Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday, Part Two

I'm back for another post. It's Friday, the last day of April, I have 10K on Saturday and the girls have their first race afterward. Things are going great right now.

Anyway, I figured I'd spend a little bit of time doing something off-the-wall before I have to run around from place to place this afternoon. I came across this blog recently and she's got a cool thing she does every Friday where you answer some random questions.

So here's my first attempt at answering her random questions. I may or may not have the time to do this each Friday but screw it, I'm doing it today.

The blog is called My Little Life, and the feature is Five Question Friday! That blog has like 800 followers, so I'm sure to get lost in the shuffle over there, but here it is.


Ahem.





1. If you could, would you go back to high school?


Part of me would like to go back to high school, with the knowledge, self-esteem and confidence I have now. Of course, that's part of growing up I suppose, to develop such qualities.

I didn't really enjoy high school. I ditched a lot, like A LOT, during my junior year, so much so that I had to take extra classes my senior year just to graduate. I was apathetic about a lot of things and just wanted to be done, done, done with school.

So I guess the answer to that would be no.

2. If a genie appeared and granted you two wishes, what would they be? (And, no saying "more wishes")


Wish One: I don't know how you couldn't wish for money. Having money to pay down or off some bills would be great, and having money to travel, to buy running gear, to register for races... that'd be awesome. With an endless supply of money, I'd make it a goal to run a marathon in as many countries as possible. I'd spend my time running marathons in places like London, Madrid, Munich and Tokyo. How awesome would that be?

Wish Two: I'd free the genie, like in Aladdin.... okay, maybe not... um, I'd wish for Rage Against The Machine to get back together and put out another five CDs at least. It's going to take something like that to get those guys to cut another record.

3. What kids show do you secretly like?

I watch a ton of kids shows. Well, I don't really sit down and watch them but I know a lot of them, like Team Umizoomi, Ni-Hao Kailan, Imagination Movers, Phineas and Ferb and Max & Ruby. But the one show I secretly dig is Yo Gabba Gabba! (the exclamation mark is part of the name, by the way, not trying to emphasize anything) That show is just awesome. I bought a Yo Gabba Gabba! CD... for the girls, I bought it for the girls... yeah... um. It's a show, however, that you either really like or can't effing stand. I want to dress up like DJ Lance Rock for Halloween this year, that's how much I like the show.

4. What is your beverage of choice?

There is only one: water. I try and try and try to drink enough water every day. Some days I do, some days I don't, but you will usually see me chugging water no matter what time of day.

In second place is coffee. I love coffee.

And even though I don't drink much anymore, my beer of choice is Sol. You should try it if you haven't yet.

5. What is something that you would change about yourself (or are working to change in yourself)?


I think I need to be more confident in myself. I lost a crapload of weight and you'd think that would have me walking on clouds every day, but some days I don't feel like that at all. But I think I'm doing a better job at it... (little observation, even in this statement I can tell that I need to do a better job at it because I'm not confident enough to say outright that I'm doing a better job, I have to preface it with "I think").

Anyway, a bit more confidence across the board for LB would be good.

***

So there you have it. Nothing too Earth-shattering, just a bit of fun to send this blog off into the weekend.

Just a quick not, I'm going to try and get a race report up on Saturday, of both my 10K and the girls' race but at worst I'll mobile blog it so at least you know my time, and how the girls did.

Friday Leftovers (April 30)

Leftover post of thwarted blog thoughts.

Word Association

Play here.

1. Hell :: Hot
2. Scott :: Name
3. Dominion :: Old
4. Stunt :: Double
5. Cougar :: Lady
6. Columbia :: University
7. Gasp :: Air
8. Cancerous :: Tumor
9. Bitty :: Itty
10. Quit :: Give up

Explanations: Old Dominion is a college I think, I remember them from when I used to follow college basketball closely and they were in the tourney every now and then; cougar... ha, at what age does cougar-dom begin? 35? 40? Guess it depends who you ask :)

Pink Shirt, Part II

Thanks to everyone for commenting on the retirement of the beloved pink shirt. I have a 10K on Saturday and already know what I'm going to wear and it won't be pink.

A couple of points about the pink shirt that you may or may not have known:

* It's 50 percent cotton. That shirt used to tear my nipples apart (as pictured here, uh, not the nipples...)

Blood stains on the right
I got to wearing an undershirt with this. That helped alleviate the nipple bleeding, but didn't solve it. So usually I would wear tape on the nips, an undershirt and then this short over. I got used to it, and really wasn't a big deal once I did.

* I wore it religiously for the first 2-3 months of the Lopers, but once we started running 10-12 miles or so, I started to mix in other gear. Still, since I knew I was going to wear it for Surf City, I wore it on my 22-miler and I believe the 20-miler as well.

* That's the only pink shirt I've ever worn in my life. I am not sure that I would wear pink outside of Loper shirts.

* I had mentioned yesterday about the future of me wearing pink, but had inadvertently inserted a typo. I will wear pink again. I retired this shirt but since pink is the color of the Lopers, and I'm a Loper 'til I die, I will represent my club's colors with pride. If that's pink, that's pink. If that's purple, that's purple. If it's pink and purple with unicorns and kittens... I might have to find a new club :)

Run For Rescue Playlist

For Saturday's 10K, I decided to come up with a simple playlist. It's all Metallica. But the cool thing is that it's all songs that are about 7-8 minutes long, so that way I know where I need to be depending on the length of the song.

Here's the playlist and the song length:

1. That Was Just Your Life (7:08)
2, Disposable Heroes (8:16)
3. All Nightmare Long (7:58)
4. Ride The Lightning (6:36)
5. One (7:26)
6. Damage Inc. (5:30)
7. Dyers Eve (5:13)

Now, I'm not going to run 5-minute miles ever, unless the Grim Reaper is chasing me, but the last two songs add up to 10 minutes (I am a math whiz in case you were wondering). I figure by the end of the seventh song I will either be done or close to it. I am not sure exactly how long this playlist is but I need to run faster than an 8:06 pace if I want to PR. So only one song is more than eight minutes, therefore this playlist should help me reach that goal.

I threw in a song that's 6:36 in length knowing full well that I wouldn't be able to reach that but I figure if nothing else it keep me honest. I want to try and pick up the pace halfway through to try and get my negative splits on, so that will help.

And if this playlist does not help me PR, I will be fine with that. It will be an enjoyable time anyway, and I love all these songs so that's a win-win for LB.

iMac For The Fam

We needed a new desktop computer. Our old one was in a coma - and luckily we'd backed up all of our stuff onto an external hard drive. So we were researching new computers and wondered about an iMac. I was thisclose to getting a Mac when I needed a new laptop about a year ago, but opted against it. But I was open to researching it this time around for the desktop. After all, we wanted something that would last for a while, possibly until the girls get to middle school, and wanted something that would work when we needed it to. Our old computer was kinda moody, and we didn't want that from a new one.

Last weekend, we went down the our local Apple store to talk to the reps (after my brother Danny had given me some of his thoughts on Macs, since he has one). After about five minutes, I was sold. Mrs. LB was sold a little bit later, and that night we had our new iMac sitting in our office.

I've really only used it to surf the net - I'm still getting the hang of it - but I can already say that this thing is absolutely awesome. I haven't even scratched the surface with this, since it has so many programs I've yet to explore, but from what little I've seen and done I can tell we will get a lot of use out of this.

Do any of you have an iMac? Any tips you'd be willing to share?

We got the Mac equivalent of Office - it's called iWork - and that looks fairly easy to adjust to. I'm anxious to explore the photo program - iPhoto - and will do so once I upload my thousands of pictures on here from my external hard drive.

All in all, I've been happy with our purchase and can't wait to find time to sit down in front of it and really get to some exploring.

Oh, and for my awesome blog buddy Kerrie... sorry!! Tell Mr. T not to take it personally :(

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hangin' It Up

Mission Inn 10K
The colorful and rosy time has come to an end, my friends.

Since I joined the Lopers, I've been wearing pink, worn it during both training runs and races, and have been wearing it proudly (well, as proud as a guy can wear pink I suppose).

But that time has officially passed.

I have decided to retire my pink Lopers shirt.

Loper Classic 15K
It was actually a simple decision to make, really. That shirt set a high bar, and I'm not sure I could have continued to reach that bar.

Here are the races I've worn it in:

Mission Inn 10K (Oct. 09) - 50:24 - PR
Loper Classic 15K (Dec. 09) - 1:21:48 - PR
Surf City Marathon (Feb 10) - 4:42:26 - PR
ARMC 5K (March 10) - 23:03 - PR
Run Through Redlands Half Marathon (April 10) - 1:56:58 - PR

Do you notice a pattern?

Surf City Marathon
That shirt is five-for-five in races in terms of PRs. I can't possibly PR at every race I run, and in fact I ran the Lefty's 5K two weeks after the other one, didn't wear pink and didn't PR.

To be fair, though, two of those races were "instant PRs" in that I'd never run the distance in a race before, the 15K and the marathon. But the other races, I felt like I ran my best race possible... and really I feel the same way about all those races.

And I feel like I have to add that I WILL wear pink in races (sorry for the confusion but had a typo here earlier). Next Loper season I'm sure I'll get a new pink shirt, and I can't not wear it when that happens. But that might not be for a while.

When I look back to my non-pink races, some of the performances I know were not very strong, and while that was more of a reflection of my training (or lack thereof) I still feel like I could have done better with some parts of each race.

Run Through Redlands
The training I've had since before the first pink race was great. Mission Inn was my first Loper race... well, technically I ran the Ragnar Relay after joining the Lopers, but that's a bit of a different animal. But from that first race I felt great, and shaved off more than two minutes from my previous 10K PR. And every subsequent race I felt fantastic in because my training had gone so well.

ARMC 5K
So now, I'm quitting while I'm ahead. That shirt holds some great memories. It's been bled through, tears have fallen on it, buckets of sweat have dripped through, on or have been wiped on that shirt, holes have been poked in it time and time again. It's taken a beating but has continued to offer support.

Now, it will hang up in my closet and perhaps someday I'll display it somewhere a bit more prominently. After all, that shirt took me from novice runner to marathoner.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

10K Hopes And Goals

On the first day of May, I will run race number five of the year. That averages out to one a month!

Before the year started, I knew 2010 would hold an awesome race calendar but I just wasn't sure what it would look like. The pieces are falling into place as my calendar is set through July, with the San Francisco Marathon the latest addition.

I also knew that I would run at least one 10K this year but wasn't sure which one. Saturday's Run For Rescue 10K is that race, and not one I'd had on my radar on Jan. 1.

So what do I hope to accomplish on Saturday?

* New PR

Every time you race, you want to set a new PR, right? Maybe. Not necessarily, but for me this is true for this race. This will be the fourth 10K I've ran and I set a new PR the last time out. Like the last time I ran a 10K, entering this race I feel I am in my peak physical condition. I'm coming off a great half-marathon and need this 10K to continue my preparation for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run as well as the beginnings of my marathon training.

The new PR actually goes along with my next goal...


* Break The 50-Minute Mark

My 10K PR is 50:24, and while I was proud of that and still am proud of that, I feel that I can beat that time and get under 50 minutes. I've been improving my times of late, finished a 5K in 23:03, ran a sub-2 hour half-marathon and now I'm trying to break the 50-minute mark. I'd have to run a pace close to an 8-minute mile, but that will be tough.


* Run Strong For The Entire Race

There are times in races where I'm just struggling. At Redlands, I had a tough final mile. There were also times in my 5K in March, when I PRd, that I felt like I was fading. But I don't think those count as not running strong. During the 10K in November, I know I eased up some. It was during Mile 3 when I was feeling good about the first two miles, and for some reason I just started to relax. All of the sudden a group of about seven runners slowly passed me up, and I was thrown off by that. I had relaxed too much and that was not a good feeling. I don't want to let up any on Saturday. If I fade because I'm tired, fine, but I don't want to relax. I'm actually looking at the race as a 49-minute tempo run, so I just have to keep up the tempo and keep my legs churning for 49 minutes.... or 50 minutes... could be a 50-minute tempo run.

* Beat Danny

Can you believe Danny holds a faster PR than I do in the 10K? My brother Danny finished the 2008 Mission Inn Run with a time of 49:54. I cannot let him have his moment of glory once more.

* If All Else Fails

So if I don't beat my time or I don't reach my goals, will I be disappointed? Of course not. The thing about running is, you will get humbled from time to time... often, even. I'm going in confident, yes, but I know how quickly things can sour.

If I go out there and run a good race, whatever time I finish in I'm going to be happy with. Race time, I'm figuring out, is a strong reflection of your training as much as anything else. And I've been happy with my training, so we'll see what that translates to.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another First

Saturday is my next race, a 10K in nearby Rancho Cucamonga. But that's not the only reason why that day will be memorable.

After the 10K is the Kiddie K, and running in it will be Yvie and Kennedy.

It will be their first race! The girls are pretty excited about it, and I'm happy they feel that way. I signed them up because they wanted to run and I want to encourage them to run, but I am not sure what to expect from the day. It seems that Kennedy is the one who is most excited about running - in general, not just this race - but Yvie was game for the race so I signed her up as well.

We went running recently at the track, and while we were able to take some cool pictures I am not sure if they felt the same love for running as I do.

I have no idea how to go about helping the girls run. I'm not sure what is realistic for 6- and 4-year-olds. I'm hoping the race on Saturday helps me figure out what they are capable of and then we can go from there. I want them to enjoy running and if they are too young to do so right now, then I'll adjust accordingly.

But they have the desire to run, even if it's only because their dad runs a lot. So if they want to do it, then I'm open for it.

We have to go out running at least once more this week, with the girls. I may have them do some sprints or something, or just try and keep up for a little bit. But either way, I think they'll be excited about the race come Saturday. And that's all I want, really, for them to feel excited about running.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Motivational Mondays (April 26)

After completing Marathon No. 1, I had no doubts I wanted to run another marathon. I wasn't sure which one, and I seemed to have studied over so many of them, weighing the pros and cons, debating whether to do it and then still mulling it over some more.

I'm not mulling anything over any more.

I decided. And registered.

On July 25, I will run Marathon No. 2.

I will run the San Francisco Marathon.

I went and registered for the San Francisco Marathon over the weekend, on Saturday night actually, and spent Sunday in a bit of a daze. Although my hands were shaking shortly after I registered, I was a bit more composed on Sunday morning. Not too much though, because every time I thought about it, I laughed or pumped my fist or did something else ridiculous when I was by myself.

I am very excited at both the prospects of Marathon No. 2 and that I actually did it and signed up for one.

Over the next three months, I'm sure I'll blog about San Francisco plenty so you will know the course just as well as I do, in time. But even though I don't intimately know the course, I will say that all of the Lopers I've talked to have said the course is both beautiful and challenging. Not that any marathon is a stroll in the park, but this one is a beast from what I've heard.

I don't care, though. I like challenges, and thinking about tackling the hills of San Francisco excites me.

I'm so pumped, I could run the race tomorrow. I might collapse at Mile 20, but that's not the point...

I took the hardest step, and that's actually registering. Now all that's left is a little planning, a few long runs and time. In exactly three months from today, I will be posting my San Francisco Marathon recap, and if that doesn't motivate me, I don't know what will.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pedi Cures All

Saturday was a relaxing days in many ways as Mrs. LB and I got to do a few things we haven't been able to in a while. The girls are out of town with their grandparents - in Wyoming of all places! - so we got a child-free weekend for a change.

The day was fairly uneventful in that we didn't do anything too crazy - no weekend getaway to some beach town, no high-priced romantic dinner somewhere. We just kind of took it easy and did a few things that were relaxing and enjoyable.

Getting a pedicure was among them.

I was looking forward to it, but I was a bit apprehensive. I guess it was mostly because of my toe. I have a black toenail that is pretty gnarly, and I worried that the pedicure person (do they have a name? Pedi peeps?) was going to freak.

I sat down and the water was so hot! I wasn't able to handle at first but after a while I got used to it. The girl who, um, how do I say it?... the girl who adminstered the pedicure... no, that sounds like she gave me some shots... the girl who pedicured me... uh, no, that's not a verb... the girl who performed.... hey now! Let's not go there... how about the pedi girl...

The pedi girl (still sounds lame) didn't actually have to see my toe until after my feet went in and out of the water. She got to them and if she had a bad reaction, I couldn't tell. She didn't seem to speak much English (I believe she was Vietnamese) but she must have said something because the guy who was scrubbing my wife's feet came over and clipped the toe. Well, at first he clipped it and then he got some scissor-type thing and clipped it more, and then he got a little electric drill kind of, but it just shaved down the nail.

At one point there were three people standing around my toe. They were speaking Vietnamese (?) so I couldn't tell what was said. I imagined it went like this:

Pedi person 1: Look at that thing. That just looks disgusting.
Pedi person 2: I've never seen anything like it.
Pedi person 3: What the hell is a guy doing here in the first place?

Maybe not but still...

The damn thing worked, though. My nail looked much better afterward, and it didn't even hurt. My nail is still kinda gnarly, not as bad as before, but much better.

Here are some pics I snapped while the girl was pedi'ing me up.


 What is that blue stuff? It felt good except I had a small cut on the top of my foot and it HURT when she put that stuff on there.


The bags are funny.

Okay, here's another brief disclaimer. I had asked for them to paint my toenails. Yeah, I was going to have them paint my toenails - I said that right. But I was going to paint them black. Why? Well, a couple of years ago I ran into a soccer player who painted his toenails and fingernails black. He's a cool guy, good player, and I just thought that was cool. So it kind of stuck. The last time I got a pedi, the lady asked me if i wanted to paint my toenails but I said no. But the bug was planted and I said that I would do it the next time, that I'd paint them black.

Plus, I have naturally black toenails anyway, at least 1-2 of them, so I said why not?

But they must have thought that was too weird because they didn't do it. Instead they gave me some glossy finish.

Anyway, here's the finished product.

 And an up-close shot...

See the shininess? And look at my toe - it looks way better!

All in all, a pleasant experience.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Leftovers (Apr. 23)

A collection of thwarted blog posts and random thoughts.

Word Association

Play here.

1. Drug :: War
2. Questions :: Answers
3. Active :: dot-com
4. Facts :: Truths
5. Amount :: Earned
6. Supervise :: Boss
7. Ingredients :: Directions
8. Dentist :: Visit
9. Meal :: Plan
10. Packaging :: Tape

I think Active.com is on my mind because I need to sign up for some races.

New Belt


About a week ago, I saw this post by Marathonman. At first I just saw it in my reader, saw a couple of belts, figured it was a giveaway and made a mental note to go back and read it when I had more time. When I had more time, I went back and read it.

It wasn't a giveaway... well, it was, but not the kind I thought where you enter and hope to win. This was a giveaway, the first-come, first-served basis. It was free.

Free fuel belts. Unreal!

I have a fuel belt already but there are some plusses and minuses to it. So when I saw that Rick aka Marathonman was giving one away, I jumped on the chance. After a few e-mail and address exchanges, I got my belt and he got the cost for shipping. It was indeed free for me, just had to pay the shipping costs.

The belt is awesome. It has two bottles instead of the four that I use now and both are in front. One thing I don't like about mine is having to reach behind me when I'm running and trying to fasten the bottle so it doesn't fall. It's minor stuff, really, but when you're in the midst of a 15-miler and you're reaching around your elbow to get to your... back there... it can be a bit cumbersome.

Plus this new one has more pockets in it so I can put my Gu in one pocket and my keys in another if need be.

The best thing though is the size. My belt is a large, and since I bought it online I went for that size without trying it. Turns out it's just a hair too big. The one I have now is a medium, so it's nice and snug and will probably stay that way along my waist.

I'm running double-digit miles on Sunday, not sure how many but I think 10-12, so I'm testing out my new belt.

Guess Who's Back?

I've ran three times this week - Wednesday (four at the gym), Thursday (six miles in downtown Riverside) and Friday (five miles around my neighborhood). I didn't tape up my nipples.

Guess what's killing me right now as I type, having just completed my five-mile run?

That would be Mr. L. Nipple and Mr. R Nipple. (L as in Left and R as in Right, yes, they have names now).

L actually hurts more because he's bleeding. R just looks raw.

The best part about this? I wore a white shirt today. Awesome.

No Rest For The Weary

So I'm less than a week removed from breaking the two-hour mark at a half marathon. Does that mean some down time for me?

No.

I have a 10K coming up on May 1. I think that's Derby day, right, the Kentucky Derby? Anyway, that's my derby. I'm going to try and break the 50-minute mark at the 10K.

That's not going to be as monumental of an achievement as breaking the 120-minute mark at the half, but still something I'd like to do. I'll be blogging more about this next week as I give the race more attention.

Pedi For LB

Do you know what is a guilty pleasure for me? Pedicures. I've had about three of them and I really enjoy them. A lot.

I didn't intend on liking them, or even getting one, but somehow there was an extra pedicure for someone at a wedding my wife and I were in a few years back. It was paid for and was going to go to waste, and since I hate wasting money (it wasn't my money, but it was like 70-80 bucks worth of someone's money) I volunteered to fill in and get a pedicure.

I had no idea what to expect. I thought maybe some rubbing of some stuff on my feet, maybe a trimming of the nails and that's about it.

Instead, it was much different. It was bliss. I never knew that my feet could feel so good. I put them in some warm water, which became hot water, then someone rubbed my feet clean and smooth, more water, some cleaning between the toes, trimming of nails, and some deep trimming of nails, more rubbing, more cleansing...

Ahhhh....

I fell asleep. It was that relaxing. And it was in the middle of the day, and I wasn't even tired.

So yeah, I may get a pedi this weekend (I'm in the know so I can call it a "pedi"). I just hope the lady doesn't freak at my black toenail.

Either way, it'll be bliss.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Androgynous LB

Nearly all of the goals I had for Sunday's half marathon, I met... all, I believe save for one.

Stay with me here.

Set a new PR: Success

Finish in under two hours: Success

Use Gu and Gatorade efficiently: Success

Run 10 minutes to warm up: Success

Finish as a man: Fail

see what I mean?

According to the Run Through Redlands statistics, there is no record of Luis Bueno completing the half marathon. Instead, there is a Lois Bueno, a 34-year-old female from Riverside, who finished the race in 1:56:58.

Actually, Lois did very good in, uh, her age group. Lois finished in 32nd place overall for women, and came in third in the women's 30-34-year-old age group. Those are impressive statistics, better than the 108th top male overall and 19th male in the 30-34 male age group.

Lois however was not present for the medal ceremony as Lois' knee was bothering, uh, Lois, and Lois sorta hobbled to, uh, her car.

Lois destroyed Luis' time from 2009. Luis ran in 2:14:50, but Lois shaved nearly 18 minutes from that time, an amazing accomplishment. I wonder if switching genders is all that is needed to finish races with such improvement. If so, then Lois is signing up for the next marathon and not only will PR but will qualify for Boston. Yup, Beantown is up next for Lois, not slow-ass Luis. Nah, Luis is a thing of the past. Out with the male and in with the feminine side. Testosterone is so five minutes ago.

Ahem.

Here's a picture where I try and explain the situation a little bit.


If there was ever a time to use the acronym WTF, it would be now.

W
T
F

???

I wonder, though, if the Run Through Redlands is trying to tell me something. I mean, does this sound like a male or female to you?




* L_is was excited to do a French braid for the first time recently, on L_is' daughter. L_is can braid and can make a mean bun but just now is getting the French braid down.

* L_is enjoys baking, quite a bit actually; and of course L_is handles all the cooking duties at home.

* L_is has worn a pink shirt in five races since November, including L_is' first marathon.

* L_is recently ran six miles to a playlist that included Kesha, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, The Ting Tings and something called Metro Station.

Actually, hold that last thought... as bad as Kesha was, and I mean that was really bad, the song that annoyed me the most was The Ting Tings' "That's Not My Name." What do they say about karma being a mother? Ha, funny stuff...

So, given all that evidence, perhaps the Run Through Redlands people assumed that an -o belonged in the _ instead of -u.

Of course, I still urinate standing up. And I have facial hair. And hair on my legs. And an Adam's apple.

I'd make a butt-ugly woman.

But apparently I'm a helluva female runner.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

After The Half

Some thoughts on Sunday's half-marathon.

Excitement Persists

I'm still excited by Sunday's results. I still think it's a great accomplishment to be able to run a half-marathon averaging a pace under 9-minute miles. And to do it on a hilly course like Redlands was even more monumental for both Angie and myself. Last year, we both ran that race and it was our the first half-marathon for each of us (though she'd already run a full marathon). She finished in 2:12:something and I finished in 2:14:50. We destroyed those times, on the same exact course. I'd said after the race that if we didn't do it, I would have looked for the next half-marathon to run (there's one in Laguna Hills on Memorial Day!) but she wanted to get the sub-2 hour half at Redlands. And she's right. We had to beat that course, and we did.

So of course we're extra excited about that.

Not All Smooth

I can't ignore my knee pain any longer. I've been having knee discomfort periodically but haven't blogged about it. Part of me wants to just ignore it and hope it goes away, but my knee wasn't just uncomfortable after the race - it hurt. I iced it when I got home and took some aleve. That helped and I was feeling much better later in the day, but still the pain/discomfort persisted into Monday.

I don't know what it is, but it's just a small discomfort that escalates to pain. I felt it early on during the race Sunday and it came and went throughout. The walk out to my car was a long one.

Now, I've noticed the knee acts up sometimes during hilly runs, be it on Mt. Rubidoux or over The Hill. This has been one of the main reasons why I haven't signed up for San Francisco. I'm just wondering what the knee pain is and what it could lead to. In the meantime, stretching, icing and foam rolling. Fun.

I Am A Distance Runner

I realized something on Sunday. It's actually something I've been noticing of late.

I'm a distance runner.

Duh, right? I mean, I ran a marathon not too long ago. And I knock out 10-12 mile runs with regularity.

But more so than just numbers and mileage, I am far more comfortable at miles 9, 10 and 11 than I am at miles 2, 3 and 4. I really struggled in the early part of Sunday's race, but by the time I hit Mile 8, I was feeling great. It was smooth sailing for me once I got there. I know part of it had to do with the lack of hills - we were done with most of the hills by that point - but it's not just that. A few weeks ago, Angie and I ran 15.5 miles, and my best mile that day was Mile 12. I hit a bit of a runner's high that mile. And during my 14-mile solo run a few weeks back, my last two miles were among my four fastest overall during that run.

Shorter runs of course are vital to me. I need my 4-6 mile midweek runs as much as I do my 10-plus mile runs on Sundays, but those long runs are just so much more fun for me.

Time To Push It

In thinking back to my marathon, I always remember the last four miles or so, and how tough they were. I don't often get there, to those points. I don't mean Mile 22-26.2 of a race, but rather the closing stages of a long race... or any race, really, but in particular a long race.

Races are not training runs, of course. That's obvious. But the reason they aren't isn't because you wear a bib and there are a lot of others out there. It's because you push yourself during races more than long runs. During both long runs and races, you get to a point where you feel exhaustion, fatigue, anguish perhaps. In training, that's when you can ease back, maybe take a walk break, maybe slow down your pace. But in races, you can't do that.

Well, I mean I guess you can. But for me, that's the challenge. Can I exceed my limits? Can I meet challenges and keep going? Can I get through the dreaded and proverbial wall?

When you train, you don't really need to do that. Yeah, you will encounter tough moments, but the constant pushing of yourself is saved for races. So I don't often get to Mile 12 of a 13.1-mile race, feeling tired, wanting the race to be over but needing just a little bit longer. That's the time for me to see what I have inside.

To me, that's fun. That's enjoyable. I savor those moments. Those are the moments I replay in my head when I think back to races. How did I perform under pressure? What were the conditions like at the end and how did I do?

I think I did okay on Sunday.

Next Half?

I really like the half marathon distance. It's a very challenging distance but it also seems like a faster pace is attainable. It's also not a body-wrecker like a 26.2. It doesn't mean I want to do the full marathons any less, but rather run half marathons even more.

So when will I run my next 13.1? As I mentioned earlier, Laguna Hills has a half marathon on Memorial Day. That's not that far from me, but I'm not sure if I'll do that. I've toyed with the idea of running the America's Finest City Half Marathon, in San Diego on Aug. 15, and Angie seems set on doing the Disneyland Half Marathon on Labor Day weekend. The price for that (120) seems a bit steep for me, but that's still on my must-run list.

I'm not sure when my next half marathon will be. It might not be until November when I run the Mission Inn Half Marathon right here in Riverside. I'm running that for sure, but only time will tell if that's my only other half marathon this year.

Lois The Speedy

I didn't forget about the Lois Fiasco. You'll have to wait for that as I'm dedicating a full post to it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Motivational Mondays (April 19)

What a difference a year makes. Today is actually the one-year anniversary of my first half-marathon. Run Through Redlands '09 was on April 19, 2009. When I crossed the finish line then, I never could have imagined that a year later I would have crossed the same finish line about 18 minutes faster. Heck, I wasn't even sure if running such long distances was something I'd want to do again, particularly since I felt miserable right after finishing the race.

I've grown a lot as a runner in one year. Before last year's half, I'd run double digit miles exactly twice ever. This year, save for once (the weekend after my marathon) I've ran double-digit miles every weekend.

Still, I needed to show what I was capable of. I thought finishing the 2010 Run Through Redlands in under two hours might be within my reach.

As I drove to the race early Sunday morning, I wondered if I bit off more than I could have handled. Two hours is one thing, but to do it in a course that has plenty of hills was another. And worse, the sun was threatening to beam brightly above Redlands. Heat + Hills = BAD. That's what destroyed me last year.

I got one last-minute bit of encouragement from a blog buddy and that helped me get focused. My mind was everywhere and focusing was what I needed the most.

However, as soon as I got my bib, I was thrown off somewhat.

Who in the Sam Hill is Lois Bueno?

(side note, I'm definitely going to blog about Lois later in the week so stay tuned for that)

I ran into blog/Loper buddy Angie as we'd hoped to shatter the two-hour mark together. We ran into a couple of other Lopers as well (I'm telling you, we are everywhere!) as we waited for the race to start. I'd run about three-quarters of a mile to warm up so I felt pretty good, pretty fresh, and when the race began I felt great.

Once the race began, we were off. I resisted the urge to go fast but we still got through our first mile at roughly 8:28. Mile 2 we got done in 8:37. It was a fast clip, but not something that was going to destroy us. The course was still flat at this point, but started to climb by the third mile.

I was battling some mental monsters early on. I kept wondering if a sub-2 hour finish was attainable, wondered what I was doing out there at all and thought to myself that I did not want to do any marathons anytime soon. All this and we weren't even halfway through.

We were doing well, Angie and me. I figured that if we stayed ahead of a 9:00-per-mile pace, we'd be fine. So, just multiply 9 by whatever and we had a rough estimate of where we should be. I think we got four miles in under 34:30, so we were good. At that point, though, it was too early to worry about that, but my mind still got involved with that sort of game; and I think that's where I struggled. By Mile 6, we were smack dab in the middle of the hilly part of the course and we'd been slogging through some miles: 9:57, 9:31, 9:29.

At about Mile 8, I finally started to get out of it. I wasn't dragging anymore and I was feeling very good, recovered and hit my stride. Even though Mile 8 was mostly downhill, we still got in an 8:19 mile. Most of the course was downhill at that point.

I'd made it a goal to get to 10 miles in under 1:30:00. That way, I knew that even if we hit the wall sometime after, all we'd need to do would be to run the final three miles in 10 minutes per mile. We got to Mile 10 in around 1:28 and change. I didn't want to feel as if the race was over, but I knew that barring a major collapse we were going to get the race done.

At this point, I was very focused. I ran Mile 11 in 7:48! Angie had fallen behind but she caught up to me, and the first thing she said was "We're going to do it!" It was exciting!

But Mile 13 was rough. The street seemed to take forever, and I could not tell where the final turn was. I flashed back to last year, when I was trudging down that same street, after 2 hours 14 minutes worth of running, and seeing the corner. I didn't quite feel the same on Sunday but I was gassed.

Finally, I saw where runners were making a left turn towards the finish line. That helped give me that last little extra push I needed. When I got within sight of the clock, I could not believe it. I had imagined, dreamed even, of seeing a 1:57:xx on there, and I saw 1:56:55! I said "Yeah!" to myself as I crossed to the finish line. I turned around and saw Angie right behind me, and she was grinning from ear to ear.

We put on our medals and wore them with pride (even though she had to remind me to actually put mine on).

Loper Up!

I really don't know if I could have done it without Angie. We weren't side by side the whole time - she managed the hills much better than I did - but having us feed off the other's energy was a big part of the race, for me anyway. She's running the OC Marathon in two weeks and is hoping for a finish time of under 4:30, and I know she'll do it.

My official time was 1:56:58 while Angie came in at 1:57:00 on the nose. And while it still hasn't quite sunk in, that I was able to run 13.1 miles at a pace of roughly 8:55 (!) it already feels good knowing that there's a one in front of my half-marathon PR time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The race is done. I completed the Run Through Redlands in 1:57:07!!! I did it!! PR!! Thanks for all your support!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Run For Glory

I am super pumped! It's late on Saturday night and I'm so ready for the Run Through Redlands. I had a great last meal... uh, maybe that's not the right words... how about, my final pre-race fuel... yeah, better.

Anyway, I had me some good veggie pasta (I've made it a tradition to eat a veggie pasta before big runs, well, I guess I'm trying to make it a tradition since before Surf City I had a pasta with meat sauce, but since my 18-miler last November I'd done well to eat veggie pasta before big runs) and I got my Gu, my Gatorade, everything set. I'll be lucky if I sleep five hours on Saturday night though because of work but that's life. I tend to run better, though, when I don't get a lot of sleep. Go figure. And I did nap for about two hours on Saturday afternoon.

With that, I'm all ready and rarin' to go. I have faith that I'll get to the start line, and then with that I'll be on my way towards running glory. If that means a new PR of 2:05:09 or whatever, great. If that means I get my sub-two hour half, great. I just want to run my best race and whatever happens after that, happens.

I made up a playlist that will help me kick some ass in Redlands.


The nameless tracks are songs that my brother Danny passed along. This was a tough playlist to put together, and I included some heavy stuff. All I'm saying is that Kerrie T was lucky I didn't include any Rammstein in our recent playlist swap because her ears would still be ringing.

Well, next you hear from me will be after my race, which starts at about 7:30 a.m. PT. I'm so emotional right now, I just hope I keep this high going until tomorrow all the way through to the finish line.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wiped Out

I'm totally wiped out. This week hasn't been any more grueling than others necessarily. Running sure hasn't been since I've got only eight miles and change this week. But I just feel mentally exhausted. I think it may be the last couple of weeks catching up to me.

So, I'm just going to offer this as a post. I know, not great but at least it's something.

This weekend will be a busy one as well, with my race coming up. The bad thing is, is that I probably won't get home until after midnight on Saturday, so I'm going to have about five hours of sleep, maybe six if I'm lucky, before the race. It's fine, though, since I usually do my best when I get little sleep.

Of course that means getting a full night's sleep on Friday night. Good luck on that one.

I do want to give a shout out to all of my blog buddies running the Boston Marathon on Monday, and everyone who is accomplishing their dreams. Boston is the holy grail of marathons but it's one that I won't ever race in. That's more than okay with me. So, good luck runners!

I probably won't be running on Monday as I'll be recovering from my own race.

Now I'm off to try and mentally decompress.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Glass Is Half Full

I'm nervous.

What a surprise, right?

I have a race coming up. I feel like I've prepared the best way possible. I've had some great race times of late, and ran my first marathon just a couple of months ago.

Yet here I am, nervous and anxious.

I guess I wouldn't be me if it wasn't like that.

In some ways, I prefer it that way. The second I take my focus and concentration off something, whether it's running or writing or whatever, I slip. When I go into things with too much confidence, I fail. When I'm not motivated, I get trampled.

I'm actually quite confident in myself ahead of this race. I know I will finish in faster than last year's 2:14:50. More importantly, I know I will run a better race regardless of the time and I know I will feel better after the race. It won't take me days upon days to recover.

Still, I don't do well with nerves sometimes. They can get me too anxious, to the point where I actually cough. Yeah, I have a nervous cough. When I have something that is really causing me nerves and wreaking mental havoc on me, I cough. It's not a non-stop smoker's cough or anything. It doesn't come from my lungs and the bowels of my stomach, but rather the back of my throat. It's so annoying. What's worse is every time I get it, I can hear my mom chastizing me because of my toz de nervios as she called it, my nervous cough.

I'm not quite there yet - and if I get there I'll give permission for Mrs. LB to slap me around a little because there's no reason to get there for this race - but I still feel some nerves. Grrr.

To help combat my nerves and settle me down, I've been trying to picture the race. I ran it last year so it's not too tough to put myself right back there, you know? I was going to write about my half strategy and all but that might just get me more nervous, at least if I go into too much detail.

I want to finish in under two hours but I don't want to set myself up for failure by saying that only a sub-2 hour finish will suffice.

But in order to get under two hours, I'll have to maintain a pace of right around 9:00 per mile. That's not impossible on a flat course but this is a hilly course and running 9:00 miles uphill is, well, I'm not there yet. What this means is that I'll have to be smart on how I handle the hills, not charge up them or exert any extra energy. I have to maintain my energy, give it a bit more when going uphill without over-working my heart too early. I want to have gas for the stretch. The final three miles or so are relatively flat from what I remember. I want to be able to run my hardest during those miles, and if I'm gassed by Mile 6, my hardest might not amount to enough.

Running with blog/Loper pal Angie will be a boon and I'm looking forward to having both of us PR in the same race. We did that in the Mission Inn 10K last year, as I got 50:24 and Angie finished shortly after.

I have faith that both of us pushing each other will result in new PRs. Whether that means a sub-2 hour finish remains to be seen.

Either way, I know one other thing about myself. When the race is here, when I'm standing at the start line with hundreds of other runners on Sunday morning, all striving for the same goal, I will be focused, ready and excited.

If I can just get there in one piece, I'll be set.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happiness Abounds

Recently I did a guest post for a blog that I followed quite a bit, but that blog has sadly gone under as the blogger decided to walk away from blogging.

So since this guest spot is no longer out on the Web, I figured I'd post it here. After all, I wrote this up and wouldn't want it to go to waste.

What's the post on?

Happiness abounds

Yes indeed, Disneyland.

I. Heart. Disneyland.

We got season passes as a gift in late 2007 and we've been hooked since. We've since renewed our passes and hope to continue having season passes for a while.

on the Tea Cups

I think I've gone to Disneyland some 50 times since then, give or take. My last trip was in late February, when Kennedy (my four-year-old) and I went while Yvie (my six-year-old) was at school. Yvie confessed she was a bit sad when I picked her up from school, but I reminded her that she gets to do a lot of things that Kennedy can't (such as soccer, school, etc.).

There are several things that make Disneyland an enjoyable experience whenever you go. Last time out was a lightly-attended day (by Disneyland standards) but the last time we went before that (on President's Day) was a bit more crowded. Either way, it can be enjoyable if you take time to remember a few important things.

I wanted to bring you some of the tips I've picked up on since I've been going there and share them right here.

My intentions with this is for you to enjoy Disneyland whether you live nearby or not, whether you are planning on going to go or not. So if you live in some landlocked state where the sun shines only a few months of the year I'm deeply sorry I still want you to enjoy Disneyland albeit through some pictures.

Onto the tips.

GET THERE EARLY. This is the number one most important thing I can stress to anyone who is planning on going. If you are going to Disneyland, get there early. If the park opens at 8 a.m., don't stroll in after 10 a.m. Get there early.

And early doesn't mean 8 a.m. It means before 8 a.m. Disneyland will let you in onto Main Street USA about 15 minutes before the park opens. So if the park opens at 8 a.m., plan on getting to Disneyland at about 7:30. That will give you enough time to park, take the tram to the main entrance and get to the front. If you are going to buy tickets there, then I'd suggest giving yourself a little more time than that.

Why early? No matter what day I've gone, even when the park has been super-busy, like a Where-the-heck-did-all-these-people-come-from? day, you will not encounter many crowds in the first hour. If you get to Disneyland two or three hours after it opens, you risk the possibility of dealing with the masses. Now, you might still have to deal with the masses, but if you get there early, you can knock out a bunch of rides in a short amount of time, without too much hassle.

PLAN AHEAD. Don't just show up and think "Okay, what do I want to do now?" Go to the Web site, check out the map and figure out what attractions might look like fun. If you have been there before and know what rides you want to do, plan on doing them first. If you heed the first tip and get there early, then you are almost guaranteed of not having to wait too long to get on them.

Splash Mountain gets crowded during the days whenever it's warm (like most days from March through October), but if you go there in the first hour or two, your chances of a line are slim. The down side to that is it might not be quite hot enough to get wet, but you'd be surprised how warm it can get out there.

One time, I went with the girls to Disneyland and was standing on Main Street USA when the park opened. We knocked out Fantasyland in one hour, doing the five rides we wanted to do (Alice In Wonderland, Tea Cups, Dumbo, Casey Jr. Circus Train and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride) and then moving on to Adventureland.

Also, rides are periodically shut down for maintanence. For instance, the Haunted Mansion is usually closed for a big chunk of January so the holiday stuff can be taken down; same with It's a Small World. So check to see if one of your favorite rides is down so you won't be shocked if it is.

THERE WILL BE LINES. Even if you get to the park before it opens and head to your desired destination, you might have to deal with lines. These rides typically have long lines, no matter what time of day, no matter what time of year: Finding Nemo, Peter Pan, Indiana Jones. I went to Disneyland one time intending on getting to Nemo first since I hadn't been on there at the time, and I walked over there with the girls. By the time I got there (they are slow walkers) the line was gigantic, and we went and did something else instead.

Now, had we waited, our wait time wouldn't have been as bad as it would have been later in the day but I didn't have the patience to wait since I was upset that the line was large, at about 8:04 a.m.

THERE WILL BE LINES, PART II: These attractions usually have lines but they move quickly: Pirates Of The Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, It's A Small World. Don't be afraid, child.

THERE WILL BE LINES, PART III: These attractions have lines and are usually not worth the wait: Storybook Canals, Princess Fantasy Faire, Autopia. Maybe this is just a matter of taste, but the first and third rides are not worth the wait. You can see Storybook Land from Casey Junior's Circus Train. You won't get the commentary from the boats but you will see enough, and you can figure out what is what if you are at all familiar with Disney movies. Autopia is a slow-moving line for a lot of slow-moving cars.

The Princess Fantasy Faire has princesses there waiting to take their picture with you. The line does not look long but don't be deceived. I waited in line for an hour the one and only time I waited in line there. Kennedy (2 at the time) fell asleep in my arms and Yvie (4) was crying because she wanted to sleep as well. If you are with your spouse or significant other, or friend even, and your children or the children with you want to take their pictures with the princesses, then someone will have to take one for the team. Don't, for God's sake, make your little girl stand in line with you for an hour. By the time they see the princesses, your little one will be grumpy and will look that way in the pictures.

Pixie Hollow (which has Tinkerbell and all her friends) is similar to the Princess Fantasy Faire, with a long line to have pictures taken with the princesses. It's a newer attraction. I'm not sure if the lines move any quicker there, so you can apply the same rules to this one.

USE THE FAST PASS. The fast pass system is awesome. How it works is simple: certain attractions have a regular line and a fast pass line. The fast pass line requires tickets, which you get at machines near the attraction. If you swipe your ticket in the machine, you get a fast pass ticket for the attraction you are at. You can then return at a designated time later in the day. If you go early, like say at 9 a.m., you might get an early return time, like maybe 11 a.m. to noon, or something. You get an hour window to return. If you go later on a busy day, you might not get to come back for another four hours or so. When you get back in line, you go through the fast-pass line and you are very close to the front of the line by doing this. So if Splash Mountain is 40-50 minutes, the fast-pass line might only be 5-10.

One thing I like to do is this: I'll go to a ride that may or may not have a line when I go there, like say Thunder Mountain. Then, I will go do some other rides, such as Haunted Mansion or Pirates, or perhaps I'll go to Fantasyland. Then, I'll head back to Thunder Mountain later, when the lines have filled up, and I won't have to wait very long at all.

Now, you can only hold one fast pass at a time. You can't go to Space Mountain and get a fast pass, then go to Buzz Lightyear and get another one. So use your fastpass wisely.

GO WHEN YOU CAN. Too many times I've heard my girls tell me something awful while in line for a ride. This is typically what they say: "Dad, I have to go to the bathroom." I'm not sure about your children but mine will give me about a two-minute warning before their bladder erupts. So, long ago I stopped relying on them to tell me when they have to use the bathroom. If it's been more than 90 minutes between bathroom visits, I seek out the nearest bathroom and make the girls go. Most of the time they protest and most of the time they end up going.

Trust me, you do not want to be in the middle of a 40-minute wait in line when your child starts doing the potty dance.

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY. Disneyland allows you to take food and water in, so don't be rude and leave that stuff at home. Take plenty of water and snacks into the park so you don't have to buy them. I'm not sure what the prices for bottled water are but I believe I paid around four bucks once for a bottled water because I ran out and it was blistering hot. One piece of fruit costs 1.75 at most places there. Meals can get costly - unless you are going to share, you can't feed a family of four there for less than 25 dollars, and it's probably actually closer to 30 or 35 that you'll shell out for a meal.

six or seven dollars or so for a slice of pizza

So don't run up your tab by buying snacks. Of course, you want to enjoy some popcorn (3.75) or churros (3 bucks) so indulge, but don't let yourself get so hungry that you have to buy things out of necessity.

LOCKERS. If you are going to spend a lot of time at Disneyland and don't want to buy a meal there, you can rent a locker. Lockers cost seven dollars and you can store plenty of food and drinks there. So you can take things that will transport well and keep them in the locker. You can freeze a bottle water or two, for instance, and use that to keep sandwiches cool, keep them in the locker and then go get them when it's time to eat. Seven dollars is better than 27.

ENJOY YOURSELF. Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth. Maybe you go as often as I do, maybe you go even more, or maybe you make a family trip to Anaheim and enjoy Disneyland once a year or once, period. When you are there, enjoy yourself. It's easy to get frustrated and irate at the crowds and the high prices, but just know that some things are out of your control, so don't let them bother you. Have fun and take loads of pictures!

Good times

So do go and do have fun when there. Because it really is the happiest place on Earth.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Milestone, And Giveaways

Last week sometime, I cracked the 800-post mark. I can't believe I've cranked out 800 posts on this here blog.

Luckily, not everyone has had to suffer through all 800. I think the first 100 or so, I wrote to one reader, and then slowly but surely I got a decent following and some awesome readers and my readership continued to grow. I'm not one of the blogs with a massive following but that's fine. I like the followers I have and the blogs I follow (and there are probably many blogs I don't follow that I should, and that I could learn a thing or two from).

I would love to have a giveaway to commemorate the milestone but alas have not yet figured out what would make a good giveaway. I'm sure I will do something at some point... well, actually I'm not sure, but I have had some ideas, but they've all been kinda lame ideas so they've not gotten past the idea stage.

As always when I get to these milestone posts, I'd like to give you the chance to tell me what you like about the blog, what you don't like about it, what you would like to see more of, less of, etc. Don't be shy! I value all of your comments and feedback.

Giveaways!

If you haven't checked out these giveaways, do so now.

Moore On Running - Noah of Moore On Running is giving away an awesome pair of socks. Now, you might think socks are just like, whatever, any sock will do when you run. But you'd be surprised what a bad pair of socks will do to a run. Think about it, your feet are pounding along, carrying you along the way, supporting all of your weight, and if you have a bad pair of socks, it can constantly be on your mind.

I thought price was a good indicator of good socks, so when I bought new shoes last August I splurged and bought a nine-dollar pair of socks. Long ago, it was relegated to being worn on only runs of five miles or less. They are too thin, and my feet would hurt more after wearing those socks on a 10- or 12-mile run than any other pair I had. Ugh.

Anyway, Noah's giveaway is for a pair of socks from a company called Feetures! (the exclamation mark is part of their name :) ). Check out that company here. And check out Noah's blog. He also lost a ton of weight and ran a marathon. And recently he broke the 50-minute mark for a 10K, finishing in under 49 minutes!

Fat Wuz Here: Amanda of Fat Wuz Here is giving away a foam roller! Awesome. Check it out here.

I have a foam roller but I don't use it that much. I am bad about that. Foam rollers are essential in helping relieve IT band issues, which can be detrimental to any runner. And really, it doesn't take much effort to just get the foam roller out and do it.

Anyway, check out Amanda's blog as well. She's down some 70 pounds and has more losing to go.

Marathon Quiz

Just for kicks, here's a little quiz I formulated off a newsletter I got from Active.com. If you got the same e-mail and know the answers, oh well, but if you haven't then take a gander at this here quiz. You could take it even if you've never run a marathon before. Just fun stuff.

The newsletter was entitled "10 Biggest Marathons" so I took the lead... (by biggest, they mean the most number of finishers) and the actual stats come from Running USA.

1. What U.S. marathon had the most number of finishers in 2009?


A. Boston Marathon
B. New York City Marathon
C. Chicago Marathon
D. LA Marathon

2. What U.S. marathon had the second-highest number of finishers in 2009?


A. Boston Marathon
B. New York City Marathon
C. Chicago Marathon
D. LA Marathon

3. Which of these marathons made the Top 10 list?


A. St. George Marathon
B. Las Vegas (Rock n Roll) Marathon
C. Portland (Oregon) Marathon
D. Philadelphia Marathon

4. Which of these marathons did not make the Top 10 list?

A. Arizona (Rock n Roll) Marathon
B. Honolulu Marathon
C. Twin Cities Marathon
D. San Diego (Rock n Roll) Marathon

5. What was the only state to place two marathons in the Top 10 list?

A. New York
B. Florida
C. Illinois
D. California

6. Rank the marathons from highest to lowest

A. Boston
B. LA
C. Walt Disney World
D. New York City

7. Which of the following marathons had more than 21,000 finishers?

A. LA
B. Walt Disney World
C. Marine Corps (DC)
D. Honolulu

8. Which of the following marathons had the least number of finishers?

A. LA
B. Walt Disney World
C. Marine Corps (DC)
D. Honolulu

9. How many of the Top 10 U.S. marathons placed in the Top 10 list of marathons around the world?

A. 4
B. 5
C. 6
D. 7

***

I'll probably post the answers later in the comments section or in another post. What do you get if you answer all of them correctly? Why nothing, of course. Nothing except my thanks for playing along.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Leading Up To 13.1

As I mentioned in Monday's earlier post, I have a half-marathon coming up. I'm very excited for it, and it almost seems like it's not really happening. But of course, on Sunday I will hit the streets of Redlands with hundreds (thousands maybe?) of other runners, trying to conquer the 13.1 monster.

I have a plan for the race, which I will share later this week, but I have a plan for the week leading up to the race itself and I figured I might as well write it down to formulate my ideas.

Here are the miles I have planned for the week:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3 (at the gym)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 4-5 (at Mt. Rubidoux)
Friday: 3-4 (at the gym)
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: RACE!!

I checked various training plans, both online and in books I have, and they all suggested about three runs during the week and about 9-12 total miles. I don't want to try and hit 31-plus miles this week as I have been for the last however many weeks. I'm still averaging more than 30 miles per week for the year but I just need to ease off the pedal a bit.

The hardest part will be not running more than 3-4 miles. Tuesday I will only have time for three miles so that won't be too tough but the other days I know I will want to keep running.

All the plans included some sort of workout, be it tempo, intervals or whatever. So I figured I'd run Mt. Rubidoux and call that a workout run. I'm going to push myself on there like I usually do, but the other runs I'm just going to run easy miles.

I don't want to feel like I'm crusing into the race but in some ways I think that's what you have to do. If you run, then you know how hard it is sometimes to just stop at distances when you'd normally be picking up the pace. But all that is also part of the plan. Come Sunday, I know my legs will be yearning to run a long distance and I'm not going to quell that feeling.

Motivational Mondays (April 12)

In less than one week, I will race my second half-marathon.

Run Through Redlands 2009 was my first, and Run Through Redlands 2010 will be number two.

At this point in my training, there's not a whole lot I can do. I need to just run a few times this week, avoid injury and keep my body well-hydrated and with the proper amount of carbs necessary for a prime performance on Sunday.

I'm confident of that, of a prime performance. In many ways, you give yourself confidence for such things - races, an important presentation at work, an exam at school - with the way you prepare for them. If you prepare well, you give yourself confidence. If you don't, then you have to try and fabricate it.

I've had a really good stretch of runs lately, both in my long runs and my midweek runs. I've tackled the hills - around my house, at Mt. Rubidoux, even some of the hills on the course itself. It's a bit of a hilly course but I'm not worried about it. Because I've been running a lot of hills, I feel prepared for them and am confident they will not break me.

But does that mean I'm going to succeed? It depends on what success to me is. Last time around, success was just finishing. That's not going to be enough this time around. Sure, I'll take pleasure in completing the race, especially in the moments right after crossing the finish line. However, I have higher hopes than that.

My goal is to finish in under two hours. However, I will be the first to say that a sub-2 hour finish is a bit ambitious, what with the hills and all. If it was a flat course, I'd bet more money on myself than I would at Run Through Redlands. I do have an ace up my sleeve, though, as blog/Loper buddy Angie and I will run the race together and we're going to push each other for 13.1 miles. She's trying to break the two-hour barrier as well.

She's going to provide a great boost along the course and I hope to do the same for her as well, but that doesn't mean we've got two hours in the bag. In fact, far from it. That just means we have to be on our extra-best to not let each other down. I have the utmost faith that she's going to run her best, and as she's a four-time marathoner that says a lot. I just need to keep up my end of the deal.

If I break the two-hour mark, I'm going to be ecstatic. It will be another goal met, another challenge overcome. If I don't, I'm not going to frown too much. I know that I will finish better than last year's time, better than the 2:14:50 I came in a year ago. I know I'm going to PR, and if I don't get the sub-2 half here, it will give me something to shoot for next time around.

Whatever the case, I'm confident I'll give a great performance. And whether that means a finish time of 1:59:44 or 2:03:37 or 2:07:59, I'll be happy so long as I don't sell myself short on race day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Playlist Swap: Nightmarish Run

Friday morning's run started out like other six-milers over The Hill. The crispy early-morning chill caused me to opt for gloves and a long-sleeve tech shirt, but I still had my hat and sunglasses as the sun was breaking through and sometime during the run would be blazing up high, for certain.

Still, it was a run I was dreading. It wasn't the distance. It wasn't the hills. It wasn't the 6:45 a.m. start time.

It was the music.

Earlier this week, I'd gotten a CD filled with songs that normally have no business on my music player, let alone on my running playlists. But I had swapped playlists with Kerrie T. and she was a good sport and had listened to LB's Ultimate Playlist during a seven-mile run earlier this week, and now it was my turn to keep up my end of the bargain.

I hadn't listened to every song Kerrie had sent me in its entirety but I had played snippets of them. Some I knew and were tolerable, but others I just wanted no part of. I had arranged the playlist such that the latter came first, and the former were towards the end. I figured, 'Let's get the bad ones out of the way first and go from there.'

Problem was, there were too many bad songs. It was a minefield of pop music, and I was running haphazardly on it. But I survived.

Shake It - Metro Station

I hit The Garmin and then fired up the playlist, which I'd affectionately called LB's Worst Nightmare. The first beats of Shake It were dreadful but then a bit of a faster beat came on and it was promising. But as soon as the singer began to brag about some conquest he'd had with some female, the song crashed and burned. It was three minutes of hearing about some night that went right for this Metro guy. Neat.

Tik Tok - Kesha

Wake up in the morning smelling like P Diddy...

Should have gone back to sleep, lady. Now, Kerrie mentioned how she just kind of tunes out everything and listens to the rhythm and stuff. Well, I wish I could have tuned out the words to this song (and most of the others). Kesha was brushing her teeth with Jack because she ain't comin' back. Riveting.

Kiss N Tell - Ke$ha

I was right to have put these songs first, to have gotten them out of the way early. But I suffered nonetheless. Now, this song actually jarred some memories in my head. It might be involved but bear with me.

First, listen to the opening of Kiss N Tell.

Then, click on this and listen to this.

Don't they sound the same?

Well, I pictured myself playing that game as Kesha was talking about someone who was a "hot mess" who had bragged to her "lame friends" about some guy she had been with. Again, riveting. I think I had just cracked the mile mark during this song, and six seemed so long away.

Party In The USA - Miley Cyrus

I don't necessarily look tough. I don't think I do anyway. But sometimes I like to think I do. I like to think that with my hat and sunglasses on, when I'm running at a hard and steady pace, that passers-by will at least know that the guy they just saw is putting a lot of effort into his run.

It's kind of hard to feel tough, though, when this Miley song came on, when this Miley song came on, when this Miley song came on.

To pass the time I came up with a verse

Put my head down, keep my churning my feet, moving forward like yeah, my pace is pretty good like yeah


Glamorous - Fergie

If you ain't got no money, get your broke (ass) home.


Kerrie opted for the clean version apparently but I got the message nonetheless. Yeah, Fergie's all about the glamorous lifestyle but she's not afraid to go to Taco Bell apparently. The beat to this one was not as bad Kesha but not great.

SOS - Rihanna

There was a part of this song that sounded like a laser gun. I pictured a three-foot-tall green Martian pointing his gun at me and firing away, with that beat as the sound coming from the gun. It would have been great had a Martian put me out of my misery at this point of my run.

Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry

Mrs. LB said that Katy Perry has a song called Hot and Cold. I've heard that song and it's really catchy. I'm not going to go so far as to say I like it but I could probably hear that song and not cringe. This song, though, was nothing like that. I pictured some late night in Vegas, drunk, stammering around some casino, feeling a headache coming on... somehow that's not the image I want going through my head during a run.

So Much Better - Legally Blonde Soundtrack

This wasn't quite like jumping in the pool on a hot summer day but it was a bit refreshing, if nothing else because the Simon beats were gone.

Just Dance - Lady Gaga

I'd spoken too soon. The Simon beats came back in full force with this song. I don't know if I'd just gotten used to these songs or what but I was able to run semi-normal during this song. I was worried though. At this point of my run I decided to turn around since I was past three miles. I grabbed my crotch and squeezed. Yeah, still felt something. Okay, my manhood was intact despite this music.

That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings

I'd actually heard of The Ting Tings. They sing one of the coolest birthday songs. I thought it would have been cool to have swapped out this song for that one, but alas I followed the rules.

I saw a lady walking towards me at this point, dressed in workout gear and jacket, out for stroll. I had a fleeting image in my head, of me grabbing her by the shoulders and screaming "Please God help me!" but instead I just smiled and waved.

The beat to this song wasn't any worse than the others but the singer kept saying how people call her names and she kept saying "That's not my name, that's not my name" like over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over... this was actually the only time I wanted to hit next. I suffered through it, though.

Shut Up And Let Me Go - The Ting Tings

I didn't realize until I was done that the previous song had been The Ting Tings, but I knew this was them. This song was tolerable, but after the "that's not my name" madness, I could have heard three minutes of a baby crying and that would have been tolerable too.

I'm Shakin' - Rooney

It had kind of a rock feel to it, probably more pronounced in this playlist. It wasn't terrible.

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson

Yay for MJ. Now, I didn't exactly feel as if this was a song I would throw into my next playlist but it'll be in the mix. Even someone with my taste in music can find room for MJ on my playlist.

Funhouse - Pink

This was my finish line. I knew if I could get here that I'd be okay. I decided that I actually like Pink now. The thing I realized about her songs is that she actually has something to say, at least in this song. She touched on a tough theme here and I like that. She was't singing about some girl who is a "hot mess" or about brushing her teeth with Jack.

So What - Pink

This song made me smile because I thought of Kennedy singing "nah nah nah nah nah..." to this song, and thought of her dancing around to it like she usually does. I decided that either this song or Funhouse would be going on next month's playlist.

Roam - B-52s

I think this song came out in my freshman year in high school, 1989 or 1990 I want to say. Yes, I'm that old :( Anyway, this song was a nice relaxing way to end the run. I've always enjoyed this song so it wasn't tough to run to. However, I think this might have been the most I've enjoyed it ever since it closed out one hellish run.

***





Overall, I was glad I did this. I realized a few things. I am much more in tuned to my music than I thought. Music that I enjoy can really help me get in to a groove while music that I don't enjoy is like nails on a chalkboard and affects me as well. I'm also glad because I can appreciate a good playlist. This is a good playlist for Kerrie of course, but a good playlist for me really works for me and really helps me keep my mind focused on the run and the goals I've set for my run. It's more personal than I thought. It's like running in general. When I'm running and racing, I'm competing against myself, I'm with myself (even if I'm running alongside others) and I'm trying to meet goals that are unique to me.

So will I do this again? Maybe. Not sure. I might have to see the playlist first. Or maybe do a 30-minute playlist.

Then again, after 30 minutes on Friday I was hoping for an alien to put me out of misery.

Friday Leftovers (April 9)

 Some randomness to get you going this Friday.

Word Association

As always, play here.

1. Philanthropy :: Philosophy
2. Said :: Spoke
3. Blanks :: Gun
4. Tapas :: Paella
5. Orgasm :: Loud
6. Movement :: Front
7. Detention :: Afterschool
8. Restaurant :: Menu
9. Weird :: Strange
10. Sniffle :: Sneeze

Explanations: They're all pretty self-explanatory. As far as detention goes, I used to get a lot of detentions in high school. I'd get Saturday detentions and we'd have to go to school on Saturday, sit in a room for four hours and be quiet. The only things we couldn't do was put our heads on our desk or talk. It was actually enjoyable for me as I've always liked some quiet, alone time. It was a chance to relax, read the paper, get some work done, and have time to myself. I used to get the detentions for ditching school. Not the greatest idea I ever had.

Running Playlist

Okay, so the moment we've all waited for is nearly here. My hour of hell is upon us. My plan is to run to Kerrie's playlist bright and early on Friday, so either you are reading this right before my run or sometime shortly after. I'll update when I get back from my run so keep an eye out for that.

This is how I've re-arranged the playlist.


When I sent Kerrie my playlist, I titled it "LB's Ultimate Playlist/Kerrie T's Worst Nightmare." However, I definitely had the shortest straw pulled for me, hence the album name for my run. Ha. That was a Metallica reference. They have a song called Shortest Straw. I'd rather listen to that song over and over again for an hour than LB's Worst Nightmare.

Anyway, I figure I'll get the worst of the worst out of the way. Kesha (which Mrs. LB informed me is actually Ke$ha, pronounced keh-shu) is the one I'm fearing the most. I'll just suck it up and get past that. Metro Station might be even worse so that one's up first.

I had wanted to go run Mt. Rubidoux but I might run around my house instead. I might run over The Hill. Usually I can get seven miles on that route. It's just an over-and-back, so if I don't make it out to Mt. Rubidoux I'll do that.

And if you happen to drive by me, I'll be the runner with tears in his eyes.

Shaken, Not Stirred

Did you hear anything in the news about the major earthquake that struck northern Mexico last weekend? Well, it was pretty big.

Check it out:


I kind of re-arranged that in order to make it fit. A lot of those numbers are coordinates and time and such, but the relevant number is the magnitude in red next to MAP.

Yeah, a 7.2 earthquake.

We felt it. We were at my parents' house after having had an Easter lunch together. We felt it but it was mild, nothing bad. A few minutes later we saw that it was a 7.2. We're lucky it was about 150-200 miles southeast of us and its epicenter was nowhere near any sort of large urban areas.

I've never felt a 7.2 earthquake, and even though I technically felt it, I didn't come close to feeling the brunt of the damage. A friend of mine said he was in San Diego during the earthquake and he said it felt like he was surfing. Of course, he was in the second story of a home down there, but nothing happened save for the water in the house's pool splashed everywhere.

Oh yeah, check this out.


Those are all earthquakes. The magnitude is on the far left and the epicenter is the location on the right. Anything in red is I believe greater than a 3.0. Now, this is all of California and registers earthquakes in Baja California (Mexico) and Nevada, but this is about 90 minutes' worth of seismic activity. All these quakes in less than two hours.

Welcome to California.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Streamlining The Playlist

Okay, yesterday afternoon was a bit of a fustercluck. I was rushing to get the post up because I had to leave for somewhere, so I didn't get a chance to post Kerrie T's playlist.

I linked to it from my mobile phone but here's the playlist in its entirety.

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
I'm Shakin' - Rooney
Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry
Shut Up and Let Me Go - The Ting Tings
Tik Tok - Kesha
Shake It - Metro Station
Just Dance - Lady Gaga
Kiss N Tell - Kesha
Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus
So Much Better - Legally Blonde
Funhouse - Pink
That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
So What - Pink
SOS - Rihanna
Glamorous - Fergie
Roam - B52s

It's a pretty gawdawful good playlist.

I'm actually going to change some of the songs around since Kerrie wasn't mindful of that. Unlike me, who was rigid about the playlist being the way it was (there is a rhyme and reason to my playlist madness) Kerrie doesn't much care as long as all the songs are on there.

So I'm going to end with the songs I find tolerable and/or enjoyable. Pink's two songs and the B-52s will close out the playlist, with The Ting Tings right behind them. MJ isn't bad either so he'll be towards the end.

I'm probably going to start off with Kesha. That's probably the worst of the bunch. Just get that over and done with. I've never heard or Rooney or Metro Station and I have a vague idea of Katy Perry, although Mrs. LB assured me that I know who she is. So not sure where those will fit in, but the bad ones, let's just get them over and done with.

I might not get to run to this today like I'd planned but if I don't run to it today, I'm running to it Friday.

I can't believe I'm going to voluntarily run to Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus... me and my dumb ideas.