Monday, March 31, 2008

A Tough 40 Minutes

Well, I made it, but it was tough. After a day of hard running and a day of long running, my body was pretty tired today. But I will be travelling tomorrow and Wednesday, so I have a forced two days off. So, I did my 40 minutes today. I barely squeaked out 4 miles.

I know I need some rest at this point. I'm sitting here in front of my computer, yawning and wrapped up in a sweatshirt and fuzzy slippers. Yes! I am tired and cold - first sign that my body is trying to slow down. So, for the next couple of days, I'll be taking some running time off. I'll try to get a blog or two in but no promises!

Spirit Run, 10K and a new PR!

I had a chance to run a race in my backyard this weekend, so I decided to see how well I could do by running a 10K after my long run on Saturday.

I had a good rest Saturday night, so was excited to be running. My last 10K was the Dana Point Turkey Trot back on Thanksgiving. I woke up Sunday to a surprise - everything was wet outside! There was a heavy mist/drizzle out. So, I wrapped up in an extra layer and drove across the street to Fashion Island.

At the 10K start time, there was still a drizzle coming down, but this made the conditions perfect! Temperature was about 55, light cooling mist, and about a thousand runners. The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been chip timing instead of gun timing.

Since I had run 9 miles on Saturday, I wanted to make sure that I didn't kill myself. But, I did want to set a new PR for the distance. So, I used my trusty Virtual Partner and set a 10K distance and a 9:30 pace. This would put me at a 59 minute finish and would better my PR of 1:00.00 set at the Turkey Trot. The first thing I noticed about my run is how good I felt at this pace. I didn't want to repeat my normal "out too fast run out of gas", so I stuck to my pace. After about two miles, I decided that I would try to improve just a little and go out ahead of my virtual partner. Ever so slowly, I increased my pace. By mile 4 I was about an eighth of a mile ahead my my buddy, and still felt pretty good. I slowed a bit on the last uphill grade, but maintained by lead over VP. I knew that this meant that I would be setting a PR, because I still felt pretty good. At mile 5.5, I decided I would leave whatever I had left on the course. It was a great feeling to actually be passing people at this point as I increased my pace. It wasn't until later when I downloaded my Garmin that I saw that I was able to maintain a 7:45 pace for the last 3/4 of a mile. Wow! (at least for me!).

Needless to day, the day's events resulted in a new PR of 57.47 (gun time)! Yea! And, I still had enough to jog about 3/4 of the 5K course looking for my daughter and niece running that event. All in all a great day and a great weekend of running!

Saturday Long Run and a new way to use my Garmin

Well folks, I'm back after a couple of days off - of blogging that is. I had a productive weekend of running. If you recall, a for the past couple of weeks I've been having trouble maintaining my pace on long runs, often running out of gas the last mile or two. I know that this is a problem of going out too fast and not having enough in the tank to finish. Having done this exact thing at the OC Half Marathon, I want to start practicing the art of pacing *now*.

This weekend, I decided I would try to use my Garmin 305 to maintain pace on my long run. I have always used my Garmin in "workout" mode - using Training Center to create a workout that I would transfer to the Forerunner. While this is great for normal workouts, it doesn't make pacing an easy thing to check. First off, you need to make sure that all of the screens displaying pace display Average Pace and not Current Pace. Several times I have put myself on the wrong data screen and used Average Pace where I was looking for Current Pace and vice versa. Secondly, this method tells you that you are off your pace - but it doesn't tell you what you need to do to either catch up or back off. So, this weekend, based on the suggestions from the Runner's World Forums, I decided to try the "virtual partner" feature on the Garmin.

I haven't used the virtual partner in the past because the feature does not work with a programmed workout. The virtual partner only works on preset courses and quick workouts - neither of which I had used before. So, for my Saturday long run (9 miles), I used a Quick Workout by setting distance and pace (9 miles, 10:00 per mile). The Virtual Partner display then provides some easy to see feedback - if the Virtual Partner is ahead of you, the screen is black with the distance that VP is ahead of you in white. If you are ahead of VP, your screen is white with distance in black. So, Saturday's exercise became a matter of trying to keep the distance close to 0. I found that this was an easy way to maintain pace. In fact, I missed my target pace by one second (probably had something to do with the potty stop) and had plenty left at the end of my run.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Back to running

Well, yesterday was a standard running day. My training plan has me doing 40 minutes a day, three times a week. At 40 minutes, I'm able to cover about 4.1 miles without pushing real hard. At first I was a little bothered by the fact that despite all of my training, I'm still so slow. But last night, I went back and checked my history as I was training for the OC half. Back then, I was good to do a 10:30 to 11:00 mile on a long run these days I'm at least one minute faster, so I guess I shouldn't complain. It still means that my marathon time will be in the 4:30 to 4:40 range, but for a first timer that's not too bad. I know - patience. One year ago I wasn't even running.

My next little project here is going to be figuring out how to program my Forerunner 305 as an electronic pace wristband. I'm sure it can be done - I just haven't spent the time to figure it out. I have some feelers out on a couple of forums. I'll get it figured out by Spirit Run this Sunday.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Schedule Chaos Part 2

Okay - yesterday was supposed to be a 40 minute run on my Cal Coast training plan. But, the day was also schedule chaos from top to bottom. Doctor's appointment in the morning, pick up youngest son from school in the early afternoon, and a CDM baseball game in the mid afternoon. This still usually doesn't create a problem because being light later, I'm able to do a short run in the evening after the game and before dinner. But - the game was a thriller with CDM pulling out a 9-8 win. Whenever scores run up that high, it means that instead of
an hour and half for a game (remember - high school baseball only goes 7 innings), we are talking significantly more time. That was the case. We were treated to almost 3 hours of baseball. At least it was a decent game - the bats (for both teams) woke up and there wasn't the dearth of mental mistakes that normally accompanies high school baseball at CDM's level.

I rescheduled yesterday's run to today (normally a cross train day or rest day). This creates another problem though. This Sunday, I am running in the Spirit Run (10K), a fun, low key run that benefits local schools. I'd like to PR this weekend, since the last time I ran a 10K, I did it with about 10,000 other souls in Dana Point on Thanksgiving. The issue with that race (Dana Point Turkey Trot) was at one point early in the race, I had to slow to a walk as runners funnelled from a street to a narrow two way trail. I ran that one in 1:00.00, and know that I should have been able to take a couple of minutes off of that. But, the thing that I was struggling with this weekend was that if I didn't do some schedule juggling, I would be running 5 days in a row - quite a no-no. So I decided that by moving yesterday's run to today, I'll remove Friday's run, do my LSD on Saturday, 10K on Sunday, and then short run again on Monday. At that point I'll be back on track until next Wednesday when I'll be travelling (again).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back to Work

I'm back from a short business trip, so I'll be hitting the trails again this evening. Sunday is normally a rest day, so I didn't miss anything there. I was on a plane yesterday, so I'll trade a cross train day today with a 40 minute run that would normally have happened yesterday.

Starting this week, the training plan I am using starts to lengthen out. We are at 40 minutes a day, three times a week plus our long run. That means that this week will be around 21 miles. Our long runs will be increasing by a mile or two per week until we get to 20 miles in about 6 weeks when we begin a three week taper leading up to the San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon on June 1.

Final thing - I want to approach my first marathon as an event instead of just a race. I am looking for a camera that is small enough to carry around on my longer training runs and on the marathon. So far I've settled on an Olympus 790 SW. I am having fits though with eBay and trying to pick one up from the Olympus store. I'll fill you in on that adventure later.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Trying to get back on track....

Well folks, I am trying to get back on track here. The original purpose of this blog was as a daily running diary for me. Who knows, eventually I may want to go back and "recapture" my enjoyment. This past week I've kind of dropped off the face of the earth - time to get back on track here....

Yesterday was my long run with Cal Coast. We are starting to get more serious now. While eight miles may still be behind some training programs that I read about, we are at least getting to the point where it's more than a jog in the park. Our training plan will continue to increase long run mileage a mile a week until 10 miles, then 2 miles a week up to 20. Also, the weekly runs are increasing from 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Eventually I believe we ramp up to 45 minutes a day three days a week. Our long week will be around 35 miles. That is a respectable distance. I am hoping that I can continue to build on that as this round of training ends and my next one starts.

The other change this week was reduced mileage this week to see if I was over training. Indeed, some of my symptoms last week were indicative of over training - tiredness, pains and aches. This week I seem to have some more energy, but I'm still suffering from some aches and pains - especially my left calf and shin. I started thinking that my issues may be shoe related, since I *never* had these problems in my old shoes. So, just for grins, yesterday I dusted off my old Asics Gel Kayano 13's for my long run. The minute I put the shoes on I could feel the difference. Immediately, my arches felt the support that is evidently missing in my Saucony's. I ran the 8 miles, and was pleased by the lack of pain! Time to go back to Road Runner Sports for another pair of Asics Gel Kayanos! I'll give those a try and let you know how things progress.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I was away for a few days! Nothing of any earth shattering importance - just *real* busy at work. By the time I get home and get dinner, I just couldn't face another minute on the computer. So I took a bit of a break from blogging.

Nothing real important this week. I've cut back my miles to be in line with the training program. I ran thirty minutes easy three days this week. Put in a little over 9 miles so far. Tomorrow is our long run - 8 miles this week. The thing I want to try to do is maintain a 10:00 pace. Last week on our 7 mile run, I ran out of gas the last mile and had a *tough* time finishing. I still have some soreness in my left calf - I'm thinking it may be shoe related. I will give my old shoes a try tomorrow and wee if it resolves. If it does, then I guess I'll be off to buy a pair of Asics Gel Kayanos.

Tomorrow will also be scale day. I'll see if the lower miles and higher calories actually get the desired results - good training without being perpetually tired and one pound less on the scale!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Schedule Chaos

Today ends up being a rest day because of schedule chaos. I had to take my car to the body shop. Long story - but I can vouch that the bumper of a Hummer does not match the bumper of a BMW. Ouch!

Back to running tomorrow - my normal cross train day. Talk to you then!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Long Run Day to End a Week

Yesterday was our weekly long run. I think we got it done just in time. It was a little cool when we started, but otherwise perfect running weather. By the evening yesterday, it was *cold*, windy, and threatening to rain. The news was saying that it was snowing in the mountains, so I guess the predicted storm finally made it here. I'm glad we ran early!

Speaking of running - this past week was a tough one for me. There are a couple of things going on right now. I'm trying to drop another 10 pounds before the RnR Marathon on June 1. I tried to increase my mileage a couple of weeks ago, too. This week I started feeling soreness and pain - just like my shoes were dying. No shin splints or anything, but just nagging muscle soreness in my calves and shins. I also felt very tired all week. In fact, during yesterday's run, at about mile 6, I had the same experience that I had during the half marathon. These have me concerned about the viability of making it through a marathon.

This week, I'm going to do a couple of things to see if they make a difference. First, based on all the coaching I've been receiving, doubling my mileage in one week was a big no no. So, for this week, I'll move back down to the training plan mileage. Second, as my overall weekly miles ramp up, I think I need to start eating more. In a timely move, I picked up the latest edition of Runner's World on Thursday. This month's topic is weight loss! One article in particular talks about caloric intake based on target weight. Based on that, I should be eating about 2300 calories a day. My food diary shows I am eating 1800 to 2000 calories per day. If this is true, then I am at a daily deficit of 1000 calories. This is about in line with the scale too - I lost 2 pounds this week. Time to start eating more! This week I'll try to get to 2300 calories a day.

Hopefully, these two tweaks will let me get back on track. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rest Day

Took a rest day yesterday. Quite hectic at home though - kids tests this week, assisting with homework/studying, trying to figure out class schedules for next year, etc. I didn't get a chance to hit this blog *or* my food diary yesterday.

I hope to "catch up" over the weekend - whatever that means in blogeze. For sure, one of the things I'll talk about is my search for a camera to take along on my races and runs.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Scaling back for a while

Remember two weeks ago when I ramped up my training time? Guess what? Time to ramp back down for the time being! My body is telling me that I'm trying to do too much too fast.

Nothing serious has occurred - yet. But I am just starting to feel aches and pains that I had not felt before. Pain in my shins and calves. A sore ankle. Stabbing pain in my knee every now and then. Not to mention kind of constant tiredness in my quads and just in general. Yesterday it was a real struggle to finish a 45 minute run! I started out fine, but by minute 30, I was struggling to get one foot in front of the other. I really tailed off the last 10 minutes or so. These are all signs that I'm going out too far too fast. The last thing I want to do is miss the marathon because I'm hurt!

So, it will be off today and depending on how I feel, maybe off tomorrow before our "long" run on Saturday. Then, I'll get back on track with the Cal Coast training program next week. I think next week we ramp up to 40 minutes a day 3x per week. I'll keep one cross train day on Tuesdays and try to get in the weight room on Thursdays.

So for today, I'll put my feet up on the table today and kick back!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Easy Cross Train Day

Well - yesterday I decided to take it easy. I've been getting real tired and pretty sore after my workouts lately. I think my body is telling me that it's time to (a) fuel up, and (b) get some rest. I got a little concerned on Monday after getting in only 5.8 miles in a one hour run (albeit there were a lot of hills involved). The thing that bothered me the most was some dull pain in my calves and shins. I know those are indicative of possible shoe issues, but I am thinking that it may also have something to do with the amount of work I am putting in as of late.

So, yesterday I toned it down a bit. Got on the erg and went an easy pace for 30 minutes. Ended up pulling 6.5 km. Then into the weight room for some stretching and light weights. Altogether put 50 minutes in of light workout. Just enough to get sweaty!

That leaves me one thing that I have left to get a handle on - food intake. I need to search around for some better ways to assess the amount (and type) of food that I'm eating. I am doing a lot of workout these days. The issue that I am having is somewhere there seems to be a missing link - either I am not burning as many calories as my toys are telling me, or I am eating a lot more than my food log is telling me. Last week was a zero loss week on the scale. I really want to drop 10 lbs prior to the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon on June 1. But, I can't run myself into an injury or get sick because I'm not eating enough either. Interesting balancing act....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Back to Running

I'm writing this a day late. I think that a combination of the 5 mile walk on Sunday, the time change, and the hills on yesterday's run really took it out of me. My kids were laughing at me last night when I hit the sack at 8:15.

Yesterday I started at the Newport Aquatic Center and headed south. The first thing that confronts a runner heading either north or south out of the NAC is "the hill". If you head north, the hill is not quite as steep, but the northerly route dumps you into a residential neighborhood where you compete with cars for running space on the streets. Heading south, on the other hand, allows you to get onto the Newport Back Bay trail within half a mile. Of course, then you face "the hill" - probably a 100 foot climb up to the top of the bluff at Castaways. A mile or so later after running the trail at Castaways, its back down to the intersection of Dover Drive and Coast Highway, and then up and over the overpass on Coast Highway over the bay and finally down to sea level as you run the trail behind Newport Dunes:

Then, on the way back, you get to do it all over again! Needless to say, by the end of my run yesterday my quads were screaming - and that's at 10:20 per mile!
Today it's back onto the erg for a little bit of *light* erging, then a stretching and weight session! Time for some rest!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nice Day for a Walk

Today was a lazy day. Stayed out of my office, stayed out of the stores. I even was able to stay out of my car! (That's easy these days - but that's another story). The only ting I had to do was to turn in some overdue library books. So, instead of climbing in the car, I hitched up my backpack and took the two and a half mile walk over to the library from my house.

This was the perfect day to do this too. Beautiful sunny day, temperatures in the mid 60's, and a light breeze to cool things off. I walked over to the Newport Beach main branch, turned in the books, then enjoyed a caprese baguette at Bristol Farms.

What a way to enjoy a Sunday. Altogether, 5 miles of walking on a beautiful day!

I'm Back....

Sorry - I've been retiscent posting here the past few days. High school baseball season is in full swing, so I've had to take some time to watch some games. My son can't play right now due to injury, but I'm the volunteer photographer for the team (you can see some pics at and love baseball, so I'll make some time to go watch. I'm still motivated to run the marathon in June, so I'm certainly not going to give up my training time. The only thing left is my blog time. In fact, I am writing this on my day off (Sunday) with my cup of coffee in hand.

I'm feeling better at the end of this week compared to last. I put in another 30 mile week (24 running, 6 on the ergometer), and while physically tired, I'm sore like last week. One thing for sure - I had no idea how physically strong I had to be to run these distances. I am looking forward to working up to 50 mile weeks at my peak. What a challenge!

This morning I also found a *great* resource - Runner's World. Not the magazine - I am already a regular reader of that. But there are a series of discussion forums on their site. One of those forums is specifically a Southern California forum. I started reading and was amazed at the topics that were currently ongoing - Rock n Roll Marathon, long Orange County runs, etc. Looks like I have another way to whittle away the hours now.

Finally, I ran into quite a story on the Internet this past Thursday or Friday (don't remember the exact day). If I thought I was old for this port, the story I ran into puts me to shame. Evidently there is a 101 year old guy in the UK training to run his first marathon. You might check it out:

Well it's another week to look forward to. I have decided to reduce my training a bit - I think I'll take one cross training day (Thursday) and turn it into a rest day. Especially with long run Saturdays starting to go a little longer now. I seemed to have responded well to that adjustment over the last couple of weeks. I'll keep you all posted on my progress!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


So, after a week and a half of one hour runs and one hour cross training sessions, I am *s*o*r*e. My quads are sore. My calves are sore. Basically every muscle I have in my lower body is sore. I think I'll take tomorrow off for sure.

It was interesting running today. I started out feeling a little tired, but the first half of my run seemed to go well. I reached my turnaround point at 30 minutes and 3.05 miles and felt fine. I slowed down to take a drink (it was another warm day) and then my legs didn't want to move any longer. I forced myself to go for the next half hour hoping to run through it, but I just couldn't. I really had to work to get back to my car. I also came up short of my normal six miles by a couple of tenths. But, I made it back and headed on home.

That's when everything got interesting. Once back at home, I started feeling sore almost immediately. Nothing other than overuse,but nonetheless, its still sore. I changed my post workout drink tonight to get some protein in my body, then had dinner and a Gatorade. I'm sure I'll take a rest tomorrow and then hit the trails again Friday and Saturday.

Falling behind here.....

Okay - high school baseball season has started. So, a couple of days a week I'll get to spend a couple hours in the afternoon watching some baseball (not always good ball) and taking some photos. My oldest son is on his Varsity team. He may not get a chance to play this year (rotator cuff injury, currently rehabbing), but I still need to go and support the team. I feel for him and the rest of his senior class because this year's team is young and inexperienced. This translates into a lot of bad baseball and losses. For example, yesterday his team had the leadoff runner on in four innings, and even had runners on second and third with one out and were unable to score a run. My son says that they practice situational hitting, and if they do, they we have a bunch of guys whoa re not willing to execute for the benefit of the team. Should lead to a long year...

I'm also the 'team photographer'. All I've got to say is thank God for digital cameras. Otherwise my film bill would be astronomical! If you want to check out some of the photos, they are posted over on Flickr (I know - I should be using Picasa) at

As far as workout? Today was a cross training day. So, after the game wrapped up, I moseyed on down to the Newport Aquatic Center and got back up on the ergometer. Concept2's "Workout of the Day" was to row 500 meter pieces with 2:00 rest in between. So I queued up 10 repetitions and rowed 7.5 kms. This put me at about 370 kms for the year (a rowing year goes from May 1 to April 30). This is down quite a bit from my peak of just over 1,030,000 meters in 2007, but back then I wasn't running three to four days a week either.

Back to the trails today. I need to figure out some variety to my daily runs here. I'll see where I end up today.

Monday, March 3, 2008

So Cal Day

Today was a typical Southern California day. Santa Ana winds blowing. At least 80 outside. Beautiful, sunny day. The type of day everyone loves *except* for us runners. Tonight was my 3 times a week one hour run. So I filled the water belt and did an Upper Back Bay trail run.

The Upper Back Bay on a day like today is simply a stunning run. Especially at sundown. The only downside today was the wind. At least when the Santa Anas blow, it's a warm wind. Plus, it wasn't blowing that hard, so the effect was negligible.

I'm going to get back to reading the Higdon book this week. I'll jot some more ideas as the week progresses.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Couple of Days Off...

Blogger that is. I took Thursday off. I did run yesterday and today though. I can tell you that I am honestly tired. My legs are tired. My calves are tired. My feet are tired. My back is tired. In fact, the big reason for not writing last night is that, once back from dinner, I laid down in bed and started almost immediately sawing logs. I didn't even watch the Lakers (by the way, their 10 game winning streak officially ended. I think they need to pay me to watch....)

But, honestly, after my first 30 mile week (24 running, 6 on the ergometer), I need some rest. So, there will be no running on Sunday for sure. I think I'll settle in, grab a cup of coffee, and watch the highlights of the Los Angeles Marathon tomorrow morning. Seems that running has become big enough business to warrant TV coverage.

I'll be back on Monday with my hour of running!