Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Catching Up

Greetings and salutations!

It's been too long since I updated my trusty blog. Didn't mean to keep you loyal readers hanging. The holidays caught up to me with family and running and then sickness... it all demanded my time and thus the lack of posts.

Did want to fill you in quickly on some of the big things that have gone on of late here...

* The streak ended. Sad, but it did. It reached 75 days before it came to a crashing and unceremonious end. However, it was fine the way it ended. I got sick. I probably could have extended it to 76 days had I gotten up early on Friday (had an early-morning errand to run, so it would have been like 5 a.m.) but there's no way I could have run on Saturday. I was in bed most of that day and it wasn't fun. I was able to referee some games early this week, have more today and have a big weekend run planned. I'm going to start another streak... yes, indeed. This run-every-day thing worked out for me tremendously. I will blog about this on its own but I want to continue being a run-every-day runner. I will start a new streak on Jan. 1. Yay.

* Christmas came and went. Sadly, it was all too fast. But it was very enjoyable. Of the running-related gifts, I got a new pair of shoes, registration for a race (Fontana Days half), two running shirts and plenty of GU to get me through for a while. The girls got tennis racquets from Santa so we will try our hand at tennis once everyone gets healthy again. Hopefully we'll be playing quite a bit in the coming weeks.

* The weather's nice again. We had a really long cold snap here recently. yes, cold is a relative term, but it was quite chilly here. We're not used to high 30s as our lows and mid 50s as our highs. But that's what a lot of the last month or so was like. Well, finally we've come out of it and the forecast for the next 10 days or so all starts with a 7. Yup, that's temps in the 70s and I can definitely work with that. The bad thing is that I haven't been able to enjoy a proper run in that, but by this weekend I will have.

* New Year's Day run. I tried to start a tradition by running every Jan. 1. in 2009, I ran five miles and in 2010 I ran 10. But on Jan. 1, 2011 I ran 0.0 miles. Why? The next day I was supposed to run 20 miles, and I did... well, I actually ran 20.11 miles... so I didn't want to throw that run off. Of course, the run-every-day LB would gladly run a couple of miles the day before running 20. This year though New Year's is on a Sunday which means I have a long run scheduled. I'll be running 15 miles on Jan. 1 and will kick start the week/month/year with a splendid run.

Thanks again for your patience and I'll be back soon enough with a more steady stream of posts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ambassadorial Post

Well, it's official.

Okay, it was a official a while ago, this whole San Francisco Marathon Ambassador role of mine. But on Wednesday, I officially became part of the San Francisco Marathon family - the virtual family anyway.

I wrote my first blog post for the San Francisco Marathon Web site. The topic: running with children.

Of course it's a topic I'm quite familiar with. I have had many challenges along the way with how to run and workout while being responsible for the girls. When I started my weight-loss journey back in March 2006, Yvie was 2 and Kennedy was six months old. I had to find time to work out and go to the gym while being responsible for them. Mrs. LB was working a lot closer to home at the time so that helped, but still it was a struggle at times.

Anyway, I put in some ideas of my own, talked to a few friends and got their input as well and wrote up what I think was a good first post. I even got a couple of pictures in there as well.

So check it out. I will probably be writing there on a regular basis so this will be the first of many posts I write as an Ambassador.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Milestones Piling Up Quickly

Last week was just another week in my awesome year of runs.

I ran 54 miles, a new high.

Sunday was the 64th day of my run streak.

After Sunday's 15.6 miles, I have run 1,339 miles in 2011, a new yearly high (six more than last year).

Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty good these days. My legs are strong and even though I haven't run more than 18 miles in quite a while, am not quite trained for a marathon I do feel as if I'm in the best running shape of my life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kids And Fluidity

I don't have time to get into this topic like I want to - ironically enough because of the topic itself - but children and running may not exactly go hand in hand.

I will delve further into the topic but for now wanted to get out some initial quick thoughts.

Now, when I say children and running I don't mean like children running but rather trying to run when you're responsible for children, your own offspring mostly. I bring this up because one of my offspring is sick. Kennedy missed school Tuesday and is home sick again today. Now, her health is way more important than my running. I'm not trying to minimize the situation or anything.

Her fever is just another reminder though of how quickly and unexpectedly things can change as a parent. One minute, I'm planning for four recovery miles and a six-mile run the day after, the next I'm serving up Tylenol and trying to make a comfortable set-up for my 6-year-old. Running? Ain't gonna happen on my terms any more.

The most important thing with being a runner parent is the ability to be fluid. Really, this goes with parenting in general - you have to be fluid because so many things happen that there's no way you can plan for them all. But in particular when you run you have to be fluid. You have to look at the overall picture versus the day-to-day grind. I didn't get my four miles in on Tuesday but I did get two miles in. I won't run six today but I will run later, and I just have to adjust my miles in the end of the week and have faith that I will get my runs in every day and that I will get my 45 miles in or so this week.

A lot of runners do not have children. Or their children are grown. Just looking at some of the runners in my pace group I know this to be true. Also by having read a number of running blogs over time I've become aware of that.

Anyway, while I try and tend to Kennedy, I also will try to keep from getting anxious and stressed about having missed my run. And really as long as she's feeling better, I'm happy.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another First: Volunteering

I accomplished another first on Sunday, but it had nothing to do with times or distances.

For the first time, I volunteered for a race.

My running club held their annual Loper Holiday Classic 5K/15K race on Sunday and I volunteered for the event. I was a bit nervous to be honest, wondering what it would be like. We were assigned two traffic spots. The first was the one-mile mark, then we had to get over to the 7.5-mile mark. At both spots we had to make sure cars watched out for runners and in the second spot we had to make sure runners zigged when they were supposed to zig.

It was chilly! We walked out of our house at 5:45 a.m. and after a stop at Starbucks set up at our first spot around 6:25, and it was in the high 30s. Super cold for us SoCal folk. The race started at 7 a.m. so at about 7:05 we saw runners, the 5K frontrunners. We cheered on as many runners as we could and by about 7:20 we headed out to get over to our next stop (and made a quick pit stop at a grocery store). We set up at about 7:40 and some of the 15K runners we'd seen on the way out, we saw again.

All the 15K runners/walkers on the way back passed by us once more. And I cheered for every single one of them. I clapped, and even though my claps were muffled due to my gloves, I clapped as loud as I could. I yelled words of encouragement...

"Looking strong runner!"

"You got this!"

"Way to go runner!"

And things like that.

I was particularly excited for runners in my pace group. I cheered loudest for them and for some of the my other Loper buddies.

It was fun hearing things runners would say to us as well.

"Thank you for being out here!"

"Thanks for your encouragement!"

That was the best part, to be honest. Seeing all the first-timers out there with smiles on their faces was so much fun, and seeing every runner/walker out there taking on the 15k distance was also fun. It was rewarding on all levels, and definitely something I'd do again. Except hopefully next time it won't be so chilly.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Proving Myself

Running long distances. Running faster. Running every day.

Lately, I've been putting together some things that I've not done before. I had six runs of 10 or more miles in November, for instance. And of course I closed out the month with a 53-day run streak intact.

Fueling some (a lot?) of this is a need to prove myself.

Now, bear with me a bit as I try to explain that: if I ran, say, six miles on Tuesday, it doesn't mean much if I don't follow it up with another similar or better run on Wednesday or Thursday. If I run eight miles at a 9:20 pace, it don't mean much if I can't run 5-6 miles at a faster pace. If I've got weeks of 45, 47, 50 in succession, it ain't gonna matter if I throw in a 20-mile week.

I'm a strong runner.

Prove it.

Okay there, see, only strong runners do that.

Okay good, prove it again.

It's not necessarily a vicious cycle, but maybe it is and I just don't see it that way. Maybe that's why I'm here exploring this on the blog.

Now, this whole attitude goes against my prevailing approach to running - as long as I'm running and doing what I need to do to make sure that I can get out there and run, it's all good. Yeah, this whole prove-myself thing is pretty much contrary to all of that. It's not to say that my mentality has done a 180 but I do have this sense of need when it comes to proving myself.

But... who do I have to prove myself to? My fellow runners? The ever-present and ever-anonymous "haters" out there? Who needs proof?

Honestly, I think I do.

I've done some good things in a relative short amount of time. I've run four marathons and six half marathons, as well as 10Ks, 5Ks, a 15K, a relay race, some mud runs... all since June 2008. I'm a pace leader now, a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador and am training for my fifth marathon.

Maybe the fact that all of that seems a bit... I dunno... pretty cool must mean that it wasn't that difficult. Here I go again... if I can do it, then how tough is it? Right? Talk about a vicious cycle, there's one...

I'm not sure if that's it, though. I know a marathon is tough, super tough. It's not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. But still, I can't just be content with keeping marathons in my past. I do want to challenge myself and keep running 26.2s while my body still can.

Maybe my experiences as a pace leader have really gotten me into this feeling. A typical long run goes like this: I start out in front of a group of anywhere from 15-20 runners. I lead em out to the first stop light along our route, about the .6 mile mark, and when we cross the street a pack starts to get ahead of me. Now, my job as pace leader is to hold a certain pace, and I try to keep it around 9:30-9:45, give or take. So this pack typically runs at a 9:15-9:30 pace. They get out ahead. They keep going. Pretty soon, I'm around 3-4 runners, and my co-pace leader is further behind with some stragglers.

Last week, I wound up running with one other runner. After the 5-mile mark of our 10-mile run, it was just me and another guy. I "paced" one other runner.

I think that's it. In many ways I feel completely disrespected. I know... well, at least I think I know... that the other runners aren't doing it intentionally. Runners like to run at their own pace, and that's fine, right? And if that pace is a little faster than the pace I'm holding, that's fine, right?

I don't know, I suppose. Maybe I'm reading way too much into this, but I think that's where this mentality comes from.

I do feel bummed out about how Sundays typically work out. I would love to have a group of 10 runners behind me at Mile 8, but usually by then I'm around 3-4 others at most. I haven't done any races since June save for the one on our training schedule. And I don't plan on running anything until the LA Marathon (with Surf City half a possible exception). I've set aside my year basically for this, to be a pace leader, to be a strong pace leader, to be a rock, to be able to guide runners through 5, 10, 15, 20 miles at around a 10-minute pace. I've given up a lot of myself and it seems lately that I've been asking myself if it's been worth it.

I ran a combined 400 miles in October and November, all to stay on top of this pace leader responsibility, and for what? For everyone to take off and ignore me?

I hope things change soon. We're set to run 14 miles on Dec. 11 and 15 miles on Dec. 18. We have 18 miles on the schedule for Jan. 8 and Jan. 22. I know for an absolute fact that I can handle those distances but I also know that some of the frontrunners can't. I'm going to be there for them and anyone else who wants to run with the 10s on those days and any days, that commitment on my end is not going to waver.

I take pride in having the ample leg and mental strength to get through such distances.

And I suppose I'll just have to keep proving that over and over again.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November recap

Miles ran: 206

Rest Days Planned/Taken: 0/0

Highest-mileage Week: 51

* Long runs planned/Taken: 6/6 - 10, 12, 12.33 (my "half" marathon), 13, 10, 10

Favorite run: Running 10 miles on Thanksgiving.

Least favorite run: I ran a windy 10-miler on Nov. 2. At one point, the wind was so bad that a crow flying next to me was pretty much staying next to me. It looked like it was floating but it was trying to fly, just like I was trying to run.

Most hardcore run: A seven-miler up and down Mt. Rubidoux. It was hardcore I believe because it was three days after I ran at an 8:43 pace over 12.33 miles at the "half" marathon.

Current Reads: Just got my new Runner's World magazine.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Storage Wars. Do I love that show? Yuuup!

Current Obsession: Twitter. I have to wean myself off of it.

Current Drink: I've been drinking coffee like crazy lately.

Current Song: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire. It's an insanely awesome running song.

Christmas Wish-List: A new laptop, preferably a MacBook,

Current Need: A new camera.

Current Triumph: The girls like to run. We went running recently and they joined their school's joggers club (which I call Runners Club). I see a 5K in their near future...

Current Bane of my Existence: Reffing high school soccer games. Pay is nice and helpful but everything else stinks.

Current Goal: To extend my run streak through the end of the year and into 2012.

Current Indulgence: Pumpkin Roll. Have made a couple of these lately and... damn.

Current Blessings: My babies.

Current Excitement: Christmas is going to be fun this year.

* I count any run of at least 10 miles as a long run.

Tres Cosas Jueves - Dec. 1 Edition

It's already December. I can't believe how fast time flies by. I swear just yesterday was Labor Day...

1. Mad Month of Miles: In October, I cranked out 194 days and was so close to 200 miles I tasted it... or maybe it was all the Halloween candy I had on Oct. 31.... Anyway, I wasn't quite sure who i would be able to do in November and I didn't necessarily have 200 miles as a goal but I broke the 200-mile marker after all. I finished the month with 206 miles, having run every day in November. I enter December with a 53-day run streak intact and am determined to close out the year with that run streak alive. Not sure how many miles I will log this month - with a 14- and 15-miler on the schedule it could be quite a few - but for now I'm content with having broken through with a 200-mile month. If I achieve that again in December, I'll have closed out the year the way I like to close out my runs - strong.

2. Debate Solved: I'd been debating lately whether or not to log the miles I run during high school soccer games. I referee HS soccer games and the season started on Tuesday. The decision I made: even though I do walk during games, I also run a lot and sprint at times so if I track my distance during the games I will include them in my mileage. I've already altered my training a bit to accommodate the games so it does affect me in more ways than one. I tracked my mileage for Wednesday and it was 3.06. I refereed a girls varsity game and in the second half I was racing up and down the field quite a bit. With all the stop-and-go and sprinting, it's really like I'm doing speed workouts. I had to wear my phone on my arm like I do when I run but I wore it high so I don't think anyone could tell that I was wearing something up there. Just have to make sure that I have it on silence lest someone calls me during a game and my phone goes off on the field.

3. Race Volunteers: I recruited Mrs. LB and the girls to help out on Sunday for the Lopers' race. The Lopers put on a Holiday Classic the first Sunday in December and this year I'm volunteering for it. We're supposed to volunteer for it, by "we" I mean veteran Lopers. I ran this race as a first-timer back in 2009 and had a lot of fun (check out the race recap). There are two distances - a 5K and 15K. I think it's cool that they offer a 15K. It's a tricky distance. I've only done it once in a race, but it's more challenging than a 10K (duh) so to me that makes it more appealing. It's kind of the perfect distance if you have not done a half marathon to get you into the half marathon mode. You might be intimidated by the half marathon distance but running a 15K would give you the confidence necessary to approach a half since the 15K is only six kilometers shorter than the half. Anyway, we've been assigned traffic control. Not sure what that entails as that is all I know but I will know more on Saturday. I anticipate getting out there super early and staying out there a while. Hopefully all the drivers will cooperate with us.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nothing Is Impossible: How My Speech Went

Sunday came and went and so did my speech.

Sadly, I was unable to record it as I'd hoped. That was a major bummer but it was the only real setback I had. I'd been practicing my speech for days now as I had been rehearsing it in my head on many of my recent runs.

Here's kinda how the speech played out.


My name is Luis and I'm the co-pace leader with the 10s. I've run four marathons and this is my third year with the Lopers. Not too long ago, it would not have seemed possible to describe myself that way but I used to think a lot of things were impossible. By sharing my story, I hope that I will change the meaning of that word and give you a bit of a different perspective on impossible.

Every person in here has encountered something impossible, something that they thought was out of reach, whether it's in running, your career, education. And I know the first-timers are possibly having those thoughts as well, and maybe you're looking at the calendar and wondering 'How am I going to run 18 miles? That's impossible' or 'I'm supposed to run 20 and 22 miles? That's impossible' or 'A marathon? I'm supposed to run 26.2 miles at once? That's impossible.' I hope that by seeing what I went through, how I was able to redefine impossible, that you will come away with a different view of the word.

(Okay, here I went into my story, about how I had ballooned up to more than 300 pounds, and just to punctuate that point I put on and old Bears jersey that I wore, that was a XXL and really huge on me; about how I joined the gym and got a trainer; about my pie-in-the-sky goal of having a 1- in front of my weight and then about my entire journey, both in my weight loss, then after taking up running... skip ahead to the last part...)

When I had to run 18 miles I was in Seattle for work and I didn't want to run it but it was on the schedule so I had to do it, and I ran 18 miles alone, in 40-degree weather in the pouring rain. Then I ran 20 miles with the group, and then 22. For about two and a half months before the marathon, I was on a high. When the marathon came, I felt like I had to punctuate my journey and everything I had gone through so I wrote this on an old bib of mine.

I figured I could motivate people along the way but I also got a lot of complements too which was very motivating. The marathon itself was great. It started off just like a regular Sunday run, with about 8-10 of us. After awhile I kind of started running ahead and I felt good. At 18 miles I was thinking 'Yeah, going strong.' At 20 miles 'Feeling good.' At 22 'Almost there.' At 23 'What the hell was I thinking?' I kind of hit the wall there but my wife called me and talked me off the ledge a bit and settled me down, and when I saw my wife and girls just before the Mile 26 marker, and that helped motivate me to keep going.

I hit Mile 26 and just had the finish line before me. It was such a surreal feeling, seeing it right in front of me. I started to think about everything I'd gone through to get me there. Now, imagine if I would have thought at some point along the journey 'Why join the gym? You can't lose weight, that's impossible' or 'You can't lose 60 pounds by yourself, that's impossible' or 'You can't run a 5K or 10 miles, that's impossible' or 'You can't run a marathon. That's impossible.' I would cheated myself out of my appearance. I would have cheated myself out of my health, out of my lifestyle. I would have cheated myself out of everything.

I pushed forward to the finish line. I'd crossed the threshold of pain several miles back and was just numb but I got to the finish line, raised my arms and crossed. That feeling is so amazing. It's one of the best feelings of my life. It makes you feel like you can accomplish anything and it never diminishes. I've done three marathons after and it's always the same.

Now, before I go I just want to leave you with this. What I wrote on the back of that bib is something I believe wholeheartedly. Nothing is impossible, because if someone would have told you six years ago that I would have lost 120 pounds and run a marathon you'd have said that's impossible, and I'm here to show you that it's not.


Well, that's pretty much how my speech went. It would have been nice to have recorded it but hopefully next time I give the speech I will have a video camera.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Felt like writing but my mind was not in the mood to piece together too many coherent thoughts in a row so here are some random, off-the-cuff thoughts to close out the week.

* My pace for the shortened Mission Inn Half Marathon was 8:39. Had I run that over 13.1 miles I would have had a 1:53:19, which would have been my non-Fontana half PR. Argh.

* I had wanted to run a 5K on Saturday, to test myself and gun for a PR but the only I found nearby cost $40. That's way too much for a 5K. I'd have done 20, considered 30 but nothing over. Oh well.

* I might run a 5K with the girls in January. Why not? I was talking to a fellow Loper about running with kids. Her 11- and 8-year-olds ran the Mission Inn Half with her. The girls and I ran two miles on Monday together (they cranked out two miles in 37:20 :) ). We ran and walked and ran and walked until we got to a mile and then turned around and went home. It was a lot of fun.

* Anyway, this fellow Loper I talked to said they girls should be able to run a 5K since they've been playing soccer all fall. I found one on Jan. 21 nearby that cost 20 bucks per. Oh yeah, I'm so there.

* An 11-year-old ran the Mission Inn Half at an 8:18 pace. There were also two 12-year-olds who finished at a 9:34 pace. Kids ages 7-11 ran it, and there was even a 5-year-old.

* Not to say that I want my girls to run a half marathon next year but kids are capable of a lot of things and sometimes we put limitations on them because we don't have enough faith in them or we don't trust they can do things.

* We're volunteering for a race. I'm kinda obligated to since it's the Loper Classic and all us Lopers should go ahead and volunteer, well, not first-year Lopers but all vets. I'm going to and it's going to be fun. I hope it will be anyway.

* On Oct. 1 I started off the day having run 861 miles in 2011. After Thursday's 10-mile run, I had 1,217 miles run this year. Not bad. It gives me hope that I'll be able to surpass last year's total of 1,333 which I thought wasn't going to be possible before October.

* I refereed a high school soccer game on Tuesday. I did not count the mileage. I'm not sure if I'm going to count the mileage I accumulate during HS soccer games this year.

* I wore my Garmin in enough games to figure out that, on average, I was running about three miles per each HS soccer game I reffed.

* I look at that as speedwork. There are moments where I'm just walking but there are moments where I'm sprinting. It's kinda cool to be able to keep up with these high school kids.

* I ate so much on Thursday. I was stuffed to the gills. It's a good thing I ran 10 miles in the morning.

* I hope I get my appetite back on Friday. On Thursday, I finished gorging myself eating at about noon or 12:30 and I was not at all hungry the rest of the day.

* Happy Friday, and have a great weekend! Thanks for taking the time to read, I appreciate ya ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nothing Is Impossible

On Sunday, I will be the speaker in my running club's pre-run meeting. The topic: motivation.

I hope that by sharing my story I help motivate other runners, particularly the first-timers. I want to give everyone a different idea of what the word impossible really means.

I used to think a lot of things were impossible. Then I stopped setting up challenges for myself and approached things with an open mind.

And that's when the guy on the left became the guy on the right.

I dropped 120 pounds from March 2006 to November 2007, and took up running afterward. I've done four marathons, six half-marathons and am the 10-minute-per-mile pace group leader for my running club.

Any of the running accomplishments for the heavy-set guy above would have seemed impossible. But that guy dug deep, found some discipline, commitment and motivation and accomplished all those things.

That's what I want to get across to the first-timers, that no matter how impossible something seems, it's really not. I mean, who'd have thought that I could have made the change and would have done what I've done?

Monday, November 21, 2011

2012 Races

My evolution as a runner continues. 2010 was the year of the races for me (10 in all) while 2011 has been the year of few races (six, but it feels like a lot less).

2012 could be a bounce-back year. A rough sketch of what next year could hold in store.

Feb. 5 - Surf City Half Marathon. I'm going to be a bit sad to not be running the full this day. I've run the full in both 2010 and 2011. The half could feel like a downer but after the race I'm sure I'll still have a bounce in my step, unlike my Surf City experiences in 2010 and 2011.

March 18 - LA Marathon. What I'm running all these miles for. I want to be strong throughout this marathon and want to set an example to my pace group. I want to PR but more than that I just want to run a strong race.

April 22 - Run Through Redlands Half Marathon. A memorable race this is for me. RtR was my first half (in 2009) and also my first sub-2 (2010). I skipped it last year because it was the day after Diamond Valley Lake Marathon. In 2012, it will be great because it's a hilly course so it will be a good test for me as I'll be in the early stages of my San Francisco training.

June 2 - Fontana Days Half Marathon. I will PR this day! Actually, this race is both encouraging and discouraging. This course is all downhill so if you run strong, you may get a ridiculous PR. I was undertrained for it in 2011 and still got a 1:48, a PR by seven minutes. If I was running this race this weekend, I would guarantee a PR and it could even be a massive PR. Of course, on a flat course I'm not going to touch the low 1:40s, so this race is both good and bad. But I'm running it next year.

June... something - Camp Pendleton Mud Run. Dates haven't been announced but I'm guessing we'll either run it the second or third weekend in June.

July 29 - San Francisco Marathon - As Ambassador I can run any of their three races - the first or second half, or the full. I'm going to run the full again. (this is a secret... I want to PR... shhh!!)


Honestly I don't want to look past San Francisco. My focus now, in November 2011, is two-fold. First, train for LA and get strong in order to finish strong. Two, put myself in a position so I can recover quickly - both mentally and physically - in order to get back into the swing of things and start running hills in earnest in preparation for San Francisco.

What happens after SF right now is anyone's guess.

But even that limited race calendar is very enticing to me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tres Cosas Jueves: LB's Un-Impossible Journey Edition

1. Sharing My Story: On Nov. 27, I am going to give the pre-run talk at our Lopers meeting. I'm going to talk about my own weight-loss story and will try to motivate the runners in there and try and get the message across that nothing is impossible. It's true, nothing is impossible. I don't have an official name or anything but Redefining Impossible wouldn't be bad. That's what I'm going to try and do, to have everyone who listens come away with a different view of that word, impossible. I know I redefined it and I hope by sharing my journey from 308 pounds to a marathon finish line, that others will realize that truly nothing is impossible.

2. Opening Doors: So yeah, this weight loss thing is pretty awesome. I never imagined the places I'd go and the things I'd do when I began this journey way back when. I mean, I'm a pace leader with a running club and and Ambassador with the San Francisco Marathon. They don't let just any old person do those things, right? I love my life now, and while I wasn't necessarily depressed or anything when I was heavy, I certainly didn't enjoy things as much as I do now. Maybe I needed some of those down times though to appreciate what I have now. It's like when I go on a run and maybe I don't have the best run or maybe I'm not feeling it but, dammit, I'm fit enough to actually go running. I'm fit. LB is fit. I was so far removed from fitness before that the word didn't even exist in my vocabulary. The thought of me being fit sometimes is still a pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moment.

3: Initial Plan: So I'm hoping I get some time to practice my speech. I've been going over and over it during recent runs but have to stand in front of a mirror and get some things done. One thing I'm doing is to put an old favorite shirt of mine that now fits me so huge. I want to wear that at some point to illustrate how big I was. It's so big! Whatever I wear I will be ready for the talk, ready to motivate!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Post-Mission Inn Thoughts

Some post-mortem thoughts on Sunday's Mission Inn "Half" Marathon

* Throwing 'em Under: In case you missed it, Sunday's Mission Inn Half Marathon was not 13.1 miles but rather 12.3 miles. The reason why that happened? Race organizers seemed to throw the volunteers under the bus while also laying some blame on us runners. From a story in the local paper about the race:

“It was unintentionally shortened when the volunteers set up the last water station short of the turn-around,” event director Salynn Simon said. “Runners didn’t know and stopped there.”

I don't know... I've never been involved in organizing a race but if I'm part of the event organizers, I ride my bike through the entire course to make sure everything is tip-top. But whatever, this event seemed to go for the cheap way out and, well, we got ripped off .8 miles in the process.

* On The Cheap: We got jobbed in the distance, but it wasn't the only place we were ripped off. I never got a t-shirt. I registered late (race day morning) and I was so focused on the race that once I got my bib I went and tried to put it on. I don't recall anyone steering me towards a t-shirt. Maybe it's my fault, but still a simple "Don't forget the shirt" may have helped.

But the biggest rip was after the race. The medal did not indicate what year the race was and was identical to last year's medal. Hmm... perhaps they used leftovers from last year? And instead of water bottles handed to us, there were volunteers pouring water into cups. Seriously??? How about a full bottle of water for the person who just paid good money to run in your race? There was bananas and sliced oranges there for us but the lack of water bottles was troubling.

* What's Next? I have a post coming up on my 2012 race calendar but that was probably my last race of the year. Sad. My next race may not be until LA Marathon. Double sad. Not having a great experience then means that this memory will be fresh for awhile. Triple sad.

* Mission Inn 2012? Probably not. Now, this race is the Lopers' first race of the season so I will likely have a lot of friends out there for the event and possibly new runners, so I don't want to say for sure that I won't run in this race. However, I think I simple solution is in order - run it as a bandit. Probably not the half, but the 10K since that's the distance recommended for our first-timers. Whatever the case, I just can't bear the thought of giving that race my hard-earned money once again, at least not in 2012.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mission Inn Race Recap: The Not-Quite Half Marathon

Sunday was going to be an awesome day.

On a personal level, I was going to race for the first time since June. I feel as if I am in the best shape of my life right now, that I am stronger than I have been because of how much I've been running lately and I was anxious to test myself.

But I had to suppress those feelings somewhat because I was going to be running next to a first-timer, someone who had never run more than 12 miles in his life and was looking forward to making the Mission Inn Half Marathon his first 13.1 challenge.

Turned out, the day was memorable but not all of them were positive.

I met up with Dean before the race and he was as anxious as I'd seen him. He said he had problems sleeping the night before and I told him that meant he was ready for race day. Pre-race jitters are typical and not being able to sleep is a good sign. Finally the gun went off and we took off running. My original plan was to go out strong and pick up the pace around Mile 3, where the course spilled onto a bike path. We hit a nice downhill early on and we took advantage of it. We were going strong and I could tell we were going to finish in under two hours.

That was one of my hesitations. I wondered if I should push him a bit and have him knock out a sub-two from the start or if we should just run an easier pace, finish at 2:xx:xx and then have him knock that hurdle down on his own. But Dean's a speedy guy and his comfortable race pace, it turns out, was enough to finish in under two hours.

Splits: Mile 1 - 9:00, Mile 2 - 8:49, Mile 3 - 8:42

We got out to the bike path and settled into a comfortable rhythm. I know this bike path by heart now. I run it about once a week, usually longer runs, 6-10 miles, and I have started at different spots. I knew when the turnaround was going to be, what the scenery looks like at certain places and how much distance there is between certain landmarks. I knew this would be the time to settle into a strong pace, and we did.

But it didn't happen right away. The bike path was a bit more crowded than I'd hoped, and since it's narrow it was difficult to meander around runners at times.

Splits: Mile 4 - 8:28, Mile 5 - 9:07, Mile 6 - 9:01

We started seeing other runners now, going in the opposite direction, so we could feel that the turnaround was close. It was awesome seeing the lead runner holding such a strong pace and seeing the first female runner doing the same, and all the other speedburners churning and working hard. Dean commented on the faster runners several times so I know we were both a bit in awe.

Maybe that was contagious. Or maybe that, once we finally hit the turnaround, we both could sense that a major hurdle was scaled. Whatever the case, we were going strong and hitting our stride at just the right time.

Splits: Mile 7 - 8:39, Mile 8 - 8:43, Mile 9 - 8:20

I wondered, though, about the last part of the course. The turnaround was nice but it was a lot closer on the path than it had been last year. I hadn't paid much attention to the course map but had heard that the course was a bit different than last year. We did run a different way during Mile 2, hadn't run through a neighborhood like we had last year but rather around another bike path that leads in and out of a large park that itself was part of the course. I knew we would hit the turnoff into the park at about Mile 10 but last year it was at about Mile 11 when we did that.

I wondered where we would make up that extra mile. I hoped that early downhill we hit that was not supposed to be part of the way back was indeed not part of the way back. In retrospect, I wish it would have been.

Splits: Mile 10 - 8:43, Mile 11 - 8:20

We hit Mile 11 and we just had two miles to go. Our time was in the 1:30s so a sub-2 was ours, barring some unfortunate collapse. I wondered where the course would veer off. It seemed eerily similar to last year's final stretch but it couldn't be the same since we still had quite a bit of distance to run.

I saw the next mile marker. My stomach dropped. Mile 12 was before us, even though we had just hit Mile 11.

There would be no veering off this course. There would be no new part of the final stretch of the course. I wasn't pacing someone to their first half-marathon finish but rather pacing someone to their first 12-mile race finish. I felt bad for Dean, who had worked so hard and built up this day for so long (literally our third Lopers meeting he asked me if I would pace him, and that was in early September) only for this to happen.

A runner next to me asked what was going on. I looked at my phone and the miCoach app read 11.20 miles. I told him and he said he had the same distance on his Garmin. I shook my head. It kind of took the wind out of my sails a bit. That and a hill that I didn't quite handle properly separated me from Dean. He was ahead and motioned to me but I told him to finish strong and go for it.

Mile 12: 9:05

Now, I had wanted Dean to taste glory on his own, to finish the race strong and alone. I was honored to have paced him for the race but I did want him to have that moment to himself. I don't know that I would have tainted it for him necessarily but I just felt it was important to keep myself out of his spotlight. But I had figured on that happening as we neared the finish, like maybe at the 12.75 mile mark for instance.

So the hill and the realization did the favor for me and sped that process up. I saw Dean way up ahead and another runner from our pace group ran past me and gave me some encouraging words. I thought "Man, I must look like hell." I picked up the pace. I didn't catch Dean but I was running strong when I rounded the second-to-last street.

I hit top gear as I got close to the finish line.

Mile 12.33 - 7:44 pace

I saw Dean once I got through the finish and after I collected my medal. I told him congratulations on the race and told him he did a great job. We mentioned the shorter distance but in the end I said that he handled the race greatly which he did and it wasn't our fault the distance was short. He said thanks, gave me a hearty handshake and we parted ways.

I was quite happy to have seen him so proud of himself. He would have finished his first half marathon in about 1:53, a tremendous effort for someone who had never run more than six miles just a couple of months ago.

Mission Inn shortchanged us, and for that reason alone I won't run their race next year (although I might run it as a bandit just because...), but the real travesty was what they did to people like Dean and the countless others who were going for goal times or trying to finish their first half and tackling the 13.1-mile challenge head on. That's what's been gnawing at me since, but it certainly doesn't diminish Dean's efforts nor will it taint my own memories of the day. I refuse to let the race organizers shortchange me on that.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mission Inn "Half"

I had an interesting experience Sunday. I paced a new runner to his first half marathon. We had a great time and I was proud of him and I will blog more about that at length in an upcoming post.

However the race lacked something. It wasn't an actual half marathon. It only measured 12.3 miles. So we were .9 miles short through no fault of our own.

It was a frustrating thing to have happened.

Still I had a great time pacing a new runner and it was great seeing a lot of friends. And I will blog about this in more detail later but just had to get my "half" experience up.

For the record my time was 1:47 but it would have been closer to a 1:54 had it been an actual 13.1. Ah well.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Five For Friday

1. Reflection: Thanks for all the comments to Wednesday's soul-searching post. I am indeed grateful for all the kind thoughts and words and I've taken all of them to heart. I think my original mistake was writing an introductory post in our Ambassador FB page that didn't make mention of my weight loss. If I ran a sub-3 marathon, that would be something worth bringing up, but my huge accomplishment isn't with how many marathons I've run or how fast I run but rather the weight I lost.

2. Half Marathon Sunday: I'm finally running another race! It's been awhile since I ran my last race, June 18 to be precise. Since then, I've had some lean times (41 miles in July) and some fantastic accomplishments (first 50-mile week). I feel as strong now as ever and am totally ready for a race. However...

3. No Attempted PR Sunday: I am pacing a new runner. One of the runners from my pace group asked me a while back to pace him to his first-ever half marathon. I was flattered and told him I would, so I will. He's a bit speedy but I don't want to run for time. I want him to kind of set the pace, to have him let me know what's comfortable for him and maybe push it just a bit. I want him to enjoy the race, not suffer because I want him to get a good time. I want him to want to be proud of his accomplishment, then go off and chase PRs on his own. He's gonna set a new PR anyway, right?

4. Next Race? After Mission Inn, my next race probably won't be until Surf City (Super Bowl Sunday) and I'll be doing the half marathon there. I'll probably be pacing others as well. I'm actually looking forward to pacing others in races. After the LA Marathon though I'll get some LB time. We'll see what I enjoy more, pacing others or chasing PRs.

5. New App: For a while I've sworn by miCoach, the cool running app by adidas. However, it's been down for more than a week now and despite assurances by adidas that the problem is getting fixed, well, it just isn't. I can't sync new runs to my miCoach account and it only holds three un-synced runs. So annoying. I ran using iMapmyRun on Thursday but that one doesn't have splits. Friday I have to (sadly) run on the treadmill so Saturday's run I will use Run Keeper, which apparently has some good info. I ran a cool run on Tuesday, a 5-mile tempo run (8 miles overall) but I've yet to see my splits because of the issue with miCoach. Grrr! Ah well, I was able to enjoy Thursday's run, just ran it without paying attention to time and got me 7.1 miles in 1:06:41, a pace of 9:23 per mile, not a bad pace for not really trying for speed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Out Of My League?

As I look at the list of fellow 2012 San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors, I'm left with a bit of an impression. Well, two actually.

The initial impression: wow, these people are fast.

Which leads to the next one: do I belong?

I know it shouldn't really matter, deep down inside I get that. Everyone runs at their own pace and as long as you're running and taking control of your health and fitness, that's what matters.

But this is a little different, this group of Ambassadors I'm in. We're not trying to win a race or trying to recruit fast runners to participate in an event or anything but it seems like, at first glance, many of the ambassadors are fast. Super fast. Boston fast.

One ambassador posted to our Ambassador FB page that he'd just run a 2:48 Sunday in New York. Another said she'd run Boston a few times and knocked out a 3:30 recently, and other fellow Boston runners said they'd see her in Beantown next year. And I know a few others have run Boston and have set these amazing marathon PRs. Most seem to have run multiple marathons, as in double digits.


Hi. My name is L.B. I've run four marathons and my PR is, uh, 4:23.

Compared to many of the others, my stats don't match up.

Hell, I don't even look like a marathoner. You know, the typical marathoner is thin and lean and... well I'm not. (a lot of that though is skin... when you lose 100-plus pounds, you lose the weight but keep the skin, good stuff).

After my initial elation of being chosen as a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador subsided, I was left with these feelings. Do I really belong? Am I out of my league with all these other runners? Have I gotten myself into something that's better suited for a veteran marathoner, a real runner?

See, I have a bit of a character flaw. In the past I always minimized my own accomplishments. If I did something it must not have been A) that tough and B) that meaningful. Since I didn't think too highly of myself before, it just seemed like a natural conclusion.

You ain't crap so whatever you do ain't crap.

I've worked on that. A lot. I obviously have a different frame of reference now. I lost 120 pounds. I have run four marathons. I have done things that are deemed difficult, that I used to think were impossible. I did those things by myself. Nobody ran the miles for me. Nobody held a gun to my head and told me to change my lifestyle. I did that. LB did that. I had help and support, of course, but I did that.

I gained some confidence along the way, gained some self-esteem. Long ago I changed my lifestyle for the better and somewhere along the way I also changed my mentality.

But.... there's always a but, isn't there?... but these were the feelings that came up the more I learned about my fellow Ambassadors.

Now, I do think I'm working harder at being a runner. I've run for 31 consecutive days through Tuesday's run. I've logged more than 1,100 miles this year. I had my first 50-mile week recently and my last four weeks I've logged 44, 48, 50 and 47 miles, respectively. I'm registered for the LA Marathon, I am a pace leader with my running club - which happens to be the biggest running club in two counties...

I've built myself up quite a bit, so these feelings that arose sort of caught me off guard.

I'm convinced though that I do have a unique story. Not all runners have lost 100-plus pounds after all. And I really do feel that if I can do this - lose weight, run a marathon - anyone can do it. Nothing is impossible. I enjoy running because I am able to enjoy it, because I am fit and healthy and happy, and that wasn't always the case. I really do take as much pleasure as I do from a four-mile run as I do from a 14-mile run. It's all about the run, not the time. I firmly believe that.

I think I have an inspirational story and I want to share that with as many people as possible.  As a SF Marathon Ambassador, I hope to be able to share that and, if nothing else, get the message across that the San Francisco course is not impossible. If anyone knows anything about what's possible and what's impossible, it's me.

So I think I came to a happy medium then with my fellow SF Marathon brethren. I'm not going to run Boston with anyone anytime soon, I may not run a sub-four marathon anytime soon and it will take me a few more years to get to 10-plus marathons.

But that doesn't mean I'm not in the same class as them (technically I am not - we won't start the San Francisco Marathon in the same wave - but let's just leave that aside for now). I'm a runner, a marathoner, and I'm just as serious about my running as anyone.

I'm honored that the San Francisco Marathon people felt enough of my application to bestow this honor on me, and as I work on these initial feelings, it's all good and hopefully smooth sailing ahead.

Monday, November 7, 2011

San Francisco Still Sinking In

It still hasn't hit me.

It's been three days now since I found out I was selected to be a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador (!) and it still is a bit of a shocking realization.

Somehow my application stood out. Somehow I was deemed worthy enough of representing a fantastic race put on by equally fantastic people.

Me, LB. The same guy who in 2006 tipped the scales at three bills. The same guy who had never run a race until June 2008. The same guy who has run four marathons... while a great number and a number I'm proud of, nowhere near double digits, let alone to a point where I can be called an "experienced marathoner."

Yet here I am, a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador.


I will find out more this week about my specific duties, or at least will get started on that process. I'm definitely anxious to get started, whatever the duties may call for.

I do know this. While I am not turning over this blog to San Francisco Marathon-related stuff, there will absolutely be many posts on San Francisco from here until who knows when. And I also know that I will be running San Francisco next summer. I can't imagine doing anything but the full... just the thought of that makes me giddy. And the thought of being involved with the race more so than just a regular runner is something that makes me nervous and excited.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Beginnings Of My SF Love

In case you didn't see Friday's midday post... I was named a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador!! I received the news on Friday and have spent every minute since in a weird sort of euphoric state. I'm excited of course but it's tempered some with these feelings of 'Wow, did I really get this?' and 'Wow, do I really belong?'

I'm going to explore those feelings another time but for now I wanted to re-post my original San Francisco Marathon recap from July 26, 2010. Perhaps you can see why I was and have been and am obsessed with the San Francisco Marathon.

Anyway, it's pretty long but I think it's a good read... but then again, I'm a little biased.


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.


Originally published July 26, 2010

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.

Friday, November 4, 2011

San Francisco!!!

It happened! I can't believe it but it happened!

I was chosen to be a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador!!

It's a bit of a whirlwind right now, to be honest. I was notified earlier today and I am through the roof with excitement.

I'm definitely going to blog more about this, you can rest assured about that, but for now I just wanted to share the news with you all.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tres Cosas Jueves

1. San Francisco Ambassador: In July 2010 I ran one of the most challenging, amazing, memorable races ever, the San Francisco Marathon. I had wanted to run the race this summer but it just didn't work out. I'm hoping to run it again in 2012 and this time perhaps a bit more involved than just a regular runner. I applied to be a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador. What does this mean? Essentially I would promote the San Francisco Marathon and its races online and in person and I would get a complimentary entry to any of said races - I'd gun for the full of course. Here's a full list of the ambassador duties/perks (in PDF format) if you wish to read up more on it. Winners are supposed to be notified on Friday so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Hopefully I'll be blogging a lot more about the San Francisco Marathon in the near future.

2. October Miles: October came and went and I set a new record. I wound up running 194 miles (give or take). I was quite close to 200. In fact, I could have gone out for six miles on Monday night to try and crack the 200-mark. But I chose not to obsess over that. I realized about a week before that I would probably finish in the 190s but I didn't let that affect my training or my planned runs. I didn't want to feel like I let myself down if I went for but wasn't able to get to 200. The way I look at it, 194 miles is a load of miles for me and I will continue to pile up miles. I'm going to get 200 here in the next few months, I feel it. So I'll just enjoy my record high for October and then I will enjoy cracking the 200-mile mark soon enough.

3. Race Day, Finally: I'm dying to run a race. I can't believe that I'm piling up all these miles and don't have a race to train for. I will get to run a race soon enough. I'm running the Mission Inn Half Marathon on Nov. 13 but I'm pacing one of the new runners from my group. It's kind of good and bad - but mostly good. The bad - let's get that out of the way - I won't be able to shoot for a PR. But I'll gladly trade that in for the good - I will get to pace a new runner who has never run 13 miles to his first half-marathon. I think that's insanely awesome. I'm looking forward to helping him to such a milestone and I'm honored that he asked me to help him. My next race after that will probably be the Surf City Half Marathon on Feb. 5 but chances are I will be pacing others there too. I will definitely pace my group at the LA Marathon in mid-March. So between then and now I will run just those races. I am already looking to Spring '12 and Summer '12 for marathons and half marathons! But you know the San Francisco Marathon is at the top of my list, ambassador or not.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All In A Day's Work

How did you spend your Monday?

Mine started a visit to the girls' elementary school, which included a parade and a class party; continued with a mid-day run, complete with 88-degree temperatures; and concluded with a night out on the town... okay, a night walking up and down nearby streets, visiting neighbors.

We have an 80's Valley Girl, a Skeleton Bride and Capt. Jack Sparrow.

All in all, a wonderful day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gunning For 50

I set out a week ago to run 50 miles, and I was determined to get to it.

Here's how the week, and my lofty 50-mile goal, turned out.

Monday: A five-mile recover run to start the week off. I'm a believer in recovery runs now, have been converted. Tried to keep paces in the 10s but four of the five miles were in the 9s. Total: 5.13

Tuesday: Set out for seven. Didn't have a ton of time but had enough to get seven in. It was a bit drizzly but rain empowers me to run stronger. Solid run. Total: 7.36. Week: 12.49

Wednesday: Kind of a crazy run. Felt like I was slogging through the first mile but ran it in 9:52. Saw a coyote around Mile 4 and tried to take picture of him/her but he/she kept bouncing away from me and off into the brush, which I suppose was a good thing. My paces were solid - all between 9:21 and 9:41. Stellar run. Total: 10.14. Week: 22.63

Thursday: Originally was supposed to run seven, but got started late and only had time for six-plus. I stupidly pushed myself too much and ran this too fast. Don't know what got into me at end but held a 6:30 pace for about a minute. I felt wiped out for the rest of the morning, probably because of that. Total: 6.2 Week: 28.83

Friday: Had I not had this run streak going or my 50-mile goal, I would have not run on Friday. But I was determined to get out on a run and I did, after digging deep and finding some motivation. I volunteer at the girls' school on Fridays so I had to run around lunchtime, but I got out and had an easy run. Probably should have done five but I had running plans later that night so didn't want to destroy my legs. Total: 4.27. Week: 33.1

Saturday: Midnight run. Got dressed up and went running.

Now, it was supposed be six miles but I cut it short at four as some of the others I was running with only ran four and I didn't want to run alone. That set up a scenario for Sunday but it was cool. I enjoyed running at midnight and the costume actually kept me warm. Total: 4.01. Week: 37.11

Sunday: Our group run was supposed to be 11 but because we started in a different spot, it would turn out to be a bit more. I wasn't complaining because I had to go out and run more no matter what, and the more time to run with my group and less time to run alone the better. We finished our run at 11.5 miles so I had 1.5 to get me to my goal. I set out, ran until the 12.25 mark and turned around. I ran the last mile in a solid 9:32 and pumped my fist in the air when I hit 13 miles. Total: 13.01. Week: 50.12

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tres Cosas Jueves: Strength, Hunger and Capt. Jack

1. Strong Run: My heel hasn't been bothering me too much on Thursday (although I have only been up for 90 minutes). It was causing some discomfort on Wednesday night but nothing too bad. I will be looking for a tennis ball and hopefully that will help. I was able to run 10.14 miles on Wednesday morning in what really was a great run. My first mile wasn't so great as I felt like I slogged through it but I managed a 9:52 mile. Then I got into a rhythm. My splits

Mile 1 - 9:52
Mile 2 - 9:40
Mile 3 - 9:26
Mile 4 - 9:27
Mile 5 - 9:21
Mile 6 - 9:39
Mile 7 - 9:32
Mile 8 - 9:41
Mile 9 - 9:28
Mile 10 - 9:23

I didn't ever stretch my legs, like trying to run faster than my half marathon pace but I felt quite efficient during my run. This running everyday thing (I'm up to 18 days through Wednesday) is really giving my legs some awesome strength.

2. Hungry LB: With all these miles I've been running (163 and counting in October) I've built up quite an appetite. Sometimes I am so hungry that I want to jam whatever I can down my throat. That's what got me into problems before so of course I don't do that but I am just surprised by how hungry I can get. I try to keep grapes around so I can pick at those, raisins too, because it's easy to pick at chips or something like that. But sometimes fruit doesn't curb my appetite. I swear, running is a double-edged sword. You need fuel to run and if you run more you need more fuel and all that fuel doesn't make for great weight loss conditions. Then again, when I was dropping my 120 pounds I barely ever ran, maybe a few times on the treadmill but that's it. My cardio machine of choice back then was the elliptical. I loved that thing.

3. Midnight Run: On Friday night, I'm dressing up and going for a run. I'm going as Captain Jack Sparrow. Oh yeah. I'm going to wear eye-liner and everything. Is it eye-liner or eye shadow? I don't know, whatever you do to get that stuff under your eyes. I've got an awesome Capt. Jack wig and everything. If you're wondering, no, I am not going to dress up and run alone. It's actually a Loper thing, something they've been doing for a while. In my first two years with the Lopers I wasn't able to participate but this year, I'm ready, willing and able. So yeah, I'll be singing my own tale of Captain Jack Sparrow after our midnight run, which of course will count as my Saturday run.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Kryptonite

The more miles I run, the more...

... confident I feel.

...strength I feel in my legs.

... motivated I am to keep running.

... my heel hurts.

Wait, run that by me again? My heel.... hurting.... oh yeah. It's not hurting me now but it definitely has greeted me this morning.

Well, I suppose this heel pain not all directly related to running more miles. Or is it? My heel and I have a history together. Technically it dates back to 1975 but for the purposes of running this "history" dates back to 2010. In spring of 2010 I started to experience a lot of heel discomfort, some pain, to the point where I would limp around the house. It's strange because it has never really bothered me while I run, and not even immediately following a run. But when I'm just minding my own business, at the store or cooking dinner or what have you, I would feel discomfort.

Now, this heel issue started to arise in spring of 2010 mostly because I was running hills. I was training for the San Francisco Marathon as well as the Run Through Redlands, hilly courses both of them, so I needed to train on hills. That and the many miles I was running following my first marathon... well, that was a bit of a volatile combination apparently. About seven weeks before the marathon, I shut it down for one week, ran fewer miles and fewer hills but still did well in San Francisco.

I haven't logged as many miles as I was logging then until now. I believe in May of 2010 I ran something like 130 miles, which was if not my high close to my all-time high.

I have run 153 miles in October already, and I'm in the midst of my first 50-mile week (fingers crossed). I ran 47.85 miles last week and through Tuesday I have run 17 consecutive days.

I love to run. I am setting lofty goals and meeting them. I am entering new territory as a runner and it feels quite motivating to be able to do it.

Will this heel stop me from doing more?

I don't want to overreact. I'm not going to disrupt everything I've worked for because of one or two incidents. But I also need to be cautious.

I thought avoiding hills would help, and I suppose it has. I haven't done any hills with any regularity for a while because of that. Well, I take that back. The Lopers course is a bit hilly. But that's just once a week and it's not as hilly as Mt. Rubidoux and some of the other courses I'd run regularly when I was training for San Francisco.

We'll see what happens. I will, as some of the coaches I interview regularly say about their players' injuries and health and fitness, continue to monitor the situation closely.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Girl

I'm not a good soccer coach.

I'm in my second season as a Girls U-8 coach, and my teams have never won a game. This season my team - the mighty Purple Thunder - is 0-4-2. We've scored four goals and have given up... quite a few more. Last season, I'm not quite sure how many draws we had but the losses way outnumbered the draws.

Still, I'm not complaining. Much.

Sure it would be nice to get some more wins - it would certainly be nice to get more goals - but winning really does not matter to me.

I coach because it's great to teach children about soccer, because I'm giving my time to help others, but mostly I coach because I get to spend time with my Yvie.

I've taken tons of pictures with Yvie but this might be my favorite.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Memorable Week

I had a milestone week last week.

First, I crossed the 1,000-mile mark for 2011 on Sunday. I have 1,002 miles as of Sunday. I'm proud of this as it's my second consecutive year cracking the 1,000-mile mark. In some ways, though, I kind of feel like I should have gone over the 1,000-mile mark earlier. In 2010 I did so in September and this year it's a month later. But that's nitpicking really. I didn't run that much over the summer but am more than making up for it now.

Last week I logged an all-time high of 47.85 miles. I'm very encouraged by how strong I feel and how strong I continue to feel. I've run for 15 consecutive days as of Sunday and I definitely feel it. I had midweek runs of eight miles, three of them, and I averaged a 9:20, 8:52 and 9:19 pace for those runs. And I felt strong in each of them... maybe the third one I felt a bit tired at the end but I still closed out the run with a 9:05 final mile.

This week I'm hoping to knock out another new high. My plan is to run 50 miles in a week for the first time. My last two weeks I've had 44 and this week just under 48, so getting up to 50 shouldn't take an extra toll on my body.

My plan:

Monday - 5 easy miles
Tuesday - 7
Wednesday - 10
Thursday - 7
Friday - 5
Saturday - 5
Sunday - 11

That should put me on 50 exactly. And it should put my run streak at 22 days by the end of the week, which should make for another memorable week of runs.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Meal-ing It In

I made it!

Well, I guess not quite yet... Friday has just begun, but if when I make dinner tonight, I will have cooked at home five out of five weeknights this week. This is a rarity.

Now, a bit of background... Mrs. LB commutes and has an actual sit-down-in-an-office job and I'm a freelance writer which means I work from home and handle the day-to-day household duties, most of them anyway. I got into cooking in 2007 (mostly by watching the Food Network!) and consider myself a not-too-shabby home cook. I love to bake too.

Anyway, I made it a goal this week to cook at home every night, made my meal plan on Monday and went grocery shopping. I had a lot of stuff already (thanks Costco) but some things I needed to get, mostly fresh produce (wilted celery in fridge wasn't gonna cut it).

It was kinda tough to be honest but it's nice to know that I made a plan for my meals for the week and followed through with it.

What did I make? Glad you asked...

BBQ Pork Sandwiches
Cole Slaw
Sweet Potato Fries

Tostadas (my own creation, Mexican-style: cover w/crema mexicana, sliced turkey meat, shredded cabbage, diced carrots, jalapenos, onions... gotta take picture next time).

"Unstuffed" Chicken Florentine
Onion Rice

Pasta w/Bolognese sauce (my own creation, diced and cooked spicy sausage, diced bell peppers, onions, mushrooms; added Marinara sauce, served over penne pasta)

Kung Pao Chicken
White Rice

Well, at least that's what I have planned for today. I have time today to A) cook it and B) figure out something else if it don't work.

So we'll see if I follow through with the Asian food for tonight or if I go in another direction. Either way, it will be a home-cooked meal.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tres Cosas Jueves

1. No Dice: I should be in Honduras today. The team's there and two of the guys I went to Morelia and Costa Rica with are there but I'm home. Sad. I'm trying not to think about it too much, but really our finances are not in a place where it would have made sense for me to go. Plus, I'm having a great week in terms of running and of course with my girls so that helps offset the non-trip. Still, it would be nice to have gone on another adventure in Central America. I might actually get to go on another trip here soon, but this would be stateside. Not quite sure where as it all depends on the MLS playoffs but if it happens, it could be one of a number of cities. I'll know more by the weekend hopefully.

2. Weather Change, Sorta: Here's the forecast for the next seven days for my part of SoCal: 82, 82, 93, 91, 85, 81, 81. Yeah, we've taken a U-turn for summer with that weather. However, it's much more manageable than our summer heat, mostly because of the mornings and evenings. In July and August, it's already hot when you wake up, and when you go to bed it's still not cool sometimes. I've been able to run these days outside without the heat bothering me too much. Most days it's not reached 80 degrees at about 10-11 a.m. and I'm usually done with my runs by then. It's a good thing that I don't like to run at 2 or 3 in the afternoon though because I'd be in bad shape.

3. Swelling Up: I fell during a run recently. It actually happened on Oct. 7 and prevented me from running the next day. Had that not happened, Wednesday would have been my 19th consecutive day of running. Oh well. The knee was swollen initially and it took about a week for it to go down enough to where it feels mostly normal. I mean, it doesn't bother me like it did but the swelling is still there. It looks like a bump now and my knee still feels numb in some parts. It's not a bother at all but just kind of weird when I touch my knee and don't feel a whole lot. As long as it doesn't prevent me from running comfortably, it's definitely not a bother.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scared Of Speed?

I'm not a fast runner, and I'm not motivated by speed or PRs or a BQ. That doesn't motivate me or make me want to run.

For some time, though, I'm thinking that maybe I should be more motivated by speed. By running fast. By shaving minutes off of my PRs in the marathon, half marathon, 10K and possibly even the 5K.

I can run one mile in 6:47. That's my mile PR.

My 5K PR is under 22 minutes. My 10K PR is under 50 minutes. My half marathon PR... well, it's 1:48 and change but that was an all downhill course. I've run three half marathons in 1:55:03, 1:56:20 and 1:56:58. That's a bit more accurate I think.

My marathon PR is 4:23:38.

The paces don't work out. If I'm able to run half marathons in under two hours, I should be able to run a full in close to four, if not under. Right?

Perhaps. I know someday I am going to go for a sub-four marathon. I am actually proving now that I can handle a rigorous training schedule as I've already run 112 miles in October, and it's not even Oct. 20 yet. On Wednesday, I ran eight miles in 1:11:58, three minutes faster than it took me to run the same distance on Tuesday. My legs are getting stronger and stronger, and my times are beginning to reflect that.

So should I be more obsessed, or at least more driven, by speed? By running a full in under four hours? By running a half in 1:45 or something like that?

Maybe I should. Maybe the evolution of runners includes the desire to run fast and to test yourself. I don't know, but I think it's a test every time I step out to run. I view runs the same way, whether they're four miles or 14 miles. I enjoy (or try to enjoy) every run. I definitely focus on every run (the most important run of my life is the next run I will go on). And after every run I feel like I truly accomplished something.

Is it time to feel like I truly accomplished runs only if I meet my time goals? Right now, honestly, my answer to that is a resounding no. I would hate to feel like I let myself down just because I ran my 10-miler in 1:32:33 instead of 1:29:48.

Am I not fulfilling my potential? Should I strive for the best, the best being sub-fours and BQs and PRs?

Honestly, that's not for me. I respect the hell out of runners who meet such goals and can run at a sub-7 or sub-6 clip. That blows my mind away, to think of runners who can keep those blistering paces up for 26.2 miles. And I truly do respect runners who work hard to meet time goals, whether it's a sub-4 or sub-3 or a BQ. I really do.

But that works for them. And while maybe it would work for me too, I'm just enjoying my runs. I'm not quite sure yet if I'm ready to let speed drive me.

I guess all I'm trying to do is to find that happy medium. Yeah, I like speed and I want to run fast but I like finishing runs and that sense of accomplishment more. Somewhere in between there's the right balance for me. I suppose I'm just trying to find that balance.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Getting Stronger


That's the one quality I long to have when I run. I might not be the fastest guy, I may not have the truest form but dammit if I'm strong then I can get through anything.

I feel strong these days. My legs feel strong. I've been logging lots of miles lately and as a result I feel as strong as I have in quite a while.

On Sunday I ran 12 miles. It was a 10-mile day that turned into 12, and that gave me just over 43 miles for the week. I've run 92 miles in October already and I will cross 100 miles for the month on Tuesday, the 18th day of the month. Not too shabby.

I feel a difference. I feel stronger and I can hit mid- to low-8s and not feel like I'm overexerting myself. Not sure yet for how long I can maintain that but I suppose I can toy around with that during some of my midweek runs.

Anyway, I'm on pace to shatter my previous record high for a month. I should get somewhere around 170-180. How awesome would that be?!?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tres Cosas Jueves

1. Temperature Envy? SoCal is quite a nice area to live in. We never get snow here in my neck of SoCal, just don't get cold enough. We deal with wind and rain but aside from some quite hellacious Santa Ana winds, nothing's quite too extreme. We're the envy of a lot of folks... or are we? The mercury will hit triple digits today, supposed to be 102. As far as my 15-day forecaster can see, we're going to have sunny skies in the 90s and high 80s. I had to check my calendar to see that it is indeed mid-October. I'm not necessarily begging for some snow but a nice 70-degree day isn't too much to ask for, is it?

2. No Travels Next Week: I didn't want to do it but I had to. I turned down a trip to Honduras. The whole thing wouldn't have been free but I would have just had to pay hotel for two nights plus a one-way ticket back from Houston... not free but affordable. Sort of. Funds are running low and time away from home is difficult since I'm the parent who is at home and has those duties. So while I was able to go on fantastic trips to Costa Rica and Mexico, Honduras is not in my near future. I'm okay with it, like 80 percent. That might dip to 60 percent next week when the game I could have been at will be played but that'll be just for those 90 minutes.

3. Stronger And Stronger: One thing that won't suffer at all is my running. I threw in an 8-mile week in September in part because of my trip to Costa Rica. Ugh. That's ridiculous. Well, the week after eight I ran 28, and then last week I ran 35. This week I'm at 23 through Thursday (my runs this week have been 4, 7, 6 and 6) and I have a 10-miler on the docket Sunday. All goes well I'll run 40 miles this week, my second week of 40 or more in the last two months. My legs are indeed feeling quite strong these days. A fall caused a swollen knee and prevented me from running last Saturday but I've run 12 of the last 13 days (for a total of 71.76 miles) and my legs are responding.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I will be part of a few running milestones in October, hopefully, if all goes well. Not all involve me...

* I've run 910 miles in 2011. I have to run 90 miles in the final 21 days of the month to get to my goal of 1,000 for the year. Actually, that was just one part of my goal. I'm not quite sure if I made a goal as far as mileage goes for the year but whatever the case, getting past 1,000 was sure part of it. Now that sounds like a lot to ask for but I'm scheduled to run 10 miles the next two Sundays and 11 on the 30th. So take that mileage away (90 - 31) and you're left with 59 miles in 18 days, which is totally manageable. That's less than four miles a day on average. I ran 35 miles last week and I hope to at least run that much each week in the foreseeable future. I should be able to - barring injury - reach 1,000 before Halloween.

* I ran nine miles with my pace group on Sunday and four of the finishers had never run that distance before. I helped pace four runners to their longest distance ever! How exciting is that?!? Next week, I told them that I'm going to bring a rubber stamp so I can stamp RUNNER on them since that's when I get to help pace them to one of the ultimate rite of passage - double digits. Of course, they became runners long ago but it really is exciting to be a part of something like that.

* I tried to get my run streak started again. I did actually, had it up to seven days but on the seventh day I fell during my run. I hurt my knee, well, actually it was just swollen but I wasn't able to run on Saturday. Boo! Still, I felt the difference on Sunday from having run 26 miles from Monday through Friday and 13 the two days before that. I did my nine miles in 1:27:44 which is a 9:44 pace overall. I felt strong the whole way through. And I re-started my run streak. Sigh. One of these days it will get past 20.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When Dogs Attack, And More...

Is this thing on??

Seems like forever since I last posted. Oops.

Anyway, felt like stretching my, uh, fingers now and dusting off trusty blogger for a post of random thoughts...

* Went out for a family walk yesterday. The girls were walking our vicious chihuahuas just ahead of Mrs. LB and I. We were probably a mile in, getting close to home, when a huge dog (I think it was a boxer) came running across the street, charging right at Kennedy and Rooney. For a split second I saw in my mind the dog tearing Rooney apart and then chewing on Kennedy. I ran ahead and pushed her aside, trying to shield her with my body. I grabbed poor Rooney's leash and lifted it as high as I could. I yelled at that dog in Spanish (Sacate cabron!) while Mrs. LB screamed something behind me (she later said she was yelling "Come get your f-ing dog!") I was just about to start kicking at the dog when the owner finally came over and got his dog. The mean vicious dog wasn't actually all that mean or vicious. He really could have done a number on both Rooney and Kennedy but it really did seem like he just wanted to play. I was shaken though.

* Does that guy count as an irresponsible pet owner? Or was it just a freak thing? He claims he just opened his gate to his backyard and the dog shot out. We were on the other side of the street just minding our own business so we weren't necessarily antagonizing the dog - we didn't ask for it, you know. I kinda decided on the spot that it was a freak thing and because of that didn't go off on the guy. I think I would have been well within my rights to have gone off on him but I didn't. I was relieved neither Kennedy nor Rooney were hurt and that it was over so I didn't want any extra drama to be honest but part of me thinks I let that guy off the hook too easily.

* When I get upset, I sometimes will spew words out in Spanish. And when I'm dealing with animals for some reason I'm almost always talking to them in Spanish. I don't know why to be honest... pero ese pinche perro ayer me hizo sentir tanta rabia y la verdad me asusto, pero afortunadament nada paso, A la proxima si le voy a meter patadas a eso perro cabron hijo de su chingada madre....

* On the running front, I've been really sporadic with my runs because of my trips to Costa Rica and Mexico. But now I've gotten my legs underneath me once more and am gonna start another run streak. I really think that's what I need to become a stronger runner and maintain that strength, to just run every day. So far I'm on Day 4 (Tuesday was my fourth straight day) and I've gotten in 23 miles in that span. We're going to be getting up to higher miles here soon with the Lopers, got nine scheduled for Sunday, and then all of our Sunday runs will be double digits from here on out. I need strong legs and a strong attitude to pace my group effectively, so strength I shall give myself.

* Check this out. Isn't this so cool?!? I hope it happens. I'd definitely get it. Maybe I should pledge some cash...