Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Moment Of 2010: My Bib

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing is impossible.

That was a pretty good day, pretty good moment.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tres Cosas Jueves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Friendly Words Of Muddy Advice

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

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

Let me give you a little bit of a warning:


Ahem. Let me repeat myself:


This race will sell out.

It. Will. Sell. Out.

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

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

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

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

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

Register here.

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

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

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

Just remember to sign up on Friday.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking Ahead To 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tagged Before Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image borrowed from google

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

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

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

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

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

5. Do you have any special Christmastime traditions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And have a Merry Christmas!

Rain Rain Go Away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Now, Where Were We?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taking A Break

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

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

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

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

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

Later days.