Wednesday, March 28, 2012

From 5K To Half: An LB Plan

I was recently asked on Twitter about how to go from running 5Ks to running half marathons and eventually full marathons. I can't exactly give a great deal of advice with just 140 characters so I will write up a blog post for all to read.

Running 5Ks is a great start to long-distance running. I would guess that most marathoners' first race was a 5K.

A 5K requires some running, not a whole lot, but some. 5Ks are mostly about speed and not about endurance or being able to finish them. So that's the part you need to work on the most if you want to go from 5Ks to half marathons and then to full marathons - endurance.

Now, let me tell you quickly how I went from shorter distances to a half marathon. I didn't do it the smart way. I was running mostly 3- to 4-mile runs before my first 5K, probably running like 2-3 times a week. Afterward, I amped up my mileage to about six miles at the most. I kept running 2-3 times a week. To train for my first half, I ran one 8-mile run, a 10-mile run and a 12-mile run. That was about it as far as the long runs go. Needless to say, I finished my first half with a slow time and, worse, I felt horrible afterward.

So, the smart thing would be to follow something like this: run 2-3 times during the week (Monday through Saturday) and then set aside Sundays for long(er) runs. They won't be long at first but eventually they will be. I'd suggest trying to build up to a base of around 20 miles a week. So how does a typical early week start then?

Mon: 3
Tue: rest (cross train)
Wed: 4
Thu: 3-4
Fri: 4
Sat: rest (cross train)
Sun: 5-plus

So that's 19-20 miles a week. All distances are manageable if you've been running 5Ks. I would suggest that that would be a good starting point to get into training for a half marathon, so if you aren't there yet, train to get there and then go from there.

Now, you will want to build up your miles every Sunday so I would add a mile every Sunday until you get to 10. In six weeks you can go from that weekly plan above to running a 10-mile run. Increase Sundays to 6, 6-7, 8, 8, 9, 10. Once you can run 10 miles, I would suggest running the following Sunday long runs:

10, 10, 11, 12, 12, 13

So that would be another six weeks on top of the time it took you to get from the starting spot to 10 miles. Your weekly long runs and your weekly mileage then would look like this:

Base: long run 5; 19-20 week
Week 1: 6; 20
Week 2: 7; 21
Week 3: 8; 22
Week 4: 8; 22
Week 5: 9; 23
Week 6: 10; 24
Week 7: 10; 25
Week 8: 11; 27
Week 9: 12; 27
Week 10: 12; 28
Week 11: 13; 28
Week 12: 10; 25
Week 13: half marathon; 23

That's a reasonable plan to get into half marathons. It's not overwhelming with the weekly mileage and allows you enough time to go from running 5Ks to running double-digit miles. One quick note, the rule of thumb to increasing weekly mileage is that you don't want to increase it by more than 10 percent, so going from 25 miles one week to 35 the next is not recommended because it could leave you susceptible to injury.

I will also say to mix up the midweek runs. Do some 5-6 milers, particularly once you are running 10 miles. You can run, for instance...

Mon - 2
Tue - rest
Wed - 6
Thu - 3
Fri - 5
Sat - rest
Sun - 12

Now, I fear this post will get a bit long so I will save the second part of it for later but going from half marathons to full marathons requires more than just increasing mileage from week to week. That's a more solid commitment and takes motivation and dedication. But it is not impossible. Nothing about running marathons is impossible, no matter how much it seems like it is.

Anyway, hope that took care of the first part of the answer. I will be back soon for the second part.

My Next Marathon?

Not two weeks have passed since I ran the LA Marathon and I'm already pondering Marathon No. 6.

Well, initially Marathon No. 6 was going to be the San Francisco Marathon. But I left the door open to run another marathon between LA and San Francisco, and I'm seriously contemplating walking through that door and signing up for another 26.2.

The OC Marathon is on my mind. It's on May 6 and I think I am in strong enough shape, both physically and mentally to take the marathon challenge head on once more.

One of my big goals for LA was to get through the marathon with more mental strength than I'd shown in my first four marathons. Now, I'm not going to tell you that the finish was not difficult. Mile 23 was long and Mile 24 was a challenge. I ran the last mile with a stabbing pain in my side and it took all of my will and my strength to keep going. But I kept going. I got past those challenges and really, I didn't have to knock down too many mental barriers. In other races I've succumbed to a weakening mental capacity but this time I never had to deal with that. I was strong throughout.

So I have confidence now that I can be strong for another race so soon. There are seven weeks between the two marathons, which isn't a super-quick turnaround but a quick one nevertheless. I will have enough time to take about two weeks to recover and transition back into training, which is good; then will have two weeks to log some training miles, cap that off with a 20-mile run, then three weeks to taper.

It will actually be more of a two-week taper since I have a half marathon to run on April 22, two weeks before the OC Marathon.

Anyway, I'm going to consider this a bit more but I've given myself until Friday to decide for sure. Prices go up from $100 to $110 for the full and I don't want to pay more than $100 for the OC Marathon.

Right now I'm about 70-30 in favor of running it but I want to be 100-0 before I decide. Perhaps by Friday I will have won over the final 30 percent from the no-go side.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

LA Marathon: Afterthoughts

Well, it's been a few days now since I ran the LA Marathon. Guess I should write some of my thoughts on the whole event as I reflect on it now from a distance.

My Race

I'm still quite proud of how I ran the race. I didn't meet either of my time goals but I'm still happy nevertheless. I set a PR and even though I only beat my previous best by 26 seconds, as a friend said to me after the race - a PR is a PR. Still, I did well to keep it all together in the end. When I was at 22 miles, I felt great mentally. Physically of course it's always going to be difficult but mentally I was strong. Even at Miles 23 and 24, when I'd had difficult thoughts before, thoughts of despair and frustration, this time I felt fine.

See, for me those distances are quite challenging. I've already done 23, 24 miles yes, but at the same time I've done those miles and I *still* have two to go. I kept reminding myself of the easy two-mile loop that I usually run by my house and how that's really nothing to me, and I believe it helped me stay strong. That and Kuuipo racing past me and pushing me really helped me meet my goal. No, not my time goal but my goal of staying mentally strong right through to the finish line.

Kiss Speed Goodbye?

My speed... ha. My big pie-in-the-sky goal for marathons is to finish one in under four hours. I have no delusions of ever running Boston, no way no how, but I think a sub-four is possible. Well, thought anyway. I'm not quite certain though if that's an attainable goal. Just not sure. I do want to give it my all at least once, and by "my all" I mean in training not just in the race. I'd like once to train properly, with speed workouts, eat the right foods, cross-train and hit the miles hard. Well, I say that - or write that in this case - and I don't know if I want to do that, if it's worth my time. Maybe I should focus more on finishing marathons and running as many as I can do in a year without putting myself at risk. I mean, honestly, if I had to choose whether I could run four marathons in a year and finish them all between 4:20-4:30 or to run one and finish in 3:59:00, I honestly think I'd opt to run four rather than one. Honestly, I think I'd choose that nine out of 10 times.

I'm not going to throw in the towel on my speed; don't get me wrong. But I just think I should concentrate on slowly improving my time while completing more marathons and upping my mileage. That's all.

What's Next?

My next race, no matter what I write next, will be on April 22 as I'll run the Run Through Redlands half marathon.

I wish I could stop there though and then go on about Fontana and San Francisco.

But no.

I'm actually considering something else after Redlands, something that would be quite challenging. I'm considering the OC Marathon. As in the OC full marathon. As in another 26.2 miles just six weeks after LA.

I really don't know why. No, scratch that, I do know why. I'm addicted to chasing after glory. And the challenge only a marathon can present. In some ways, I want to prove to myself that I can do it again, that Sunday was no fluke. Of course I'm not thinking that I had some awesome time Sunday or that I will have an even more awesome time in OC. I actually think it would be difficult to PR given the short amount of time between the two races. But in some ways that makes it more challenging and honestly alleviates some of the pressure. I won't have to try for a PR but that makes it more difficult because finishing will be harder than it was in LA.

I've given myself until March 30 to decide. Prices go up after that, and either I'm going to sign up for it and take the plunge or I will focus on my half marathons and then San Francisco instead. I'll be playing mental ping-pong until then.

More Pictures!!

Turns out there were more pictures of me from the LA Marathon. I think there were overall some 25 pictures, which is an awesome haul. I might consider buying all of them. For now, though, here's more of the ripped pics.

Cruising along early on.

Is that a camera I see?

Why yes, it is a camera! Hi camerman!

I originally had feared my finish line pictures had not come out but I was wrong.

Glory is mine!

And I can stop running now.

So I had thought of a different pose for the finish but in the end I opted to have my arms at my side and just indulge in the moment. I really felt like my arms were close to my head and out in front of me. Crazy how messed up your sense of things like that is at the end of marathons. I've had times where I though my arms were one way but they were quite another... anyway, I went with this pose. I purposely closed my eyes. Oh and that hand in my pic is Kuuipo so I don't mind it at all being in there. It will serve as a reminder the kind of race I ran - one where I ran with others and was mostly concerned about that, which is and was and will always be a good thing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

LA Marathon Pictures!!

LA Marathon pictures are in!!

Wow, I can't believe it. Usually it takes nearly a week to get them up but these pictures were up rather quickly.

Without further delay... the pictures:

Oh yeah sure, laugh now.... you won't be laughing in four hours.

Wish we were there to watch a sporting event instead of participating in one.

If I keep running eventually I'll... um... what's the word... oh yeah... finish.

I've taken GU, drank water, Gatorade, had some oranges, pretzels... 

... I think that's why my stomach is hurting....

... it's either that or the fact that I've run 25 miles already.

I got nothing left... but don't let 'em see you struggle!

Now that's more like it.

Strength is mine!

Cruising into the finish line.

Got my medal. Woo hoo!

Kuuipo and I, a pair of LA Marathon finishers!

Come here, babe...

Monday, March 19, 2012

LA Marathon: Strong All The Way Through

It was cold. So cold.

I was at Dodger Stadium, just getting off the shuttle bus from Santa Monica, carrying an armload of things and all I could think of was the temperature.

Wow. I'm shivering.

I hadn't taken anything with me because I did not want to check it in. I'd heard how the year before some runners had to stand in the rain for nearly an hour trying to get their bags back after the race and I did not want that to be me. It was supposed to rain on this day, the 2012 LA Marathon. The skies had been threatening for two days and the day before a storm had unloaded on Los Angeles but the morning was clear for the most part but very cold.

I rode over on the shuttle bus with Kuuipo, a runner from my pace group, and we soon were surrounded by a throng of fellow Lopers. Before too long, though, five of us had walked towards the start line of the LA Marathon. We were engulfed by a mass of humanity though and even after the horn blew to signal the start of the race, we barely moved. Eventually we walked past the corrals and towards the start line and with each passing step I got closer to the start.

Oh my God I'm actually doing this!

I excitedly threw my arms up in the air once I crossed the start, a wide grin taking over my face. After that, though, I was playing a game of human Frogger, trying to get around slower-moving runners without trying to get run over myself. We weaved out of Dodger Stadium, onto some side streets and eventually into the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Gotta keep track of 'em.

My fellow runners - Dean, Tricia, Chris and Kuuipo - were also weaving around others. After about two miles, Dean took off. Dean's faster than the rest of us so this wasn't a surprise. In fact, I was glad he was gone because he could finish faster than us and I did not want to hold him back.

The rest of us tried to stay together and did so for the most part, even if we had to weave around packs of slower runners/walkers.

I'd seen some of the places we would run through or past but wasn't quite sure what was what. We'd past Chinatown, Olvera Street, LA City Hall, Little Tokyo and the Walt Disney Concert Hall but I'd barely seen any of it. I heard some church bells fairly closely and figured we were near the Cathedral Of Our Lady Of The Angels.

We came upon one of our toughetst early challenges - a large hill. For about two city blocks, the street went up. We were on 1st Street and Chris joked that at least we weren't on Hill Street, as Hill and 1st intersected. A quick glance up Hill and I agreed.

Still, at the top of our hill, we were all relieved and my legs rejoiced.

Time to GU.

I'd wanted to stay close to my GU plan, and GU every 4-5 miles. We were at Mile 5 and I downed some GU. I'd drank Gatorade at Mile 4 so I felt I was fueling my body properly at this point, setting myself up for success.

Still, my legs felt strange. I had expected to feel strong early on but I just felt okay. Mabye I was overthinking it but I was not quite in my rhythm. We crossed the 10K mark in a little over an hour and I was a bit concerned.

I wondered if my "naked running" idea was wise. I opted not to use the miCoach running app I normally use for fear that my phone's battery would die, and I also ditched my Garmin, leaving it behind in my car in Santa Monica. I'd decided to rely on my running mates for time and distance and all that info, but I doubted myself somewhat then.

Just gotta pick up the pace.

We spilled onto Hollywood Boulevard and I quickly saw some familiar sights. First, the Hollywood sign greeted us from atop the hills. Then, the Pantages Theater was coming up and I stared in awe. We ran past Grauman's Chinese Theater and then the Kodak Theater and I said "Wow!" Even though I've lived all of my life in Southern California, I'd never seen these last two and I'd barely ever seen the Hollywood sign. I was a bit star struck.

We ran off Hollywood Boulevard and I saw Hollywood High School.

Crazy to have a high school right in the middle of all of this.

Eventually, we ran out of Hollywood and down onto the Sunset Strip. We passed the Whisky A Go-Go and the Troubador, and a guitar place with pictures of famous guitarist (Slash!) on the side of the building.

By this point, I was flying. Maybe I wasn't running super fast but I finally felt in control. I had energy to burn here, felt strong throughout and felt confident that I'd stay that way for a while. We were maybe around Mile 12 or so and I was in a groove.

Second 10K marker coming up!

Before the race, I'd signed up for both my Twitter and Facebook accounts to post automatic updates when I ran past certain markers. I saw the 20K marker coming up and I threw my arms up in the air. Even though I wasn't using my phone, I had it strapped on my arm and I felt it buzz whenever I got a text message or a Twitter/FB mention. It was tough to see every word but I could make out for the most part what buzzed on my arm and who had buzzed me. Each buzz was a bit of a lift, a virtual pat on the back.

Go Go Go! :)

Our quartet had done well to stick together too. At times, we'd split apart but we figured out how to get back to one another. We got to Mile 15 and I was doing grand. I'd been playing tricks with my mind, telling myself I was a few miles behind so when I'd see a mile marker I'd be surprised. In my mind, I was stuck on Mile 16 for a while but when we got to Mile 18 I was elated.

At this point, a city block full of cheerleaders appeared. Now, the course had been lined with well-wishers and kind-hearted folks who handed out oranges, pretzels and other goodies to runners out of the kindness of their hearts. I appreciated this and said thank you when I could. Many of the onlookers cheered loudly, but here suddenly were these cheerleaders cheering on the runners.

I had problems breathing suddenly. I guess the cheerleaders' cheers got to me and I felt a bit humbled that they were there supporting me. Of course, it wasn't just me but the 20,000-plus other runners too, but still, the message got across to me just fine.

Feelin' strong!

We'd also spilled onto Beverly Hills, and as we raced down Rodeo Drive I wondered how expensive everything was inside each passing store. I saw names I recognized (Louis Vutton, Prada) and others I didn't (I'd list some examples but since I didn't recognize them I don't remember any).

We got to Mile 21 and had lost Chris. He said he wasn't feeling it and dropped back. Twice Kuuipo and I stopped but he was swallowed up by the crowd, so we trudged ahead. Tricia had run off ahead of us as well and then it was just Kuuipo and I.

As we got close to Mile 22, I worried. Although the pounding my feet and body had taken over the last three-plus hours was wearing on me, I still felt good. But it was at Mile 22 in my previous marathons that I had sort of slipped and let the mental monsters get to me. One of my goals for this race was to avoid that, to slay those monsters and run right past them.

Somewhere in Mile 22, Kuuipo needed a bathroom break badly.

"I'll stop and wait for you."

"Oh no, no, no. You go on ahead."

"No, I'm going..."

"Listen, if you stop then I'm just going to keep going instead."

I knew Kuuipo had needed to use the bathroom so I begrudgingly obliged and kept trudging ahead.

"I'll do my best to catch up."

Knowing the strong and determined runner she is, I was sure she would catch me.

I was on my own. Nothing now except the finish line ahead. Far ahead. I was nearing Mile 24 and needed two plus miles to finish, but this was no relief. Two miles seemed like an eternity.

Off to my right, a flash appeared. It was Kuuipo. She had kept her word and had caught up. Not sure how long she'd been in the bathroom but I was not surprised. She looked strong, had caught her second (or third, or fourth) wind and was flying. She encouraged me to do the same, so I did. I asked for more and my legs responded.

We were on Santa Monica Boulevard, nearing the ocean with each passing step, and I was finishing strong.

This is why you ran so much for so long.

I remembered then that I'd run nearly 200 miles in October, cracked that much in November, had just under 200 in December, had a personal-best 222 miles in January and had set a half PR in February. This was the challenge I'd prepared myself for, to finish strong.


We caught Tricia but just as quickly, we left her behind. It was Kuuipo and I now, blistering ahead towards the Mile 25 marker.

"We're at a nine-minute pace!"

I was excited but wondered if I could hold that until the finish. A stabbing pain had arisen on my side and I wanted to rid myself of it. But I figured then that the best way to do so would be to cross the finish.

Finally we saw the Pacific Ocean. We turned onto Ocean Boulevard, our final street, and far up ahead I saw the finish line.


Mrs. LB was there cheering for me. She'd graciously gotten up at 2:30 a.m. to head down to Santa Monica with me so I could board a shuttle bus and had slept in the car, then watched the race afterward. There she was, propelling me towards the finish.

I got choked up. I was breathing through a straw, making loud sucking sounds, but I couldn't help it. I was losing it emotionally but my legs refused to succumb.

"Go Luis!! Yeah!!"

I turned and saw Angelina, one of my greatest running inspirations, jumping and cheering and smiling. That straw got smaller, and my breathing was even more labored.

Kuuipo was just ahead of me, looking strong, and I refused to let her down, refused to let myself down. I asked for whatever my legs had left and they responded. I don't know what my pace was but if it wasn't my 5K pace I'd be surprised. The finish line approached and I raised my arms to the skies.

I'd done it. I'd finished my fifth marathon, setting a PR of 4:23:12. My stomach knew right away that I'd stopped and halted my celebration. It heaved. I looked around for a place to throw up. A volunteer had seen me and quickly walked up to me. He handed me a bag and walked with me for a bit. Kuuipo walked with me as well, and I stumbled ahead. I took more deep breaths and that moment passed, so I thanked the volunteer and told him I'd be fine.

I walked towards the medals and tears had welled up on my eyes. At that moment, it hit me.

Five marathons! I've now run five marathons!

Believe it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

LA is Done!

I finished my fifth marathon!! I ran LA on Sunday in 4:23:12, a PR by like 25 seconds. Crazy.

I'm blogging as Mrs LB drives us home. My legs are jello and I'm just wiped out but I finished! Thanks again for all your support.

Friday, March 16, 2012

LA Is Here!

I'm almost set to run the LA Marathon. Wow. Part of me can't believe it's here, since I've been training for it for so long. It's almost showtime!

My plan is simple... well I have three plans, three goals I guess.

My "A" goal: To finish under 4:15. I'm confident that I can get this done.... well, a tempered confidence. I think if things go right early on that I can push for this and it will be within reach.

My"B" goal: Under 4:20. This would be a PR. Actually, under 4:23:38 would be a PR. I've been training hard and my times have been strong so I do think that this is attainable.

My "C" goal: FINISH!! I'm running this race, at least I plan on running it, with at least one member of my pace group. She is a strong runner, stronger than me I think, she definitely looks stronger than I feel when we are finishing up our runs. Anyway, we are hoping to meet all these goals together but if we don't and we finish in a time slower than 4:20, we will still have enjoyed the experience (fingers crossed).

Overall, I'm excited for this race because it will be my first as a pace leader. There will be several runners from my pace group out there and a few them are first-timers or were first-timers when they first started running in my group in August. I will be excited to see all of them cross the finish line, whether they've run zero, one, two marathons or more. I took my running to the next level, have averaged around 200 miles a month since October and have been pushing and exceeding my goals and limits since then. I feel strong now, strong as I've ever felt, and I am itching for the challenge, hungry to get out there and conquer whatever stands in my way.

I may PR, I may not PR but either way I'm getting my fifth marathon medal and NOTHING is going to stop me.


I wanted to add this. If you wanted to track me there are a few ways. One, follow the instructions on here. My bib number is 1305. Pretty sure this will work. You can get results texted or emailed to you as they happen, as in it will send you a text/email at 10K, 20K, 30K, 40K and at the finish.

Another way is to follow me on Twitter (@RunnerLuis) or on Facebook. You're more than welcome to do that.

And another still is to check the LA Marathon web site on Sunday. Last year I was able to track my friends and fellow Lopers that way.

The race starts at 7:30 a.m. PT and I hope to finish before noon.

Thanks again for reading and for all your support. It's much appreciated.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ultimate Glory

I use the word "glory" a lot when describing marathons. If I had to describe how I've felt after each of my four marathons, it's that way. Glory. Glorious. It is the ultimate glory. defines glory this way: something that is a source of honor, fame or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride.

That pretty much nails it.

A marathon to me is a source of honor. It's hallowed ground. The distance, 26.2, is something so daunting and intimidating yet majestic and magnificent at the same time. Terrifying and fearful, sure, but that's part of the allure. There is a distance, a challenge, the ultimate line in the sand waiting for you. Are you up for the challenge?

Not a lot of people are. Of course, it does not make you less of a person if you do not run a marathon. And I don't think it makes me more special because I have done it. That's where the honor comes in, though. I feel honored and privileged to be able to participate in marathons and long-distance running. It's like I'm some lucky guy who was able to lose weight, change my lifestyle and now I'm among people that I never thought I'd be around, doing things I never thought I'd be doing and not only getting through them but enjoying them.

There are some outstanding people out on marathon courses, people who have overcome many obstacles, people who have put a lot of work, effort, blood sweat, tears, their whole lives into a marathon. And somehow there I am, trudging alongside of them.

I'm not going to win any races nor am I going to place in my age group. Hell, I'm not going to get anywhere near the top of any category. My times won't blow people away, I can guarantee you that. But I'll be out there on Sunday, at the LA Marathon doing my thing. I'm going to be running my fifth marathon there, chasing glory once more, further proving to people that nothing is impossible, that if you set your mind to something and dedicate yourself to something, that it is possible whatever "it" is.

I am the unlikeliest marathoner; just look at LB circa 2005 to see that. But I am also one of the more grateful runners too. Every run is a gift. Every race I can participate in is special. I take nothing for granted.

The only thing I want is glory. I'm addicted to it. I want to cross the finish line, raise my arms in the air and bask in it. I want to point to the course and say "Look at what I did. Look at what a former 300-pound man did."

That's the ultimate glory, and I can't get enough of it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rain Down On Me?

Seems like the weather could play an important factor on Sunday after all.

All winter long, Southern California has been dry and rather uneventful. We've had periods of cold (SoCal cold) and some other warm spells but other than that, it's been rather mild.

So of course, a storm is supposed to blow into town on the weekend, making for a potentially wet and wild LA Marathon.

I missed the wetness of a year ago, when the LA Marathon had perhaps its most rain-filled day in years if not ever. Several of my friends who ran it that day said it was the worst weather they've ever run in. Nice. Think about that for a minute - horrid weather over 26.2 miles. Yikes.

I wasn't quite worried though since I figured how often does lightning strike twice? Turns out, quite often.

I've run in the rain before of course. Many times. I enjoy it to be honest. But this is a bit different. A marathon is challenging enough without the weather throwing a wrench into the whole thing. Now of course we have to worry about not only the pesky 26.2 miles but also whether we're going to stay dry or not.

Ultimately I'm not going to fret too much. If it rains, it rains. If it's cool and overcast, great. I think we'll be able to get a better read later in the week anyway, although rain seems inevitable at this point.

Either way, I'm going to go for marathon glory this weekend, wet skies or not.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Exciting Lead-up


If I had to describe how I feel about the LA Marathon, I'd have say it that way. I'm exciting... I mean, I feel exciting... I mean... It. Is. Exciting.

I suppose any variation of exciting would suffice, but I definitely feel excitement right now.

The marathon is of course on Sunday, and it will be my fifth marathon. I feel quite excited because it will be my first marathon since April and it will be the biggest challenge I've faced perhaps since I ran my first marathon. I've trained diligently for this, have set my sights on this, have increased my training for this... well, maybe not specifically for this. I went from running 25 miles a week or so, 100 miles a month, to running 40-plus miles a week and 200 miles a month and now I will be able to see if that was worth it.

I'm confident entering the last week, cautiously so of course. I had an outstanding run on Sunday, did 10 miles in about a 9:30-something pace. I felt energetic, felt like I had plenty on reserve and felt strong. I hope to feel that way times 100 on Sunday but that's what this week is for. This is my final taper week, a week where I will take it easy, carb up and prepare myself mentally for the challenges ahead.

I'm excited now and part of this week will be to maintain that excitement. I'm sure by Thursday or Friday some of that excitement will be tempered. Imagine diving off a cliff into a deep lake below. You see the water and the cliff and you are excited but once you start walking closer to the edge, your stomach sinks, your palms get sweaty and you wonder just how bad it will be. That will be me on Thursday/Friday/Saturday.

For now though I'm excited and I just have to remind myself why and focus on that.

I'm excited to take on the marathon challenges once more. I'm excited to meet up with the biggest monster I've faced in my marathons, the Mile 22-26 Monster, and punch him in the teeth. I'm excited to run with my fellow Lopers and feed off of their energy. I'm excited when I picture myself seeing the finish line and raising my arms. I'm excited to celebrate with my family and friends after the race. I'm excited for the medal. I'm excited for glory.

Sunday can't come soon enough.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Catching Up

Hey all... sorry I haven't blogged much lately. I hope you can all forgive me.

I went to Toronto so that took some time away from me, but I wanted to squeeze in a quick post just letting you know that I did not freeze up in Canada and that I'm looking forward to the LA Marathon on 3/18. I will blog plenty about that next week.

Anyway, I did want to share something with you before I bid you farewell for the weekend. I wrote something up for the San Francisco Marathon's web site on my weight loss journey. If you're a longtime reader of my blog, it's probably something you've read before (not these exact words of course). If you're not familiar with my tale, you will be soon. Either way it's worth a read, I think.

So check it out.

And I'll be back to blogging regularly next week. No international trips for me next week... maybe at the end of the month... but not next week.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

3 Things Thursday: Stats, Races and a Trip

1. Monthly Stats: February came and went. I will say what I say at the end of each month - I can't believe it went by so fast. I swear, as I get older the days and months flow so much faster than they did when I was younger. I remember being little and the summers being soooooo long. Anyway, I digress. I ended up running 161 miles in February. Nice, right? Yes and no. My previous monthly totals:

October - 194
November - 209
December - 189
January - 222
February - 161

I got sick in February, the week after Surf City. It was a rough week all around - wound up running only 25 miles that week. Had I been able to run at least 40...

Still, if I feel any negativity over the dip in mileage, all I need to do is look at my mileage totals for the previous five months

May - 85
June - 81
July - 45
Aug - 115
Sept - 70

Anyway, not going to obsess over miles. It was probably good of me to get that rest in anyway. And I also ran 57 miles the last week of the month, and that's a new record too.

2. Another One To Run: I'm already running the LA Marathon (this month already!) and the San Francisco Marathon in July. On Wednesday I added another race to that list. I signed up for the Long Beach Marathon. That will be my third (or fourth) marathon of 2012 (on fence about OC Marathon). I've done the Long Beach Half Marathon before, in 2010, but the full is a race I've been wanting to do and was actually the one I'd targeted as my first marathon before I decided to join the Loma Linda Lopers in 2009. The good thing about this is the training. Since I'll have just run San Francisco I only need to run one 18-miler and one 20-miler (along with 12s, 15s, etc.).

3. Toronto, Here I Come. I'm heading to Toronto, next week in fact. I will be there only a few days. I get in on Monday, I think in the evening, and leave Wednesday night. I'm going for a soccer match - LA Galaxy vs Toronto FC - and am actually traveling with the Galaxy, on the same charter flight. Yes, charter flights are awesome. Anyway, I will be working a lot of the time but I do hope to go running in Toronto. I should have time Tuesday and Wednesday to squeeze in a six-miler. Weather is supposed to be not too bad, highs in the 40s and 50s. It was snowing there recently with highs in the 20s so that's an improvement. Should be fun. I've been to Canada before, went to Montreal in 2009, but this will be my first time in Toronto. Exciting!