just can't muster up the courage to actually do yet?

I thought about this for a while but I think I'd have to say skydiving. Now, I'm not sure if it's about lacking courage necessarily, more like lacking funds. But I've always wanted to skydive. I've always wanted to know what it felt like with nothing supporting you, with no ground or chair or bed or water or anything around you. So short of going into space, skydiving is the closest thing to that.

There's actually a really good and reputable skydive place nearby, Perris Valley Skydive. So if I ever do save up the funds (at least $189) and muster up the courage as it were, I wouldn't have to go very far.

2. If you had $100 handed to you in cash without your significant other knowing about it, what would you spend it on?

Wow, that wouldn't last very long... My first inclination would be to say running shoes. I could always go for a new pair of running shoes. I might go with music though, and just hit up iTunes. Or maybe I'd go on Amazon and see what cool stuff I could get there for cheap.

I'm guessing music though. I'd get me some awesome tunes. If I were to buy some stuff right now, I'd get the new Stone Temple Pilots CD (who would have thought they'd ever make a new CD?), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's latest (I just got into this group recently and they rock), and I'd probably buy the girls a new kid's CD, by The Jimmies. That'd be a good start.

3. What was your favorite piece of playground equipment as a child?

I'd have to say the swing. I hated the monkey bars. I could never ever get across all of them and wondered how some kids did that so effortlessly. I liked playing... what's that game on the ball wall?... handball or whatever... but that's not exactly a standard piece of equipment. Tetherball was for girls and basketball was for when I got older, so I'd have to say the swing.

Oh yeah, one quick swing-related story. I think I was about six years old maybe, but I was swinging and I must not have been paying attention or something but I fell. Hard. Landed right on my back and got the wind knocked out of me. That was the first time I'd ever gotten the wind knocked out of me. It was a scary feeling. I was gasping and nothing was going in. I felt totally helpless and wondering what the eff was going on. I remember going up to the office and sitting there but not sure what help the gave me. I was probably crying... (I'm shaking my head in disgust)

4. Do you prefer a sweet or hearty breakfast?

I love muffins, but I would probably prefer hearty over sweet. Muffins would probably be an exception but they don't exactly fill you up. Don't get me wrong, I love pancakes and syrup as much as the next guy but give me a plate of warm breakfast scramble with potatoes, peppers, onions, cheese, some bacon, hot sauce, maybe a sausage with some coffee and a toast and I'm beyond happy.

You'll notice I didn't say egg. I'm probably the only person around who orders scrambles like that WITHOUT the eggs.

5. Are you a Neat Freak or a Messy Bessy?

Isn't Bessy a girls name? Hmmm... I guess I can't say that I'm either.

I wish I could say I was a neat freak :(

I am freakish about some things, like... uh... um... okay, maybe not. I'm a scatterbrain sometimes and I'm a horrible organizer most of the time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Opening Up

Missed on the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, did ya? Well, the race has opened up spots for more runners. On Sunday June 6 and Saturday June 12, the race has now opened registration. But there are only 500 spots available, and who knows how many of those are gone.

Register for Sunday June 6 here.

Register for Saturday June 12 here.

As for me...

I. Can't. Wait.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Comparing The Mud

Not all Mud Runs are created equal.

I figured that would ring true no matter what Mud Runs were in question. My only Mud Run experience until Saturday was, of course, the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.

Now, I'm a veteran of another Mud Run, the SBSD Mud Run.

I want to preface this entire post by saying that I did enjoy myself at the Mud Run on Saturday and I will consider running it again. It may not sound like it at times but just wanted to get that out there.

Having said that, there were notable differences between Camp Pendleton and SBSD, and initially I had a hard time stopping myself from comparing the two. I didn't want to keep thinking "Well, at Camp Pendleton it's this way" and cause myself to thumb my nose at something. Just didn't want to do that. I wanted to experience this race for what this race had to offer, not how it compared to Camp Pendleton.

I am so fond of Camp Pendleton that I can honestly say that hardly anything compares to that. It's an experience that is hard to match.

But the SBSD Mud Run wasn't some cheapie race either. It was challenging and I felt tired afterward, and sore throughout the rest of the day and into Sunday and Monday too.

So how did the races compare?

Running The Race

There is more running at Camp Pendleton. This of course is not a surprise as that's a 10K and SBSD is a 5K. However, at last year's race they either offered a 10K or it was a 10K, and the 10K course was the same course twice. That would not have been fun. I hope if they do bring back the 10K, perhaps for the fall running of this, that they'll have it as one continuous course instead of the same course twice. In general, I'm not a fan of such races though I understand for logistical reasons it might be easier to do it that way.

Camp Pendleton is one continuous course, a 10K loop. You start where you finish. Now, Camp Pendleton is also more running. The first half of Camp Pendleton is almost all running, and a lot of it is hilly. It's a challenge just to get to where the obstacles start. SBSD had some portions of it that were running but there were also a lot of obstacles that impeded you from running too far. Now, I realize this might be a bonus for some, not having to run a few straight miles so take it for what you will.

Obstacles Aplenty

Neither race had any obstacles that were easy. There was nothing easy about SBSD, and there sure as crap ain't nothing easy about Camp Pendleton. They differed, though. There was a greater variety of challenges at Camp Pendleton. There are two walls, each six feet high, that you have to scale - one of which claimed my watch last year - and there's also a river you have to cross at Camp Pendleton, an actual river with water that reached to my chest. SBSD had the mud pits and the mounds of dirt on either side, and that was actually challenging to get out of because it was so damned slippery. At one point, I got near the top of one mound and slid straight backward and would have slid all the way back down to the water had someone not stopped me. That was fun.

In both races I had lots of mud and stones in my shoes, but I probably had more of them in SBSD. And since I was in more mud during SBSD, that's natural. The obstacles in SBSD were more spread out, and muddier. I got more muddy at SBSD than I did at Camp Pendleton.


Each race was sorta in the middle of nowhere. Camp Pendleton is about a 10-15 minute drive into Camp Pendleton. While there's a checkpoint in front to get back there, you still have to stop and show your license and proof of insurance... I think, if I remember correctly. SBSD was fairly simple to get into. It was on the grounds of the San Bernardino Sheriff's training academy... next to a women's correctional facility :) There was plenty of parking, but SBSD was easier to get to the start line from your car. At Camp Pendleton you either have to take a bus from the lot to the start line (which really isn't a big deal) or walk about a mile.

Bib Pick-up

SBSD was fairly easy to get to. I picked up the bib the day before, shot right in and out without too much hassle. But Camp Pendleton mails you your bib. You cannot beat that.


The hose station was pretty cramped at SBSD, and a water truck nearby had to turn on its water and just let it all spew out so we could get some reprieve. But at Camp Pendleton there are outdoor showers, I'm guessing where they make the marines clean up on a normal day. So it's better to be herded in to some outdoor showers with several thousand people I don't now versus having to wait for a garden hose.


There are thints to like and to dislike. Putting SBSD in front of Camp Pendleton would be tough, but I suspect any race would fall into that category. Camp Pendleton for me is tops, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

After The Mud

Some thoughts about the SMSD Mud Run and some things that didn't make the race report.

* I heard some things about how this race wasn't that organized last year. I didn't think that there was much, if any, sort of organizational issues this year so it seems they took care of them. The race started on time - at least I think so, since I didn't have a watch, I couldn't quite tell for sure. There were sheriff's deputies and volunteers throughout the course, plenty of water and fruit and mini-Clif bars and other such items available once we crossed the finish line. About my only complaint was enough water stations for runners to hose off at, but even still they did have plenty of hoses and even a water truck just spewing water constantly. There were just a lot of runners.

* The Youth race was awesome. I would highly recommend that for anyone who wanted to have their children under 13 years of age run a Mud Run. It was a good distance, a good mix of running and obstacles and a challenge. It was just as much a challenge for young children like my own as it was for children 10-13.

* Things we learned about attire, Part 1: tight shorts are better than loose shorts. Kennedy wore tight shorts and they were fine; well, they weren't exactly choking her but they fit well, nice and snug. Yvie wore loose shorts and they slipped a lot. They kept falling down towards the end, to the point where I briefly considered having Yvie just walk in her undies (she was covered in mud, so it would have looked like a swimsuit). I think next time just having them wear a one-piece swimsuit underneath would be good so they can walk around in it afterward. It was funny because whenever her shorts slipped Yvie said "Oh. dang it!"

* Things we learned about attire, Part 2: we were prepared to part with the clothing the girls wore but the stains came out for the most part. Yvie's shirt was already stained so no loss there. The socks are a disaster but that's the thing about mud runs - socks will get dirty dirty dirty and the stuff won't come out in the wash very well. Mrs. LB also washed the shoes and they seem to be okay.

* Things we learned about attire, Part 3: I'm not joking... if I run this race again, I will consider running it barefoot. My shoes sucked, a lot. There was not as much running in this as Camp Pendleton, as there plenty of mud pits and obstacles, and my shoes were loaded with mud and stones. I think I could have saved myself some heartache by just having ran barefoot. I mean, I saw people halfway through the race carrying their shoes.

* I was sore and tired after the race. My arms were and my legs were sore because I was working muscles that I normally don't work since I don't cross train. Just a quick aside.. what the heck is wrong with me, not cross training? Argh. I get so mad at myself... Anyway, it was a 5K with not a ton of running but I felt it. I still went and ran 15 miles on Sunday, but luckily I ran with some Lopers who took it nice and slow. I needed a nice and slow run.

* I got mud in my hair, on my goatee, in my ears, in my mouth, underneath my fingernails and toenails and some other, uh, interesting places. I also scraped up my knees and elbows. Good stuff.

* What's next? The Camp Pendleton Mud Run, on June 5. I am so excited for that one! Look out for my post on Wednesday for the comparisons between the two Mud Runs. Also, I'm still training for the San Francisco Marathon, and I will have a lot of long runs the next couple of months. I have 20 slated for the weekend after the Mud Run, for instance.

* SBSD Mud Run redux? Will I run this race again? I think I will, yeah. I'd like for the girls to run the Youth 1K again, and they've said they'd be up for running it again. We'll see what happens but for now, that's what they have in mind.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Motivational Mondays (May 24)

When I started my weight loss journey four years ago, I had many reasons to doubt myself and many opportunities to quit. I'd tried and failed to lose weight before, many times, so what was another failed venture?

That time, though, was different. I had a few reasons to continue along that path, to try and shed the weight that had plagued me for the longest time.

First, my wife. Her support is unbelievable and ever-present. I would be nothing without her.

Also, my daughters, who were 2 and four months when I signed up with the trainer back in March 2006.

It's one thing for me to try and look good and live a healthy lifestyle for my wife's sake. I mean, yeah, I want her to have a decent-looking fellow on her arm when we go out. But we love and support each other and always have. And we change and grow together and are always there for each other, as you'd expect in any strong marriage.

But my daughters... they reached me in places I didn't realize I had.

I like to think that everything I do is for my daughters. This is one of those things, weight loss. Everything I lost was for their sake. Every workout and exercise I did was so that they wouldn't have an overweight dad take them to and pick them up from school. I know I've blogged about it before, but I want to say it again: I did not want to be the fat dad. I was for a while, even though I wasn't taking my girls to school or anything, but I was an overweight dad for a few years.

In Mexico with Kennedy, August '06

With Yvie and a famous Mexican athlete in August '06
I was already on the way towards losing my weight when these pictures were taken about three weeks apart from each other. I'd dropped about 40 pounds by this point but I still had quite a few pounds to shed.

I persevered and came out better because of it. Saturday was just a reminder of that.

I hadn't realized it until way later, but the SBSD Youth 1K Mud Run was the first-ever race we ran together. I mean, I knew we were running together of course, but I was so focused on Kennedy that I didn't realize the implications of the whole scene.

Last year during the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, there was a guy with a white t-shirt, and two teenage girls on either side. On the back of the guy's t-shirt read DAUGHTER and an arrow pointing to the right and left. The girl to his left had DAD written on the back of her shirt with an arrow pointing to the right, and the girl on the opposite side had a similar back to her shirt. I wondered when I'd have the chance to do something similar.

And not even one year later, I had the chance.

Overweight LB would not have had that chance.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Muddy Madness

I had no idea what to expect on Saturday. I knew I'd be running a Mud Run, I knew it was a 5K and I knew my girls would do the Youth 1K afterward, but that's about it. I did not know the course, did not know the obstacles, did not know much at all.

Mrs. LB and the girls probably knew even less of what to expect, but we all piled into our truck and drove up to the SBSD Mud Run nice and early.

It didn't take too long to get in and get parked, but by the time we got out, grabbed our stuff and started walking towards the start line, I had to go to the bathroom something awful. I bit the bullet and waited in line for quite a while. Since I didn't have my watch and I'd turned my phone off, I didn't know exactly how much time I was in line, but 20 minutes would be a fair estimate.

Once I finished, I said fare thee well to Mrs. LB and the girls and hoped the girls would be excited for their race, which was set to start in less than two hours from then. I met up with blog/Loper buddy Angie and we walked towards the start line. It was an overcast day, no sign of the sun, but that didn't affect the race. Fire trucks still hosed down the crowd with water.

Luckily, Angie and I were just out of the water's reach.
Neither Angie nor I wanted to get wet quite yet, and while we didn't that would only have postponed the inevitable.

We were herded like cattle as we were well off the start line. Once the race started, we were off and running - briefly. I tried not to compare this Mud Run to the Camp Pendleton Mud Run but it was inevitable. I'm going to save those thoughts for an upcoming post so you'll have to wait for that. Anyway, we took off as fast as we could without expending too much energy. It was all dirt at this point, not much mud and no obstacles. It was still fairly crowded but thinned out after we'd run maybe about a mile, possibly less.

That's when the obstacles started. We had to get over a large dirt mound, then run down and into a large mud puddle, then back up another dirt mound, down and into more muddy water, up and over like that for quite a while. My shoes were instantly loaded with mud, and once we got out of that series of obstacles they felt like they weighed about 10 pounds each.

We came up on a giant hill, and someone at the bottom said it was a quarter-mile uphill. They weren't joking. I tried running up but quickly realized that I would probably burn myself out so I walked. Nobody else was running. We trudged up that hill and I kept thinking "This is what San Francisco will be like." Maybe not that extreme of course but I have it in my head that San Fran will be one gigantic hill.

Now, all the while we were running and going through the water, there loud explosions around us - fireworks, bombs, grenades... it sounded like we were in a war zone. And the race web site had even said to expect that, since it was supposed to simulate running through such conditions. Remember, the SD in the SBSD stands for Sheriff's Department. Just like the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, which is on a military base, this wasn't just a stroll in the park.

We got through more of the muddy water obstacles, with mounds of dirt on either side, and I was weary. I just wanted different kinds of obstacles, but had no choice but to slog through. My shorts were caked with mud, my shoes had long been covered in mud and there were rumors of socks somewhere on my feet. Unfortunately, there was also a sensation of cuts, which I confirmed when I wiped my knee clean and saw spots of blood on my knee.

Finally, we came near the end... or so I thought. We were near the end, sure, but we had to navigate up, down, back up and then briefly down before we got to the finish. And throughout all of this was more muddy water. This time, though, there was a bonus. Some of this required crawling on your hands and knees. I got on my stomach, with my legs fully extended behind me, and used my elbows to drag me forward. I felt my elbows stinging and knew that I'd probably cut myself.

No matter. I trudged forward. The rocks in my shoes were more than just rocks. It felt like dirt was caked down in there. Finally, we came up the final obstacle, down the other side and saw the finish line. Angie was right behind me and we finished sometime around the 46-minute mark. I'd predicted finishing in the 30-something minute range but, as I said, there were more obstacles than I'd anticipated.

Normally, I would have peeled my clothes off and gotten hosed off but I did have another Mud Run to tend to. So I just got wet enough to get the really heavy mud off of me, took my shoes off to get the surprisingly large amounts of mud inside out of there and strapped everything back on to help the girls with their Youth 1K.

The calm before the girls' storm

I wasn't sure of the course but realized that it was no small task. This was an actual kilometer of running. We would start and finish at the same spot as the 5K but the course cut off four of the kilometers. That meant all of the final obstacles, where I thought we were close to the finish line but weren't, we'd have to do again. I didn't enjoy them that much the first time around, but now had to go through them all over again. And with the girls no less.

Kennedy was not exactly enjoying the notion of having to run the race. Unlike Yvie, who seemed excited and focused (in karate class, they've been working on focusing) Kennedy was a ball of nerves. As we walked towards the start line, she started to cry. She cried off and on for about 10 minutes until the race started. Once we took off, she stopped crying. And started wailing.

I decided to let Yvie run alone if she wanted to, and she did. She took off as soon as the race began. I looked up at her, looked back to make sure Kennedy was with me, and looked back towards Yvie but she was gone. I did not see her. I scanned and scanned and scanned for her but I could not find her. There were quite a few children and quite a few parents/adults doing the race, so it was easy for me to have lost her. It was an odd feeling. I knew those obstacles were no joke, no watered down version of the real deal. They were the real deal, and I wondered what Yvie would do once she encountered them.

Kennedy was a mess. I tried holding her hand but it didn't matter. I tried telling her that she was brave, that there were some 4- and 5-year-old boyos who would be too scared to run, that this was something only big kids do, that she was tough... but none of that mattered. She cried and cried. I told her "When we finish we can get to mommy" and she said "I want to go with mommy NOW!" so I stopped saying that. Instead, I ran a little ahead of her and told her that she better not fall behind. That seemed to work as she ran and kept up.

I'd had one eye looking out for Yvie but still nothing. We came up to the first muddy part, which by this point was a quagmire to end all quagmires. It was wide, deep and ridiculously muddy. My feet were swallowed up the by the mud and my knees were nearly touching it. I tried to get Kennedy in but she wailed louder. Finally I just picked her up and put her down in part of the mud. She seemed okay with it though, not freaking out like I'd thought she might. She wasn't exactly liking the upcoming mud obstacles - she was still crying - but she was going through them. At first, I held her hand but it was easier for her to do them on her own, so I went first and she followed.

I felt like I'd pushed her too hard, too fast, that perhaps she wasn't quite ready for this. Yvie was either going through the obstacles fine or struggling mightily, and I wasn't there to help her, so I wasn't feeling that great about myself.

We came up to a difficult part of the race. There were really steep dirt/mud hills and on top was a cement barrier, the kind you'd see on the shoulder of a freeway. I wasn't sure if Kennedy would be able to go over them with help but I helped her up and she was able to go over just fine. I still had not found Yvie and I worried how she was doing. On the side, though, there was enough space to walk around them but still I wasn't sure if Yvie had seen that.

On the next incline, though, I spotted Yvie. She was lifting herself over one of those barriers and I smiled excitedly. She was composed and deteremined, and judging by her muddy stains I could tell she'd been going right through all the muddy obstacles. This seemed to lift Kennedy's spirits too. We were together again and I was happy. Then we saw Mrs. LB and we were all happy to see her.

This next stretch was where I had to crawl during the first go-round, but I realized that the girls and most of the other children didn't have to, since they had more room.

Once we got to this part, Kennedy was fine. She even cracked a smile or two. At this part she got ahead of me and I joked with her "Don't beat me!" She apparently remembered this, because on the other side of our last dirt/mud mound was the finish line. She went down before Yvie and I did, and I told her that was the finish line. She smiled at me and took off running. She was quite happy with her "victory" afterward.

We were all drenched with mud at this point, and if their shoes were anything like mine, they were not having a comfortable walk. In fact, I took my shoes off and walked barefoot to the hosing-off station.

While it was a long walk for the exhausted runners, there were no tears at this point, only feelings of a job well done.

Mud Run's Done

I don't have a full race report for you and may not have one for a while, but I did want to let you know one thing.

Mud Run is DONE.

Angie and I ran the SBSD Mud Run and finished right around the 45-minute mark.

The course was more mud than run, more muddy mud pits and big quicksand-like quagmires to plod through than actual running.

After a brief moment to collect myself and get the mud and pebbles out of my shoes, it was time for the girls to start their race.

Yvie was more adventurous about the entire race than Kennedy. I stayed with Kennedy and lost track of Yvie right from the start, but caught up to her a little more than halfway through. Kennedy cried for a lot of the race, but she stuck with it and was proud of herself once the race was over.

I'll have plenty more later, but for now I need to rest.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Muddy Madness, Pre-Race

What have I gotten the girls into?

When I went to pick up the race bibs and goody bags for the SBSD Mud Run on Friday afternoon, this thought was prevalent in my mind. At first anyway.

I pulled off the freeway and swung a left onto a road headed out of civilization. The SBSD Mud Run is just north of San Bernardino, on the outskirts of the IE (Inland Empire). It's about a half-hour from Victorville, on the way to Las Vegas. Pretty much the edge of nowhere.

Desolate. Barren. Isolated.

Well, I should temper that with mostly.

SBSD stands for San Bernardino Sheriff's Department, and the race is on their training grounds.

First, though, I came across a rehabilitation center. Not sure what kind of rehabilitating they do, but I'm guessing it's not injuries or anything medical. Then I came upon a women's correctional facility, and just so I could get an idea that this was indeed the real deal, a group of orange-clad women were out in the yard, behind several chain-link fences, just a tad off the road.

Finally, I came up to where race central was - parking, the start line and the registration tables.

On Saturday, this area will be teeming with runners - and mud.
I parked and the first thing I heard were cracks. It sounded like gunshots. Actually, it didn't sound like gunshots. They were gunshots.

On left: a shooting range; On right: bib pick-up and registration
I heard some loud voice over a speaker blaring instructions and then a series of crack crack crack crack piercing the air.

I got our bibs and goody bags and t-shirts and started to head back to my truck. I was excited as we got consecutive numbers: Kennedy is 622, I'm 623 and Yvie is 624. Awesome.

But then I realized that I'd meant to check out the youth course. I asked around and was pointed to the course itself.

So what it looks like is the girls will have scale those mounds and then the cement barrier on top. There looks like four sets of mounds, which for the girls might be muddy hills. They can go around the barriers on top, I was told, so if they can't do that part, they'll still be okay.

Of course, it's not going to be this dry come race time. No way. There's going to be plenty of water and mud everywhere.

As for the main race, the start line is off in the distance.

Notice the "Gun Cleaning Room" and the silhouettes of the SWAT team?

If the course is anything as hard core as the location, this is going to be a helluva race.

What did I get the girls into? Well, that thought dissipated fairly quickly. They are going to have fun and they are going to take this challenge. The best part of this for them is that they will be able to say they ran their first Mud Run when they were six and four, respectively. How cool will it be for Kennedy to say that she ran her first Mud Run before she was even in kindergarten?

They might like ponies and unicorns and butterflies but my girls have a tough side to them. And they're going to show that on Saturday.

Friday Leftovers (May 21)

Friday's fun post... okay, maybe not so much fun, but here it is anyway.

Word Association

Play here.

1. Labor :: Day
2. Sweater :: Jacket
3. Five minutes :: Ten minutes
4. Treatment :: Cure
5. Eyebrows :: Eyelashes
6. Awake :: Asleep
7. Salmon :: Fish
8. Red :: Dead
9. Hospital :: Bed
10. Midwife :: Helper

'splainin' : There's a huge promotion going on for a video game called Red Dead Redemption. I have I believe the original, Red Dead Revolver, and that's an awesome game. I just never got to play it enough, or get to play it enough I suppose. And I got to one level that was tough and couldn't get past it so I kind of got frustrated with the game. Salmon... I don't like salmon. At all. Blech.

Mud Runs

I can't believe I have two Mud Runs in the next three Saturdays! Saturday's is a tune-up if you will to Camp Pendleton. It's a 5K and I'm not sure what that course is like or the conditions or anything. All I know is that it will be fun.

The girls are geared up for the race too. Our problem is just figuring out what shoes we want to sacrifice. We can't have Kennedy wear her brand-new white shoes that I bought for the other race, but I think she has a couple of other choices. Their father-in-law promised them he'd buy them some new shoes if they ran the race, so I guess we shouldn't worry too much, but still. My shoe choice? I'm wearing my old, old shoes. They still have some life in them and I don't want to accelerate the life-span of my other two shoes, my new ones (no way) or my other ones (which I still wear on the treadmill).

Anyway, I'm hoping to have pictures up and a report sometime on Saturday so stay tuned for that.

Friday Five

More of Five Question Friday just for kicks.

1. Do you have an iPhone and, if so, how do you get apps and what are your favorites?

I do not have iPhone. I have a BlackBerry Bold and I love it. I don't have apps in the sense that the iPhone has them, but my favorite features on my phone are the web browser (it looks just like the internet on my laptop or desktop), and the music. I have a lot of music on there and it always sounds good.

2. What is your fondest memory of K-3rd grade?
This was a really tough one. I had to think and think because a lot of the first things that came up were not-so-fond memories. I barely remember kindergarten other than my teacher's name was Ms. Scott and she had really long, straight hair. This was 1980 I believe when I started school so it may have been a hairstyle popular with younger women then. I remember her being young. First grade was Mrs. Crowder and second Mrs. Peters. Actually, the second grade was a 2-3 combo and I hated that. Third grade was Mrs. Burrows and I suppose I did okay in all of those classes.

But a fond memory? I played t-ball and little league baseball when I was around that age, and stopped around that age too. Not sure why we stopped but I think my parents just couldn't afford it. But I really did love playing baseball on a team. I wasn't the best player, heck I kind of stunk, but I really had a lot of fun playing baseball. Oh, one fun thing... during a practice I ripped a shot into the gap and rounded first, rounded second and was on my way for a triple when I looked back to see where the ball was and BLAM!! the ball hit me in the eye. I had a nice-looking shiner there for a while, even had to take my team pictures with it.

3. What makes you cringe at the thought of touching?

Throw up. Sometimes our cat is nice and up-chucks for us because he knows how fond I am of that, and I seriously have gagged and nearly hurled myself just because I've thought about having to pick it up. Of course, being a parent, you kind of deal with that from your child, so I've cleaned up my share of those kinds of messes and I think it's just gotten to me. I could describe more in detail exactly what it is about that that makes me have that reaction, but I like you, dear reader, and I want you to think fondly of my blog, so I'll stop there.

4. If you could have any celebrity show up on your doorstep who would it be and why?

I'd have to say Shakira because, well, she's got a great voice, she seems to have a good personal... oh, who am I kidding? She's hot. I'd like to see her up close to see if she's as hot in person as she is on TV and in pictures.

5. What would you say is your best physical feature?

I like my legs. I've always thought that was my best feature but since I've been running, they've got muscles and stuff. They're nice and tan too.


Alright, that's all I got today. Have a good one!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Runnin' Up Mt. Rubidoux

I just got done with my Thursday ritual, my run up Mt. Rubidoux. It was a pretty challenging run, as always. I actually tried to take it easy up there today but couldn't. I actually felt like I needed a slower pace because I had a monster speedwork run on Wednesday but that course is always a challenge, and I always feel my blood flowing when I go there.

The worst part about the run was that next week will be my last week to run up there, at least how I do it now. The reason I'm able to run up there at all is because Kennedy has preschool, but her last day is next Thursday. After that, I'll probably be sticking to the gym for runs or dropping by my mom's house and, uh... "Oh gee, mom, you wouldn't mind it if I went on a run, would you? Awesome. Thanks."
I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back out there. Might have to plan for evening runs up there since Mrs. LB can stay with the girls once she gets home from work. Whatever the case, I feel running up there is an important part of my San Francisco Marathon training, so I'm not about to stop going there altogether.

I recently went up there with Kennedy. I'd gone to the gym first, ran about four miles or so, and then went straight there. Kennedy was game - she was actually excited about it - and we walked up there. She made it a good half-mile before she started to complain about being tired. Yeah, it's tiring.

Funny thing is we went the other way. See, there are two paved paths that lead all the way to the top. One is shorter but steeper. The other is not as steep but about twice as long. Since I figured Kennedy wouldn't last very long, I opted for the steeper path because it was shorter. I hardly ever run this way because I want to get in a longer run, but I should try and tackle the steep path more often.

Anyway, Kennedy did well to walk and push and walk some more. I did have to hold her and carry her a little but she was a trooper and got up there.

At the top of Mt. Rubidoux, there is a big American flag and a cross. There have been Easter sunrise services at Mt. Rubidoux for nearly a century, so it's a bit of a tradition around here.

There is a great view of Riverside from the top, and what makes it cool is this sign.

What you see on the sign is what you see while staring out into the city, and a lot of the buildings are labeled on the sign. So you can see where such landmarks as the Mission Inn are while you're staring out at them, and other places such as the local junior college, the hospital, museums, etc.

Of course, most times I don't pay any attention to anything but the path in front of me. In fact, I had no idea that sign existed until I was up there with Kennedy.

I need to take the girls there and I'm going to try and do it regularly. The problem is that when Yvie gets out of school, it's too hot to go try and walk anywhere, and once the day gets going, it's just tough to peel away. But we're aiming for that, to walk up Mt. Rubidoux.

One day, we'll all be running up there together, provided I can keep up with them. For now, a nice walk will more than suffice.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lopers And Marathoning

I'm not even at Marathon No. 2 yet and I'm already looking ahead to Nos. 3 and 4, and maybe 5.

Marathon No. 2 is the San Francisco Marathon, of course, which will go down on July 25.

I have not decided on Marathon No. 3 yet but I had considered the Las Vegas Marathon, on Dec. 5. I just kind of figured that once San Francsico came and went that I would want to run another marathon, and that one was good since it was at the end of the year and would give me plenty of time to prepare for, and since it's a popular marathon for Lopers I might have several others to run my long runs with.

Now, I've got more to consider.

The Lopers season will start on Aug. 1 and the Lopers will train for both the 2011 Surf City Marathon (and Half Marathon) and the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon. Surf City next year will be on Feb. 6 and I'm not sure if LA has set their date yet. This year, the two marathons were six weeks apart Feb. 7-March 21.

I'm wondering now about what I should do.

- Run Las Vegas, Surf City Half and LA Marathon

- Skip Las Vegas, run Surf City full and LA Marathon

- Run Las Vegas, Surf City full and LA Marathon

I've got this to chew on now.

What's most appealing about running both Surf City and LA is that it will be part of the training plan, so most Lopers will train for both. That means I experience everything with everyone. While I'd still probably have to run on my own (I have two half-marathons tentatively scheduled for the fall, plus Ragnar) I wouldn't have to run any 18- or 20-milers alone. Those would be on the Loper schedule, and I had some awesome 20- and 22-milers running with my Lopers.

Still, I don't want to pass by the chance to run Vegas. That just seems like a great way to cap the year, to run my third marathon and possibly my 12th race of the year in the process. And there are two full months between Las Vegas and Surf City, plenty of time to recover and prepare for another marathon.

I'm not going to make or force myself to make a decision soon. I want to mull this over and chew it up, but I also wanted to start that process now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Mud Runners

If you saw my recent video log (vlog sounds kind of odd) then you probably already know BUT...

On Saturday, I'm running my next race, my sixth race of 2010. I'm going to run the San Bernardino Mud Run. That's exciting as it's a new challenge, albeit one I don't think will be quite like the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. For starters, this is a 5K and Camp Pendleton is a 10K.

Anyway, that part is exciting but what's equally if not more exciting is that the girls are running another race that day! They're doing the 1K Youth Mud Run! How awesome is that?!?

I'm not sure how long their race is, if it's an actual 1K or if it's a dash across a shorter distance. But like the other race, that doesn't much matter. What matters is that it's another race, and this one comes with a bonus - they will get MUDDY!! There are obstacles in this race and there is lots of mud.

The girls are excited about it but I'm not sure they really understand that they will be running in mud and will get completely drenched in muddy water.

I think the girls will be excited for it. They seem that way when we talk about it. I'm not sure if I'll be able to be on the course with them, to help them over whatever obstacles they need help with. I can't imagine they will have to trek through anything too dastardly but it might be tough for them to get through the mud, for instance.

We'll have plenty of pictures and possibly some video to share with you, so definitely come here on late Saturday afternoon to read all about it. In the meantime, we're going to have muddy thoughts the rest of the week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Look Closely

I was going to wait until Friday to post this but why not go ahead and do so now?

Look at this picture and see if you see anyone you recognize.

It's pretty funny, actually. And I was even wondering if that was a possibility, but figured if it was I'd never know about it. Figured I'd share it with you, why not?

Motivational Mondays (May 17)

Before I get started, I just want to say that this will make a whole lot more sense if you read Sunday's post, so scroll down or click here.

I'll wait.

Now, onto the post...

Sunday's run was both encouraging and disappointing. Right after my run, though, I felt mostly disappointment, hardly encouraged. Mrs. LB was shocked to see my shirt, even though it's not the first time I've bled, although I don't recall bleeding that much before. I should have been encouraged by how I felt after the run, at having finished 18 miles strong, just as strong as I'd finished my 15-miler the week before.

But those red stains didn't let me feel that. I focused on them and shut all other thoughts out for a bit. Of course, I didn't like feeling that way. I wanted to revel in my long run, to think about the positives, to feel as if the run was an accomplishment. Instead, I felt discouraged. Embarrassed. Foolish.


I thought about it for a while, and what I realized was that I felt that way because I was unprepared. I don't know that I respected the distance, the run, what I was about to set off on. Even though I did well to get GU, to leave the house with plenty of Gatorade, with a charged Garmin, hat, sunglasses... that I left my nipples unprotected was just inexcusable for me. I know not all other male runners suffer from that, but I do. And I learned how to handle that a while back.

And yet here I was, with what was essentially the first long training run ahead of San Francisco, and I totally dropped the ball. I was unprepared, and the blood stains are just tangible proof of that unpreparedness.

While the pain was not entirely unbearable on Sunday, I'm not sure what it would have been like in another five, six, seven or eight miles. Would I have been able to run an entire marathon like that? Who knows.

But what I am taking from this experience is this: I need to respect the run. I don't think I'm some superstar runner, so don't get me wrong here, but I sort of acted like I didn't need to take everything seriously. Like all the rules didn't apply to me.

Tape the nipples? We don't need no stinkin' tape.

I've tackled a marathon yet again and before I know it, I'll be standing at the start line of San Fran, and if I slack on anything I'm not going to have a good experience. I need to get all my long runs in. I need to do my midweek runs. Do speedwork. Run hills. Eat properly. Stretch.

At least now I know what could happen if I slack on something. Next time, the price might be higher than just a bloody shirt, and I really don't want to find out what exactly that would be.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

18-Miler: Revenge of the Bloody Nipple

The day started off with such promise. Actually, it was almost like any other Sunday - ready for a long run - and there was no reason to think this Sunday would go any different.

I decided to run alone, run the 18 miles around my house. It was a unique course for me as I would try to run from my house to Mt. Rubidoux and back. I'd actually have to make up miles as a direct shot from here to the top of Mt. Rubidoux would have been less than 18 miles, but no bother. As long as I got my mileage in and did so with Mt. Rubidoux in there somewhere is all that mattered.

Now, on Saturday night I'd worked late and did not get home until 1:20 a.m. Since the Lopers were meeting at 5:30, I figured I could use the extra sleep which is why I ran here around my house, but four-plus hours didn't seem that great when the alarm woke me up a few minutes before 6.

Oh man, is it time already?

I gathered up all my stuff: ate a Clif bar (although I wasn't hungry), filled up the bottles on my fuel belt with Gatorade, grabbed three GUs, strapped on my phone, the Garmin, the Polar, grabbed a hat and sunglasses... did everything well save for the nipples. I haven't found my tape and didn't check to see if we had Band-aids, so just didn't think too much about it this morning.

I stepped outside and it was almost foggy. Very overcast, to the point that I couldn't see Mt. Rubidoux. Usually I can see it from my house, but not this morning.

I set off and was more excited than worried. I just tried to break the run apart into portions. The first one would be at around the three-mile mark where I'd turn onto a main street that would take me to the foot of Mt. Rubidoux - Mission Boulevard. I got there soon enough, probably took it a little too easy on Mile 3 as I came in with a nearly 11-minute mile. I wanted to take it easy, wanted to negative-split in the run but this was too easy. Mile 4 was at about 9:50 which was better.

Before I knew it, I'd eaten a GU and had finished one of my four water bottles. I was feeling good, strong, and waiting to see the top of the mountain - or any part of it.


I looked down at my shirt and a small red spot was visible. It was around Mile 5 or 6 at this point and I wondered how much longer it would bleed. I also wondered why I hadn't done anything to them, just had walked out of the house without thinking much about them.

Finally, around the end of Mile 6 I saw Mt. Rubidoux. It pushed through the low-hanging fog and stood ominously before me. I was on a bridge crossing over a small river...

... trickle...

... when I saw it. And then on my headphones

Dejate caer, dejate caer
La tierra es al revez
La sangre es amarilla
Dejate caer

Maybe that's not the best song to hear when I'm over a bridge.


Let yourself fall, let yourself fall
The earth is upside down
The blood is yellow
Let yourself fall

I focused on the other side of the bridge and figured I'd power through this part, but thoughts of letting myself fall from the bridge zipped by my mind regardless.

Finally I made it across and wondered where the sidewalk went. I'd only ever driven past this part of Mission, which takes you into Riverside city limits. The sidewalk runs a bit higher than street level so I found my way without too many problems. Up ahead of me was a small tunnel in which I would run through and thought how long the tunnel had been there (probably since the 1930s) and thought it would be cool to run through it.

Ack! That smells disgusting!

I've been in some awful bathrooms that didn't smell as bad as that tunnel smelled, so I chalked that up as a loss and tried to not breath until I was well away from the tunnel.

Eventually, I swung a right and then another and then I was at the base of Mt. Rubidoux. I went through the gates and started my usual Thursday-morning routine on Sunday. It was still overcast, still cool but comfortable, and I was still feeling good. I was at 7.3 miles when I ran through the gate and all was good.

Oh, it's a little more red.

My shirt was brighter than before, not much, but noticeable. Several people walking opposite of me gave me a double take and I tried to ignore them. I mean, it's tough to see someone wearing a white shirt with blood stains on it and not look twice. Still, I tried to hide it as much as possible but that was too taxing.

Eff it. Let 'em stare.

Two miles later and I was at the top of Mt. Rubidoux. I was surprised that I hadn't felt too bad considering I was at 9.3 miles in. In fact, I felt pretty stinkin' good for where I was. I stopped at the top to GU up and drink some Gatorade, then went right back down. Home didn't seem like a long ways away and I took that as a sign that I felt good and not quite longing to go home.

On my way down I drew more stares. What else are people going to do? The fog minimized the views of the surrounding area so people had to look at something, and the big red spot on the white shirt of the runner heading downhill was just as good as anything apparently.

I wish they knew I was running 18 miles.

Frankly, I didn't care but I felt like telling them there was a reason to the madness.

When I got to the bottom and out the gate I was relieved. There werent' too many pedestrians out and cars on Misson weren't going to slow down and stare at me, so I figured it was just me and the road for the next seven miles.

Still feeling good.

I took my final GU at about Mile 14 and felt strong, and felt like giving one last good push. I ran across a Swap Meet which was hopping, and of course the increase in people meant an increase in stares. I just put my head down and ran past people whenever I came up to any of them.

I don't give a *#^@what they think.

I was powering through an 18-mile run - AN 18-MILE RUN - so why would I give a crap what some random person saw or thought?

Finally I was down the last three miles, and this was a pretty lonely part of the run. I'd wanted to run sub-10-minute miles here and I did well to that. Mile 16 was 10:02 but Mile 17 was 9:38. Mile 18 was not as tough as I would have thought, though my legs felt heavy and I was ready to stop. The burning sensation on my chest was becoming too much to handle.

That spot is huge.

I was lucky I hadn't been running past any large crowds because the stares would have turned into pointing at this rate. Instead, I was almost home and when I hit the stop button on The Garmin after Mile 18, I was able to slow to a walk and really assess the damage.

At home, I drew gasps from Mrs. LB and the girls.

Damn. I guess it was more noticeable than I thought.

Then I had Yvie take a picture.

At home, my initial reaction was that of disappointment. I was not happy about my 18-mile run, but rather embarrassed becuase of how I looked. I thought about for a while (and I'm going to have much more thoughts on this on Monday's post) but I think what bothered me the most was that I was unprepared and it showed. That and I looked like a fool.

But the run itself was great. I felt very strong, was not wiped out, was happy with how the GU worked, with how the Gatorade worked, with having run to Mt. Rubidoux from my house, with having finished in a little more than three hours, with a lot of things. But that one thing bothered me for a few hours afterward.

Still, it's all a learning experience, every run is. And while you'll have to wait for Monday's post for all of my feelings, I'm certain I'm going to overcome this and will be better because of it.

The shirt (and white undershirt) though might be a different story...
18 miles done. Normally I would have added a few !!!s but not today. Come back later for 18-Miler: Revenge of the Bloody Nipple :(

It's Official

I'm nervous about the 18-miler.

I decided to run it alone, around my house. Actually, I'm running from my house to Mt. Rubidoux and then back home. I'll have to take sort of the long way but I'm going to do it. I'm going to run to the top of Mt. Rubidoux on my 18-miler, my longest run to date since Feb. 7, and my third-longest run of the year.

Nerves now will dominate me until I get out there and run Sunday morning. I'm thinking that I will be fine once the run starts but from now 'til then...


Saturday, May 15, 2010

On Tap

Greetings all Muddy Runner readers!

Just wanted to hit you up with a few tidbits of stuff that I've got coming up, both in running and in this blog.

* I have an 18-mile run planned for Sunday morning. I'm not sure why I'm debating whether or not this is a good idea to do. I planned out my own running schedule based on what the Lopers had us do to prepare for Surf City, and these many weeks before Surf City we had to run 18 miles. Plus I have two books with many marathon training plans in them and they all suggest 18 miles right around this time.

I know part of my doubt is nerves, for several reasons. It's the longest distance I will have run since Surf City. Plus while I'm going to meet up with (some of) my fellow Lopers, I'm essentially doing the whole distance alone. Not all of them are running the San Francisco Marathon, and not everyone who shows up runs the same distance.

I know I can do it, but it's just those late jitters I suppose. I'll blog about the run sometime on Sunday to let you all know how it went.

* The SBSD Mud Run is next Saturday! Exciting!

* We've started looking at the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas legs. We're going to sign up before June 30.

Well, that's all I have time for. 'til later, loyal reader :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Leftovers (May 14)

Word Association

Play here.

1. Rock n Roll :: Marathon
2. Be with you :: Night and day
3. Richard :: Petty
4. Hair :: Spray
5. Police :: Sirens
6. Experience :: Pleasure
7. Father figure :: George Michael
8. Nice :: One
9. Switch :: Engage
10. Appearance :: Magazine

Uh... I like song number seven... what can I say? Number nine is for a group called Killswitch Engage... never really heard their stuff, just know of them.

Out For A Run

I'm not home right now! We're in San Diego for the day, and we spent the night here Thursday night. Guess what I'm going to do?

If you guessed "run six miles along the beach in San Diego" you win!

Reason No. 5,893 I love to run: Running allows you to run along the beach in San Diego.

Five Question Friday

Here's the Five Question Friday... which is of course composed by women for women (mostly), so one question is pretty much a female question.

1. Take your pick... date night, guys night out, or night out alone?

I'd have to say date night. Mrs. LB and I don't get to indulge much that way anymore (first thing that goes when you have children is your ability to go out). I enjoy movies way more now than before. One thing we do when we go out, especially out to eat, is we try and avoid children. Since we are out sans children, the last thing we want to do is to have some random kids ruin our evening... not that they necessarily would but the way we see it, if we wanted to sit around kids, we'd have brought our own.

2. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

No. I was not blessed with a long tongue. Doesnt mean I don't know how to use it ;) but it's just an average-sized tongue.

3. What is your favorite flower and why?

WTF??? Um... whole-wheat flour... does that count?

4. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

No regrets. Just go full force, don't hold back and don't regret anything you do. I used to live in regret and I wasted a lot of time doing so.

5. If you won the lottery, what is the very first thing you would do?

Pay off all of my debt. How liberating would that be?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Wealth Of Time

I don't really have a lot of time these days for a whole lot of things. It seems like if I take extra time for work, then something else suffers. Like Wednesday, I'd hoped to get a 4-6 miler in but since I had to go out to Los Angeles for a work thing, I scrapped my run and spent all day around that.

If I spend extra time, say, shuffling the girls from class to class - like karate or gymnastics or ballet - then dinner suffers and we may have to eat out or fend for ourselves.

At no time is that more pronounced than Tuesdays and Thursdays. I drop Yvie off at school usually around 7:40 and then I come back home, making it here before 8. By 8:35 or so, I'm in full let's-get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge mode because I need to leave soon after to get Kennedy to her preschool in time. So on those mornings I have a sliver of time in the morning, and I usually try and cram too much in there - dishes, work, cleaning, cooking maybe - and of course it hardly ever works out.

But in three months from now, I won't have that issue. Kennedy's kindergarten starts on Aug. 11 (hallelujah!) and then I will have a bit more time. So this morning, instead of turning around and coming back home, I could have gone to Mt. Rubidoux about two hours earlier than I've planned today, and could have had my run in, gone home to shower and change and would have done all of that right around the time I'd be starting my run up there.

I know I've blogged about this before, but I am counting down the days. Literally. There are 89 days as of this posting before I can make that a reality. I know because the widget tells me so. I've added a countdown widget to the blog that will let me know when the finish line is.

As in my other blog posts, I have mixed feelings about Kennedy going to school. We get to spend an insane amount of time together and I know I am privileged to do so. Most parents don't get to spend as much time with their 4-year-olds like I do, and that time is something I treasure.

But that's just a part of our lives right now, and school will be a part of our lives then, so I am trying to soak up all the little moments until I don't have the time to create those moments with Kennedy.

Still, while I'll be sad (might even shed a tear or a bucket full of 'em) when the day comes, I know that I'm going to find myself with a boatload of time on the other side. And unless it's tears of joy streaming down my face, that's nothing to be upset about.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Loud 'mill Runner

When I go to the gym and run on the treadmill - which is often, about twice a week - I always hear the same sound.

thud THUD, thud THUD, thud THUD, thud THUD

I'm a loud runner. I don't mean to be, but I just am. I've always noticed that. I can hear my own feet thud-thuding over my music, even when it's loud. And it really doesn't matter the speed. If I'm going really fast, it just goes from that thud THUD above to more of a thudTHUDthudTHUDthudTHUDthudTHUD

I just dismissed it as me being heavy. I know, stupid thought, especially now, but what else could I have attributed it to? Think of a rhino versus a gazelle - which one makes the louder sound? The heavier one, right?

Recently, though, I realized it's not about my weight or anything like that. It's more about where my feet land when I hit the ground, or the tread in the case of the 'mill.

Seems I'm among the 25 percent of runners who land on the middle of their feet. A small illustration in the most recent Runner's World magazine made me realize that. The snippet of info says that most runners - nearly 75 percent - land on their heels, while a quarter land on the middle of their feet, and a fraction of runners - about one percent - land on their toes.

It's quite interesting, but it's true. Since I noticed that, I can make myself land on my heels. I have to focus on doing that as it doesn't come naturally but when I do I notice that on the treadmill, I get quieter.

Instead of a thud THUD thud THUD... it's more like a thump thump thump thump thump thump

It's a strange observation, and even though I've noticed it for a while - but just now blogging about it - I'm not quite sure what it means. The snippet of info says that because of where my foot hits the ground I'm not as prone to injury. I guess that's a good thing. I mean, I know there are many factors that contribute to being injury-free, but if I'm naturally prone to not having injury, I'll take it.

Now, I'm just totally guessing here but I think that the way I land makes me work harder. I mean, it seems natural that by landing on your heel, you would have more momentum to push yourself forward. It's like a rocking horse or a rocking chair. It's relatively easy to get those things moving back and forth once you get them going. But picking up and landing the foot in the middle just seems like more of an effort. I've noticed that, especially when I'm going downhill, that when I make myself land on my heel, the run can become a little effortless. It's not like I'm running on air or anything but it does make a difference. But since I have to focus on it and actually think about placing my heels first on the ground, it gets a little mentally taxing, so that doesn't happen often, or for very long.

But I might be able to attribute some of my faster times to that. I have tried that technique during races recently, from the ARMC 5K to the Run Through Redlands. Again, it's mentally taxing so it was only for stretches of those races, but I did it. But who knows if that really contributed to anything?

Anyway, while I haven't yet come to many conclusions about this sorta-new revelation, at least my mind is at ease about one thing - my thud-THUDs at the gym aren't weight-related.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

First Travel Marathon

As you know, I've signed up for the San Francisco Marathon. On July 25, I will taste 26.2 glory once more. I'm still excited by the decision I made to sign up for it and with all the training it will require. Fun stuff!

This marathon will be different than my first one, mostly for one reason - it ain't nearby.

Now, we got a hotel room in Huntington Beach for the Surf City Marathon, so we had to travel to it I suppose. But that travel time is about 45 minutes on the freeway, not exactly a far-flung locale.

San Francisco isn't local. Sure, it's in the same state but California's the third-largest state in the country. Getting to San Francisco will be a chore.

We're planning this as an kid-free trip. Not that we wouldn't have fun with the girls but we figured we'd go as a childless couple, even though we aren't, to try and enjoy this weekend a little bit more than just for the race. I know it's going to be tough to sightsee but we hope to see some parts of the city at some point. Well, I'm actually going to see a lot of the city on that Sunday morning, but I'd like for Mrs. LB to be able to see some of it too.

We just booked our hotel. We got a sorta decent sorta close. Some of the hotels I was looking at were more than 200 a night and we got ours for under 150, and I don't think we were going to get any cheaper than that for somewhere within walking distance of the start/finish.

I'm actually excited at the prospects of this. While the weekend will be expensive, it could become something of a tradition. Every year, maybe I'll treat myself to a marathon in some far-off place. Who knows? San Francisco might be the closest summer marathon I run.

Now, in the summer months there aren't any marathons being held out here in SoCal. It's hot, so no chance of any races. I searched, and between the San Diego Marathon on June 6 and the Long Beach Marathon on Oct. 17, there was hardly any races at all, and I didn't find any marathons between that time. So if I want to run a summer marathon, it won't be local.

In contention with San Francisco this year was the Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City, which is held on July 24. I was intrigued with that one, and since Mrs. LB has lots of friends in Salt Lake City it would have been good to have taken the whole family and maybe spend some time in Salt Lake. I've only flown and driven through there, so I would have liked to have visited. But that will be the frontrunner for a summer marathon in 2011.

We'd also briefly talked about the Seattle Marathon on June 26 but there's a little soccer tournament going on from June 11-July 11, and I'm going to be occupied with that, so that never really had a chance. Would have been nice though.

So if San Francisco goes well, it might be good to start planning more marathons that require traveling. You get the best of both worlds that way.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Motivational Mondays (May 10)

This stuff never gets old.

If you're a longtime reader of this blog, you probably know all about my previous struggles with weight. Well, actually, there wasn't much struggling because weight won out. Of course, my life's in a much different place now and I am far more active than I ever used to be.

On Yvie's second birthday, Oct. 2005

With a very young Kennedy, Feb. 06
While I don't feel like this anymore, I haven't exactly forgotten what it was like to be the super-sized version of LB.

Christmas 2009

At Disneyland Summer 2008

I'm still the same person inside now as I was back then, although now I've been injected with a jolt of confidence and self-esteem that I did not possess before. Motivation too... well there are a lot of qualities I unearthed under the 120 pounds I shed, but those are ones that stand out.

Part of the reason I love to run is because of how I used to look. I could never have dreamed of running one mile before. That would have been next to impossible. One mile for 300-plus-pound LB was just not going to happen. And seriously, a marathon? Yeah, right.

But of course now things have changed a lot. One-mile runs also don't happen these days simply because I've barely broken a sweat a mile in.

So if I'm not stressed over my pace too much, if I don't ever qualify for Boston or break the four-hour mark of a marathon, or break any of the PRs I've set, you know what? I'm not going to be too upset over that.

Every race, hell, every run is a gift. It really is.

And that won't ever change.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Long Runs

I haven't blogged about my long runs as far as the San Francisco Marathon goes. I probably should blog about them at some point just because it kind of helps me organize my thoughts and things. And since Saturday I ran 15 miles, I figure I better start to write some of these planned distances down so I can better remember them.

Essentially what I did in making up this plan was take what our Surf City Marathon training plan was and put it in place here. It matches up very well, actually, in that the 10K I ran last week was almost the same exact number of weeks Mission Inn was before Surf City, with respect to Run For Rescue and San Francisco Marathon.

Anyway, my plan...

5/08 - 15
5/16 - 18
*5/23 - 12
5/30 - 15
*6/06 - 12
6/13 - 20
6/20 - 15
6/27 - 15
7/04 - 22
7/11 - 12
7/18 - 10
7/25 - 26.2

* means that I have a race the day before. On 5/22 I'm running the SBSD Mud Run, which is a 5K, and then on 6/5 I'm doing the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, which is a 10K. I would have planned for longer on those weekends but I figure I'll be getting in some good runs on the Saturday before my long-run day so I just kept it to 12.

Another part of this plan is the after-marathon. I'm going to take a couple of weeks off from running. I'm not going to stop altogether - I don't think that would be possible for me - but I do plan on slowing down the mileage some. Two weeks is probably pretty good, might stretch it out to three.

After San Fran, I might do the Long Beach Half Marathon and then Ragnar Relay Las Vegas, and both of those are in October, so I might just take a little break in late July/early August, and then get back into running like I have been come late August/early September. I figure that will help me recharge for the end of the year (which could include the Las Vegas Marathon in early December) so that will be good.

But for now, there's no rest for the weary. I'm already looking forward to conquering the 18-mile beast next Sunday, and then the Mud Runs will be right around the corner. Dammit, I love running! All of this is so exciting to me, from the planning and looking ahead to the running itself to sense of accomplishment afterward and then looking at how I did and then planning and looking ahead... it's an awesome cycle and I don't want it to slow down. Not until July 26.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Leftovers (May 7)

Word Association

As always, play here.

1. Creepy :: Dirty

2. Links :: Pages
3. Sane :: Healthy
4. Bun :: Oven
5. Visual :: Optical
6. Remote :: Control
7. Freaking :: Awesome
8. Curly :: Fries
9. Saga :: Begins
10. Different :: Strokes

Splainin': I used to love Different Strokes. I know I'm dating myself as some 20-somethings probably don't remember the show much if at all but we used to watch it religiously. I'm not sure what the appeal was but it was a cool show back then. As a kid I used to watch a lot of sitcoms whether they were intended for children or not. Three's Company was probably my all-time favorite sitcom and I'm not sure that's really a show for kids. I mean, the Regal Beagle wasn't exactly Chuck E. Cheese's.

And the Saga Begins is this, a Weird Al song about Star Wars. It's actually a really good song.


I wanted to add a little bit to my post from Thursday, about running with children. I didn't mention Mrs. LB much, and I should go ahead and do that. Mrs. LB works long hours. She commutes a long distance and her job is sometimes stressful. So I don't want to rely on her for midweek runs simply because I don't want her to have to come home and then have to corral the girls while I go off and run. I want her to relax when she gets home and if possible have a warm meal to come home to.

So my window for running is typically in the mornings because of that. But not too early in the morning because she leaves for work at about 5:30 every morning. So running in the mornings would mean getting up at 4 and heading out then. And while I ran more than six miles at 4:30 in the morning during the Ragnar Relay, it's not necessarily the best option.

Mrs. LB has been very supportive of my running and especially running long distances on Sundays. We enjoy our family time as much as anyone else but it's important for me to get in those long runs on the weekend, and she supports that.

So when I'm trying to figure out about getting in my runs during the week, it's kind of my thing to figure out save for the weekend runs.

Five-Question Friday

I think I'm going to incorporate this into my Friday Leftovers post. I had some fun with it last week, so now I'm back to bring you my responses to Five Question Friday, which I got from here.

1. What was your worst memory of your siblings?

Oh man, tough question. My brothers and I have generally always gotten along. We fought of course but we always got along. However, there were some things that bugged the crap out of me about my bros back in the day. For instance, Danny ALWAYS tried to take my toys. Always. He would take them and break them. I used to have tons of GI Joe action figures and transformers and he would always break them apart. Come on, man. He's six years younger than me so when I was in my GI Joe heyday, I was about 10-11 and he was 4-5 or so. He didn't know how to break handle the delicate toys and would destroy them.

He tried to make up for it on my 33rd birthday. In the mid-80s, I had a toy helicopter that I'd really wanted, a helicopter that turned into a boat. It was awesome. I had it one day - ONE DAY - before Danny broke it. He broke the propeller and it really upset me. I may have cried. Anyway, Danny got me that same helicopter for me back in 2007. It was very well received. I put it together and it sits on top of a bookshelf in my office. I may have even played with it. Once or twice. You know, to make up for old times.

2. What was YOUR naughtiest childhood memory?

I'm taking naughty as being mischevous, not being, uh, well, you know... I did discover certain magazines... um, well, let's leave that topic alone :)

I don't think I was a troublemaker much, but I must have been because Kennedy is quite challenging, so I must be paying for previous sins. I think the worst thing I did was once in Mexico I squeezed a baby chick to death. I don't have any memory of this as I was all of three years old, but I've been told how I squeezed the chick hard and then it laid limp on the ground and I wondered why it wouldn't walk any more.

When I was a little older, we used to toilet paper houses. I had fun doing it but realize now how bad that was. I mean, if I woke up to toilet paper on my house and tree and cars and stuff, I'd be effing pissed >:(

Oh, maybe the worst thing I ever did was to play mailbox baseball when I was about 15. I really don't know what the heck I was thinking. I destroyed a lot of mailboxes that night :( :(

3. Where do you like to go to relax?

One of the most relaxing places I've been to is Glen Ivy Hot Springs. I got a massage there once, went with my wife there on our anniversary in 2008. I remember running six miles and then going there. At the time, I'd only ran six miles a few times, so that was a long-distance run to me. I wanted to maximize my massage so I did that.

Oh my goodness that massage felt so good. That was my one and only massage and I've been longing for another one since. I just remember feeling so relaxed at Glen Ivy, that it really was a place I'd love to go back to. If you aren't familiar with that, it's a place where mostly women go to spend the day. The ratio of women to men is like 100:1, which would have been great to have realized when I was a virilant 20-year-old. Still, the pools and saunas and mud baths... pretty relaxing stuff.

Here's a review from blog buddy Sue Ann Jaffarian (who happens to be a published book author) about her recent visit to Glen Ivy.

4. What was the last thing you won?

What the heck did I win? Well, I won a pair of Yurbuds from Christy's blog. Those things are awesome! I don't know that I've won anything else recently. Oh, well, I beat the girls in a game of Wii Tennis recently, but that doesn't really count I suppose.

5. If you could be on a game show, which would you choose?

Hands down, Jeopardy. I love Jeopardy. It's been banned at my house, has been for a long time. Mrs. LB finds it annoying how I'll shout out answers before the question's been read all the way through. That and I'm officially undefeated when playing with her. She claims I take the fun out of that. Whatever...

I have so much useless knowledge stored up that I would do well in Jeopardy. I also like Wheel of Fortune (I would not waste my money on buying vowels, for the record) but sometimes those things trick me. Back in the day, I used to love Press Your Luck, with all the whammies. That was fun. But I think I'll still take Jeopardy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Big Challenges

There are numerous runners I've come across, both in the blogging world and in my 3-D world, who do not have children.

It's really tough to say if it's the norm or not, but it seems that most runners I encounter are child-less. It's not a rarity to find runners with children, obviously, but it just seems the majority of runners have no little ones who depend on them for their every waking need. That's probably not entirely accurate but it sure seems like that to me.

Balancing parenting with running can be quite stressful. It's enough of a task sometimes to just be a parent and to try and find time to do the usual, day-to-day tasks with your child around. Loading or unloading the dishwasher, for instance, can be a major chore. So too can cleaning the toilets or making dinner.

How about doing all of that and trying to knock out a six-miler while you're at it?

Welcome to my life.

Now, one of the reasons why I run is because of my girls, because I want to set a good example for them. But it's a bit ironic then that they pose some of my biggest challenges. Of course, I hold nothing against them so don't take that the wrong way.

But it's true. I can't really stick to a rigid schedule because I can't just drop everything and go when the schedule demands. I've set aside Sunday mornings for the Lopers but that's about the only time I've really penciled in as taken strictly for running. I have been going to Mt. Rubidoux regularly every Thursday for a while now so that's a bit of a routine.

Mostly, though, it's just a matter of blocking out time on a week-by-week basis. Tuesdays and Thursdays, for instance, I know I will have three free hours. Tuesday is a busy work day, Thursday usually varies. So I can run Mt. Rubidoux on Thursday but not Tuesday. In fact, I can't run much at all on Tuesdays, hence the switch.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I have Kennedy with me, and Wednesadys Yvie gets out of school early. So I have to plan around that. While the weather is beautiful often times on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings throughout the year here, I can't exactly leave Kennedy and go running outside.

That's why I like the treadmill. I've become endeared to it for several reasons but mostly because it allows me to get in my mileage despite the challenge Kennedy presents.

Now, when she starts school that will change as I'll have every day open from 8 to 11:30, maybe a little longer on either end. That's a nice chunk of time that I will be able to use to get in more runs and different kinds of runs. But even still it's not going to be flawless. I volunteer at their school and next year I'll be able to volunteer in one class and then the other and then Kennedy's day will be out. So where does running fit in on those mornings?

I'm not trying to complain about a thing. I've managed to squeeze in more than 500 miles in 2010 thus far, so I do find ways. I've actually managed to run 4-5 times a week on average and get in more than 30 miles each week usually. But the only routine I have is that I have no routine. As my schedule changes weekly, I have to adjust on the fly.

Someday, though, I will be able to take the girls to the same school, drop them off at the same time and will have my schedule free after that. Whether I fill that time with household duties, work or running will be up to me, but just the thought of having that option at my disposal is exciting.