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...