Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Failed Titles for this Blog Include...

Three weeks of Training Runs
How to train for a Marathon 9 minutes at a time
Why Titling Bloops is the hardest thing to do
You should click me, I'm Awesome
Insert interesting title here!

You get the picture.  Would you have clicked this post if I had used the first title, well maybe.

I'm still here...still running...well training...but I've been busy.  It's been several weeks since I last blogged, I haven't even been commenting as much as I like, lurking - yes, commenting - no.  Oh well, mostly it comes down to being busy at work and home, and trying to fit in umpiring.  I'll just try to catch up a bit since the St. Patrick's Day blog.

Way back at the very middle of March I took a break apparently.  Surrounding (and including) the Shamrock run in Portland, I ran 5 total times.  And leading up to the start of my training plan I decided I needed extra rest.  I remember calling my running buddy and canning my Sunday long run.  I don't think either of us was disappointed by this turn of events, especially since I tend to be the one guy that never backs out of a run.  Besides the next day was the start of training for the SF marathon.  HA!  Monday is a rest day.  So I ended with 4 consecutive rest days (though I did umpire baseball on Saturday if that even gets close to counting).  Tuesday March 27 was the first official run of our 18 week training plan, an easy 3.

Easy is all in the eye of the beholder I guess.  My running buddy and I were both transitioning back to the early AM run.  I groggily crawled out of bed (a theme of the morning runs) at 4:30, to allow time for bodily adjustments, then met him at 5:15 for our easy three.  And it was, a jaunty 3.2 in 28 minutes, definitely not going to be setting any records with that pace, but considering the time of day, and the overall sluggishness of the body, it was acceptable.  The plan for the rest of the week was to try to maintain this level of running and hope that once the sleep cycle caught up with the running we would get faster.  So we ran out the rest of the week (3-5-3-5-10) with almost all those runs at the insane hour of too early in the morning.

The nice thing about the plan (Hal Higdon Intermediate 2) is the flexibility to run each run how you want, at least the way I read it, so most of the runs are 'easy'.  Though, not to lose sight of it, I still like to grab some speedwork where possible.  So last week, after the first two meandering runs (3 and 5) I decided to push the tempo a bit for Thursday's three.  Which, I did, sporadically.  Run hard, slow and recalibrate the brain that I actually wanted to push hard, run hard, slow to recalibrate, repeat for 3.1 miles.  In the end I decided that the mostly hardish run was about what a Fartlek would be and just called it that, especially as the overall pace was 8m/m, a 30-45 second improvement over the rest of the easy runs.  Again the weekend featured two early AM runs of 5 (almost, since I forgot the route) and 11 miles.

That brings us to the present(ish).  After our easy three yesterday, we agreed that today would be the hard day for this week and we would do the 'damn hill' as part of the run.  For a couple of guys training for SF we realize the need to get hill work in, but we still don't like doing it.  We settled into an easy pace this morning cruising through the first 4 miles including down the hill.  As we came back upon the hill, the mood and determination change just enough as we both start plodding back up the hill, in an exercise to finish it off.  We still have a long way to go, I think we need to get to point where not only are we tackling the thing multiple times a week, but multiple times a run.  But for this morning it was a good workout, with an easy mile back to the house for a cool down
In the beginning I was wondering how my friend was going to handle the brunt of the training plan, especially the three days in a row, two days on the weekend thing, but it turns out it has been really good for both of us and he has responded well to training (I started working on the three days in a row part almost immediately after basketball season ended).  So far we have had a lot of good runs, and are taking it nice and easy as we creep along through the plan.

I have the pleasure of running two races in May.  The first is a little race up in Spokane you may have heard of it, Bloomsday, there might be a Loop meet up there (at least that's what I am told).  The second a much more widely known race from the town of Sunnyside, WA to the town of Prosser, WA, a breezy 13.1 miles, known as the Sage Rat Run.  Be jealous, I get a blueberry filled donut at the end of that one!  I might try to sneak in a 10k and a 5k in April, but I haven't completely decided on those yet.

I suppose that I will call it for now, before I start rambling on, or continue rambling rather.  Hope that everyone is having great training runs and as always have fun out there!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Portland Shamrock Run Plus My First Loop Meet UP

Where to start?  I guess way back in January (or perhaps February)  when MildSauce mentioned that her roomie bailed for colder climes.  I found myself drawn to Portland to kick off the year with a 15k race, perhaps drawn to the potential Loop Meet Up (defined as meeting strangers that you share blogs with at RunnersWorld), or perhaps the free 15k PR, but certainly for the hills of Portland (Yes! There are hills in Portland).  You should go pop some popcorn, grab a blanket and strap in 'cause this one is a bit long.

Let us begin this journey on Friday.  We clamored into a pair of vehicles around 9 Friday morning to make the 200 mile journey to Portland.  Why two cars you ask, because I like to roll with a group, also because my wife's family made the trip, and its hard to put 5 adults and two car seats into a vehicle comfortably.  So off we rolled with dreams of great food to eat and fun things to do.

Our first real stop on this journey was at the Bonneville fish hatchery, where you guessed it, they raise fish.  Everything from Chinook and Coho salmon as well as several varieties of Steelhead salmon.  There are a bunch of fish rearing stalls (really the best way to put this) with hundreds of thousands of fish in each.  But the main attraction at the hatchery is Herman, especially if you are a 3 year old who has been cooped up in the car for a couple hours.  Herman is a 10+ foot, 500+ pound white sturgeon, who lives in a very special pond on the hatchery grounds with several of his very large sturgeon friends.

The next stop on this beautiful spring afternoon was at Multnomah Falls (it is pronounced exactly as it reads). There are two falls here that total at total of 611 feet of drop between the two. We did the short hike (less than a quarter mile) up to the bridge to take a couple of quick photos and then hit the road again.  I have to say that this really inspired me, as I want to come back on do one of the longer hikes up to the top of the falls (or perhaps to the top of the mountain).

Now, on to the highlight of the day (unless you are into beer and German food), the meet up. We arrived at our hotel at 3:30, got checked in and settled, then headed off to the convention center, conveniently across the street.  I am willing to admit that I was nervous (or at least I was in the hour or so leading up to the meet up).  Honestly, I don't usually get nervous, I have moved around enough in life that I know how to make friends and how to get along with people, and you would think that meeting people you already have something in common with would be an easy thing to do.  But still.

The expo was smaller than I was expecting, especially with 32000 people registered for the race.  The entrance was packet pick up with a smattering of booths in the middle, a stage (where we heard a harpist and a bagpiper) then T-shirts and chip confirmation at the other end.  Immediately after picking up my packet, I set off looking for MildSauce and LadyRunsAlot, my wife asking if I knew where they might be.  And as we turned the corner I saw them.  Walked right over and introduced myself, and off we went, talking as if we were long lost friends.  We talked about what to do in Portland and running, upcoming races, and what to expect during the race on Sunday.  Sadly, after about an hour, I realized that we needed to get on the road and get the kids fed.  So we said our goodbyes with promises to meet up again at the conclusion of the race.

Saturday we spent the day doing all that is cool to do in Portland.  We started off by grabbing breakfast at Pine State Biscuits (as featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives), where, perhaps, more food than should be consumed by one person is indeed eaten by one person.  We followed that with a trip to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).  There we went for a tour on a Submarine (the USS Blueback), toured the exhibits, which included a lego art exhibit, and played around in the kids area.  Let me recommend this if you have kids and want something to do for a day in Portland.

After OMSI, we headed into the heart of Portland grabbing a quick bite for lunch, and then going over to Powell's Book Store.  This place is amazing, and if you love books, then this is the place for you, I could have spent the whole day here looking at (and of course buying) books.  My brother in-law and I parted ways with the rest of the family in order to meet up with one of his high school friends and his girlfriend.  They took us to a Nickel Arcade, where we spent two hours (sorry I didn't take any pictures here) playing nickel games and generally having a good time.  We then had dinner at a place called Montage, which had good food, and I made the most questionable call of the whole trip by ordering spicy mac and cheese.

Sunday, I was up at 6:30 for the 7:45 race.  I put the bib on my shirt, and laced the timing chip to the shoes.  Managed to get through all my pre-run routine and was out the door by 7.  I had originally intended on using the mile distance to the race start as a warm-up jog, but I noticed all the green shirts getting on the transit train, and decided to just ride over with them (alleviating a concern I had about running over the river in a city I don't know at all).  The train dropped my off a block from the start of the race, I took it all in for a minute or two, then went to find the port-o-potties for that all important last pit-stop.  Then I quickly went over the starting area and found the 8-9 minute start group.  Then we waited.

Getting ready for the start of the race.

We kept waiting for a train to get to the station, so that we wouldn't have to stop at the train tracks, and I was ok with this plan.  Finally, at 8 AM we were off.  I knew roughly the way the course was going to wind through the city, and I knew that somewhere there was a monster hill to be tackled.

Miles 1-2:  I narrowly escaped being stopped by the transit train as I got to the first rail crossing probably about a half mile or so into the race.  I kept trucking along and wondering when exactly that hill was supposed to start.  The splits I have on my phone for these miles show that I was running about a 7:50 split during the first 2 miles, but my GPS and the course miles were not matching up as I was about .2 miles off from the markers on the course (2.2 instead of 2).

Miles 3-6:  I hit the hills starting at mile three and felt really good, though I was starting to wonder if I was going to regret the mac and cheese from the night before.  Apparently I slowed down a ton on mile 4.  Either the hill or the concern that I might have to hit the bathroom must have slowed me down, as I recorded a 10+minute mile (the only one above 7 on my splits). When I checked the phone at mile 4, it read 37minutes for 4.37 miles.  Two thoughts hit me as I looked at that.  1) I needed to speed up, and 2) the phone was good for time only, as the splits weren't going to match up well today.  So I kicked it up a gear in a desperate effort to make up time, by this time the stomach had returned to its normal self.  At mile 5 you have the joy of coming down hill a little, and I remember thinking to myself that I didn't hear or see any bagpipes so we haven't reached the acme of this hill, still it was nice to have a little reprieve.  I push on knowing that we have to be close to getting there.  A couple more ups and downs, mentally I have convinced myself to take a quick walk break when I hear that sound.  The sound of bagpipers calling us to the top.  I make on last push to get to the top of the hill, knowing that this is it.

Miles 7-9.3: I literally feel like I am flying down the last 3.3 miles of this race.  It is all down hill.  RunKeeper shows splits of 7:41 for the last of the hill miles (mile 6) and then 7:23, 7:21, and 7:16 for the final three plus miles of this race (or 3.78 as the case may be).  I cruised in and stopped the time on my phone at 1:18:00, just three minutes off the predicted goal.  My official time was 1:17:23.  That time is right at my fastest half marathon pace from last year and that was a flat course.

I stumbled around the park for a couple of minutes looking for my family (before I realized they hadn't gotten out of the hotel yet), grabbed some water, then went in search of MildSauce and LadyRunsAlot near the Chowder huts (apparently there were 4, I only remember 2).  I had just about given up on finding them when I turned back around and saw them.  We stood in the rain, well a few minutes of it, (did I mention it misted/rained for most of the race?) and chatted about the experience and got some pictures. Looks like I need to work on my after race enthusiasm. LadyRunsAlot's husband was nice enough to snap some pictures after the race.  MildSauce and I then spent some more time trying to convince LadyRunsAlot to join us again in Spokane for Bloomsday.  Finally, it was off to warm up, pack up the kids, and head back home.

Why do I have such a strange look on my face? You would have thought I was staring at the sun!

I got up and ran Monday morning, and I never get up and run the day after a race or a long run for that matter.  I did 3.3 very (go ahead and drag that out a little) slow (this too) miles, in about 32 minutes, all while trying to avoid all the hills in my neighborhood.  Then I went to work, where I take the stairs regarless of how my legs feel, and it was all I could do to walk around the office yesterday, thinking, how did I run this morning.  My quads were burning, but I knew it was from a good strong workout and a great race.  I already have a new goal for next year, get as fast as MildSauce and LadyRunsAlot.  I have more pictures to post and will put those up this weekend when I get some time to transfer them off the camera.

I had a lot of fun in Portland and I am already looking forward to going again next year!  Until next time folks, have fun out there!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

February Stats and March Plan (Shamrock Run)

I wrapped up February with a Leap day run, cause you only get to do that every 4 years.  Anyway, a quick update for March plans and the February stats.

I have been getting mentally and physically ready for marathon training by increasing the number of days a week I have been running, while trying to get the base mileage back on track, and last week was no exception.  After taking a cut back week the week prior, I attacked last week with a vengence.  The schedule (which is identical to week one of the training plan) called for 5 days of running, 3-5-3-5-10, with days off on Monday and Friday.  I managed to get through the 3-5-3 part of the run last week pretty easily, knocking out a killer tempo run Wednesday to close out February.  That run was 5 super speedy miles at a 7:30 pace, with the second half into a pretty good head wind.  A great confidence boosting run.  With that run I closed out February at 76.6 miles and sit for the year at 110.  Both numbers way out in front of last year's numbers.

Back to last week.  Started out March with the easy 3 on Thursday, and had all the intentions in the world of making it a great weekend.  But Saturday morning came and went and I hadn't gotten out the door for the 5 miles.  Then I got busy doing laundry, and dinner, and gardening, and I wanted to sit on my butt and do nothing.  So I did that, skipped the 5 miles.  Oh well.  I knew I was going to go out for at least 10 the next morning and just moved on.

Friday and Saturday I spent trying to get my two running partners to agree to times and places to run Sunday morning.  My friend, M, bailed out Saturday night, citing his need to homework and take care of his 2 month old.  But my friend, G, who is doing the marathon with me, was still in.  Well, 5:30 Sunday morning rolls around, and I start the preparations, and just after 6, G texts and tells me that he isn't feeling good and isn't going to come.  There I sat, all dressed up and no one to run with, so what do I do?  I thought about more sleep for about 3 seconds, then strapped the water bottles to the belt, hit start on the phone and off I went.  I left with no plan other than to run the 10 miles, and do the big hill in my city.  Two hours later I cruised into the house having done 12.1 awesome miles, got cleaned up and took my 3 yo for donuts (he earned for eating fruits and veggies all week).  It was a really good day.  Finished last week with 23.5 miles feeling really good as we get close to kicking off training in three weeks.

Last thing.  Finalized plans for our trip to Portland next week, we get in Friday.  I grabbed a hotel downtown, and am looking forward to doing my first 15k next weekend.  I know there are a few people that will be there doing the run as well, so if you want to meet up or do whatever, let me know.
Remember to have fun guys!  Now if you'll excuse me, I have some miles to go run.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pacing Questions for the Marathon

I want to post more on here about my runs, all of them really.  But the problem comes when I am home for the weekends, as I usually spend about 30 minutes on the internet the whole weekend, and that is usually to check banking and log my runs.  Plus with two little kids I spend more time with them during the day, and only get on later at night, which leads to diminished posting. So I spend most of my Loop time during the week.

Last week I had wanted to post after several runs.  Like a run last Wednesday when I ran 5 miles down at the park.  I was only going to do 4 then I found myself out at 3.5 with a 1.5 mile run back to the car so I finished up the 5, aided mostly by another runner running several feet behind me at the same pace, so that we could hear each other's foot falls for my last mile.

Then there was Friday, where I had little desire to run (probably because I hate hills), but put on the gear and hit the hill anyway.  Last year I had to walk portions of the hill when I started running it in preparation for Bloomsday, but this year, I ran the whole thing on the first go (the hill is approx. 0.75 miles with a climb of about 225ft.).  So I am reviewing my plan and how to work running the hill multiple times to gain the benefits.

Of course, Sunday I did a "long" run, it was a cut back (long run wise)week, so we did 6 miles as a group, but I added on about 1.5 for a nice 7.5 mile run.  It was slower than we have been running some of our long runs, coming in at 9:30 m/m instead of the 8:30m/m, but I attribute that to a long week and tired legs.

Later Sunday the discussion of pacing came up.  My marathon partner and his wife, and my wife and I, went wine tasting at several of the local wineries (and if you have been to SE Washington, there are a ton).  During this nice (child free) afternoon, the topic of how we were traveling to SF, and several other marathon related topics were discussed, including that of using our friend, M, as a pacer.  He is really good for it, as he is a 9:30-10 m/m guy, and doesn't vary too much.  We really want to use him during the longer runs to help keep us in check and not over-exert ourselves during the strenuous long runs.  This inevitably led to GPS watches, and if we could use them to do this type of pacing for us.  At this point I should caution that we both use our phone and the RunKeeper App to track our runs, but it's limitation is that it can't really do pacing.  It does distance, and gives an average pace based on miles (or time), or does instantaneous the same  way, but seems like it lacks the ability to hit precise pacing requirements.

So, I hit up the great reference of the Loop in hopes of coming to a decisive answer, and thusly, was told to get one I wouldn't regret it.  However, I have yet to run out and find one of those lovely little devices.
Last week was a 21.5 mile week, with 4 days of running, so I feel pretty confident about where I am at right now as we get closer to marathon training. This week, I started out with three basketball games, and have yet to do normal running (today I blame the wind, and will probably hit the stationary bike tonight to make up for it). Back at it with a smaller mileage week, before picking it up again next week and increasing mileage. Have fun out there guys, and thanks in advance for the responses about watches.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

That Runnin' Feeling (I registered for my first marathon)

Yet another weekend has flown by.  The time sure does fly when you have so much going on.  Friday was a needed rest day as I was worn down from the long week.  But we had plan Friday night anyway.  We went to dinner with my mom, then my mom, I and my three year old went to the local hockey game.  It was disappointing that the Americans lost the game, but my son had a great time and that is what really matters.

Saturday I had every intention of getting up and running 5 miles, but when the alarm went off at 5:30, I ignored it and slept for a bit longer.  When I did get up at 8, I noticed that it was raining, and suddenly my desire to run was washed away.  So I grabbed my Nook and hit the stationary bike in the garage for a 10 mile ride.  Then spent the majority of the day feeling a bit guilty that I didn't run.  But at least I got some exercise in.  Spent the better part of the afternoon, getting the garden ready for spring, especially after I noticed that the tulips are starting to poke through the ground.

Sunday was one of those great days.  I met up with my buddy, G, for our long run, 10 miles.  And we really did have a great run.  It was cool (34ish) but there were no clouds, and we got to watch the sun come up over the Columbia River about 7:30.  This run was so nice compared to the 8 miles we did the previous week in the freezing fog. It was also the second time I used the new fuel belt.  The one thing I have to do is make sure to close the lid on the bottle, otherwise it splashes on my shirt, not a good feeling.  We finished the 10 just under an hour and a half, and both felt really good about it.

After the run, he and his family came over for breakfast so we could start our preliminary planning for San Francisco.  We went over three or four plans that I had picked out.  I told him that I was looking at doing Hal Higdon's Intermediate 2 Plan, because I am feeling really good about my running right now.  I am running any where between 4 and 5 days a week, and have been running three consecutive days in the middle of the week for a few weeks now (counting basketball of course).  So I feel good.  Anyway, my friend decided that he would train on that plan as well, because it offered a lot of flexibility if he wanted to shorten a run or cross train a short day instead.  Then of course we broke down and registered for the San Francisco marathon.

I repeat for emphasis, that we are both registered for our first marathon! I have yet to decided if I am more excited or completely insane.  Right now, all I know is that I am enjoying running and hope that it keeps up for a while.  Training will start with an 18 week plan on March 26th, so until then I am focusing on regaining my base miles.

A final note, the best feeling I have every week is the first day I run and knock that zero off the weekly log.  Today was that day.  An easy 4 down by the river at lunch to release from the stress of a design review.  I'll be back out tomorrow, but haven't decided on a distance yet.  Since this has gotten a bit long I'll stop now.
Stay safe and have fun out there!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Strike While the Pavement is Wet

When I started running in 2010 on of the first things I learned was how much fun running in the rain could be.  I started running in the late summer/early fall that year, and had the opportunity to run in the rain on several occasions (later this would be snow).  Considering the area I live in is classified as a desert, I don't get the opportunity to run in the rain all that often (Yes, SE Washington is a desert, contrary to the belief that the whole state is rainy and gray like Seattle).  I had planned on running before work yesterday morning, but alas, the bed had other plans for me.  I knew I would be going out sometime during the day, and the decision on when to run became quite clear when it started raining around 10 yesterday morning.

At 10:45 I wandered out to the car, drove on down the park and prepared to do my thing.  At this point I feel a clarification is in order.  The park I run in has something like 6 bathrooms placed about 1 mile intervals.  My daily runs start at the farthest north of these bathrooms, where I quickly change and get moving.  Nothing new yesterday, change lock the car, set the phone and off we go.

My mind and body had two different thoughts about the run yesterday.  The mind was like "hey, we should try for five" and the legs were like "Umm, we are sticking to three thank you very much."  With this debate ongoing, I took off north through the rain, though to my dismay, it wasn't raining as hard as I thought it was.

It didn't take long for my left calf to settle the how far are we going to run argument.  Since the path has marking every half mile, and I had started just before one of these markers, I decided to the through four of these markers.  The first marking off about a tenth of a mile from the start and the last being near 1.5 miles.  I was enjoying the run, nice, easy and smooth, running just past the WSU Tri-Cities campus then turning around just before the industrial plant out north.  The turn came in at 1.7 miles.  As I was cruising back I noticed that the rain had picked up a bit, as the noise was noticeable on the leaves littering the ground.  I probably dropped back the pace another 10 seconds per mile or so through the second half of the run, as the left leg was just a bit argumentative.  I was lost in my thoughts of the run, and my training plans for the summer, so I was only barely aware of the sore leg.  And finally I was back at the car, 30 minutes and 3.4 miles.  It really was a nice run, even if I did use the fast shoes for the easy run.

Anyway, on to more pressing matters.  My friend and I are meeting to discuss our training and travel plans for San Fran this weekend, my guess is that we'll be signed up by Sunday afternoon.  I also plan on signing up for the Portland Shamrock run at the same time, most likely for the 15k.  However, the most important thing to discuss in this close out, is Bloomsday.  

Anyway guys, have fun out there, and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Call of Running

Let's get this out there now, I was planning on running today anyway, but it was looking like one of those days.  I got into work and noticed that I had two meetings scheduled at 11AM and 1PM.  That left only a hour for lunch.  Since I have been running at lunch then eating it usually take about that long to run (including changing) and grab/warm up lunch.  No way was I going to get that done this morning in a single hour with book ended meetings.  So I sat at my desk, hemming and hawing over whether to go out and run at 9 or 10 and have it our of the way. Finally, at 9:30 I decided to just go get it done so I could focus for my meetings.

I went down to the river and changed as I always do armed with the knowledge that I wanted to get in 4 miles.  What I really wanted was to get the miles done in a quick manner so I could be back at my desk in plenty of time for that first meeting.  I was actually debating whether or not I was going to do the 4 or just do 3 and head back.  I decided I should just see how I felt, especially since I ran 3.6 yesterday, which was really more than I had planned on doing.

This internal debate went on while I changed, and through the first half mile of the run, where upon, I decided I would do 4 if I felt good after two.  I went north along the path for the first half mile turned around and came back to the start for the first full mile, so if I just went the next mile I could decide that was enough and come back with three under my belt.  But something funny happened, I hit the first mile at exactly 8 minutes.  So I decided to run the full 4 and try to push this into a tempo run.

Great decision in that arena.  The second mile came in at 7:50, the third at 7:40, and the fourth at 7:30, overall pace for the 4 miles was 7:47.  It was great, negative splits for all four miles, plus I was only away from the desk for about 45 minutes.  I was very pleased that I went and did the run this morning as opposed to waiting until tonight and trying to cram it in around dinner and kids and whatnot.

The repercussions of doing the tempo run today is that I probably cut the track workout from the schedule, unless I do it tomorrow, but I don't typically like to do speed two days in a row and will probably just do an easy three tomorrow. 

Remember to have fun out there you guys.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


So, one of the people from the Loop (Angie) shared a game with those of us hanging on the Loop over at RunnersWrold.  Here is my take, at eleven questions and things you may not have known about me.

It took me all day, mostly because I spent the better part of the day in meetings (minus the run at lunch, a nice 3.6 miles)  but also because I couldn't get the arrangement to stay in one place.  I really liked trying to come up with the 11 things that you guys didn't know about me.  It has been fun getting to know everyone on the loop just a little bit more.  Without further ado, here are my answers and facts.

1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?Dreyer's Nestle' Toll House Chocolate Chip Mint Brownie Ice Cream if we are going to be specific.  Or just about any ice cream if we aren't.
Fact: I lived in Egypt for 2 years when I was in middle school.  No, my family wasn't in the military, but rather construction, so we moved around a lot.  While there we got to go to Kenya for a safari, Greece, and a couple of other places in Europe. 

2. Saucony Kinvara or a shoe from the Brooks Pure line, like the Connect of Flow?I tried the Kinvaras on one day at the LRS and found that they pinched the tops of my feet.  Ended up with a pair of Brooks Launch, so next time I'm at the LSR I will look at the Brooks Pure Line.
Fact: I tried out for basketball as a freshman and sophomore only miss the cut both times.  I found my calling was in the theater department, where I acted or was stage manager for several shows.  Typically I was stage manager for musicals, as I have a terrible singing voice.  My favorite play was "Out of the Frying Pan. ""  I did one more play in community college but that is where my acting career ended (I would do it again in an instant, if I had the time).

3. Where would you go if you had the money to take a two week dream vacation?If it was going to be just me and my wife, I would say I want to wander around Europe and visit all the old castles and other historical stuff there.  If I am taking the kids along with me I have to go with Disney World, it stands out as one of the best vacations I took with my family when I was little.
 Fact:  Throughout high school I had told everyone that I wanted to go to dental school and become an orthodontist  I had envisioned being able to practice dentistry and be able to play golf all the time.  Apparently, some where along the way I decided I didn't want to be in school that long.

4. Did you play sports in high school? If so, what sports?In high school, I played golf...for one season, as a senior.  I played baseball recreationally until I was a junior.  Of course I watched (still do) tons of games in school, and found my love of officiating there (those that can't do and don't want to coach, officiate).
Fact:  My wife and I went to separate high schools in the same city, then spent two years at the local community college before finally meeting two months after we started at WSU.  Of course we got married the summer before out last year at WSU.  I am a firm believer that some things happen for a reason. 

5. If you had to eat one item of food every day (you could eat other things, but you had to eat this one food too) for the rest of your life, what would you choose?Cheesy Potatoes.  Preferably covered in bacon.
Fact:  The two years after high school, I had thoughts of becoming a professional umpire.  I decided that would be a very cool job, you get to travel and be part of something as awesome as being part of Major League Baseball.  Some time after I started at WSU I decided that professional umpiring wasn't right for me, probably had to do with the difficulty in moving up through the minor league system.  Of course I still umpire, and referee basketball, and am happy to do so at the high school level and below.

6. Do you have a favorite professional runner?I don't really follow a whole lot of running pros, so I am going to pass until I really know more.
Fact:  I finally decided to combine my two favorite subjects in school, math and chemistry, into a degree program.  I earned a BS in Chemical Engineering, and now work as a Project Engineer doing only mildly chemically related engineering work. 

7. What is one running item you would find it hard to run without?The smart answer is my feet I am really sensitive when it comes to my feet so I baby them.  Without good shoes to protect them I don't think I could run as far as often as I do.  (Though I have found lots of things that make running better)
Fact:  I am a super nerd.  Though I don't have time to play video games like I used to, I do find that I have time to play games like D&D.  I guess that playing D&D lets me go back to being an actor a bit.  We also play several board games such as Arkham Horror (based on H. P. Lovecraft stories) to pass our evenings.

8. Are you a morning runner or afternoon/evening runner? Is this by choice? And if it's not by choice, when would you choose to run: morning or afternoon/evening?Given my druthers, I would run at 11 AM every day.  On the weekends, and in the heat of the summer, I am a morning runner by choice and force.  I cannot run in the evening unless I really need to get a run in.
Fact:  In an accompaniment to the D&D and board games, I love a good fantasy or sci-fi series.  The longer the series the better, I am like a little kid with candy when I see a new book in a series I have been reading for a long time.  I also enjoy the mystery/drama stuff like Patterson's Cross series (the quick and easy to read books when you have nothing else to read).  I have found that I really enjoy Stephen King books, and am slowly going back through his collection.   

9. What are your big races this year?Bloomsday 12k in Spokane in May.  San Francisco Marathon in July.  And if all works out well I will do the local marathon at the end of October.
Fact:  My wife and I are part of a book club.  Which has really helped take me out of my normal book reading comfort zone and helped me to find some great books and authors to read.  Though whenever it is my turn to pick I always want to pick from what I know. 

10. Are you also a triathlete?Nope, not yet anyway.  I ride the stationary bike occasionally, and wish I had a pool to swim in.  One day I hope to tackle at least a short tri.
Fact:  I thought about making these facts tie into the answers to the questions somehow, but decided that was never going to work.  So instead I decided to make it a bit more of a chronological history of myself.  So finally I have two boys, a 3 yo and a 7mo.  I love them to pieces and I try not to do anything that takes time away from them. 

11. What do you like better: intense speed work, tempo runs, or long runs?I like settling into that nice groove that only a long run with a couple good running buddies can provide.  That said the completion of a good speed session is exhilarating. 
 Fact:  Oh, there was one more here.  I had to rearrange this blog at RunnersWorld about 12 times.  But I was smarter, I did it in word too. 

Indian Summer Half Marathon last September.

T Helping me stretch last spring.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Freezing Fog Long Run

I had so much going on this weekend, as usual, so here I am Monday morning getting my thoughts down.

Last Wednesday I ran 4.5 miles, on what were very sore, very tired legs, capping 9 consecutive days of running type activity (basketball/running).  That run was nothing more than a get through it and be done, ho-hum run.  I had intended to do 5 miles, but after two miles I realized that I should probably have only done 3, so I settled for 4.5.  That run convinced me that Thursday needed to be a rest day.

Friday and Saturday were my final two basketball games of the season.  Both were JV games that came down to the wire.  It is always more fun to officiate a game that is close and exciting, I think it brings out the best in an official.  The most important thing, though, is that basketball season is over.  I had a great season, but it was tiring and I need a break.  I can now return to my regularly scheduled running plan, at least for 6 weeks when baseball season starts.

Now on to the Freezing Fog.  Honestly, I figured my chances at winter were done, past, gone, what have you, but this weekend, as the Lower-Columbia Basin is wont to do, an inversion settled in over our lovely area.  You know where you get a weather system that moves in and gets stuck so you constantly turn over the same tepid air, well, that's us this weekend.  Our inversion, was confused by the sunlight during the day, and dense fog at night.  I was prepared for the fog, seeing as it had been foggy all weekend, I wasn't prepared for freezing fog (though the 27* temp should have clued me in).

Sunday morning I awoke an hour before my run in order to do that eating thing that is supposed to be important before a long run, and to take care of business.  I dressed in a long sleeve tech shirt and fleece vest, and long pants, but left the compression tights at home it was just slightly below freezing after all.  I also strapped on the safety vest and my new fuel belt.  Got out to the car, chipped off the ice, and went to meet up with my running partner G.

We took off with his pup for the first three miles of the eight mile run.  Once out on the streets we found a good groove and were moving along nicely.  G had planned the route, but wasn't quite sure which roads he had selected for the 8, but knew it went through my neighborhood then back through his and to our normal loop.  So I directed us until we go back to his place to drop off the pooch.  I was a nice 3 miles, and I went through several adjustments on the fuel belt.  I had the hardest time getting the bottles to stay in one place, and it wasn't until I pushed them to the middle of my back that I got them to stay in place.  I actually found that I didn't mind having them back there, I also noticed that once the bottles were about half full, that I didn't really hear that annoying sloshing sound which was nice.

The last 5 miles of the run were uneventful and pleasant.  We were running at a leisurely pace (9ish m/m) and just enjoying the fog and the run.  We both had a gel around mile 4, helped with energy, but not so much with the sore, heavy legs.  Tested the water bottles out at several places along the run.  As we were nearing the last couple of miles we noticed several things:  1) The water in my nearly empty bottle had turned to slush (I figured with all that movement it would be easy to stay liquid); 2) The fog was sticking to anything it possibly could, my eyelashes were the most notable, every blink water would drop onto my face; 3) We were able to actually see the fog freezing and falling in front of us; and 4) I had an awesome ice do where my hair stuck out of my ear warmer.  (Sorry no awesome hair pics as the phone was not cooperating with the camera function.

It was a good run and a nice way to cap off an exhausting week.  This week should be easier now that basketball is over.  Back to my regular scheduled speed and hill work as I build up for marathon training.
Until next time, have fun out there.

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Gear and a Longish Run

Since last Tuesday I have decided to get my run on all non-basketball days (and with only three basketball days left I think I can handle this).  I plot out my training calendars and logs on a Monday to Sunday basis with Sunday being my long run day of the week.  Last week was like this:

Monday: Rest day - even though I should have taken advantage of the better weather, the roads were still icy from our storm the previous week.
Tuesday - Refed two games and freaked out that I hadn't run in two weeks.
Wednesday - Pulled out the shoes and braved the mostly melted park path for 4 miles.
Thursday - Went back out to the park and put in 4 tempo miles
Friday - Two more basketball games
Saturday - One Basketball game
Sunday - 6 mile long run.

The significance of last week being that I did physical activity everyday but Monday.  More importantly I went for a 6 mile run, something I had not done since December 30th.  Really? It had been 30 days since I had done a pure run of 6 miles (anything over 4 really).  But honestly it was just what I needed.

The Sunday run was going to get done one way or the other, especially since I had set up a time and place with my running buddy.  And you know as soon as you commit to a run with someone else you aren't going to back out of it without good reason.  Saturday night I even went and got out the new gear from Christmas.  I got a fuel belt (an Amphipod with two 10.5 oz. water bottles) and a reflector vest (complete with flashing lights, also Amphipod).  Now mostly I was after the reflector vest because we were running at 6:30 in the morning, and it is still quite dark around here at that time.

Sunday morning I met up with my friend at the prescribed time and we set off, me in my new (Xinglet, I believe) vest and him with his dog.  We were greeted by warmer weather and wind.  It was in the upper 40s with about a 10 mph wind or so.  But it was a great run, we clipped along at about an 8:30 pace and went in search of an extra mile on our normal 5 mile loop.  I found that I needed to adjust the vest only once and it was a simple thing to do while on the run.  I adjusted the shoulder bands to keep them from rubbing the neck, but I still need to tighten them down a bit.  We ended the run right at 6 miles, in front of his house at an 8:26 pace.  It was a great run.

Honestly, during the run we saw exactly zero cars.  Now, I beleive we would have stuck out like a sore thumb had we, but if it gives the wives a bit of peace of mind that we are safe then it is entirely worth it.  So if you need a safety vest because you like to run in the dark, and don't like to sneak up on cars all ninja like, then I recommend the one I have (I didn't even notice I was wearing it, once it was tightened up).

Anyway, enough with that.  I grabbed another 3.5 today at lunch in at an 8:10 pace.  Felt really good.  Have basketball tomorrow so (probably) no running for me.  Back at it on Wednesday if everything feels good.
Until then have fun guys.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What a Pair (of runs, silly) w/Pic

I have my own little slice of the great Columbia River to run next to whenever I feel like it, and thus take advantage of this on a weekly basis.  This week, in an effort to get back out to running consistent miles, I have taken my leave from work at the lunch time hour in hopes of getting back into a groove.

Wednesday I escaped and was hoping to get 4 miles in.  I had worked two basketball games the night before, and the path down by the river was still slightly covered in ice/slush, so I wasn't sure how the run would go, especially since it had been two weeks since my last run.  I had to make do with a strange set of clothes, I had all of my winter gear in the car, tights, track pants, long sleeve shirt, and a long sleeve compression shirt, not the clothes for a 55* day and slight wind.  But I made do with some substitutions from my gym bag and hit the road.  The path was mostly clear, and for long stretches the pavement was clear and dry, and I fell into a nice groove.  I ran south into the wind for two miles then turned it around and ran with the wind for the last two miles.  I even managed to get each mile in just a bit faster than the previous one, so I felt great about my 4 mile run. So much so that I decided I could get out again the next day with more appropriate clothes.

Yesterday instead of going south along the river I decided to head north.  The first mile of the north route takes you through a neighborhood, then drops you back onto the river path at WSU Tri-Cities, where I followed the path for another mile.  I took a pause at the end of that second mile and snapped this photo at the top of one of the hills.

It was an absolutely great day down by the river.  I even managed to get yesterday's miles in at a tempo pace, pushing 7:45 m/m for the run.  I felt great to push the last mile back to the car maintaining that quicker pace.

Basketball the next couple of nights, so hopefully I will be back out on Sunday.   Until then remember to have fun guys!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ahhh! January is almost over!

Apparently it is January 24th!  I didn't get the memo...

The month has absolutely flown by.  I started out with the greatest of intentions, run everyday and get to 100 for the month.  Then basketball seasons really got going, then winter arrived and so here it is January 24th and I have all but fallen off the bus.  Let's start at the beginning

I started off the new year with a nice crisp 4 mile run.  I ran the Cookie Challenge miles for 6 consecutive days before basketball refereeing got the better of me.  But the day off on the 8th was glorious.  I followed up that off day with another on Monday and hit the court again on the 10th.  It dawned on me after that basketball game that the reason my legs were sore and tired was (besides the 1+ hours on my feet) basketball burns the equivalent of 4.5 miles of running for me.  So I ran 4.5 miles the next day to test the theory.  And sure enough the calories burned were nearly identical.

And that, my friends, is the last time I ran...Janurary 11th.  This is primarily because I have had basketball on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and then I haven't wanted to run on Sundays (Friday and Saturday I work 2 games each).  I had every intention of running last week, but winter finally found its way to the inland Pacific NW and we got snow.  Snow I can run in, it was the 2 inches of ice that fell last Thursday and Friday that did in my desire to run.  I have no complaints, it is afterall, my fault that I haven't run.  But it isn't like I wasn't expecting this based on how basketball and running worked last year.

So here I sit, with an obscene amount of pent up energy, dying to get out of doors and tear the pants off a great run, but alas I have basketball again tonight, and will save my 'running' for that.  I hope that tomorrow I can find a clear patch of road or sidewalk to grab a few easy miles (just to prove I still can).  But mostly, I just want to close out January strong, especially basketball season, then focus on February and start building up for this summer's marathon.

Anyway, I really wanted to drop a quick post as a reminder that I am still around.  I hope to be on and mentioning all sorts of crazy running antics soon enough.  Enough rambling, have fun, and stay safe out there.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Cookie Monster got the better of me.

I volunteered, signed up, saw get free cookies, whatever the case was, and joined up with the Cookie Challenge from one of the great people over on RunnersWorld's The Loop.  The challenge was to run three miles daily for as long as you could.  The following is my attempt and realization that I couldn't manage this challenge.

I had every intention of making it through this challenge to the bitter end.  So much so that I had a nice ramp up plan to go from 3 miles everyday building up the long runs.  I got off to a good start last week too.

Sunday - 4 miles - 34:48
Monday - 3.5 miles - 29:07
Tuesday - 3.2 miles - 27:12
Wed. - 3 miles - 25:51
Thurs. - 3.3 miles - 26:21
Fri. - 3.4 miles - 29:27 + 1 Basketball Game
Sat. - No Running + 1 Basketball Game

So there were days early on that I wanted to call it all in.  Monday and Wednesday I was dragging, but managed to make it through the day.  But I was persevering.  That was until Friday.

For me the real challenge began then.  I have mentioned that I referee high school basketball, and It does provide a completely different set of challenges.  So Friday morning I headed out and got my miles in, then turned around and got my game on.

My legs did not respond the way I thought they would, or I should say exactly how I thought they would. 

My knees were sore, my shins sore and my left heel/PF are bothering me. So I didn't run today before my basketball game in hopes of making it through the game.

I have to say that even had run today, I would be out tomorrow.  My legs are still bothering me, so I am out.
It was with much consideration this morning that I made this decision.  I am looking forward to my longer term goals, and honestly, my legs need to be fresh for the rest of basketball season, plus I have marathon training to start after that.

So, thanks to the folks on The Loop at RunnersWorld for giving us this challenge, and I really enjoyed making an attempt at this, but I realize I will have to build up more to get to a serious streak.

So I think I will enjoy my day off tomorrow, and get back after it Wednesday after my game on Tuesday.
Til next time, have fun out there guys.