Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Milk And Gels

I was thumbing through my Runner's World magazine recently and came across some pretty interesting tips. There are always tips in there, great tips and advice from reliable sources... and then there are other bits of info that I dismiss as quickly as I read it.

These caught my eye, though, so much so that I've just tried one out and may try another one in my next race.

Chocolate Milk

Okay, this isn't new. In fact, I've tried this before. But maybe it's just a thing where you hear about something so many times that eventually it makes sense and you start believing. According to a study, after a 45-minute run some test subjects were given either fat-free chocolate milk or a carb-recovery drink with the same amount of calories. After three hours, the milk-drinkers had lower markers of muscle protein breakdown, which means better recovery over the other drinks.

The mag recommends a glass of low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk after runs of 45 minutes or longer, which for me is essentially every time out; well, 8 out of 10 runs probably.

I ran Thursday morning and happened to park near a grocery store. I ran for an hour and then just went into the store for a quick trip (yet still managed to dole out 27 dollars and came out with three big bags of groceries, how the heck did that happen?) and grabbed some chocolate milk. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that it has quite a few calories. The bottle I got had 300, although I didn't see how many ounces it was. It was either 16 or 20 ounces. Usually I will have a piece of fruit or two after a run and that's maybe 150 calories, less than 200 for sure, so you have to account for the calories. But still, the advantages seem plenty.

More Carbs To Improve Performance

This one is intriguing. This study centered on triathletes and cyclists who rode for two hours while consuming different amounts of carbs. Afterward they raced a 20K time trial. The ones who had the most carbs had the faster times. How many carbs? Per hour, 60-80 grams of carbs, as opposed to 30-60 per hour which is apparently the figure recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.

The mag recommends 8-16 ounces of sports drink and two sports gel per hour on long runs.

Interesting. If I use this during the Long Beach Half Marathon, it would mean four GU packets instead of two like I'd planned, and I would probably need two full bottles of Gatorade on my fuel belt. I'd have to GU at 25 min., 50 min., 1 hr 20 min. and 1 hr 40 min. That's a lot of GU! Each packet has 25g of carbs, so two packets is 50g (you like my math skills) and the 8-16 ounces of sports drink would make up for the rest of the carbs.

I might just try this. Seems kinda strange to eat that much GU but then again, the science behind it makes sense.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Playlist Enhancer: BRMC's Conscience Killer

This song is awesome and will definitely be on my Long Beach Half Marathon playlist.

In March, I'd never heard of this group, of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Now, they're the band I've listened to the most over the last three months. Easy. I even went to a show of theirs recently, and this song was my favorite from their set.

It's up-tempo which I like. It rocks out. It has a little bit of a bad-ass feel to it but there's also parts you can hum along to. Towards the end the drums kick in more and that can get your legs churning.

The only question is whether I want to put this near the start to get me off to a good start or somewhere towards the end to give me a much-needed jolt. Either way, I can't go wrong.

Easing Up

I ran seven miles a week ago Tuesday. Lately, I've been running Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, but last week I did not run Wednesday. On Thursday, I went out and ran six miles and with 15 miles planned for Sunday I'd wanted to get in a short run on either Friday or Saturday.

I didn't run after all on those days. And after my 15-miler, I haven't run since.

No, I'm not injured. But I am listening to my body.

My heel discomfort has been back... it really never went away, just sort of lingered in the background. But since I've been running five days and cracking the 30-mile mark each week, the increased stress on the heel has not gone unnoticed. I feel like I walk normally but Mrs. LB constantly asks me if I'm okay and tells me that I'm limping. It's not really a limp but I do walk differently.

The constant pounding I put my feet through makes my heel flare up. It's not unbearable pain - it's really not even pain - but I do feel something in my heel.

So I've had to ease up a little bit. It's a reminder though that what's most important to me is not necessarily the goals I set or the number of days I run. It's just having the ability to run. Injuries are no fun and sitting on the sideline is not fun. I sat out a week in June because of this same heel issue and that week was not a fun one. And if, heaven forbid, something drastic were to happen, it would mean a prolonged period of time away from one of the things I love most.

I rest, take it easy and don't force anything. Sure, taking a complete rest might help put this behind me, and I'm talking about a full month off from running. While I can't do that right now, what I can do is to listen to my body take my foot off the gas pedal and go from there.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Sept. 27)

Mrs. LB has offered up another guest post. I think she'd be a pretty good blogger, but until that happens, I'll be lucky to have her as a guest blogger.

Here's her latest offering.

When it comes to fashion have you ever wished you were the kind of person who could pull something off? For example, some women look great in unique tights in the winter. Some guys look cool in warm up suits. Some women have the ability to pull off the vest and tie look while some men can pull off the skinny jean look (beware of this one, guys, I have a feeling you’ll be looking back on these pics in the future and wishing it weren’t so).

My point here is that for the most part people live in the mainstream of fashion. There aren’t many people who take risks. And among those who do - there are even fewer who make it work.
I always wanted to be the kind of woman who could pull off hats or cool headbands. I love to accessorize and the head seems like another obvious place of adornment. I’ve tried many hats. When I was younger, my girlfriends would convince me in the store I was so a “hat person.” Let it be said here that I now know they were lying.

I have tried headbands of all types - glittery, flower-adorned, preppy, wide, skinny, patterned, solid, etc. You get the picture. For some reason, I cannot accessorize my head. I’ve mostly given this up except for the occasional day when my hair is just not cooperating and then I might steal one of my girls’ headbands to get me through the day. This, by the way, is always a bad idea. It’s usually the day I have an impromptu meeting with a VP or CEO and the headband keeps slipping or makes me look like I’m 12 - not a 30-something HR professional who knows how to guide a corporation in personnel matters.

Anyway, this brings me to my actual point. My husband has always wanted to be the type of guy who looks good wearing a jersey. Soccer, football, baseball and hockey jerseys - he has them. He loves them and likes wearing them. This was difficult for him before he changed to a healthy lifestyle.

We used to have to try and buy them as big as we could find them. This is not possible in the world of soccer jerseys. Maybe you could get away with finding a XXL guy playing football but nobody who plays soccer is large. It’s not possible to run for 90 minutes and be big. So, the manufacturers assume that the fans are also not XXL-wearing kind of people. While this is a bad assumption, it just is what it is.

Recently, I watched my husband as he coached our oldest daughter’s soccer team, The Pink Jaguars, and he was running around in a soccer jersey we had previously deemed decorative since he couldn’t fit into them before. And he looked good. He looked lean and energetic. He looked like a guy you would find on a soccer field.

I know how good he feels when he can buy off the rack. I bought him a Japan national team jersey for his birthday last month and his brother brought him home an awesome Ecuador national team jersey from his South American trip. I was so happy to see Luis’ smile when he slid both of these on and they fit. He’s still self-conscious about anything being too form fitting on top but that’s mostly in his head.

Saturday, he put his navy blue Ecuadorian jersey on over another shirt after taking team pics with The Pink Jaguars and had no trouble at all sliding it down his lean torso.

I hope he rewards himself with many more jerseys in the future as a reminder of how far he’s come.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Sept. 24)

Friday is upon us once more.

For your reading pleasure...

Word Association

Play here as always.
  1. Mustache :: Beard

  2. Person :: Place or Thing

  3. Restore :: Action

  4. Discretion :: Quiet

  5. Lamp :: Light

  6. Pillow cover :: Pillowcase

  7. Arousal :: Awaken

  8. Seattle :: Sounders

  9. ATM :: Cash

  10. Custard :: Pie

Like No. 8 had a chance of being anything else...

Five Question Friday

Another edition of Five Question Friday. Hope you all enjoy it.

1. If you could speak with a different accent, what would it be (i.e Australian, Scottish)?

We all have accents. Go to London or Syndey and ask the locals if you have an accent, and they'll probably tell you that you do. I once interviewed some Australian teens who were here for some baseball tournament and I asked them about their accents and if people had problems understanding them. I was mostly joking of course but the kid I was talking to shot back "Accents? We don't have accents. You do." So I do speak with an accent.

And speaking of accents...

2. Can you fall asleep anywhere? (i.e floor, couch, desk)

Yes. I have the power to do that... when I don't wear my C-PAP. Do you not know that I wear a C-PAP? My old-school readers know that as I've blogged about it before. When I don't wear that wonderful piece of machinery, I do fall asleep anywhere. In fact, just the other day I dozed off at the kitchen table. While I was writing on my laptop. At 3... p.m. Uh, yeah, I'm magical that way.

Long story short, I have sleep apnea, which causes my windpipe to slowly close shut while I sleep, forcing me to stop breathing which in turn makes me wake up. I don't ever get into deep sleep without the C-PAP, with it I do. This was actually worse for me when I was 300-plus pounds as I had severe obstructed sleep apnea but 120 pounds lighter I just have a moderate case of it. Yay for weight loss.

3. Do you use public restrooms? If so, do you sit on the toilet?

Yes and yes if I have to. You know, I love absolutely everything about being a dad to two daughters. Some things are tough, like having to do their hair and all their clothes and things like that, I'm just lost. Like, good luck having me match up outfits for them to wear. But the one thing that I hate is the bathrooms. I hate that they have to go into men's bathrooms because they are downright flithy. I hate that while my daughter is using a bathroom, some stinky grimy yucky man is nearby... ugh. Totally. Grosses. Me. The. Eff. Out. I mean, if it's just some guy like me or some younger kid or an older composed man, fine, but the dirty slovenly types... gross.

I try and make the seat as good as possible. I will clean it off and then I always have them sit on that cover thing. But it pretty much sucks no matter what. The best bathrooms are the family bathrooms. Those are awesome but sadly not in abundance.

4. If you were stuck in an elevator for 24 hours, what celebrity would you most want to be stuck with?


I would say more but I fear I've said too much already.

5. Where did you and your significant other go on your first date?

Our first official first date? Well, we went to hang out at Carl's Jr. once, and then we went to Jack in the Box shortly after but we weren't together. Damn, with me whining and dining her like that, I wonder why not.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Long Beach Half Marathon: Goals

I'm about three weeks away from my next race and I haven't been blogging much about it. I think I didn't want to blow it out of proportion but now it feels like I've just ignored it altogether.

My next race of course is the Long Beach Half Marathon. It's going to be an exciting race for several reasons, one of them being that I'll know several of the other participants there that day, in either the half or full. Several Loper friends, blog buddies and just assorted friends are taking part in the race so it should be an exciting and memorable day.

As far as my goals go, I do want to PR. I want to accomplish that much. Given my past, though, I will not be disappointed if I do not PR. Two years ago running 13.1 was a dream, four years ago it was something I did not think possible and five years ago... well, I was a much different (larger) person back then. That all puts in perspective of course.

Still, I think that helps ground me somewhat and helps me relax and focus on the goal at hand. I've been doing strong recently in my runs. I have been doing speedwork and had an awesome speedwork session on Friday. I've been doing a lot of miles in under nine minutes on my regular weekday runs, and that's encouraging.

Now, my half-marathon PR is 1:56:58, which is a pace of 8:55 per minute. I think I can shave off 5-10 seconds per minute, which means a finish time of between 1:54 and 1:56. It might be close and I might miss out on it but I do think I have some things in my favor.

* Speedwork. I wasn't doing much of it before Redlands. Even though my mileage was higher before Redlands - I was knocking out 12-15 milers each Sunday - my speedwork is helping me get faster.

* Determined. I always feel like I am more determined the more races I get under my belt, so I think I'm more determined now and that's going to make the difference.

* Course. The biggest factor is the course. Redlands was hilly and Long Beach is not. It's flat save for like one hill maybe.

We'll see if all of these factors work out in my favor or not. Whatever the case, I'm going to have a lot of fun trying to chase my PR.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Slowing Down

It's tough to run five days a week.

That's what I've figured out over the last three weeks or so. I've been hitting it hard and have run about five times each week I believe. Last week was the first time in a month that I haven't run five times each week, and that was because of a Sunday obligation I couldn't get out of.

This week, it has felt like the walls around me are collapsing with regards to work. It's a busy week and I'm nowhere near done with one of the things I have to get done. So I had to scrap my Wednesday run.

I've been doing well to getting to the 30-mile mark each week, my target for weekly miles, but it seems that when I concentrate on running and do well there, I suffer elsewhere.

There just aren't enough hours in the day.

So I'm going to try to run 3-4 times a week and will hopefully get to 30 miles a week.

Wow, that sounds confident.

Anyway, I hope to have longer runs so I can still accumulate the mileage. On Tuesday I ran 7 and Thursday I hope to knock out another 5-6. Sunday the Lopers will run 9 and I'll try to get in 3 miles before then. If I can do that, I'll have 25 or so, and that would mean a Friday or Saturday run of about 4-5 miles would get me to 30. That run is optional I think. I don't know, maybe it shouldn't be.

Even though I have all this time in the mornings now, it feels as if I have a cart and need to pile as much on there as possible but when I make room for running, work suffers, or when I make room for grocery shopping or cooking (you know that necessary but boring around-the-house stuff) then everything else suffers.

This is all part of my F.O.S Evolution - Figuring Sh** Out. It's a fine balancing act now but hopefully soon it won't be so bad.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

Felt like a throwing together some short blog items together for you, probably because my mind was all over the place on Monday.

Land of High Mileage

Trusty blog reader and friend of Muddy Runner tahoegirl is the woman! She ran 20 miles on the weekend, her last run until the Chicago Marathon, and her longest run ever! She begins her first-ever marathon taper now and I'm excited for her!

I'm asking for a favor. If you aren't a marathoner, please send her your encouragement. I know it made a difference for me, having the support of as many people as possible. And if you are a marathoner, pass along some tips and words of encouragement as well.

Tahoegirl has been aggressive throughout her training and has overcome challenges to meet her goal. Her 20-miler was run in 50-degree weather. Yikes. Not sure how long I would have lasted in that.

Anyway, I'll be running 11 miles on Oct. 10 I think but I know I will have the Windy City on my mind that day.

Q & A

Remember the Q & A I had earlier this year with my uncle Jorge? Well, I'm bringing it back. One of my Loper friends has agreed to be the subject of the second-ever Muddy Runner Q & A. She has an exciting tale to tell and will be running in a marathon shortly.

More details to follow but I can assure you her story is one worth promoting and worth reading about.


This is one of my new favorite running songs - New Moon Rising by Wolfmother.

Not sure why I never got their CDs. I liked the songs I heard of theirs but just never got around to buying their CDs. Well, the local library has them in stock so I checked them out and lo and behold, their stuff is fantastic. I've got a whole slew of new songs to run to, and this one is probably atop that list.

It's hard but not like Metallica hard. I mean, it won't make you tense if that metal stuff makes you tense (right Kerrie?) and this song has a good rhythm and nice energy. I've ran to it a few times and will be part of my Long Beach Half Marathon playlist for sure. The only question is, will it be near the top or towards the end?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Sept. 20)

For a while, I've been thinking of doing something like this. I don't know why I've never done it, I guess I felt it was... hmmm, well, I don't have a good reason why I suppose.

This video I stumbled across through a friend's FB account.

His story is a lot like mine, except that A) it took him less time to lose 120 pounds, and B) I ain't no Boston marathoner. But most of the things he writes about I am completely familiar with and that may as well have been my story.

Good stuff. I applaud him for everything he did to get to where he is. It isn't easy, but it is addicting and once you get used to losing weight and seeing changes and becoming someone you didn't realize you were, it's motivating.

So what do you think? Should I do something like this about myself? I've got plenty of pictures of myself from pre-2006, during my weight-loss journey and, of course, now that I'm a marathoner. I might have to pick a different group though to play my story to. Just sayin'...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Sept. 17)

Another week in the books. The weeks are flying by.

Word Association

Play along here.

1. Singapore :: Malaysia
2. blah blah blah :: blibbity blibbity
3. Stall :: Horse
4. Bowls :: Cereal
5. Entrance :: Exit
6. Antique :: Shop
7. Elizabeth :: Queen
8. Hook :: Captain
9. Width :: Length
10. Photo journalism :: Photoshop

Okay, so everything is pretty straightforward. I think.

Five Question Friday

Alright, the latest edition of 5QF. Gotta say, the third question is really really really lame. Sorry. It just is.

1. What is the first nightmare you remember?

I don't really have nightmares. I have bad dreams I guess but nothing like monsters or Freddy Krueger chasing me or something. I actually don't remember a ton of my dreams anyway, let alone actual nightmares. So I don't remember having any nightmares when I was young.

2. Even if you're not a sports fan, what's your favorite sport to play/watch?

My favorite sport to play is... well, does running count? If not, then I'd say... um, I was never very good at team sports. I guess that's why I like to run, because the only person I really compete against is myself. Soccer would be my favorite sport to both play and watch, though. I don't however play soccer very often. Like, once a year maybe although for a while I was playing every weekend.

3. If you could pull off one piece of trendy fashion, what would you want it to be (jeggings, hats, thigh high boots, etc.)?

Lame. Told you. I couldn't even name you one bit of trendy fashion for men obviously.

4. Did you make good grades in school?

No. I had terrible grades. I had to take an ROP class in high school to get extra credits so I was able to graduate on time. I failed a freshman English class, a class that at the beginning of the year the teacher said he doesn't fail students in but I managed to fail somehow. My effort in high school was nonexistent. I was apathetic about everything, unmotivated and disinterested. I don't know why I disliked school so much. I needed a good hard slap in the face.

5. What magazines do you subscribe to?

Runner's World (because I'm a runner), Men's Health (because I'm a man) and Cooking Light (because I cook).

You know what bugs me, though? I'm probably not the only man to subscribe to or read Cooking Light but everything about that magazine and many other food magazines are geared towards women. My daughters brought home some fundraisers recently and one of the options was a magazine subscription. So in the second listed "For Mom" magazines was Cooking Light, alongside Good Housekeeping and Real Simple. WTF? Only moms can read that? And then a lot of the ads in there are for women. Whatever I guess. Men should stick to Auto Trader or Popular Mechanics or stuff like that, right? I guess I didn't get that memo.

Cooking Light has some damn good recipes. So if I have to deal with those issues, so be it.

I'm almost like an addict sometimes when thinking about magazines. Oh, actually, just remembered I subscribed to Entertainment Weekly. I am so out of the loop with pop culture and stuff like that but I enjoy reading Entertainment Weekly, if nothing else to try and stay current with movies. Now that the girls are older and we can leave them with family members and not take diapers and bottles and change of clothes, etc., we actually can get out to watch a movie every now and then.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Top Of The Mountain

When I set out on my first run of 2010, a 10-miler on Jan. 1, I wasn't sure how many miles I would end up running. I thought 1,000 miles would be a good target to shoot for but wasn't sure if I would set myself up for failure by setting such a goal.

While I didn't make it a goal to run 1,000 miles - or any amount of miles, really - I accomplished that on Wednesday. With more than three months left in the year, I crossed the thousand-mile mark and now sit on 1,002 miles for the year.

The last miles to get me to 1,000 were tough but appropriate. I ran up Mt. Rubidoux and it was fitting that the first two miles, all uphill, were the last ones I needed to get to the magic number. And it was fitting too that I was able to go back to Mt. Rubidoux, which for so many weeks served as an apt sparring partner, throwing challenges along the way each and every time I went up there.

Of course, I hadn't run there in a while and the first mile I felt it. I didn't exactly glide up there but then again neither was I trudging up... too much. I may have plodded a little bit.

Getting to 1,000 miles is grand but what I like best about it is that it means I've been consistently hitting the road (and 'mill) throughout the year. I've stayed healthy (mostly) because I've been somewhat conservative, I've played it safe and have kept my long-term goals in mind over short-term ones. I did a series of races in the spring when I wanted to tackle another marathon, but I knew what was best for me was to wait a few months after Surf City to run Marathon No. 2, which I did.

I'm not burned out with running, don't dread runs, still get intimidated sometimes by certain distances (which is healthy, keeps me grounded and focused) and still look forward to getting out there and finishing runs. After each and every run, I feel like it's an accomplishment, whether it's a four-miler up Mt. Rubidoux or a solo 12-miler.

I don't want to set myself up for failure but I think I can get in at least another 300 miles and I could actually get closer to another 400 since we'll see our mileage continually climbing with the Lopers. Plus I have two half marathons and possibly a 15K coming up in the final three months of the year, so I will log plenty of miles yet.

Whatever happens, this is another accomplishment I can be happy about. It's too bad nobody gives you a medal for this though, but oh well. You can't hang all of your accomplisments on the wall I suppose.

On The Verge

I like me some dailymile.

The site is a great way to keep track of your running stats. Actually, any stats, be they running, walking, cycling, swimming, whatever.

I am a runner so I log my running stats. And the stats say that I've run quite a few miles this year.

I'm planning on running 4-5 miles today, but somewhere early in the run I will cross the 1,000-mile mark for 2010.

I'll be back later today to let you know how it went.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Restful Rest?

Fresh off Monday's motivational post, I got nothing.

Rest days suck. I rested on Monday and felt out of it most of the day. I got some stuff done around the house, went and had some work done on the truck, got some writing done, but mostly just felt off. I was tired in the afternoon. How does that happen? How does resting equate to being tired?

I won't have too many rest days this week. I'm running (or at least planning on running) Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I might have to run long on Saturday to open up my Sunday morning but haven't figured it out.

I hope to have energy on the rest of the days. Energy to string together some cohesive and perhaps interesting thoughts.

For now, I'm struggling to keep my synapses firing properly.

Lone Wolf LB?

One more thing... one of my new favorite groups, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, is going to open a tour very close to me, in Pomona on Wednesday. I'm going - yay me! But unfortunately I'm going alone. BRMC is a very underrated band, which means not many have heard of them, which means it was either go alone or not go at all.

Once the show starts I'm sure it won't matter much, but I don't know, part of me thinks it will be weird. Oh well. I'm going to see band I've become quite fond of in a short amount of time and I'm excited that it will be very close and not like a 90-minute drive away.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Sept. 13)

To say this has been a good year of running would be perhaps a massive understatement.

Since Jan. 1, when I ran 10 miles to ring in the New Year, my legs have been churning. I've slogged through runs, have sped through others, have scampered and darted and sprinted and powered through, have trudged and hiked and schlepped and shuffled. From fast to slow, from challenging to not-so-much, I've had many upon many runs.

The mileage has added up.

After Sunday's 11-mile run, my mileage stands at 991 for the year. If I stick to my planned schedule for the week, I will cross the 1,000-mile mark on Wednesday.

1,000 miles worth of runs.

I don't know how many miles I ran last year. I tried to count, to work backwards but best guess I ran somewhere around 600, give or take, and most of those were in the last 4-5 months of the year.

But 2010 has helped me break through in running. I've become a marathoner. I've taken the next step past where I was at the end of 2009 by doing that and have tried to live up to that status. I'm always grateful that I have the ability to run, never forgetting for a second where I was five years ago and the long road I took to where I am today. I also never forget that there are others who would love to run but can't, whether it's because of injury or illness. Running is a gift, a privilege and I never view it as anything but.

I enjoy my runs. Most of those 991 miles have been enjoyable. The work that has gone into them has been vast, but the payoff is even greater. I firmly believe that the most important run of my life is my next one, so I always prepare diligently for runs and always try and be in the best mental condition before taking off on those runs. It's tough sometimes to do that but that's what I strive for.

I'm not quite sure yet how I want to commemorate my thousandth mile. If I run six or seven on Tuesday, then I will cross that mark early in Wednesday's run. I might head up to Mt. Rubidoux and run there. The thousandth mile then might be the second mile up there, which would be the mile that gets me to the top.

I think that would be fitting, to have a run like that, a feat like that serve as a symbol of what this year has been. Running Mt. Rubidoux, of course, is challenging, as too is getting to 1,000 miles in a calendar year, but once you get to the top of Mt. Rubidoux, the view from above is awesome and you can take pride in looking down at the path you just ran, knowing you were strong and determined enough to reach the top.

I'm strong. I'm determined. I'm getting my 1,000 miles.

And I'm not stopping there.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Sept. 10)

Friday's here, and with it the Leftovers.

Word Association

Click on the link to play along.

1. Gangs :: Crime
2. Contact :: Movie
3. Surprisingly :: Good
4. Penciled :: In
5. Ignore :: Critics
6. Let's go! :: Let's do this!
7. Cornerstone :: Breakfast
8. Influential :: Blogger
9. Holistic :: Medicine
10. Lovesick :: Homesick

Explanations: I like the movie Contact. My wife hates that movie and she won't budge. Sad; also, the cornerstone :: breakfast is in reference to a movie, where the character says "Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast." Can you guess the movie?

Five Question Friday

Alright then, here's the latest edition of Five Question Friday. Play along with Mama M.

1. Do you feel guilty spending money on yourself?

Actually, yes. Not all the time but I do. Every now and then I'll buy something frivolous like a CD off iTunes or a shirt or something but I usually spend money on food, things for around the house, the girls, etc. I don't necessarily deprive myself of stuff but when I spend money on myself, I do feel a bit guilty. Probably because it feels like either that should go towards around-the-house stuff or for the girls.

2. How well do you know your neighbors?

We don't have the greatest neighbors. I can write a long rant about them but I won't. I will say that the one set of neighbors has the most annoying dog. For the five years we've lived in this house, we've had to put up with that dog's constant barking, mostly during the day, and mostly for no reason. It's nice to be here alone in the house when it's quiet as it can be relaxing, but then that dog's barks knife through the air and completely ruin the atmosphere.

The other neighbors bought their house a few years ago from a very nice older couple who we were sad to see leave. The new people are immediately put an older, larger car in their driveway and it has not moved since. They let the rose garden in front of the house go to waste and destroyed the backyard which was in pristine condition before. That and they are not warm people at all, never saying hello or anything.

3. What age are you looking forward to being?

I look forward to being 35. I'm 35 right now and I'm totally cool with 36 being a long ways away.

4. Do you get excited when the mail comes? Why?

Sadly, I do. I don't know why. I get checks sometimes, not as often as I would like (I'd really like a check every day) and then I get my magazines like Runner's World, Cooking Light and Men's Health. But not sure what else that's cool that comes regularly. Maybe it's the promise of something unexpected that has me looking forward to it.

The bad thing is that we have mailboxes down the street, not in front of our house, which is the lamest thing. I've never understood why we can't have a mailbox in front of our house.

5. What is your earliest childhood memory?

I remember sitting on the carpet in our old apartment, coloring on the back of a shoebox. It was raining outside and there was someone in the kitchen. I was sitting in the living room just going to town on the shoebox. I must have been two or three, which means it was 1977 or 1978. Long time ago.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guest Blogger: Snack Attack

** Mrs. LB caught the blogging bug (albeit briefly) and is guest-blogging once more. I turn my blog over to my better half **

“What are you looking for?” my husband asks as I spin wildly through our kitchen opening and re-opening cupboards.

“A donut,” I say emphatically. “Or a cookie, a sweet snack of some sort.”

“I made homemade granola bars. Do you want one of those?” he asks helpfully.

“No! I want a donut. Something with refined sugar and possibly some trans fat.”

“How about I peel you a mango or cut some bananas into some non-fat plain yogurt? I’ll sprinkle some Equal and cinnamon over the yogurt. It’ll taste just like the ones you buy in the store.”

At this point, instead of being grateful and accepting of my husband’s attempts to ease my sweet-tooth craving, I storm out of the kitchen and wonder what happened to our days of cupboards filled with snacks at the ready.

I know that my husband has transformed our kitchen for the better. The above-mentioned snacks he has made for our daughters on many occasions and they love them. Our children so rarely get candy that a Hershey’s kiss makes them squeal.

I also know I still want a donut sometimes. Luis will take pity on me and once in a while buys me treats. They’re not good for me, they’re not necessary and lending to an already-emotional connection to food but my brain wants them anyway. Not my stomach, my brain. Trust me, there’s no lack of food in my tummy. I know, in the same way that Luis has done us a favor by transforming our kitchen and potentially our lifestyle, that I don’t need donuts.

The most amazing part of Luis bringing unhealthy snacks into our house is that, for the most part, he’s able to ignore them. Apparently, he cannot hear the cookie dough ice cream in the freezer calling us in the dark hours after dinner. He is impenetrable to the shortbread cookies that send their siren song to me.

When I first starting dating Luis, it was obvious that although love knows no boundaries, we had grown up in different cultures. Nothing too radical, mind you, but different, nonetheless. I invited Luis over to my parent’s house one day after class and went in to the kitchen. I asked him if he wanted something from the pantry. He asked me what a pantry was. I peeked around the 6-foot-tall cupboards with amazement. Did he really not know what a pantry was?

I described it and then invited him over for a look. Our pantry was brimming with cereal boxes (no Grape-Nuts or Special K here), Little Debbie snacks (who doesn’t love a good Star Crunch?), Cheeze-Its, etc. Luis’ eyes got big and he struggled with the decision. He asked me when we eat this stuff. Again, incredulous, I told him they were for snacks.

“Snacks?” he asked. “Mexicans don’t really eat snacks. We eat big meals and that’s it.”

“Really? Well, interesting. Would you still like a snack?”

Of course he did. And this was his introduction to between-meal eating. Today, Luis still does a lot of between-meal eating but it’s most often some fresh fruit, a protein bar or raw veggies. A lot less calories than a Twinkie but where’s the satisfaction in crunching on baby carrots? If they had cream in the middle, maybe. . .

Luis has learned where the satisfaction is. He has now learned that the long-term goal is much more important than getting the immediate satisfaction of a handful of chips. He knows how his body will respond if he fills it with good fuel instead of Pie Bites from Fresh N Easy (those things are damn good, though).

The best thing about Luis and his food transformation is that he never, not once, has preached or pushed it on me. He just continues to set the good example hoping that one day I’ll join him. I love that about him. He’s patient in almost every way in his life. This patience is part of what helped him along his 21-month journey to shed 120 pounds and change his life for the better.

I see and hear the example but I’ll admit, I still enjoy Friday nights before a weekend of long runs because that means he’s going on carbo load and we all get to have pasta. Of course, he does add sauteed vegetables to the pasta even when I’d prefer to have Alfredo sauce but hey, he’s cooking and I’m eating so I just try to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Anatomy Of My Six-Mile Run

**The last two days I've set out for four-mile runs. Each turned into six-mile runs. Here's a bit of insight into why Tuesday's run went longer than intended.**

It's 4:45. Stupid alarm. Ugh. I think I'm just going to lay here. I don't have to get up, do I? Ah well, my wife's up, getting ready for work. No sense in lying here. I'm getting up already.

(After Mrs. LB departs for work at 5:30, I have about an hour to fight off sleep work until the girls get up.)

Good morning girls! What do you guys want for breakfast? How about some cereal? Okay, it's almost 7 so you have to hurry up and start getting dressed.

Alright, let's go brush teeth and brush hair. Let's see... ponytails for you both! Ah well, we don't have a lot of time. We'll do braids another day.

(I drop off the girls at school at around 7:40, go back home and then...)

Garmin's on. Phone's set to a playlist. Stretch. Four miles. Let's do this.

Damn. I hate the first mile. Why does it take me a mile to get into my runs? I'm going slow, but whatever. I'm not trying to run fast. I just need to get my miles in.

Oh, a 10:06 first mile. Hmmm... well, this is a comfortable pace, probably slower than my normal comfortable pace, probably not. Who knows? I wonder if I can run like this for 10 miles, 12 miles, 18 miles or so consistently. Then I could be a pace leader. I probably need a lot more practice though, and actually try and run my runs at this pace.

Damn uphill. It don't even look like that much of an uphill but 10:26 second mile... that's a mix of an uphill run and my comfortable early pace.

Alright, you're at two miles, let's turn around and head back the way we came. I think I should run down to the light though. That will get me to three and a half... but then I'd be close to like five or so... well, let's just head out there anyway.

Oooh, I'm liking this downhill. I'm probably not at a 10-minute pace anymore. Screw it, I'm not going to slow down. Work on your form. Straighten out your back. Keep your legs moving.

Look at that! 9:09 for the third mile! This isn't too fast, is it? No. But you're only going four? No, not anymore. Screw it. I'm running to the light. Which way should I take to get home? If I go back the way I came, I could get up to six miles. Do I want to go for six?

Let's just go in that direction.

Dang, look at that, 8:41 for that last mile. Love it when I can get under nine.

Alright, don't try and run all out. No need for that. But if you can get six, then all you have to do is get to 12 or 14 by Friday, so that's like six and four or four and six or whatever. You gonna run Saturday? Don't know if I should... maybe I'll take two days off, run tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday and then run Sunday again.

Woo hoo! Check it out, an 8:32 fifth mile! Okay, let's run past home. No reason to not get six at this point. Just go up the street, come back, go around the side street and go the back way home. That should get you to six.

Hmmm... don't think this last mile will be under nine minutes. Whatever. I feel good though, still feel good. Should I go for seven?

Nah, just cruise it home. Almost to six so you should be a little past six by the time you get home.

Okay, let's see that sixth mile... crap! 8:51! Six miles done, and the last three at under nine minutes. Okay, well, I guess I was feeling good after all.

* Some of the "screw it"s were actually a bit more colorful words but they've been edited out because I'm family-friendly that way :)

* This is actually common, I do talk to myself a lot like this during my runs. It might mean that I'm crazy but I guess I need the constant stimulation to keep my mind going

Playlist enhancer: BRMC's Aint No Easy Way

In case you didn't get your fill of videos yesterday, I figured I'd try and help you sort out your choice of music.

I've become very fond of this song. It's called Ain't No Easy Way by the group Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I was introduced to the group recently and I've become a big fan of their stuff.

This song is fairly short, about 2:30 or so, and normally I would prefer something longer. Sometimes it's nice to know that when a song is over I will be onto the next mile, so if I'm at say 4.56 and a longer song comes on, I know that once the song is over I will be at mile 5.something. This song won't get you to the next mile unless you are almost there (or incredibly fast), but that doesn't matter with this song. It brings energy and gives you a quick jolt of it.

This song will definitely be on my Long Beach Half Marathon playlist, it's just a matter of whether I'll use that energy jolt early or late.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


** Before I get into Tuesday's post, just wanted to let you know that Mrs. LB has decided to guest blog once more so check out Thursday's blog for another guest spot from my better half **

There's not a lot of them but I've watched some movies about marathons recently and wanted to share my thoughts in case you had 90-plus minutes to fill and wanted some viewing options.

Spirit of the Marathon

This is a documentary so not the regular movie experience. This movie takes a look at six marathoners before the 2005 Chicago Marathon. But it also gives a look at the marathon itself and explains a lot about the race (for instance, where the .2 came from).

For a runner, this movie is inspiring. For the non-runner, it could give some insight into what people put into marathons and what they get out of them. The cool thing is, is that some of the people they follow are elites and some are not, but it doesn't matter what level you are at, a marathon is still a challenge for anyone, and anyone can run one - provided they train for it, of course.

Here's a trailer for the movie.

This movie is on Netflix's Watch Instanly feature and you might even be able to watch it here.

Run Fat Boy, Run

That movie is inspiring but this one... well, I don't think it was meant to be inspiring. It's actually a pretty funny movie.

The trailer pretty much sums it up. I watched it not expecting much but the movie was funny.

Saint Ralph

This movie I've not seen. I read up on it and watched the trailer and it looks good. It's about a boy whose mother has cancer, and the boy makes a deal with God - if he wins the 1954 Boston Marathon, then God will save his mother.

It looks like it's worth the investment.

This one's also on the Netflix Watch Instantly.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Sept. 6)

Today my motivation is rest.

Of course, today is one of the biggest rest days of the year, being Labor Day and all. But for me, even though I can't really take the day off from working, I can and will take the day off from running.

I ran 11 miles on Sunday and 34 for the week. All day Sunday, though, I felt wasted. Fatigued. Exhausted. Like, the kind of tired where the muscles feel it and are begging to rest.

I don't want to overreact (like I've been known to do) but this might be because of my long weeks of running. In the past I've not usually run five days a week. I've made do with three- or four-day run weeks before. I've still been able to get my miles in that way, but still had four or three days of rest.

So I'm wondering if I felt the way I felt because I'm running too many days. I mean, 11 miles is a longer run but it's not a distance that's going to floor me for a day.

I'm going to keep playing Sunday over in my head. Maybe I didn't do what I needed to do to recover properly. Maybe it was the previous night's sleep, or the run itself...

Regardless, there will be no Labor Day fun run for me. Rest, recover and prepare for another week of running. I'm anxious to crack 30 miles for the third consecutive week but now will have to have two plans: a four-day run week and a five-day run week.

We'll see what my schedule - and body - allow for.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Sept. 3)

The end-of-the-week leftovers...

Word Association

Play along here.

1. Bangs :: Hair
2. Diaper :: Change
3. Coffee Table :: Feet
4. Cops :: Robbers
5. Matches :: Fire
6. 250 :: Thousand
7. Hurricane :: Weather
8. Bad :: Company
9. Confirmation :: Number
10. Fiber :: One

Um... let's see... we don't have a coffee table. We got rid of ours before the girls were born. It's been so long since we had one that to me the only benefit of having one would be to kick your feet up on it. We were close to thinking about getting one recently when some friends of ours who have a daughter about the same age as Kennedy said their daughter hurt herself on their coffee table. It might be a while 'til we get one.

Guest blogger

So Mrs. LB enjoyed the guest post and I hope you all did too. In case you missed her post, click here.

I would like to say that she's going to start becoming a regular on here but a sporadic guest blogger seems to be more in line with what she's going to do. It's cool, though. I will take whatever guest post she wants to pass along my way.

5QF Once Again!

Another edition of 5 Question Friday. Play along with Mama M. if you'd like to participate. It's actually enjoyable.

1. What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Run. I've had time to myself a lot recently, since the girls started school. The one thing I've done is to carve out time for running. Well, I've also used that time to work so it's not like I run and then just kick my feet up on the couch until it's time to get Kennedy to school.

Another thing I've done is to arrange my time so that I can volunteer at school. I've volunteered in Yvie's class since she was in kindergarten but it was always tough arranging it around Kennedy's preschool and then trying to get my mom to watch Kennedy. But now that's not a problem. Last week I ran three times in the week before Friday so I could rest and go to both of their classes, so I think I can stick to that as well, take Friday as a rest day to volunteer.

Although, if you've been in a kindergarten classroom recently, you know the last thing you do in there is rest.

2. When you look out your kitchen window, what do you see?

The optimist in me sees a lawn with a lot of potential.

The pessimist in me sees an under-watered lawn with green patches amidst the yellowish-brown grass, one that is too tough to fully resuscitate.

Somewhere in between is the truth.

3. Who/What would you want to be reincarnated as?

If I could come back as something or someone... probably as someone who lives in some far-off island nation, like in the South Pacific, living the life, doing things like they've been done for hundreds of years, no bills, no mortgage, no worries, everyone you care about living nearby.

I don't know, maybe they've got massive bills and debt down there, who knows? I guess the beaches would be a nice way to take your mind off of things.

4. What is your biggest pet peeve about other people's kids?

Disrespect. I'm not a fan of disrespect in general. Last week I was one of three parents volunteering in Kennedy's class and one boy asked one of the mom's if she was so-and-so's mom and she said yeah. Then this boy said "You look a lot older than my mom" and walked off.

First of all, my daughters would never say something like that. And if they did, it would be the last time they ever said anything like that to anybody.

If there is one thing I have stressed teaching them, it is respect - respect for the people around them, respect for themselves, for their things, for other people's things.

5. Regular or Diet soda?

I don't drink regular soda anymore. The first thing I did when I began my weight loss journey was to give up on fast food and soda. I've since relented on the anti-fast food stance (though I don't rely on it nearly as much as I used to). Sodas... I'll only drink diet soda. I'm partial to Coke Zero.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Goals For The Month

In writing about my August recap, I thought about what my goals were. I didn't really have any goals for August. I had some things I wanted to accomplish, rest mainly. I was able to do that, but that's kind of an abstract goal really. I mean, how do you measure that? By days off? By workout intensity (or lack thereof)?

So I figured since I have something to shoot for now, something tangible - the Long Beach Half Marathon - I may as well make some goals for the month of September. I want to do well in Long Beach and even if I don't PR, I want to run a strong race, my best race, and the only way that's going to happen is by putting in the work and the miles now.

- Run 120 miles: If I run 120 miles on the nose, it will be my fourth-highest mileage month of the year. I'm not trying to set a high watermark for the year this month but I do want to get my legs back into the groove. I know it's only been two weeks but the last two weeks I've been running five times each week, so I think it's possible to maintain that. I'd like to maintain that and running that often will help me build my mileage up.

- Speedwork: This is important. I barely did any speedwork in training for San Francisco, which is fine since I had to take care of my heel first and foremost, which I did. I did some speedwork in the spring and had some good strong races then (5K, 10K and Half PRs, all in a two-month span). I think if I can get some good consistent speedwork in that I will benefit strongly from it. There's one workout that is awesome. I've done it once and it was intense. I ran 7.5 miles in 1:03, a pace of 8:23. I hope to do that one a few times before Long Beach. But for now, the only speedwork goal I have is to do one session a week.

- Days: I want to run four to five days a week and take no more than two consecutive rest days. For me, taking three days off is tough because it forces me to go longer the rest of the week in order to get in my miles. Running either Monday or Tuesday for me is key. If I can hit Wednesday with a few miles under my belt then I am able to relax the rest of the week and really focus on the runs and what I can get out of them instead of trying to worry about mileage and altering the plans.

- 15-Miler: I want to run one 15-mile run. Not sure when or where or with whom (Lopers or alone) but I think I need to run that before Long Beach. I probably should run it the last weekend of the month, but we'll see how I fit that in.

I suppose that's all the goals I have. I am not racing this month so no thoughts of PRs or anything like that. My long runs will be easier to do once I get into October because our Sundays in September will increase with the Lopers. We'll be running six on Sunday, then seven on the 12th, eight on the 19th and nine on the 26th. I could always run a few miles before those runs to get in my 12- to 15-milers.

They Call It Fuel For A Reason

Eating is important. News flash, I know. But it is and I figured I'd share that with you.

I know this to be true because of what happened on Sunday. On Saturday, Mrs. LB went out for lunch and I was stuffed, so much so that I only snacked briefly the rest of the day. After work on Saturday night, I stopped by at Del Taco and got me some burritos. When I woke up Sunday morning, I didn't feel that hungry. It felt like I'd just eaten, and given that I'd eaten about five hours before I actually just had.

Instead of my usual Clif Bar and water, I opted to skip the Clif bar and drank some Gatorade before heading out to run with the Lopers.

We were only running five miles, and since I'd run 10 the day before I was rather happy with that. The weather was nice as the sun was not out, and our small-but-hearty group got off to a good start. But I didn't feel right. I thought it may have been the 10 miles I'd run the day before, or the four hours of sleep I'd gotten the night before or a combination of the two.

Now, since it was our first five-mile run this Loper season, it was also the first time the water station was out. We have water stations set up along the course during the Loper season, and this one was well-received. I didn't have my fuel belt and was thirsty, but more than that I was hungry. Man, was I starved! And I was lucky too. The water stations always have water (duh) but they don't always have food. This time, though, the table was well-stocked with trail mix.

I grabbed an empty water cup and scooped it full of trail mix. I inhaled that. I grabbed more and sucked that down too. My group was starting to walk away from the table and I was double-fisting the trail mix. So I grabbed one last cupful of it and carried it with me. I lagged behind but ate while the group took off up ahead.

We rounded one block and I instantly felt better. I'd finished the trail mix, it hadn't yet fully settled into my stomach, and I felt like a new runner. We were at about Mile 3 at this point and I suddenly had energy. Instead of wondering if I could make it to the end intact, I felt as if I could run six or seven or eight miles if need be. At one point I sprinted up ahead of the group to cover us as we were running across a street with no stop sign. As I ran and increased my speed, I felt a burst of energy and contemplated running fast the whole way in. I stayed with our awesome group though and finished strong.

I've known for a while that I don't need sleep to run. I got about five hours of sleep before Surf City and probably less before San Francisco but did great, felt great anyway. I ran the Run Through Redlands Half Marathon on a Sunday morning, having gotten home Saturday night well after midnight.

Food, though, seems to be a necessity I can't really do without. So even if I feel full from having eaten late the night before, I'm not going to let that lull me into a false sense of security and won't make that same mistake twice.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August In My Rear-view

August is over. September is upon us. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. September usually turns into mid-November in the blink of an eye, and that's not a great thought either.

Anyway, I don't want to get all philosophical but I did want to recap the month in which I turned 35. Aw crap, did I have to remind myself about that?

I ran 101 miles on August, my highest total since May. In June, I ran only 88 miles which of course was due to my heel discomfort. In July I ran 99. Had I known I was that close to 100, I would have just ran another mile. Oh well. Thus far, June and July are the only months this year that I have not reached triple-digits.

My best August run? Hmmm... I'm tempted to say it was Tuesday's run but that's probably because it was the last one and the one I remember the clearest. I had a lot of really good runs but I think the run I had when I was in Arizona, when I ran to the Glen Canyon Dam, and a six-mile run I had up Mt. Rubidoux a week ago with a fellow Loper, stand out above the rest.

The longest run I had in August? A 12.09 run in early August. I actually only cracked double-digits twice. This was planned I suppose. I wanted to take a bit of a break after the San Francisco Marathon, so I wasn't exactly trying to hit double-digit miles every weekend. September will be a different story because I am training for a half marathon (officially now) and will have to hit double-digit miles every weekend. Of course, that's something I am looking forward to, getting to 10, 12, 15 miles.

My best week? That would be last week, the last full week of August when I reached 30 miles. I hit 30 miles twice in the last two months - the week of the marathon and a week in June when I ran 20 miles. In May, I had four weeks of at least 30 miles. I hope September also brings such mileage, but more importantly I hope I feel as good as I did last week throughout this month.

All in all, it was a strong month of both recovery, (sort of) rest and getting back into the swing of things. Everything I'd hoped for when I planned to take a (sort of) rest a few months ago.

Finding Time

Running takes up a lot of my time.

The more I progressed as a runner, the more time it took up. And when I got into the Lopers and into marathon running, the time commitment grew even more.

I bring this to light because one of my awesome blog readers commented on here recently with the following statement/question:

"My family, besides my husband, is so UN-supportive of this marathon thing it makes me sad and distant. The question I get the most is "why"? I want to say, "because I can and you can't" but I really have had no comeback. Same when we ran the Mud Run on vacation...why would you want to do something like that on vacation?

"How much has running interrupted your daily routine? Do you cancel or change plans because you have a long run planned the following morning? I like that I am disciplined enough to get a run in at 4:30am and then put in a full day of work, but I hate making (excuses) for NOT doing activities because of running. How do you balance this?"

I have quite a few thoughts on the first part, the un-supportive family, but I will answer that in a separate post. For now, I want to tackle her questions about the routine and discipline.

Now, I think I am in a unique situation. I work from home - most of the time anyway - so I have the flexibility many don't. I can (and do) plan runs at 8 a.m. on weekdays for instance. I can (and do) spend 60-90 minutes at the gym on a Thursday. Now that Kennedy and Yvie are both in school, I've started filling up my mornings with runs and cardio and resistance training.

So I definitely take advantage of my schedule to run and work out and have for a while. I think it often, that if I would have had a 9-to-5 job these last four years, I'd still weigh 300 pounds and I wouldn't be running marathons.

I definitely have a lot of respect for runners who work a full-time job and carve out time to knock out mid-week 6-mile runs, 10-mile runs, whatever kinds of runs.

As far as canceling plans or changing up my social life... well, since I have children I don't have much of a social life. Now, I do work on Saturday nights a lot, at least from March through November, so a lot of times I am getting 5-6 hours of sleep on Saturday and then running 10-plus miles on Sunday morning. I can actually get a lot done on little sleep that way. I know it's not the healthiest thing in the world but I have to adjust.

I think the biggest thing that I've had to be disciplined about is alcohol. I don't drink much anymore but have had that problem arise too. On New Year's Eve, for instance, I'd decided that I was going to run 10 miles the next day, on Jan. 1, but actually went to a New Year's Eve party. We'd hardly ever had the chance to go out on Dec. 31 but we did, and of course there was alcohol. I had said beforehand that I would not drink because I didn't want to miss my run but in the end I gave in and drank some beers. I had about two or three I think, but always made it a point to keep at least some beer in my bottle, so I would be able to say 'Oh, I'm still working on this one.'

I've been there, where if you aren't holding a beer in your hand, you get one thrust in there whether you want one or not. I did not want to let myself go and get plastered and miss my run. I know a missed run doesn't seem like a big deal but to me it's more than that, it's a reflection of my own discipline and commitment.

I guess what it boils down to is that. I like to think that I'm disciplined enough to put running ahead of a lot of things. I suppose that's why runners tend to gravitate towards one another, because there are few people who are willing to get out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to go on a run, who are willing to bypass open bars and nights out on the town because it will disrupt the next morning's run, who are willing to plan vacations around races. And when one of us comes across another person crazy enough to do the same, it's only natural to create a bond.

Of course, I don't think it's necessarily good to stifle yourself all the time either. It's just a matter of moderation, like most things.