Friday, December 30, 2011

One More Day…

Don’t worry. Today is a scheduled rest day, so you’ll get a day off from reading my blog tomorrow. Until then though….

With my body actively rebelling two days of hilly workouts, I decided that I would stick to the flatlands, and opted to get my workout on the paved trails of the Back Bay in Newport Beach.

Sometimes I’m surprised when people tell me the animals they are afraid of. Want to know what scares me?


Yes. You can yell and scare coyotes. You can hear a rattlesnake. But surprise a skunk? Oh man. I know people who’ve had that experience.

There’s a little for everyone around the bay. There is beauty for those who just want to enjoy life:


There are cars for the Housewives of Orange County:


There are beautiful sunsets:


Hills for those so inclined:


And mega mansions:


But, the coolest thing last night was the fog:

I got to my turnaround point just as it was getting dark. I put together this little video showing off my mad headlamp running skillz:

Now, please take this time to rest and relax. I’ll be back next week after my long (?) weekend run.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Plan Said 5!

Okay. You can pick yourself up off the floor. Three days in a row. Get your coats out. Hell is about to freeze over.

I made it out in the late afternoon for some more hill traipsing. My plan (yes I have one) said 5 miles. My body was still rebelling from Tuesday afternoon. But, who am I to listen to my body. I headed up to Newport Ridge to get in some miles in Laguna Coast.

I parked and looked at my watch. 4PM. Let’s see, 5 miles at 4 mph (hills and such) should put me back to my car a little after 5:00. The sun should just be setting, and the winds should be blowing off the ocean. I filled a handheld, donned an Underarmour, dialed in the iPod, and went off into the wilds of coastal Orange County.


Being one who gets bored pretty easily, I decided to be adventurous and hang a left onto an unmapped single track.


I had been this way before, but it had been a few months (Who am I kidding? It’s been months since I’ve done any serious training).

Up up and away I went on this magnificent single track. The views toward the ocean were amazing.


There are some cool things to see. I can just imagine the wildlife that must congregate at this watering hole – just a few steps off the beaten path. Water is a precious commodity in these normally dry hills.


Eventually though, what goes up, must come down. The problem with these single tracks is that the mountain bikes have found them too. One thing that big knobby tires have a tendency to do is to tear the crap out of trails. Then, when The Running Fat Guy gets his mighty mass hurtling downhill, it’s easy to step in the wrong place and turn an ankle. “Jog” is reduced to “walk” in the interest of safety and injury prevention.


Ever so slowly, I worked my way down into a wonderful meadow (meaning an old cattle corral area when this used to be a working ranch) where I could once again break out into a 14 minute per mile dash.


The only problem is I had spent the last two miles crawling along at a sub 20:00 pace. I had just worked my way down 800 vertical feet in a mile. Which meant that I had to climb back out of this canyon and make my way back to the car. I was glad that I had my sleeves on, as it was beginning to get chilly.

I worked my way up the hill in front of me, taking frequent gasp/wheeze stops (have I really let myself get this out of shape?). I crested the hill and got to Bommer Ridge just in time for a spectacular sunset.


I turned around and noticed that I had quite a view to my north as well. The only problem? It was a view of lights. Hmmm.


That pretty much meant that I was going to have to get back to my car in the dark. The sun had set and all I had was some water. No headlamp. Hmmm. This could be interesting.

Trail running in the dark comes with a different set of dangers. Most would be worried about animals like coyotes and mountain lions. But the #1 danger on trails after dark, are the trails themselves. In fact, here is how I would rank after dark trail running dangers:

  1. Trails: Most trails are uneven, rutted, and filled with obstacles like rocks and ridges (just take a look at the photo above). Stick your foot into a rut or a hole and you could end up with a turned or broken ankle, a knee injury, or at worst, a concussion from smacking your head on a rock or hard surface. For this reason alone, I walked back to the car.
  2. Snakes: Here in California during certain times of the year (like when the temperatures are in the 70’s like they have been this week), snakes will often pull themselves out of hiding and stretch out lengthwise on fire roads or flat rocks. They do this to capture the heat dissipating from surfaces that have been in the sun all day. In the dark, a snake would look like a long stick. Or with an iPod blaring, you may not even notice a coiled snake until….  Wait! What’s that?!?!?! It looks like a coiled snake! Oh wait a minute….IMG_1261
  3. Which brings me to trail danger #3: Steaming piles of coyote poo! Yes. They look pretty innocuous. Like a rock in the middle of the trail. Step in it and you’ll never know until you climb in your car at the end of your trek. “Ooooo! What’s that smell?” Don’t ask me why, but for some reason, animals love to poo on trails. Maybe it’s because it’s the only place they can squat without putting a thorn in their butts.

Seriously though – other than leaving my headlamp behind, it was a magical night on the trails of the Laguna Coast. I mean, where else could you snap a picture like this without having to wear 5 layers of clothing and risking hypothermia this time of year:


Run safe!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Three Days in a Row?

So now I know you’re beginning to wonder. If I start following again is he just going to break my heart in a couple months when he falls off the deep end? I guess that’s for me to know and you to find out, because I’m in control!

On a serious note though – I did make it out the door. I headed into the hills  and put in about 4 miles at a pace that resembled a less than brisk walk. It’s been so long since I had seriously attacked hills (real ones) that going up was really really tough. I’m not going to lie – I am woefully out of shape. And carrying an extra 30 pounds doesn’t help either.

I started out a Ridge Park and ran down (please note the proximity of these two words) into Deer Canyon in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park/Crystal Cove State Park.  It’s been a while since I’ve been down in the canyon. It was interesting to see that the State has been putting some of their outrageous parking fees (Lauren can appreciate this) to work:



Being down in the canyon meant that I had to climb out next. At least I didn’t have to worry about mountain lions or anything. My huffing, puffing and wheezing going up the hill certainly scared away anything afraid of humans:

Running Deer Canyon-El Moro 12-27-2011, Elevation

When I got to the top,  I was rewarded by another view that those of us who live in Southern California get to enjoy in December while we complain about the 55 degree weather:


Then I realized I wasn’t really at the top at all, but just the first of two more climbs to the car. At least I didn’t have to worry about mountain lions or anything. The stream of obscenities I was muttering certainly scared away anything afraid of humans.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So–Where Did We Leave Off Yesterday?

Oh yeah. 2011.

I, for one, will be happy to get 2011 behind me. So many things on a personal level didn’t quite go right. I seemed to always be on the defensive. I subconsciously started controlling the things I could – and what easier to control than exercise? I cannot tell you how easy it is to decide that it would be better to work out tomorrow. Sigh.

On the flip side though I really get to rub it in now. While you all are going to be stressing over miles to run, races to register for, and distances to PR, my goal for 2012 is easy:

“Be in control”

Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it. But then so does running a 4:00 marathon. The difficulty lies in execution. Those who make the 4:00 marathon are willing to commit physically and mentally to the task of training for the marathon.

Life isn’t all that much different. It’s just most of us are too lazy to figure out what to commit to. Face it – when you’re training for a big race, someone gives you a training plan. You commit. You execute. The only difference with life? No one’s there to hand you a training plan. Which really means that we need to work a little harder to figure out what we’re committing to.

For me, I am going to re-commit to some core values:

  • Self Renewal: I will do things that lead to a long term effective lifestyle so I can have the energy to tackle each day.
  • Independence: I will be proactive in my approach to life. I will put things on my task list as they crop up. I will not let them languish. Especially if they are unpleasant. I will put first things first instead of doing what is easy because its easy.

That’s it. Pretty simple on the surface. As long as I have physical health and energy and deal with life’s ups and downs in a proactive manner, I will be way ahead of 2011.

Now comes the hard part. Execution. I find it’s real easy to fool myself and to convince others that I am justified. So, this year I am going to work hard to surround myself with positive people who have more than just their own interests are heart. Sometimes it nothing more than a “Good morning, What’s on tap today?” tweet.  Nothing like having to focus on today’s task list while on my first cup of coffee to help me prioritize my day.

So there you go. Let the countdown to 2012 start!

But first – it’s a beautiful day here in Southern California. I think I’m going for a walk….

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011–A Year in Review

This pretty much sums up 2011:


Things started slow. And they never really picked up.

On the positive side, I think I’ve defined the Bell Curve:

Total distance

I also found this function that defines my waist size:



Heck. I even started with 371 items in Google Reader this morning.

Yup. Those are the lows of 2011.

Which will bring me to where I go from here. But, my readership numbers are in the dumps too, so I need to save that for tomorrow’s post.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Trying to Become Regular

And doing it without Metamucil!

Two posts in two days. Can it be true?

Yesterday was a bad weather day here in Southern California. A cold winter wind was whipping about making life miserable. There were lots of complaints on Twitter from those living around here. I documented it in this little video. Just so the rest of you digging out from under snow, cold, and ice know that it’s not peachy keen here:

Merry Christmas all! I’ll be catching up on my reading this weekend.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So Much to Do….

Sorry I’ve been absent from these pages. I’m needing to hit the reset button yet again. Seems like blogging has taken a temporary backseat.

I’m hoping to get caught up on reading this weekend, and get a post or two in the coming week.

Quick edit!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, or whatever your version of the Holidays may be. My you and your family enjoy a happy and safe Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Now That We Have Our Ducks in Order…

Once I caught on and got my ducks in order, I was finally able to effectively network and job hunt. The good news is that in the last two months I have had 4 or 5 opportunities come across my desk. Nothing has really solidified yet into something concrete (or even into something more solid than the wet cement that comes out of a truck), but things are pointing in the right direction. The only problem is that it’s taken me several months to get here.

Which brings me to a few suggestions:

  1. Think about hiring a career coach. Yes they are expensive. No they won’t do the work for you. But they provide expertise and will hold you accountable. If these are problems, it might be something you consider.
  2. Sign up for any webinars dealing with how to use LinkedIn. There are little tricks that you can use to get yourself elevated in search results. (If you are in Orange County, consider attending the Career Coaching Ministry at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest).
  3. Get ready for a roller coaster. I’ve been around a lot of years and have been through my fair share of trials and tribulations. I still wasn’t ready for the emotional swings of a modern job search. Just remember – when you are turned down, or worse yet, hear nothing from a position that you feel you are perfect for, it’s nothing personal. Instead look inward to see if you can figure out why you may have been passed up. Then take corrective action.
  4. Finally, you might want to consider going into business on your own. This takes a special type of personality willing to risk it all – but in times like these there may be opportunities for project related work in your field!

Once again – as Miss Zippy said – it’s a full time job!

Which brings me to a sore spot. My running has been relegated to even less than part time these days. I need to get on the stick here soon if I have a dream of making my goal race a reality. Last week didn’t go so well. I’ll try again this week. I need to start running. After all – I want to start eating!

  • Monday: Scheduled rest.
  • Tuesday: 3 easy miles.
  • Wednesday: 4 easy miles.
  • Thursday: 3 easy miles.
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 8 to 10 on the trails.
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • Total planned: 18 – 20 miles.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Well, That Really Blows…

You know what? I have a rare opportunity today to talk about both my job search and my training. What do they have in common? They are both really blowing.

That’s right. From a training perspective, we had a “significant meteorological event” this week. You folks in Colorado are probably familiar with the Chinooks or Boras. We have a similar scenario here in Southern California called the Santa Ana winds. Well – we had them this week. Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday they were blowing 20 – 30 mph down here along the coast. We got off pretty light. The damage was devastating in other parts of Los Angeles, where sustained winds of 50 mph and gusts in the 70 to 90 mph range were clocked.

The effect that it had on me was that my four miler on Wednesday turned into a frigid 3 miler, and yesterday turned into zero as I was not about to brave the 20 mph winds and the blowing sand, dust, leaves and litter. I know. What a wimp.

So then you ask – how does the job search blow? Well, in my last post I talked about putting together a complete networking strategy. And I thought that that was the holy grail. That the job interviews and offers would come trickling in. But alas. Meeting people is just step 1 of a multi-faceted gem. Remember when you meet people, you are telling a story. Make sure that your story is consistent. What does that mean? Here are some of the details:

  • Have a resume handy at all times. The resume you’ll need for networking is probably different than the resume that you’ll have for your job interviews (more on that in a different post). Focus on things that will make you stand out from the rest of the crowd.
  • Business cards: Have them ready. And no – not your cards from the company you used to work for (unless you want people to call you at your place of business, or worse yet, call you somewhere that you are no longer at). And no – not the ones with the Vista Print logo on them (the free ones).
  • Elevator pitch: If someone asks you what you do, be ready to tell them. In 30 seconds. And not what you did. But what you do.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Be able to tell someone everything they need to know about you that would make them want to develop a relationship with you in two minutes or less.
  • Have your “close” ready: If you feel that this is someone you want to have coffee or lunch with, ask for the appointment. Have your calendar ready and set the date.
  • Know what your looking for: If someone asks – “What are you looking for?” be able to answer the question. Once again – not what you did, but what you want to do.
  • Don’t be bashful: If this is someone you really don’t want to develop a further relationship with, don’t be bashful.Tell them so. You wasted five minutes with introductions and your story. Get on to someone who can help you.
  • LinkedIn: This is not an option. You simply must have presence on LinkedIn. And the story you are telling there must be consistent with the story that you are telling your connections. The first thing that HR organization who is interested in you is going to do is to look you up on LinkedIn.
  • And while we’re at it - Facebook and Twitter: Yes. They’re going to look there too. Don’t give someone a reason to deny you before you even get out of the gate.

Learn from my mistakes and have your ducks in a row when you start. I learned how to network, and *then* I had to take another month to get the rest of these things in order.

I think Miss Zippy put it best in a comment she left here the other day – “Most people don't realize that job hunting is a job in and of itself.” Nothing is more truthful than this…..

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Now That We’re Networking….

Sorry about taking some time off the running aspect of my blog. But hey – there are tons of running blogs out there. And without a job, we can’t afford the races and travelling that we all love doing. We *do* love travelling to huge races don’t we?

When I left off last week, I talked a little about getting networking in order – set some metrics and meet the right people. But, meeting the “right” people is only the first step in our journey.  Most people who I was meeting at networking events were in the same boat as I was in. We were all unemployed trying to find a job or other opportunity. We need to drive networking to the next level. I’m sure there are a bunch of ways to do that, but here is what worked for me:

  • At each networking event, when I found that person that I had something in common with, I got agreement to meet in one on one for coffee or lunch.
  • Within a couple days of the event, I would contact each person and set up coffee or lunch to meet. The whole purpose of the meeting was to get to know each other better and figure out how we might be able to help each other. 30 minutes. Nothing else. No commitments. No promises.*
  • We’d meet over coffee and just get to know each other better. Find out what we were doing individually to further our situations. Engage in some knowledge transfer.
  • Then, important interchange #1: “You know, I attend <<insert name of networking group here>>’s meetings. I find that there is a good mix of employed people who attend who are willing to help. Let me email you the specifics. What about you?”
  • And important interchange #2: “I have this contact who I’ve known for a while who might be able to help you. Let me give you his/her info.” I think you can now see where this is going.

The bottom line here is that, just like setting up a training plan, I set up a networking plan for myself. That plan currently looks like this:

  • Attend 4 networking events a month.
  • At each event, meet 1 to 3 people with similar backgrounds.
  • Set up at least 3 coffee/lunch meetings per week lasting at least 30 minutes each
  • From each lunch/coffee, get one networking group suggestion and two referrals for other people to meet.

And just like that, I started meeting with 12 people a month with similar backgrounds. Some were employed. Some weren’t. But – they all wanted to help!

Speaking of training, I’m going to make another attempt this week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest.
  • Tuesday: 3 miles.
  • Wednesday: 4 miles
  • Thursday: 3 miles
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: Scheduled rest
  • Sunday: 8 to 10 miles
  • Total mileage: 18-20 miles

It may not all be running, but it will all be moving!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ch ch ch changes….

As I mentioned in my last blog post, lots of things have changed since the last time I looked for a job. But then again, Al Gore had just discovered the Internet.

The thing that has changed first and foremost is the tool that is used to find a job. Back then it was the Classified Ads in the Sunday newspaper. Today it’s all about networks - your collection of friends, family, and acquaintances.

Back in February, I wrote a little about networking. And I got to it. I started attending networking groups. Went out to coffee. Lunch. Got to know people. And promptly wasted a lot of time. If you look, you will find a bunch of networking groups in your local area (If you are having trouble finding some, start with LinkedIn, go to a local networking group, and ask around). People will point you in the right direction to other groups in your local area. Now you have a list of groups to attend. And, like me, you will meet a bunch of great people, drink a lot of coffee and have very little to show for it.

Now, you’re probably asking, “So what does this have to do with running?” Well – here’s the tie in. How do we approach a race? 90% of the blogs I read say the following: “My A goal is hh:mm:ss, my B goal is…”. Why is it that we approach a race with metrics but don’t approach our livelihood the same way?

Well, it all became clear one day over coffee with a person that I met at a networking group. I was talking to her about suggestions for other groups when I let it slip about my frustration with the fact that my network was taking me no where. That’s when she give me her words of wisdom – metrics. Have in your mind what you are looking for in a networking session that would signify success. For me that became:

  • Meeting 1 to 3 people with a similar background to mine who are on the same career track (i.e, looking for the same opportunities) as me. This gives us something to share and a reason to develop a relationship past the initial meeting.
  • If I am unable to achieve this metric in two meetings of the group, then I cross them off my list.

This little gem helped me get focused on what I needed to get accomplished when networking. It’s not just about meeting people - it’s about meeting people who can help each other. And just like that, things started getting unstuck. To be continued….

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Big Fat Zilch

Zero. Nada. Zippo (not the lighter). That’s been this week’s running output.*

I know. No excuses. It’s all about desire. But, each of us has a different reason for running. I use running as a release from the day’s trials, tribulations, and stresses. Which naturally means my running takes place near the end of the day. It used to be a ritual that I used to wrap up the day.

Well, a few months back, everything started changing. Back in January (has it really been that long?), I blogged about a big life change. Yes. I was going to be unemployed. I blogged about Marketing for a Job, using LinkedIn as a resource, and establishing a personal brand for differentiation. I then talked about getting out and networking. Meeting people. Having coffee, lunches, and getting the job search on track a la 2011.

I went to work. Met a lot of people. Started establishing/re-establishing my network. And nothing happened. Week turned into months. And nothing continued happening.

It took a little introspection to realize something. If this was a training cycle, and my training was getting me nowhere, what would I do? I’d be looking for a change. Why is it that when we’re talking about our hobbies, we are always capable of figuring out what to do, but with our livelihoods it’s a different story?

Well, I did just that. Went for the curve ball. Tried different things. And in these past two weeks I’ve had four interviews. Including a phone interview Monday afternoon, a lunch Tuesday afternoon, a phone interview Wednesday morning, and another call planned for Wednesday afternoon. Which means I’m spending my time late in the evenings studying up. Getting prepared. So – sorry running – my attention is required elsewhere for the time being!

Over the next couple of posts, I’ll talk a little about some of the things I changed to get some traction in the job search. Let me tell you – things sure have changed since the last time I went on the prowl for a job back in 1996!

* Well – not really. I did get 2 miles in on Monday evening. And will be out and about Friday. And Saturday. I need to get some release from the trials, tribulations, and stresses of the job search!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Speaking of Shoes*….

After reading through a couple of the comments that were posted, I wanted to tell a story about how I figured out that the ASICS GT2160’s were the shoes that made sense for me.

Being an old fart, I can empathize with one of our ex-Presidents:

When I want to avoid getting fooled, I go the tried and true conservative route. That meant that the first time I realized that running shoes were not the ones that you pick up in the sale rack at a discount retailer, I decided to head down the street to Road Runner Sports.

To be honest, they do a great job for beginning runners. They put you on a pressure pad and then do a treadmill, look at your footprint and watch your gait, and then put you into the most expensive shoe they can based on your analysis. Oh well.  They’re entitled to their profit.  After my first visit, they put me in a pair of ASICS Kayanos (maybe like the 13’s or 14’s back then). And they were heaven…

Until I reached about 250 miles and started having all these aches and pains. I went back to Road Runner and they put me in a new pair of shoes. I was in heaven again. For another 200 or so miles. Needless to say – this was beginning to become an expensive proposition. By this time I had joined a running club and after talking to some of the folks in the club, I was pointed to a local store that was run by a guy considered to be reputable. Long story short, I visited the store, took my shoes, and he gave me the entire rundown on ASICS. He then suggested I get into a pair of ASICS GT-2130’s. Basically the same support, a little less cushion, but a lot more wear. And I was in heaven. This time for 450 miles. I replaced the 2130’s with 2140’s. 400 miles and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

These days, shopping for shoes involves sitting at my computer and finding the best price on a pair of ASICS GTwhatevers. But – I couldn’t have done that without that first trip to the big store that set me in the right direction to begin with.

*Sorry about the inconsistent posts these days**. I am going to try to make an effort to be more consistent in both my training and running. Lots going on these days, but if I told you about that, I wouldn’t have anything to post about later this week.

** And thanks for reading! Even with the inconsistency and the lack of real content, I am floored every day when my Google analytic reports come in.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Something Exciting Happened…

Okay. I guess I lied yesterday. Maybe there are exciting things that can happen during the boring miles. I’m being Imelda Marcos now…


Yup. Shoes. It was time to replace the old GT 2150’s with ASICS newest version the GT 2160’s. In case you missed the changes between the two model, here’s a photo of the GT 2150’s to compare:


You get my drift…..

In all seriousness, our shoes are the one thing that we, as runners, should be especially strict about keeping tabs on. They are the tools by which we ply our trade. We wouldn’t dream of not having the best fastest computer, or newest tablet, but I’m surprised at how many people have no idea how many miles they have on their shoes!

I know it’s time to start looking when I start getting little pains in places that normally don’t hurt. And last week, I started getting some new pains in my shins and hips. I checked my log and sure enough – 400 miles on this pair. Time to start shopping.

These shoes work for me. Firm fit, no blisters or hot spots, and good wear. It’s a relief that I don’t need to head over to a retail outlet to get or look at a different show. Instead I just settled in behind my keyboard and shopped for the best price – currently on sale at REI for $69.93. That’s $30 off standard retail price. If you run in these shoes, beat a path over to REI!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sliding into a Training Regimen

Me and my big mouth. An ultra next spring. Yeah right. The problem is since I let is slip, I’d end up with egg on my face if I decided it was all part of a weak moment of temporary insanity and pretend that it didn’t really happen. That’ll teach me….

In all seriousness, I’ve been putting in miles, but not much else exciting has been going on. 3 miles here, 4 miles there, 6 to 8 miles on the trails on the weekends. I’ve been in the 15-20 mile range for the past few weeks, just kind of mind numbingly going through the motions. This does not lead to events that are especially blog worthy – hence my recent absence from these pages.

I have more of the same (15-20 miles per week) for the next four weeks until I slide into my ultra training plan. What I guess I’m saying is don’t hold your breath waiting for a lot on this blog. I’ll be lucky to come up with something insightful once a week for the next month. Maybe a 30 minute video of me putting one foot in front of the other?

This week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 4 miles easy
  • Thursday: 3 miles easy
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: 8 miles (if the weather cooperates – supposed to be cold and wet next weekend)
  • Sunday: Scheduled rest.
  • Total: 18 miles

Rinse and repeat….

Just an fyi – in case you really do miss me during the next month – you can probably catch me over on my other blog – Poker Perdition. Some exciting stuff going on there (like what to not do if you want to win…)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Sorry! Just had to post it…..

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Can You Look out Your Window Please?

My motivation may be running past. If you see it can you please catch it and send it back home?

As you can gather from the title, last week was a fail. Got in the runs during the week, but just couldn’t get motivated to get out the door on the weekend. So, I put in 14 miles, but my long(ish) run went out the window.

Assuming someone catches my motivation and sends it back home, here’s what I’m look at this week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 4 miles
  • Wednesday: Schedule conflict – scheduled rest
  • Thursday: 4 miles
  • Friday: 6 miles
  • Saturday: Schedule conflict – rest day
  • Sunday: 10 miles on the trails
  • Total planned: 24 miles

Thinking about it, I’ve been reading about a lot of motivation issues lately. Maybe it’s a conspiracy?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Guess Summer is Over

We’re in a weird transitional season in Southern California. Kind of in between what we call summer (a little bit of heat with no humidity) and winter (more like spring in the rest of the country).

The thing that identifies fall in Southern California are extremes. For example, in the last week, we had had days of upper 90’s (here at the beach – triple digits inland) followed two days later with fog and temperatures barely in the mid 60’s:


Saturday was absolutely spectacular with temperatures in the low 70’s, light breeze, and bluebird skies:


But, unlike the rest of the country where autumn looks like this*:


Here in Southern California, autumn looks like this:



Keep your head down and feet moving!

* Just to rub it in – the fall colors photo above was taken in Southern California – about six hours north of Orange County.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another Week

Well – I was conspicuously missing from these pages last week. I had a busy week (too much busy work, unfortunately not enough productive work) and some weather issues (over 90 here at the beach early last week) created some scheduling and rescheduling requirements. Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday became Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Then, a last minute appointment on Friday put the kibosh on that day. Finally, I found out (not surprisingly) that I’m not in as good a shape as I want to be in when I hit the trails for a 12 miler on Saturday. I made it through 8 of the miles. Man. What a sad sack.

Saturday’s run slog was spectacular though. We are very much into Southern California fall.





The good news is that goals are made to strive toward, and plans are the road maps to get there. I think I’m still on the right road – but hey – I’m a guy. I don’t ask for directions:

  • Monday/Tuesday: Scheduled rest
  • Wednesday: 4 miles
  • Thursday: 6 miles
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: 12 miles (heading back into the hills – so will probably be 8 to 10 miles to be realistic)
  • Sunday: 4 miles
  • Total: 22-26 miles

Nose to the grindstone and all that crap….

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I guess that has one of two meanings. You get to decide which one fits:

The past six weeks have been all about hitting the reset button and making sure my body is able to handle some training stress. I’m handling four days a week pretty well. Starting next week, it will be about lengthening out. It will be about spending more time on my feet.

I picked up a 50K training plan (don’t make fun of the source guys – these women can run circles around most of us) and made a couple of adjustments. You can keep track of my progress here.

So – come join me as I learn about the ultramarathon world. Enough of the streets for me. Upcoming this week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: 5 miles
  • Thursday: 4 miles
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 12 miles
  • Sunday: Rest
  • Total mileage: 24 miles

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sweated Yesterday…

Been a while since I’ve had sweat actually dripping off the brim of my visor. But it was totally worth it.


Five miles in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. My feet hurt today…

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And Another Week….

Okay. Things are getting serious here. This week I’ll make it to 20 miles. As long as I don’t wimp out and make some excuse for not doing my “long” run:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: 5 miles
  • Friday: 3 miles
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 9 miles (WTF? Next thing you know I’ll have to worry about a double digit run)
  • Total planned: 20 miles

Now – I’ve also got to come clean. I didn’t make my long (yeah – seven miles is long these days) run last week. Instead of 17 miles, I only got 10 in. So, this week will be one of those no no’s – doubling mileage. As a result, I’m going to take it especially easy on pace. There will be some lots of jogging and even some walking this week. The last thing I want to do is to break before I’ve even started.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer Draws to a Close in Southern California

That means one thing. Race season is here.

Unlike a lot of the country, race season is a fall/winter thing here. We are blessed that our winters are (while we think of them as frigid) quite temperate. Sure, in the throes of winter (January, February) we might have a race start with temps in the 40’s, but by the time the race is over, the temps are generally in the 60’s. Compare that to the summer when (OMG) temperatures could be in the 80’s and 90’s.

Right now, the “Next Up” sidebar is empty. It has been empty for a long time. I suppose that eventually a race or two will find it’s way there. For right now though, I’m barely waddling five or six miles, much less racing in a 5K.

So – while race season has started here in Socal – I’m not ready to commit yet. But keep your eyes peeled. You never know when one will show up….

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another Week in Boring Land

It’s been a week since I posted here in the Blogosphere. Life on the  running front has been plain old boring. But – isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? I’m seeing a small improvement week to week. I’m testing my patience. Who knows? At some point I might actually add a race to my sidebar.

This week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 4 miles easy
  • Thursday: 3 miles easy
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: Scheduled rest
  • Sunday: 7 miles
  • Total: 17 miles

At this rate in a month I’ll actually break 20 mpw!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


So, I said something yesterday that is probably sacrilege to most runners. I said I’m not interested in speed. Yup. Flog me now! The reason I am not interested in speed is because I’m already fast. Yessiree bob! I know that I have an 8 minute mile in me. The only problem is that I can only do that eight minute mile for maybe 50 yards.

I used to think that in order to be fast, I had to train fast. And that’s what happened. I trained fast. And my 5K and 10K times got better and better. The only problem? I was training for half and full  marathons.

This is the same problem that I see most runners grapple with at some  point in their running career. “If I want to run fast, I need to train fast.” Well – yes that’s true. But if you can’t last 26.2 miles, it’s not going to make a bit of difference that you trained for speed by doing four miles of intervals every week.

Here’s the bottom line folks – the single most important thing in your training is your aerobic base – your body’s ability to work efficiently for long periods of time. If we ignore our aerobic base, then regardless of how fast we can go, we won’t be able to do it for long periods of time.And how do we build aerobic base? Directly from Pete Pfitzinger:

How do you develop a big aerobic base?

Slowly and persistently. The key is to accumulate mileage over the course of months and years. Most distance runners should include two blocks of base training in their annual running plan. The minimum period required to obtain a significant improvement in your aerobic base is about six to eight weeks.

If you live in a part of the U.S. where you can train consistently through the winter, then starting aerobic base building in January provides about 12 weeks of solid training before the spring racing season kicks in. Similarly, if you can stand the heat, the relatively quiet racing months of July and August can be a good time for six to eight weeks of base work. With two solid blocks of base training per year, on top of your otherwise "normal" mileage, your aerobic base should build steadily from year to year.

How much and how quickly you should try to increase your mileage depends on your propensity for injury. Although you can increase your mileage dramatically over several years, increasing too much at once is almost certain to leave you injured. As a general guideline, most runners can handle an increase in mileage of 10 to 15 percent every two to three weeks. For example, if you have been running 40 miles per week, you would increase to 44–46 miles for two to three weeks before increasing your mileage again. No rule of thumb works for every runner, however, so you need to pay close attention to your body’s feedback to find the optimal formula.

During your base training, you should avoid VO2-max sessions and speed work and slightly reduce the overall intensity of your training. By backing off the intensity, you can increase your mileage without increasing the overall strain of training. When you are building up your mileage, it is particularly important to train on soft surfaces to reduce the accumulated jarring on your body, and to be sure that your running shoes are in good repair.

Aerobic cross-training, such as cycling, swimming, elliptical training, and deep-water running can contribute to your aerobic base with less risk of injury than further increasing your mileage. The more similar the cross-training activity is to running, the greater the crossover effects will be. If you have a history of injury or live where the winter (or summer) is not conducive to high mileage training, then cross-training can be a worthwhile component of your aerobic base training.”

Two-time Olympian Pete Pfitzinger is an exercise physiologist.

Here’s the bottom line. Want to run fast? Train far…..

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Week’s Plan

So,  as I mentioned yesterday, I am slowly but surely settling into a running routine. Easy Tuesdays and Thursdays, a (little) longer on Wednesdays, and a (short) long run on the weekend. In the past I’ve always had Saturday’s set aside for a long run, but with my current schedule, I think I’ll be moving that to Sundays. That means for this week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest.
  • Tuesday: 3 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 4 miles easy
  • Thursday: 3 miles easy
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: Scheduled rest
  • Sunday: 6 miles
  • Total: 16 miles

At this point, I’m just trying to slowly build my base again. No races, no speed work, nothing fancy. Just boring nose to the grindstone work for the next several weeks. Hope you can stay awake….

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting Back to Normal

A number of things are kind of getting back to normal these days. First off – the weather. Late summer in Southern California is back. After a little lighting, thunder, torrential rain and hail on Saturday morning, followed by Florida like heat and humidity, Sunday saw our normal weather back. Yay! I don’t know how all you folks in the Midwest and the Southeast put up with it.

With normal weather, I had no excuse to not head out for a quick 5 miler. I headed into the wild (or at least as wild as it gets here in Orange County) for some spectacular views and a spectacular run (well, okay – half run, half walk).



So, slowly but surely, things are getting back around to normal.Now,if anyone has a job for me, that would make things pretty darn  perfect….

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just a Minute Here…

I’m shuffling my training around this week. It’s been unseasonably hot, humid, and stormy. We’re just not used to this type of stuff here in Southern California.

First off, on Sunday, I went to do my miles in the hills. I was greeted by 20 mph winds, a temperature of 63 degrees, and rain. Yes. Rain. In August. Very unusual.


I opted to put the run off until Monday. Then on Monday:

The weatherman was talking all weekend about the heat wave making it way into Southern California following our stormy weather. Well – it got here with a vengeance:


This was at the beach mind you – which means humidity up around 50% or so. All of this is so strange to us Southern Californians!

Well, I’ve been adjusting this week. Since it was still in the mid 80’s Tuesday evening, I moved my Tuesday run to Wednesday early AM, likewise will be moving Wednesday’s run to Thursday AM. And you can see that by Friday, things get back to normal around here. All the more reason to not move to Southern California.

This week’s plan:

  • Tuesday Wednesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday Thursday: 4 miles
  • Thursday Friday: 3 miles
  • Saturday Sunday: 5 miles

Slowly but surely….

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Next Day…

The waves weren’t quite as big, but the action was better!

Oh. And I did get out for a run in the evening….

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Took a Break on Thursday…

To go see something that happens once every few years. Check it out:

Some of these are 20 feet high. That’s like looking down a two story building.

Back to the training grind on Friday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And Another Week Moves Forward

I just realized tonight that I missed blogging last week. Not that there was a whole lot to blog about – I put my head down and got my four days and 15 miles in.

Progress is slow, but it’s coming. Each week is a little easier. On tap this week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: 4 miles
  • Thursday: 3 miles
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: 7 miles
  • Sunday: Scheduled rest
  • Total: 17 miles

One thing for sure, starting again from scratch is teaching me the virtue of patience…..

Friday, August 19, 2011

You Don’t Love… Whaaaat????

Yes. I know. What a bombshell. But I have an explanation! Really!

I’ve been around long enough (face it – I know who Walter Trout is and you don’t) that I understand what motivates me. And the bottom line is what motivates me is reaching a goal. I’m willing to put up with pretty much anything to get there. So, while I don’t love running, if it’s the means to the end, then I *will* do it.

I guess what I’m saying is that I have a goal that involves running as a means to achieve it. Right now it’s carrot cake.* With cream cheese frosting.** The best I can tell, there’s about 300 calories in each slice of carrot cake with cream cheese icing. So, for every three miles I run, I can  have a slice of carrot cake. There. See how easy that is?

Well. I guess I better go earn a piece of carrot cake….

* No. Actually that isn’t my goal. I’m keeping my real goal secret for for a few weeks to make sure my body isn’t going to fall apart again. I hope you get my point though.

** But, if carrot cake were my goal, I’d be an idiot to not include cream cheese icing…..

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Can We Talk About Something I Know About?

I’ve been reading through some of your blogs (remember – just because I’m not commenting doesn’t mean I’m not reading – just think about me as your bloggy mother) and I’m picking up on some words that have my skin crawling. “My mojo is missing.” “I’m burning out.” “I’m tired.” All these are like knives being thrown at me. Why? Because all those feelings are still fresh in my mind.

Any of my long time followers know what I’m talking about. The last time I seriously trained was for the L.A. Marathon. 2010. Yes. Like over a year ago. During that training cycle something broke. Not just physically. I got the car started several times in the past year, but I never did much more than admire the paint job before pulling it back in the garage.

Now, before we take the “Blog Mom” role too far, I’m not going to lecture you on what to do to combat burnout. I will tell you what has worked for me though. Honesty. That’s right. Realizing that running is not something that I love. I no longer stress at missing a day. Or of not being able to run three miles right now without walking.

So – here are my words of wisdom – be honest with yourself. We all “love” running. But do we really? Or do we do it because it’s easy? Because we have a training plan that takes all the thought out of it? Think about it. Be honest with yourself. Don’t be part of the “Mindlessness is our normal state of mind” camp.

Anne and Irene – I think I finally understand what you two were telling me many many moons ago…..

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

80’s Nuthin!

Hopefully we’ll still be rocking like this in our 60’s*!

Walter Trout at the OC Fair 8.14.2011**

* Some of us are closer than we might want to admit

** Overheard in the row behind me: “Who is this guy? He’s pretty good.” “I don’t know. Walter something or other. Not really sure who he is.”

I turned to see a couple of twenty somethings. I felt like giving them a history lesson – Canned Heat, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Coco Montoya, etc***. But before I said anything I decided that it might be a waste of breath.

*** Be honest. How many of you know who I’m talking about?

Monday, August 15, 2011

May We All….

Have this kind of energy a month away from our 86th birthday….

Seen at the Orange County Fair on Sunday, August 14th, 2011. Lucille in action….

Seen at the OC Fair this Weekend

Can anyone tell me it’s name?

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More to come…..

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So, You Want to Visit Southern California?

Two days of running this week. I am heading out soon for day 3. Well. Okay. It’s not really running. Yet. More like a waddle. But I’ll get there. Eventually.

While I was out, I was thinking about the fact that several of my out of town runner friends have recently visited Southern California lately. But why? I decided to put this little public service video together:

So, if it has crossed your mind, don’t *even* think about moving to Newport Beach. Believe me. The downsides just don’t make it worth moving here….

Monday, August 8, 2011

Well, If I had an Excuse….

I’m starting tomorrow.* And my last excuse has been taken from me with the discovery of my HRM strap. Now I can train efficiently**.

Are you coming back from an injury or a lengthy absence? Just getting started? Why don’t you join me? I swear that if you follow the plan that I am, we’ll all be better off in a few months.

This week: Starting from scratch:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 3 miles
  • Saturday: 6 miles

* No. My dusting of my right shoulder isn’t because of dandruff.

** Now for the editorial:

I always get all kinds of comments about the virtues or lack thereof of heart rate based training. All I know is that it worked for my kids when two of them were serious athletes (two rowers in my family). I’ll address the whole heart rate vs. effort based training in a few weeks when my runs start lengthening out.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

So Are You Going To Believe Me This Time?

Things have been quiet on the workout front. Like real quiet. Like I’ve been buried in though. Imagine Good Glenn on my left shoulder, and Bad Glenn on my right:

Good Glenn: “You know, you’re not getting skinnier by not getting your lazy ass out of the house."

Bad Glenn: “Yeah. That’s true. But I’ve waited for so long. What’s one more day?”

GG: “One more day! You know one of your favorite races is coming up in one month. How can you expect to Run to The Top of Baldy if you don’t get in shape! Like now!”

BG: “Big deal. You can’t afford it anyways.”

GG: “What about starting next week then. Just a couple miles a day like “normal” runners (thinly veiled Lauren reference).”

BG: “Meh. In the meantime, why don’t we watch some tube?”

To which I rolled over and turned the TV on. For whatever reason , the Versus HD network was on (must have been a replay of the 2011 World Series of Poker the night before) and an episode of the Jeep World of Adventure Sports was on. The episode? A replay of the 2007 Western States Endurance Run. This isn’t it, but it does a great job of capturing the “why”:

This, my friends, is what it’s all about. Screw the clock. I just hope I rolled over far enough on my right side…..

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Still Around..

But not doing much. A few miles here, a few miles there. Reverse weight loss by 2 pounds last week (as in gained a couple).

I’m just finding it difficult to fall into a training regimen these days. Sometimes I really wished I loved running enough to want to commit to it. But the bottom line is I don’t so I’m not. Committed that is. Guess I need to figure out how to get my mojo working:

So far this week – zero miles. Have a phone call this afternoon, and have dinner duty after that, so nothing’s happening today. Maybe tomorrow and Saturday. But then, maybe not. I gots me some seerius mojo issues!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Did I Really Say That?

So, the midyear goal status checkpoint has come and passed. As so many have done, I went back and checked to see where I was with my goals. My response: “Did I really say that?”

The bottom line is that I have not been making progress at all. I basically had two goals for the year:

  1. Lose 40 pounds by 12/31/2011. There you go. Achievable (3 lbs per  month). Measurable (40 pounds, needs to be done by 12/31).
  2. Climb Mt. Whitney by Labor Day. Achievable (did it before – it wasn’t easy though. Almost turned around day 1). Measureable (make it to the top, needs to be done by Labor Day).

These goals are not happening this year. Why? Because I never bought into the tactical plan. In short, if this were my job this year, I would have been fired.

It’s time to, once again, pick myself up and dust myself off. I have a lot of things going on these days in a bunch of different life theaters, so right now my ability to commit to any type of serious training is pretty much off the table.

But, my ability to commit to some serious weight loss continues to make progress. Last week I was only down 0.5 pounds, but this makes three weeks of consistent weight loss. And even though I have been a little less than diligent in tracking my intake, I am making some conscious eating decisions.

I’m running when I can, and not stressing when I can’t. 15 miles per week is about my max right now. I’m going to adopt a plan that looks like this for the time being:

  • Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays: 3 miles when I can
  • Wednesday: 2 miles just to enjoy the beautiful Southern California weather
  • Saturdays: 4 or 5 miles when I can

I’m  not sure how long this will last though. I have a couple of prospects on the job front that will have me doing some significant commuting, living (during the week) in a different city, and working significant hours for a significant client. Nothing is for sure yet, but it’s a lot further along than just a couple months ago.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All This and Only Two Hours from the Bustling Metropolis

So, as mentioned in last week’s blog post (am I really relegated to one post a week these days?), I spent Friday traipsing the local hills…

This was in the mountains just to the west of Palm Springs. To get up to the top, we got to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tram:

Other than that though, I got absolutely zero in. Saturday was a forced recovery day (believe me – walking from the bed to the computer was painful) and Sunday was a family get together to celebrate two of my kids birthdays.

This week, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are out. I should get some miles in on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

At least the scale is going the right direction still. Another loss of 1.9 pounds. If you look closely at the last scene of the first video, you’ll see why this is important.

Gotta run to my lunch appointment. Thanks for stopping by!