Thursday, February 28, 2013

It Actually Felt Like Running

My original plan on Wednesday was to tackle three miles in Buck Gully. Well, I got to the trailhead and discovered that it was street sweeping day, which means no parking! Yea! That meant I could go back home and veg out a little more. In all seriousness, the weather was just too nice to head back inside (74 degrees down here by the beach), so I headed down the road a couple miles and hit up a “trail” (in quotes because it’s paved) that I haven’t been on in a while – Crystal Cove State Park.

Running Crystal Cove 2-27-2013

The bluff above the beach can provide some stunning views. Proof from yesterday (that’s Santa Catalina Island 26 miles away in the distance):


The best part of yesterday’s jaunt is that I actually ran jogged most of it. It was a short three miles, but I’ll take what I can get these days….

From the caloric view:

  • Daily budget: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 2070
  • Exercise adjustment: 3 miles, 562 calories
  • Deficit/(surplus): 22

And as much as I want to take advantage of the awesome weather today, it *is* a scheduled rest day, and last week I had this little twinge……

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Back and Moving Again

Hey folks. I’m back. Took the last two days off to rest my tweaked hamstring. I went out for a brisk walk this afternoon and once I got moving, everything seemed to be fine. I’ll go for a trail spin in Buck Gully tomorrow as a final test.

As for last week:

  • Planned miles: 14
  • Actual miles: 11
  • Calorie deficit/(surplus): No results. Didn’t log on Sunday
  • Weekly weigh in: 257 (-1 pound)

This week’s plan:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 2 miles
  • Wednesday: 3 miles
  • Thursday: Scheduled res
  • Friday: 2 miles
  • Saturday: 3 miles
  • Sunday: 2 miles
  • Total planned: 12 miles

I’m keeping it light this week…

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting Old Sucks

I woke up excessively sore after my little Friday adventure so another longish run was *not* going to take place. Instead, I decided a brisk couple mile walk to stretch and recover would be in the cards. Well, as normally happens brisk walk becomes slow jog becomes light run. Then as I was coming down a hill…  *twinge*!

So today I’m sporting a tender hammy. This is a real shame because the weather outside is absolutely fabulous! It’s in the mid sixties with a stiff offshore wind blowing – which means our humidity is probably down in the single digits…


But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years (remember – I didn’t start running until I was 50), sometimes it better to slow down a little in the search for self preservation. So, I’m taking today off and will test things out tomorrow on a short jog to see how things are progressing. See! You *can* teach an old dog new tricks.

For Saturday:

  • Calories budgeted: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 2058
  • Exercise adjustment: 2 miles, 293 calories
  • Too few/(too many): (235)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some Things Just Never Change

The last couple of times on Bommer Ridge, I’ve been giving a particular trail the evil eye as I pass:


From what I remember the last time I was down there almost two years ago, there was a ton of beauty. I also recall many curse words coming back out, even when I was in shape. But I guess, time heals all wounds (or at least deadens the pain), and yesterday I ventured back into Emerald Canyon.

The trail starts off dropping gently as it hugs a ridge off of Bommer:


Then, all of a sudden, there is a steep drop into the bowels of the canyon. At the bottom of the canyon is a wonderful grove of oaks and sycamore trees. This would be a great place for a picnic if it wasn’t three miles from the closest parking!


Right smack in the middle of this grove is the spur trail to climb back out:


It used to be that you could continue down the canyon to a dead end where Emerald Canyon enters a private community (Emerald Bay) in Laguna Beach. But, that trail was obliterated by the heavy rains during winter 2010/2011. There doesn’t appear to be any plans to rebuild access to the lower canyon.

Less than a quarter mile from the beginning of the spur, the trail pops out into something that we really don’t have a lot of here in Southern California – a meadow:


Just past the meadow, you reach the trail’s namesake – Emerald Falls. The falls themselves are a little anticlimactic. Hopefully people don’t take this trail for the view of the falls themselves (my handheld water bottle is thrown in for perspective):


In another half mile or so is where the fun really begins - a steep, rocky, technical trail that climbs relentlessly out of the canyon. I don’t think this photo gives the feel for just how steep the ascent is:


Maybe this one does. We were in that meadow down there a quarter mile ago:


Finally, two miles many gasping breaks and a few choice curse words after taking off from Bommer Ridge, we find ourselves back on El Moro Ridge:


And shortly after that, back on Bommer:


Total mileage from Pacific Ridge to Emerald to El Moro Ridge to Bommer Ridge and back to Pacific Ridge: 6 miles.

Running Bommer Ridge-El Moro 2-22-2013

Running Bommer Ridge-El Moro 2-22-2013, Elevation

The good news is I was able to pig out at Mi Casa for dinner!

  • Calories budgeted: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 2408
  • Exercise adjustment: 6 miles, 878 calories
  • Too few/(too many): (181 – but those chile rellenos were worth every calorie!)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mental Time Please!

Well I just *had* to do it. I needed a mental break. So I took lunch Thursday and ended up in Buck Gully for a quick 3 miles. Well. For 3 miles. The turnaround point is the big sycamore tree with mistletoe. Sure hope I can find this when it’s covered in leaves in the summer!


At least I got to eat another handful of nuts last night:

  • Calories budgeted: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 1854
  • Exercise adjustment: 3.05 miles, 439 calories
  • Too few/(too many): 115

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Off the Wagon Again

Well, just as I was getting a routine underway, I’m off the training wagon again. Tuesday was a stormy day – cold, windy, rainy. Since I have nothing in particular I’m training for, I didn’t feel motivated to go out and freeze my butt off. Wednesday was just an overall busy day (and productive) day that had me physically and mentally exhausted by the time late afternoon rolled around. Thursday will be more of Wednesday, with the day wrapping up with an important 4PM appointment. But, the good news is that I hope to be able to pass along some good news in a couple of days!

So, the bottom line is it doesn’t look like any training can happen until Friday of this week. With the weather prospect good for the weekend, I hope to get some more tan in the hills of OC.

On to the bad news:


  • Calorie budget: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 1449
  • Exercise adjustment: 0
  • Too few/(too many): 81


  • Calorie budget: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 1473
  • Exercise adjustment: 0
  • Too few/(too many): 57


  • Calorie budget: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 1870
  • Too few/(too many): (340) (oops!)

I’ll be checking in again on Friday!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Two in a Row?

I must be ill. Two days. 5 miles each day. This hasn’t happened since at least 2011.

Actually, the weather is changing here is Southern California with a cold winter storm forecast to appear on Monday or Tuesday, so I thought I would take advantage of the final day of good weather for a few. I felt good after Saturday’s loop in Buck Gully, so I decided I would give the trails another go. I wanted to avoid the extended climb out of Buck Gully, so I opted for Bommer Ridge in Laguna Coast Wilderness. Bommer would be about half the elevation gain/loss, but still give me the opportunity to get my trail shoes dirty.

Even though it was 15 degrees cooler than the day before, it was still a gorgeous day:


When all was said and done, another five miles (at a pace slightly faster than Saturday’s) was in the books, and my face had a little more tan that it did in the morning.

Running Bommer Ridge-El Moro 2-17-2013, Elevation

For the week:

  • Planned miles: 12
  • Actual miles: 18.2

Upcoming week’s plan:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 2 miles
  • Wednesday: 3 miles
  • Thursday: Schedule rest
  • Friday: 2 miles
  • Saturday: 5 miles
  • Sunday: 2 miles
  • Total planned: 14

On the calorie front:

  • Total weekly deficit/(surplus): (199)
  • Sunday weigh in: 258 (0 lost)

This is a little discouraging. I have throttled the calorie intake back and increased exercise volume and I still lose exactly zero last week. I’m going to be patient for another couple of weeks, but if I’m going to lose zero regardless how much I eat as long as I exercise, then I might as well eat!

Actually, I think the increased exercise level will do a lot in the near future. My paces are starting to pick up, so it’s not like I’m depressed on a two mile walk/jog of the neighborhood anymore. Nose to the grindstone!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Uncharted Territory

I managed to get a tad over 5 miles done in Buck Gully yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve done the loop since the trails have been reopened:

Running Buck Gully 2-16-2013

Running Buck Gully 2-16-2013, Elevation

Here’s the thing that is *really* alarming. Let’s look at my activities for the past year:


No wonder I’m a slug!

For Saturday:

  • Calorie budget: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 2178
  • Exercise adjustment: 5 miles, 683
  • Too few/(too many): 35

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Is It Really February?

I only had time for a quick two in the morning yesterday while my car was being washed. But, I had no idea how warm it was going to be. Check out my SportTrack summary:


79F at 10AM! And this is at the beach where it’s cooler than the rest of the Southland. Hard to believe it’s mid February.

On the calorie front:

  • Calorie budget: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 1783
  • Exercise adjustment: 2.1 miles, 293 calories
  • Too few/(too many): 40

I’m still working on the “being hungry” thing. I’ve been looking for the lead weights that are in my pockets. I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything – my clothes still fit the same as they did a month ago. I guess I’ll find out how things are going on Sunday when I weigh in.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Something is Wrong Here….

Yesterday was a scheduled rest day (an artifact from my travel days). But, after my jaunt into the hills on Wednesday, I had this desire to head up into the hills again yesterday. Much like Wednesday, I had a whole gaggle of tasks that I needed to wade through, so getting out early wasn’t going to happen. Finally, around 4 o’clock I got changed and decided to grab a little fuel before heading out the door. I settled in and munched some peanut butter. I *do* remember yawning….

The next thing I know, my wife was asking if I needed help making dinner (I had committed to making Shepherd's Pie). Needless to say, I didn’t make it out the door. Unfortunately, I didn’t eat accordingly:

  • Calorie budget: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 1799
  • Exercise adjustment: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (269)

I wonder if I can spin this into an alien abduction story?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Nose to the Grindstone Time

I made it out of the house in the late afternoon and headed over to Deer Canyon in Laguna Coast Wilderness. I have this love/hate relationship with Deer Canyon. My love is that it’s a lot of single track with some exceptional views. My hate is it’s a run that is down down down into a canyon. Which means up up up back to the car.


Did I say exceptional views?


Did I say up up up? Here’s the trail coming back up out of the canyon:


And the elevation profile:

 Running Deer Canyon-El Moro 2-13-2013, Elevation

I made it out and back onto Red Tail Ridge just in time for this:


Oh to live in Southern California in winter!

Now for the unpleasant stuff:

  • Calorie budget: 1530
  • Calories consumed: 2066
  • Exercise allowance: 3.7 miles, 536 calories
  • Too few/(too many): (196)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

If Slow and Steady Wins the Race…

Then I’m officially half way there! And if you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that steady ain’t quite there yet….

Monday stats:

  • Calorie Budget: 1530
  • Calories Consumed: 1595
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (65)

Tuesday stats:

  • Calorie budget: 1530
  • Calories Consumed: 2003
  • Exercise: 2.4 miles, 332 calories
  • Too few/(too many): (141)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Starting Another Week

This week is looking to be an improvement over the last:


Guess that means I’ll have no excuse to execute the plan:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 2 miles
  • Wednesday: 3 miles
  • Thursday: 2 miles
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: 3 miles
  • Sunday: 2 miles
  • Total plan: 12 miles

Most likely I will end up doing more miles. I’m starting to feel comfortable on my feet and getting used to the stench of seat, so I’ll most likely do more in the hills this week.

As far as last week, I missed plan by half a mile. I thought I was going to be on plan, but I miscalculated my Sunday run in Buck Gully. At least the sounds were soothing:

Last week’s summary:

  • Planned miles: 13.5
  • Actual miles: 13
  • Calorie deficit/(surplus): (354)
  • Weigh in: 258 lbs

Obviously, the calories and weight are bothersome. I’m still not getting the hunger feeling thing. I’ve got work to do…..  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sure Enough the Rain Came

Kind of off and on and drizzle and torrential for most of the day, but between phone calls and networking lunches and crafting the resume, the day got past me before I had a chance to get a run in.

Did I say resume? Yes. I am looking for my next gig. If you are wondering why you see more of me and the trails of OC and not me and the airport, it's because I transitioned off the project I was on two weeks ago. I have to admit, it's been nice to not have to get up at 5AM and climb on a plane every Monday. Anyone know anybody looking for a Healthcare IT Management Consultant?


  • Budget: 1530
  • Consumed: 1498
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (32)

It's been a while. I forgot how few 1500 calories is....

Friday, February 8, 2013


There is a storm coming into Socal this weekend. It will be nothing like what the East is expecting, but then again, we aren’t built to handle weather here. In fact, here’s what the aftermath of a couple inches of rain looks like here in Newport Beach (taken a couple years ago):

The other thing that happens around here is all the trails in the hills are closed for three days after a storm. It seems a little heavy handed that local government gets involved at that level, but if they didn’t, the trails around here would get trashed by the runners and mountain bikes:


So, in anticipation of the trails being closed this weekend (and in anticipation of a big poker tournament I’ll play in on Saturday), I moved my Saturday run to Thursday. I stuck to Bommer Ridge for 4 1/2 miles, and one word came to mind as the cold wind blew up from the ocean. Brrrrrr!!!! I’m sure glad I slapped on some thin sleeves!


Wednesday calorie count:

  • Budget: 1530
  • Consumed: 1552
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (22)

Thursday calorie count:

  • Budget: 1530
  • Consumed: 2007
  • Exercise: 644
  • Too few/(too many): (167)

I’ll try to put in a couple miles around the neighborhood today. In between the showers of course. You don’t expect a Southern Californian to run in the rain, do you?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How a Cheapskate Rolls

Yesterday’s run was brought to you compliments of gasoline prices here in Southern California:


I hoofed it over to the local Supercuts to get a haircut – just over 4 miles round trip. Hopefully the hairdresser wasn’t too grossed out by some sweaty fat guy plopping down in the chair.

On the calorie front:


  • Goal: 1530
  • Consumed: 1634
  • Exercise: 129 (walked a mile with my wife)
  • Too few/(too many): 25


  • Goal: 1530
  • Consumed: 2184
  • Exercise: 585
  • Too few/(too many): (69)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Three Quick Miles

With a short run planned, I headed to Buck Gully to try to get away from the hordes of mountain bikers that were no doubt crawling the hills of Laguna Coast on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  The hills were gentle, the weather was fantastic, and I had to step aside only 4 times for mountain bikers. Mission accomplished!

Running Buck Gully 2-3-2013

On the calorie front, my adjustment is causing, well, adjustments. The new number is 1530 calories. It’s incredibly tough to hit this number when you love to eat!

Friday calorie stats:

  • Budget: 1530 calories
  • Food: 1557 calories
  • Exercise: 0 calories
  • Too few/(too many): (27)

Saturday stats:

  • Budget: 1530
  • Food: 2018
  • Exercise: 293
  • Too few/(too many): (195)

Sunday stats:

  • Budget: 1530
  • Food: 2044
  • Exercise: 488
  • Too few/(too many):  (26)

The bottom line is it appears that the best way to deal with this is to add some calories back through exercise. Crap.

The plan this week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 2 miles
  • Wednesday: 3 miles
  • Thursday: 2 miles
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: 4.5 miles
  • Sunday: 2 miles
  • Total planned: 13.5 miles

Slowly, oh ever so slowly, more miles…..

Friday, February 1, 2013

What a Day!

I’m late a day posting, but I *did* get out for a few miles on Wednesday. The day was *perfect*. Temperature in the mid 60’s, a slight breeze blowing up from the ocean, nary a cloud in the sky. Such a change from last week!


I headed out to Laguna Coast Regional Park and did three plus miles on Bommer Ridge. The views were phenomenal!


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Laguna Coast Regional Park is a county wilderness park that abuts Crystal Cove State Park. If it wasn’t for Laguna Canyon Road, these two parks would border with Aliso/Wood Canyon Regional Park to give us Orange Countians a little over 20,000 acres of wilderness smack dab in the middle of suburban Orange County.


I headed to the high point in Crystal Cove State Park, and managed a picture. Here’ why I live in Orange County:


That’s the ocean glistening in the distance…..

On the calorie front, I’m adjusting again. I’ve been at 1780 a day and have been going nowhere. I had been hoping to lose a pound a week. Part of the reason is my cooking is so good I’m eating too much Laughing out loud. I think the larger reason is that my calorie goal was predicated on exercising five days a week for half an hour a day. That is just not happening right now for a variety of reasons. So, I’m going to adjust again and see if I get get weight loss to be consistent. Starting today (Friday) I’m going to be looking at some pretty shocking daily calorie budgets. Crap….

Wednesday calorie stats:

  • Budget: 1780
  • Food: 2104
  • Exercise: 536
  • Too few/(too many): (38)

Thursday calorie stats:

  • Budget: 1780
  • Food: 1790
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (10)