Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LB Officially In The LB

It's official.

All along, I'd been planning to run the Long Beach Half Marathon. On Monday, I made it official. I registered for the race and will run it Oct. 17.

Even though it was a rather small step - it took me a few minutes and was worried when my card was declined but then realized it was because I didn't enter the proper expiration date - it's still huge. It could have been so simple to just say "forget it" and move on. After all, the Mission Inn Half Marathon is $40, half of what I paid for Long Beach.

But I took the leap. I followed through with my goal, and I'll be out at Long Beach, running my second 13.1 of the year, third overall.

There is a great sense of finality when registering for a race. It's one thing to put a race tentatively on the calendar but quite another to pay for it and cement it on the calendar. Now it seems real. Now I can focus on the race, plan out my upcoming weeks, hit the speedwork hard, study the course, figure out the pre-race logistics... all quite exciting and motivating!

So I'll be bringing you quite a bit on the Long Beach Half Marathon from now until I run the race, number eight of 2010. That alone makes it a motivating event.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Aug 30) - Guest Blogger Extraordinaire

As promised, this is Mrs. LB's guest post. Mrs. LB asked if she could post this and I gladly accepted her. With any luck, she'll do this regularly.

Now, onto Mrs. LB's post...

Okay, I admit it, my eyes do glaze over when runners talk about running. Someone pointed this response out at my husband’s running banquet and I immediately recognized myself in her speech.

I want to pretend that I’m insanely interested in how song 12 on the playlist led to a faster mile or how in mile 4 of 21 the incline started to have an affect. But, I’ll be honest, mile 4 sounds exactly like mile 21 to me. One mile sounds just as torturous as the next.

Obviously, I am not a runner. Not even close. I understand that it’s one of those activities that you have to experience to truly understand. I am so proud of my husband’s efforts; his drive and motivation to become healthy, fit and eventually a full-blown marathon runner. I brag about him and tell people his story. I’m amazed at his fortitude and willingness to push his body to even longer distances.

Having said all that, my eyes still glaze over when he tells me about the 12-mile turnaround run to his parents’ house and back. I try. I really do. Asking questions helps but I know he can feel my eyes getting that far off look. I sometimes feel like a bad runner’s wife so I try to make up for it by helping him get in as many runs as he can.

I’m also beginning to see that long-distance running is like a religious experience for those who do it. In some ways, I kind of get it. The faith it takes to believe you can finish 26 miles before collapsing. The way you feel almost invincible in leading the battle against those 26 miles. The zen-like state you must be in when you keep moving your legs no matter how much they hurt or how much you’re bleeding. The heaven you must feel crossing the finish line as all your emotions rush forward and flood your fatigued body.

But, I get it in a way a documentarian understands the tribe she has spent time filming. I see it but I don’t feel it.

Before any of you readers think about suggesting I can feel it if I only start today - just one mile and then one more - don’t try it. In the same way long-distance running is like a religion, so is the attempts to convert that go along with it. Some people can’t be converted. Let’s just count me as one of them for now.

So, in the vein of religion, I guess I’m asking for a little absolution for my eye glazing. I will cheer my husband in as many races as I can get to in order to do my part. I actually enjoy watching races. I have now learned that marathoners don’t like to be told they’re almost there - even if they’re literally almost there. I guess it’s not helpful after 25 miles.

I will volunteer and run water stations when I can to support my husband’s efforts. I will help him find the best shoes out there and get carb-filled food before a long run. I will wash (and rewash) the smelliest running gear ever so they’re fresh and ready for the next run.

I will not, however, be able to truly understand how he felt when he crested the hill near our house in record time. I’m going to keep trying though and maybe one day my eyes won’t glaze over.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Aug. 27)

Just wanted to let you guys know (once again) that Mrs. LB's guest post will appear on Monday so please come back for that.

Now, on to the Leftovers.

Word Association

Play here.

1. Leads :: United
2. Concierge :: Service
3. Thousand :: Island
4. Engines :: Motor
5. Argument :: Anger
6. 2006 :: World Cup
7. Knot :: Tied
8. F___ :: That
9. Handsome :: Devil
10. Ridge :: Crest

Explanations: Let me see, Leads :: United is after a soccer club from Leeds, England. Leads is spelled differently, of course, but that's what popped into my mind first. Thousand :: Island is awesome, my favorite dressing

Five Question Friday

Here is the weekly Five Question Friday. Yay for 5QF!

1. How many pets do you have?

Three. Our cat is named Matsui after baseball player Hideki Matsui, who I thought was pretty cool back when we got the cat (late '03). We have two dogs named Rooney and Tevez, after soccer players Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez. Our dogs are small and we wanted to name them after small soccer players.

2. If you could switch places with anyone in the world for one day, who would it be?

I would probably switch places with an ultramarathoner on an ultramarathon race day. Scott Jurek would be pretty cool. I'd like to see what it would be like to have the ability to run 100 miles without dying.

3. What is your favorite money-saving tip?

This one's kind of hard but one thing I do to save money is to check the day-old bread rack or whatever at the grocery store. They'll often have good deals on bread. The bad thing is, of course, since it's on the verge of going bad you have to use it up right away. Sometimes, though, I will buy day-old bread and freeze it if I'm not going to use it that day. Or I will store the bread in the microwave. The microwave is airtight so it really slows down the aging process on bread. The bad thing is when you actually have to use the microwave you have to take a bunch of crap out of there, but oh well.

4. What do you want your kids to be when they grow up?

I want them to be happy. That's it. I want to encourage them to pursue their interests, and as long as they have a passion for learning, and a passion for something that makes them happy, I'll be quite content.

5. What is your favorite quote?

I read this in a Runners World magazine earlier this year. This is from Gary Muhrcke, the winner of the first-ever New York City Marathon, held in 1970.

"So many people crossing the finish line of a marathon look as happy as when I won. They have tears in their eyes. This sport is full of winners."

That's why I love to run. I'm not going to win a marathon, but finishing a marathon is a monumental challenge, each and every time. And while I didn't have tears in my eyes at the finish line of San Francisco, I may have had some tears around mile 18, when I thought about what I was on my way towards doing, and I may have had some tears after the race when I thought about what I'd just done.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Time To Run/Work/Rest

It took a week and a few days but I think I've adjusted to this kindergarten thing.

Kennedy, as you may recall, started school recently and has given me one of the best gifts of all - time. I have time now to do things that I couldn't do before, such as work at home quietly and uninterrupted, and run outdoors.

I was a bit tentative the first full week so I played it safe. I worked more than I ran, did things around the house more than things outside of it. But this week has been different. More liberating. I've ran, I've worked, I've cooked, I've.... not done laundry. Well, it can't all be perfect.

I ran 4.5 miles on Tuesday and 6.2 miles on Wednesday, all outside. I'm actually planning a trip to the gym on Thursday and will hopefully run on the 'mill, but that's mostly because of the heat outside and because I'll already be there (for core, resistance training, yay) so might as well take advantage.

Before the week, I'd wanted to get to 30 miles and I might just do it. I've been wanting to do that for a week or two now but this week I think I'll get there. I've got almost 11 under my belt, after Thursday I hope to have 15. With 10 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday, I'll get there.

That's time well spent.


So, just wanted to fill you in on something. I have a guest post coming up on Monday from a special person. It's a pretty cool post so if you can come back here then, please do so.

The one and only Mrs. LB has written a guest post for your reading pleasure and I'll have it on Monday. It's pretty good. Can't really disclose more than that so make sure you come back then.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Playlist, Finally

For the longest time, I've needed to make a new playlist.

I'd made one for my 22-mile run on the Fourth of July and modified it slightly for San Francisco. But since then I haven't added anything to my phone and my running music has gotten stale. The music itself is still enjoyable, but just to play it and run to it wasn't appealing anymore.

So Monday I made a new playlist and I think it's going to work well.

First, the music.

Okay, now some explanations:

- I've been requesting CDs from the library for about a month now and among the CDs I've scored have been The Killers' Day and Age, The Ramones' greatest hits as well as Wolfmother's Cosmic Egg and Wolfmother. Only those made the cut for this playlist though.

- I bought the Jefferson Airplane songs for the SF Marathon since they are from the city by the bay, but hadn't ever really listened to them. I'm particularly fond of White Rabbit.

- I love Rage Against The Machine. Love them. Have seen them in concert six times I think, the most of any group I've seen live. However, I hardly ever run to them. Don't know, but their songs just don't work for me when I run. It's strange. I'm trying some songs off their last CD so maybe that will help.

- This playlist is about an hour and a half long. I'm not sure I'll get to the end of it during my midweek runs but I could possibly "see" it all the way through on weekends.

- There is just one more thing to do now and that's to actually put the music on my phone. Hopefully I can get to that soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Aug. 23)

Since I scrapped the idea of running a third marathon in 2010, I decided to take a bit of a mini-break after San Francisco. That mini-break is now over.

I didn't exactly stop running altogether, although I did go eight days (gasp!) without running after the San Francisco Marathon. I've not taken a total break after the marathon but I've been running around 20-24 miles a week since then, if that.

Now, I'm going to crank up the mileage. Part of it is because I can. I'm feeling good. I think I'm recovered from the marathon, and I think my body is ready to run long distances again. The longest I've ran since SF was a 12-mile run last weekend. I've ran six miles a few times, and everything else has been less than five. I've incorporated no speedwork.

But I'm going to get back to the 30 miles-plus per week grind. It's not really a grind, of course, since it is still fun for me, but I want to have more time on my feet and since I have time I can accomplish that goal.

My initial plan: rest Monday, 4 miles Tuesday, 6 miles Wednesday, 4 miles Thursday, rest Friday, 12 miles Saturday, 5 miles Sunday. That would get me to 31 on the week. I'm hoping to be able to continue my core/cross training. Rest today, for instance, is rest from running as I'm planning a gym session first thing this morning.

Maybe my plan is ambitious. And I might be gassed midway through the week. But I've got my sights set on the Long Beach Half Marathon so I'm going to give it my all now so I can reap in the rewards then. And giving it my all means a lot of miles this week.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Aug. 20)

The end of another week, the first full week the girls were in school. Busy week but trying to sort out my routines.

Word Association

Play along here.

1. Rhythm :: Dancer
2. Baby :: Faced
3. Sanctimonious :: Harmonious
4. I like :: you like
5. Constipated :: Plugged
6. Sleep late :: up early
7. Over easy :: eggs
8. Erratic :: Behaviour
9. Umbrella :: Rain
10. You don't :: know

Explaining: Yeah, I never get number six. I am usually always up by five-something. During the week I get up with Mrs. LB at 4:45, and I'm getting up at 5:30 every Sunday now that the Loper season has started. Saturdays are not for sleeping in either because I'm running Saturday mornings now to make up for the reduced Sunday mileage. It's a good thing I'm already a morning person.

The Balloon Incident

I must find a place that sells balloons today.

On Wednesday I took the girls to the dentist. After their appointments (no cavities, yay) they each got a balloon. Kennedy was excited about hers because it was yellow, her favorite color. On the way home, we stopped by the library as I had some items on hold and Yvie hadn't checked anything out for a long time (she said so but it had only been like 10 days).

After about 20 minutes there, we went back to the truck. Kennedy opened her door at the same time I did and said "My balloon." I looked up and saw her balloon floating away, some 20 feet off the ground and rising quickly. She immediately burst into tears. I felt powerless of course, since there was nothing I could do but watch the balloon climb higher and higher.

By the time we were driving away, the balloon was a yellow speck in the vast blue sky. And her wails grew and grew. Yvie tried to comfort her - "Take my balloon, it's yours" - to no avail. Eventually, Yvie started crying and repeatedly said "I feel so bad for her."

About 30 minutes later, the crying finally began to subside. Several times on Thursday, Kennedy wondered about her balloon and a few times asked if it might land here at our house.

Hence, my quest.

Five Question Friday

Another edition of Five Question Friday for you.

1. Do you have any nicknames and if so how did it come about?

My wife gave me my nickname, LB. It's just my initials, simple enough, but nobody had ever really called me that before. I did used to wear Long Beach State hats before I met her but I don't know, I guess that didn't translate into a nickname.

Once, a friend of mine started calling me the Beast, as in Luis the Beast since it rhymes. I liked that, but it didn't stick. Sad.

2. What is your birth order amongst your siblings?

I am second of the four Bueno boys. I have an older brother who is 18 months my senior (my mom had fun with the two of us when we were really young... and I'm paying for those days with Kennedy :) ), and then there is a brother six years younger than me (Danny) and another one 13 years younger than me (Jesse). The bad thing for by younger brothers is that I got the brains, the athleticism and the looks... okay, maybe not, but I did get some of each... I think...

3. In a movie of your life, who would play your significant other?

Well, I think Mrs. LB would like me to be played by this person here so I figure why not return the favor?

4. What is currently your favorite song?

I got into this indie band, Mumford & Sons, just recently. They are awesome, and it's not usually something I would listen to, folk rock or whatever, but these guys rock. This is my favorite song of theirs. The Cave

5. Are you saving your money for anything right now? Big or small purchase?

My major purchases I'm saving up for are my upcoming races: the Long Beach Half Marathon on Oct. 17 ($80) and the Mission Inn Half Marathon here in Riverside on Nov. 14 ($40). I also anticipate needing new shoes before the year is out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Climbing... Or Not


I sat here for about 10 minutes trying to think of some profound post and that's about as far as I got.

It's the dog days of summer I suppose. I'm trying to get back to running 30 miles a week and I thought I could do it this week but it looks like it will be tough, especially since Mrs. LB is going out of town on business and I'm going to have to figure out how to run 10 miles on Saturday with the girls. Might have to get them up early and head to my mom's, and then run from there. Not that fun but it's either that or no 10-miler... or no run at all.

I ran six miles on Wednesday, will try for five on Thursday, have four planned for Sunday so between Friday and Saturday need to compile 15 more. Not sure if it's worth the headache to try and figure out how to get those runs in just to get to 30.

I was busy on Monday and so rested, but starting the week off with even 3-4 miles is a positive and one I need to take advantage of.

So, nothing profound from me today. Maybe I'll share a picture...

Mrs. LB and I ate lunch at Boudin the day after the San Francisco Marathon. It was pretty stinking good, perhaps made better by having had the smell imprinted in my nose from having run past that place in the very early stages of the race. I ate that whole stinking thing too.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mill No More

I mentioned this in passing in Monday's post but I wanted to dedicate some time to this thought.

Now that both of my girls are in school and I have my mornings free, I do not have to run the treadmill any more.

Let me repeat.

No. More. Treadmill.

Now, I'm not actually a treadmill hater. I don't use the term "dreadmill" simply because the treadmill was a great tool for me throughout my running journey. Not all runners have the luxury of being able to run outdoors whenever they want, be it family, weather or another sort of obstacle, the treadmill was a useful and valuable part of my running journey.

But the treadmill is now something I can use when I choose to, not something I have to turn to because I have no choice. I won't have the chance to run on Tuesday (work beckons after all) but Wednesday I will run once I drop the girls off at school. I figure I'll get in a 4-5 miler and I will have the chance to run it outdoors.

What this means for my runs is a more diverse scenery. Throughout my running journey, one constant view of mine is me, from the mirror in front of me at the gym. It's not exactly a favorite view because it can get pretty boring. Believe me, nobody wants to look at LB for 45 minutes. Not even my mother.

Now, I can look forward to real scenery, not a static mirror and wall.

I will not completely scrap the treadmill, though. The thing I'm anxious about now is hitting the 'mill hard with speedwork. Now, when I see the treadmill I know I will have speedwork to do on there. I have interval runs I want to do, tempo runs and the like. There are a few runs I'm itching to do but haven't because of time.

I know the treadmill has a horrible reputation among runners, and that most runners run outside all the time. But this is new territory for me, having the ability to run outside when I decide, not when fate decides.

With that, I say not goodbye to the treadmill but rather see you later.
Once in a while.
On my terms.
When I say.

Got it, 'mill?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Aug. 16)

Part of me feels bad, like I'm trying to push my girls out of the door. But another part of me is happy that one stage of our lives is over and progressing forward.

Last week was a monumental week for our family as Kennedy started school. She's now enrolled in and attending kindergarten, and is a full-fledged big girl, joining her sister who's been a big girl going on three years now.

It's been beyond fantastic having spent so much time with the two of them throughout their early childhood, they need to be doing their own thing just as much as I need some time to breathe.

I've been a work-at-home-dad since Kennedy was born, since before then. I did a bulk of the day-to-day activities with Kennedy from the time Mrs. LB returned to work after maternity leave (sometime in Feb. 06) until today. I don't know that I planned this growing up necessarily but it happened, and I'm fortunate. I really am.

LB: "So far she hasn't cried much, let's keep it that way."
KB: "What happened? How did I end up here? And what's in my mouth?"

There were a lot of strange times for me back in the early days of having two kids at home. I felt lonely. I felt bottled up, more than usual. I worked, as a writer then like I do now, but things were different then with that as well. It was around this time I started seeing my trainer for the first time and began my fitness quest, and that was also a huge uncertainty.

There were a lot of times where it was me struggling to find some sanity with two very young girls, one of whom depended on me for everything.

2-year-old Yvie with 5-day-old Kennedy

We did have fun, though. It wasn't all just struggles. Actually, I think we had more fun than anything.

Smile if you're a Dodgers fan

It felt like they would be like that forever. And now, they're both in school.

What this means for them is the chance to continue growing and developing and learning in a different environment, particularly for Kennedy. She's been dying to go to school for two years now and is thrilled with kindergarten, thrilled with being a bona fide big girl.

What this means for me is the chance to plan things, like runs, trips to the gym, work, meals, errands, etc. What this means for Mrs. LB is coming home to a clean house... wait, um, maybe I shouldn't get carried away...

Anyway, this is the first full week of school, the first full week where I have a clean slate for three hours a day, every day. It's not much time in the grand scheme of things but it feels like I have control over my schedule now. Sure, I'll have to take them and pick them up to and from school every day, and my parenting duties have really not lightened much if any, but I can plan things.

I can say "I'm going to run Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 a.m. this week" it won't be followed by an "if..."

I can say "I'm going to spend an hour on Thursday organizing my office" and I can make it happen.

I can say "I'm going to hang out at the beach" ... actually, I can't say that... darn...

So, on the one hand, it's a bit of a bummer that the girls are aging seemingly so quickly, but on the other hand, it's been a ride, these last seven years. We're done changing diapers. We're done taking our whole house out with us when we want to go eat. And I'm done with the damn treadmill (except for speedwork). We're done with that phase and that part of the journey.

And for all four of us in this family, the future suddenly seems so much more wide open now than it did one week ago.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Relishing My Break

Marathons are addicting. I've loved everything about my first two marathons, from the excitement of the start line to the overwhelming sense of accomplishment at the finish. The pain after the race - which I liken to having gotten hit by a truck - is not pleasant but that fades away and so to does the memory of it.

I want to keep marathons a pleasant experience. The training is grueling - there's just no way around it. From the constant double-digit mileage runs to the 18-, 20- and 22-mile runs to cap off training, preparing for a marathon is the hard part.

One of the best things I did was to decide against running another marathon this year, even though both Long Beach (on Oct. 17) and Las Vegas (Dec. 5) were tempting.

Today I ran 12 miles, my longest distance since San Francisco. Had I decided to run the full at Long Beach I would have needed to run 18. I don't think I had another six miles in me, so I would have already been hating my decision.

I know it is a long time from now until Feb. 6, date of the Surf City Marathon. But I am excited about training, excited about the race and excited about the three races I have planned from now 'til then (Long Beach Half on Oct. 17, Mission Inn Half on Nov. 14 and the Loper Classic 15K on Dec. 5). My next 18-mile run will be on Dec. 19, and I know I will be pumped for that one.

When I think about marathons, I want to feel excited. I want to feel it is a big event that I am just itching to participate in. I don't want it to feel like a chore. I don't want to have to run 18-milers, I want to anticipate with excitement my 18-milers.

So while running another marathon this year probably would have been fun, putting one off until Feb. 6 is the best thing for me - the excitement is guaranteed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Aug. 13)

Word Association

As always, play along here.

1. Coma :: Hospital
2. Aristotle :: Socrates
3. Pink eye :: Contagious
4. Expensive :: Costly
5. Dancer :: Ballet
6. Lipstick :: Lip gloss
7. Buffer :: Zone
8. Stilettos :: Heels
9. Booming :: Voice
10. Rap :: Music

I suppose a better one for Aristotle would have been Plato, but I only realized that after a quick web search after I finished this. Socrates died about 13 years before Aristotle was born. Seems like there's a little bit of a theme with 4-6 and 8, and maybe if dancer were further below I'd have said something else. And booming voice, I don't exactly have a booming voice.

Five Question Friday

Here's today's installment of Five Question Friday.

1. Have you ever visited another country?

If you've been a regular reader of this blog over the last year or so, you've been along with me as I've traveled to Costa Rica, Canada and Mexico.

I've been to other countries as well: Japan, Germany and France, the latter of which was just a day trip.

Mexico was the first foreign country I visited, but since my parents were from there it wasn't that big of a deal for me to go back and forth. The first real trip I took to a country that seemed foreign to me, though, was to Trinidad & Tobago in 2001. Chances are you're not familiar with it or couldn't find it on a map. Trinidad & Tobago is a small island nation, which consists of one large island (Trinidad) and one smaller island (Tobago). It's off the coast of Venezuela, and the southernmost part of the Caribbean.

I scanned in some pictures I took there, and have thought about blogging about it, but until that progresses beyond the thinking stage I'll share some now.

I stayed in the capital, Port-of-Spain, for three weeks. I went there to cover a soccer tournament and was sent by a company and they paid for everything. It was one of the best trips I've ever taken.

I was expecting beaches every day but the main beach was a half hour out of the city. Port-of-Spain is, well, a port and does not have a lot of beaches. Maracas Bay is the place you want to go to when you're in Trinidad.

The weather there is awesome, and it doesn't really change: high of 86, low of 78, chance of rain. Every day of the year. The locals don't own jackets.

2. Where is the strangest place you have ever been?

This would have to be a tie between Hiroshima, Japan, and Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

They were equally depressing. You can't help but just feel totally and completely bummed out after visiting those places. What struck me was the amount of atrocities and death that went down there, at the very spot I was standing at the time. How many people stood where I stood and suffered some horrendous and unconscionable fate?

I was glad I visited those places and I may blog about them in the future (they're part of the previous trips I took where I'd have to scan pictures of in order to talk about them but haven't done so) and may get into more detail then, but in short both places were utterly depressing, and strange to think that I was there at the very spot where so many things happened.

On that dour note...

3. What is your favorite season?

Well, I would say winter because of Christmas but January is always such a letdown so that's out. Spring is okay, but school tends to drag it out.

I'd have to say fall because that's when both the girls' birthdays are and they really enjoy Halloween and Thanksgiving, and then it's still technically fall when the holiday season begins. It's just a real fun time for us here because the girls really enjoy that time.

4. What one song will always cheer you up?

Lately it's been this one that I've found hilariously funny whenever I hear it:

5. What Disney character do you resemble most?

Tough question. I thought about it and I think I'd have to say James P. Sullivan, aka...

Sulley, from Monsters Inc.

Sulley is a big tough guy and, well, I like to think I'm a tough guy too but not quite sure about that one. Sulley could kick some butt if he had to and again I'd like to think I would as well. Sulley is not going to win a 5K anytime soon, and neither will I. But dammit, we'll both finish.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Big Day For K

Wednesday was a crazy day. It wasn't just crazy busy but it was crazy in that some big things happened.

Kennedy started school. While this summer has been memorable with my marathon and our vacations and trips, the biggest thing that's happened this summer has been Kennedy starting school.

This was the day she'd been waiting for, for so long. Mrs. LB and I walked her to her classroom, intending to walk her inside and see her off from there, but she hugged us and said bye to us, well, tried to anyway, before we even went inside.

But we followed here in there, after she tried to disappear into her class.

She swung her name around her neck and sat down, waiting for her new classmates to join her. We left through the back door and she neither noticed nor cared. She was very happy and seemingly in her element.

Now this was a mini-holiday for Mrs. LB and I. After we walked Yvie to her classroom, we went out for breakfast. We'd planned on going out for breakfast for many months. I pictured us reading and relaxing but we ended up just talking for the entire breakfast, but that was fine. Very enjoyable and relaxing.

However, work cut short my morning. Instead of going home to relish in the quiet, I had to rush out to the soccer stadium. Not sure if you heard the news but you-know-who is back.

Now, David Beckham of course hurt his Achilles tendon in March and missed the World Cup. But he's been working hard to come back and on Wednesday he did. He won't play in any games soon but he was out there, working the tendon, looking pretty.

I said "Hey, how about something for my blog readers?"

Then he came over to talk to us.

It's always surreal to see him up close, to see celebrities up close, but the whole time I was thinking about Kennedy and wondering what she was up to. I guess it's only appropriate the two are intertwined on her big day. Remember this?

She enjoyed her day, couldn't wait to get back to school the next day. She made some friends, sang some songs, practiced writing the number one... as for more details, well, she's four and 4-year-olds don't always provide the most detailed reports. However, I might get to go into her classroom on Friday to help out so I'll hopefully have more to report then.

And Becks won't keep me away this time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Off To School

In late October of 2005, we brought home a seven-plus-pound baby girl from the hospital.

She was challenging from Day One, with her stomach issues (she hated regular formula and only liked the expensive stuff, Nutramigen) and her squirreliness, and those challenges only changed and became different challenges as she got older.

She was always picked on, never got to do what she wanted to, always the one nobody thought of. Poor girl. Of course she wasn't, but that was her perception.

Yvie got to do all the fun stuff while young Kennedy could only watch. One of the worst days of her life - if she could recall them, she'd surely tell you it was this - was when Yvie went to kindergarten.

Yvie got the fun stuff like kindergarten and Kennedy got nothing but boring preschool.

No consoling could do the trick. And it seemed time just didn't move fast enough for Kennedy.

"When am I going to be five?" she asked me constantly after dropping Yvie off at school.

She's not five yet, won't be for another two months, but she's ready for kindergarten.

Today, Kennedy starts school. No longer will she be picked on. No longer will sissy get to do things she doesn't get to do. All day, every day, Kennedy will be in school... well, every day for three hours and 21 minutes.

When she realizes Yvie gets to spend three hours longer at school than she does, Kennedy may feel picked on once more, may start to ask if she could stay longer and might get upset when she hears the answer.

Did I mention she's been challenging?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Muddy Bits

Not a whole lot of time today to dedicate to my blog. Tuesday is my busy work day and I didn't have much planned ahead of time, but I did want to give you a few brief tidbits nevertheless.

* I ran eight miles Saturday, two on Sunday but none since then. I won't get a chance to run until Wednesday morning. I'm hoping to run Wednesday through Sunday for a total of about 25 miles. We'll see how my heel feels, though. It's been acting up a little the last few days.

* My next race won't be until Oct. 17 (Long Beach Half Marathon) so technically I'm not training for a race right now. However, I will definitely want to hit training hard by the end of this month, particularly speedwork. I want to get faster and will want to run a strong race that day so I'm looking forward to getting settled into a routine that includes some speedwork.

* Monday was, of course, my birthday. Yay. Thanks for all the well-wishes. I hope to make age 35 memorable. I ran two marathons at age 34 and I hope to run three marathons at age 35 - Surf City (Feb. 6), LA (March 20) and another one, possibly Salt Lake or San Diego or something else next summer.

* Lastly, here's a sneak peek at Wednesday's post:

No, it's not about swimming or water safety, but rather a memorable day for my beloved Kennedy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Aug 9)

Today's not the end of the year nor the start of a new one, at least not on the calendar, but it does make me look ahead at the next 365 days.

It's my birthday today. Yay me. I'm turning 35 today (yikes) and will spend the day relaxing... for a little bit, since I do have to work and all.

But I also am looking a little ahead to the next year. While I am now officially halfway to 40 (whoa), I am not exactly feeling depressed. I know once you hit 30, you long to be in your 20s but when I was in my mid- to late-20s I weighed 300 pounds, so no thanks to being 27 again.

Physically I am in my prime, and I will strive to continue topping myself again and again. That doesn't mean PRs or anything like that, but rather to just enhance my running and fitness continually. A year ago, for instance, I'd run one half-marathon and a handful of other races. Two years ago, I'd run one 5K ever. When I turned 32, I weighed probably in the 220s. As I turn 35, I can now count two marathons among the races I've completed. When I turn 36, I hope to have run three full marathons between birthdays.

Age doesn't have to be demoralizing. For me, it's invigorating. I'm not as young as I used be (obviously, none of us are) but I feel much better now than I ever have.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Beat Down

Ugh. I'm back from vacation and a bit worn out. It's funny but vacations for me aren't really vacations. Since I work for myself, I have to still get my work done. I can't just tell my clients "Hey, I'm outta here so I won't have the stories you need this week." The work has to get done, and it does.

So this "vacation" forced me to get a head start on the work last weekend and stay up late on the nights I was out on the lake.

I'm not complaining or anything. It is nice to have the chance to work for myself as it gives me the freedom to stay at home with my girls, but there is certainly a trade-off. I rarely ever have a day where I don't do a single bit of work.

With that, I'm catching up with work stuff and trying to settle back into a routine so no Friday Leftover post today. Sad. Hopefully I'll get back to it next week when I'll have more time.

If you'd like something to read, check out Apple Strudel and Peach Cobbler. It's not a dessert blog, though that would be interesting too. No, it's a running/fitness blog. Kathrin of Apple Strudel and Peach Cobbler just rocked a triathlon last weekend. I'd love to also do a triathlon some day if I knew how to swim.

Anyway, enjoy the blog and your weekend.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Leap Of Faith

We've been on a bit of a vacation this week. It hasn't been a total vacation for me since I still have to write and get all that done, but we were at Lake Powell this week and are now on our way home.

Just wanted to share something here. Yvie is quite the adventurous girl. Check this out. It's kind of hard to see but she's on the far side here.

That's a pretty steep cliff there, quite the far fall.

It's probably a 15-foot cliff, maybe 20. She didn't seem to mind.

There. You can see her little legs stick out moments before they hit the water.

I didn't actually get a shot of her hitting the water or in the water because it was a far fall, but she was all smiles... mostly. She seemed a bit scared but was happy she had done it.

I got to do it as well. Not sure if I'll post the picture but you'll have to take my word for it. It was a steep jump and I was frightened. But dammit, if my 6-year-old daughter did it, I had to do it.

I'll be back in Cali soon enough. Enjoy your day, and if you see a 15- to 20-foot cliff overlooking water, jump!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

High Above

After the San Francisco Marathon, I went home and went right back into reality. I had a boatload of work waiting for me, and two vibrant, energetic girls to tend to. Needless to say, my running time was limited.

Now, since I had just run a marathon, I wasn't quite feeling upset about my lack of running time. But of course I got antsy and was itching for a run by the weekend, and then of course I never got one in.

My first post-SF marathon run was not until Tuesday, a full nine days after the marathon. That's okay, though, since I had said I wanted to rest after the marathon. Rest time is over. I jumped back into the fray with a six-miler on Tuesday.

It wasn't just any ordinary six-mile run, though. See, I'm in Arizona right now and won't be home until later in the week. I got up at 4:40 on Tuesday morning and by 5 a.m. I was outside and doing what I love to do.

Remember a year ago, when I wrote about my run to the dam? Well, I decided to go for it again, as we're vacationing in the same town. I set out to run the three miles it takes to get from our hotel to the dam, which could give me a full six miles as well as a great start to the day.

When I started, the sun had not quite come out. It was already in the 70s or 80s, it felt rather warm, but by the time I got to the dam, the sun was out.

I ran over a bridge that goes over the Colorado River.

The view was superb, although at times when I looked down towards the river and the massively steep drop, I felt a little fear.

On the other side of the bridge was the Glen Canyon Dam, and beyond that Lake Powell.

And what did the bridge that I ran over look like?

You can't even see the bottom there, can you?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

For Babies: Buy And Sell

A couple of my awesome blog buddies are expecting. No, not PRs, but rather babies. In each case, baby number one (and both are girls, woo hoo).

I figured it was my duty, as a parent of young girls, as someone who not too long ago was in their position, to offer up some advice and tips. Pregnancy is long and potentially painful. I remember Mrs. LB being so sapped of her energy during both of her pregnancies.

Now, I can't offer advice on how to feel better. But I can offer some tips on what could make things smoother at some point down the line.

Things You Should Buy

It might seem like there is a ton of time left until the baby is on its way but if you start buying things now, little by little, you won't be hard-pressed for time to do shopping when the baby is almost here. Plus, I'm guessing you have more energy now than you will at 36 weeks.

* Diapers. We bought tons of diapers throughout both pregnancies. We bought newborn diapers, size 1 diapers, size 2 diapers... didn't matter. We figured one pack now would save us a bit of time and money later. Mrs. LB would clip coupons and use them to buy up diapers during the pregnancy. You're not going to know what brand you prefer and what brand you detest (I don't think we cared for Luvs much, if I recall correctly) but if you buy up diapers now, little by little, you won't have to buy a pack every 3-5 days when the baby is finally here.

* Clothes... sort of: Chances are you'll get plenty of clothes from the baby shower... or showers. So you might want to hold off on a full-out shopping spree until after the shower, just to see what you get. You might not have gotten many onesies, for instance, so that might be worth buying up afterward. However, you will probably get a lot of newborn clothes and maybe some 0-3 or 3-6 as well. Chances are you will not get a lot of 6-9 mos. or older than that. We hit a wall with Yvie where we had a ton of clothes at first, but then as she got older we didn't have much to choose from. We realized that a lot of the clothes we got at first, she'd grown out. So maybe buy ahead to 6-9 mos. or even 12 mos. or so.

* Shampoo, Desitin, baby q-tips, baby soap... etc.: Mrs. LB always goes out and buys up a bunch of this stuff when she gets invited to baby showers, and people are always appreciative. It might not be an attractive gift per se but that's the thing - you probably don't think of these things much until you have to buy them or worse when you are scrambling around because your baby is crying. There are a few other things that could go on the list, like baby Orajel or the drops that help with gas, but definitely get some of the essentials.

* Changing Table: Mrs. LB wanted a changing table. I didn't. I told her it was a waste of money and that we could change them anywhere - on the bed, on the floor, wherever. Well, I was wrong. I grew to really enjoy the changing table. We kept our diapers there, wipes, Desitin and a bunch of other things. It helped us stay organized and was pretty essential after all. It's just another example of Mrs. LB knowing more than LB :(

Things You Should NOT Buy

* Bassinet: This is the biggest waste of money. Sure, they look nice and seem like an essential piece of furniture but your baby is only going to be in them for maybe six weeks. After that, it's off to the crib (well for Yvie and Kennedy it was). Guess what happens to the bassinet? It sits there. Unused. Taking up space. We borrowed one luckily as we didn't end up buying one, and before we knew it Yvie was hitting the side of that thing whenever she rolled around. She got way too big for it way too quickly. I don't remember Kennedy in it. The bassinet is up in the rafters of our garage, waiting to be tossed or donated.

* Baby bath tubs: You're going to get like five of them at your shower. Register for one, but don't buy one until after the shower, if you still need one by then.

* Diaper Genie: Those things are useless! We had one and it was so much effort to not only put the diaper in there and twist it but to change the bag and toss it, and then refill the damn thing. It's easier if you have a designated trash can for dirty diapers somewhere that it won't stink up the place. I think we just used to go outside and toss them in the trash can outside, at least when it was filled with crap.

* Diaper Bag: Maybe this is just more of a personal thing, in that I just didn't care what kind of bag I lugged around, but this doesn't seem essential to me. For starters, we got a lot of them free. We got one at the hospital and I think someone gave us one at a shower. It's tough to figure out what you like in a diaper bag until you are actually using one, so you might be better off taking a wait-and-see approach with this. I mean, you might buy an expensive, designer-looking diaper bag and then realize that you want comfort more than looks, for instance. The one I used the most at the end was a pink diaper bag a friend of mine gave me because he bought it for like a dollar somewhere. It was comfortable to carry and I didn't care if I spilled crap on it or in it or whatever, because you will spill crap on it or in it... sometimes actual (baby) crap.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Aug. 2)

Why do I blog?

Why do I take time out of (almost) every day?

At first, it was a way to organize my thoughts as I trained for my first-ever race, the 2008 Camp Pendleton Mud Run. Then it became an outlet for me as I grew and developed into a full-fledged marathoner.

I sprinkled in family posts, still do occasionally, and have shared many personal thoughts and hopes, dreams and fears along the way with the hopes of possibly inspiring others to run or to tackle whatever challenge in their life they may think unreachable.

Still, this blog would not exist save for one thing: my readers.

Now, I know I don't have a lot of readers. Some blogs I read have 100, 200, 500 or even 1,000 readers. That's fantastic. Others I read daily or as often as possible have followers in the 10s, 20s, 30s, and that's great to. I don't read blogs because of the popularity of them, and I know my readers aren't like that either.

It's great to know I have readers, and great to know some of them peruse this blog daily or often. That's why I blog, for them, for my readers and blog buddies. There's a connection there, at some level. And what's been a treat this summer has been the chance to actually meet some readers/blog buddies.

Since early June, I've met a grand total of five of my blog buddies. Four of them were planned and one was the greatest coincidence that's happened to me in... perhaps ever.

In chronological order:

flexin' with Tahoegirl at the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, June 5

I met Tahoegirl (Anne) and Mr. Tahoegirl (Anne's husband) at Camp Pendleton as the two were starting out a two-week West Coast vacation - poor Tahoegirl lives in the faraway land of Michigan :(

Anyway, Tahoegirl does not have a blog but has been a friend and reader since the early days of this blog. She is running the Chicago Marathon in October, and you know I will be and have been supporting her throughout her journey to her first marathon and on the big day itself.

A few weeks ago I had the treat to meet...

Lisa and LB on a blazing-hot summer day

... Lisa of Discovering the Meaning of Stonehenge (a runner's journey). That's a mouthful :) We just so happened to go to the same beach on the same day and sat about six yards apart from each other. Too stinking crazy!

I came across Lisa's blog a few weeks before Surf City as I was looking for other bloggers/runners who would also run the marathon on Feb. 7. Lisa had run two marathons before that day and set a fantastic time, a PR of 3:57:17. I have to say, one of the posts that I've enjoyed the most of hers was her thoughts on Surf City and how she was able to smash her previous times (Marathon 1 - 4:54, Marathon 2 - 4:16).

This was the lone unplanned bloggy meet-up and I still cannot believe it happened.

I hit the mother lode of bloggers in San Francisco. In two days, I met three amazing bloggers, runners, women.

First, before my muscles had gotten the chance to recover, I met...

A pair of losers! as in, losers of weight :)

... Amanda of Fat Wuz Here. I mentioned Amanda in my race recap but I can't say enough about Amanda. Her grit and determination to get through her second half marathon of the year is admirable. Amanda and I both have dropped a ton of weight and are both striving to meet our running goals. Amanda will run the Disneyland Half Marathon in September and I'm hoping Mickey and Co. are nice to her.

On Monday, I capped off a great weekend by meeting two more awesome bloggers/runners/women as I met up with...

A trio of stars!

Katie A. of One Run at a Time and Jill of Run With Jill.

I was in the presence of marathon greatness. Both Katie and Jill ran the Boston Marathon this year. The day before, Katie had run the 2nd Half Marathon while Jill ran the full. I've been blog buddies with the two ladies since the end of last year, beginning of this. I'm not sure if they stumbled across my blog or vice versa, but I felt strange since they are marathon queens and I hadn't yet run my 26.2, but they took an interest in this blog and I'm glad they did. The two ladies are serious runners and their energy and enthusiasm for running is contagious.

Now, those are the latest blog buddies I've met. Last year in Seattle I met two fellow bloggers/runners during an 18-miler on a cold and rainy day. And of course my Loper buddy Angie I met by reading her now-defunct blog.

I hope to meet more blog buddies/readers in the future. I have plans to go to Toronto on business this year and would love to race in Seattle, Salt Lake and Las Vegas in the next two years or so, so I'm not quite done meeting up with my small but hearty following.

Blogging is fun of course - I wouldn't do it if it felt like a chore. Meeting blog buddies/readers is just a huge bonus as far as I'm concerned.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Little Post-SF Video


I know it's been a week since the marathon now, officially one week ago, but I still have not posted everything I've wanted to post about the big PR weekend.

Anyway, I've wanted to make sure I get in as much as possible from what I experienced so I can remember the race well and to share it with all of you.

Just wanted to share this little video clip that Mrs. LB shot of me awhile after the race. It's short so you won't have to suffer too much.

Hope everyone's having a great weekend!