Saturday, October 30, 2010

On a Related Topic...

There are two reasons that I run. One is to get outside and stay in shape. The other is to fight the ever expanding waistline. This post on on the reason for the latter.

I live close to a major shopping center here in Orange County California – Fashion Island in Newport Beach*. Business student should study Fashion Island as a case study in market niche segmentation. In a time where the trend was to be a mega indoor mall, Fashion Island has been able to improve it’s place in the pecking order of malls in OC by becoming a high end specialty mall focused on atmosphere. It’s not out of the question to walk into a jewelry store and see $25,000 watches and $200,000 diamonds on display. The designers also took advantage of our outstanding weather to architect a wonderful outdoor shopping space – using courtyards, fountains, and koi ponds to make Fashion Island more of a destination than a shopping mall.  Bottom line is that Fashion Island is often the place that hip spots and marketing experiments take place before being institutionalized and put in other malls around the country.

One of those is taking place these days at a restaurant called True Food Kitchen. To be honest, I had seen the signs for the restaurant, but wasn’t really planning on setting foot in the place since it took the location of one of my favorite old seafood restaurants (Blue Coral). But after reading Madison’s blog yesterday, and with my kids planning on being home for dinner**, my wife and I decided to try it out.

The first good sign was the lack of parking as we rolled up a little after 5PM. We found a spot and walked in to a bright and airy expanse. Minimalist design was accented with touches of bamboo and soothing colors. A great place to sit around and catch up with friends and family.


Since this was our first time, our server gave us the rundown on the place. True Food Kitchen is a new concept restaurant based on Dr. Andrew Weill’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. There are two locations – the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix and here in Fashion Island. The  Fresh vegetables. No butter. Tuscan olive oil. Purified water. See what I mean about marketing experiments?

The sounds, sights, and story were compelling. But in my mind, the real litmus test is, that’s right, the food.

We started with an order of Shrimp Dumplings:


The dumplings were served in a soy based sauce and garnished with steamed celery and bok choy. Normally I’m not much of a shrimp fan. I find the little crustaceans bland and boring. But, these were different. The dumplings were freshly diced shrimp and ginger in a delicate wrapper steamed perfectly. Yum.

Next up was a salad. I chose the kale salad:


What can I say? As close to collard greens as you can get here on the West Coast. They had a light and nutty flavor and were garnished with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and dressed lightly with lemon juice. Absolutely wonderful texture and flavors. Just like eating healthy potato chips. (My wife and son had the summer chopped salad. I sampled a bit. I ‘m choosing that the next time…)

Then to finish out the night – main course. I love thai food, especially curries. So for me, selection was a no brainer – a Panang Curry. I special ordered with tofu instead of the on menu item with chicken. Of course the kitchen was easily able to satisfy my request:


One word – scrumptious. Just enough of a kick to satisfy my spicy side, just enough sweet to satisfy my sweet tooth. The richness of the coconut juice was balanced perfectly by the crunchiness of the vegetables. Everything was cooked to perfection.

There was only one problem with last night – by the time I finished my main course, I had no room for dessert! Dang! I was eyeing the flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream….

Bottom line – this place will give some of our other health food themed restaurants around here a run for their money. Unlike a couple of others (Veggie Grill, Native Foods) the menu is not exclusively vegan/vegetarian, but there vegan/vegetarian selections on the menu. Where True Food wind hands down though is in the atmosphere department. We were there for almost an hour and a half and thoroughly enjoyed every moment and every bite.  The only downside is cost (dinner of rabbit food for 3 – shared appetizer, salad, main course, non-alcoholic drinks – ran $64).  If you are in the Newport Beach area and are looking for delicious, healthy food in a great setting, stop by True Food Kitchen in Fashion Island. We’ll be back!

* Trivia alert: Fashion Island is located on the spot of the first Boy Scout Jamboree held in 1953.

* Trivia alert #2: For us OC’ers (or for anyone who drives in OC) - that same event is the source of the name for Jamboree Avenue – one of the major north/south routes in Orange County.

** We *thought* we were going to have the whole family. Daughter and youngest son were last minute cancellations. Look at what they missed!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Three R’s

Sorry all teachers who might read my blog. We’re not talking about reading, writing and arithmetic. We’re talking about the three legs that comprise my exercise regimen these days – rowing, running and rest.

So far this week, I’ve completed two of the three. Last night was another rowing session in my garage. Five minute warm up followed by 6 sets of 500 meters at a challenging pace (2:05 – 2:10) with a 3:00 rest period. Total distance rowed – 4.5 kms (including a three minute cool down).

That means today is the third leg of the triumvirate. Rest. After three days – so far so good. My knee seems to be okay. Taking it easy certainly has something to so with that I’m sure.

I’ll pick up back up with a rowing session on Friday, a run on Saturday, and a rest on Sunday. Then the fourth “R” – repeat again next week. I just might be back.

On the calorie front:

  • Base allowance: 1821 calories
  • Exercise allowance: 452 calories
  • Caloric intake: 1941 calories
  • Net: –331 calories (just right for a rest day)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


That’s what I feel like blurting out at this point. Time for a redo. Time to get back on the wagon and get things moving in the right direction.

Monday night’s re-start was on the ergometer (rowing machine). After taking a few weeks off, the loss of fitness is *noticeable*. After a 5 minute warm up, I did a pyramid workout – 3 minutes at a challenging pace followed by 3 minutes at a rest pace, then 4/4, then 5/5, then 4/4, and a wrap up at 3/3. Total distance rowed – 7.7 kilometers in 43 minutes. And shaking arms and legs to pay for it.

Tuesday I headed to the Back Bay for three quick easy miles. Turns out the only thing it *was* was three miles. It *wasn’t* easy or quick.

I’m back on the ergometer today for another workout.

On a related subject – I am going to resurrect my daily calorie count. Ever since my knee started bothering me a couple months back, I cut way back on training, but not on my diet. The excess poundage is astonishing. WadiaSoft – this time I’m giving you a run for your money!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting Back to Business

So my week of recovery ends tomorrow. And hopefully my month of knee pain as well. It still doesn’t fell 100%, but I’m not sure whether that’s because it’s not 100% or if I’m being a (synonym for) kitten because I had an owie. (BTW – if you haven’t read Patrick’s blog post yet about this subject, I highly recommend you do). The bottom line is if I don’t do  something soon, I can pretty much write off next year too.

Not all is lost though! While I’ve been sitting around enjoying my visit from the spreading stern syndrome, I did some research on Runner’s Knee. It turns out that in most cases, runner’s knee is caused when your kneecap does not run neatly up and down in a small groove in your thigh bone. The two most likely causes are improper foot stabilization (shoes) and weak thigh muscles (synonym for kitten).

Since I’ve resolved item #1, the next step is to work on item #2. And for that, I have this machine in my garage exercise studio that can do wonders for quad strengthening – my Concept2 ergometer. So – starting Sunday for the next month, I will row a 10K three times a week and add a couple short runs (3 to 4 miles) to break up the boredom. Hopefully I won’t go brain dead watching the walls.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thirteen miles is a Long Way

An appropriate observation for someone who tries to run a Half Marathon while inadequately trained….

Long Beach Half Marathon 2010 from Glenn Jones on Vimeo.

Now for all the sordid details…..


My adventure started on Saturday afternoon. Expo time! This time one thing was different. My oldest son was joining me on his first Half Marathon. We arrived at the expo a little after 4PM. A tribute to the Run Racing organization – for a major race (25,000 or so participants), the expo was incredibly smooth. We were literally in and out in less than an hour. There were *just* enough of the *right* kind of exhibitors to make the expo interesting. We walked through the aisles, collected some samples, and had a chuckle at the people buying new shoes for Sunday’s race (really).


Next up was the highlight for any Running Fat Guy. Pasta! Long story short – I found out this year that the restaurant that we used for last year’s Long Beach dinner is owned by an old junior High School friend’s husband. So – after a little phone tag, I set up dinner at La Parolaccia Osteria Italiana a couple miles from the expo. Blog pals Running Green Girl and a friend, Penny and her dad, akaAlice along with Walter the the herd, Jay, Mags and twitter friends @ridgeley and @tanyamr and her husband all settled in for an evening of friends and food.


Finally, with a full stomach and a couple of yawns, my son and I hit the sack for a few hours of sleep before the big day.


Race Day

The day dawned early. Not bright. Just stinking early. We were out the door at 4:45 for the 40 minute drive up the freeway to Long Beach. We hit our prepaid parking spot a little after 5:30 AM, geared up and walked the roughly half mile to the start area. We hit the porta potties (there must have been 50 of them) just as the bikes were starting at 6AM. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a big race where there weren’t 20 minute lines for the porta potties an hour before start time!

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The morning was overcast with a slight drizzle at times and temperatures in the low 60’s. Really a perfect day for a race. My son and I sat for a few minutes on the grass and discussed race strategy. Finally, about 20 minutes before start, he moved up to the front of wave 3 with the 4:00 pace group, while I moved to the back of wave 4 with the 5:00 runners.Who did I run into? No one other than my pal Slomohusky! (By the way – I now know the secret behind the name “Slomohusky”).We had a great time visiting. Then at 7:00 AM the elites started. Fifteen minutes later, Wave 4 got our starting horn. Five minutes later I crossed the start line. We were on our way.

Excitement – Miles 1 through 6

My plan was no secret. Keep it easy. Keep it slow. So it wasn’t long before Slomo left me in his dust. I ran into Jay in the first couple of miles and wished him well. The first three or four miles of the course goes by pretty quickly as we ran several loops through the harbor. At mile 4 we climb the only “hill” on the course as we headed up an overpass and back into Downtown.

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The next couple of miles run through Downtown and Rainbow Harbor, where the crowd support was outstanding!

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Throughout this part of the race, I had been watching myself and holding my pace down. I had been averaging around a 10:30 at this point. My knee, which had been the subject of  much consternation the prior weeks, seemed to be behaving with my new knee strap. I was sweating pretty profusely though – something no doubt brought on by lack of conditioning and the near 100% humidity.

Mind Numbing Boredom – Miles 6 through 9

A little past the 10K point on the course, we moved onto the beach path. In my opinion, this is the worst part of the course. For the next three miles we ran, sometimes four abreast, on a beach path to never changing scenery. If you’re not from California I can see how this part of the course might be interesting – after all you are running along the beach. But, to be honest – the water isn’t really the open Pacific, but just the inside of the harbor. So – no crashing waves, no dolphins, just man made islands hiding some oil wells. Oh well. Head down.

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It was about mile 8 that I first started feeling pretty fatigued. About mile 7 or so I broke out into a brisk walk, and had that sinking feeling in my stomach that the end was near. Sure enough – by mile 9 I was toast. My body was telling me how foolish I was for doing this. Even the soles of my feet hurt from some obviously work out shoes smacking the concrete for almost two hours.

The End is Near – Miles 10 through the Finish

Just as mind numbingly boring as miles 6 through 9 were, miles 10 and beyond are probably the most exciting on the Half  Marathon course. We once again picked up crowd support and the closer I got to the finish, the more electricity there was in the air. Unlike last year where I was on my death march on this part of the course, this year I was walking/jogging and enjoying the sights and sounds. We approached “The Split” past mile 10 where the marathoners hang a right to visit the sights of the rest of Long Beach and us halfers continue to the finish.

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All I know is at this point I was pretty much mentally done as well. At my pace the  finish was 3 miles and 45 minutes away. You’re sooooooo far away from me! But – there wasn’t a whole lot I could do except grin and bear it. So I grinned. Finally in the distance the last left turn into the finish. I remembered that last push into the finish at the end of last year’s full. The feeling of exhilaration as I got my feet moving. This year? Not so much. I broke into a jog and watched my heart rate spike into the nether regions. So – I had to back off again and so gingerly traipse into the finish chute. But hey. I finished. I earned my medal. Bling!

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Post Mortem

I first started running two and a half years ago. My first marathon was two years ago this January. At that time I was not in shape at all. I had no idea what a training plan was. I went our and ran three or four days a week. And I finished my first Half Marathon in 2:24. This weekend? How does 3:07 grab ya? But, I’m not disappointed because I was able to make sure my #1 goal was achieved – I finished in one piece. Three days later I’m sitting here with a pain free knee. So I think I accomplished what I set out for.

What’s next for me is to take the remainder of this week off. On Monday I’m starting my road back to fitness. Most likely with a rest day (par for the course)….

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Just spent hours working on my Long Beach Half video only to have the audio content blocked.

Check back tomorrow. I should  have the video redone by then.

In the meantime I’ll leave you the good, the bad, and the ugly:

The Good

Great race organization, great weather, great dinner with friends the night before.

The Bad

My performance. I knew it wasn't going to be my “A” race, but I didn’t think I would be 3 hours to finish.

The Ugly

Me past mile 10. Pathetic.

But the best part? It’s two days post race and my knee is pretty much pain free.

Details tomorrow….

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Night Before…

In the past I’ve always written a pre-race blog filled with race plans and strategies to carry me through the coming event. But, since tomorrow won’t be an “A” race by any stretch of the imagination, I’m just leaving an open invitation – come join us at the back of Wave 4 tomorrow morning. Long Beach here we come!

IMG_0557The list right now includes me, Penny, akaAlice and the Heffers, Mags and a special appearance by akaAlice’s husband Walter. Anyone else? You’re more than welcome to join us!

Decision Time

So – I’ve taken the week off and have managed to sit around on my ever expanding derriere (and it *has* been expanding). Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement this past week. I realize when I look back at the picture, my knee looks worse than it really is. Some of that swelling is actually left over from a high school injury. But – it felt every bit as bad as the photo looked.

My knee is responding, but a lot slower than I had hoped. I’ve stayed off it this week. No running, no exercise since my last trail run.  The swelling is down, I’m able to bend it, and there’s no pain. But, there still is a little discomfort.

Which brings me to my decision. Sunday. Long Beach Half Marathon. I’ve been hemming and hawing all week. Some decisions are simple. This will *definitely not* be an “A” race. Which is a little sad. Last year this time I had just come off a successful Pfitz 18/55 training cycle on my way to a successful marathon. This year not so much.

The tough decision though, is the “go/no go” decision. Should I even be out there on Sunday morning? Am I risking a lengthier recovery by aggravating my knee? Am I too cheap to let the registration I paid for go?  Well – the way I see it, since the answer to the third question is yes, the answer to the first question is a definite yes, and the answer to the second is probably yes. But the decision is made. Long Beach here I come!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

The knee on the left of the picture is the one that is not painful. The knee on the right is. And that’s after a week of not running….


Things are really depressing at this point. I didn’t run all week. I didn’t run yesterday. My knee is stiff and swollen. I can probably run without pain today, but am  not sure it’s worth it. I mean seriously. It’s not I’m going to gain any speed and/or fitness before my half marathon next Sunday.

I think a reset is in order. Long Beach HM next Sunday then two weeks off to let this sucker heal for good. Then I’ll hit the restart button. As from the beginning.

But, for the time being, I’m following the suggestions from

  • Apply RICE (Rest, ice compression and elevation) after activity. This will help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Rest until there is no pain (this is very important).
  • Use a knee support or heat retainer (with an open knee and patella buttress).

(P.S.: If you haven’t checked out that website, you should. There is a wealth of pertinent information on ortho injuries and issues.)

I think it all serves me right. If you recall a few weeks ago my plan was to run shorter and more frequently. I came to this conclusion after What do I do? Run longer less frequently. And I’m the one usually preaching patience….

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Missing in Action

Man. How life changes. A few months ago I was a six day a week runner, a five day a week blogger, and a daily blog reader. These days it seems I’m a twice a week runner and a once a week blogger and reader. Shame on me!

Not to worry. My health is fine with the exception of my knee. My knee was okay after my last run, but a couple days later it started bothering me (no pain, but just that swollen feeling) so I figure some time off will probably do it some good. Also – don’t worry about what I’m doing with my spare time. My poker hobby seems to have taken off in the last month or so, so I’m finding plenty to do in my spare (used to be running) time.

The only downside is my waistline is not finding all of this lounging around to be productive. I think I’m up 10 pounds from where I was in March for the L.A. Marathon. Yikes!

So, I’m still around. I’m still reading all of your blogs. I’m still updating here, albeit on a much less frequent basis until training starts in earnest. When will that be? Give my knee another week and we’ll try it out. Until then, I’ll leave you all with my adventure from last Sunday – 10 miles in the local hills. Hope you enjoy it more than I did running it (not really!)…

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Two “I”s …

...seem to have done the trick. When I got home after my run yesterday, I iced my knee and popped some ibuprofen. No pain today. Yea! Thanks Anne!

The run itself was just bleh. It was great to be out in the hills. On the other hand, it was pretty obvious that my training has been lacking. Granted – this was a 10 mile run with almost 2000 feet of elevation gain/loss. But 2:45 for 10 miles? Pretty pathetic. Just check out all the pauses:

Running Bommer Ridge-El Moro 10-3-2010

Most of those were to grab my knees to make sure they were still there or to look for quarters on the ground. In fact, the last mile had me reduced to a walk. Any attempt to run brought a heart rate spike that, frankly, served no training purpose.

As long as my knee is going to respond to the two “I”’s (ice and ibuprofen), I’ll get some training discipline back on track. This week’s modified schedule:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest day.
  • Tuesday: 5 miles. Will seek out a short trail run.
  • Wednesday: Rest day. This should be a 5 miler, but I need to take it easy on my knee for a while
  • Thursday: 4 easy miles. Hit up the back bay?
  • Friday: Scheduled rest day.
  • Saturday: 12 miles. Aliso/Woods Canyon?
  • Sunday: Rest day. See Wednesday
  • Total: 21 miles. I’ll see how my knee responds before making some adjustments next week.

Of course – this also does not bode well for the Long Beach (Half) Marathon on October 17th. But – I’m signed up, so I’ll make the best of it. It definitely won’t be an “A” race. At least Saturday night dinner should be good!*

*Note: The plans are in the works for dinner Saturday night. I have a couple phone calls to make to solidify everything, but if you’re going to be running the Long Beach Marathon/Half on the 17th and have no dinner plans – come join us! 6PM Saturday October 16th. Let me know you’re interested and I’ll forward the plans to you. We’d love to have you!

** And I do have a video that I’m  working on. Seems that I went crazy and took about 20 minutes of video on Saturday. I’m trying to reduce it down to three or four minutes of highlights. Unless I hear from you all that you’re suffering from insomnia….

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Snake Check…

I’ll post an entire video of today’s run tomorrow or Tuesday. I wanted to just check in real quick to introduce you to my friend* – all four to five feet of him. Enjoy!

* Seen on the Serrano Trail, north side of the 73 freeway about 1/2 mile from where it goes under the road. It was pretty cool out, so he was pretty lethargic. I had to get pretty close to him to elicit any response.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

You Asked….

Thanks for all the feedback on my 10 random factoids. Ten must be about the right number to keep everyone interested. I’m sure if I expanded the list to 20, I would have heard a lot of snoring.

And I promised I would answer your questions. So here’s why I traveled to Iran. Two reasons really. First, my wife is from Iran. Her family moved here in the early 70’s so her siblings could finish their educations here. She has family there. That’s how I got my visa.

Second, I’ve always had a bit of a rebel streak in me. Death to disco and all that kind of stuff. Maybe that’s why I was a Conservative Republican in High School growing up in a blue collar community. Which come to think of it makes for some real conflict. How can I be rebellious and still maintain my conservative image? Simple! Go against the flow. Why go to Europe when I can go visit a *real* exotic country?

So that was it. In October 1992, we packed up the three kids (a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a 3 month old) and boarded a plane for a 26 hour journey to Tehran. I expected a third world country with rampant shortages of good and services. People living in fear and under government repression. After all – that’s what was being portrayed by the media at the time.

What I found was anything but. The first question that I was asked by the cabbie at the airport? “Is ‘SC going to beat UCLA this year?” Tehran was a bustling metropolis surrounded by mountains – very much like home here in L.A. The economy was booming. Streets were full of cars. Everywhere I went people were vibrant and bustling. They were smiling and enjoying themselves. Families playing in the park. Goods and services in abundant supply. No shortages were evident – at all. At a time where big screen TVs were just making an appearance in the US, Sony and Samsung TVs were in abundance in the shops. How could people who were living in such a repressive and backwards economy afford these things? The simple truth was that the reality was much different that what we were being told.

And any fears of being part of the Great Satan? Well, once people found out I was from the US, the red carpets rolled out. Every restaurant we visited, every store we shopped, I was greeted with respect and a friendliness that was unbelievable. In fact, my brother in law and I visited Isfahan, about an hour’s flight away. When the cabbie taking us to our hotel found out I was from America, he offered (in his best broken English) to be my personal tour guide for the weekend. Sure enough – who was waiting for us the next morning outside our hotel?

So there you go. Me and my rebellious ways….

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weird Weather

Just wanted to share a picture of the strange weather we’ve been having this week…

IMG_0519Thunderstorms and rain are not common this time of year. Heck. We only get about 13 inches of rain all year – so I guess rain isn’t too common period!

On the running front, my knee was a little tender after Wednesday’s run, so I took it easy yesterday. I’ll be out for four road miles later this afternoon.