Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cooking With Yvie: Pork and Hominy Stew

Welcome to another edition of Cooking With Yvie!

With all the cold weather we've been having, we figured we'd share a recipe we recently came across. It's Pork and Hominy Stew, and it really goes well in cold and rainy weather.

This actually goes with the JalapeƱo Corn Bread recipe Yvie brought to you recently.

I didn't get a great shot of the stew at the end, so here's what it looks like.

First the video, then a few things.



* Yvie doesn't really like soups and stews, hence the no tasting at the end.

* She had said the hominy was undrained but I edited it out, so that's why she said something about the tomotoes being undrained.

* I initially forgot the cumin, hence the "I think" remark. My bad. Oops.

* Here's the recipe, which I got from Cooking Light.

2 tablespoons chile powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper (we used a poblano pepper)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (28-0z) can hominy, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1. Combine first five ingredients in large bowl; set aside 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mixture. Add pork to remaining spice mixture in bowl, tossing well to coat.

2. Heat two teaspoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture to pan; cook five minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally; Remove pork from pan; set aside.

3. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil in to pan. Add onion, pepper and garlic; saute five minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add reserved 1 1/2 teaspoon spice mixture, broth, hominy and tomatoes. Bring to boil. Partially cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Get Ink Done

I want to get some ink done.

Now, I have two tattoos already - one on my left calf and the other on my back. But I want more. For awhile I've actually wanted to get ink. After I dropped my weight, I wanted something that would both remind me of all the things I went through to get it off and I think that would in turn help me stay disciplined.

What do I want, exactly?

This:


What is that? Gibberish? Actually, it's Japanese lettering, or kanji. The words' meanings are beneath each word.

Now, there's a reason to my madness. I've been to Japan, so it's not just some random lettering that I don't have experience with. Actually, being in Japan felt like I was on a different planet. And a lot of that feeling was because of the alphabet. I couldn't tell what was what, and it was all overwhelming.

Anyway, the words above mean something to. I try and be disciplined. I have commitment and determination as well.

Where do I want these?


On my arm.

Will it hurt? Yeah, probably. But I want to get some ink done, and that's what I have to go through I suppose.

I'd like to get either "discipline" on one arm and "commitment" on the other, or get them both on one arm and "determination" and another adjective befitting of my journey.

Maybe it's just more window shopping than anything but something I'd love to get.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Feb. 26)

The Leftovers, last one of the month.... can you believe February is already almost over? Crazy.

Word Association

Play here.

1. Teeth :: Dentist
2. Sweeten :: Pot
3. Demons :: Angels
4. Pizza :: Party
5. Protector :: Of Evil
6. Smooth :: Criminal
7. Coat :: Winter
8. Pebbles :: Bam-Bam
9. Pregnant :: Twins
10. Sing :: Song

Explanations: Hmm... I guess you can say I am a Protector Of Evil around here. I keep the evil scary monsters away from Kennedy. Pregnant with twins, funny, just thinking yesterday how my mom was hoping for twins from me. Two Yvies would have been, well, much less stressful than two Kennedys. One Kennedy is hard enough.

Surprising Delivery

One of my awesomest blog buddies, Willoughby of This Stop Willoughby, sent me something unexpectedly. I got a package with a t-shirt inside, a t-shirt she made for me! It says "Marathon Runner" on the front, and was the first shirt Willoughby and her husband printed from their new screen printing press. What an honor!

I'm going to take a picture of myself in that shirt and post it, but I just wanted to mention it here right now. Really, I'm flattered. And I'm also lucky to have a bloggy pal like Willoughby.

Gracias!!!

Marathon No. 2

No, not for me. The super-fun Morgan of Caution: Redhead Running is running her second marathon, the Gasparilla Marathon in Tampa Bay, on Sunday. Morgan tore through her training runs for this marathon and may set a new PR. She ran a 4:08:26 in Chicago in October, her first marathon.

Either way, new PR or not, she's going to destroy Tampa. Have fun, Morgan!

Disney Stuff

Not sure if it's going to happen but I'd love to hit Disneyland next week and make it at least a weekly thing once more. There's a big game around here that's going to require my attention and time, so that's going to complicate things. But if it doesn't happen next week, for sure the week after. On March 10, there is supposed to be some activity. The Pixies are supposed to take over Fantasyland, or something. The Pixies as in Tinkerbell and her friends, which should make for an interesting time.

Earlier this week, I wrote a guest post for my blog buddy Tattoos and Teething Rings, and I decided to write something on Disneyland. Big shocker, right? To write something on the Happiest Place on Earth. I just wrote a bunch of tips on Disneyland, kind of as a rough draft if you will of something that I've been talking about doing here forever. But I'm finally wrapping my head around the concept and will try and roll it out soon.

One thing I'll have to go scout is Captain EO, which opened on Tuesday. I'm not sure if the girls will enjoy it a whole lot (they don't care for 3D that much) but we're going to watch it for sure. My buddy Angie went and watched it since she's a big Michael Jackson fan.

And one more thing. If you're planning a trip soon, check out the closures :(

Matterhorn – NOW CLOSED through 3/11/10
Rivers of America Attractions – NOW CLOSED through 5/6/10
(Columbia, Canoes and Tom Sawyer Island)
Mark Twain – NOW CLOSED through 5/14/10
Honey I Shrunk the Audience – NOW CLOSED until further Notice
King Arthur Carousel – 3/8/10 through 3/10/10
Star Tours - October 2010 through Late Spring 2011
Golden Zephyr – NOW CLOSED through 4/2/10
Silly Symphony Swings – NOW CLOSED through 5/28/10
It’s Tough to be a Bug – 3/8/10

I got that list from a friend of mine, also a passholder. Some of those are good, because they will revamp Star Tours, and Captain EO pushed aside H.I.S.T.A. Oh, and the last three are at California Adventure. The only ones of those we do regularly are... none, actually. Kennedy wavers on the Matterhorn and whether she likes it or not, plus it's got a big line sometimes. I'd say the Carousel is the one we've been on the most of that list.

LB's Song Of The Week

My weekly nod to children's music.

My blog pal Polly of The 5th Sister has a post every Thursday where she plays around with a letter of the alphabet. For instance, yesterday she had the letter F. It's actually part of some whole blog conspiracy to set Thursdays aside as alphabe-Thursday. Okay, maybe not really a conspiracy. It would be nice to participate but that might be too much strain on my brain.

Anyway, next week will be the letter G, so in spirit and anticipation of that, this week's song is from They Might Be Giants.

This song is called "Go For G!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tearing Through A Run

I had a great run on Thursday and I just had to share. And then I have some other stuff to share below so stick around for that.

I hadn't intended on running because my morning was crammed since I had somewhere to go this afternoon, but my afternoon suddenly and unexpectedly cleared up for me so I had some extra time. Thus, I dropped Kennedy off at preschool and off I went to Mt. Rubidoux.

Now, before I get into that, let me talk about last week's run there. I went last Thursday (I'm thinking this may become a tradition) and I actually ran six miles. It's four miles from the entrance, all the way to the top and back, so last week I ran one mile up, one mile down, then ran the two miles up and two miles back down for a total of six.

Those splits: 8:40, 8:19, 9:56, 10:27, 8:39, 8:49.

Today, as I said, my afternoon was cleared up for me and I won't get into it but I was actually a bit upset. I was in WTF-did-I-do? mode, a little angry, and maybe that contributed to my kick-ass run.

Today's splits: 9:53, 9:36, 7:57, 7:29.

So the first mile I ran about a minute slower today than last week, but last week I got gassed right away. I know it's downhill but look at those last two splits! And if it was just the downhill contributing to my time, last week's last two miles (the 8:39 and 8:49) would have been much faster.

New Blog Buds

If you have a blog, then you went through the initial stage where you could count the number of readers you had on one hand. For me, I could have counted the number of readers on this blog with one finger for the first four months of this blog. That's why I blogged exactly zero times from mid-July to mid-October of 2008, but life was breathed into this blog after I started getting some readers, and the rest is blog history.

I always felt back then that I was in an abandoned warehouse, talking loudly but to a vast, empty space. I wondered "Is anybody reading this? Am I pouring out my feelings for them to go into a cyperspace wasteland?" Times have since changed, and while I don't have a readership in the hundreds or anything, it's nice to know that someone's reading my stuff.

Anyway, I came across a few start-up running blogs if you will, and figured I'd spread the word, since I know how nice it is to have regular readers.

* Jacqi of Engineering The Run is an engineer (hence the creative title) based somewhere in or around DC or Virginia or Maryland or wherever. It's the East Coast, it's cold, it's not SoCal. Anyway, she's training for a marathon and recently signed up for a half-marathon, race distances she's never raced before.

* Brandi of Run Bundles, Run! just got into running and signed up for the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon in June. She lives in Alaska! That's awesome! She has to deal with polar bears and narwhals and stuff... no, actually, I don't think she does, just some bitterly cold weather. I'm such a wimp, I'm not sure I could last for very long at any temperatures under 30 degrees, and that's a warm day for her.

* Whitney of It's What Moves Me came recommonded by Christy of It Just Looks Like Slow Motion, so with that stamp of approval you can't go wrong. Whitney has run five half-marathons... and no 5Ks, 10Ks or any other race distance. That's pretty cool actually. Here's a little Q&A with Whitney on Christy's blog.

Anyway, just wanted to share these blogs and try and spread their words. Keep on running ladies, whatever your goals are.

Marathon Ambassador

In an earlier post, I mentioned the Marathon Ambassador qualities that I now possess. Well, since I crossed the finish line I am now apparently a Marathon Ambassador, and as such I have duties and responsibilities to live up to, qualities and traits that I must display and things I must and mustn't do. This comprehensive list was on the back of our program at the Loper Banquet, and I felt it necessary to share.


Marathon Ambassador is an honorary title bestowed upon us the moment we take our first step over the finish line at our first marathon and receive that very first marathon medal around our neck.

All Marathon Ambassadors do everything they can to help the first-time marathoner become a fellow Marathon Ambassador. Marathon Ambassadors always lead by example.

Remember, the marathon is a distance - not a time. We always help our fellow marathoners go the 26.2 mile distance, whatever the finish time may be. Marathon Ambassadors always survive to run another day.

All Marathon Ambassadors know every completed marathon is a good marathon... even the ones that didn't quite turn out the way we planned.

Talk about marathoning to non-marathoners, as long as they show an interest. Remember, most people can't comprehend what we do and why we do it. Marathon Ambassadors are always considerate.

Heat, hills, high altitude, etc., are factors that make a marathon more difficult and slower. They are not excuses. Marathon Ambassadors never make excuses.

One foot in front of the other. All Marathon Ambassadors know that a slow marathon is better than no marathon. DFL (Dead Friggin' Last) is always better than DNF (Did Not Finish) which is still better than DNS (Did Not Start). Marathon Ambassadors know that showing up is 90 percent of the marathon.

No one likes a whiner, not even whiners. Marathon Ambassadors never whine.



All Marathon Ambassadors are created equal - some are just faster. The faster a Marathon Ambassador is, the less he or she talks about the finish time. Marathon Ambassadors are always humble.

Marathon Ambassadors make a commitment, at least once, to pace a new marathoner to their first finish.

Bring nothing less than your best, for the conditions and your training, to the marathon every time. Always set a good example. When you become a Marathon Ambassador, it's a lifetime membership.

All that is said on the road stays on the road. Marathon Ambassadors are always loyal confidants.

Share your experiences, during the marathon, when appropriate. Shut up and listen when necessary.

Show appreciation to all race personnel and volunteers. Marathon Ambassadors are always gracious.

Adapt, improvise, overcome. A Marathon Ambassador will always do whatever it takes to help others get the marathon done.

Does not matter if you run, walk or crawl. Marathon Ambassadors know that every 26.2-mile finish is a medal-worthy event.

One day, a Marathon Ambassador will no longer be able to do a marathon - but today will not be that day!

Remember your first marathon finish? Marathon Ambassadors do all they can to help as many people as possible experience that same pride, sense of accomplishment and pure joy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lest I Forget

Some moments from the Banquet and the marathon that I wanted to get out here before I forget them.

First, here's a picture of yours truly during the speech.

I had to lean forward for the microphone to pick up what I was saying

I wore a suit but once I got there I just took the jacket off and never put it back on until I left. I chose to wear my red shirt because it's supposedly the color of power and confidence, or something.

This is another shot of me, from my awesome blog buddy Angie.

my bib in lights, if you will

* At one point, all the multi-marathoners were asked to stand. Of the Lopers in attendance, one had run 56 marathons (Art, one of my pace leaders); another had done 90 and another had done 145. And many had done more than 20. When I lovingly called the Lopers "crazy multi-marathoners" during my speech, that's what I was referring to. Seriously, with so much experience in the group, how can you not do well?

* On the back of the program or agenda or whatever, there was something that talked about Marathon Ambassadors. It was a great list of things that happen once you cross the finish line of a marathon. I will post it in full length later this week (it's kinda long) so keep an eye out for that. One of my Marathon Ambassador duties, for instance, is to help a first-time marathoner cross the finish line at least once. Not sure when or where that will be, but that will be a great moment when it does happen.

* When I mentioned that the first race I ever signed up for was the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, I got a little bit of a reaction from the crowd. A few oohs and some murmurs. Yeah, even Lopers know that race is no joke.

* Mrs. LB told the people at our table about how I needed help sitting down after Surf City. I'd forgotten about that. I did need help to sit down. She was with the girls about a block away from the finish line, but I didnt' realize that until long after I crossed the finish line. Since I had no coverage I couldn't communicate with her so I walked and stood for awhile until I finally got in touch with her. I walked over to where she was, well, walking is too strong a word. With the grace and speed of a three-toed sloth, I lumbered my way over towards her. I wanted to sit down but I tried a few times before realizing that my legs didn't want to. They just wanted to remain in the same position they'd been in for nearly six hours. I hadn't sat down, after all, since I'd left the hotel room at 5:30, and it was now about 11:30 or so, and sitting down was a chore. So I asked Mrs. LB to help me sit down. It was painful but once I was sitting I felt okay.

* Back to the speech: I must have practiced the speech about 145 times the week before. I just kind of started talking about the things I wanted to talk about until I formed the basis of an outline, then I wrote that down. I broke it up into three parts: my weight loss, becoming a runner and my experiences with the Lopers. It just seemed logical. When I practiced my speech, it kept coming out to about 18 minutes but I cut it down kind of on the spur of the moment. I don't know how long the speech was -I'm guessing around 12 minutes. It didn't really feel like an eternity, and I think I did okay not to stammer my way through.

* When I was practicing my speech, I would tear up and start to get all emotional. Grrr.... I'd kind of wanted to get all that out of my system so I wouldn't break down in front of everyone. There were a few times I got choked up but overall I did well to just give the speech.

* I still can't believe I ran an effing marathon.

* I suppose the tradition with the Loper Banquet is to wear all the medals you've accumulated from one banquet to the other. Dammit! I didn't know. I just wore my Surf City medal because that's what I was told, to bring the Surf City medal. I would have loved to have sported my Ragner Relay medal too. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to wait until next year to wear the Ragnar medal and hopefully a pair of new marathon medals.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Captain's Return

I had another post ready to go but I realized that I should write about today's opening.

Kennedy standing in the calm before the storm

Today marks the return of Captain EO to Disneyland. The 3D show which stars Michael Jackson ran from 1986 to 1997 and was revived after Jackson's death. I say revived because it's taken months to iron out the kinks and revamp the theater to get it back to life.

notice the empty line behind the poster;
it won't be empty for long


I went to Disneyland with Kennedy on Monday, our first trip to the park with Yvie in school. I felt a little guilty about leaving Yvie behind but Yvie has done a lot of things Kennedy hasn't been able to do, so she understood. Kennedy, for instance, has been dying to go to school since Yvie started kindergarten and Kennedy won't play soccer until this year - Yvie's had two years of soccer already.

Anyway, I was secretly hoping that the show was going to have a pre-opening day viewing and that I'd be lucky enough to nab a seat in the theater for that but alas no avail. I may try and go next week sometime with the girls if my schedule allows for it but I'm guessing the lines for Captain EO will be enormously enormous. Can you use a word as an adjective for that word? Well, I just did.

As far as the trip, Kennedy and I headed over to California Adventure since the rides she wanted to do were over there. She did something for the first time since she now meets the 42-inch minimum requirements.

still dry, but that changed soon

This is a great ride during the spring and summer, when it's a bit hotter. The sun was out on Monday and it was kinda warm so I didn't mind getting wet. This is the Grizzly River Run, and Kennedy had never been on it. The ride features a raft, which seats eight, and goes through a roaring river which is supposed to replicate a similar ride through the Sierra Nevadas.

Her first ride consisted of her and me, alone in the raft. In the summer, the wait time can be an hour or more, but we walked right onto a raft and nobody was around us so we sat on our own raft. We got drenched too, at least my pants did, but it was all good.

So even if we didn't get to see Captain EO, our outing was enjoyable. Sorry Yvie, but we did have fun without you :( Although, it would have been waaaaay better if Yvie and Mrs. LB were there too, but I had their season passes with me, so they were there in spirit and in plastic.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Feb. 22)

Well, Sunday was my long-anticipated speech and while it would be nice to post the speech here underneath, I can't. I wanted Mrs. LB to watch my speech instead of having to worry about recording it so that was that. My blog/Loper buddy Angie was there and said she tried to record it, so we'll see if the video works.

In any case, the speech went well. I was nervous about it and worried about it for awhile but it came out the way I'd wanted it to.

Some of the highlights:

* I thanked Mrs. LB before I started. I said that "Without her, I wouldn't be here today" which is the truth. I wouldn't be the person I am now without my wife. That old cliche "Behind every great man is a great woman"... well, I'm not a great man but my wife is certainly a great woman. But I couldn't resist setting up a bit of a joke because that earned some applause and when it died down I said "... because my wife drove tonight, so I would have needed a ride."

* I had a long-ish speech prepared (it was about 18 minutes) but I was told I'd have 3-5 minutes before the speech. But the speaker before me went long so I figured I'd condense my speech some but still managed to talk about my journey. I talked about weighing in at 308.6, how 7 minutes on the elliptical and 8 minutes on the bike led to three days of soreness and how I lost 10, 13 and 11 pounds the first three months, respectively.

* I'd submitted some pictures and the first one that came up was one of Big LB, and it drew some gasps. Seriously. I think people were like "Wow, is that the same guy?"

* I talked about my weight loss, how I lost 60 pounds with trainer and then 60 by myself in 2007, and how I took up running after that. After briefly discussing my progression as a runner, I talked about how and why I joined the Lopers, how I'd promised my wife that I ever wanted to run a marathon I'd join the Lopers since she was the one who suggested the Lopers in the first place.

* After a brief recap of the marathon and talking about what I'd written on my bib, I closed out with this. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to end it but I figured it out. This was the picture that was on display for most of the speech:

LB, circa June 2005

"If there's anything I would like for you to remember from this speech, it is this. What I wrote at the bottom of my bib is what I believe. Nothing is impossible. Because if you would have seen that guy four years ago and someone would have told you that he was going to lose 120 pounds and run a marathon, you would have said 'That's impossible.' And I'm here today to show you that it's not."

I walked off the stage into the comforting arms of my wife as the entire banquet gave me a standing ovation. It felt strange to be honest, to have a room full of people standing and clapping for me, but not a bad strange. It took me a while to settle down but Mrs. LB was comforting as always.

Awhile later I was able to relax and after the banquet was over more than a few people came up to me shook my hand such, some discussing their own stories of weight loss and how I was able to do it.

The speech was something I'd practiced for days and I was glad that speech came out the way it did. And I'm glad Mrs. LB and my brother Danny and his wife were there to see it. And maybe, just maybe it will inspire someone to do something they once thought impossible.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cooking With Yvie: Orange Muffins

Welcome to another episode of Cooking With Yvie!

I'm excited to have the chance to bring you another episode. In her latest culinary adventure, Yvie shows you how to make Orange Muffins. We make muffins all the time and I'd made these before, but I think if I had to make them again I might add some more sugar, and my oven burns hot so I think a little less cooking time than instructed might be better.

Having said that, we enjoyed them quite a bit. The recipe is beneath the video.

Enjoy!



Orange Muffins

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup yogurt
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon orange oil (optional, we didn't use this)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 4oo degrees
2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in medium bowl, set side.
3. In large bown, whisk egg and yogurt until smooth; then whisk in orange juice, milk and orange oil, if using. Stir in flour mixture until moistened.
4. Fill into prepared muffin pans; bake for 20 minutes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reading The Paper

Do you read the newspaper anymore?

Does anyone?

It's a question I often ask myself. As a member of the print media for more than a decade, I have more than just a passing interest in the matter. I have many, many friends and acquaintances who are in or were part of the newspaper industry. It's actually quite sad to see the state of said industry, and sad to think that the future of newspapers is bleak.

At our house, we are loyal newspaper readers. Our local paper might not always have the types of investigative or thought-provoking stories the LATs or NYTs of the world have, but it's got plenty to keep us informed. Now, I do get a lot of my news online, as many others do. I have some e-mail alerts set up for some topics I enjoy plus I'm always checking my blackberry for different things, news updates one of them. Mrs. LB, though, prefers to get informed via the 'paper.

While it's a bit pricey sometimes, the newspaper is a fixture in our house and not just because my picture appears in there once a week.

As a newspaper reader, I like to peruse other newspapers. When I was in college, one of my favorite things to do was to get copies of the PE, the LA Times and the USA Today, and I'd read them all in between classes. Things have changed of course with the advent of blogs, news Web sites and the like.

While the newspaper industry isn't what it once was, the net can provide us some glimpses of things in various newspapers we couldn't see before.

This is one of my favorite Web sites. This site has the front pages of hundreds of newspapers across the country and the world. It's fun sometimes to peruse papers in other states and see what makes headlines. For instance, after Alabama won the college football championship earlier this season, I checked out the Alabama papers and saw how much coverage they gave the event (quite a bit of it). After Tennesssee college football coach Lane Kiffin quit and joined USC, the Tennessee papers had front-page coverage of the happenings. College football is a big deal in the South, and the papers reflect it.

It's also interesting to check out papers from around the world. I'm a big soccer fan, so whenever there is a big game I'll check out the papers from the respective country where the game took place and usually without fail it's on the front page. Sometimes I can't understand what is being written but it's still cool to check out the headlines.

It's also interesting to see what passes as societal norms in some countries. England's newspapers tend to have huge headlines, like SCANDAL BREAKS OUT IN PARLIAMENT or something, but in like a huge, huge type. Not sure how that reflects on the UK or whatever, but the papers look a bit tabloidish sometimes, more than the papers here (though New York papers can be like that). Also, German paper Bild usually publishes some sort of racy picture - typically a topless woman - on the front page. I think that might be a way to sell more papers here, to have a similar display on the front page. I kid, of course. I didn't realize Bild did that until I was scanning the German papers for something and then I was like "Whoa there, what's that?" I took German in college and can understand it a bit, so I like to check out the German papers because I can actually tell what's going on sometimes, unlike say papers in Russia or the Netherlands or the Middle East.

Sometimes it's depressing to see papers elsewhere. Sometimes there are some horrible headlines, like murder or some other mayhem, and that is usually a downer. But still, perusing papers from across the country and the world is always an interesting experience.

Usually the news is of course different in different places. What's front-page news in one county might not even make the A section in another. Sometimes I'll try to see if some big event in the US attracts interest overseas, but there was only one news story in the last eight or nine months or so that I saw made every single front page, and that was Michael Jackson's death. Some papers had their entire front page dedicated to that while others had just a picture and a few words. Most of the foreign papers had a picture or two or three and a story to go with.

Anyway, just some observations I felt like sharing. If you check out the site, you might not see a high number of papers today or Sunday, since some papers don't apparently publish on Saturday and/or Sunday.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Feb. 19)

My weekly post of random items and thwarted blog posts.

Word Association

Play here.

1. Suitcase :: Trip
2. Exhaust :: Fumes
3. Olympics :: Coverage
4. Video :: Game
5. Cargo :: Ship
6. Previously :: Viewed
7. Wild card :: Game
8. Artificial :: Turf
9. Gambling :: Casino
10. Exhibition :: Game

Explanations: Man, I'm just thinking about games today apparently. All sorts of games: exhibition games, wild-card games, video games... funny how I didn't say games for Olympics. If it would have been Olympic, I may have. Instead, I went for coverage because that's how my mind is wired.

Last week, I failed to explain Heels :: Tar, so I'll do it now. That's in reference to North Carolina, the Tar Heels is their mascot.

Sticky Souvenir

Long after the aches and pains from Surf City wore off, I was still left with a souvenir from the race, if you will, on my body.

The tape I used to tape up the nips was still there about a week later.

When my dad went into the hospital in November, I managed to, um, borrow some tape. I figured that the tape used to hold down needles to skin and such would do well to hang on and protect the nips. It did and has worked wonders since, worked better than anything else I tried.

Worked too well.

That tape has a bit of a death grip sometimes. Honestly, it doesn't bother me too much until I go to take them off. And they won't come off. Well, Mrs. LB helped me take those off. She did a sneak attack and ripped them off while I wasn't paying attention. The first one actually was part me, part her ripping it off but the second one, she distracted me and then RIIIIP! off came the tape. ouch

Anyway, on Thursday I ran six miles up Mt. Rubidoux. It was a great run and I had a good strategy. I wanted to run six miles but from the bottom to the top is two miles, the path I take anyway. I ended up running one mile up, then ran back to the entrance and then back up all the way to the top and then all the way down. I've never really figured out The Garmin but I tried to keep my mileage stats, so my miles were sort of like this: 8:50, 8:13, 9:55, 10:25, 8:53, 9:00. I don't know if that adds up to my total time of 55:15, but it's close enough. I don't know why I went so fast the first mile, but I hit a wall when I went back up the same path. Overall I had a decent time, and while I wasnt' trying to run my hardest I did feel like I needed to get a decent time, which I did.

The only setback was the pain from my nips! I felt them early on and I instantly got frustrated. I had no tape, hadn't wanted to tape them up but apparently they aren't toughened up anymore since I've been taping them so much. Grrr. Luckily I had the ointment my buddy anne had sent me, and I put that all over and it worked to take the edge off.

Blog Biz

I know this is mostly a blog about, well, I call it my motivational/nutritional/fitness blog, but sometimes I don't blog about anything that fits that description. I've got some posts coming up next week that have nothing to do with running or anything. Don't be alarmed. It's just me and my world. I've always felt that I wanted to offer all my readers something from each post, whether runners or non-runners read it. It's tough to do sometimes but I try - if nothing else I try and spin a good yarn each and every blog post.

Dentist Trip

Last week, I blogged about my dentist woes. Seems like we just can't get away from the dentist these days. On Wednesday I took Yvie and Kennedy to the dentist. Kennedy's visit was her first-ever while Yvie had to get a filling for a cavity - dang it. Not sure how that happened but it did.

Funny moment (and if you're on FB you may have seen it): Kennedy was sitting in the chair and the dentist was getting settled in. She asked Kennedy how old she was and Kennedy responded "Four." Then the dentist asked Kennedy when she would turn five. Kennedy paused and said "On my birthday."

Anyway, Kennedy did well. I was a bit worried that she would cry or otherwise freak out but she was a trooper. She didn't flinch once during x-rays and did well with that suction thing that sucks up your drool. Yvie also experienced her first foray into novacaine. She received praise as well for her own behavior. For about two hours after, though, she complained that her lip felt funny. I told her not to bite it or anything because she might not feel it but that when the novacaine wore off, she' would and it might hurt. She didn't bite down and was happy when the numbness wore off. We scheduled another visit, for six months from now, and we hope there are no cavities then.

Kenna, Part Two

Kennedy and I had the chance to lay down for a nap on Thursday. She didn't want to but I knew she was tired since she got up at 5:30. I was tired too since I ran six miles and barely slept the night before. I climbed into my bed and Kennedy followed, reluctantly. I'd left my awesome Dodgers blanket out in the living room, though, and while I didn't really need a blanket, I kinda wanted one so I was reaching for something to cover myself with. I must have dozed off because the next thing I remember was Kennedy covering me with my Dodgers blanket, and then she gave me a little kiss on my forehead. That little girl is so awesome.

Of course, she fell fast asleep and I had to wake her up a bit later since we had to go get Yvie from school.

I don't know why she is so stubborn when it comes to napping. I tell her all the time, "If I was four years old, I would have a party every day. Naps whenever I wanted, food prepared for me, all the books and toys I could want, no school, sleep 'til whenever, Disneyland... I'd be living the life." She goes to preschool twice a week but still, that's not the five-days-a-week grind kindergarten can be. You know, the tough days of kindergarten.

She doesn't realize how great she has it, apparently.

LB's Song Of The Week

My weekly nod to children's music.

The girls are FORKs, apparently. That's what Randy Kaplan calls his fans, Fans Of Randy Kaplan. He's actually kind of a divisive character - either you like his stuff or you don't.

Kennedy had the chance recently to buy songs of iTunes and she chose two Randy Kaplan songs. This one wasn't one of them, but she ran out of choices before she got back to this one.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hold That Thought

After the pains and aches subsided from Surf City, I was thrilled at the prospect of running another marathon in 2010. I wasn't quite set to jump right back into the fire and sign up for the Los Angeles Marathon, which would have given me six weeks in between marathons, but I was anxious to look for another marathon this spring.

I'd wanted to go for the OC Marathon, on May 2. I figured that would give me time to rest and recover before going back into marathon training without starting from scratch or anything.

Now, I'm not quite as certain about it. In fact, the air has been let out from that particular balloon.

Instead of another spring marathon, I have decided to set a two-fold goal. First, I will train hard for the Run Through Redlands Half Marathon. I am anxious to get a sub-2 hour marathon, and while I think it is a challenge - perhaps one that is out of my reach right now - I want to tackle it head on. The second goal coincides a bit with that. I want to train hard for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. I want to beat my brother Danny in that race... actually, let me rephrase that... I want to smoke him and drag his time through the mud. I know we should run the race for fun, but I think it will be fun to beat him and shatter his PR there, which is about 1:03.

Another goal that is concurrent with that is to keep my weekly mileage high. I actually want to get to the point where I am running at least 30 miles a week consistently, and if I can get closer to 40 miles a week, even better. I figure that if I run at least double-digit mileage on the weekend and three or four times during the week, I can get to 30 miles at least. I also want to throw in some tempo runs and intervals as well.

Not to say that running another marathon would have impeded all this, in fact it would add to the weekly mileage totals, but focusing on a half marathon isn't exactly part of a marathon training plan.

So does that mean I won't run another marathon this year? Not quite.

Two marathons that several Lopers run in each year are San Diego and Long Beach. However, San Diego conflicts with the Mud Run and Long Beach is a week before Ragnar. If we end up doing Ragnar, it would not be possible to run the marathon and Ragnar.

What about San Francisco? That would be a huge challenge, since the course is so hilly. But I might consider it.

But the one I'm really looking at now is the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon. That one is in December and I would have plenty of time to train for it. I'm not sure there are any other races that would conflict with it. The Mission Inn Half Marathon is about a month before so that wouldn't be a problem. And since quite a few Loeprs ran in it last year, there stands a chance of a similarly large group participating in it again this year. Thus, I would have several potential training partners for that race. The only problem is that race temperatures for that race in 2009 were in the low 30s to start, and that is pretty stinking cold. But at this point that is not enough to keep me from running it.

On the flip side of Las Vegas would be 2011, and the LA Marathon. I'll most likely run that one, especially if the Lopers go back to training for LA for the 2010-11 season. Either way, I'd love to run at least one more marathon in 2010. Training for Surf City was a blast and I anticipate having a similar experience for Las Vegas.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tune-related Giveaway

One of the things that the Lopers advocate is running without headphones, and it's one of the few things I don't agree with them on. While I am not as dependent on my headphones now as I once was, I still enjoy music and still prefer it versus not having it with me.

What can make or break my music experience, though, is my headphones. So I was excited that my awesome blog buddy Christy of It Just Looks Like Slow Motion had a giveaway on her blog that would help.

Remember how Mrs. LB was able to call me several times during my marathon? Well, one of the headphones that allowed me to talk to my wife during Surf City ate it. There is a little plastic covering that just came off, and I can't find it. And without it, it won't stay in my ear.

Sad face.

I have another set, though, so not all is lost. Still, I'm excited about the possibility of having this chance to win these headsets. They are called Yurbuds, and they are supposed to fit on the end of your headphones and help them stay in your ear. This is right up my alley, something I need, so I'm hoping to win the giveaway. She's actually giving away 10 pairs so I might be able to snag me a win from one of these giveaways finally. I've entered so many giveaways and have yet to win one. Ugh. What luck.

Anyway, go check out Christy's rockin' blog, help cheer her up (she's injured) and read about her own running journey. Just don't enter the giveaway because that will lessen my chances of winning. And if you've already entered, you should retract your entry so I can improve my chances of winning.

Water, Water Everywhere

Water is good for you.

Not exactly news flash material, huh?

Well, it is. But it isn't always the first thing on your mind. Sometimes I wake up with a strong craving for coffee, or other times I want to drink something with flavor, maybe something sweet.

But I try and do my duty and drink the water I'm supposed to, the water my body needs to get by. Exactly how much water is that? That varies, though. And with all the research and information out there, you could easily get lost with that simple question.

Water, though, was central for me losing weight. My trainer told big LB to drink 80-100 ounces of water each day, so about the equivalent of about six half-liter bottles of water. Recently, during one of our Loper meetings, a running coach told us to drink at least eight, if not 10 of those bottles a day as we prepared for the marathon. He likened water to oil in an engine, helping keep everything lubricated.

Still, no matter how you break it down, drinking enough water can be tough.

I would not recommend drinking bottle after bottle of water if you are going to be driving a lot, for instance. You will have an accident, and not the kind where you exchange driver's license information with someone else. I've absent-mindedly drank water before the long drive out to the stadium and had near-misses. I had to pull off the freeway and find a store on more than one occasion. And those were times when I went to the bathroom just before I left the house.

There was another time when I was almost there, literally waiting for the light to turn so I can go into the stadium and I thought I would have to turn around and go home because I was certain I was going to have an accident right then and there. I still don't know how I made it, but I found a bathroom. I would have taken a bush at that point, but I made it to a porta-potty (honey buckets for you Seattle peeps).

If I'm going to be at home for a while, then I try and drink as much as possible. Sometimes that means trips every 15 minutes to the bathroom, but it's worth it.

We go through so much water a day, it's ridiculous. We get water delivered to us because our tap water here is not the best. We used to use a water filtration system but that was at our old house; our area now doesn't exactly have the best water. We get five of the five-gallon waters delivered to us every four weeks or so, and we always run out. Our last delivery was about two weeks ago and we're already on our last gallon. I'm the biggest culprit for that, so I don't feel so bad getting water when I run out.

The color of your, um, well, I don't want to get too graphic but if it's light then it's good. I get upset when it's not because then I know I haven't been drinking enough water.

I've been up for about an hour and have drank about half of one water bottle. I'm taking Yvie to school in about another hour and my goal is to drink four times that by then, so I'll have two full bottles in me by about 7:30 a.m. That's a good start for me. I'll probably spend the next few hours alternating between drinking water and going to the bathroom, but that's fine with me. I probably won't have an accident here at home.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meal Plans

I've got a bit of a question for you trusty blog readers, those of you who cook anyway.

First, let me give you a bit of background and my quandary.

I'm solely responsible for meals around the LB house. I got into cooking about three years ago and I'm fairly comfortable in the kitchen. Well, not entirely totally 100 percent comfortable because there are still foods and ingredients that confuse me (yeast, for instance) and a lot of times I still need recipes to make something. I can "wing it" sometimes but usually only when making Mexican food, since that's what I'm familiar and comfortable with.

But for the longest time now, I've felt a bit uneasy. I don't necessarily think I'm in a rut but it sure feels that way. So to help combat this feeling, I've decided to try something different. Although I'm not 100 percent sold on this idea.

Now that I don't have to referee soccer games, I have my afternoons free once more. I'm at home pretty much every day in the mornings although some of those days I do a bit of running around (literally and figuratively). Still, I have time both to do the shopping and cooking, and I'm actually looking forward to settling into a rhythm.

Which brings up my predicament. I've thought for the longest time to designate nights with certain dishes. For instance, have a pasta night, Mexican night, chicken night, etc. That would help me not only get more organized but also force me to try new things. If I have a chicken night, I can't keep making the same chicken dishes I normally make over and over again.

So, my question: is this an effective system?

I'm thinking right now of something like this...

Monday: Chicken
Tuesday: Mexican
Wednesday: ______
Thursday: _____
Friday: Pasta

Obviously there are some _____s there. Still trying to fill out the holes. I do have some thoughts:

Pork and/or Beef night
Ethnic night (Asian or some other type of ethnic dish)
Veggie night (not sure this would go over well, but I wouldn't mind doing it)

You won't see Seafood night on there because we don't care much for seafood. And we do breakfast for dinner every now and then, but not often enough to designate it as a weekly thing.

Anyway, help a blogger out! If you'd be so kind...

Finish Line Etiquette

Well before I even got to the start line at Surf City, I thought about the finish line. My Loper pace leader had mentioned it once, almost casually, to not look down at your watch as you crossed the finish line of a marathon. She said that you don't want to have a picture of yourself looking at your watch as the finish-line pose of your first (or any) marathon.

Then, the week before the marathon, she stressed it to us.

"Don't stop your watch until a few seconds after you cross the finish line because you don't want to be looking at your watch on your finish line picture," she'd said.

So when I approached the finish line at Surf City, hitting stop on The Garmin was the furthest thing from my mind.

Maybe some people don't care about their finish-line picture. Or maybe they really do care about what their watch says. Regardless, there were some finish-line shots that, had they been mine, would have destroyed my great moment.

checking the time

more checking

Now, I don't mean to pick on those guys or anyone. They probably smoked my time, so I'm sure they know what they're doing. And maybe when you get to the point where you are running marathons to try and beat a certain time, you don't care about the finish line photo because you're there to compete. Who knows?

To offer a contrast, here are some pictures of people who had great finish-line shots:

First-time marathoner coming in all smiles

That's my uncle Jorge, who was also a member of our Ragnar Relay team. Check him out. He definitely looks happy, relieved and excited to be done with his first marathon.

another shot of Jorge

Of course, if I could finish my first marathon in 3:46:34, I'd be super happy too. Jorge, by the way, already signed up for LA and might run San Diego and/or Long Beach this year too. Dang overachievers...

Anyway, here's another marathoner, though not a first-timer (and I hope she doesn't mind me posting these pics here):

third time's a charm

Blog buddy Lisa kicked major behind on this marathon, her third overall. She finished in 3:57:17, nearly one full hour faster from her first marathon time.

job well done

Look at her? Doesn't she just look super-excited and overjoyed? That's a great shot.

This next one is of my fellow Loper Marilu. It's another great picture.

point to the skies

This one is awesome. I really love that shot of her. I haven't gotten the chance to ask about her reasons for celebrating this way, but it looks great no matter what. That's a picture worth framing... all of the ones I posted are, really. Well, the last batch anyway.

I'm not sure how many marathons I will run, but I'll make sure that after every one I'm happy or proud or displaying some other emotion because I like those kinds of finish line photos.

ADD:

Here's my finish line photo :)

crossing the line

Incidentally I ordered the pictures from the race site so I'll have a better picture of myself, without the watermark, once I get those shots.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Motivational Mondays (Feb. 15)

Throughout my weight-loss journey, I've really only been able to share my experiences with my friends and family, as well as my trusty blog readers. I'm not sure how wide of a net that casts, though I've talked to a lot of people about it.

Next week, though, I will have the chance to talk about my weight-loss journey as well as my marathon challenge to a whole new batch of people. On Sunday is the Loper Banquet, and I'm going to be one of the speakers on the evening.

That sound you just heard was a rock sinking to my stomach.

I got a preview of what I can expect during yesterday's meeting. All the first-time marathoners got up to talk about our experiences, and since my pace leader had asked me to bring in my bib, I got the chance to share that with everyone.

I wasn't expecting to talk so of course I had nothing prepared, and since I was one of the last people to give a talk I had plenty of time to get nervous about it. And I stammered my way through my talk (though I did get a loud round of applause when I read what I'd written on my bib) and got choked up on a couple of parts. I did tell everyone that I was talking at the banquet next week so I was going to save my good stuff for then, so I gave myself a bit of an out.

I suppose there's really only one way to go from here. My little talk yesterday was not great, so I can only improve upon that next week.

So I'll be spending the first couple of days this week to prepare for my speech. I want to get it done by Wednesday or Thursday so I can have time to practice it. The way I like to write a speech is to just kind of do it in outline form. I don't want to go up there and read something to people - I'd prefer to just keep it informal, or at least give the impression that it's informal. That's what I did when I gave the best man speech at my brother Danny's wedding and I felt comfortable then... well, not really, but the speech gave the impression that I was comfortable when I really wasn't.

I'll most likely be nervous during the speech, actually nervous during most of this week. I guess that's just how things are, right? Not everyone likes to stand in front of people and talk, and I certainly am not a fan of that. And then to talk about myself... I'm actually not one to talk about myself too much. Blog about myself, yeah, of course I can and do do that, but I'm more gifted with the written word, not so much the spoken word.

Still, one thing that always gets me motivated is to look at before-and-after pictures.

same hat, different people wearing it

One of the things too that will be part of my speech is a photo display. Somehow there are going to be pictures of myself on display during my speech. Not sure what it will look but one of the pictures I submitted was the ghastly picture on the left. And there are plenty more on there of the pink-clad marathoner on the right.

I suppose I do have a good tale to tell. After our talk on Sunday, one of the founding members of the Lopers (club has been around since '76) said that of all the people who had lost weight to join the Lopers and run a marathon, only one other person had lost more. There was some fellow before who had weighed about 360, I was told, who dropped the weight and joined the Lopers and ran a marathon. I was number two, since I wasn't quite at 360. I might have been on my way, but I was about 50 pounds short of that.

So there's a good story to tell here I suppose. I just have to dig deep, take out the best parts and organize it. And then I have to not stammer through my speech next Sunday in order to make sure the story is told properly.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dentist Woes

A couple of blog buddies have had a rough go at it recently with tooth-related issues so I thought I'd take the time to write about my own previous experiences with the dentist.

First off, I hate going to the dentist. I just despise having all those tools and instruments so close to me. I mean, you can turn the other way when you go to the doctor for other procedures (I'm not a fan of needles at all, for instance, but I can look away, grin and bear the pain) but when you have fingers and drills and mirrors and that vacuum thing that sucks out the saliva from your mouth, what can you do then? You're trapped.

Now, I hardly ever went to the dentist growing up. We were poor growing up (we didn't have a phone until I was in the eighth grade and five of us slept in one room) and didn't have medical insurance. Trips to the doctor and dentist, then, were rare. So rare that I don't remember any trip to the dentist. At all. I remember my older brother going to the dentist a few times when we were young. Maybe I blocked those trips out of my mind, who knows? My parents went to the dentist, but they did it old school style - they would cruise down to Tijuana for dental work. That's old school Mexican-style right there, go down to TJ for medical/dental work and medicine. FDA regulations? Ha!

Anyway, when I got married then, I wasn't exactly in a hurry to go to the dentist. When you've never been, why bother going? Until one day I was driving home from work (back when I had a real day job, ugh) and noticed that there was a hole in a tooth of mine. Yeah, Mr. I Don't Need No Stinkin' Dentist had to have a root canal. That was my introduction to the dentist, and it was not a pleasant meeting. Actually, four meetings: the initial diagnosis, the drilling, the replacement cap and the crown. I actually had my replacement cap come clean off once (more than once actually) because I was eating Skittles or something, and it got stuck to whatever horrible crap I put in my mouth. Hey, there were many reasons why I used to weigh what I weighed, and candy was one of them.

I went on to have three root canals but luckily my years of tooth neglect only resulted in three. Even though they were painful, excruciating and miserable, I "only" had three root canals. And I do not want a fourth. I think the last one was in '05, not sure.

Still, hands down the worst tooth experience was when I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled. I didn't exactly realize that you probably should have them pulled more as a preventive measure, because to go through the pain I went through is not fun. That pain, that horrible and excruciating pain.

I believe it was around May of '01, and I'd just gotten to my parents' house. I was going to watch a soccer game with my dad and maybe throw back a few beers when all of the sudden I felt something. I felt a twinge coming from my molar region. It was a twinge at first, but rapidly and without warning it became a tsunami of pain. Unbearable, incomparable, relentless pain. I'd never felt physical pain like that before and I still have not. It was a jolt of needles, an ice pick jamming at my gums, a knife digging deep into the back of my mouth.

And it would not stop.

I cried. That's how much it hurt. I cried, although I think part of that was frustration, in that it would not go away. I left the house, screw the soccer game and beers. Mrs. LB was with me so she drove and we went to her parents house for something, I think to try and find some medicine. Aspirin was going to do nothing, but they didn't have anything. While Mrs. LB was inside looking for something, I paced around their driveway. It was at least 30 minutes now of constant horrible throbbing burning piercing pain, and I didn't know what to do.

We went to the emergency room finally as it was our best option, and I think I was given a shot of some pain reliever. It was a Sunday afternoon, so the next morning I was going to see the dentist. I had some Vicodin at home (we lived about 45 minutes away so I had to get attended to here in Riverside) so that night I popped a couple of those things. That wasn't great either because I broke out in cold sweats after awhile.

At this point, I didn't think it was my wisdom teeth. I'd just gone to the dentist recently and they didn't see anything really wrong with them, but did recommend I get them removed. But the next morning, they saw what was wrong with me. A fresh set of x-rays revealed nerve damage, though I can't recall if it was damage within the tooth or if the tooth was rubbing against a nerve. Regardless, it was tucked in far behind and out of sight.

They helped alleviate the pain but I was referred to an oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth removed. My insurance then was such that I could only afford to have two teeth pulled at once - actually, let me rephrase that. I could have had all four teeth pulled without going under but to be knocked out during the procedure plus having my four wisdom teeth removed would have meant a lot of money out of my pocket. So I had two done then, and two more at a later time, as soon as the insurance cycle started over, or however that works. Anyway, it wasn't that much time.

I wasn't too scared of getting my teeth pulled and in fact was looking forward to it. I'd never been knocked out so I was anxious to feel what that was like. Plus the pain had subsided but wasn't completely gone. I remember feeling a tiny bit strange when the medicine started to take effect just before they took my teeth out, then asking for more since I was supposed to have been out by then. And then, all I remember was coming to, with a bunch of stuff in my mouth. My teeth were gone and I had some sort of material in my mouth to protect the wounds. Then, a week of jello, pudding and yogurt ensued and I constantly felt the void where my wisdom teeth had been with my tongue. It felt strange, like there was suddenly room there.

Aside from recalling a nearly decade-old memory, I guess the point of this is to both sympathize with my blog buddies as they recover from their own oral procedures and to also let you know that wisdom teeth really, really suck, and that if you (or your children if they are of the appropriate age) have not gotten them pulled, do it now!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Feb. 12)

The Leftovers...

Word Association

As always, play here.

1. Humbled :: Honored
2. Buns: Hamburger
3. Snowstorm :: Blizzard
4. Sweetheart :: Candy
5. Punch :: Drunk
6. Glass :: Water
7. Classical :: Music
8. Heels :: Tar
9. Twitter :: Account
10. Husband :: Wife

Pretty straightforward this week. Not a whole lot that needs 'splainin.

Groundhog Was Kind

I can never keep it straight. Is it, if the groundhog sees his shadow we get spring? I guess I never put much stock into it because our winters don't involve any of the white stuff.

Well, whatever the groundhog was supposed to see or not see in order for winter to end, he saw (or didn't see). But it's the West Coast version of the groundhog I'm referring to. Temperatures pretty much anywhere outside of the West are very low and snow and blizzards have hit other parts of the country pretty hard.

It's supposed to be 80 degrees here in Riverside on Sunday. For most of the next 10 days, the forecast is sunny and highs in the mid- to high-70s. I am definitely going to have to sneak in a run or three outside.

Of course, you take the good with the bad. In California on Thursday, there were 80 earthquakes that registered on the Richter scale. That's a high number but most of them were little. The highest was a 3.4 in Parkfield, and I'm not even sure where Parkfield is (quick check reveals its in the central part of the state, about 20 miles inland from where Cambria is).

Recovery

After a few days of hobbling, I'm finally recovered from the marathon. I had to ref a soccer game on Wednesday and it very well. I did get a recovery run on Tuesday, a 2-miler on the treadmill in my garage. That was not exactly painful but comfortable wouldn't describe it either. I felt better during that run towards the end, though, and I think that helped me do well during Wednesday's game.

I felt a bit more winded than usual while running around the turf field but I was fine. I sprinted a few times and that went well. I have a game today (my final one of the season - yay) so I'll run around during that, but Sunday will be my next run. We have a six-miler planned for that day.

Then, I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with running. I haven't quite figured out a routine but I do want to run at least twice, maybe three times. It just depends on what the Lopers suggest.

But I feel great and my legs are free of any soreness or lingering nicks and bumps... mostly. I whacked my shin stepping into the shower on Tuesday and I have a nice bump there.

Disneyland!

I'm very excited for Monday. The girls and I will take advantage of the Presidents Day holiday and will head out to Disneyland first thing in the morning. The park opens at 8 a.m. and with any luck we will be there waiting for the tram at 7:30.

I went last year on this same day and it was slow in the morning but got filled up by the afternoon, so I probably won't stay all day but we'll take a few slow hours in the morning followed by some time at California Adventure, no problem.

The only bad thing is Mrs. LB has to work so it'll just be a three-person outing but we'll still have fun. It's tough for the four of us to go together which makes it more special when we do get the chance to go as a family.

LB's Song Of The Week

My weekly nod to children's music.

This song is rather popular around the LB house recently. The girls are into a show on Disney channel called Phineas and Ferb. They can watch the same episodes over and over again. I don't know, I'm not the biggest fan of that show. I prefer SpongeBob I guess because he doesn't often get on my nerves but that Phineas and Ferb show can get old for me.

Anyway, this is a song from one of the episodes. This song isn't my favorite but it's growing on me. Sort of. I didn't realize it was from the show until well after I'd first heard it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Surf City Marathon Pictures!

It's just been an exciting week all around, from my marathon to basking in the accomplishment of running it to thinking about future marathons and races and signing up for a free 5K, and now this.

The official race pictures are up! Originally they were supposed to be up on Sunday but apparently the people with Brightroom are fast workers. I've been checking this all week, so when the option finally appeared to scour through pictures, I was instantly excited.

Let me present to you the official race pictures - most of them anyway.

still got all my Gu packets intact

This is somewhere around Mile 3. It was on a small incline and near an intersection. I believe right after this we all took a right turn on some street. I remember this picture because the guy in front of me wearing neon green (seriously, who would wear neon green for a race, jeez... says the guy who wore pink, j/k of course) was close to me but I let him get ahead just a bit so the photographer would have a clear shot of me. Yeah, I'm a ham sometimes, I admit.

Marilu and LB, first-time marathoners rockin' Surf City

This is Marilu, my awesome running partner. I'm not sure what mile this is in but I'm guessing around Mile 17 or 18.

the Pink Fish returns

Remember the Pink Fish? This guy:

separated at birth

Well, he's back. He made his appearance during Surf City. Seriously, I don't know why I do that with my mouth. It's not very sexy or manly. It looks like I'm floundering for air. Wheeze, wheeze, wheeze.... But I guess that's how you can tell that I'm laboring.

hitting the wall

I think this was around Mile 23. You can tell because I'm deep in thought. That was something else. I've thought about that moment, well, those moments I guess, where I was filled with doubt and emotion and frustration. That's something else. That was the most challenging part about the whole race, I believe. I knew physically I could do it. I trained for it and I put my faith in the Lopers so I knew the race was doable. But that wall is no joke. It will break you if you let it. It got to me a bit but I pushed it away and broke through it.

pain setting in

I went through stages of running during the marathon, from running to walking. This is one of the moments where you could say I was shuffling. I wans't motoring along at this point I don't think. I'd say this is somewhere around Mile 24 or 25, and the Fish looks like he's grimacing.

Ah, but everything paid off in spades at the end.

it's over!!!

who's the man?

My buddy Angie told me to smile, no matter how you feel, at the finish line. I'm sorry Angie that I did not heed your advice.

To be honest, when I approached the finish line I was so worn down and so exhausted that I had to think to myself "Okay, raise your arms in the air" and I thought about how Jephy's Mom had said it was like the Tour de France cyclists crossing the finish line. I don't think I had any energy to smile.

Still, I love that picture. All those pictures (here's a link to all of my race pics). And I'm excited to see them and to be able to show them to you!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Next Challenge: A 5K

I had kinda-sorta made it a goal to run a 5K this year. I want to run one for a few reasons but didn't know if I'd get the chance to. I was looking for marathons and half-marathons to fill my calendar with, and I hoped that a 5K would fall out of nowhere for me.

Well, lucky me. One fell from out of nowhere and best of all - it's FREE!!!

The Arrowhead Regional Medical Center 5K Walk/Run is going to be held on March 13 in Colton, very close to my house. It's a free event and I've already registered for it.

Man, if all events were free I would fill out a fantastic race calendar that would see me run races all over the place :)

Anyway, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center is a local hospital, and apparently this event is to help promote health and wellness. I'm all for promoting and supporting health and wellness, especially when it comes with a free 5K.

I seriously cannot contain my excitement!! I told Mrs. LB about it and she was totally nonplussed about it. That's okay, though. I probably won't have her come out for that since it's so close to my house and it won't be an all-day event or anything.

However, I have laid down the gauntlet and have challenged my brother Danny to the race. He said he's game if he is free on that day. Which means he has given himself an out in case he is not man enough to accept my challenge. Danny is faster and stronger and more physically gifted than me, which is going to make this race all the more fun for me since I'm going to wipe the floor with him that day. To be fair, he is a bit hobbled. He's not a runner as he prefers team sports but he was the one who got me into running by introducing the Mud Run to me and asking me if I wanted to sign up.

If you haven't "met" Danny before, let me introduce him to you.

LB and his lesser younger brother

He's the one in the white.

Dang, sorry, bad joke I know. I just couldn't resist.

Anyway, Danny's going down on March 13 if he's man enough to show his face.

Regardless, I am so excited about the race! I will get the chance to set a new PR!! My one and only 5K was back in June 2008, my first-ever race, and I ran 25:05. I'm certain that I can beat that time. I'm not going to shoot for finishing in under 20 minutes, come on now, but I do think I can shave off a couple of minutes from that time at least.

The fastest I've ever ran a mile in was 6:57, and that was because I was chasing Danny. We had an impromptu relay race on a track once, and we got in teams of four. My leg coincided with Danny's so we ran opposite one another. I believe we were the first runners for each of our teams. I tried to keep up with Danny and I did, for the entire mile. I was gassed by the end but he only beat me by a little bit.

So I hope to improve my 5K time because every time I read about a "5K pace" while reading about training programs and stuff, I instantly think that my "5K pace" is 8:04, which is fast for me, don't get me wrong, but I know I can run faster than that. I had an 8:06 pace for a 10K so it's not a stretch to think I can get a minute or two under 25:05.

I've longed to break that time, and now I'll have that chance. And best of all - it will be free!

What's Next?

Now that Surf City is done and I've completed a marathon, I can look ahead at the rest of the year in terms of races. I've been wanting to blog about this for a while but I promised Mrs. LB that I would wait until after the marathon to really consider the year, to let myself experience my first marathon without letting distractions get in the way.

That doesn't mean I didn't ponder other races, but rather I just did some harmless window shopping.

Now I feel like going on a shopping spree.

Next Marathon?

There will be a second marathon for me - you can take that to the bank. The only question is, will it be this year or next? I really want to run another one soon, mostly because I've already trained for and ran one, so I wouldn't have to start over from scratch with my training. A few long-distance runs would be all I'd need to maintain my mileage right now. Really, that's it.

Now, the LA Marathon would seem perfect. It's less than six weeks away and I'd really only have to run one 20-mile run. Now, I say "only" not because that's not challenging but because it's not daunting to run one versus having two or more on the schedule. And really, I could get away with not even running a 20-miler - look at Hal Higdon's six-weeks-between-marathons plan. That is very appealing.

But I'm going to have to pass on LA because it just seems too soon for me. Maybe I should just go for it but I'm going to play it cautiously on that one. Besides, the Lopers will probably go back to training for and running LA once our season starts again in July so I can run the LA Marathon in 2011.

The marathon I'm really salivating over is the OC Marathon. Now, Huntington Beach is in the OC, so wouldn't it be like running the same race again? Not exactly. The OC Marathon runs all over Orange County - Newport Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa. Looking at the course map, it seems like you get a little taste of everything the OC has to offer... even Santa Ana. Yay for Santa Ana! Um... actually, Santa Ana is kind of a dumpy place but I have a lot of family that lives there and have lived there twice in my life so it's special to me. Dumpy, but special. And over off of Memory Lane, there are some very nice houses.

Anyway, that seems like it would be a bit away in that it would give me time to recover from Surf City, both physically and mentally, and give me enough time to really want to get out there and knock out another 26.2-miler.

If the OC Marathon doesn't happen, then I'm not sure about another marathon in twenty-ten. Any fall/winter marathon means long training runs in the summer months, and that's not exactly fun or healthy. That doesn't mean it's not doable, but just makes it a bit more challenging.

Half Marathons

I want to go for my sub-two-hour half in April and re-visit the sight of one of my first major running triumphs. I want to sign up for the Run Through Redlands Half Marathon, slated for April 18. This wouldn't interfere with the OC Marathon training but rather add to it. This would be two weeks to the day before that race and would send me into a taper on a high note.

Maybe a sub-two-hour half is too ambitious for this slow runner but I want to test myself again. If nothing else, I want to see what a knowledgeable LB can do in this race, and not the LB who ran it last year, undertrained and underinformed.

The Mission Inn Half Marathon is another one I'll probably run, but that's not until November. Another half I would love to run before then is the San Francisco Half Marathon. This might be a good getaway weekend for Mrs. LB and myself. We've never been to San Francisco together - I think I might have gone there when I was like 5 or 6 but not since. It would be relatively close and we could definitely make a weekend out of it. Plus, I'd get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. How cool would that be?? I haven't completely ruled out the possibility of going for the full 26.2 there, but the last long run for that would be on July 4. It will be super hot and I might have to work on both July 3 and 4. Ha. Good luck with that.

Other Races

I'm signed up for Camp Pendleton Mud Run in June, so there's that. Reader Anne (formerly known as Tahoe Girl) will be in Camp Pendleton for that so I'm very excited for that day to come. Plus, I will train for it right this time and not only will I smash my time from last year but I will beat my brother Danny. That's right buddy, I'm calling you out right now. Dem's fightin' words.

We haven't discussed the Ragnar Relay yet but I would like to run the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas again. That one is on Oct. 23-24 I think and that was so much fun last year that we all expressed interest in running it again. Maybe if we can't get a full 12 runners again we might go for filling one van and hooking up with another van in order to run it. Ragnar is awesome and I had so much fun that I'd love to do it again.

***

So, there you have it, my short-term plans. They aren't complete and I might still consider other races in April, May and June but that's where I'm at right now.

I think right now I'm almost certain that I want to run the OC Marathon. I think I will just have to see how these next two weeks play out and see how badly I want it. Registration fees are 90 dollars now and won't go up to 100 dollars until March 31, so I have some time to decide.

If I run the Redlands half on April 18 and then the OC Marathon on May 2, that will be a fantastic roller coaster ride for sure.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Post-Surf City

I'm now a full day-plus removed from the marathon, and since I have so many thoughts floating around about the race, post-race and my thoughts on my running future, I figured I'd just dump them all here. Most of 'em anyway.

* Surf City attracted around 20,000 runners combined between the 5K, Half Marathon and Marathon. Also, there were an estimated 40,000 onlookers, this according to a local news report. So while Surf City isn't a big-city event like the LA Marathon, it's also not a small-time race.

* Wanna read some more race recaps? Angie wrote this up on Angie Eats Peace, and I was touched by it because she included some stuff in there on yours truly. She posted a really bad picture of me, one of my "before" shots (and I don't mean moments before the marathon), but it's all good. Angie ran the half marathon with another friend of hers who also had gone a significant weight loss/lifestyle change.

Lisa of Discovering the Meaning of Stonehenge (a runner's journey) wrote a detailed race report on her own marathon experience. Lisa ran her first marathon a couple of years ago and finished in 4:54, and made it a goal to improve on her time. Sunday, her third marathon, she rocked a 3:57!! Amazing. It gives me hope that I can improve my time. I'm not going to get under four hours like she did but it's encouraging to see her progress nonetheless.

* The official race photos won't be up until Sunday (hopefully sooner) but here is one more picture of yours truly during the race.

One of our pace leaders shot this probably around Mile 20 or 21.

along the course, heading towards the stretch

This is pre-wall, hence the smile. My Loper buddy Marilu is the small speck of pink on the right side. She finished ahead of me by the way, but we kept leap-frogging each other from this point forward.

* My BlackBerry let me down. It froze on me. Ugh. I had to do a battery pull right smack in the middle of the marathon. I had listened to the first playlist (I broke up my playlist into three separate ones) and was going to skip ahead to the third one. I hadn't listened to music at all until Mile 8 or 9, so I only had time for one more playlist. As soon as the first notes of Fight Fire With Fire began, the song quit on me. It took me a while to figure out that the phone had just quit on me, just froze. I ran like that for a couple of miles and then decided that I need to take the battery out and try and revive the phone. I needed it obviously not just for the music but for the phone calls. It worked fine after that.

* Mrs. LB called me four times during the race and each time it was a welcomed sound. It worked great and I would definitely recommened it if you have the capability of course. I probably wouldn't recommend holding a phone in your hand for the entire race but if you can keep it somewhere so that it does not get in the way, go for it. I'm lucky that mine fit in my arm carrier thing.

* The hat was awesome. Several people said "Go LB!" or just "LB!" Huntington Beach is close to Long Beach so maybe it was people cheering for Long Beach, but I pretended they were cheering for me :)

* Random cool moment: One of the people who congratulated me for my bib turned his head around once he got about 10 feet or so in front of me and said "Soak it all up!"

* Random cool moment, part two: Two others chatted with me briefly about their own experiences. One guy said he had lost 70 pounds, and the other said he'd lost 80, and each of them was also running marathon number one.

* Random cool moment, part three: I saw a runner wearing a white running shirt that said "Blind Runner" on the back, and next to her a runner wearing the same shirt except on his shirt read "Guide Dog."

* Random cool moment, part four: Our group very early on passed a runner, probably in his late 60s or early 70s, with a POW/MIA flag singing cadence. After I'd found my family and was recovering, I saw him finishing up his own 26.2-miler, still singing cadence.

* Random NOT cool moment: There were several bikers on the beach path, and while most of them were going slow and taking care to not run into anyone, not all of them were seemingly happy with sharing the beach path with marathoners.

* I have to go on a run today. Two miles. I really don't feel like going out there and running. It's not that I don't want to but my legs are still feeling the effects of Surf City. Mostly my quads are feeling it. I don't usually get sore in my quads after runs, so this is sorta new to me. We'll see how it goes. I'm definitely not going to worry about time or anything like that. I'm going to get out there and run to help me recover.

* What about Marathon No. 2? Have I decided on and if and when? Kinda, yeah... well, not decided on one but have a lot of thoughts on that. But you will have to wait for the next post for that one :)