Sunday, August 28, 2011

Best Week Of The Year

Is it a stretch to call this the best week of 2011 for me? Well, maybe the best week that did not involve a race, how's that? The best training week of the year.

I can't remember a better week.

First, the stats

Distances
Mon - 10.07
Tue - 3.38
Wed - 6
Thu - 8.15
Fri - 6.05
Sat - 4.17
Sun - 3

Mileage for week: 40.82

That's seven runs in seven days. My total run streak is up to 13 consecutive days. And this is my highest-mileage week in months. I usually get close to 40 during January because A) I'm running 13, 15, 18 miles on Sundays and B) I'm refereeing HS soccer games and count the mileage. But this might be my highest mileage week ever of just straight runs, excluding the mileage I get from reffing soccer games.

How am I holding up? Physically, fine. I did feel some heel discomfort on Saturday morning, briefly, but I think that's because I ran eight hilly miles on Thursday and my heels don't like the hills so much.

I'm hoping to extend the streak for another seven days and get up to 20 so hopefully next Sunday I will be able to reflect on that. I don't see any reason why I can't keep going to be honest.

It's really, really hot right now. I was planning 10-12 on Monday but the weather is supposed to be ridiculous on Monday morning. I can't start until about 8 and the forecast for 8 on Monday is 78 and sunny, and it's supposed to be 86 degrees by 10, so I'm not sure a long run will fly on Monday. Might just go for 6-8 or I might get adventurous and split up the mileage, run 6-8 in the morning and do 4-6 in the evening. Oh yeah! Maybe I'll throw in some two-a-days here for kicks.

Regardless, it's been a great week and I really do feel like my legs are getting stronger. Days like the ones I've had are causing a snowball effect. The better I run, the more confidence I gain, the more confidence I gain, the more I want to run. I'm completely embracing this and am glad and grateful that I have the ability to run, both physically and with my job. Believe me, I don't take anything for granted. A month ago I wasn't running jack, and now this.

It truly has been the best training week of the year.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hilly Run, Streak Lives



It's a streak now, a bone fide streak.

Ten days of running and counting. I made it to 10 on Thursday after knocking out 8.15 miles in 1:22:39. It was quite warm during my run but that wasn't the toughest part of the run.

Check out the elevation:

This is a run I've been wanting to do for a while but haven't been able to. Just wasn't trained properly enough to do it.

As you can see it's quite hilly. I started at my house and ran straight up a street that takes us over a hill and into a neighboring county. Over the hill, I usually turn around and come back but that would have only gotten me six so I ran a little more on the other side of the hill and then came back. So that's the same peak that I ran over and back.

The crazy part (since this is the first I've ran this with my micoach app, all of these stats are new to me):

at .75 mile the elevation was 942 ft.
at 2.1 miles the elevation was 1289 ft.

That's a gain of 347 feet in 1.35 miles. It took me a little more than 14 minutes to run that stretch. Now, that's the tough part, right? Well, on the way back you drop that much, 347 feet down, in 1.35 miles, so you can go pretty fast for that stretch.

Crazy stat from the way back.

Mile 5.25 - 1060 ft
Mile 5.94 - 1289 ft

That's an elevation gain of 229 feet in less than three-quarters of a mile.

Now, this hill I ran a lot when I was training for San Francisco. This and the one I ran last week were the two hills I used to train for the hills of San Fran. It worked obviously since I ran that in 4:37:51, besting my then-PR by about five minutes.

So the streak continues and it lives on after a tough run. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Awesome Running Days

I just finished a run that's got me so amped that I wanted to share it here.

You know how in the summer I wasn't running nearly enough? (yes, I know it's still summer but the girls are back to school now so bear with me)

Well, since the girls went back to school I've had more time to do more things, including running. I just ran six miles and it's the ninth consecutive day I've gone on a run.

This run was particularly grand. I've been wanting to get my legs back and I think this week I've taken some major steps towards doing just that. On Monday I ran 10 miles and today I ran six miles in 53:45. That's at a sub-9 minute pace.

Here are my splits

Mile 1 - 9:16
Mile 2 - 8:54
Mile 3 - 8:48
Mile 4 - 8:54
Mile 5 - 8:55
Mile 6 - 8:56

It was just a run that started out sort of leisurely but my legs felt good, felt strong and I just went with that. I ran the first mile in 9:16 and wondered if that was too fast and was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to hold that pace but as the miles went on, I got stronger and felt strong throughout. I think after four miles I felt a little spent but I pushed through that and had some nice bursts of speed in the last two miles, including the last quarter-mile or so, which was uphill.

These are the kinds of runs that motivate me to keep running, that drive me to pursue and the ones that I'll remember for days and weeks and months.

I'm so grateful I was able to experience that and that I now have the time to commit to running. And that's why I didn't sweat the summer too much. I enjoyed my time with the girls and now I'm enjoying my time and making the most of it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tree Tings Tuesday

I know, it ain't quite Thursday yet but I felt like banging out a few things now and I can't change the calendar so I improvise.

1. LB The Speaker: I volunteered, they accepted. Before the start of the Loper season, I volunteered to speak in one of our meetings. We meet for 30 minutes before each of our Sunday runs and the topic varies. I offered up my services to talk about motivation. By sharing my story I hope to motivate fellow Lopers to get through their long runs and overcome whatever challenges they may face. On Nov. 27 I will have the chance to share my story with the Lopers. I actually already have, as I gave a speech at the 2010 Loper Banquet. That was one of the highlights of my life, to be honest. I still get chills thinking about the standing ovation I received. I mean, honestly, how many times in your life are you going to get a standing ovation? And it was heart-felt, not a token standing o. I'd wanted to give the talk sooner but late November will work well also. We'll be on the cusp of knocking out long run after long run at that point, plus the holidays are always a time where a little extra motivation is needed. A while to go before then but it's been finalized. And this time, unlike my speech, I will record it and share it here for you all to see.

2. Cluster Eff: Yvie said this to her mom on Sunday: "Sometimes my room is a Charlie Foxtrot." This is very true, her room sometimes is pretty bad. I think it's hilarious though since she used the term perfectly. I told her a while back... "Yvie, if there's ever a situation where something is like a gigantic disaster and it seems like everything is going wrong, you can used the term 'Charlie Foxtrot' to describe it." Nice to know she listens!

3. Not Rockin' Out: I sacrifice a lot for my girls, including music. I've burned several musical soundtracks and the girls have enjoyed them quite a bit. Commonly found in our CD player: Annie, Sound of Music, West Side Story, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. I'm thinking of burning Phantom of the Opera and throwing that into the mix. I don't have Oklahoma but that might be another one. Any other suggestions? I know I'm digging a hole though with each new musical I introduce them to but oh well. Mrs. LB is big into musicals and she wanted the girls to enjoy them as well. I guess I'm doing my part, despite how much my ears suffer.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pace Leader Challenges

LB, the Pace Leader.

It's official. I led my first run as a bone fide pace leader on Sunday. Two miles!

And it wasn't great.

Sigh.

Now, the group of runners assembled was fantastic. There seems to be a great mix of first-timers and veterans and we will have other runners join our group here as the weeks go on. My fellow pace leader was also great and offered a lot of info to the runners and was strong in her part during the run.

But the run itself was a bit of a disaster. Pace leaders are supposed to lead (duh) but I had runners get in front of me for a lot of the run. That threw off the pace and the run was way faster than it should have been.

I'm trying not to get too disheartened by it and even though I tried to get over it on Sunday, I suppose some feelings still linger about it. I'm guessing though that the only way to get past that will be to redeem myself next weekend.

After our run, we had more time to get together and talk as a group, so we did introductions and we had the runners all say their names and how many marathons they've run or what kinds of runs/races they've done recently if they hadn't done a marathon. We have runners who have done 0 marathons, 1 marathon, 2 marathons... all the way up to someone with 58 marathons. I didn't count exactly but I think about half of the 20 or so runners there were first-timers.

Of course my goal will be to keep them all there, all engaged, all motivated to run and of course pace them through runs.

Anyway, before we did introductions I told the group that that run was WAY too fast, that it was my fault for that. I also talked to them about staying behind the pace leader. I am going to have to hammer that point until they get it, and keep reeling them back when it happens. It will happen, of course. It's just natural.... one runner gets a head of steam, wants to stretch their legs and gets in front of the pace leader. That only draws the leader forward though and if it happens too much or for too long it will speed up the group.

So, I suppose that if that's my biggest headache at the start, it can't all be too bad.

And I really did enjoy meeting all the new runners and all the potential marathoners in our group. I know how grandiose and glorious it is to run a marathon and I would love nothing more than to help these runners experience that for themselves.

Oh, one more thing. I made it out Monday for a 10-miler. I worked on my pacing. Not bad, huh?

Mile 1 - 10:03
Mile 2 - 9:50
Mile 3- 9:58
Mile 4 - 10:04
Mile 5 - 10:24 (ah! my phone rang!)
Mile 6 - 9:50
Mile 7 - 9:52
Mile 8 - 9:52
Mile 9 - 9:43
Mile 10 - 9:30

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pacing Others

On Sunday, my incredible fitness adventure will take me on yet another once-unimaginable turn as my pace leader duties will begin in earnest.

Along with a fellow marathoner, I will pace the Loma Linda Lopers' 10-minute-per-mile pace group. This new part of my fitness journey will be challenging. Now, I've conquered so much from then until now that this might seem like just another challenge to overcome. However, this will add a new wrinkle - it's not all about fitness anymore.

I have to lead people. That requires being a leader of people. Which requires leadership qualities.

In some ways I think I'm more of a lead-by-example person. But this is an undertaking that will require more than that. I don't necessarily think it's an impossible task but it's one that will take me a bit to get the hang of.

I do after all have some fears about this whole pace-leading thing.

Such as...

* The Right Balance: If this group is anything like the other groups I've been in with the Lopers, we will have veteran marathoners and runners who have not run more than 5-6 miles. Finding a balance between the two groups of runners within the group could pose a challenge.

* Pacing Myself: I fear that I will either take the group out way too fast or way too slow. I'm not a speedburner by any means but sometimes I run in the 8-minute range, and sometimes I run in the low 9s. In fact, my comfortable pace is in the low to mid 9s. So an excited LB means a sped-up LB which could mean running closer to 9 minutes per mile than 10.

* Speaking Up: If you've ever talked to me in person, you know that I don't have a loud booming voice. I wish I did sometimes. I have to consciously project my voice when trying to talk to a group of people. If I just talk loud, it may not be loud enough.

* Guru? Hardly: I want to show the group that I am capable of being a pace leader by sharing things I've learned since I've taken up running. But I don't want to come across as a know-it-all.

* Finishing Strong: When I was training for my last marathon, in April, I struggled with finishing my long runs up strong - by long, I mean my 18- and 20-mile runs. For my 18-miler, I was done at about 15. We've got some time until we hit double digits, let alone 15, so I have time to work on this.

I'm sure there are more areas that I've worried about and pondered over but I can't think of them now. Hopefully I just put them out of my mind for good and that's that. But this list is just some of what I will try and focus on and improve over the course of my life as pace leader.

Now, my co-pace leader is an awesome runner, faster and stronger than me but we're both very dedicated and optimistic. We are on the same page in terms of what we want the group to be like and what we want our focus to be. We want our group members to have smiles on their faces after each and every run, and we want to focus on finishing runs, hopefully strong, instead of focusing on our time. Sure, we want to keep it as close to 10 minutes per mile as possible but we're not going to obsess over it either.

Anyway, with my co-pace leader around I think we'll have a strong group before too long. I just have to sort through my own challenges first and go from there.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Run That Won

Thursday's final score: Mt. Rubidoux 1, LB 0.

Thursday's run was a bit taxing. Not sure if it was the weather (sunny, high 70s at start) or maybe improper nutrition (I had cereal for dinner on Wednesday, sad face). Or maybe I just over-exerted myself (but I had a good reason to do so, trust me). Or maybe I am still reeling from Saturday's hike (my legs feel fine now but still...).

I ran up Mt. Rubidoux. Instead of the usual four miles it takes to get up there, my journey was five since I have to park a little further away now.

Anyway, here's what the run looked like.

All those peaks and valleys suggest that I was really all over the place with my pace. The higher the line, the faster my pace. I was up and down and up and down and very inconsistent.

How does that compare with another run?

Here's Tuesday's six-miler.

It was a bit more steady, but it wasn't on a hill at all.

This is what the elevation was for today's run.

So I went from 789 feet at the start to 1299 feet, a change of more than 500 feet in about 2.5 miles.

I tried to do the run hard too, and that may have been my problem as well. Once at the top I had to take a break. I was breathing very hard and the sun was just shining down on me. Once I got back to my truck, I was dripping in sweat. I drank an entire bottled water in one drink, then pounded another one.

All in all, a pretty draining run.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hike Up Mt. San G - Bad Idea

I don't know what I was thinking.

I'd never been hiking, really, nothing like the hike I attempted Saturday. For my first real hike, I chose to hike up the highest peak in Southern California, all told a 20-mile hike.

Dumb idea. Actually, it wasn't my idea as my overachieving brother talked me into it. Looking back on it, it would have been better to have done a shorter hike to get acclimated to hiking and then work our way up to the monster hike we attempted Saturday.

I'll try to keep this blog post short but here goes...

My three brothers and I got up to the trailhead at about 5:45 a.m. on Saturday and about 20 minutes later we set off on our quest. If I'd have known then what I know now, I would have turned around or told Danny that I was only going up 4-5 miles. Ah well.

Now, we started off at about 6,000 feet elevation and were supposed to gain about 5,500 feet over the course of 10 miles. The first mile seemed like it was just one constant uphill and it kept climbing and climbing. There were few parts where the path leveled out, mostly it was just going up and up and up.


I felt fine the first mile, the second mile, the third.... I was doing great by the time we got to eight miles. We still weren't quite sure if there were two more miles to go after eight miles or not, we'd hoped it was more like one mile remaining, but we had energy and were hoping to get to the top soon.

I could tell I was in some high altitude here. I'd take a few steps and I was feeling short of breath. That feeling got worse, became more amplified when we got higher than the tree line.

Yeah, this kind of was a bit unsettling. I was at such a high elevation that trees couldn't grow there. The only things around me were rocks... rocks big enough you could sit on, rocks that fit in your hand and rocks that resembled thick sand.

Me and my brother Hugo, about 20 minutes before reaching the top.

At this point, we'd gone for more than nine miles but every step was difficult and more challenging than the last. The air was thin and our bodies felt it. We'd been at it for well over six hours at this point and all I wanted to do was to get to the top. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I was at the summit. It was an open area and there were maybe two dozen other hikers up there. Danny had gotten there first so we found a spot to sit in, waited for our other brothers and celebrated our achievement by eating sandwiches.

A friend wanted some of my sammie:


Now, I was so tired once at the top that I took my shoes off and, after downing one of the best sandwiches I've had in my life, I laid down somehow, found a sort-of comfortable spot and rested. And slept. For probably 15 minutes, I slept on the top of the highest peak in Southern California.

After about an hour, were rested and recovered enough to attempt to start our long journey down. But not before posing for a rare family photo.

The Bueno men

We were feeling refreshed and hopeful that we could get down to the bottom in about four hours. But the thin air tried to hold me back, and it did. My three bros seemed to have more energy than I did as my steps were slow, my breathing labored. We were making good time though and stopped at around the two-mile mark. I was parched, drank a lot of water and after about a quarter-hour we were off again.

My knee was starting to speak up.

A few more miles later and were bound to beat our goal time of reaching the bottom before 6 p.m. But my knee wouldn't shut up.

Eventually, my knee was screaming and I couldn't ignore it any more. I grabbed a long thick stick and used it as a crutch. I tried to balance myself with it in order to help shuffle my leg down the path as it hurt when I put any weight on it. Had I known beforehand how beneficial it would have been to have a hiking pole, I would have bought two and taken them with me. Instead, I was relying on a stick.

I had slowed to a crawl. My knee was in agonizing pain and I was barely moving. I had no idea where I was and no idea how much longer it was going to take.

Eventually, though, my knee started to feel better. Perhaps taking off some of the pressure from my leg helped as I was able to walk semi-normally.

After about five hours, I finally made it down to the bottom. Part of me was happy that I had done the hike but most of me was disappointed that I had attempted it in the first place. It took us a few hours longer than we had planned for, so of course our families were worried. With no cell coverage and some dead cell phones, they feared the worst while we had no way to quell those fears.

Ultimately, the hike was too long to have attempted. But we did it and came out relatively unscathed so it was a difficult learning experience but sometimes those are necessary in order for us to progress.

I'm not opposed to hiking but I do want to be much more prepared next time, with hiking poles in tow and attempting a much less demanding outing than the one that slapped us around on Saturday.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Big Pair Of Days

The next two days will be memorable. I hope I can survive to tell you the tales of each respective day.

SATURDAY

I'm heading on my first hike. Well, it will be my first official hike. I've hiked across Disneyland dozens of times but not sure that counts. I'm going with my brothers to hike up the highest peak in Southern California, Mount San Gorgonio, which is 11,530 feet above sea level. Nothing to sneeze at, is it? According to some Web sites I've seen, the trail we're taking - the Vivian Creek Trail - is a demanding trail that features a 5,600-foot elevation gain, which mean's we'll be starting around the 6,000-foot mark.

I've never been on a real hiking excursion like this but my brother Danny has. I'm putting my faith in him. I figure I can run pretty good so my legs should be up for such a difficult hike as this. My only concern right now is what to wear. Being the runner I am, I'm probably going to end up hiking in my running clothes. Well, shorts for certain. We'll see about the shirt. Danny's provided me with a list of provisions to take so I should be good on that end too.

It's supposed to take us 10-12 hours to do the whole hike, from bottom to top to bottom. We're leaving my house at 5 a.m. to get up there so we can start the hike around 6 a.m. or so, hopefully earlier. I'm used to getting up early and going on long runs so this will be a bit of a change of pace, getting up early to go on a hike. However it goes I'll make sure and let you know all about it.

SUNDAY

The Lopers season starts on Sunday! I'm going to assume my official role as pace leader. Okay, well, that will mean that I will help out with the newcomers, so I wont' actually have a group to lead on Sunday, although once everything is said and done on that day we will put people into groups so I could have a list of runners that day. But then, I think I remember last year having the choice to join a group... ah, I don't know what I'm talking about.

I guess the bottom line is that I will be the 10-minute pace leader for real on Sunday, so I'll be able to introduce myself as that come Sunday. It will be interesting once the actual running part of the season starts on the 21st. I actually wanted to explore my thoughts regarding myself and being a pace leader and my hopes, desires, fears, etc. are before taking on this new challenge in my life.

For now, though, I will be content with helping out on Sunday however I can as a bona fide pace leader.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Birthday Goodies

Since I started running in 2008, I've been an Asics man. Not sure what made me choose that brand in the first place but I did and I had success with my first pair that I opted to make my second pair an Asics... and my third pair... and my fourth pair... I probably should have had more than four pairs of shoes in that span but let's save that for another day.

Anyway, being as it was my Geburtstag/cumpleaƱos/birthday on Tuesday, Mrs. LB took me to the local running store and I splurged and got me some new shoes.

What do you think?

Daddy got a new pair of shoes!

They're the Adrenaline GTS 11 model, which apparently is popular. What I liked about them was that they felt very light on my feet. The Asics I've had haven't felt heavy or anything but these shoes made my current pair feel like bricks by comparison. I'm excited to try them out... as early as today!

The shoes were awesome but I didn't stop there. I also got me...

so comfy

I splurged and got me a good pair of running shorts. Not that the pairs I have now aren't good but these... wow. They made me feel like a runner just by putting them on. I tried them on at the store and I felt like going on a run right then and there. They have built-in underwear, the longer kind that I prefer, so that will help out a great deal.

But I also bought...

where the magic happens

... some of the long pair of underwear I prefer. Sorry but I can't model them for you. Well I suppose I could but not sure how that'd go over with my readers.

I have now six pairs of running/workout underwear. I like them because they hold everything together comfortably and prevent chafing, two good qualities to have in workout underwear.

Ah, but that's not all. I also got me some of these:

sock it to me

This would be known as a 10-dollar pair of socks. I could have paid like two bucks more and gotten six pairs of Adidas socks at Costco but I've been wanting another pair of socks like these. I have a similar pair of socks that I bought for nine bucks a while back and those are really good and comfy socks. Hoping for the same from these.

And finally I nabbed some of these on the way out:

GU times six

A good supply of GU. It's funny - I swear by GU but I've not tried four of these... or is it three? I've tried the orange and lemon ones - love the lemon the best, it's my favorite flavor - and I think I may have tried the chocolate one at some point. Haven't ever seen the blackberry so am interested in trying it out. Also, Mrs. LB grabbed the Roctane and threw them in as well. The guy checking me out... the guy at the counter... you know what I mean... anyway, that guy said to ease into the Roctane as they are like an ultra GU or something.

"Ultra? Hear that? Your favorite word," I told Mrs. LB.

Ultra... dem's fightin' words 'round here. I bring up and ultra-marathon and Mrs. LB instantly shoots it down. But she did say something new on Tuesday. If I can get to the point where I run marathons and... how did she put it?... "I'm not worried about whether you can walk back to the car or hotel without collapsing" then she would be open to me running an ultra.

Woo hoo! Just another reason to train harder now that the Loper season is upon me.

And with all my awesome new running gear I got for my 3_th... (or is it 3_st) birthday, I'm gonna do so with pleasure!




Full disclosure, I turned 36 on Tuesday. I am washed up :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time Will Soon Be Back On My Side

I'd like to think my blog reflects my life. What goes on in my life is right here for everyone to see.

More than just in words, though, that has been true of late.

Posting has been sporadic of late.

Part of that has to do with my lack of runs - tough to blog about running stuff when you haven't been running. But part of that has to do with the reason why I haven't been running - lack of time.

School will start on Tuesday however, and that's going to free me up for the whole day now as Kennedy starts first grade. Now, that doesn't mean I'm going to have a party from 8-2:30 every day. There are a lot of things that will require my attention on a daily/weekly basis. But I will be able to fit some things into my schedule a bit easier starting on Tuesday. Well, actually Wednesday. On Tuesday - which is also my birthday (!) - Mrs. LB and I will spend some time relaxing - out for breakfast, perhaps a movie, possibly pedicures... yeah, pedicures... but I digress...

Anyway, one of those things that I will be able to fit into my schedule is blogging. Yay for blogging!

I like to just sit down sometimes and craft blog pieces. Usually that's at a time when I'm alone and I'm feeling it, I can write a good blog post or three. I like to spend time at Panera, drinking coffee, writing about whatever... sometimes it's work-related, sometimes it's for the blog, often times it's alternating between one and the other. I tend to write best when I just have an open-ended time period ahead of me... well, I take that back, sort of. I can put out a lot of copy when right up against the deadline and that's when I'm the most efficient writer but in terms of the content, the better stuff comes up when I'm not under any pressure, relaxing, drinking coffee...

I hope that happens often in the days/weeks/months to come.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Post About Nothing

I hadn't planned on writing a blog post today. I mean, I didn't run on Tuesday and it will be tough to fit in a run today. But I have time to blog right now and figured I'd take advantage of it this way.

What to write about.... Oh, I know. Recently there was a thing going around blogs where bloggers revealed seven random facts about themselves. I'll go ahead and do that now. I'll reveal some things about myself and hope that doesn't chase you away from this blog :)

1. Hatin' On The White: I don't know what it is but there are a lot of "white" things I don't like. I'm talkin' food here, people :) Anyway, in no particular order, some things that I just don't really care for at all - Alfredo sauce, cream cheese, ranch dressing, mayonnaise, sour cream... and I'm sure I missed another thing or three.

I don't know what it is that makes me not like those things. Alfredo sauce is the best way to ruin pasta for me. I can't have any sort of creamy sauce in my pasta. It has to be tomato-based or like an oil-based thing or otherwise, forget it. I do like cheesecake and a few other things with cream cheese in it but I put butter on my bagels, not the Philly spread. I guess aside from my wife I just don't do white ;)

2. That One Guy...: I'm horrible with names in movies. Like, if I'm watching a movie I can't pick up on characters' names. It makes it really confusing when in the middle of the movie they start to refer to other characters who are off-screen by their first names. I can't keep things straight sometimes that way and it bugs me because I can easily get lost. I always have to lean over to my wife and ask "Are they talking about Leonardo DiCaprio's character?" or some crap like that.

3. Permanent Siesta: If I didn't care about my family and my wife's family as much as I do, I would seriously try and move Mrs. LB and the girls down to some tiny Caribbean beach town. I'm not even joking. I've been to the Caribbean once, to Trinidad & Tobago, in 2001 for three weeks and it was really awesome. I only went to the beach once while there but it was something else. I picture life there or in Jamaica or St. Kitts or the Virgin Islands or wherever to be stress-free. Who cares about the world when my own world is paradise. I know it wouldn't be like that every day but I'd like to find that out for myself.

4. Travels: So the countries I've visited, in order of the most time I've spent in each foreign land, are: Mexico, Japan, Trinidad & Tobago, Germany, Costa Rica, Canada, France. The next new foreign country I'll visit will be.... dunno. I'm putting my money on Honduras. See, I write about soccer for a living and there's a lot of soccer in Honduras and soccer has taken me to Japan, Trinidad and Costa Rica (and Mexico a couple of times) so I'm guessing Honduras is next. Just a guess.

5. Domestic Travels: So the states I've visited, in no particular order... okay, maybe geographically from West to East... : California (duh), Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois. I had a three-hour layover at the Miami airport once but I can't count that as having visited Florida. Boo.

6. Tentative: I'd like to teach. Wow. That's actually progress from my stance on the profession. I was a teacher once, for six months back in 2003-04. Professionally, it was the most horrible six-month stretch of my life. It was a disaster and ruined my hopes of becoming an effective teacher. I think I'm a bit removed from that time though and now I might be ready to consider teaching again. The situation was tough for me - inner-city kids, a community I was unfamiliar with, a long commute. I think if it was closer to home, it could be different. But it might not be. And it's not the best time to try and become a teacher here in SoCal. For now, I'll just stick to writing for a living and volunteering in the girls' classes. I might get back into substitute teaching here soon. That alone might make me *not* want to teach.

7. Tatted-Up: I have two tattoos, on my left calf and on my back. I want to get some Japanese Kandji on my forearms but Mrs. LB has protested that thought. I'm trying to get her on my side for those. I'd also like to get my daughters' names tattooed on me but not sure where. And I'd like to get a tattoo on my right calf to reflect my marathons and my running, something with a 26.2 and... well, a buddy of mine sort of designed something, with a 26.2 surrounded by flames, bursting through a finish-line tape and I'd put a small star on the tape for each marathon I've run. Does that make sense? That sounds pretty awesome but I have to see if he has that design handy and then we can work on it or something. That may very well be my next tattoo.

Okay, there you go. Seven random things from me. Hope it doesn't scare you away :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back In The Swing Of Things

Finally.

It only took eight days but finally I was able to run. I knocked out a six-miler on Monday. It wasn't exactly the distance I had planned for but I just couldn't stop at four, and then when I got closer to five I figured to just go for six. I wound up running for one hour and managed to get in 6.27 miles.

It was a bit liberating to just get on the treadmill and run. Yes, the 'mill. The only way to have gotten that run in was at the gym so I took my girls there, paid the six bucks it costs for the kids club and then hopped on the 'mill.

I felt good. My legs felt a bit heavy and I didn't feel quite as smooth as I normally do but I figured I'd have some setbacks. But they weren't major setbacks, just minor stuff.

I don't want to get ahead of myself and plan things but I do think that I will run again either Tuesday or Wednesday and then Thursday for sure. The girls are staying the night at their grandma's on Wednesday night so I will have a bit of time early Thursday morning. I may try and head out at 6 a.m. and will play it by ear and see how I'm feeling and just run.

Once school starts, I know I will increase my miles substantially so between now and then I just want to spend the time transitioning and getting back into the rhythm of things.

It's nice to feel like I will get into a rhythm here soon enough.