Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Training/Torture Session

Just got back from my first personal training session. I got some personal training sessions as a Father's Day gift and I had the chance to get the first one in Wednesday morning. I will go into more detail later, don't have a ton of time this morning, but did want to scribble down some quick notes if you will, so I remember.

First, it was tough. I'm tired, well, my muscles are fatigued. And I probably will be sore today or tomorrow.

I weighed in at 199. That is not good. But we're going to work on that. However, that's not my main goal but it is something we're targeting. I am at 23 percent body fat, which is again not good. He set a target of 192 for the end of July, and I think that's manageable.

My calves are taking over. My shins are weak and my personal trainer (PT) said that's common. PT set a plan to target that too and showed me some exercises he wants me to do to combat that. Basically, before each run and/or workout, I'm supposed to 1) stretch my calves; 2) foam-roll my calves; 3) do shin exercises and 4) do balance exercises. I'll try to get more specific on the ones he showed me how to do later on.

We didn't really talk a lot about nutrition but he said he'd give me plenty of details in our next session about the number of calories I should be eating and what sorts of foods I should be eating. I told him a bit of my concerns regarding that, like I don't know how many calories I should consume daily given that I run and all those things.

I told him my goals are to strengthen my core, become a more efficient runner and lose weight. That's what we're going to combat, with balance exercises, core exercises and resistance training. We did manage to do a couple core exercises, one called a supine hip extension that looks like this, except I put my hands on my hips and was instructed to suck in my navel and "squeeze the shit out of (my) butt." I may have a sore butt... yeah, I know how that sounds... I'll try not to tell people that out in public, ya know...

Anyway, I'm sure I'll have more to share but I just wanted to get that out before I forget it. This should be an exciting time with the trainer. Although I did have one fleeting thought. As I was doing a side plank, trembling because I couldn't quite get a grip on it, listening to PT count down the seconds until i was done, I thought "Gee honey, what a great gift."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Next Long Run - 22-Mile Monster

When I ran my recent 20-miler, I was a bit disheartened by it. Since then, I've gotten over it and have had some good runs. I got in an interval run last week and got in my 12-miler on Sunday (supposed to be 13 but I'll take 12).

This week, though, is the monster of monsters. I'm running 22 miles on Sunday.

Gulp. Just typing that in makes me feel nauseous. It won't be my first 22-mile run of the year - I did that one in January. But it will be my longest run since Feb. 7, and it will be my last training run for San Francisco.

It seems kinda strange that I'll be running the San Francisco Marathon in just a few weeks. It doesn't seem real. I've ran 18 and 20 mile runs recently and will run 22 but none of those seem like they're in preparation for San Francisco. I don't know why, I guess it's because I'm going it alone this time around instead of with a group. Maybe because I've never been to San Francisco and before Surf City we went down to check out part of the course and the scenery and all that. But this one, I don't know, just doesn't seem real.

But it is real of course, which is why I'm running 22 miles on Sunday. I mean, why would anyone run 22 miles unless they're training for a marathon or ultramarathon or something? Actually, why would anyone run 22 miles, period? Insane.

I'm running this run alone, mostly. The Lopers are running Saturday and some of them are running 15 miles but Saturday is Argentina-Germany at 7 a.m. and I'm not going to miss that, so I've got to adjust. That means bright and early Sunday. Well, it means early so it won't get bright on me. The last thing I want to do is to have the sun come out during my run. It can come out, so long as it's towards the end of it.

I'm probably going to have to get up at 4 a.m. and get out and on the road by about 4:20 at the latest. I'm anticipating this run will take about four hours, give or take, so I definitely want to be done by 8:30, preferably closer to 8, so that means get to bed early and out the door early.

I have recruited some help, though. I suckered talked my youngest brother into agreeing to run the final 5-6 miles with me.

I didn't really tell him the whole story. What I told him was: "I'll try to get to the house at about Mile 16 so you can run home with me (it's about six miles from my mom's to my house). I'll be tired and running slow, but that's okay. I will need your energy to help me power through to the finish."

What I should have told him was: "I'll try to get the house at about Mile 16 so you can run home with me. I'm going to be a mess. I'll be in pain, I might be crying and if I didn't tape my nipples I'll be bleeding like crazy. Don't let me wimp out. Just run and force me to keep up. Don't go too fast, though, because I want to live to see July 5."

It's times like these when I ask myself: Why can't I be content with running 10Ks and half-marathons?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Motivational Mondays (June 28)

On Wednesday, I have my first physical training session. It's nice and early, 7 a.m., and it will last 50 minutes.

I'm not quite sure what to expect. Part of me is worried just because I haven't been doing any cross training in so long. And whatever the trainer has me work on, I'll have to respond (I will refer to the trainer as PT now, Personal Trainer... which also happen to be his initials).

But I know that I can handle it. No matter what PT throws at me, I'll do it. If 300-plus pound LB can handle PT, I'm positive the current LB can handle his training methods.

Of course, PT won't try and make me deadlift 400 pounds or squat 275 pounds right off the bat. In fact, I'm not sure how much actual weightlifting he'll have me do. PT was into having me do lunges, one-legged squats, combination lifts and the like. Very early we used to do jump rope, sprints, a lot of work on the steps you'd use in an aerobics class. I think initially that was to help boost my cardio because my heart used to work quite hard during those sessions.

I'm curious now to see what he'll have me do. I don't need work on my cardiovascular system, at least not like before. I know he's there to work for me so when he asks me my goals, I'll tell him what I want to work on.

1. Core. I need to work on my core. Your core is probably the most important part of your body because it leads to pretty much everything. Having a strong core is vital, and I don't bother to work it out. FAIL for LB.

2. Lose weight. I can stand to lose a few pounds. Not 100-plus like the first time I met PT but I could lose 10 pounds for sure.

3. Get my "boy buff" back. I coined the term "boy buff" to explain to Yvie what I was doing in the gym while she was at the kid's club inside the gym. She was three I believe when I explained to her that I was working out but she didn't know what working out meant. So I told her that I was getting muscles, but she wasn't really sure what muscles were. So I just said "Daddy's getting buff" and I explained to her that buff meant being strong. Buff. Boy buff. I told her that the girls at the gym were getting "girl buff" and that one day she'd have girl buff. Basically, I need to get some muscles. I don't need bulging Popeye arms or anything but some definition on them.

I guess my overall goal is to become a more efficient runner. I'm hoping all of these things will help me not only do well in San Francisco (and honestly there might not be enough time to reap the rewards so soon) but once I get past SF and get into a stretch of time where I won't have a race to prepare for. I can build a solid fitness base so when I do get out there for my next race following SF, the Long Beach Half Marathon on Oct. 17, I can have perhaps my best performance then.

Wednesday will be my first real non-running workout in a long time and I'm looking forward to it. I might feel wasted the rest of the day, might be sore for a couple of days but it'll be worth it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Leftovers (June 25)

Mandatory Friday post. Enjoy.

Word Association

Play here.

1. Executive :: Producer
2. Director :: Movie
3. Dress :: Rehearsal
4. Studio :: Apartment
5. Accountant :: Tax
6. Unit :: Digit
7. Engaged :: Married
8. Safety :: Patrol
9. Post :: Note
10. Dialogue :: Conversation

Pretty straightforward, nothing too crazy this week.

End of an Era

Today is Yvie's last day of school. It's also the last day where it's just me and Kennedy.

I know it seems like I'm ready to kick her out of the car and to kindergarten already but I have enjoyed this time with Kennedy immensely. Before Yvie went to school, it was the three of us together most every day. We had a lot of fun then, going to Disneyland whenever the hell we wanted, going to library storytime every Wednesday, having the freedom to do those kinds of things. Then Yvie went to school and things changed. I was able to spend a whole helluva lot more time with Kennedy than before.

It's not that I'm not attached to Yvie - of course I am - but I've gotten quite attached to Kennedy. It's fun just the two of us... most of the time. Sometimes she pushes my buttons for the sake of pushing my buttons, but usually it's nothing bad.

And she'll say the craziest things sometimes. Like yesterday she said, out of the blue: "Alyssa (her imaginary friend) got mad at me so I punched her in the face. She needed band-aids. Then she punched me in the face but it didn't hurt."

Anyway, there won't be times like this anymore... well, I guess there will be. Kennedy will get out of school at 11:10 and Yvie gets out at about 2:30 so I'll have that time with her. But it will be different. I know it will be different. Might be better, might not be, but different.

Just something for me to ponder as I get through my morning and afternoon today.

Five Question Friday

Here's the latest edition of Five Question Friday.

I look forward to posting this every week so thanks to Mama M. for offering this chance to be interactive. I'd recommend doing this as well. Lots of fun.

1. Do you know how to play a musical instrument?

Sadly, no. I've taken guitar lessons with no success. We have a piano at home but I'm useless on it. When I was in fifth grade I took music class and was learning to play the saxophone. I wish I would have stuck with it. I've always thought it would be great to play an instrument and respect those who can.

2. What is your pet peeve while driving?

Um... if my daughters ever say any bad words, it will be because of my potty mouth while driving. Nothing infuriates me more than inconsiderate drivers. It doesn't take much of an effort to be considerate, really. You know, don't stop over the words KEEP CLEAR, use your blinker, yield the right of way when necessary, don't pull out in front of someone, don't cut someone off, slow down when appropriate... little things, really.

I try to not let it affect me but nothing can get me from having a happy day to spewing smoke out of my ears faster than some moronic driver. Grr...

3. Would you rather have a housekeeper or unlimited spa services?

I run a lot, obviously. I ran my first marathon in February of this year and I'm running marathon no. 2 in July in San Francisco. So I would love to have the spa services because it would really help with the muscles and recovery. However, I would choose the housekeeper. I really don't like doing housework. I'd rather run 10 miles than unload and load the dishwasher and vacuum and all that.

Now I know why my mom was grumpy all the time, because she spent all her dang time cleaning...

4. Is there a song that you hear that will take you back to the moment, like a junior high or high school dance?

I have what I like to refer to as "morning songs." Back in 1988, I used to get a ride to the most horrible school I ever attended, McFadden Intermediate in Santa Ana. That was a miserable year for me, probably the worst year of school for me. I dreaded going there because we had just moved from a small town (small as in 13,000) to a city of... who knows, a city has more than 13,000 people. So I was just not comfortable to all the kids at school. I went from literally knowing everyone in my grade to feeling like a moron and feeling way out of place.

So, when I would get dropped off at this dreadful torture chamber, I would always hear some of the same songs over and over again, and they stuck as "morning songs."

One of them is Erasure's Chains of Love. Have a listen - it's actually a pretty cool song.

Another is You Dropped a Bomb on Me by The Gap Band. Not sure why I heard it so much but I remember clearly sitting at a light on my way to eighth grade and this song playing on the radio.

Still another is this horrendous song by New Kids. It's just bad. I think remember it because it was so bad.

There are lots of other songs that take me back to middle/high school but those are three of the ones that just by hearing part of the song put me smack in the middle of some crummy morning as I made my way to some crummy school.

5. What song best represents your life right now?

It's so tough to narrow down my life and all that encompasses it into one song. I mean, where do you start? I have so many things going on in my life that it's tough to pick a song that is the essence of LB.

But I guess what my life all boils down to is my family, my girls. I lost weight because of my girls. I'd drop everything for my girls. I get up in the morning for my girls.

So of course it has to be Nothing Else Matters by Metallica.

Because when I bottom-line my life, nothing else really matters but my girls and my family.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Break Time

I am so ready for a break. A school break.

Yvie is done with school on Friday. Can you believe she's still in school? And it's not even year-round school. I'm happy about summer finally arriving for us, and happy that I won't have to scramble around every morning with the daily routine.

Of course, I will only get a tiny reprieve. School starts again on Aug. 11, so we'll have six weeks of summer.

Sometimes it's tough being a work-at-home parent. I'm lucky that I have a job that I can basically do on my time. I don't have to sit at a computer for any set times or anything. I just write stories and get paid for them, so whenever I get to them is fine. I can write at 5 p.m., 5 a.m., 3:30 p.m., noon... whenever. There are times when I'm out and reporting from the field as it were but that's usually on Saturday nights.

But sometimes it feels like a chore to make time for work... for anything. I write about soccer, the beautiful game, so with the World Cup going on I am constantly swamped with work. The games are still going on but will slow down some next week. I'm not complaining about it, this happens just once every four years after all, but still, it's a chore to fit things around. There's something to be said about routines, and that's what this tournament has done, completely thrown off my routine. That's a negative. A positive is the tournament itself is like Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving, New Year's, etc., all rolled into one, and even better than that. I'm a nut for the sport, what can I say?

Anyway, I'm overloaded right now. Wednesday was such a busy day. I meant to get up at 4 and go for a run. Instead, I got up at 1:20 a.m., mistakenly thought it was 4, staggered to my computer and tried to wake up. I wondered what the heck was going on, why I felt so tired and why I couldn't shake it, when I saw that my laptop said 1:20. I immediately crawled back into bed and slept until it was really 4. But instead of running, I wrote because I had a deadline to meet, an early deadline. So my window of running on Wednesday had slammed shut well before 6 a.m.

I'm hoping to get to the gym on Thursday morning, preferably around 9 a.m. I'd like to run the next four days, with a 13-miler capping off the fourth day. I'm hoping to get in some quality runs, at least one interval run, and at least two outdoor runs.

But work might rear its ugly head and I might be stuck with scrapping another run or maybe another early-morning wake-up call.

I'm totally rambling right now, and if you're still here I apologize. My mind is about 60 percent here. I think 20 percent of it is in bed already and the other 20 percent is AWOL and cannot be accounted for (by the way, I'm writing this on Wednesday evening as Yvie does her karate class).

Anyway, since I'm rambling, I will say one more thing. I am super excited for Kennedy to go to school. Poor girl. Sometimes I think she would stick needles in her eyes out of boredom if she could. World Cup or not, it's tough to entertain her when I'm working from home. I definitely need to streamline my work and settle into a routine once school starts. It's not fair to her to have to sit there bored when I'm busy. I only let her watch so much TV, you know. And it's in the high 80s, low 90s, so playing outside ain't a great option. She can't read yet though she does "read" books. She loses interest in coloring books easily. Wii and computer time is limited by me. She is an active child and needs - demands - stimulation, and Daddy sitting on his laptop working doesn't provide it.

So school will be fun. A three-week stretch in late July/early August will be fun. I got my marathon on July 25; the Lopers season starts on Aug. 1; we're taking a family vacation for a few days afterward; and then school starts on Aug. 11. The LB Clan has some awesome stuff coming up.

I just have to make it in one piece.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Secret Weapon

Okay, I feel a lot better about myself and my 20-miler. After coming home a mess, Mrs. LB helped talk some sense into me and after all the encouraging comments I got on Monday, I do feel a lot better, like it was an accomplishment and not just something I suffered through. It was a tough run, but it's not like 20-mile runs are ever going to be easy.

Moving on, I promised to let you in on my secret weapon, and I think this will help improve not just my running but a lot of aspects of my fitness.

For Father's Day, Mrs. LB got me some training sessions with a personal trainer. And it's not just some random trainer but the one who I first started with when I weight in at a robust 308 pounds in early 2006. So not only does he know my personal history but I feel very comfortable with him and his methods and am excited to tackle the sessions head on.

I'm not sure when we're going to start. I'd like to talk to him about my goals and what I'd like to accomplish first, before we even have a formal training session. I think my goals are three-fold:

1) Core, core, core. I need to improve my core. A strong core is vital to many things, and running is one of them.

2) Cross-train: All I do is run. Any bit of new methods and techniques he can give me will be greatly appreciated.

3) Shed some pounds: I know I'm carrying a few extra pounds. There's a few sides to that, though. First. I'm just eating a bit more than I should because I run so much and I could stand to lose some weight. Maybe not 120 or maybe even 10, but whatever I can do to kickstart that would help. But also, because I lost so much weight I have some extra skin. I'm sorry, I know that sounds unpleasant but it's there. What am I going to do about it? It's like a penance for how I used to live, like a ball and chain I have to carry with me. If my trainer can give me some workouts that will help my stomach and help in the area, I'd be much obliged.

So there you go, my secret weapon. I'm hoping to have time to see him this week but it might not be until next that we finally have the chance to have our first session. Whenever it happens, I know I'll benefit tremendously from it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Motivational Mondays (June 21)

What happened?

I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong on Sunday. I just had a very humbling day. It's not so much the pace that was slower than I thought, or necessarily how I felt afterward, but rather just a feeling that things aren't going the way they need to be going.

On May 16, I ran 18 miles in 3:02. Now, a month or so after, it took me 36 more minutes to run two more miles.

Again, what happened?

I felt so strong, so invigorated after that 18-mile run. I was ready for San Francisco, knew I was going down the right path, knew I was going to rock it. Now, I've lost a lot of that enthusiasm. I still had it before the run but afterward, I 'm just left scratching my head wondering what's going on.

There's a few things I've thought may have contributed to the run.

* Garmin: Having misplaced my Garmin is just unacceptable. It should be as well-kept as my shoes and my sunglasses. Had I had my Garmin, perhaps I would have been able to monitor my pace more closely and could have picked up the pace when I needed to. I am not to a point where I can just run at a certain pace and know I'm around, say 10:00 or 9:30 pace or whatever. I'm not. So what I thought was a 10:00 pace was probably more like 11-plus. I had my Garmin on the 18-miler and it helped to prod me along, especially towards the end.

* Week off: My week of rest might have been a setback. I mean, it helped a lot with my Achilles. The discomfort has all but vanished. But that may have come with a price.

* No hills: I was running Mt. Rubidoux at least once a week every week since March. That was a tough challenge and it really helped me strengthen as a runner. I've lost some of that strength since I've not been running hills.

* Fewer days: Along with a hiatus on hills, I also have cut back on the number of days I run in order to help deal with my Achilles. Maybe that's combined to have slowed me down some.

* Eating habits: I could improve on my eating habits. I'm not as disciplined now as I have been. That "I run so I can eat a bit more" mentality is unfortunately present, but I need to have that discipline and commitment rise again and be on the forefront of my mind.

* Warmth. I ran the first 10 miles - to the halfway point on the map I'd marked out - in about 1 hour 42 minutes, which is a little north of a 10-min mile. I was actually trying to get between a 9:38 and 10:38 pace and would have been happy anywhere in between. So, the final 10 miles then took me about 1 hour 58 minutes, which is a pace of nearly 11:55. I trudged through that. The sun might have had something to do with it. I'd wanted to leave at about 4:15 a.m., but instead, with searching for my Garmin and just taking too long to get my stuff together, I left at 4:37. The sun was out, well, it was already getting light outside at about 5:20 but once it hit 7 a.m. the sun was brighter and I could start to feel the warmth. Maybe that had something to do with it.

I'm not sure if it's any one reason or a combination of reasons but my run on Sunday was not pleasant. I need to get another run in soon so I can just forget about it and move on. I also need to re-dedicate myself to my meal plan, and throw in some stinking cross-training sessions and speedwork. I would also like to start running more days during the week, but the World Cup has me watching more games and has me busy with work. There are some days I've been writing and editing and posting stories for several hours after the game's ended and that just is a bit stressful at times. But I still should be able to find time to run. Period.

I do have one weapon on my side, something I'm going to share on another post, but aside from that I need to dig deep down and figure out what's going on with me. I don't want to feel like 20-mile runs are bad, that running that distance is a letdown, but that's what I'm left with.

And until I figure out what can be changed and go about doing that, I'll be worried that similar runs will be in my near future. The San Francisco Marathon in on July 25, less than five weeks away now, and that is not a whole lot of time for me to figure things out and work to improve. So I have to get on it soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

20-Miler On The 20th

I got it done.

My 20-miler that was worrying and weighing on me is over.

I guess I had good reason to worry as the run did not go smoothly. I couldn't find my Garmin so I did not use it, I started much later than I wanted to so I paid for it by running in the sun for the last several miles and I was just trudging along too slowly. I crashed afterward, did some stretching, drank some water and then just laid down, in and out of sleep, felt like I fought my GMC Sierra and lost.

I finished in 3:38, which is a pace of about 10:54. I'm not exactly thrilled with that kind of time but then again I'm not quite worried about it. I mean, I didn't have my Garmin so I could have ran more than 20 miles, but whatever.

I'll have to figure out what changed between my 18-miler in May and today's 20-miler because that one I did in roughly 10-min per mile and even ran up a big hill in the middle of it. I felt strong after that one, and I did not feel strong after today's.

Still, this is my longest-ever solo run and my third 20-mile run of 2010 so that's something to feel proud about.

I just hope that pride settles in soon.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Big, Bad 20

How am I going to celebrate Father's Day?

By running 20 miles.

It's pretty much going to take up most of my early morning and probably will keep me from being too active the rest of the day.

I didn't exactly plan to celebrate Father's Day by running 20 miles. I mean, running some sort of distance would be a great way to celebrate any holiday to be honest. But if it were up to me, I'd just run like a 10-mile fun run. Double digits is a good distance, a nice round number. I ran 10 miles on New Year's Day this year, for instance, and probably will try and do that from now on.

Alas, my training schedule called for a 20-mile run this weekend. Actually, it called for one last weekend but after taking a week off to rest my Achilles, I felt jumping back into the fray and plod through a 20-miler wouldn't have been a good idea. Instead, I settled for 20 on the 20th.

Here's my route, which won't make any sense to you unless you live nearby:

The elevation change isn't too drastic and I barely notice it when I run that way. I decided to do an out-and-back, 10 miles out and then 10 miles back. We'll see if I'm hating life at some point during the run or not.

Either way, I'm spending Father's Day doing what I like best, running and spending it with my family. Can't beat that.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Leftovers (June 18)

My weekly Friday Leftover post here for ya...

Word Association

1. Offense :: Defense
2. Bench :: Park
3. Kissing :: Slowly
4. Timely :: Strike
5. Yellow :: Card
6. Get up and go :: Sit down and stop
7. Beer :: Chela
8. Calories :: Counting
9. Blast :: Gun
10. Window :: Shopping

Explanations: Beer... the Spanish word for beer is cerveza, of course, but a short way of saying that is chela, kinda like a slang word I guess.

Five Question Friday

Here is the latest Five Question Friday. Yay!

1. What is your favorite thing about summertime?

Disneyland. Well, it didn't really work out last year because the girls had a lot of swim lessons and this year school starts on Aug. 11, so we have six weeks of summer vacation, but I am looking forward to going to Disneyland before the park opens and spending a few hopefully lightly crowded hours at the park before the crowd hits and we make a run for the exit.

I think too that it's the freedom of being able to do things like go to Disneyland that makes the summer so appealing.

2. What is your ideal retirement location (if money didn't matter)?

I always thought some part of Mexico would be nice to retire to, some ex-pat community or a place along a beach somewhere but after having visited Costa Rica last year, I'm thinking Costa Rica would be totally ideal. The weather is fantastic; the views are remarkable everywhere and there is so much tasty fruit and food there, it'd be perfect.

I mean, come on. How could you turn that down?

3. Do you live in the same town you grew up in?

I do not live in the town where I grew up. I live about 40 miles away. I don't have any connection to my hometown as it has changed tremendously. When I grew up there, it was a small town. I mean, there were about 13,000 people there as opposed to the 60-70,000 there are now. We had one movie theater for several years before they put in another. We used to do our grocery shopping about 20 minutes away because there weren't any real grocery stores there.

I grew up in a trailer and was pretty much poor. Didn't have a phone until eighth grade. Never had my own room - I seriously used to fantasize about having my own room. We used to sleep five of us to one room.

My brother and I went to visit our old trailer once, about 10 years ago. It wasn't there of course but the open field we used to play in was, and it was strange being there. That whole place was a shell of what it used to be like. Now, a bunch of houses sit there as development has sprung up all over there.

4. What nervous habit did you have as a child that you kicked to the curb before becoming an adult?

I used to bite my nails a lot, and my fingers too. I would make myself bleed a lot when I was in elementary school because I would bite my nails down so far. Sometimes I'll slip back into that, usually when I'm stuck in traffic, but for the most part my fingers and hands are in better shape now.

5. What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you while on the job?

I've thought a lot about this one but nothing's coming to mind. I think one embarrassing thing that happened a long time ago that still lingers was that someone butchered my name. A fax came in for me and the person had put "Lous Beno" and everyone got a laugh out of it. Ha ha. My wife still calls me by that name. Lous Bee-no. Grr...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Daddy-Daughter Beach Day

A little bit ago, I had the chance to take a quick trip out to Newport Beach with Kennedy. It's a perk of being a work-from-home parent, really, to have the opportunity to do things like this. Once Kennedy starts school, of course, things will change. I won't have the freedom to pick up and go like that, so I savor such moments as they are coming to an end.

I figured I'd share these pictures with you.

Delightful Daddy-Daughter days.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Kind -ade Is That?

I promised a bit more on Sunday's run, here goes...

It was memorable for reasons I mentioned on Monday's post - running double-digit miles for the first time in two weeks, helped set myself up for a 20-miler next Sunday. But it wasn't a great all-around run. There were some big FAILS.

Fail No. 1: I'd intended on getting out and running at about 4:30, but I was too tired to get out of bed when the alarm went off at 4:10, so I went back to sleep until 5. I finally got out the door at 5:30, which really hampered me towards the end as the sun was blazing in the sky.

Fail No. 2: As I was getting my stuff together, I went to the refrigerator to get some lemon-flavored Gatorade I had in there. The bottle didn't have very much left in it, so when I saw a small glass filled with a green liquid, I grabbed it and poured it into one of the bottles of my fuel belt. I got another bottle, got the rest of the contents of the glass inside and topped it off with red Gatorade. During my run, I noticed the Gatorade was pretty sweet but didn't think much of it. For a few hours after my run, I felt sluggish, felt like I hadn't refueled or recovered properly. Then I went into the fridge to grab something and noticed my Gatorade bottle still in there, liquid intact. Seems I grabbed some lemonade and used that to fuel myself during my run. Lemonade, by the way, isn't the best thing to use as hydration during a run. Just sayin'...

Fail No. 3: I'd wanted to run about 12 miles. I was sort of familiar with the course I'd set on running, but since it was a variation of two courses I run, I wasn't sure on the exact distance. I figured I'd go out one way, get to about two or three miles and then take a street I usually run on, a lonely out-of-the-way road. That's about five miles to the end, but I'd just figure it out along the way. I glanced at my Garmin at 2.83 miles. Then, I thought I was getting close to four and wanted to confirm it. I glanced at m Garmin again and saw nothing. Batteries ran out. Grrr... Double grrrr..... I stayed with the route I thought would give me 12 miles. Instead, I ran 13.34 total, a little more than I'd intended to.


So there you have it. It seems that my great runs are memorable, but not all of my memorable runs are great.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Motivational Mondays (June 14)

After having run just once in a span of seven days recently, I was able to log 25 miles a week ago, capped off by a 13-mile run on Sunday (which I'll blog more about on Tuesday).

I was battling doubts before the run, actually all week. I'd been thrown off my routine and even though I know that just one week of missed running isn't enough to derail me, it certainly felt that way. I tend to overreact to things sometimes and that was no different. I felt like I'd fallen behind and that I needed some time just to get back to the level I was at. And while the Achilles has been feeling a lot better, thus providing solid evidence that my rest was worth it, I needed a nice run to really feel as if I got back on track.

And I got it on Sunday. Now, the details of the run are best suited for another post, one that isn't necessarily trying to be motivational, so I will save those, but the run itself was solid. I felt strong during the run, although early on I was battling some mental issues. I got out later than I'd intended to and I think that threw me off.

I felt my strongest between miles 6-10 or thereabouts, but I was able to close out strong. As always, I felt like I could have run more, and that's always a good sign.

Getting a strong run in like that was crucial. Originally, I was supposed to have run 20 miles on Sunday but instead pushed that back to next weekend. And now, going into my first 20-miler since Surf City, I have the confidence I need in order to approach it the right way and get through it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Leftovers (June 11)

Welcome to another Friday post, a collection of nothing.

Word Association

Play here, as always.

1. Group :: Meeting
2. Pollution :: Noise
3. Getaway :: Gotta
4. Mall :: Cop
5. Believe :: It Or Not I'm Walking On Air
6. Chimney :: Climb
7. Curses :: Sailor
8. Contrite :: Brief
9. Eyelash :: Eyebrow
10. Jobs ::: Employment

Paul Blart Mall Cop was inspiration for one. That movie was dumb but funny and enjoyable. It didn't try to be anything but dumb, which is endearing sometimes. Number five is a TV show I used to watch way back in the day. Any guesses?

Achilles Update

Oh my goodness! My foot feels fantastic!

I haven't run much this week. I've run eight miles, which really isn't a whole lot. I didn't run Tuesday or Thursday. I intended to run Thursday but had other things going on. I'm hoping to get an evening run in today and we'll see about Saturday (was thinking a short run between games in the a.m.). Sunday I still have a 13-miler planned but we'll see how I feel. I have 20 on the 20th, so I have to get strong for that one.

But not having run much has really made a difference. I am not limping at all, I barely feel anything down there when I'm just sitting here doing nothing, or walking around, or at any time. I ran five miles on Wednesday and didn't really feel it, but Thursday was the first time in a while that I didn't feel it when I wasn't running. I am walking normally all the time.

Part of it I think is the rest but also part of it is the lack of hills. Derm hills is bad. So thanks to my sister-in-law (who suggested rest), my uncle Jorge (who suggested staying way from hills) and Mrs. LB (who suggested both before I sought out help, I should have just listened to her).

Five Question Friday

Here is the latest Five Question Friday. This time it's cool for me because I submitted some questions last week and one of them got chosen. Sweet.

Mama M, whose blog it is, asks for questions from readers and I submitted several, and one of them got picked. It was actually one I just sorta had included as an afterthought, but apparently caught Mama M's eye. Double sweet. It's question number four.

And here are the questions:

1. What do you think makes a good friend, or friendship?

A good friend to me is someone who you can not talk to for a day, a month, a year and it all seems the same, as if no time has passed between conversations; someone who will give you a ride if your car breaks down, who will help you move more than once... more than four times... a lot; essentially someone who will listen, offer advice, help, do whatever is necessary to be there. I try to be those things to my friends.

It's funny but I don't really have a lot of good friends, close friends. My best man sorta drifted away, and we used to be really close (obviously, since he was my best frickin' man). Guess things just kinda happen that way sometimes.

2. What is the last thing you bought and later regretted?

A meal at a fast-food restaurant on Thursday. I should have just gotten a burrito or something but I couldn't resist. You let yourself go hungry too long and you are weak and make poor choices :( I need some more &$^^!% discipline.

3. Have you ever had a prank played on you?

Yeah. Let me see if I can remember... my family in general aren't really pranksters, although I'd love to plan some elaborate pranks on my family and daughters and... well, not Mrs. LB because I don't think she'd react too kindly.

Anyway, lemme see... might have to get back to you...

4. What is your favorite theme park?

Disneyland. Number two is Disneyland's California Adventure. Check out my collection of posts about both parks.

I'm starting to get bummed though. I haven't gone to Disneyland since February. Zero visits in March, April and May. I don't think I'm going to make it in June. In case you don't know, we have season passes and have had them since Nov. 2007. I've probably gone about 50 times since then, but as I mentioned 2010 has been light. Stupid school :(

But Disneyland is fan-frickin-tastic. Funny thing is, I never really was all that excited about it, like maybe when I was little but not as an adult. But we got season passes as a gift and I totally fell in love with the place the first time I went. Season passes are awesome too. However, I'm not sure how sensible it is to have them and not go very often. We're going to have to make some decisions later this year. Sad. Who knows? Maybe it's worth it if you go like 10 times in the summer.

5. Have you ever seen someone else give birth?

Sit back, relax, and you'll hear about watching my wife give birth. Okay, not going to go into details too much (I have some awesome pictures of... well... guts... and stuff) but I'll see what I can share here, safely.

Our first child wasn't showing us what gender he/she was going to be. The fetus was not cooperative, as it were. And then our doctor was uncooperative so we did not know the gender at 20 weeks like many soon-to-be parents do, but the doctor didn't schedule us for any more ultrasounds afterward. I wanted girls and I Mrs. LB did too, so I guess I got it into my head that the fetus was female. It was not confirmed until four days before the actual birth, when the doctor told us the baby was breech, and that in fact the baby was a she.

I was so happy! I wanted a little girl for several reasons, mostly because my mom had only had boys and my daughter would be her first grandchild. But this excitement was tempered because by being breech, it meant a c-section. And we weren't exactly prepared.

But it was nice in a way. We were able to plan it, so there would be no middle-of-the-night trip, no chance of us having to wait and wonder and wait and be anxious while waiting. I mean, there was a chance of course, of her going into early labor but since she hadn't felt any contractions, chances were slim. Even the day before our scheduled c-section, Mrs. LB felt no contractions.

On the delivery date, we went to the hospital and got everything ready, talked to doctors and nurses and all that. We got there at around 9 or 10, but it wasn't until noon or shortly thereafter that everything started to go down rather quickly. Mrs. LB was whisked away while I sat outside the delivery room. It was the strangest feeling, almost like I was at an airport waiting for some long-lost family member to visit. Eventually I went in with Mrs. LB and sat down next to her. She was feeling fine, great, no problems at all... except that her stomach was sliced open. There's a big curtain blocking her off from herself, and I didn't dare peek over the top.

But curiosity got the better of me. I glanced over and saw a side of my wife I'd never seen before - her inside. It was interesting. Her, uh, guts, had a yellow tint to them for some reason... that's probably their natural color, or it might be something the doctors used to slice her open, who knows? It was strange seeing that and then seeing my wife laying there like nothing was going on. She said she felt some faint movement down there, but very faint, far away.

Eventually, the doctors pulled out a baby, A BABY!, from my wife's inside. They held her up for me to see and I just had a goofy look on my face, well, I felt like it anyway. I just kept thinking like it was for real. The entire pregnancy just didn't seem like it would result in a child, as strange and dumb as that sounds. I don't know what it felt like, but we were just going about our business and were still living just the two of us, but now that would change. I knew then our lives were forever changed, that nothing would ever be the same. I didn't know how exactly, but I knew we'd turned the page and closed out one chapter and stepped into another. And I also knew that, whether I liked it not, I had to respond in kind and step up taking on my share of responsibilities. Not that I wasn't or anything, but still, this time a little tiny life depended on me.

So far, so good.

Now as for Kennedy... she always gets the short end of the stick... but I'm going to save her story for another day :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Batten Down The Hatches

For the next month, things will be a bit hectic for me. But that's hectic in a good way.

If you haven't been paying attention - and I hope you have been - there's a little soccer tournament going on in Africa that is captivating the world's attention.

Yeah, the World Cup.

I'm so excited for it, you cannot imagine.

Anyway,  the tournament starts on Friday and it's going to throw a monkey wrench into a whole lot of things, particularly running. I like to run in the mornings, only run in the mornings, but I can't do that now. Well, I can, there will be some days where I'll have a window between games to get in a run, but to have the freedom to go to the gym when I want or can, to plan for runs outside on the rare occasion I get to, well, that's going to take a bit of a hiatus.

I will continue running but I will have to run some in the afternoons and evenings. Mrs. LB has already been put on notice, so that's not necessarily an issue. It's just going to be me sticking to some night runs that will be the problem.

My long runs will have to continue as planned early Sunday mornings. I can't re-arrange those... I mean, I probably could but I need to focus on the distance and mileage and all that when it's more than 12 miles. And that means (sadly) I'll be running while there are some World Cup games being played.

As for the tournament itself... since this kind of writing is what I do for a living and all... some links for ya.

Video of yours truly breaking down the tournament and the United States' first game, on Saturday against England. Other videos of mine are underneath, any soccer vid you see there is probably mine (I think there are four in total). I should be on TV... okay, probably not...

Also, stories galore, for your reading pleasure. Five stories here I wrote up and were published in Thursday's paper. I don't usually blog about my work here for several reasons but I figured this would be a good opportunity to do so, if nothing else to educate you, my trusty blog reader, on one of my greatest passions.

So here's to many awesome soccer games upcoming and many fantastic evening runs for me. I think I'm ready.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Guest Blogger: Tahoegirl Conquers Camp Pendleton

While spending time with Tahoegirl and her hubby on Saturday, something slipped my mind. I wanted to see if she'd be up for guest blogging here. I wanted to have her recount her experience for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. But since she was on vacation, I figured I'd ask her once she got back to Michigan. However, I just forgot to ask.

Luckily, she went ahead and did something to the effect. She posted a comment on Tuesday, after going on a run up near Lake Tahoe. Ha! Tahoegirl's in Tahoe. Anyway, I didn't really ask if she would mind if I posted the comment here but I did want to give it a platform of its own (and sprinkle in some of the official race pictures I came across of her).

Without further delay... I turn the blog over to Tahoegirl:


A brief recap of my thoughts on the mud run as I am still on vacation but I had to see LB's post:

Hills? ah, I got these. Then I saw and felt the hills -- lets rephrase that to say several long hills that n-e-v-e-r seemed to end. Yes, I had to walk some of it as I was thinking eff these hills, eff this race i am on vacation what am i doing here? I was joking with LB earlier about the sun, you know it's always sunny in southern California right? Well it wasn't...until we were 10 minutes into the run. Hello SUN!!

The walls where a piece of cake. (ok, Mr. TG helped me) The slippery hill was a snap 'cuz LB told us to run up the middle. The river crossings, well, there is nothing like running with water, sand, mud, sticks and stones in your shoes for the next 6 miles.

I have scraped knees from the tunnel crawl as a badge of honor and I somehow have a huge bruise on the inside of my right arm. Dunno where that one came from.

The final mud crawl was a chore as I initially sank shoulder deep but then moved to a better path.

Would I do it again? Heck yeah!! We had so much fun running and gettin' dirty. Look for us again in 2011 but this time I will train for those hills! :o) Thanks LB for hanging out with us. I knew I wasn't going for any records. I just hope we didn't hold you back from going all out.

Next up, Chicago (Marathon) 10-10-10...

Thanks again to Tahoegirl and Mr. TG for including the Mud Run and yours truly in your vacation. It would be a treat to have you participate in the Mud Run again next year.

And of course good luck on your training for the Chicago Marathon. You will have the support of the entire Muddy Runner nation.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A look back at the Mud Run and what's next on my race calendar.

* Not having run for five days before the race, I think I did okay for myself. I felt good, felt strong and actually felt a lot stronger towards the end. I destroyed those hills, and trust me, those hills are daunting. I remember feeling good going up those hills a year ago but I think I handled them better this year. Still, I would have liked to have seen what I could have done with a full week of training and a better starting position. That just makes me hunger for 2011 even more.

* I'm always amazed at what role muscles play in running. Now, I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice to have bulging biceps, triceps and shoulders, but that doesn't always translate into strength for running. Somewhere during the long trek uphill, I passed a few guys who were ripped and had muscles galore. They were walking and looked like they were having a rough go at it. Of course, I'm not saying I'm better than them - heck, I could use some of their motivation to get my butt to do some bench press - but this just goes to show the Mud Run and distance running is more than just muscles.

* I didn't rinse after the race. Kinda gross maybe, but there was a long line of people and I chose instead to spend more time with Tahoegirl and her hubby. The mud was caked on to my legs but I took a nice shower with soap once I got home. But my racing companions rinsed off and said there were people using shampoo and conditioner in the showers. Ugh. The showers there are meant to really just rinse you off, not to double as a beauty salon. But that's just my opinion. If I had long locks, perhaps I would feel different. Doubt it, but perhaps...

* The pictures were up super quick, but not all of them. In previous years it took a week or so to get the pictures up but there were shots of both Saturday and Sunday up by Sunday night. I might post some more pictures in a separate post so keep an eye out for that. I have thus far found only one shot of me - but several of my racing buddies. The pictures I'm waiting for are the shots from us getting out of the river. I actually posed for a picture there, so I'm hoping it came out and I don't look like a tool in it.

* Will I run this race again in 2011? Damn straight I will.

* So what's my next race? Well, now that the Mud Run is out of the way, I am setting my sights on my next race, which is the San Francisco Marathon. What do I do now in terms of training for it? Well, I think that could (and probably will) be a separate post but in short I will get back to running (heel/Achilles issue notwithstanding) here soon. I'm planning for 13-15 on Sunday and then 20 on the 20th, with 22 coming up just two weeks after that. So lots of mileage planned for the next 6-8 weeks before a bit of rest.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Motivational Mondays (June 7) aka Camp Pendleton Mud Run Race Recap!

The Camp Pendleton Mud Run is a fixture on my race calendar. For the past two years, I've ran the race and have had so much fun that I've vowed to run it each and every year. It's become a tradition, and I look forward to each race with great anticipation.

It's just the details about the course that I mostly forget.

I don't forget the hills but I don't remember how tough they are until I'm finally out there. I don't forget the mud per se but I do forget what it feels like to run several miles with sand and pebbles in your shoes. And I don't forget the river crossing but I don't recall just how slippery and slimy it can be.

Camp Pendleton greeted me bright and early on Saturday morning as it does every year. My brother Jesse and I made the nearly 80-mile trek in a little more than one hour, record time for us. I was looking forward to the race for several reasons, but one was to meet a blog reader who had planned the first part of her vacation around the Mud Run. Tahoegirl and her husband, Mr. Tahoegirl, flew in from Michigan earlier in the week and were staying a few days in Southern California before driving up the West Coast. They will fly back home from Seattle. I was happy to meet them both, especially Tahoegirl. She recently ran her first half marathon and will tackle her first 26.2 in October as she'll run the Chicago Marathon.

LB and Tahoegirl

I wore a bright yellow shirt so she could spot me. It really was a treat to meet her and her hubby, and we hung out together before the race. Once it got closer to 8:30, we made our way down to the start line area. This was our fatal mistake. At the Mud Run, you can not approach the start line until about 25 minutes before the race. They will herd you into the starting area at that time so if you are concerned about your time, then you need to stand around for quite a while until they let you get near the start line. I wasn't concerned about time simply because I had not been running all week, plus with the Tahoegirls there I was far more interested in talking to them than I was in worrying about my time.

But we did make our way over there before they let the runners in, and once they did we went into the starting chute like cattle. As soon as we got to our little spot amidst the mass of humanity, I had a strong feeling the race was not going to feature a new PR. We were too far back from the start, and there were way too many people between us and the start line to get past.

That was fine, though. I was a bit relieved since I knew I wasn't going to PR. I didn't want to push myself and feel bad about not having been in prime condition to do so. Instead, I was going to take some friends' advice and just enjoy the race.

With about 15 minutes left until the start of the race, my brother Danny, his wife and brother-in-law finally showed up, and they made their way through the crowd to get to us. Finally, I gave Tahoegirl a few final words of advice and then the gun sounded. Off we went.

Except. Too. Many. People. Prevented. Us. From. Running. Right. Away.

It was crowded and the crowd slowly moved forward but there was virtually no room to run. I tried to run, tried to get out in front but it was tough. The road was narrow enough, but the mass of people made it tough to do anything. I could almost see my PR flying away on wings, but it really didn't matter. It was for the best, I told myself.

I'd told Tahoegirl to not worry about water early on. You're going to get wet and muddy at the Mud Run, no sense in trying to avoid it. Having said that, I wanted to avoid it. Near the start there were three water trucks shooting water at the runners. The first water truck was by itself and I managed to avoid getting completely soaked. The second water truck was across the street from the third, and there was no getting around this obstacle. I looked up to see water raining down on me and I emerged on the other side completely soaked.

Among the things I told Tahoegirl was that the first half of the race was just hills, but we'd been running a good portion already and so far it was flat. I hoped that she wasn't thinking badly of me when we'd only gone through a mild incline at best for probably the first mile of the race or so. While we didn't encounter hills right away, we did hit a stream, and with a splash splash, splash splash my shoes and socks were now completely soaked.

I only remembed one stream crossing the last two years but this time there were three streams early on, so by the time we hit the hills, our feet were nice and saturated.

The hills.... ah yes, the hills. The neverending hills. I remembered with clarity the hills once I was actually on them. I remembered what I felt like the first year, looking ahead and seeing a stream of people going uphill, of seeing a hill that had no top, of wondering how I was going to get through it. This year, though, I was excited. I wanted to tackle the hills, wanted to take the challenge on... and I did, but part of me was sad. I was sad that I wasn't in optimum condition and that I wasn't able to tackle them with the same ferocity I'd hoped to tackle them with. Instead, I was reserved because of my heel/Achilles issue and I was wondering if I should just take it easy. But my foot was not bothering me so I plowed through.

Sometime near the top, it felt like we'd been running for days on the hills, and I wondered if Tahoegirl would think "Eff these hills already" when she'd come across them.

Finally, though, the summit and then downhill. It was a speedy downhill, and I was feeling the beginnings of exhaustion. I was worried though because of the walls. I knew I had the strength to scale them, but was worried that if I was too tired to jump over them, that I'd flail like crazy and become frustrated. So as we descended down into the first mud pit, with water to our knees and a muddy mess beneath that, I mustered up the strength to scale the wall. I did on my first effort, pushed myself up, got my right foot on top and leapt over. I'd like to say it was a graceful landing, but it was about as graceful as box falling out of a moving truck. I landed on my hands and knees, apparently too worried about leaping over the wall in the first place to concern myself too much about the landing part.

From then, it was onto the river. When I saw it, I smiled. All I could see were heads peering out of the water, and a line of runners getting out on the other end, dripping wet. A volunteer shouted over and over "Watch the first step; it's very slippery" as I descended into the river.

The first step was slippery and so was the second and so was the third. In fact, I think all 100 or 200 or however many steps we took to get across were slippery. There was no sense in trying to swim either, because even though the river was nearly up to my neck, you'd be best served to just walk it instead of trying to swim. Why expand the energy it takes to swim to save maybe a few seconds?

As I slipped and slid across the slimy bottom, pieces of algae caught my eye. Some of them found my hand was I waded through the water. I picked up algae in my hand and tossed it aside and out of my path. Several times. The river was filled with it, and while it did not smell I just figured the less time I was in it, the better.

On our way out towards the next part of the race, we were headed towards the runners going into the mud pit and into the river. I scanned for the Tahoegirls and was wondering if I'd missed them when I saw them. I said "Tahoegirl!" over and over again and she didn't hear me at first. Mr. Tahoegirl did and waved and smiled, but she had to force a smile once she realized it was me. I don't think she A) like the hills very much and B) liked me very much for having ever given her the idea of running the race in the first place.

I moved along, though, and pretty soon met up wtih the next obstacle: mud pit and wall number two. This wall was my nemesis from a year ago, the wall that stole my watch. In case you missed it, in last year's race a beloved watch of mine, a Polar F4 heart rate monitor my wife had given me as a present, popped off on this wall and was lost in a sea of mud. I vowed to conquer this wall for the sake of the watch, and I came upon it with focus and concentration. On my first leap, I got up high, got on leg on it, leaned my body forward, got my second leg over and all but fell on the water down below. I'm not the most graceful at climbing, okay?

The tunnels were next and I loathed them. You have to crawl through them - there is no other way. My knees were in pain from the moment I started crawling and I had visions of blood dripping down them. After about a mile's worth of crawling, I came out the other end. I plopped out the end - picture a metallic caterpillar regurgitating a piece of meat.

After that was Slippery Hill, a steep hill made more fun by the addition of water. A water truck sprayed water down the hill, causing the hill to be super muddy and slippery, tough to climb. However, if you run where the water has carved out a path in the hill, it is easier to navigate up the hill, which I did.

I got past that, ran some more, began to sprint even, when I realized we had the mud crawl to complete. Crap. I wasn't prepared. I got into the water though and began to crawl. The mud was thicker than last year, making it hard to get through. I gripped whatever I could and hoped to not scrape up my knees. Finally, I came out other end, with only a few slurps of muddy water into my mouth.

Then one immense downhill portion ensued before the final stretch.

Giving it my all

I waited around to see both my brothers finish (yup, I beat them both, holler) and then saw the happy vacationing couple slog through.

The Tahoegirls thinking 'Thank goodness this is over.'
We did celebrate though, had to.

Tahoegirl is a Muddy Runner too!
When I crossed the finish, I saw my time, roughly 1:11:40, and wasn't disappointed. I'd wanted to get close to an hour but knew there were many reasons why that would not happen. Instead of disappointment, though, I was happy. I had a time to shoot for in 2011.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Muddy Pics

I don't have a ton of time right now to write up and post the race recap for Saturday's Camp Pendleton Mud Run but I did want to give you a sneak preview of what's coming Monday.

Jesse's expression capturing pretty much how we all felt after the race.
Four of the five that ran the race together once more.

Celebrating Mud Run No. 3.

Race recap coming Monday! In it, you'll hear all about the hills, the never-ending hills; some algae buddies who greeted us in some deep water, a blog buddy meet-up and how I met and conquered last year's main nemesis.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

And I got to meet Tahoegirl and her husband who also ran the race!!! Awesome day!!
Mud Run success!! I finished my third Camp Pendleoton Mud Run! Finished in 1:11:40, slower than last year but that's okay. I'm happy to have run this race and looking forward to '11.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Leftovers (June 4)

Word Association

Play here.

1. Fresh air :: Breathe
2. Bodyguard :: Big
3. Wedding :: Date
4. Remind :: Notice
5. Wicked :: Play
6. Crawling :: Creeping
7. Gasoline :: Petrol
8. Anyone :: Out there?
9. Dancing :: With myself
10. Wall :: Brick

Lemme see... anything interesting? Wicked :: Play was for the play that I kind of wanted to see when it was out. Mrs. LB went with a friend of hers and they enjoyed it. Petrol is the name of gasoline down in the Caribbean, at least the part I went to nine years ago. And I believe Dancing With Myself  is a Billy Idol song, although I kept conjuring up Eyes Without a Face when I tried to sing it.

Crazy Crossword

Do you do the crossword puzzle in the morning paper? Mrs. LB and I like to take the challenge sometimes. We'll trade off, so she'll mark one down and pass it over to me, then I'll get an answer and hand it back, and so on, and so on. So when we have the time to do that we'll get halfway done before we hit a wall. I'm not sure we've ever actually finished one...

Anyway, I grabbed the crossword on Tuesday and started to fill it out myself since Mrs. LB was up and around. Pretty quickly I came across an interesting pair of clues.

14 Across - Good, to Pedro

Well, the name means it's a Spanish word since conceivably a "Pedro" would speak a certain language, and when "Pedro" says good, he'd say "Bueno" like my last name... ha...

2 Down - Tiant of baseball

Hmmm... I knew this one because there aren't a lot of professional athletes I share first names with... so this one's Luis...


That's my name!!
And just to check the answer the next day...

I was right!!
I didn't really work on it too much after I found my name embedded in the crossword puzzle. Hey, it's not every day that happens, right?

Not Flinching
As a follow-up to Thursday's post Suckers And Stickers post, I had to take Kennedy back on Thursday to have her TB test read (she doesn't have TB, yay!!... okay, not a real surprise there...) and she had to have blood drawn.

Oh boy. Blood means another needle which means more screaming and crying from Kennedy... Ugh.

After a nurse confirmed that Kennedy did in fact not have tuberculosis, we went over to an adjacent office for the blood draw. When I got in the seat, Kennedy had to sit on my lap and again I was told go hold her, so I put my arm around her and tried to hold her gently but sturdy enough so nothing would happen if she tried to flail her arms. She extended her left arm and the nurses rubbed alcohol on the inside of her elbow and with the use of a tourniquet found her vein.

The needle was coming so I told Kennedy that if she closes her eyes it won't be so bad. She did, but opened them right away.

"I want to see the needle."

I cringed and turned away. I felt when the needle was inserted because Kennedy jerked a little but the expected flailing and screaming never came. The blood went into a small container, the needle was removed, and a cotton ball and bandage were placed to help her arm heal.

I was amazed. I asked her why she didn't cry?

"It's because the shots on my leg hurt and this one didn't hurt."

So perhaps I'm the only one who has an irrational fear of needles then...

Five Question Friday

Here's another edition of Five Question Friday. There's a little logo I should probably use but it's a woman on a recliner answering the questions but since that doesn't really represent me and in fact would have me inadvertently making myself look like that, I opt not to use it. Oh well. I still wanna play...

1. If you could go back to college would you change your major? Or, if you were to go to college right now...what major would you choose?

I had kind of different collegiate experience. After I was out of high school for two years, I went to a community college for a few years, then went into a university but took their evening program which was structured and had all of the classes picked for you, and the latter part was after I was married.

I majored in Liberal Studies as I was trying to become a teacher but that did not pan out. So if I had to choose a different major, I might choose something like engineering or math, something like that. Of course, what I wish I would have done was to have studied abroad. I wanted to but wasn't sure enough of myself to do that.

2. What do you love most about your home?

The thing I love most about my home is that it's near my parents' house and near my in-laws. We're both still very close to our folks and I couldn't imagine not being within driving distance. Actually, I'm within running distance of my mom's house.

3. What types of books do you like to read (if you like to read at all)?

I don't read books regularly. Sad, I know. I'm a writer and I don't read books. My favorite series was the Harry Potter series, though. I actually listened to the first six as I went from the high 200s to the low 200s. Harry, Ron and Hermione helped me shed nearly 100 pounds. And then I devoured the last book, as I read that in about two days.

The last book I read was a book by Sue Ann Jaffarian, which I've been intending to blog about for the longest time but just haven't. Sorry, Sue Ann. She's a blog buddy of mine. The book is called Too Big To Miss and I would highly recommend it. I finished it in about three days.

4. What is the grossest thing you've ever eaten?

Let's see... I had crickets in Mexico City last year, and you would think that would qualify, but it doesn't. I mean, it wasn't exactly the same as a warm cinnamon roll but it wasn't the worst thing I've ever eaten.

I actually think the worst-tasting thing I ever had was liver. I don't know why but I thought I liked liver. In 1992 I spent the summer between my junior and senior years of high school in Mexico. I stayed with my grandparents and some aunts and uncles. Anyway, the word for liver in Spanish is hígado. One of my aunts asked me if I wanted some and I said yeah. I don't know why but I thought I really did like hígado.

I took one bite and I seriously wanted to hurl. I grimaced and wondered "WTF is this?" I've never had hígado since.

5. If you HAD to be a character on a TV show, whom would you be?

I think I'd have to be one of the random fish characters on SpongeBob SquarePants. Why? So I could eat a Krabby Patty. Those look pretty good.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Suckers And Stickers

Kennedy is starting kindergarten soon. Well, not exactly soon, but it's within sights.

Not sure if you've noticed the huge countdown on the side of the blog here ---->

Anyway, as part of registering her for kindergarten I had to take her for a physical exam. We went down to the doctor's office on Tuesday afternoon and she had to pass a battery of tests, if you will. It was an interesting experience that nearly made me vomit and had me shedding some tears. And I wasn't exactly expecting any of it.

We got to the doctor's office and pretty much walked right in. Usually when we go, one of the girls is sick and feeling pretty crummy there we have to wait a long time. Things just work out that way, I guess - when your car is making a noise and you take it to the mechanic, it doesn't make the noise but when you get home, it magically re-appears.

So of course Kennedy is feeling great, not having been sick in weeks, and we walk right in to be seen.

She weighed in at around 46 pounds and stood at 43 inches, both in the 90th percentile for her age. Of course, with Yvie towering over her, I always feel like she's shorter than ohter kids her age, but I think she'll be one of the taller girls in her kindergarten class.

After a quick (and useless) vision test (we went to the optometrist on Friday) the nurse checked Kennedy's hearing and blood pressure and then gave me a clear plastic cup. She asked Kennedy about trying to go to the bathroom and Kennedy responded positively, saying she had to go.

I was immediately not pleased. Kennedy was not going to be able to do that on her own at all, which meant that yours truly had to do the dirty deed. Once in the bathroom, Kennedy went to sit down on the toilet but I told her that she had to go in the cup. She wrinkled her nose and said she didn't want to. I tried telling her that it was important for her to go in the cup, and she still resisted. I made a few more attempts before I finally coerced her into it.

Into what, I wasn't sure. I knew I needed a steady hand to catch the goods in the cup. So I sat down in front of the toilet. Usually when I get that up close and personal with a toilet, the bathroom spins and I make a deposit. But not this time. No, this time I had to play the role of urine-catcher. So I scooted her back some on the seat so I could have some space to see and move the cup around. I think she had some stage fright because it didn't come out right away, and when it did... some of it splashed down in the water and some of it made it into the cup. However, some of it ran down my fingers and into the palm of my hand.


I had to hold it together, though. I didn't want to drop the suddenly-slippery cup into the toilet and start from scratch. But dammit, I had &$#@* on my fingers, someone else's too.


I congratulated Kennedy on having gone, but it came out sort of like: "goodjobKennedy"


I was on the ground in the bathroom at the doctor's office, and I was thisclose to throwing up, and right in front of my daughter. I can hear the story now from a much-older Kennedy being told to a friend of hers...

"Well, I must have been four or five, I was really young, and all I remember is my dad throwing up on the ground in the bathroom at the doctor's office. I wonder if he was sick. I mean, that's just disgusting. Who does that?"

I held it together though and got up. I tried to wash my hands so I set the cup down somewhere, still with pee on it. I washed and washed my hands and then washed them again. I dried them and took the paper towel to get the cup and it almost slipped right out of my hands again. To prevent it from falling altogether I had to grab it again with my barren hand and then managed to get pee all over it once more.

Once out, I handed the cup over to the nurse, half-expecting her to say "Sorry Dad but we're going to need more." But she was happy to have a decent amount in there, and I was glad to get that away from me.

We waited for the doctor but again it wasn't that long of a wait. After he finished checking her up, he left and sent the nurse back in. This time the nurse came in with an array of needles. Kennedy had been sitting on the exam table, playing, making faces with me, all in all in good spirits. I knew this was going to ruin the visit for her, that within minutes she would be crying hard, probably scared, maybe angry and upset.

Incidentally, this is one of the worst things you have to do to your kids when they are young; hold them down as they get vaccinated. I remember the first time Yvie got her vaccines, how she was so small and she was in a smiling mood, and then out of nowhere BAM she has a stupid needle in her leg.

This time, Kennedy knew what was happening pretty quickly and she started to get upset. The nurse told me to get Kennedy in an MMA-style grip before giving her the first shot, a TB test. Then, I was told to put my shoulder on her belly and put pressure so she wouldn't be able to move around as the nurse gave her four shots on her legs.

Kennedy was crying softly BAM and then started BAM to increase her BAM tears and noise level overall BAM with each injection.

I kept thinking: "My poor baby, Daddy is so sorry" and inevitably some tears came out of my eyes. I would have poured pee on my head if it meant her not having to go through that horrible pain.

When we were finished, I scooped her into my arms and carried her 46-pound self to the truck, with a brief stop for some suckers and stickers. I guess suckers and stickers makes it all worth it, because after scarfing down one sucker (she grabbed another for Yvie, who wasn't with us) and pasting a Snow White sticker on her shirt, she seemed okay, four small band-aids on her legs notwithstanding.


Wednesday was National Running Day... or was it National Day of Running?

Whatever the occasion was, it was a day meant to have encouraged running. So what did I do to "celebrate" the occasion?


What have I done since running 13.1 miles on Sunday?


What will I do Thursday and Friday in preparation for Camp Pendleton?


Not. An. Effing. Thing.


I'm sidelining myself for the week. See, for a while now my heel has been feeling a bit tender, a bit strange. I first started to feel it around late March or early April. It always just felt tender, never really any pain save for once. I whacked it really hard getting out of a chair a few days before the Run Through Redlands. It was a piercing and splitting pain, so much so that I wondered for a bit whether I'd be able to run the half-marathon or not.

A few other times my daughters have hit me in the heel and have caused me to writhe in pain. Aside from that, it's mostly discomfort.

However, discomfort can quickly turn to pain and that can lead to injury and a layoff from running. And since I'm signed up for the San Francisco Marathon on July 25, I don't exactly want to take an injury-related layoff now, or ever really.

On the weekend, though, I had the chance to talk to my sister-in-law, my brother Danny's better half. She's a physical therapist by trade, has some piece of paper she calls a Master's Degree that says so, so I figured I'd ask her about my heel. She told me that she'd recommend taking two weeks off completely to rest it.

I felt like asking her if she was insane but thought better of it. Instead I told her that I didn't think that was possible given my Marathon training. She suggested I go ahead and run the Mud Run on Saturday (which she's also running incidentally) but not to run anything on Sunday.

"Damn," I thought to myself. "There goes my scheduled 12."

I asked for and received some advice from one of my super-duper blog buddies and she suggested not running this week as well, in addition to some other super tips.

I don't want to stop running and it's been tough this week not running. But I know that it's for the best. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to try and do next week, whether or not I will run some or if I'll try to get to an elliptical or bike or whatever. I don't anticipate feeling any pain after the race Saturday but again, it's not any sort of injury that could derail me soon that I'm worried about, it's something that could render me obsolete come July 25.

So what is that I have? Well, I guess I should have already mentioned it. It's possible that I have Achilles teondonitis. Common causes include running hills, overtraining, change in mileage, things like that. I don't think I'm overtraining - I haven't run more than 35 miles a week since January - but I have been hitting the hills hard. It's tough because I need to train on hills for San Fran but if that's causing me problems, perhaps I'd be better off staying away from them, or at least not including them as often as I have been.

This time of me not running will pass. It's been just three days since I last ran but I don't think I've gone three days without running since... don't recall, December probably. And the last time I went five days with no runs was in September when I got sick and was laid out for a week.

It's not fun, sitting on the sidelines, but it's better to ease up a bit now than it is to eat the San Francisco Marathon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mud Run Of Yore

The countdown for the Mud Run is on in earnest. It's been on for a bit, but now it's rapidly approaching and pretty much right in front of me.

This will be the third edition of the Camp Pendleton Mud Run and I can't wait to stand out there at the start line, corralled in like cattle, waiting for final instructions from a Marine about the race. That brings back some really fun memories, and I will create even more in a few short days.

I figured I'd post some pictures from my first Mud Run here to give you an idea of what Saturday might look like. I'm thinking of wearing the same outfit so Saturday could really look like this.

Stepping out from the river, which was up to my chest.

Looking for space to crawl through.
Not sure if I was smiling or grimacing... or both.

The finish line is in sight...
... gotta step it up!

This race was in October 2008 and was my second-ever race. That alone is a bit strange, to think that Race No. 2 was this one, a monster of a challenge for a newbie, and still a worthy challenge for me now and always.

Maybe this year if I get some good shots of myself I'll actually buy one or two.