Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas


I hope you all have a merry Christmas and a great holiday season.

I can't believe it is almost 2012.  The year has went by very fast.  Just about a week ago Brooklyn turned two years old.  Two!  Already!  I can't believe how fast time goes by.  I'm are looking forward to her opening her x-mas presents in the morning.  It might take all day as she like to play with each toy  before moving on to the next gift.  Unfortunately, she is a little sick.  Hopefully, she can get a good night sleep tonight, but so far a cough keeps waking her up.  I hate it when she is sick.  :(

A quick running update:  I planned to take a week off after CIM, it turned into 16 days because I got sick!  I have ran three days this week, so I'm working to build myself back up.  I'm going to Tahoe for about 5 days so plan to get some runs in up there.

Take care and good running.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A+ at CIM!

My A goal for CIM was to PR, which would mean basically a 3:59 and a few less seconds than my prior "just break 4" PR which was done at CIM last year.

I was not sure what I could or would do.  My training had been up and down.  I had a lot of travel the last 6 weeks due to the illness and then death of my grandmother and due to my work schedule.  Due to the travel my weekly mile totals were much lower than I wanted.  I did get three 20 mile runs in - 1 (the first of them) was a horrible, hard and slow run, 1 was one of my fastest 20 mile runs ever, and 1 (that last one) was a solid run.  Which meant, if you go by the 20 mile training runs, I could have a great race, a horrible race or a solid race.

I was also running my first marathon in my five fingers (picture below) so I was very unsure how my feet would hold up and my calves (these tend to get very sore after my 20 mile runs).  I have never ran more than 20 miles in them.

I wanted to spend Sat with my daughter before the race so I had someone from the SF Training program pick up my bib for me.  I made it Sacramento about 8:30 on Sat night.  Got my race gear organized and then tried to go to bed early.  Our hotel shuttle was leaving at 4:30 am to take us to the Sheraton to get the buses that took us to the start line.  I could not fall asleep though until about 11:30pm.  Then, I was woken up at 1am by a vivid dream that it was 4:45pm and I missed the shuttle!  So not the best sleep, but I made it to the 4:30am shuttle and got onto the buses for the start line.

We were enterained by the conversations with what appeared to be a number of "lost buses".  Now I see why they get you to the start line an hour or so early, just in case your bus gets lost.  :)

On to the race:  My plan was to start about a 9mm pace the first few miles, then increase to about 8:30pace, then try to get some 8 mm in if I could and try to have have too many "bad miles" where I hit a wall and fall off.

1 - 9.03
2 - 8:48
3 - 8:34
4 - 8:31
5  - 8:20

My first mile was good, right where I wanted to be.  Mile two was solid also.  I basically just kept a bit in front of the 4 hour pace group.  Tried to not go too fast.  My plan was about miles 3 to 5 to drop to the 8:30s so I was right on schedule (maybe a little early with mile 3).  I felt good and basically was just trying to control my pace at this point and not go "too fast" too early.  I was trying to run a smart race (as I am known for starting off way too fast only to fall flat on my face).

6 - 8:20
7  -8:15
8 - 8:16
9 - 8:22
10 - 8:09

Miles 6-10 were strong.  I was feeling good.  I was planning to keep about 8:30mm pace to mile 8, but had picked it up a little more (but I felt fine).  However, I could feel my stomach starting to act up.  I have at times (during training runs and during races) had major stomach cramps.  At the SF marathon my stomatch cramps were so bad that I had to walk accross the GGB.  Later during the SF marathon, I had to stop and wait about a minute from my stomach to calm down.  So I was worried.

11 - 9:47

Thus, I made the decision to stop at a porta potty and lost a good minute and a 1/2 to two minutes.

12 - 8:25
13 - 8:22
14 - 8:16
15 - 8:08

After the stop and restart, I just tried to get a good pace going again. I was running great before I had to stop, but I was hoping it would pay off and not cause problems later in the race.  I was worried about the "fall off" so again tried to slowly build my pace back up.  After 15 miles, besides the stop, I was having a great race.  I felt that I could easily PR and maybe have a massive PR.  But, I knew the key would be miles 16-20.  If I fell off and started walking or had major stomach cramps, then the last 11 miles could be horrible.  So my goal now became let's push to mile 20.  No stopping.  No walking, just push forward.

16 - 8:11
17 - 8:16
18 - 8:15
19 - 8:12
20 - 8:11

These were very solid miles but very hard.   I was tired, but I kept pushing to keep my pace up.  I kept telling myself "you feel great" and "you are doing awesome" (even though I felt tired and little thoughts were in the back of my head telling me to just take a walk break).  But, I made it to mile 20 without stopping or walking.  I carried my hand-held water bottle and just grabbed water at the aid stations and dumped it in the bottle.  I felt if I slowed down to walk through the water stations it would be very hard to get my pace back up.  I felt that I could have a huge PR, could break 3:50 and maybe even 3:45.

Now that I made it to mile 20, my mind shifted to just take one mile at a time and get through this 10K.  My feet were sore and my calves were starting to cramp up.  I focused on 1 mile at a time.  Each mile I told myelf let's just make it to the next mile without stopping.

21 - 8:19
22 - 8:36
23 - 8:33
24 - 8:32
25 - 8:31
26 - 8:38
.2 - 8:04

My splits were falling off, which was okay.  I was trying to keep my pace about 8:30ish which I did!  And, these were hard miles for me.  My legs were tired.  My left calf was killing me.  My feet were sore.  But, I knew as long as I did not walk, I would be fine.  I was struggling the last mile, but I saw the 3:45 pacer.  I worked to catch him (he was very nice and encouraged me to stay in front of him, which I did).

As I got close to the finish, I knew that I easily broke 3:45 and I looked at my Garmin (which I had often) and then picked it up a little to break 3:43.

Official Total:  3:42:54
Garman total:  26.36 miles, 3:43:53

A PR by almost 17 minutes.

Further - I ran CIM in my VFF, without a knee brace!  My calves are very sore (my left one was killing me the last mile) and my feet are sore, but they are slowly getting better (no injury).

Lastly, I am limping around the office today!  Within 2 mins in the office someone asked me if I was okay!  Yes, I'm great!

A picture with my VFF:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

CIM on Sunday!

Good luck to everyone running this weekend.  A lot of good races.

I'm heading out to Sacramento tonight for CIM.  I have someone picking up my bid so that I could spend a good part of the day with my daughter.

This will be my 8th marathon and first marathon with the five fingers!

My goals:

A goal - to PR.  I would love to say break 3:50 but I have not trained as well as I good.  Tough past two months with my grandmother passing away and a lot of work travel.  But, I did complete three 20 mile runs and have felt that I have run strong.  If everything goes great, then I'm hoping to PR.

B goal.  Have a good race.  I would say Break 4 hours, but my PR is 3:59 and a good chunk of seconds so a new PR could end up being 3:59 and a few less seconds.  So, my B goal would be just to enjoy the race and have the best time I can out there.

C goal.  Just finish!  For about the last 10 weeks I have sent exclusively to using the five fingers running.  I have done 3 20 mile runs in them with significantly less knee pain (I can run without a knee brace!).  So just completely the marathon in my five fingers would be great as that will be a record running in "barefoot-type shoes".   If I can finish with no injury, than that will be a B-/C+

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving


Just a quick post to wish everyone a very happy thanksgiving.

A few things that I am thankful for:

1.  My daughter Brooklyn, obviously.  She is almost two (1 more month) and I am so thankful to have her in my life. She brings so much love and joy into my life.

2.  I am thankful for my family (my wife, mom, sisters and extended family).

3.  For running.  It has brought me new places and allowed me to make awesome running friends.

4.  For my job(s). My full time job - I'm grateful that I'm able to have a job I enjoy that also allows me to pay the bills.  And, for my teaching job - which allows me to find enjoyment in teaching tax to others.

5.  My pets.  My two dogs, two cats and 1 horse are part of my family and brings so many memories.  Brooklyn loves them also!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Update: CIM coming up, NY marathon DNS, and Grandmother!


I wanted to start off by saying I have enjoyed reading your blogs (if I commented in the past on your blog, then I'm still reading you!).  Sorry for not providing recent comments.  I read them a lot on google reader and sometimes fall a little behind.  Life has just been too busy.

I also had a DNS for the NY marathon.  I "got in" but I did not run it (deferred instead).  I was never committed to running it, but had to "get in" and see how my life scheduled played out.  I hope to run it next year as I am not sure I will be able to defer it again.  I was able to watch it this am and wished I was there.

Even if I wanted to run it, this would not have been the best time.  Unfortunately, I am in So. Cal. for my grandmother's service and mass.  She passed away earlier in the week.  She was 91 years old.  I will miss her greatly.  I traveled and spent 4 days in So. Cal. to be near her during her final week. It was tough to see her during those final days, but I know she is in a better place now and is at peace.

Lastly, I am still training for CIM.  And, doing my training in five fingers.  I've done two 20 mile runs in my five fingers.  I have not ran in "running shoes" in a month.  My knee brace has been put away as well!  I'm hoping to run CIM in my five fingers and without a knee brace.  My first 20 mile run was a struggle, but yesterday I had a strong 20 mile run (it helped to have great running weather).

I started blogging to track my running journey and also to have a place where I could express my thoughts.  So, I'm going to express some of my main thoughts about my grandmother:

1.  I'm starting out with one concept my grandmother taught me.  That is to forgive and forget.  Don't hold onto bad memories.  Don't hold onto hard feelings of others.  Let them go.  Forgive and forget.

2.  Be strong in your faith.  My grandmother was always strong in her faith.  And, she showed it by her actions.

3.  Give to others.  She was very involved in the community and always reaching out to help others.

4.  Spend time with your family.  I was so blessed to grow up near her.  I have countless fond memories of spending time with her and my extended family.

5.  Be strong and believe in yourself.  She was always a strong women.  She had a lot of tough moments in her life, but was always strong.  No matter what life hardship was dealt to her, she fought.  She was a tough women and would not back down.  I'm proud of her.

6.  Most important - Love others.  My grandmother was a tough and strong women, but she had so much love in her heart.  It was felt not only by her family, but my friends, community members and strangers.

My Grandmother with four of her boys and her two daugthers (yes, I have a large family)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

PR at the San Jose Rock & Roll half marathon


I thought I give a quick update before too many days/weeks go by.  With working, teaching, running and playing with Brooklyn, there seems to not be enough time in the day.

This past Sunday I ran the San Jose Rock & Roll half marathon.  This would be my fourth year in a row running it.  My first year, 2008, I did it as part of my 20 mile training run (as I trained for my first marathon).  That was the first time I ever ran 20 miles.  I ran 7 miles prior to the start of the half.  I had only started running a few months earlier (building up from 1 mile).  Thus, the last few miles of the half in 2008 were tough. I still remember having to walk portions of it because I was so tired.  I finish about 2:13 or so.

In 2009, I was training for my second marathon (after coming back from a 5-6 month injury that occurred in my first marathon).  I PR'd with a time of 1:48:52.  In this race, I tried to not go too fast early in the race to save something for the end.  It worked as I avg'd about 7:30 pace the last three miles.

In 2010, I ran a marathon in June, slowed my training down and then was picking it back up for the Morgan Hill Marathon that was about 5/6 weeks away.  I tried to watch my speed early and then pick it up at the end.  But, this time, I was not able to pick up my pace and finished at a 1:51:xx time.

For 2011, I was not sure what to expect.  Since the SF marathon in July, I have not been "training".  I've been running (10-15 mile long runs, well mostly 10-12 mile long runs with 1 slow 15 mile run) but not doing any speed or tempo runs.  I did run the Ragnar relay and ran hard in it.  But, with CIM coming up, I know that I need to get back to "training".  So I viewed the SJ R&R half as a way to kick start my training.  I thought was not sure what time I could do.  My goal A was 1:45, goal B was a PR and goal C was to break 1:50.  After 1:50, then it would be to just somehow have fun and finish.

I now work in downtown SJ so I was able to park in my building and walk over.  Which meant I also was able to use the bathrooms in my office.  No porta-potties.

My great running friends were there.  I tried to not "find" them because I knew they were all going for sub 1:40s (and they all did that).  I did not feel I was in shape for that and did not want to keep up with them and then burn out early in the race.

I started close to the 1:45 pace group.  I, like I always seem to, started off a bit too fast - about 7:30 pace the first mile.  I decided to back off as I did not think I could keep that pace.  I was going okay.  My pace was solid the first few miles, but I had a lot of trouble finding a grove.  Toward the middle of the race miles 5-8 I slowed down a little and my avg pace was dropping back to about 8:15 (based on my Garmin - which was showing the course as a little long).  I wondered whether a PR would be possible since I was right on the edge.  Due to my slower mid-miles, I gave up on goal A, but wanted to get a PR.

I decided to just get try to keep my pace at 8:15 until mile 10 and then push to get under my PR (I assumed I need an avg pace about 8:13 - based on my garmin).  I was able to keep up the pace until mile 10 and then slowly picked up the pace.  I felt good when my Garmin showed an 8:14 then 8:13 avg pace.  The weather was nice (not hot) and there were a lot of people which gave me energy.  I came in at an 8:10 avg pace (by Garmin - which showed me running 13.3 miles, which was similar to my 2009 distance on the course). I was able to PR with 1:48 and change.  I finished almost three minutes faster than my time last year.

I did not get a sub 1:45, but I believe if I actually train hard for a half that I can get that goal and maybe close to 1:40.  I do now need to pick out a half and train for it.  I've never trained for a specific half.

I ran into some of my running friends and they also PR'd.  Some of them had times at the 1:37 and 1:38 level.  It gives me times to strive to reach.

Best of all, my wife brought Brooklyn out to the finish and they found me!  They missed my cross the finish but found me among the 10K or so people.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ragnar Napa Valley Relay


I took part in my first relay race this past weekend. It was quite the experience with many highs and some lows.

Me and 10 running friends (one running friend got sick the week of the race and had to back out) took part in this relay. We had two vans. I was in van 2 and we had six runners, but we had the longer miles and, I would say, harder run times. So have 1 less runner in van 1 seemed to make sense.

Van 1 started at 9am in SF and we met Van 1 at exchange 6 in Kentfield (the College of Marin). We got there in time to write on our van and get all ready for this journey. Then, we waited and waited and waited. We found out that van 1 went to a wrong exchange point and this caused a 45 min delay. But, finally they arrived - the extra time allowed us to have a little fun with another van. Another van did not lose a van, but lost a runner (they found their "runner 6") and had a little spelling problem.

Our legs started. And, once our van started running I was excited and ready for my leg 10 to start. My leg 10 was in Petaluma and was 7.8 miles. It was 717 feet of elevation gain and started about 4pm. I was excited and ready to go. I started off fast and gave it all I got. Then I got to a stop sign with a cop watching traffic. I had to slow down to a stop. I cross the street but not where the cop wanted me to so I got yelled at (at least no ticket). That was a low point. I then started picking up my pace and hit a large tough hill. I tried as hard as I could but had to walk for 30 seconds or so and then struggle running slow to the top. My avg pace had risen. I picked it back up and came in about an 8:30 pace. However, I was down 1 or 2 runners (I can't recall any more).

I'm not sure how it started, but from the get go we started keep track of the runners we passed (our kills) and runners that passed us (killed).

We started out in the deficit. So for my first leg, I wanted to help get us out of the defiicit, but also ended up in the negative. But, it was still fun to be out there.  And, I had two more legs to get positive.
We ended our first shift about 7pm or so. I went to eat and then tried to get a little sleep before we had to start over again. By the time we eat and got to the exchange point I only had a little rest (and no sleep). About 11:30pm we started our next shift. We had some strong women on our team, as our ladies were racking up the kills. By the time my next leg started - maybe about 1:40am or so, I believe we were well into the positive kills so my goal was to add some more. I had a 6.2 mile run for leg 22 in Santa Rosa. This was the first time I ran with a headlight.

I was very tired to start the run but after a while you get energy and get into the grove. It was actually nice to be out there. This leg I think was a positive 2 or 3. I believe after this leg I was up 1 (worse case I was even). I enjoyed running at night. A negative was that because other runners would stop at lights, I had to stop as well even though it was going on 2:30am and there were hardly any cars around. That cost me a little bit of time, but still came in about 8:15 pace.

As our last runner was running his leg in our second shift, I was getting tired. We all were. We went to exchange 24 and decided to take a nap. We set the alarm for 5:15am; we all feel asleep (our van) and then are woken up by a phone call. Our runner came in earlier than 5:15am. A runner in van 1 was at the exchange and ready to go so we did not have to be there, but we all felt a little bad as no one was there to cheer him on or to tell him where the van was at.
We then went and had something to eat. Before our next shift, we crashed for another 1/2 an hour or so.

I think most of us were tired and not really looking forward to running this next leg other than to run it to get it over with. Then, a very high point for the relay occurred. One of our strong female runners was the first one out for the third and final shift. We went over to the end the leg to cheer her in. She passed a struggling male runner and he tried to pick up speed to pass her. This video shows what occurred:

It was classic.  He was okay . . . except for the pride.

This just made us all feel good and excited for this last shift.  My last leg was leg 34 in St. Helena.  It was mid-afternoon at this point in time and very hot for this 6.8 mile leg.  I went out fast and hard, but the heat was tough.  I had to slow down.  I pushed hard at the end and ended up positive 1 or 2 in this leg with about an 8:30 pace - not bad for me as I hate running in heat (maybe it is mental, but I just get exhausted).  Most everyone out there felt the heat at that time of the day.

Soon - we would finish:

It was quite an experience.

This Highs:
1.  The man falling.
2.  We ended up well in the positive in roadkills thanks to our amazing women.
3.  Some great running experiences
4.  Great times hanging out with running friends.

The Lows:
1.  Being away from brooklyn
2.  The heat and hills with slowed me down
3.  The mean cop
4.  Very little sleep

It was worth doing and something I will remember.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SF Marathon Dreadful Race Report


On Sunday, July 31, I ran the SF marathon.  My 7th marathon!

To get the the bottom line - I'm really disappointed with my performance.  I got sick on July 4th (right when I had to go on business travel).  The cold/flu took me down for a week without running.  Then, the next week I tried to run but really struggled as I was still recovering.  After that week, I had a two week taper.  I just could never get a good feel for running after getting sick.  Every run I took after getting sick was a struggle.  Especially, with chest pain.  I went to the Doctor the Wed before the SF marathon because of the chest pain.  My heart tested out fine.  She thought my lungs might still have some inflammation.  She thought it was safe to run the marathon.  I guess this is a big excuse for my poor performance.  But, before I got sick I was running stronger than I ever had.  I was putting in 50 plus miles a week and running faster than I had in the past.

I took off work early Friday to get to the expo and pick up my bib.  I had a church meeting on Sat and worried about getting to SF on Sat.  I did not spend much time at the expo.  I picked up my bid, shirt and changed my wave group (moved back a group).  I ran into one of my running friends (it was nice to see her there) and talked a little.

On Sat night I drove up to SF and stayed the night in the city.  I went up there close to Brooklyn's bed time so I got into the room about 9pm and just relaxed until I fell asleep.  As normal, I woke up early and often . . . checking the clock to make sure I did not oversleep (even though I set about 5 alarms on my iphone).

I woke up about 4:30am.  Slowly got ready and then headed out to the start line.  I had to walk about a 1.1 miles (walking the morning was fine, the walk back after the marathon was painful).  I got there in time to run into some of my running friends at the SF marathon training group tent.  We lined up together.

I decided to try to stay behind the 3:50 pace group.  I felt (before getting sick) that I would have tried for a sub 3:50.  My thinking was that I had to give it a shot.  I had very little confidence, but I did not want to kick myself for not trying.  So I said let me see how long I can stay with them.

I felt good the first 5 or so miles, but then (like my recent runs) my chest was bothering me (below my ribs) and I was losing my endurance.  On the GG Bridge I realized that I would not be able to keep up with them so I let them go and told myself "just enjoy the race."

I ran across the GG bridge and made the turn to run back across it.  Here is a video I took (I have no idea how to get it to play properly - it is sideways):

Then, the trouble really started.  Halfway back across the GG bridge, I developed major stomach cramps.  I mean major ones.  I could not run.  I had to stop a couple of times (on the GG bridge).  I did not have a choice.  A couple of my running friends passed me as I really struggled to control the stomach cramps.  I finally was able to get running again.  Thanks a lot to my running friend Rachel who passed me.  I was able to catch up to her once I started running and was able to run with her for a while until I ran into the porta potties.  I had to stop.

After that I started running again.  I ran into Aaron.  I thought maybe she recognized me because she said hi Tim, but I realized that my bib had Tim on it.  :)  It was nice to see her because I was thinking about her great SF marathon course descriptions (I really relied on those) and how she thought the hill after the GG Bridge was the tougher one.  I always feel a bit strange when I run into bloggers that I really don't know, especially when I think they don't know me (I don't want them to think I'm some crazy guy).  But, it was very nice to see her out there.  She was one of the first blogs that I followed and still follow (it is like seeing a star out there).  Next time I need to get her autograph.

Soon after running into her, my cramps started up again.  This time I was getting side cramps.  This sucked.  I really was thinking of stopping at the halfway point.  I wondered whether I could get a half metal if I just followed the first half marathon runners.

I pushed forward.  I ran into one of my other running friends.  That was a real pleasure as I felt that at least I could pace along side him for a few miles.  About mile 16 I needed to walk through an aid station to get some water.  My running friend kept going and I knew that would be the last I would see him as I just did not feel strong.  The next two miles were horrible.  I struggled with chest pain and stomach cramps.  I forced my way to mile 18.  I used the porta potty again and then just tired to focus on getting the last 8.2 miles or so done.

About mile 19-20, another running friend past me.  I told her I was struggling and wished her luck.  She broke 4 hours!  Yeah!

About mile 20, two of the trainees from the SF marathon training group approached me.  I ran with them for about a mile or two.  I turned off my watch and just focused on getting 1 mile done at a time.  Once I got within the last few miles I knew I would finish.  I tired my best to run as much as possible the last few miles (maybe the last six miles, I just walked through two aid stations for water).  Here are two videos I took:

After the finish I waited for the two trainees to cross the finish line.  It was incredible to see them finish their first marathon.  Here are video's of them crossing the finish line.

Overall - I'm still disappointed with my performance. I came in about 4:17 and change.  I know I could have done so much better.  I want to run another marathon right away to "make up" for this performance, but I'm still letting things settle before making a plan.  I would have likely signed up for the NorCal marathon in Sept, but that weekend I'm signed up to do a relay in Napa and can't really let down my running friends.

Although I am disappointed with my performance, I also need to keep positive.  I did complete my 7th marathon!  I did lose about 10 or so pounds this training period.  I made some great new running friends and enjoyed running with old running friends.  I really loved working with the trainees in the SF marathon training program.  It was a great experience to be a pace and help lead so many Rancho Thurs. night hill runs.  I was able to run in SF for the first time. And, there will be a next time.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Good luck and have fun

Hi, just want to wish everyone running the SF marathon good luck. I need to make this short since I need some sleep. Not expecting my best time, but hoping to enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No confidence heading into the SF marathon

The SF marathon is this Sunday!!!

I have to be honest and state that I have no confidence heading into it.  I ended up getting sick on July 4th and did no run for a week because I had a very bad cold/flu.  That was suppose to be my last significant training week (55 miles) before taper.  The week of the 11th, I put in 50 miles because I missed a week of running.  However, the miles were hard.  I was still recovering from the flu/cold.  It was tough to run. I ran slower than normal and it was a struggle.  On Sunday, July 17th, I put in my last long run at Lake Tahoe.  I went up there for a weekend getaway.  I ran some hills and the run was just tough.  I struggled.  Here is a short video I took well running (note - I'm not very good at this).

After the long run, when I got back home, I did a speed workout and then started taper (a two week taper).  I have ran a few times (taking it slower), including an 8 mile run this Sunday.  I just don't feel the same as I did before I got sick.  I ran my 8 mile run on Sunday with good speed, but I just felt more tired than normal (especially for only 8 miles).

I'm going to go out and just try to enjoy the marathon.  I've never ran in SF before so it should be quite the experience.  Overall though I'm quite disappointed and not really looking forward to it because of how I'm feeling.  I was doing so great with my training and now just don't feel great.  Oh well what can I do.

On the positive side - I've really enjoyed training as a pacer with the SF marathon group.  I've got to run with some of my old running friends and made new running friends.  It is also a wonderful experience to see people train for their first marathon.  No matter how disappointed I am for me - I'm really excited to see my running friends complete the SF marathon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taken down by the Cold

Well, the Cold got the best of me.  :(

Last week was suppose to be my peak week with 55 total miles including a 22 mile long run.

However, as I stated in my last post, I came down with a cold right before a business trip.  Each minute it felt like I was getting worst and I had no time to rest and get better.  So to be somewhat alert in the meetings I used medication to fight the cold and rested as much as possible.  Which meant no runs during my travel.  The way I felt I don't think I could have ran if I wanted to.  I returned Thursday night and my body was beat.  I was basically home in bed on Friday and Sat.  Thus, 5 full days with no runs.  I started slowly recovering on Sat and did even set my alarm clock for the early wake up ring for the 22 mile Sunday long run.  But, after my night medication wore off, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized (based on my sore throat, congested nose and headache) that I would not be able to make the long run on Sunday.  I turned off my alarm and tried to sleep in to get better for the long haul.

I did go out Los Gatos Creek Trial where the group was running.  I felt bad for missing the run . . . I was really looking forward to it.  I was feeling a little better and thought I could try to run with people on there last miles back.  I also missed running.  I needed to get a run in.  I ran 1.5 miles to an aid station and quickly realized that I made the right decision.  I was ready for a long break after that 1.5 mile run.  There was no way I could make 22 miles.  It is amazing what a good cold/flu can do to you.

Long story short, I got in about 4 1/2 miles (spread over a few long breaks) and was able to run a little bit with my group.  My confidence is completely shot for the SF marathon.  But, I'm just going to try to enjoy the race.. . more on that below. 

The worst thing about getting sick was not messing up my peak week of training.  The worst part was that my daughter caught what I got.  That means a 103 fever for her and a few horrible days for her.  I felt horrible.  My heart still breaks thinking of her being sick.  I would take a month worth of being sick if it meant not having my daughter get sick.  I tried to be very careful with her, but I'm sure by the time I realized I was sick, I had passed on the illness to her.  She was sick immediately upon me leaving for my business trip.

She seems to be doing better now and I'm on the road to recovery.  I got in a good 5 miles Monday night.  I can still feel very congested, but I got the miles in.  I'm hoping to build my base back up this week so that I can have a decent long run on the weekend.

On another note - I flew to So. Cal. to see my grandmother today.  She is 91 years old and is not doing well.  I knew she was in poor health, but due to my cold I did not feel it was safe to see her on the weekend.  After talking to my sister Sunday night, I decided to take a flight to LA for the day and see her since no one is sure how long she has and did not want to wait too long.  My grandmother is really the only grandmother than I've known (my mom's mom).  She has always been a big part of my life.  Right now, she can barely move - she cannot get out of bed.

So instead of worrying so much about . . . time . .. for a marathon, I need to be thankful for just being able to get out there and run.  For the joy of it.  I've never ran the SF marathon before and I need to just cherish the opportunity.  One day, there might be be a time when I'm 91 years old and can't get out of bed.  Sure, I want to do well and meet whatever goals I place on my self with the marathon running.  But, really I need to make sure that I enjoy the experience and make the marathon meaningful regardless of the time that I cross the finish line.  So many people can't get out there (maybe as a result of age, disability or desire, etc) and run a marathon.

Here is a recent video of my healthy daughter riding a pony:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You have got to be kidding me?

My SF marathon training has been going well. I have had three weeks at 50 plus miles and 1 week at 40 miles in the last four weeks.  This week was my planned top week . . . 55 miles.  Then, taper.

The 19 mile run itself went well. It was very hot. Nearly 90 when we finished. As I stated too many times, I hate running in the heat. I was struggling at times, but watched my water better so I felt okay overall. I was trying to end strong, but one of the runners with us had dropped off. So far off that I could not see him. So with about two miles left in the run, I stopped and waited for him. I then ran back with him. With it being so hot, I did not want someone to be left by themselves if they were struggling. So I did not end the last two miles as fast as I would have liked to, but I had a good fast 7 mile hill run on Monday to make up for it.

On Monday, I decided to run out to the farm (where we keep our horse and pony) and back.  It is a good 800 to 1K feet climb uphill for 3.5 miles.  After the run, we then went swimming with cousins and had a BBQ.

I could tell that I was not feeling 100% and then as we got home at night I felt worse.  I tried to go to sleep, but kept waking up with a sore throat.  So somehow I now have a cold.  :(  I went to work on Tuesday but felt horrible so I went home early.  I have to cancel my Tuesday night run in hopes that a little rest will help.  Unfortunately, I have to wake up at 5am to fly out to DC for work on Wed. morning.  Before this cold, I planned to run Wed and Thursday in DC, but now I just want to somehow make it through this business trip and likely need to not run to rest (but I'm taking my running clothes).

Very disappointing, but I suppose it is better than getting sick on race day.

Also, Rachel from Eat, Write and Run has some pictures from our 19 mile run. I just found out recently that she has a blog.  It is a great blog and very exciting to know that I run with someone else that blogs.  Here is one picture she took after our run:

She has more on her blog.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Summary

I took a look at my blog and noticed that I'm again very delayed in posting.  Work has been busy and my teaching position takes up an additional hour to two hours a day.  All my free time is used up with Brooklyn (now 18 months old) and with . . . running.

I'm still pushing along training for the SF marathon and trying to get faster.  This week will be my third 50 plus mile week (with also a 49 mile week).  To get the miles in, I've been having to run 6 days a week.  I normally only run 4 or 5 days a week so that has been a big change.  My legs feel it!  Or, maybe it is just running 50 miles plus a week.

My runs during the week consists of:  a tempo run (up to 11 miles so far), a speed workout, a hill run, and a long run.  The rest of the runs are "easy runs".

Overall everything has been going well.  I wish I was a bit faster on my long runs, but I tend to have heavy legs from the week's worth of running.  Only three real problems:

1.  On my 20 mile run on June 19th, it got very hot.  I am not good at all running in the heat.  So that last three miles sucked.  I just felt very lightheaded.  I ran out of water two times during the run (where I had to run about two miles before the next water stop).  I might need to bring additional water with me for these long runs or plan my water stops a lot better.

2.  On June 26th I had a 17 mile run.  I wanted to start easy and run harder the last 5 or 6 miles.  On the 25th was my B-day (now 41 years old) so I had two huge pieces of ice cream cake.  So, I was very worried about how my body would react.  Things were going great and just as planned.  However, with about 2 miles left my stomach said enough . . . and I had to stop to use the bathroom.  I mean . . . I had to stop for about one minute and then walk the bathroom.  After my pit stop, I finished the run, but it was a bit disappointing that I needed the pit stop.  But, what can you do.

3.  I did a speed workout this week . . . on the treadmill . . . in my five fingers.  This went well, until two huge blisters developed on the bottom of my foot.  I had to skip my Wed run because it was hard to "walk" around with the blisters.  I sucked it up and went for an easy run this morning.  I plan to run again tonight to make up for the off day and get the miles in.

So that is my training in a nutshell.  Now on to the best 18 month old in the world.  This month my wife had to travel for work twice.  Two weeks ago she was gone for 5 days and this week she was gone for 4 days.  That means on the weekend and before and after work on the weekdays, it is just me and Brooklyn.  Watching an 18 month old by yourself (for me) is very intimidating . . . but it is such a great experience.  I truly love caring for her and just spending time with her.  It does give me an appreciation of people that stay at home all day, every day, with their kids.  It is a lot of work.

Here is one recent picture of her (not sure why it came out sideways) and a video of her playing around:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Up and down week, but pushing along

I'm increasing my miles in preparation for the SF marathon.  This week, I should get in b/n 40 and 45 miles (my first 40 mile week this training period).  I had a good 12 mile run on Sunday and had an awesome 7 mile tempo run (7:19 pace) on Tuesday.

But, the best was my lunch run today, Wed.  It was great to meet with a couple of my fellow running pacers from the SF marathon training group for a 5 mile run in San Jose.  It was nice to get out for lunch and grab some fresh air.  This was my first lunch run at my new job in San Jose and it was great.

One problem:  my old job had towels to use for the shower after the run.  I had wrongly assumed that would be the case with this one.  I had to use an extra shirt to dry off.

So, I've been a bit down about my weight.  I've started to watch what I eat and I've been running every day since I stepped on the scale.  I've lost 3 pounds so only 7 to go in order to get to an okay race weight.  So I needed something positive.  And, I got something!  On my lunch run, we were chatting away and I mentioned that I was going to be 41 (I think we were talking about BQ times).  She said something to the effect "wow, I thought you were close to my age."  She is only 28.  So that made me feel very good.

Now on to my daughter.  She is now 17 months old.  It is just amazing how fast times goes by.  She was a bit of a slow walker.  Meaning she just started walking soon.  I've place a video below of her walking.  Most kids should walk by 15 months, but Brooklyn pushed it into the 16th month.  She could walk for months before, but would only walk a little here and there.  She would refuse to walk most of the time (by walking I mean by herself, she would walk all over if you held her hand).  The most she would walk was only about 10 to 30 steps and once she knew we were trying to get her to talk it would be a day or two before we could get another 10 steps in.  Now she just goes and goes and goes.  It is awesome to see her move around and explore.

Having a baby or 17 month old around (I think even when she is 50, she will still be my baby) is great, but it can have interesting (I'll use that word) moments.  And, now every other night or so we are having an interesting moment.  Brooklyn used to love taking baths.  She would pitch a fit when we tried to take her "out" of the tub to end the bath.  Now, however, she has decided she hates the water.  Hates being in the tub.  And, the mere act of us trying to wet her with water causes a massive screaming attack.  Hopefully, this will be a short phase or the neighbors might start wondering what we are doing to her.  I wonder if she picked it up from our cats freaking out when we give them a bath (we have to bath the cats every week to help with my wife's allergies).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I hate the scale!

My training for the SF marathon I think is going well.  I am running my tempo and speed runs faster.  I'm doing more hill work than I ever have for a marathon and can tell I'm getting stronger on the hills.  I'm pushing my long runs at a faster pace.

Yet, today after many months I stepped on the scale and was . . . 10 pounds heavier than I thought!  What the Frak!  I don't feel heavier.  I'm so disappointed and have complained so much about it that my wife is tried of hearing about it.

It is so frustrating because my training seems to be going well and I feel good as far as my body.  Well, now it is time to really get focused.  I have a two step plan to get those 10 pounds off:

(1) Increase the weekly miles.  I have been slowly building up the miles, but now is the time for 40 plus miles each week (only so much time with the job, teaching and the baby . . . I've just got into the 30s the last few weeks) with a buildup to the mid-50s.

(2)  Watching what I eat.  With me running faster or pushing my speed and tempo runs, I've not really worried about my food.  I always try to watch what I eat, but I think I've been eating too much pasta.  So, I need to cut back and have more salads.

My wife tells me to just focus on how I'm running.  This morning, I went up a one mile tough hill and went up it significantly better than I had three months ago (the last time I ran it).  So, I'm doing good with my fitness.  But, I'm still need to lose the pounds.  I started running because I was very much overweight.  I lost 60 pounds as I trained for my first marathon.  Thus, I know I can lose these 10 pounds.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Running fun and baby fun

My last marathon was CIM in December.  It feels like ages ago.  I'm now starting to get excited about the SF Marathon.  My training is gearing up.  I'm a pacer for the South Bay SF marathon training group . . . which means I got a hat, some shirts and a free entry.  Yeah.  It is though so much fun to run with people that are training for their first marathon.  Each time you hit a new long run, you are doing a personal best in distance.  It reminds me so much of 2008 when I started running.  The hill runs at Rancho are fun.  We get 6-7 miles in and get some great views of the bay area.  I need to bring my camera.

Still working to get faster.  Just plugging away at trying to run my tempo and speed workouts faster than in the past, while pushing a little harder on the long runs.

Okay now for some baby fun.

A few days ago, it was my wife's b-day.  Her parents were in town and we decided to go to dinner.  We went to a place that is a little more upscale.  It was a weekday so it was not crowed and okay to bring a 16 month old.  We ordered, got food for us and Brooklyn.  Brooklyn eat some and then got tired of sitting around.  I take her for a little walk around the restaurant so that the others can eat.  I start to smell something.  I take a deep sniff and think "oh oh."  I then pick her up to take her back to the table.  I feel something.  It does not feel good after you had an "oh oh" smell.  I lift her jacket (which she had on over her shirt).  I immediately notice that there is something wet and brown coming up from the diaper and soaking her shirt.  I quickly move back to the table and let our party know of the incident.  We look in the diaper bag and . . . find . . . no diapers . . . no wipes . . . and no extra clothes.

My wife gets up and we rush to the bathroom which has no changing table.  But, they do have rolls of paper towels and I immediately start layering the paper towels on the floor of the bathroom.  We have to very gently remove Brooklyn's shirt as we want to limit the wet and brown stuff to an area we can control.  Now, my daughter generally is a pain to change when she decides she does not want to be changed.  And, in the middle of the bathroom floor is one of those times when she is not going to make this easy.  We both needed to be there, one holding her and one cleaning her.  How I wished there was a shower nearby.  After a few minutes of struggling to hold Brooklyn so we can clean the mess and after filling the trash can with tons of used toilet paper that was used to clean such mess.  Her jacket was okay to use until we got her home (we only lived a few minutes away).  I guess Brooklyn wanted to give her mom a little B-day present.

Here is a recent video of Brooklyn, on her horse:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It is hard to get faster!!!

Okay, I finally broke 4 hours last year at CIM.

Great, but now what is my next time goal?  There is really only one number out there:  3:20!  Or, maybe get a sex change and then it's 3:40 or maybe wait 20 years . . .  Since I don't want to confuse my daughter with the sex change and I don't have patience to wait for many years, then I must get faster and I must get faster soon.

So the last couple of months I've been working on my speed.  I used a heart rate monitor to gage my tempo and speed workouts and tried to run them much faster than in the past.  I've been doing my long runs faster.

But, now to feel sorry for myself:  I have a great 16-month old at home, a busy work schedule, and I teach.  Which means my running time is limited.  So must of my runs have to be late at night or early in the morning and, even then, it is hard (or impossible due to time constraints) to put in more than 30-40 miles a week.  Maybe, a week or two I can get up to 50 miles.

Thus, I'm finding it very hard to get the increase in speed I need to make such a significant improvement for my marathon time.  But, I'm not giving up.  I'll do the best I can.  It took my 6 marathons to break 4 so it will definitely be a challenge to knock off 40 minutes off my marathon time.  I realize at someone point I'll have to pick a time such as 3:40 or so and work then work from there.

If anyone has helpful hints to increase your speed with a busy schedule, please do let me know.

Here is a video of Brooklyn on Easter:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Have an awesome time - those running Boston


It has been a little while since I've updated this blog, but with so many people running boston including 1 running friend and many blogs that I read, I wanted to wish everyone luck and to have a great time.

Maybe, one day I'll be able to run it.  At my current age, I need to run around a 7:30mm pace for 26.2 miles . . . wow.  Wow . . . WOW.  It was hard enough to break four hours!  Or, I could wait like 20 years and keep my current pace.  Not sure which is easier.  :)

I am still running.  Just been busy.  I started a new job two months ago which takes some adjustment.  Then, of course, having a 15 month old baby keeps you busy when you are home.  But, I am running and trying to get faster.  I'm running my tempo and speed runs faster than before and so far been doing my long runs about 8mm to 8:20mm.  But, my long runs right now are short (only 8 miles this weekend).  As we increase the mileage, I wonder if I will be able to keep up the faster pace.  I think I really need to put in the work with my tempo and speed workouts.

My next marathon seems like it will be the SF Marathon.  I'm a pacer/coach for the south bay SF marathon group and I'm suppose to get a free entry.  So as long as that comes through, I'll be running that marathon.  I've never ran the SF marathon before, so I'm very excited about it.

I'll try to provide more updates on my training runs. Not sure when my next race will be.  There is a short 10K next month near my home, I might do just for the fun of it and to support a local race.