Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tres Cosas Jueves

1. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: I recently won two things from two cool blogs. From my new(er) blog buddy Laurie who lives up in Oregon, I won a pair of running sleeves. Now, I've never really been a fan of running sleeves but when I saw some of the cool ones she had on her site for a giveaway, I figured what the heck and entered. And lo and behold, I won! I got them a week ago and used them on a run over the weekend, and I'm sold on running sleeves. I probably won't wear like a tank top or a sleeveless shirt and the sleeves because that didn't look quite right on me but with a regular running shirt, the sleeves look pretty sweet. Thanks Laurie! Also, from my long-time and beloved blog buddy Willoughby I won a 40-dollar gift card to CSN Stores. Sweet! I ordered some bean bags for the girls (although after I placed the order I found some things that were really awesome that I might have selfishly bought, but oh well!). The girls' butts will be much obliged once the bean bags arrive.

2. Quietness: If you read my post on Wednesday, you saw that my marathon is small. As in, there were 50 finishers a year ago. I'm going to run in solitude. And for a change, so are my years. I'm not going to completely abandon my music but I want to try and get to Mile 16 without music. I'm making a two-hour playlist and will start it once I get under 10 miles to go. I'd thought about doing that before I saw there would be so few runners, though. I probably won't re-think that idea but it seems like I really will be in solitude once I'm out on the course.

3. Thanks A Lot!: On Wednesday, we went to a school function and a teacher was handing out stickers to kids. Both of the girls said "Thank you" to her. She was surprised. She told us and Yvie's teacher, who happened to be there, that out of the 100 or so kids whom she'd given stickers to, our girls were numbers four and five who said thank you. That's awesome! I've always felt that respect was important for me to teach to the girls because I just don't like children who are disrespectful - PEOPLE who are disrespectful, not just children. So it's cool that my girls have manners. Yay for my girls!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

50 Is A Lonely Number

When I ran Surf City in 2010 and 2011, I was one of many runners on the course. I got somewhat lost in the crowd at the San Francisco Marathon as one of many who tackled the hills last July.

When I line up for my fourth marathon in a week and a half (!) I will likely encounter different circumstances. I might find myself all alone on the course.

The Diamond Valley Lake Marathon will be a much smaller race. Much smaller. How many runners finished last year's marathon?


That's a five followed by a zero.


I thought the marathoners I lined up alongside at Surf City were small and hearty, but this is taking small to another level.

I won't have the sometimes pleasant distraction of watching fellow runners, of yo-yoing ahead and behind other runners, of trying to keep up with or stay ahead of others.

I will be lonely out there on the course.

Seven runners finished between 4:20 and 4:40 last year. I think I'll come in somewhere around that window of time, so if statistics hold for this year I'll be running with maybe a handful of other runners if I'm lucky.

Now, I'm not entirely upset or bothered by this. I knew the race was small when I signed up for it. I suppose this 50-runner figure is just a bit of a surprise, something that I just realized this morning.

I've prepared mentally for this race, having run 10 of my recent 20-miler on a track. I proved I can take a mental pounding that day, so whatever mental challenges this small race poses I hopefully will be ready for.

And ultimately, it will be a new experience, to run a marathon essentially alone.

I suppose if I get frustrated I can scream really loud and nobody's going to be around to hear it, nobody's going to think I'm crazy or anything.

Signed Up

I signed up for the boot camp. I have until August to use it but I may start it May.

I'd be more excited/nervous/anxious about it if it wasn't for my marathon coming up. We'll be up for it soon enough, trust me.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A New Challenge?

After my marathon, I was thinking of taking a break. I mean, not just in the hours and days immediately following it. Of course I'm doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the day after running marathon No. 4, but I was thinking of taking a break from running.

I probably will, for at least two weeks. I'm not sure how long that break will last - I'd actually like to take off until the beginning of May but I honestly don't think I can last that long before needing my running fix. Mentally and physically, though, I could use a break.

Anyway, I have also considered doing something else in addition to running. I'd considered P90X as my brother Danny used it and had success using it. He want from being fit and in shape to being really fit and really in shape... and yet, I can still run faster than him. Interesting.

Well, I have the chance to do something else as well, but I need to decide by today.

The description...

At Fit Body Boot Camp, the enemy is predictability. Each day, the instructors (all certified personal trainers) throw down a fresh guerrilla ambush’s worth of challenges for your muscles and your brain, fueling constant gains and keeping you engaged. Over the course of a one-hour session, you may run, jump, lift weights, slam out push-ups and chin-ups, chase chickens, punch slabs of beef, and end with a live crocodile wrestle. Because Fit Body allows each participant to work at his or her own pace, even the most out-of-shape or over-in-shape person can break a sweat without feeling the heat of competition. Classes are held on a gymnastic, spring-loaded floor to minimize impact on joints, and sessions always take place indoors, safe from falling iPods.

It goes on to say that I'd have access to a strength coach and things like that. Classes are offered Monday through Friday, and it fits into my schedule, or at least, I can make them fit into my schedule.

I'm thinking maybe something like this is what I need to not only springboard my body into training for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run and the San Francisco Marathon but also to revitalize my body and maybe drop a few pounds while picking up a few muscles along the way.

What do you think? Yay or nay? I got this as an offer so it's like a third of the normal price. I might go for it but kind of on the fence.

If nothing else, I can do this and then realize how much I don't like to cross train and how much I love to run... ha, like I need something to remind me of that. Still, though, it might make me appreciate running more.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Fishy Slog

Being part of the Lopers Club has its perks. Aside from the great support we get on Sundays, the Lopers also provide some cool pictures. For each big race where lots of Lopers participate in, a photographer takes pictures for us and charges us five bucks per shot. It beats paying 15 or 20 per shot from the race photographers.

On Sunday, I picked up a shot from Surf City 2011 that I had no idea was even taken of me.

Um... yeah, I'm flying through this part of the race. I was feeling so strong here... I mean, can't you tell?

Actually, this is the definition of slogging. Slogging is where you're kind of moving forward but it's not fast, it's not smooth and it's definitely not pretty.

This picture also reminded me of something else. For some reason, I always seem to run with my mouth agape. Not sure why, but most pictures of me when I'm running have me with my mouth open. I remember early last year, I mentioned this and said that, coupled with my pink shirt, I looked like a fish, like a pink fish. A reader forwarded me a picture and...

The return of the pink fish.

What do you think? Is there a resemblance? And what about that Surf City picture? Brutal, huh?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Two Weeks Remaining

I have exactly two weeks until my next marathon. It actually seems kind of strange. My other three marathons each have had months of build-up, of logging long-distance runs, of wondering, imagining, picturing race day and then the inevitable fear/anxiety/nervousness mixed with excitement/anticipation/energy for the race itself.

So far, this hasn't had hardly any of that. I suppose this is all part of my development as a runner. I chose to run a spring marathon precisely because of the time frame, because I wanted to run two marathons fairly close to each other so I wouldn't have to run an 18-miler and then two 20-milers. I actually did end up having to run one 18-miler and one 20-miler but still, it was much better than having to do it the other way.

My plan the next two weeks is fairly simple. I'm running 4-5 today and then 12 on Sunday. Now, the race is on a Saturday so next week I'm going to switch it up and run 10 miles on Saturday and maybe a 3-4 miler on Sunday.

I guess the one thing I'm going to start doing a lot is to check the weather. The race has an 8 a.m. start time so if it's at all warm and sunny, I could be in for a tough run since I'll be pulling into the finish after 12 p.m. Lately we've had rain and chilly (SoCal chilly, I mean, come on) weather, and I'm hoping that extends out three more weeks or so.

For now, though, I'm just taking it run by run and hoping that the anxious/nervous emotions don't kick in for a while.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tres Cosas Jueves

1. Lap Me: I set a new record for longest-distance run on Sunday. No, I've run 20 miles before but the 10 miles I logged at a high school track were the most miles I've ever done on a track. I actually think that was a good idea on my part and am looking forward to more such runs. There's something about running an out-and-back 20-mile run that just sat as well in my stomach as spoiled meat would have. The track was comforting. I knew what was around the corner - more track. Sometimes the thought of having to get to the next stoplight and then a few blocks beyond that is just mind-numbing. I suppose I wasn't up for that on Sunday, so the track was a good alternative. I want to run 12 miles on the track next. Not sure when that will happen but it'll happen.

2. Dangling Carrots: I had not planned on running the OC Marathon. Still don't plan on it. But damn those race organizers! A new series rolled where, if you run Surf City, the OC Marathon and the Long Beach Marathon consecutively, you get a new medal. Now, you can run the half or the full in each and still get the medal, so it's not like you have to do 26.2 every time out... although that might be fun. Of course, I've already run Surf City so running the OC Half and the Long Beach Half would be a slam dunk for the medal. What does this medal look like?

I will actually have to pass on it this year, though. The OC Half or Full doesn't work out with my schedule so it's a no go. But this medal would be nice to add to my collection. And I like that you have to earn it by doing multiple races. Maybe next year...

3. More Tunes: I've been on a Vampire Weekend kick lately. My brother introduced them to me sometime late last year and it took me a bit to get into them, probably because they're a bit eclectic, different than a lot of what I listen to. But they're upbeat rhythm and catchy lyrics are great accompaniment to running, and probably to working out in general. Yvie actually likes Vampire Weekend quite a bit. She doesn't complain when I put one of their CDs.

This song is appropriately called Run.

Check 'em out. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Angie Eats LA

Remember my blog buddy Angie? Formerly of Angie Eats Peace?

Well, Angie may have stopped blogging but she hasn't stopped running marathons. On Sunday she was among the masses who ran the LA Marathon, her eighth marathon.

In case you haven't heard, the LA Marathon this year was downright miserable. Rain, wind, cold temperatures... conditions straight outta the Pacific Northwest. Anyway, a little rain and wind wasn't going to slow Angie down.

On her shirt, you'll notice the words Arizona Marathon. Yeah, four weeks before LA, she ran a marathon in Arizona.

Anyway, early on things were going great. The weather was bad but not too bad in the first couple of miles.

Then, the rain came down. But Angie persevered.

She helped pace her friend Jose (in the green shirt) to his first marathon finish, and what a treat it was for him. I know a thing or two about having Angie as a pacer. We ran many long runs together and we each broke the two-hour half marathon mark together, in the 2010 Run Through Redlands.

We encountered hills and sun that day, but these obstacles in LA were far worse. They eventually took their toll on Angie, who despite having a positive outlook on running and marathons eventually felt the brunt of the storm.

Alas, she crossed the finish line in roughly 5 hours, 29 minutes. She called it one of her worst experiences but I tried to tell her that it was beyond motivating, given that she'd just run a marathon four weeks prior and the conditions were anything but ideal.

She wasn't having any of it.

I hope she's feeling much better about her medal and her accomplishments from that day, and hopefully she's cracked a smile or two since then. She is and will always be a star in my book, and I'm lucky to count her as a friend.

You rock, Angie!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tracking My Long Run

After having had some time to process Sunday's 20-miler, I feel just as good about it now, on Monday morning, as I did when I finished it. Physically, I have that good leg soreness, the kind that lets me know I put in some hard work the day before. Mentally, I have faith that I can do this upcoming marathon and perhaps even do it well.

I credit the high school track.

Now, this was always going to be a solo run. Since most of my running buddies were running the LA Marathon, I was set to fend this long run all alone. And twice during my training for the San Francisco Marathon, I faced similar circumstances for 20-milers. I vowed never again to run 20 miles by myself (talk about lonely) but had no choice on Sunday.

However, I figured out a way to stay close to home and still get my miles in - just log some miles in on the track.

I went the really long way to the track - ran a quick 3.8 miles out and back home, then went the really long way to the school. By the time I got to the track I was at Mile 8. I needed to get to at least 17 before heading home.

The first 8 miles went by quickly. Part of it was the thinking "How many miles can I get in before I reach the track?" I mean, I didn't exactly go the long way by mistake. Eight was great in my eyes. I hit the track running but I wanted to be smart about it. The thing that frightened me about the track was having to run so many laps. It's simple math, of course - one mile equals four laps, so nine miles meant 36 laps. Ugh. But I had an idea - what if I ran on the furthest outside lane? Would that make a difference?

It was nice at first to get off the streets and the track was lonely, which helped. After I hit Mile 11, Mrs. LB and the girls showed up. While it had been cloudy all morning, it didn't actually start raining until they were there, so they lasted until I hit Mile 13. But that gave me some renewed energy, especially since the girls tried running some parts of it with me.

Every time I hit the next mile, I celebrated. I'd clap, extend my arms to my sides or raise them over my head. I smiled a lot, throughout the run.

I got to 17 miles and decided to get to 18, since that would mean a more direct shot home. Once I hit 18, I went back on the street and, believe it or not, missed the track. I had gotten to the point where my mind wasn't wandering or thinking about anything but the next corner. It was like the treadmill without the "dread." I was a machine, not a fast one, but one that was chewing up and spitting out miles with regularity.

Throughout my time on the track, I straddled the number eight lane. And it worked. I did not keep track of how many laps I ran but it was not quite four laps per mile. It actually wasn't even close to four laps per mile.

On the street I had to contend with cars and sidewalks and dogs and traffic lights... sigh.

When I hit 20 miles, I was a couple of blocks from home. I stopped, raised my arms high over my head and smiled. Whereas I cried (yes, I cried) after my last solo 20-miler, sometime last June, this time I was more than happy with my feat.

I suppose I could gain confidence from just having run a marathon, since I did run one on Feb. 6. But I feel as if I need to prove myself during this training cycle that I can be in position to run another one here soon. If I rely on what I did in Surf City then I will come in overconfident and under-trained, and that's a horrible combination.

Now, though, I know I will be able to get the marathon done. I may not PR but I know I will be mentally strong when I get to Mile 22, 23, 24, etc. Running 20 miles solo, and 10 of those miles on a track, will do that for you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

20 Miles!

I did it! I ran 20 miles! Just finished actually. I feel fantastic! Man, this feels like such an accomplishment.

Check this out: I ran 10 of my miles on a track at my local high school. Yeah! Mental challenges aplenty, and I tore them all apart.

I took it easy, ran at an easy pace and did my 20 miles, my last long run before the Diamond Valley Lake Marathon. I can focus on that now and get back to enjoying my runs.

Thanks for all your support! Time to rest and celebrate!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, March 18, 2011

Speed, On The Blog And Tightening Up

Friday brings the end of another week, the end of the girls' spring break and hopefully the end of my running rut.

Speed Test: On a whim Thursday, I tried to break my mile time. I didn't set out to run it but I'd run two miles and then figured, why not? I was at a track and since I don't often get to one, so that played into it.

I busted my butt all the way around the track. At times I felt good and at other times, not so good. After two turns around the track I was at about 3:14 so I knew that if I could maintain that blistering pace I could maybe get a new one-mile PR. Well, I didn't quite hold that pace but I finished at 6:47, which I believe is the same time I had the last time I tried (and set) a one-mile PR.

I needed a bounce-back week like this one. Let's hope it culminates well on Sunday as I have 20 miles on the docket.

On The Blogosphere: This week I appeared on two places, although only one was planned. I'd written something about my favorite marathon, the San Francisco Marathon, for Happy Feet, a company that sells insoles and strives to make feet happy. They'd originally asked if I'd blog about the SF Marathon and I said yeah and sent them over something that was both on my weight loss and the marathon, and I'm hoping the whole post makes it on their blog, but in the meantime a snippet of what I wrote, the part on the race itself, ran this week. Read it here.

Also, I recently "met" a new blogger, Melie. She's a local runner and is training for her first marathon, the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in June. Now, I've thought about doing this one but it really conflicts with the Camp Pendleton Mud Run so I'll have to do it in a year that there is no such conflict.

Anyway, Melie had asked for some advice about staying motivated and new tips so I suggested she look into intervals, specifically my favorite 42-minute interval. This one kicks my butt every time, still does, and it was one of the first workouts that got me into running. If you'd have told me in late 2007 (when I first saw this) that I'd have to run 42 minutes non-stop on the treadmill, I would have cried. But when I saw this, I realized there was more to running than, well, just running.

So I've used it as my go-to interval workout since. And when I was going to suggest something to Melie, I knew exactly what I'd suggest. She used it, modified it and loved it. And wrote quite a nice post.

The Week In Tweets

As usual, some great running tweets this week.

Hal Higdon (@higdonmarathon )

It's not so much the running that affects your health positively, but the lifestyle changes that often accompany the decision to run.

I love races, but they put extra stress on your body and cost valuable training time. Sometimes it's fun to go long periods without racing.

Bart Yasso ( @bartyasso )

This might have been the best one I've read in a while...

When you get to the starting line,take a minute to think how fortunate you are to be able to run a marathon, both physically & culturally.

Parting Song: Sorry I left you with a cheesy early-90s song on Thursday. I'll try and do better today.

I'm posting this song for the sake of posting a song that will be stuck on your head this fine day. It's a good song. Mrs. LB, though, isn't a fan of this group. I don't have this CD but I need to get it so I can run to this song. It's called Tighten Up by The Black Keys.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tres Cosas Jueves

Out Of The Woods: I think I may have gotten past these doldrums that have latched onto me of late. I ran six miles on the treadmill on Wednesday. It wasn't necessarily the greatest run but it was a solid one and I felt good all the way through. Typical of me, I get on hoping to do five, felt like doing less but got to five and decided to see my way to six. Whatever the case, I was on the treadmill for exactly one hour and that alone is worthy of a rut-breaker. I mean, if you can last an hour on the treadmill, you should be able to do some serious damage outdoors.

Slowing Speed: Another thing that I realized is that I haven't been doing any speed workouts. Speed always gives me a bounce to my step, a spring to my runs, and I've been running far slower at the ends of my runs than usual. I don't know what I was attributing that to but it sorta hit me earlier this week - no speedwork really does have an effect. Not sure how much speedwork now will help me in my marathon, or even in Sunday's scheduled 20-mile run, but it will give me that elusive spring that's been lacking from my step of late.

What Not To Run To: After my six-mile run, I took the girls to Mt. Rubidoux. I'll blog about that trip in a separate post (I have some pictures that I don't have time to put up just now) but one thing I saw was just head-shakingly wrong. Running downhill was a guy without a shirt blaring music. That, in and of itself, wasn't bad. Blare music from your phone or MP3 player all you want. However, if you are going to do so, please rock something worth rocking, something that actually rocks. Blaring from shirtless guy's music player was something I know I couldn't run to.

I'm actually kind of upset that I embedded this song onto my blog but I figure that it would be the best way to hit home. Yeah, I pretty much despised this song when it came out. I was a freshman or sophomore when they were big and I never liked them. To play them now, for nostalgia's sake, maybe. But to play them for running inspiration? And to share your inspiration with the rest of us? Fail.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beach Run With My Girls

Monday was our great beach trip, and it lived up to the hype. I had wanted to make memories, and I did, and I also gave myself something to look forward to and keep me wanting more of the beach.

However, the day also brought some flashbacks and they were nearly shudder-inducing flashbacks.

When we got to the beach, the sun was trying to peek out from behind some clouds, and as it wasn't quite 10:30 a.m. yet, it wasn't quite warm. Immediately upon arriving, I got the girls' bikes off the truck and we gathered ourselves for the first-ever beach bike ride.

Now, I'm not a late-morning runner. If I don't get started by 8 0r 8:30 for the most part, I lose some motivation and running becomes much more difficult. I'm not sure why that is but that's just what I have to deal with. As it was well past 8, I immediately worried that I wouldn't be up for a run. But once I got out on the beach path I felt okay. I'd run 10 miles on Sunday and it wasn't a great run, so my legs felt a bit more tired than normal. Of course, it could have also been because of my 60-plus minutes in the truck that caused that feeling.

The girls were doing well, mostly, and so was I. About a half-mile in, I felt like I'd be good for more than just a few miles. But the girls probably wouldn't be up for that much so a little past the 1.5-mile mark (I had my Garmin on) we turned around.

Now, this whole time we were on the Huntington Beach bike path, you know, the same bike path I ran Marathon Nos. 1 and 3 on, or at least, the last 10 miles of those marathons. So while I was trying to keep an eye on the girls, I also had memories of Surf City flooding back - the feeling of fatigue setting in on me when I was headed towards the turn-around point, remembering the mass of people moving along PCH, that feeling of try-to-keep-it-together when I approached Mile 18 and 19. I had other memories once we turned around.

First, this was part of my view:

These memories were also positive and negative: feeling as if I was going to collapse of fatigue around Mile 24; knowing the finish line was ahead and trying to feel the rush of such a sight; trying to maintain my legs in motion; thinking 'I've already ran more than 23 miles - insane!' and other such crazy thoughts that raced in my mind that late in the race.

I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to have run there and I'm still unsure about it. But the girls were trudging along without too many issues. For the first time on a beach bike path, they did great. They weaved in the middle a little too much and stopped at odd places - Yvie doesn't like downhills, for instance. But all in all, it was a great run, the best 3.5-miler I've had in quite a while.

The last portion of it, though, Kennedy kept saying she just wanted to go in the water and that was tough because I knew she'd had enough. But I ran slightly in front of her, hoping she would see me and try and keep up with me or pass me. She's competitive at times and that seemed to work.

We got back to the truck, got the bikes loaded inside (yes, they fit inside if I lay the back seats down) and headed out to the sand.

The girls had fun playing in the sand for hours.

All in all, a great way to spend a day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beach Trips

It's not beach season yet (is there such a thing?) but it feels like this could be the first of many trips we take out to the beach this... uh... season...

That's not entirely correct of course. I've been out to Huntington Beach twice already this year - once to soak in some rays and the other time to run 26.2 miles.

But today, we're heading out to HB once more, bikes in tow, ready to catch some... rays? No, forecast calls for partly cloudy and in the mid-60s. While it won't be scorching hot out there or anything, we will enjoy ourselves. The only bad thing is Mrs. LB has to work (boo work!) so she won't partake in the day's activities.

Anyway, what can we expect out there? Well, here are some pictures of memorable beach visits.

What memories will we create today?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Coming Out Of It

What a blah week it's been. Actually, to follow up on Thursday's post, I slowly started to come out of my funk Thursday. Part of it was that I went and did some writing at a Barnes and Noble. I've been staying here to write for the longest time and I needed a change of pace. Another part of it was that I went out and got in a run. That's always beneficial. So hopefully I'll be able to continue splashing cold water on my face to get out of this funk completely.

Here's a hodgepodge of stuff to finish the week off with.

Week In Running Tweets

Since some/many of you aren't on Twitter (and I don't blame you; it can be a time toilet), here's some of the tweets from this week that stood out.

Real Runners (@runningquotes)

Do not wait until all the conditions are perfect for you to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.

All glory comes from daring to begin.

If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.

Hal Higdon (@higdonmarathon)

When you run long distances, your energy requirements increase. Refueling thus becomes the key to success.

Complex carbohydrates are best. Forget high-protein and low-carbohydrate diets. They simply don't work for endurance athletes.

Stopping at stoplights, does it make any difference whether you stop your watch or let it continue running? We often get hung up on numbers.

Resistance training is beneficial to runners. It may not produce increases in maximum oxygen uptake, but will improve muscle endurance.

Go out too fast and, ugh: You bonk! Pick the pace best for you and don’t set the bar so high that failure becomes inevitable.

Elevation charts make courses look hillier than they are. So does riding them in a car. Sometimes, we simply need to get out and run.

Mobile Blogging

I totally blogged from my BlackBerry on Thursday. I wrote my blog post on my phone, in an e-mail, then e-mailed it it. Have you set up your phone to do the same? It's really simple and allows you to send a full post from your phone. It's convenient and comes over just fine. You just put the blog title in the subject line and then type away.

Beach Trip Looming

I can't wait for Monday! Actually, I take that back. I'm going to enjoy my weekend and then on Monday I'm going to have some fun! I'm taking the girls to the beach on the first day of their spring break. I got a taste of it on Wednesday as I went down to the beach for a work thing. I was in Manhattan Beach, though, and not an OC beach, where I'll be Monday.

Still, the view was nice.

Yeah, not bad for early March. I'll have my camera with me on Monday and will take plenty of pictures so don't say I didn't warn you.

City Boy Now

I live in a city now and I didn't even have to move. Earlier this week, the people in the now-city I live in voted to incorporate. I actually voted against it - I didn't and don't think we have a whole lot of business and industry here able to sustain a city, but oh well. Still, I'm now living in the city of Jurupa Valley, which incidentally is the name of my alma mater. Jurupa Valley will officially become a city on July 1, so for now we're in a transition period.

Yeah, I'm gonna be officially a city boy.

I've only actually lived in a city for brief periods of my life. I was born in a city (Orange), spent my first five years in one (Santa Ana), lived briefly in one as a married man (Riverside) and that's about it. I grew up in Temecula before it gained cityhood and now this.

We'll see what happens. I suppose I've got to support it now that it passed. Who knows? Maybe a nice new city job awaits for yours truly. Yeah, I'm dreaming now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Three Things Thursday

1. Blahs Be Banished!: Not sure what it is but I've just been in a funk lately. It's not just with running either. Everything lately just seems so blah. It's been one giant blah-fest the last 10 days or so. I gotta snap out of it. I'm hoping spring break will do it for me. The girls are off next week and we're gonna go to Newport Beach (probably) to ride bikes on the bike path there. I suppose if that doesn't snap me out of it, I should get smacked.

2. Heel Pain: I haven't ran since Sunday. I'm going out on a run Thursday morning so hopefully things work out. What things? Aside from the blahs, my heel pain is coming back. I've limped around all week. My right heel kinda hurts, sometimes, and it wants to be coddled, all the times. I ran 37 miles last week, the most I've run since before October (not counting the week of Surf City). Last year, my heel hurt when I ran 35 miles or so a week. I fear 30 miles per week is about all my heel can handle. I used my new shoes on my 18-miler Sunday. I love new shoes but I really hope that they're broken in now. Maybe that contributed to the heel pain/discomfort.

3. High Mileage: My truck hit a milestone this week. My 2006 GMC Sierra now has 100,000 miles on it. I'm not all that thrilled about it, but oh well. I just hope this doesn't mean problems now. We bought the truck brand new, back in Dec. 05 and actually just paid it off last month. We've driven it to central Mexico (from Riverside to outside of Guadalajara with stops in Mazatlan on the way there and back) and to numerous trips to Lake Powell (on the border of Arizona and Utah). Aside from that, it's just been a lot of local driving. A lot of trips to preschool, school, soccer practices (both the girls' and the professional kind), grocery stores, parents' houses, etc. Let's just hope this truck stays in good shape for quite a few more years. Our other car is already paid off too so it will be nice not to have any car payments.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oh Those Mental Monsters

Why am I running 18 miles again?

The thought crossed my mind more than once Sunday. In the midst of an 18-mile training run for the Diamond Valley Lake Marathon, I had many rambling and sometimes negative thoughts.

What am I doing out here?

I could have stayed in bed.

You know, you don't really need to be doing this.

I'd like to say that I snapped out of it but I don't know that I did. And if I did come out of it, it wasn't via a snap but rather a bending followed by a twisting and then a yanking.

Those mental monsters reared their ugly heads on Sunday. I succumbed to them for about three miles. Having a fellow Loper running alongside me for the final 13 miles helped get me through to the finish. Otherwise, I probably would have called it a run at 17 and not felt great about myself.

Now, if you read my post on Monday, you might be thinking that my mental battles forced me to come home, ponder my marathon training and then write that post. Truth be told, I wrote that post more than a week ago and was just waiting for a time to post it. I updated it and slapped it on the blog on Monday morning.

I don't think this is a call for help or anything. I don't think I'm going to stop running, but I do think I've not been as strong mentally as I have been in the past. Not sure if I'm experiencing the dreaded post-marathon blues and they are manifesting themselves this way, Or maybe it's just some form of over-confidence and I'm not working as hard as I did before I ran a marathon.

Whatever it is, the mental monsters have slowly crept in during runs and even before I head out on my runs. Once I'm out running, I'm usually okay but I was seriously questioning myself on Sunday. I didn't have to sign up for April 9. I didn't have to run another marathon so soon. I didn't have to run another race so soon, period.

In the end, though, I felt (and feel) good about my decision to run Marathon No. 4 here soon. I want to get four under my belt and want to have five done this summer, the fifth being the San Francisco Marathon.

It's late, and you're rambling.

Um, yeah, sorry to do that. And the post started off so good too... Anyway, I'll end this rambling and incoherent soul-searching post by saying this:

I need a break! April 10 will be a major rest day for me. I have races in June so I won't sit for too long but my mind needs a break, if nothing else to bury those mental monsters.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Diminishing Marathon Returns?

I remember the first time I baked a bread.

I’d been craving some sweet potatoes something awful, but since Mrs. LB is not exactly a baker, I was left to fill that craving on my own. So I did and I made a fantastic loaf of Sweet Potato Bread. I was so excited. I showed it off to Mrs. LB and she was enthused (at least, she pretended to be enthused). I was still glowing a few days later when I made another loaf.

After awhile, though, it became less thrilling and more of an expectation. I wasn’t wondering what the bread would turn out like. I knew what it would turn out like and thus when it came out of the oven, I wasn’t saying “Yeah! Look what I did!” but rather “Looks good.” It was, and is, a much more subdued reaction.

The law of diminishing returns took effect. I mean, you can only draw from the well so many times before something loses its luster, right?

So far, that law has not affected my marathons but it has curtailed some of the excitement from my running feats.

The first time I ran outside? Nervous, but I did it! The last time I ran outside? My feet hurt, but you got it done.

The first time I ran 10 miles? Excited! What an accomplishment! The last time I ran 10 miles? Double digits, baby.

My first race? I can’t believe I’m doing this! Look at me, running a 5K! My last race? I can’t believe I’m doing this. I don’t like 5Ks, but eff it, let’s get a PR.

Will that happen with marathons? Will I change the way I think about my marathons? Well, how do I think about them now? Let’s see. I think they are the ultimate challenge for me, a true mental and physical test. I can’t hide anything during a marathon – either I’ve trained well and will rise to the challenge or I will crash and burn, probably shedding a few tears of embarrassment in the process. Finishing marathons, though, has been some the most thrilling, satisfying, rewarding moments of my life, period. And no matter what happens, nobody can ever take that away from me.

So… will those thoughts change?

I have this bad habit, see. When I do something or achieve something, it becomes like less of a fea. I didn’t have the greatest amounts of self-esteem growing up, so before if I were to, say, get an A on a test or in a class, to me it wouldn’t seem like that big of a deal because me getting an A meant the test or class was easy. How else would I get an A? If I can do it, then it’s not a big deal because I’m not special. That’s what I used to think like, but obviously that’s changed. Not everyone can drop 120 pounds, particularly with just eating right and exercising.

I suppose I do have that going for me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my weight loss. The law of diminishing returns hasn’t yet hit my weight loss.

I do fear, though, that if I run enough marathons that I will revert back to my old self and think “Big deal, another marathon.” And not only that, perhaps the joy of finishing one and having accomplished the task of running a marathon will be outweighed by the grueling training. It's one thing right now for me to be willing to sacrifice myself for so many Sundays in order to achieve that marathon glory, but what if at some point I'm no longer willing.

I don’t think that will happen.

I can’t imagine ever thinking of a marathon as just another distance.

But… what if?

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Milestone And More

Got a few tidbits here to pass along this splendid Friday.

Numero Cien

I have 100 followers! That's an awesome milestone. I started blogging in April 2008 as a way to keep tabs of my training ahead of my first-ever Camp Pendleton Mud Run, back in the infancy of my running days. I never imagined this would get me here to where I am now, a three-time marathoner and bona fide runner.

Anyway, thanks to Laurie of The (mis)Adventures of a Jogging Stroller Mom for the follow! If I had stuff to give away, I'd give her something (YOU! are our 100th follower!! *confetti falls*) but alas I don't.

Anyway anyway, thanks to everyone here for reading and following along my own adventures. I hope you gain something from my blog, whether you run or not.

Week In Tweets

Not all of you are on Twitter but that doesn't mean you can't learn or be entertained by it. I put together some of the tweets that I found amusing, entertaining or informative for your reading pleasure. (I'm @RunnerLuis by the way)

This one made me laugh.

@kjoto retweeted this she came across elsewhere - "Running shirt on the back said... If you see me collapse, please hit 'Pause' on my garmin."

Hal Higdon's top tweets

Marathon running continues to be a psychological, as well as physical, game.

Don't push yourself too hard the day after any long run. Go for a walk. Smell the flowers. Listen to the birds. Take a bike ride.

The marathon is each person’s horizontal Everest.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, that is the essence of being a long distance runner.

Road races are the seasoning that goes with a good salad. You need not race often, but occasional competition can motivate you to stay fit.

Yasso's Tweet

The best thing to happen on Twitter was getting a follow from Bart Yasso. Who is Bart Yasso? Glad you asked. His official title is CRO of Runner's World magazine - Chief Running Officer. Bart Yasso developed the Yasso 800 workout, which is widely used by marathoners everywhere. Basically, Bart Yasso is a respected running sage.

Now, whenever someone follows your Twitter account, you get an e-mail saying "So-and-so is no following you on Twitter." Well, I started following Bart Yasso and an hour or so later, I got an e-mail saying Bart Yasso was now following me. Exciting! So I tweeted:

"Thanks for the follow @BartYasso ! Um... I've run 3 marathons, including SF :) (I feel like I have to prove myself worthy of the follow)"

And he responded:

"You are more than worthy, keep on running strong."

How awesome is that??? Totally made my day. I haven't been running since that little exchange happened (I think I'd just gotten back from a run) but how's that for some motivation during runs? I can picture it now, me kinda doubting myself during a run, saying 'Dude, Bart Yasso told me to keep on running strong, you can't quit now.'



Earlier this week I wrote about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. You may or may not have heard of them. Actually, you may have heard them but not realized it was them.

Have you seen this commercial?

That's Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (at least the rock part of it). That's their song "Spread Your Love" which is off their self-titled first album. It's a pretty bad-ass song. I've run to it quite often.

That commercial, by the way, is for Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, which by the way was site of three free Black Rebel Motorcycle Club concerts last month. Guess who was really sad he couldn't be there?

Sad LB.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Heaven For A Runnerd

I am in Runnerd heaven.

Recently, blog/Twitter buddy Blanda (who lives/runs in Guam, how awesome is that?!?) recommended the best thing any runnerd could possibly ask for - a free app that tracks all of the statistics you could want for your runs.

Does it keep track of mileage? Check. Pace? Check. Time? Check. Routes? Check. Total miles for weeks/months/etc.? Check. Elevation? Check, check and check again.

The app is from miCoach and I've now got it on my BlackBerry but it's also available on the iPhone (not sure if it's free there). Seriously, who needs a Garmin when you have this handy?

Let me show you what's got me so over-the-moon with this.

Here's my Mt. Rubidoux run on Tuesday:

Notice: It keeps track of time, calories (although I take that with a grain of salt), distance, speed and elevation. It even keeps track of your freakin' playlist!! Check out part of what blared in my ears for that run (it's off the left). Amazing. Also, you can rate each run and log what shoes you wore during your runs under the notes section. But that's not all. See the little runner at the bottom there? If you move the icon, it will show you how much time had elapsed, how far you'd run, the elevation AND your pace at any point during the run. For instance...

... there I'd run a little more than a mile. I went up the steep side so I was huffing and puffing there near the top of Mt. Rubidoux, with a blazing 11:06 pace. Later...

... I was clocking in at an 8:16 pace. Hills, what goes up must come down.

But that's not all.

You want to know elevation during your runs? Done.

Hey now! Um... nice representation there of something. Anyway... that's my Mt. Rubidoux run in all its glory. This shows me that it's a little under 900 feet at the start, and around 1,300 feet at the top, which means an elevation change of 400 feet. That's in one mile if you go the steep side and over two miles the other way. Nice!

But that's not all. You want to see your pace in action?

Done. The gray line is how fast I was running, and on the right-hand side is where it tells you the pace by minute, faster paces are higher and slower paces are slower. So you can see how I don't hold any pace consistently. Well, you'd expect that when running hills. But look at this workout from Wednesday.

It's relatively flat, right. A few peaks and valleys... okay, one peak and one valley and that's about a 30-foot peak and 30-foot valley. This is the bike trail I've been taking my girls to ride on and I ran it on Wednesday. My pace is all over the place! I knew I sped up and slowed down throughout my runs but damn!

So you're probably wondering, well, if it's on my phone, am I holding the phone? And if not, how do I know how long I've been running? No, I'm not holding my phone. It's on my arm, but you can set it to tell you how far you've run. If you want to know every mile that you've run a mile, it can tell you that. Every .5 miles, every 1.5 or 2 miles, or you can customize it. If you want to know when you've run .25 miles, it will tell you at .25, .5, .75 and 1 and so on and so on. A voice will come on and tell you your distance, calories, time and pace every whatever. And I think you can set it for the voice to be that of Ryan Hall or one other star runner, or just a random male or female voice as I have.

I told you, Runnerd heaven here.

There are other things I have yet to explore, such as customizable training plans, that are part of this.

Now, maybe this is ho-hum if you have a Garmin 305 or the newer models, or another similar GPS tracking devise. But if you don't, like me who has an older 105, this is great. I've always thought it would be nice to have stats available at the ready online, and now I do.

Seriously, this makes me want to run just to have something to analyze!

*Again, neither miCoach nor Adidas paid me to do this or anything but dammit, I will be happy to receive some gear to test out if either sees fit :) *

Siete Cosas

I was tagged by Michael over at Slowly Tri-ing with a Stylish Blogger award. Thanks Michael! I'm a newer reader of hers but already I'm enjoying her blog quite a bit.


1. Make this a post and link back to the person who gave the award to you
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 5 great bloggers
4. Contact the bloggers and tell them they've won

Hmmm.... let me see, what seven things about me have I not shared?

1. I bite my nails. It's a bad habit that I've actually done well at curbing. When I was growing up, it was bad, to the point that I'd bite the skin on my fingers and I'd regularly make my fingers bleed.

2. I suppose the above bad habit is because I often feel like something should be in my mouth, like gum or mints or whatever. It used to be food, so I ate a lot and, well, we all saw where that got me. Lately I've been jamming Altoids in my mouth and that's worked out well.

3. I want to take a class on how to style hair. I want to learn how to French braid so I can do my girls' hair up all nice. The girls always look so nice when their hair is in a French braid and it would be nice if it was in one more often.

4. I don't like peanut butter. I also don't like a lot of "white" foods as Mrs. LB calls them: sour cream, mayonnaise, Alfredo sauce, ranch dressing, cream cheese. I know, I'm picky.

5. I prefer driving a stick shift but haven't had one since '05.

6. A car of mine was stolen in '98. It was recovered but completely stripped. I was devastated since it was my first car.

7. I shaved my head completely bald just once. I was maybe 19 when I did it. My mom got mad at me. I looked strange. I remember my hair being really short and I just went and got a razor and started shaving my head. I don't know that I'd do it again. I'd probably still look strange.

Alright, well, there you go. Thanks to Michael for tagging me. I'm supposed to tag some peeps bit instead will offer this along to anyone who wants to try on their own.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Recap

I shamelessly stole this from one of my favorite blogs, Caution: Redhead Running.

Here's how my month shaped up:

February Recap/Stats

Miles Ran: 113

Highest Mileage Week: 41

Long Runs Ran - 3 (26.2, 12, 12)

Favorite run: I had a great 12-miler one week after my marathon. I had planned to do eight but went for 12 and was really encouraged by how I felt afterward.

Least Favorite run: An 8-miler on 2/20. Had planned for 12-14 in the a.m., couldn't run it then, had to do it in afternoon and just felt like crap all the way through.

Most hardcore run: Mt. Rubidoux. I only ran that once but I have a feeling it's going to be a regular thing

Race(s): Feb. 6 - Surf City Marathon (!) new PR (!) of 4:23:38 (!!!!!!)
Feb. 19 - Fountain Valley 5K - 21:50 (!)

Current Reads: I checked out The Hobbit from the library. Can you believe I've never read that?

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: FIFA 11 on the Wii.

Current Obsessions: See above.

Current Drink: Water.

Current Song: Even though I posted another song of theirs yesterday... Conscience Killer by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Current Wish-List: Running shoes (yes, I know I just got a new pair but I'd love to have two new pairs and alternate them)

Current Need: To find my headphones. I just bought a pair, but my Yurbuds on them, used them once and now I can't find them. Grrr!!

Current Triumph: Running my third marathon. A close second is helping Yvie learn to ride her bike.

Current Bane of my Existence: Food. I've done better to curb my desire of food but it's a daily battle. Some days I win, some days I don't.

Current Goal: To run 18 on Sunday and 22 on 3/20 in preparation for Diamond Valley Lake Marathon, April 9.

Current Indulgence: Stupid Wii.

Current Blessings: Their names are Yvonne and Kennedy and I am forever blessed to be their dad.

Current Excitement: Spring Break, no school March 13-18. Now that Yvie can ride a bike, I foresee a trip to the beach and the LB clan riding bikes along the beach path.