Saturday, July 31, 2010

San Francisco Marathon: In Pictures

This is the best thing I've seen in the aftermath of the San Francisco Marathon.

One of the thousands of runners on Sunday took his camera - a very expensive camera - with him during the race and took pictures throughout the marathon. He sacrificed a lot to do this, but the payoff was fantastic.

Toky of Toky Photography put up the best race recap you could ever hope for with his photo essay. See the essay here.

Some things of interest:

> He confirmed that the park pretty much was the worst part. I didn't even get lost there, but apparently there was confusion. Had I gotten lost I would have disliked the park even more.

> Toky snapped one picture of me! I'm in the background. Can you find yours truly? I'll give you a hint - it's early.

> Toky also ran with a hobbled ankle. That he finished (in 5:52) is testament to his own courage and strength. Imagine running with a bad wheel and carrying an expensive camera around your neck.... and, oh yeah, your run is 26.2 miles.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Leftovers (July 30)

It's Friday. Time for the Leftovers.

Word Association

Play here.

1. Inception :: Movie
2. Anticipation :: Eager
3. Space :: Dark
4. Earn :: Keep
5. .com :: .org
6. Hello! :: Goodbye
7. Equivalent :: Same as
8. Swore :: Up and down
9. Actions :: Speak louder than words
10. Expletive! :: Damn

Not really a whole lot of explaining, kinda straightforward answers. Boring, I know. Sorry, I'll try to make it more interesting the next time.

Feeling Good

It's now been five days since the marathon and I feel fine. I felt fine on Monday actually. I was still feeling the effects of the race that day but I walked a lot and never felt like I was going to pass out or anything.

Anyway, just wanted to pass that along in case you were wondering about my well-being :-)

Five Question Friday

Another installment of Five Question Friday. As always, thanks to Mama M. for hosting this.

1. Did you have a favorite blanket or toy as a kid? If so, do you still have it?

I used to love GI Joe and Transformers. I had lots of GI Joe toys.

Funny story. When I was about 10 or 11, I got a brand new GI Joe toy. I really wanted it and was so happy when I got it. It was helicopter that turned into a boat and used by the Dreadnoks. Okay, well, anyway... I had it one day - ONE DAY - and Danny broke it. Danny, who was about 6 or so at the time, always broke my damn toys. This time, though, I was angry and totally bummed at the same time. The helicopter/boat never worked the same after that.

For my 32nd birthday, Danny bought me the same helicopter/boat vehicle. Brand new. I put it together and it's sitting on a bookcase in my office. He promised never to touch it.

2. Do you dream in color?

I do not dream in color. Every time I remember my dreams, it's always in black and white. They're never really vivid in color, although sometimes they are vivid in their details.

And speaking of dreams...

Go. Watch. Inception.

3. How tall are you? Do you wish you were shorter or taller?

I am 5-feet-10 inches tall, maybe a half-inch taller. I wish I would be an even six feet tall but I'm okay being 5-10.

4. If you could have anyone's (celeb or other) voice as the guide on your GPS, who would it be?

Well, my first inclination is to have some female celebrity's voice on there but I might spend too much time in my car driving around the neighborhood that way... so it would have to be... hmmm..

Jim Dale.

I know what you're asking - Who the heck is Jim Dale?

He narrated the entire Harry Potter series on audiobooks. He was just as much a part of the series to me as Harry, Hermione and Severus Snape. Listen for yourself.

In case you don't know... I listened to books 1-6 when I first started going to the trainer back in 06. I didn't really get into the series until the third book and then I was hooked. I only allowed myself to listen to them at the gym so of course I longed to go to the gym.

The books were very enjoyable not only because of the content but because of Jim Dale. His voices for characters were fantastic, and I associate those voices with the characters more than the voices of the actors who play them in the movies.

So if my non-existent GPS could get Jim Dale's voice in there, that would be fantastic.

5. Do you return your shopping cart to the corral or leave it wherever in the parking lot?

I always try and take it back but sometimes the carts don't make it back. I'd say about 80 percent of the time I take it back. When I don't take it back, it's usually because the girls are on my last nerve or it's hot and I don't want to leave them in the truck alone or whatever. If I'm alone, I always take it back. The way I see it, I don't like loose shopping carts in parking spots when I pull up, so why would I contribute to someone else's own dislike of loose shopping carts?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

San Francisco Marathon: Race Leftovers

Some things about the San Francisco Marathon that did not make the race report.

How Bad Were The Hills?


What many marathoners feared about this course were the hills. So, how bad were they? Well, several hours after the race we went to a friend's house who lives in the city and I realized that the hills were not as bad as they could have been.

That doesn't mean the course wasn't hilly, just that the course didn't take us through the hilliest parts of the city. Still, the not-as-hilly parts are still hilly. It seems like that once we got off the bridge for good that every mile had at least a portion, sometimes a sizable portion, that was at an incline. Sometimes they were small inclines and other times you wondered when the hill would end.

I was initially looking forward to the last five miles because they looked flat on the elevation map, but I can tell you from having run the course that those last five miles were not flat at all. I don't think it got truly flat until we were back near AT&T Park, so around Mile 25.

The hills were tough but it's a good challenge and running that course is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Hills Take Their Toll

I certainly felt the effects of the hills. I alluded to it briefly in my race recap, but I was on a good pace at the halfway mark, about 10:13 per mile. Now, I think I can finish with a pace of under 10 min per mile for a marathon, perhaps LA, but I'd wanted to stay close to 10 min per mile at San Francisco. But by Mile 20 my pace had fallen off to 10:30 per mile.

I lost a lot of time because the hills wore on me. They took their toll on my legs and my feet. My feet don't usually feel like they've taken a beating 13 miles in but that's what it felt like. I handled the hills okay and everything but they also did their part to slow me down.

So Stinking Sore

After the race, I plopped down on a chair. Not right away, of course, because there were no chairs to sit on right after the finish line. I walked around, took some pictures, drank water, ate food, grabbed food, etc. But once I got out of the chute, I spotted a chair and sat down on it.

My body felt like it got hit by an 18-wheeler, and I couldn't really sit in any one position for too long. Mrs. LB helped me get up after I'd been sitting for like 10 minutes and I walked gingerly with her help. I actually swung... well, okay, Mrs. LB swung my arm around her and we walked. On another day, you might have thought she was helping a drunk walk around. At first, though, that was not comfortable but I adjusted after a while. I sat down on curbs on the way to the hotel, I think twice I had to stop and just sit down.

I felt like hell, probably looked worse, but none of that is going to stop me from running another marathon. That's the price you pay for marathon glory.

Blood, Sweat And Tears

Let's see... I was dripping with sweat during the race so check. Blood? I'm not sure about the blood actually. I had taped up my nips so didn't have any issues from them at all. Don't recall any blood on my shirt so not sure about blood.

Tears? Yeah, I got emotional. It's hard for me not too. At about Mile 17 or 18, as I mentioned in the race recap, I felt that I would finish the race. I knew, I just knew that I was going to get it done. I started to choke up and it started to, well, choke me. It got harder to breathe and I felt some tears starting to well up in my eyes.

After the race, though, I couldn't stop the tears. When I sat in a crumpled heap, soon after Mrs. LB found me, I just thought about how I'd finished a marathon, the stinkin San Francisco Marathon for crying out loud, and how I'd now run two marathons in less than six months. Who would have ever thought I would have run one? So it got to me.


I wonder if after I run like Marathon No. 7 or No. 12 or something if it won't get to me as much. Who knows? Guess I'll have to run those to find out.

Splits

M1 - 9:29 M2 - 9:14 M3 - 10:18 M4 - 9:33 M5 - 10:09

These were on The Embarcadero and up towards the Bridge. I felt fresh. I had to stop and fix the belt and adjust my stupid phone on Mile 3, hence the time difference.

M6 - 11:12 M7 - 10:16 M8 - 9:57 M9 - 10:30 M10 - 10:04

These were the miles on the bridge for the most part. The first mile was very slow because of all the congestion.

M11 - 9:02 M12 - 9:50 M13 - 10:52 M14 - 9:27 M15 - 10:50

Golden Gate Park. I believe Mile 11, though, was through a neighborhood.

M16 - 10:26 M17 - 11:03 M18 - 11:35 M19 - 11:22 M20 - 12:57

The hills were starting to get to me. I'm not sure what's up with Mile 20, I think I stopped to GU up at some point...

M21 - 10:17 M22 - 11:01 M23 - 10:32 M24 - 10:56 M25 - 10:45

I thought I could find some strength around Mile 21, and I thought that since I had target that, that mentally I could push through the fatigue and fog in my own head and pick up the pace, maybe throw in some sub-10-min miles. It didn't quite happen that way.

M26 - 10:00 Final .2 - 9:38 pace

I did finish strong. The last mile was the fastest mile I'd run over the final 12 miles so that's a positive.

What's next?

I always like to look forward to my race calendar at the end of one of these post-race blog posts. I will save most of my thoughts for an upcoming post but my next race will likely be Oct. 17 in Long Beach as I'll be running the first of two fall half-marathons.

My next full marathon? LA on March 20, 2011 unless something drastic happens. I still think there's a chance I run Surf City again, but ... okay, I'm stopping now. Saving thoughts for the upcoming post, probably sometime next week.

San Francisco Marathon: Random Cool Moments

In my Surf City aftermath post, I threw in some random cool moments that turned out to be the best part of that post. I learned.

For my latest marathon, I will dedicate a separate post to Random Cool Moments to kind of give you a bit of the color of the race along the course.

Decadent Scent: Running down The Embarcadero was a treat. There were no cars, not a whole lot of noise either, just us runners and a few scattered souls on the streets. One place that was going strong early in the morning was Boudin, bread makers extraordinaire.

While I couldn't see anybody from the street, I smelled the most intoxicating smell - freshly baked sourdough bread. I could feel the warm, airy insides and the crispy outer shell of a Boudin bread bowl. I'm not sure anything could have deviated me from the marathon once I was on the course, but if someone would have offered me a bread bowl right then and there, I might have been persuaded to step aside and have a few moments to myself.

Gongs Of Support: As the course got off The Embarcadero and towards the Golden Gate Bridge, a pair of Chinese guys stood on either side of the road. Each had a gong in one hand and a stick in the other and banged it over and over again. Our support was of the multicultural kind.

I saw the same two guys having the same two

One Runner To Another: Since I retired my pink Loper shirt and didn't have another Loper shirt to wear, I opted to wear my Ragnar Relay shirt since it says RUNNER on the back, and it's a shirt that fits me well. Out on the bridge, I saw the same shirt on another runner. I got up close behind her, patted her on her shoulder and said "Nice shirt." She said "Thanks.... Hey, nice shirt yourself!" I smiled and sped off.

Out in the Lead: Somewhere around Mile 10, I was in a residential neighborhood. I was just about to cross a street when volunteers closed off the path and steered us onto another street. Instead of going straight, I was forced to hang a left, and then a right. Since I was just about to cross and was forced to make a left, I was essentially in the lead.

I swung a right up ahead and was back on track with nobody in front of me. For a few seconds, I was in the lead. It felt like I was in the lead anyway.

Now I know how the big boys feel...

¡Animo!: I was running up a hill (of course) and near the crest were people holding a Mexican flag, chanting "¡Si se puede! ¡Si se puede!" which translates essentially to "Yes you can!" It's a popular Mexican chant. I clapped. One of the women holding one of the flags said very loudly (after reading my name on my bib) "¡Animo Luis!" as I ran past.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

San Francisco Marathon: LB Pics

Remember when I said on Tuesday that I was swamped with work? Well, it hasn't gotten much better. So with little time to formulate the post I've been wanting/meaning to write, I'm left with one option - I will let photos do the talking.

Photos from the San Francisco Marathon are up and I checked mine out. I have to admit that I did my best to run in front of cameras, to speed up in order for the photographers to get an unobstructed view of me. However, I somehow managed to get no shots of me on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Anyway, here are most of the pictures of yours truly.

Before the race, feeling fresh and excited

Definitely feeling the rigors of the race

Powering through near the end

Focus, focus

Cruising into the finish
Glory is mine!


Warming up quickly to my nice new medal


San Francisco Marathon done and dusted!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finish Line Video

I had wanted to blog more about the marathon and some things that didn't make the race report - and I will - but I am all but wiped out from traveling home, plus I am swamped with work, so that will have to wait.

For now here's a brief post about the marathon.

There's video of yours truly crossing the finish line. You'll have to click on this link and either my name or bib number (70273) and you shall see me blowing past the finish line. Or you can enter my name too. Then just click on my name in the blue box and then click on videos.

I'm pretty sure most if not all runners are on there. I checked out a few of my friends since I didn't get to see them cross the finish line or after the race at all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Motivational Mondays (July 26) aka San Francisco Marathon: Scaling Hills And The City

For months I pondered, chewed on, wondered about the San Francisco Marathon. I set a big target for this race and it finally arrived. On Sunday, I ran the San Francisco Marathon, my second marathon, and both have come in the last six months.

Here's how I conquered Marathon No. 2.

----

I'd set the alarm for 4:45 (our usual wake-up time) but beat it by about 20 minutes. I was nervous of course but I managed to sleep through it this time. I got up, got dressed, ate and took my time in doing so. After a bit, I headed out and followed a crowd of marathoners to the start line area.

I was in Wave 7, and since I got to the start right when Wave 1 was starting, I had to wait a little bit. Waves 2 and 3 went off, then 4 and 5 all roughly 10 minutes apart, but I wasn't feeling nervous or anything, just calm. I was right next to the water, close to the Bay Bridge and within throngs of runners. Eventually Wave 6 went off and Wave 7 was up next. After a brief mix-up (the last half of Wave 7 was mistakenly delayed), we were off. It was a little after 6:30, nearly 10 minutes after we were supposed to have left, but it didn't really matter. The prospects of heat were non-existent and even the sun itself seemed more like a rumor than anything.

The first few steps were a blur. There were some docks and piers off to the right and some businesses off to the left. I ran past signs for Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 and a vast array of restaurants and businesses, but nothing topped Boudin. At Disney's California Adventure, there is a bakery and you can see how bread is made, sourdough bowls, and it's all Boudin products. At a little past 6:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, the sourdough smells wafting past runners on The Embarcadero were mouth-watering and enticing.

I got off The Embarcadero and started to make our way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. Beforehand, this was easily the highlight of the course, the most anticipated part of the race. But I wasn't quite there yet. I was winding through the Marina and through the edge of the Presidio, growing with anticipation for the bridge.

All along, I'd been running at a decent clip. Every mile I ran was under 10 minutes - after five miles I was under 50 minutes. After the second mile, I wondered if I should have slowed down but I figured I'd run at this comfortable pace while I still could.

Finally, we came up to the bridge area and the running path for us runners narrowed quite a bit. It was congested and it made for some slower-than-desired running. That was about the only drawback from the bridge. I was on the Golden Gate Bridge, for crying out loud! It was foggy but not enough to obstruct our views. I was able to see the water and the part of the course we'd just ran through. I had a smile on my face through this portion, and decided then it was a good time to toss my throwaway jacket I'd bought at the expo, a jacket that looked like a lab coat that had kept me very warm throughout the chilly morning.

It was also around this time my phone rang. Mrs. LB had just gotten up and called me. I didn't really feel any envy, with her having just woken up while I was around Mile 7... but she wished me good luck, asked me how I felt and told me she was headed down to the finish line area.

We got off the bridge on the far side, ran around a parking lot and went straight back onto it. I was just amazed that I was running on a national landmark. I mean, you can run past landmarks, like Mt. Rushmore or the Washington Monument but what other landmarks can you actually run on during a race?

Soon enough, the bridge was over and it was back to meandering through unfamiliar territory. Right after the bridge was perhaps the prettiest sight I saw during the race. We were running up a hill in the Presidio area. Off to the right was the ocean and on the hilly land above were houses surrounded by trees. It was a stunning view.

Now, earlier this week, blog buddy Tricia had given me a great tip. She said to break the race up into segments - a 10-mile run, a 10-mile run and a 10K. This worked wonders. I tried not to think about the entire course but rather just wanted to get to 10 miles. Once I hit 10 miles, I focused on getting through the next 10 miles. And then after that, it was just a 10K. I got through the first 10 miles and felt a bit rejuvenated with the start of the second third of my race, Miles 11-20.

I plowed through the course, still feeling good, still getting in miles around or under 10 minutes as the course took us up a long street through a residential area before entering Golden Gate Park. I'd actually run a little inside the park before I realized I was in Golden Gate Park. I was excited because after this park, we'd be around Mile 20, and as it was Mile 12, however, that meant a lot of running.

Golden Gate Park was tough. Quite tough. The half-marathoners that had started with us were split apart so the number of runners thinned out. It was just the marathoners, and it seemed several were already starting to feel the effects of the race. I was trying not to think about my throbbing feet, which had been protesting for about a mile or so.

The scenery was nice enough - the park was quite green and seemed inviting, parts of it anyway. It seemed like a decent place for a run or a bike ride. The most awe-inspiring sight was the Conservatory of Flowers. The colors of the flowers shined in the early-morning haze.

But the course here just kept on going and going and didn't give us marathoners many prospects of exiting it anytime soon. To add insult to injury, we had to run past the 1st Half Marathon finish line. We were at about 17 miles at this point, and all the marathoners trudged past the finish line, with jubilant half-marathoners reveling in their own 13.1 conquest, celebrating their feat and certainly not running. The only ones running now were the full marathoners.

I saw a runner up ahead who was probably in her late 30s. She had written "1st Full" on her left calf, so as I got past her I said "Great job" and gave her a thumbs up. She said "thank you" and the brief exchange gave me a boost. I remember how great it felt at Surf City to have people congratulate me when I wore my bib, and some of those feelings came back.

I had originally thought the 2nd Half Marathon runners would jump in along with the full marathoners but that did not happen until nearly the end of Golden Gate Park. The park had been nice enough but near the end, it seemed to fall apart. The path wasn't as well-kept as the rest of it, there seemed to be less of a welcoming feel to it and there wasn't really much scenery here. All that made me glad to get out of the park when the course finally did.

Worst part about the park, though, was the hills. There were many more hills here than I'd anticipated. It may not have been one giant hill but the inclines, for some reason, seemed to outnumber the declines. It took its toll on me as well - I'd later learn that my pace at the halfway mark was 10:11 per mile but had fallen to 10:30 by Mile 20.

I still had energy. I was on my 10K portion of the race. As I approached Mile 22, though, I wondered where the wall would rear its ugly head. Mrs. LB had been calling me often, checking up on me and giving me a boost each time she did, and I wondered if she would call me when I was at the wall.

I got to about Mile 23.5 and had to stop. I'd been taking walk breaks but this one was different. With almost no warning or no planning, I just stopped and walked. It seemed like a long time. I didn't feel comfortable but I didn't want to start running again, at least my legs didn't want to. But I just had to will my legs to get out there once more, and begrudgingly they complied.

That was my wall. It doesn't sound bad, and it wasn't. I never once asked why I was doing this, or whatever made me think I could run a marathon. In fact, around Mile 18 I pictured myself near the finish line and I started to get a little emotional. I knew that I would finish the race then, well, I knew I would finish the race all along I suppose but at that moment I felt it. Nothing was going to stop me from finishing, so I knew that I would get past whatever obstacles I needed to get past. And all that kept the wall tiny. However, there was one thought that kept going through my mind that helped: "Just get through this and you won't have to do this shit again until March." I might not run another marathon until LA, which is on March 20, 2011.

My legs were starting to scream at about Mile 24. I tried to pick up the pace but it didn't feel like I was going fast at all. We got to AT&T Park, home of the hated Giants, and ran past McCovey Cove. Even though I despise the Giants (go Dodgers) I still was happy with having run there, and pictured what it's like during games when someone hits a home run with the ball sailing into the water.

After the stadium, it was back up to the Bay Bridge and then the finish line. I had been scanning for Mrs. LB, who said she was somewhere between the stadium and the finish. I ran and ran and ran but didn't see her.

Finally, I saw a lonely figure sitting on the sidewalk. I put my arms up and she saw me, grabbed the camera and took some shots. As I ran past, she was yelling "Go Luis!" at the top of her lungs, and that was the last bit of energy I needed to get to the finish. I had been thinking about my girls, who'd stayed behind with their grandparents, about everything I had overcome to get to this point of the race, not just that day but over the last four years, and it all helped me pick up the pace near the end.

I crossed the finish line, and even though I was happy with what I'd done, I had to remember to smile. I had my arms outstretched on my side as I crossed the finish and smiled. I got my medal afterward, a big, hulking medal that will forever be a source of pride. About the only slight drawback was my time. I'd estimated my time to be around 4:45 and was a little disappointed since I was on pace for a better time for the first 10-13 miles of the race. But then I figured my time was still good given the difficulty of the course, and on another course that day I might have finished in under 4:30.

As soon as I stopped running, I felt queasy. Lightheaded almost. I grabbed a water bottle and sucked it down in a few gulps. Then I jammed a banana down my throat along with a smoothie. I posed for a picture and went along my path. I got out of the chutes and made it out to the street and sat down on a chair in front of a booth, but the lady in the booth didn't care and welcomed me. After a while, Mrs. LB found me, in pain, beaten down but proud and happy nevertheless.


I had been in contact with some blog buddies who were also there running either a half marathon or the full marathon, but the only one who I managed to meet was Amanda from Fat Wuz Here. Amanda's an inspiration, having lost more than 70 pounds on her own weight loss journey. This was her second half-marathon of the year and she's only scratching the surface of her own running story.

The only bad thing was that I was pretty ripe and I would at least like to smell good when meeting people, particularly blog buddies. But she didn't seem to mind. We chatted with her and her husband and then continued on to the hotel. I sat for a break and had gotten some texts congratulating me on my time. It seems my time wasn't 4:45 as I'd expected by rather 4:37:51.

And that meant a PR!!!!

That topped an amazing and unforgettable day.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Finished!

I finished! My 2nd marathon and its a PR!! Tahoegirl and my uncle Jorge (who also ran it) both just texted me the good news!!! I'll be back later. Thanks for all your undying support!

San Francisco Marathon: Race Day

The time has come. There is no more left to do but to run my second marathon, the San Francisco Marathon.


I'm ready, physically at least. Not sure about the mental aspect... I made a huge mistake. I forgot my fuel belt at home. I had to buy one at the Expo and while I think it is an upgrade over the one I have at home, I still wouldn't have wanted it that way but what's done is done and the only thing I can do now is to learn from it. And hopefully you all learn from it to, as you can never be fully prepared enough.

Anyway, if you want to track me online, I believe there is a way.

Here is the main San Francisco Marathon web site. You can click on Live Race Results in the middle of the page and either type in my bib number or my name.

The link to that is on the main page, or just click here.

Thanks again for all of your support.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Travelin' Times

I'm off to San Francisco today!

We should be in the City by about 10 or 11 a.m. PT and hopefully at the Expo before then. We've got to get me my bib and see what the Expo has in store. We had a bad experience at the Surf City expo because of the rain and general miserable conditions that one had in store for us, but as long as we get to the Expo on Saturday we should be fine.

Anyway, I may or may not update later Saturday with some Expo stuff... I'm sure I'll have some sort of final post.

But here's my plan for Sunday. I will update both here and on Facebook following the Marathon. I don't think there is a way to track runners so unfortunately you may not find out about my whereabouts until it's all over.

My wave starts at 6:22 so figure somewhere around 11 (hopefully earlier) I'll be done. I'll update as soon as possible both here and on FB.

Thanks again for all of your support, loyal reader. It all goes a long way and all of your support helps me get to the finish line.

Onward to San Francisco!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Leftovers (July 23)

We are now officially TWO DAYS away from the San Francisco Marathon!! I'm getting pumped now! We leave for San Francisco on Saturday morning (via Oakland) and we'll check out the Expo, check into our hotel and try to see a little bit of the City before one final pasta meal and then the big race on Sunday!

Of course, I will keep you all updated on all the things going down in the city by the bay. I'll give you some more of my Sunday plan on Saturday's post so please come back for that.

Now, to the Leftovers...

Word Association

Play here.

1. Deals :: Car
2. Alive :: Well
3. Smooth :: Criminal
4. Materials :: Tools
5. Arrest :: Jail
6. Locker :: Room
7. Evidence :: Exhibit
8. Operation :: Repo
9. Opal :: Sponsor
10. Investigation :: Unit

Explanations: Operation :: Repo is horrible! That show is not real. It's staged. If you watch it, stop doing so. I saw a few episodes and figured it was real since it was on Tru TV and all, but then one episode kinda made me wonder about whether the show was real or staged and did some investigating and found out that it wasn't. Lame.

Last-Minute Motivation

I posted this picture on my Facebook and figured I'd share it here too.

What I said there I'll repeat here. That picture shows me four years ago and four months ago. Don't let anyone ever tell you that something is impossible. What chances would you have given me four years ago of running a marathon? Nothing is impossible.

Nothing. Is. Impossible.

Marathon Nos. 1 and 2 are proof of that.

Five Question Friday

Here's the latest edition of Five Question Friday. If you haven't done it yet, you should check out Mama M's blog.

1. What were your school colors?

Well, even though I have a college degree, I never really felt connected to my college. I spent a few semesters at a community college, got married, wasn't going to school and then realized that I should attend school to get my degree. I never really liked school when I was in it, I still shudder at the thought of having to take some classes, so I guess that's the lack of connection.

Anyway, long explanation to a short answer. My college and high school each had the same color scheme - blue and gray.

2. What's the best compliment you ever received?

I recently had lunch with an old college friend (an old friend from community college) and even though I wasn't big then, I was a little on the chunky side. I was probably just north of the 200-pound mark, nothing close to the 300-pound behemoth I became :(

Anyway, she'd seen some pictures of me from the dark days and was shocked to see me now. She said "You look like you could never have weighed as much as you did."

I struggle sometimes still with my perception and that just really made my day week month year. Really, I could pass as some regular, average fit guy, not someone who's less big now than he was. Safe to say that I will never forget that compliment.

3. Do you buy cheap or expensive toilet paper?

The cheap stuff is, well, cheap. We get the expensive stuff but we get it at Costco so it's less expensive than it would be at the grocery store. The cheap stuff... you end up using more of it so you go through it faster.

4. Have you ever had a surprise party thrown for you? Or have you had one for someone else?

We had a surprise party for my brother Danny before he left for college. It was the summer of 99 and he was all set to go to USC and we got together for a surprise party. My task was tough - we went out to the movies while my wife and his then-girlfriend, now-wife got the decorations and stuff together. It was fun and I'm sure he appreciated it.

5. What is one material possession that you "can't live without"?

My laptop. I guess that's actually true because I make my living writing and I need to be mobile so if I didn't have a laptop I would be unable to work. And then I'd spend my days crying... okay, no, I wouldn't...

If there's something not work related that I can't live without, I guess it would have to be my cast iron skillet. I use that a lot. I love it. Lately my favorite thing to use it for is some pasta primavera. I just dice up some veggies, put them in the cast-iron and then into the oven at about 425 for about 15-20 minutes. Then I toss in some cooked pasta and eat right from the cast iron. Yum. I eat it from the cast iron because I'm the only who would eat that dish anyway.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

San Francisco Marathon: Tidbits

A few tidbits I wanted to share with you before the big race.

Must-Read: If you want to know more about where the San Francisco Marathon ranks among other marathons and how it stacks up against other 26.2-milers, read this.

I have to admit, that story didn't do a whole lot to settle the old nerves. But then it made me think that finishing this race will be even more of an accomplishment than usual.

Still, any marathon to me feels like it would be an accomplishment.

Anyway, read the story.

One more story about the San Francisco Marathon here. A local columnist wonders if the marathon should get a corporate sponsor and move to either the spring or fall.

Sold-Out First Half: Looks like the only one of the races in San Francisco this weekend is the 1st Half Marathon. I would have guessed that the full marathon would have sold out. But then again, the hills seem to scare some runners off.

So as of Thursday a.m. there are still spots available in the 2nd Half Marathon, the full and the 5K.

Don't Mess With SF: I liked this little tidbit in the latest SF Marathon newsletter:

To maintain the integrity of the finish area for all runners, event officials plan to remove any runners who are not officially registered to run the 1st Half Marathon course before they reach the Finish line. These runners will be disqualified from the event, will not be awarded a time, and will reflect a DNF result (which could affect the ability to get into other certified marathons). Runners will receive a finisher's shirt for the event they registered for but, they will not receive any of the finish area amenities offered at the 1st Half Marathon Finish Line. Additionally, these runners may be barred from participating in future San Francisco Marathon events.

We get the message loud and clear. No switching races.

San Francisco Marathon: Goals

What are my goals for the San Francisco Marathon?

I can't believe it's almost race day and I haven't declared my goals. I guess part of it is that I'm not quite certain what I want my goals to be, or rather what they should be.

Of course, it's pretty standard to try and PR, right? Well, I was hesitant about declaring a PR once I had to take my break due to my heel and especially after having to lay off hills during training. I've run Mt. Rubidoux three times in the last couple of weeks and guess what's back? My heel discomfort. It was anyway, momentarily. I don't feel anything as I write this, on Wednesday evening.

So I don't exactly regret easing off the training a bit. It was either ease off or risk injury, and I did what I think was the right thing.

But has my chance of a PR gone out the window?

To be honest, I'm not sure I would have gotten a PR anyway. I mean, this is a tough course. One fellow Loper told me recently "You don't run that course and go for a PR." Another veteran Loper said San Francisco was the toughest marathon course he's ever run.

San Francisco will definitely put some hair on your chest. That goes without saying. So I'm going to PR there?

I think my goal will be simple: I want to enjoy the race. If that means a PR, awesome. If that means I don't PR, great as long as I enjoy the race and the experience.

And you know what? I'm going to enjoy it. We're spending some money to travel there for the weekend, spend a couple of nights in some overpriced hotel and the fee for the race itself. That's not even counting dinners and entertainment or whatever we decide to do up in NoCal. I'm not paying good money to dread the whole effing thing.

I'm going to San Francisco, the famed City by the Bay, and I'm going to kick some ass. Whatever my time is, I'm going to be proud of it because I'll have run my second marathon.

Besides, I'm going to PR in LA next March no matter what time I set in San Francisco. I'm going for a sub-4 marathon then. Yeah, I said it. And I'm going to do it.

But before then, I'm going to enjoy San Francisco.

And if I don't, you all have permission to smack me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

San Francisco Marathon: Elevation

Easily one of the most daunting things about the San Francisco Marathon is the elevation. The city itself is right on the ocean but the hills there are vast and famous. All along, when imagining the course I've pictured one gigantic hill.

But that's not really what the hills are like. Are they?

Well, the San Francisco Marathon Web site has an elevation chart that gives you an idea of what the hills are like.

Miles 1-10.5: The first five miles are relatively flat, except for one big hill after 2.5 miles. After five miles, there is a steady incline, the first large sustained incline of the race. It goes on for about 1.5 miles and is about a 200-foot climb in total.

Mile 9.5 to 10.5 is interesting. You go up 150 feet in a half-mile but then descend the same elevation in the same distance.

Miles 10.5-21: So the last decline from the previous section doesn't stop at 10.5. You get back down to sea level almost by the time you get through 11 miles. But then there is a steady climb that lasts 1.5 miles and is almost 200 feet. That's followed by a steady decline (1.5 miles or so) but then is what looks like the toughest incline of the race. For about 2.5 miles, the elevation climbs about 250 feet and then stays level until you get through 20 miles. Then, for crossing 20 miles, you are rewarded with another decline, which looks kinda sharp.

Miles 21-26.2: Hello hill reprieve. The final five miles might be hellish but the course itself isn't. This could qualify as a 5-mile Fun Run if it weren't preceded by 21 miles.

So, all this info is great and all but how do you quantify 100 feet, 200 feet or 300 feet?

I mapped some courses that I usually run or have run before, to compare their elevation to San Francisco.

This one is right by my house. I lovingly call it The Hill. I just mapped it one way though I usually run over it and back (duh, right? I mean, how else would I get home?). One way, the climb is almost 1.5 miles and it's about 250 feet. I love this run. It's challenging and I always get it done. The way back is also steep, but shorter distance.

This is my beloved Mt. Rubidoux. The elevation there looks like it's about a 300-foot climb in roughly two miles. I love this run too because it's also a challenge, although I've realized that this does a number on my Achilles heel so I've run it sparingly since May.

Since I've handled The Hill and Mt. Rubidoux just fine - well, without any major complications save for the heel thing - I have faith that the hills might not be as tough as I've pictured them.

And remember, my half-marathon PR of 1:56:58 was on a hilly course.

I don't expect a PR at San Francisco necessarily - I will blog about my goals here in the next day or two - but I have proven that I can handle the hills before.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

900th Post!

In the midst of my countdown to San Francisco, I just wanted to take the time to celebrate a milestone.

This is my 900th post! Woo hoo! Yay for 900!

Thanks to you, loyal blog reader, for helping me get here. It's been a great ride and will continue to be a great ride. Without an audience, it does me no good to blog so as long as I have an audience, I'll continue to blog.

And while I don't have a massive number of followers, I know the readers I have are great and help me quite a bit by just taking time out to peruse this here blog.

Anyway, thanks again.

Now, onward to San Francisco. Who's with me?

San Francisco Marathon: The Course

I haven't studied the course too much until the last couple of weeks. I was mostly concerned with the hills, but I've been intrigued now with the course. It's exciting to look at the course and know that I will be there soon, that I will traverse this path soon. And whether I'm in pain or cruising along, I know I will enjoy the scenery.

So here's the course, presented to you in bite-sized morsels.

Miles 1-5: This will be the fun part of the race. Just running along the water and past things like Pier 39 will be exciting. I'm unfamiliar with San Francisco but I believe this might be Fisherman's Wharf also. All five miles in this portion are within a stone's throw of the ocean, which should make for some pleasant conditions.

Miles 5-9.5: Easily the part I'm looking forward to the most. Not only will I run over the Pacific Ocean but I'll get to do so by running on the Golden Gate Bridge! It'll be an honor to run over a national landmark like that. I did hear, though, that last year the fog was so thick that you couldn't see the water from the bridge. That's fine, though. I'd love to see the scenery but I also know that fog means cool weather, and that's okay by me.

Miles 9.5-12: This is the descent into Golden Gate Park. It looks like some mileage through either residential areas.

Miles 13-20: Golden Gate Park. This part should be fun for a couple of reasons. First, the park itself should be a nice change of pace from the potentially dull miles before. And once I'm done with this park, I'll be close to being close to the finish :)

Also, there are a couple of sections that look like I'll be able to see other runners, those who are far ahead of me. But the coolest part of this section is this: the start line to the 2nd Half Marathon is right here, somewhere near Spreckels Lake. I'm hoping to be able to feed off the energy from some of the half-marathoners. If everything goes as planned, I should be right around the start line when one of their waves starts, possibly Wave 3 (which starts at 8:29). So I hope to definitely benefit from all of that excitement.

Miles 20-24.5: Somewhere in this section is LB's Wall. Not sure where it will pop up, but I'm guessing somewhere around Jackson Playground. Damn you, LB's Wall.

Miles 24.5-26.2: Glory within sights right here. We're back to the cool scenery (hopefully) or at least near the water. We do get to run past AT&T Park, home of the hated Giants, so I might give it a one-finger salute. This portion is what I've been training for, what I've fought and battled and sacrificed for. You can bet, even if LB's Wall is massive, that I will have reached deep down inside myself here and I will be giving everything I have to get the finish line. I might not have much left at this point, but dammit I'll be giving it all.

All in all, it looks like a great course with some fantastic scenery. And to think I'll have the honor of taking all of this in!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Motivational Mondays (July 19)

I've never considered myself an athlete... maybe because I never really did anything athletic. Watching sports doesn't count, and that's all I ever used to do.

Even when I became active, dropped 100-plus pounds and took up running, I did not consider myself an athlete. And I still don't. I run, a lot, but I'm not an Olympian or anything like that, you know?

However, there is one thing I've heard athletes say over and over again that I now understand perfectly well.

Before large events, such as the Olympics or a championship game for instance, athletes will typically say something like "I've worked hard for this moment" or "The last four years have been in preparation for this."

The last several months have been in training for Sunday, for the San Francisco Marathon. But more than that, the last three years have essentially prepared me for Sunday. If I want to survive the race, I will have to use what I have learned throughout my running journey. If I want to perform well, I am going to have to reach deep down inside.

For me, the moment that will test me, that will threaten to knock me down and drag me around will be the final portion of the race. The wall.

Oh, there will be a wall. I can guarantee you that. The wall will say hello to me, probably somewhere north of 20 miles. I ran 22 miles on the Fourth of July in hopes that the wall will not appear until Mile 23 or 24, but that's only pushing off the inevitable of course.

What will the wall feel like? Physically, it's rough. Your legs weigh 50 pounds each, sweat is dripping down your face and has been for hours, your clothes drape on you and are begging to come off and your gears are set to slow, slower and slowest. Walking towards the end is glorious... for one second, when you realize that you are still in pain and that the longer you walk, the longer you will be on the course, and the more you risk not being able start running once more.

Mentally, it's much, much worse. You question your ability to complete the race, you wonder what in God's green earth made you ever decided to run a marathon and you doubt yourself on every little thing. It's a lonely, empty feeling, and it can last for years. Seriously. Some people run a marathon, finish it and never want to do it again.

When I hit the wall, whether it's been at Surf City or at other long runs that featured a wall, saying to myself that I only had two or three or four miles left has done nothing to lessen the effects. In fact, it's made it worse as I turn it around to fire back "I still have two/three/four miles left? How the hell am I going to finish?"

When I looked at the course map, I noticed several things: the start and finish line on the Embarcadero as well as landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and AT&T Park. But what I did not see anywhere was LB's Wall.

As sure as there is a start and finish line, though, LB's Wall will greet me. That's not in question.

No, the only question facing me is this: Do I have the guts to scale the wall?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Annoying, And A Test

Testing, testing.

I'm setting this to publish on its own to see if I've found a solution or not. I want to post some things when I'm gone for the first couple of days this week but I don't want to set myself up for failure by setting it to auto-publish only to have it mess up on me.

Anyway, one thing that's really bugged me is the spam comments. I hate them. It's just some random post with links to some garbage sites. To try and stem the flow I'm going to set up the word verification. As much as I don't want to set it up I'm going to have to because it seems these stupid spam posts are becoming more frequent.

So just wanted to give you a heads up.

Hope your weekend is going grand.

It Really Is A Tiny World

Early this week, I realized something. I was going to have Friday available for an outing with the girls. Unfortunately Mrs. LB had to work, so it was going to be just me and my little ladies. We had two choices: Disneyland or the beach. I asked the girls what they wanted to do, and we weighed our options. They wound up picking the beach because they wanted so spend some time with their Uncle Jesse, my 21-year-old brother.

After a six-mile run up Mt. Rubidoux, I packed up our stuff and the four of us headed out for a beach. We'd narrowed it down to Newport, Huntington or Laguna Beach, and settled for the latter. On the way there, we zigged instead of zagged and wound up somewhere near Newport. We ended up settling down in Corona del Mar.

The girls had a blast, as you would expect. Since it reached triple-digits out here this week, we all had an enjoyable time playing in the water (even though it was a little chilly), digging up sand crabs (Kennedy and I dug up a lot of them) and we even saw some dolphins.

Of course, we weren't the only ones who went out to the beach. It was crowded when we got there. At 10 a.m. It only got more and more crowded and by the time I started to gather our stuff to head home around 2, there was hardly an empty space of sand. I was packing up stuff when a lady nearby asked me something.

"Do you have a blog?"

"Yeah," I replied.

"Is it Muddy Runner?"

"Yeah," I answered.


I did not believe it. I couldn't. I mean, what are the odds? I follow plenty of blogs but most of the blogs I follow are written by out-of-state bloggers. I think there are maybe five California-based blogs I follow, give or take, and some of them are up north and others down in San Diego.

So when I was staring at a blog buddy right before me, a blog buddy I hadn't intended on meeting up with, a blog buddy whom I have a lot of respect and admiration for, I just couldn't believe. I didn't react much at first because I was like "This isn't happening. It can't be happening. I mean, what are the odds?!?"

But it did happen, and we got to talking about how our paths crossed. I told her we hadn't intended on going there, she told me how it was sort of a last-minute trip some friends had invited her on, and we both marveled at the circumstances. I mean, her group had set up their towels and all that about six feet away from where we were sitting.

I was a bit disappointed that we hadn't realized who we were until we were getting ready to leave. We did talk of course, about the Mud Run (she recently ran the Camp Pendleton Mud Run), about my upcoming marathon, about traffic and freeways and kids. One of the friends she was with had also run that race and we of course got to talking about it with her as well.

I got to see her kids and she saw mine. We both have a six-year-old and a four-year-old, though her oldest is a boy. Still, we seem to have a lot in common (except for the fact that she's much faster than me - her marathon PR is 3:57:17) and she seems like a great person.

It was quite a lucky day. About the only thing I regret was A) not buying a lottery ticket and B) not applying sunblock because the L in LB stands for Lobster today. Ouch.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Leftovers (July 16)

Greetings! Thanks for stopping by.

I'll get to the Leftovers in a bit, but I wanted to share something first that I thought was funny. If you're my FB friend, you may have seen this...

Blissfully unaware
For the longest time it seems, Yvie has been fascinated with words. She is constantly asking me of certain words are compound words. Like, she asked me if below is a compound word and I suppose it is, I hadn't thought of it that way. She also says things like "sandy has the word and which has the word a."

Well, on Monday I was brushing her hair out so I could tie it up in a pony so she could wear it up for karate. She was rhyming words this time. She said: "Clock and lock rhyme. Mock and clock rhyme. Cock... is cock a word?"

For one split second, a fleeting image of a rooster zipped in my mind. But I was so instantly overcome with laughter that I couldn't think of the damn word for rooster. I smiled and then burst out laughing. Yvie looked at me with a half-smile and asked "What?" a few times but I couldn't stop laughing.

Word Association

With that, let's move on to this. Remember, play along here.

1. Dickens :: Charles
2. Collection :: Stuff
3. Weekends :: Saturday
4. Travel :: Airplane
5. District :: Federal
6. Vampires :: Blood
7. Peep show :: Peeping Tom
8. Crochet :: Sew
9. Lion :: Tiger
10. Fetch :: Dog

Not really a whole lot of 'splainin here.

Five Question Friday

Another edition of Five Question Friday for my blogging and your reading pleasure. Check out Mama M.'s blog here to play along or to read along.

1. Do you collect anything?

Do race t-shirts count? I'm not much of a collector. I have a collection of things like recipes, music and race t-shirts. But as far as collecting, say, baseball cards or vintage model trains or cars or whatever, that's not me.

2. Name 3 celebrities that you find good looking.

Do I have to narrow it down to three? Guess so.

Here goes...

1. Shakira. Hot
2. Roselyn Sanchez. Smoking.
3. Sofia Vergara. Yum.


3. Do you have any scars? If so, what's the story behind it (them)?

I don't have any scars. I have emotional scars... no. I mean, well, I guess I do have some of those but that's... stuff that happened a long time ago... but it doesn't affect me now too much I suppose.

As far as physical scars, though, nope. No knife-fight-gone-bad tale on my left forearm, no wrong-place-wrong-time story on my chest, no I-didn't-see-the-tree yarn on my face. Sorry.


4. What is a food that you like to eat, but others might think it's gross or weird?

Tacos de lengua. I love tacos de lengua. If you were in Mexico with me and we were having tacos at a taco stand, street food that is so, so good, I would order you some tacos de lengua. I would let you eat a few of these tacos, so you would be able to taste some delectable tacos the likes of which you simply cannot find here in the U.S. We'd have some tacos de lengua and wash them down with a beer, perhaps a Sol cerveza.

Then, I'd tell you that tacos de lengua are cow tongue tacos.

Sooooo gooooood.

I know, I know, by the looks of it, with you tossing your beer angrily at me and storming away, you didn't enjoy them once you cound out what they were. But that's the point, no? You eat something and judge it on the flavor, the texture, the spiceness, whatever criteria you decide to use. If you can set aside your disgust for tongue, then you would see that tacos de lengua are good.

5. Have you ever seen a tornado in real life?

No. I never have. As far as midwestern states go, the only midwestern states I've visited were Kansas and Missouri. Does Texas count? Illinois? Well, I've been to those places once each (actually, Texas I've visited more than once, twice I think unless you count layovers) and none were during tornado season.

I have, however, felt earthquakes. Quite often. I felt one on Wednesday. It was small, like a 2.9 or something, but it was nearby so I felt it. The girls felt it too.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Tidbits

I was going to save some of this stuff for Friday's post but I worry that it would be very, very long with the regular things I do as well as another couple of tidbits so I figured I'd post a pre-Leftovers leftover post.

LA Marathon

I haven't yet completed Marathon No. 2 and I'm already looking towards Marathon No. 3.

The Los Angeles Marathon will be held on March 20, 2011. Registration opens today, but I haven't registered. The thing I'm most excited about having found out this early is the hotel registration. I think it would be nice one day to stay at the host hotel of a marathon I'm racing in. Just for the experience, you know? It would also be nice to walk out of the hotel, go to the start line, cross the finish line and walk right back to my room. I had to walk like a mile or so to get to my hotel at Surf City and my San Fran place isn't too close either.

So I might just go ahead and jump on that when the hotel info is released. Of course, some of the runners who did LA this year might beat me to the punch but that's a risk I'll have to take.

There is one slight drawback to the LA Marathon. It costs $145. Unreal.

Awesomeness

I was recently given an award by fellow blogging runner Navy Wife. She had some very nice things to say about yours truly and I'm always honored to know when anyone reads this blog and gets something from it. I hope to inform, entertain, inspire, motivate or just plain have fun with all my readers, so it's nice to get some bloggy love :)

Go check out her blog. She's a new runner, just ran her first race recently. She's one of many Seattle-area running bloggers.

Publishing Issues?

Has any other blogger had any issues setting posts to publish automatically?

If you are around very late at night, you might see a Thursday post go up Wednesday night. It says Thursday and everything but sometimes it's not quite Thursday, or whatever day it says it is. Well, I was setting posts to publish automatically but they weren't publishing at all. It was very frustrating. I'd write something up, set it to hit the blog after midnight and then nothing. I'd wake up in the morning and instead of saying "scheduled" it just said "draft."

GRRRR

If I'm up and around, it's not that big of a deal I suppose to publish something at, say 11:30 p.m. and change it so it will show Thursday. I just dont like for someone to come on my blog at like 11 a.m. on Wednesday and the first post they see says Tuesday. That's probably the writer in me who wants to keep the site updated.

But if I'm not around - like next week I'm going to be gone for a couple of days - then it's not going to happen. If the blog won't update automatically, then this blog won't get updated. And that sucks!

Just wondering if there are any issues with that, if anyone else has experienced that.

Bad Food Moments

I've got about 10 pounds or so to lose. I started seeing my trainer and found that out, and wasn't really surprised. But I think my eating habits have been better of late and although I haven't weighed myself I feel better and hope things will work out well in the end.

I'd joined up with Kerrie T's Summer of Weight Loss challenge on her blog, and one of the things she posted recently that she wants us to do is to share, or rather confess, what one of our worst eating moments were.

So here I am. I've had dozens of bad eating moments, from getting a full-on fast-food meal at midnight to chowing down my share of ice cream, cookies or other delectable but awful treats. But one moment I'm not too fond of was how I used to spend my mornings. I'd eat Frosted Flakes for breakfast often. Now, in and of itself that's not necessarily an awful moment. There might be better choices but a small bowl of cereal like that from time to time isn't a bad thing.

But my problem wasn't that it was an every-once-in-a-while occurrence. It was daily. And it was no small bowl. I'd have one heaping bowlful of Frosted Flakes. I just loved the texture and the taste and everything about it. Loved it so much that I wouldn't stop at one bowl. I usually had two heaping bowlfuls of Frosted Flakes in the mornings. I'm not sure how many calories that is but it has to be well over 500. I'm guessing maybe even like 800 calories. For breakfast.


*hangs head in shame*



I recently had some Frosted Flakes and they tasted very good. I don't know that I miss the flavor, though, but I certainly don't miss the double-bowlfuls of Frosted Flakes for breakfast every morning.


That seems like such a long time ago. I would share some horrific picture of myself from back then but I did that a few days ago.

I've got to take Kerrie's fruit and veggie challenge. We're supposed to try one new fruit and one new vegetable and blog about it. Not sure what sort of fruit I would choose... veggies... well, I tried to pick up some rhubarb recently but I didn't know what it looked like, so never mind. I might do eggplant. I'm not a big eggplant guy but I might just try it. Either that or cauliflower. I would do something with artichoke but I wouldn't know where to begin.

So perhaps this weekend I'll get to that. Possibly tomorrow, but we'll see.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Checking My SF Marathon Checklist

Marathon training is almost complete, and that means my next marathon is all but upon me. So I need to begin some final preparations as well. I've already got a hotel, flight and transportation (mostly) figured out, and we still have to try and figure out what Mrs. LB and I are going to do in San Francisco aside from the race. I'll be hobbling around to see some sights, after all.

But the biggest thing I need to do is to make a list of the things I will need for the race. I could just cut and paste the list from last time, but where's the fun in that? I figure making this list off the top of my head will test my knowledge about what I should be taking and see what sorts of things I might forget. Well, hopefully I won't forget anything but I'll have to make sure to include the things I initially leave off.

So here goes. My San Francisco Marathon list. Ahem.

shoes
socks
running underwear
shorts
shirt
undershirt
hat
sunglasses
Garmin (fully charged)
phone
phone holder
earphones
GU (five packets)
fuel belt
Gatorade
tape
band-aids
sandals
energy bar
bagel

Let me see how I did. This is the checklist from Surf City that my pace leader sent us for that race.

Shoes
Socks
Shorts/Running Pants
Top (a couple of layers)
Gloves
Headband/Ear Warmer
Hat
Sunglasses
Sunscreen (try on training runs first)
Water Bottle/Pack/Sports Drink
Kleenex
Gu (or whatever you use-I use 5 for a marathon: miles 4, 8, 12, 16, & 20)
Hard Candy
Body Glide
Watch/GPS (make sure it’s charged)
Race Number/Pins
Timing Chip
Directions
Camera
Confirmation Form
Band-aids (just in case-put in pack)
Tylenol 8 Hour
Breakfast (bring what you usually eat before long runs)
Emergency Money (Never know-put in packs)

---

So I guess the only thing I didn't have was the confirmation form, pins, and Tylenol although we use Aleve. And band-aids of course, but I have tape.

I guess I did pretty good. But that doesn't mean I've dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's. Fellow blog buddy Jill of Run With Jill e-mailed me since she's heading to San Francisco for the marathon as well. We're trying to coordinate a time where we can meet. Anyway, she asked me what wave I'm in to start, and I was like 'Huh?'

So I did some research and figured out that I'm set to start in the second-to-last wave, which means I'll be starting at 6:22 a.m.

I still have to blog about my goals and what I actually want to accomplish in this race but starting at 6:22 means I'll be crossing the finish line probably around 11 a.m. That's assuming I actually survive the course, though.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

San Francisco Suggestions Needed

I've been working on my San Francisco Marathon playlist. I was actually going to use my 22-mile playlist and add some songs to it but I've listened to that playlist a few times since then, and I think I'm going to want something fresh for San Fran.

If you've followed this blog for any stretch of time, you know how much I enjoy my music and know how much I put into my music. Especially playlists. I always want the right mix, the perfect mix, of slow and fast songs, of songs that will give me a boost at the start of the race, help me get through the middle miles and give me a bit of rage when I need it at the end.

Another thing I like to do with my playlists is to pay homage. I put Sonic Youth's Pacific Coast Highway when I ran Surf City since that course went on PCH. I listened to a Christmas song for my 15K last December, the Loper Holiday Classic (that song also served as a tribute to blog buddy Kerrie T. who had been running to Christmas music at the time).

So now that I'm going to run a race in San Francisco, I wanted to pay homage to San Francisco.

I have a few songs already on my playlist. I just got into a group named Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and they're from San Francisco, so I'll toss some of their songs on the playlist. I also have one Journey song in my collection, and Journey is from San Fran, so there it goes. One really cool thing I have is an entire Metallica concert from a show they performed in San Francisco way back in 1982. It's one of several free shows Metallica has on their site, LiveMetallica.com. I'm not sure if I'll listen to the whole show or not - it's just eight songs and 40 minutes long since it was very early in their career - but at worst I'll have Phantom Lord, Jump In The Fire and Seek & Destroy on there.

But I don't know what other songs to throw on there. Anyone have any suggestions of either songs about San Francisco or songs by artists who are from San Francisco?

Mrs. LB suggested a Tony Bennett song called San Francisco but it's too slow.

Anyway, let me know if you've got any suggestions for songs that fit the theme, or any kinds of new songs you've heard recently you think I might like. If they have Simon beats, though, forget it...

Also, one song I've already bought and will throw on the playlist is this one, San Francisco by Scott McKenzie. This song is played often at Disney's California Adventure, and while it took me a while to figure out the name of this song but I did and bought it. The song's a little cheesy but it grows on you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Motivational Mondays (July 12)

In less than two weeks, I'm running my second marathon.

I can't believe what I just typed.

My. Second. Marathon.

I never thought I'd run one... lemme rephrase that... I'd never thought I'd run AT ALL. And here I am, about to tackle a second marathon.

It's all but right in front of me. Two weeks from this very moment I can replay my marathon glory over and over again, and I will have two marathons under my belt and hopefully a nice medal to go along with it.

This will also be my second marathon not just ever but in the last six months. Two marathons in six months! Yikes!

I know there are marathoners out there who run that many in a lot less time than that, but I try not to compare myself to anyone. I have to do what's best for me and what was best for me in 2010 was to give myself some time to build up to this marathon.

What's best for me is running.

Lest I forget where I came from.

LB, Aug. 2005

LB and the girls, Jan. 06

LB and Mrs. LB, Feb. 08
I'm a marathoner. I will have a chance to prove that once more on July 25.

I've said this before and I'll say it again and again - if the guy on top can become a marathoner, anything's possible.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Leftovers (July 9)

Another week in the books. I'm actually looking forward to this weekend. I usually have to work on weekends in the summer but not this weekend... well, at least not too much. And I can do my work from home, most importantly.

Word Association

As always, play here.

1. Authorized :: User
2. Flirting :: Disaster
3. Bad :: Good
4. Digit :: Number
5. Sexy :: Lady
6. Combinations :: Passes
7. Guard :: Forward
8. Retina :: Eye
9. Motion :: Picture
10. Concert :: Loud

Okay, flirting :: disaster is like in the term "flirting with disaster" although I was a disaster with that so I guess you could say that mirrors me; it's a good thing I don't have to worry about that anymore. Concert :: Loud probably shows how I feel about concerts now. I was never a huge concert-goer though that had more to do with funds than anything, but now I've little desire to go to concerts. Metallica I'll go see whenever they come to town and a few other bands as well but for the most part, I'm cool just hanging out and listening to music on my computer or my iPod or phone.


Bad Feelings

I went and traversed the course I took during my 22-miler. I thought about getting up again at 3:30 a.m. and heading out the door before 4 a.m. I thought about being on the run in the dark.

It all drummed up bad feelings.

I can't believe I got up that early and ran that much, alone. I wasn't alone in the end, of course, but still, I was alone for the first 17 miles of the run.

That might be a sign that I should take a break from running marathons, which I plan on. Sort of. My next one won't be until February or March. But then again, I know that once I remove myself from the 22-miler, that I'll feel better about it. The bad parts of the run are still pretty fresh in my mind but like most everything else that will fade and all I'll be left with will be the good memories.

By the way, is it okay to feel like a badass for having run that much? I know a lot of people, a lot of runners, have run as much during training, but still, it feels pretty cool to know that I'm there with them. I try and stay humble about running, always have tried to stay like that, and I think I do a good job with that, but still...

Five Question Friday

So here we go with another Five Question Friday. Thanks to the awesome Mama M. for hosting this. It's really fun, although, I feel like I'm crashing the party because I'm a guy and everything, but she don't seem to care, so here we go...

1. What is one food you could eat everyday?

Hmm... interesting question. This has changed and probably will continue to change as I get older, but today I'd have to say Orange Chicken. Funny thing is I can make it. In fact, the old-school readers of this blog might remember when I showed you all how I make it. It's delicious! I haven't made it in a while but I really should. I just like the sweetness of the orange and the texture of the chicken, and the consistency of the sauce... I mean Orange Chicken in general, not the recipe I make, although mine always goes over well.


2. Are you working in the career you thought you would be when you were 18?

No. I had no ambition when I was 18, at least not to go to college. I worked as a bank teller back in the day, most of 1994. I thought I was going to have a future in the financial field. I didn't want to go to college and I figured that was a good place for me, in a bank. That job would eventually lead to other things, none of which would have required college. Of course I got fired from that job (through no fault of my own, I believe, although I did deserve it, maybe one day I'll tell you the story) and then couldn't find another job so in late '95 I started attending college.


3. What is something that you wish you would have done when you were younger and you didn't?

Join the Peace Corps. I just hemmed and hawed for too long. Just when I was going to take the next big step and make a call about the Peace Corps, I met a girl and we now have two daughters together. But I always wonder about the places I might have been able to go to, what doors that would have opened. I mean, I did intend to come back here, but living abroad and lending a huge helping hand was very appealing to me, still is. Of course, I have a little bit more responsibility now so I can't do that.

4. What color are your kitchen walls?

White. My kitchen is too small. Not sure if painting the walls a different color would make a difference or not, but they're white and we don't necessarily plan on painting them soon. We would love to get new tile on the countertops and new cupboards but there are other things we'd love to get to.

5. Do you remember what your very first favorite song was?

Yes! I was just thinking about this the other day. A song came on the radio from the Talking Heads. I'm not sure what the song was, I forget the name, but it was pretty cool. I was getting into it, and I remembered the song of theirs that I really used to like back when I was very young. I thought that maybe if we weren't so poor back then, that maybe I could have gotten the cassette tape and then maybe I would have gotten all into the Talking Heads.

So what was the song I really liked, my first favorite song?

Burning Down the House by the Talking Heads. It came out in 1983 so I would have been about seven years old. I remember listening to the Top 40 countdown on the radio just to make sure I heard the song.

And now for a trip down memory lane...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Short Summer Underway

Our summer has barely begun and it's almost at its halfway point.

Yvie's last day of school was June 25 and after Friday, she will be done with her second of six weeks she'll have off from school.

We're not exactly cramming her summer with stuff but we've been sorta busy in these last couple of weeks. We enrolled Yvie in a science camp. It's a one-week camp that runs from 9-1, and she'll be done with it on Friday. I wish we could keep her in there another week because she's really enjoying it. Yvie's taking a liking to science. I'd never really thought that was a possibility. She is an ardent reader and devours books but she's just a sponge wanting to soak up as much as possible, and science seemed to have made an impression on her. All year long she was interested in things like weather and the ocean and ocean animals so when we found out about this science camp it sounded like she'd enjoy it, and she has been.

We've also taken part in other activities, free activities which Kennedy can also participate in. The library has been a boon as always and they've had a couple of shows the girls have taken in, one on sharks and another on pirates. Thursday is supposed to feature a ventriloquist - we'll see how that works out.

Something else we'll also do that's free is this: Regal Cinemas' Free Family Film Festival. As in free movies. Now, they're not new or anything but really, who cares? It's movies that came out last year or before I believe. The movies seem to vary from theater to theater. We might take in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs next week since we never did get to see it. Charlotte's Web is also playing, as is the Chipmunks Squekquel (we saw that and it was gawdawful but the girls really liked it so I might have to suffer through it again). I'd love to see Monsters vs. Aliens in the movies - we have the DVD and have seen it about 1,344 times but still it'd be nice to see it on the big screen. There's bound to be a free movie festival thing playing near you so even if you don't have kids you might want to take advantage. Come on, I know you want to watch the Chipmunks.

One thing we haven't yet done this summer, though, is Disneyland. Super sad face. I've been dying to go but between my work and Yvie's camp, we don't have a load of time. Next week the girls begin swim lessons so we might take off one day after that and just see what we can do before the crowds send us home. It really stinks to have passes and not be able to use them. They're good through the end of the year but at this point since we've used them not at all since February, and with school starting on Aug. 11, I'm not sure if it would be wise to renew them next year. Sad. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Another thing I want to do is to take them to the beach. That one might be doable soon too. I was actually hoping to have my brother Jesse go with me so he can watch the girls while I go running, and then we can all spend some time together in the water or on the pier or whatever. We'll see, hopefully that happens soon.

The girls, though, have had a fun time this summer. One thing they enjoy quite a bit is the pool. They are comfortable around water but don't know how to swim quite yet, hence the swim lessons. But they are becoming fearless around the water, albeit with a floatie in tow.





I'm not sure why they always have to cover their noses like that, but that's what they do.

So our abbreviated summer is off to a good start but after next week it will be halfway over. Crap. Maybe we need to cram after all.