Monday, December 31, 2007

The Last Day of the Year

I have been a little under the weather since Christmas and haven't run in a week. Sometimes your body needs a week off even if you don't think it does. So this was a nice break to spend time with family and just relax a bit. I was sick with fever, chills and a head cold. I am glad that the sick is over (mostly over).

2007 was a good year for running. I started running back in March and struggled to get going but I have really made a lot of progress. My times were 14 to 15 minute miles early in the year and now in late December my pace is generally down to 11:00 to 11:30 ish. So that is nice progress. I ran my first half marathon (well I ran my first races ever really) and finished, I did a few 5k's, a ten miler, a few 5 milers, an 8.4 miler and a 15k. I did a lot of racing mostly because it was fun once I got into it. I never won, big surprise but I did come in 3rd in my age group for one race. I think there were 4 men in my age group for that race. I like the medal so I am happy about my 3rd place win. Overall it was a good time on the roads.

2007 was a good year for losing weight - This year I lost 45 pounds. That is not a huge number but I started in earnest in March so it is really 9 months of work and for a few months I stagnated due to injury. I made life changing adjustments to my diet. I did this a little at at time and then added on to it slowly. Now I am eating well and I feel so much better than I did in January of 2007. I will still have junk food now and again but it is now the exception instead of the rule. So this is good progress. I hope to lose another 45 in 2008.

2007 was a bad year for injuries - I had some problems in 2007 with injuries. Mostly this was one bad plantar injury. It has nagged me for months and months. It just wouldn't heal. Mostly it was that I didn't want to back off the running. It wasn't until late November that I really felt better and I was injured back in June/ July. Besides this I have pulled some muscles in my calves in the cold weather and a couple of spills on uneven ground. But the plantar was my problem for the year. I feel much stronger now and I feel like I know how to avoid some of these injuries. Also being lighter will help me avoid injury.

2007 was a good year for martial arts training. I started training in martial arts again this year and I am glad that I did. As one of my co-workers would say, "I got my mind right." The exercise is excellent and I like the atmosphere in the training hall. The learning atmosphere is great.

2007 was a good year professionally- Not that this journal has anything to do with my work. But I made good advancement in my career this year as well. I was able to exceed a couple of milestones and I am quite happy with how my work has gone this year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Weight Check: December

Tomorrow is my official weight check day, but as you may be able to tell by the calender that tomorrow is Christmas and I may be doing other things besides posting on my blog. That being said I will use the weight from this morning. Today I weighed in at 251, this is a 6 pound difference from last month. That is not too bad, especially given that it is goodie season. I don't know about everyone else but when someone offers me a cookie I have to have one. I mean its a cookie at Christmas time. I am weak on that sort of thing this time of year. So I have had my snack on for the past month and even with that I am down 6 pounds. I suppose that would be like 10 during a normal month. So here I am 42 pounds lighter than last January, not a bad year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weekend Run

With Christmas coming it has been a crazy time for trying to keep consistent with my running. I think we can all say that the holiday season can create a lot of stress on both your weight and exercise routines. So on a Saturday night I was out running at 10:00 p.m. (What kind of nut job am I???). But that being said I did crack the 20 mile barrier I have been struggling with through this winter running series.

Here is how tonight went down:

7 miles, 1:22:32 time, 11:48 pace, 1337 calories

Mile 1: 11:52
Mile 2: 11:34
Mile 3: 11:33
Mile 4: 11:39
Mile 5: 12:02
Mile 6: 11:52
Mile 7: 12:00

I have run during the evenings during the week when things are crazy with my schedule but during the weekend I try to avoid that crazy behavior. I couldn't get around it tonight. But I am really glad that I did run tonight. It was a great overall time for me. I feel like I am really recovering from this plantar injury. I am getting a good deal more speed and my endurance has never been better. I could have gone another 3 miles with no difficulty. The average time was less than 12:00 for 7 miles, this is the best I have run since the half marathon I ran in September. It is nice when things come together.

Here is the week so far:
22.5 miles, 12:02 average pace, 4:30:50 time running, 3271 calories burned.

This is my best week in a long time. To top it off the usual sore feet and ankles are subdued this week. So it is all good, everything is coming up Rob this week. Merry Christmas All.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Running Therapy

Tonight was a bit crazy between laundry, cooking dinner, washing dishes and cooking brownies for my daughter's holiday party tomorrow... all after putting in a 10 hour day. I was a bit tired and it would have been very easy to just blow it all off and go to bed. But I didn't. I went out and ran and I am glad I did. Each mile felt better as I went on and the stress of the day went with each mile. Sometimes I get caught up in the numbers of running that I forget the benefits of what I am doing. For an hour of so I can forget the rest of my life and just concentrate on running. There is something magical about that escape and the value can't be calculated.

Here are the results:

1:02:20, 5:15 miles, 950 calories, 12:06 pace

Mile 1: 12:21
Mile 2: 12:17
Mile 3: 12:13
Mile 4: 11:50
Mile 5: 11:51
.15 mile: 12:04 pace

I just felt better each mile and by the end of it I had left all my stress behind. The therapy of running, it cannot be overstated.

2008 Goals

The past two years I have picked one big New Year's resolution and done great with it. Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to read more than just work related stuff. After a year of dedicated reading I had put away 98 books. It was a resolution so I kept a running total. Last year I kept it up and logged somewhere near 40 or so. But I didn't keep as accurate a count so it is more of a guess. Last year I decided that I really wanted to transform my life in terms of health and exercise. I have done a lot of good work but there is still more to do so I will be continuing on the previous resolution as one year was not enough to get it done. To be truthful two years may not be enough.

Here are the results since March. I have lost 41 pounds, I have reduced my running times from a walk run walk run to steady running an 11:30 to 12:00 pace generally speaking. I had a 3 mile time of less than 11:00 for each mile. I have made good progress but there is lots of room to go. Here is the list for 2008.
  1. Duplicate the weight loss efforts of 2007, 41 pounds
  2. Run 1000 miles or more for the year
  3. Run a marathon, I plan to run the Philadelphia Marathon next November
  4. Consistently average 25+ miles per week (life happens and there will be hiccups but I want this to be the rule not the exception)
  5. Incorporate fartleks, tempo running and interval running into my running.
  6. Improve my martial arts throughout the year including more knife and boxing training.

I do not know where I will be at the end of the year for weight but if I stay where I am I will have a goal of 41 pounds for 2008 or few more depending upon how the year ends. Well there are my early New Year's goals.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is it Tuesday Already

Usually on Tuesday, I do my 10k Tuesday run but I did that last night. So what to do today? I did a little recovery run. Yesterday was a great time on the 10k so I backed off on the pace and distance.

4.15 miles, 12:31 pace, 726 Calories, 51:52

Mile 1: 12:19
Mile 2: 12:34
Mile 3: 12:36
Mile 4: 12:33
Last .15: 12:31 pace

So this wasn't a stand up and cheer run. This was just a keep things going sort of run. It was a bit chilly out there and I had some, dare I say, nipple chaffing. (I am sure I will come on some strange web searches with that one I am sure). This stings a bit after a long run as you might imagine. Usually, I use some band-aids before a run in the cold due to this "injury", but it looks like I might have to invest in some body glide to be on the safe side. The odd injuries of the winter runner, mmmm. I wonder what else I have to look forward to as I enter my first winter running season. So far I have encountered:
  1. More frequent small muscle pulls in the lower legs
  2. the aforementioned nipple chaffing
  3. Red Belly
  4. Excessive Mucus
  5. Wind Sheer

That is all I can think of right now, but it is a good start. Tonight I had some red belly in addition to the other injury. After a warm shower I was fine.

Everyone have fun out there, weather permitting.

Monday, December 17, 2007

10k Monday?

Last Friday I had my office Christmas party. Now I don't drink very often, about two to three times a year. But when I do decide to drink I have more than a couple. I don't fall over or anything but I usually have more than 2 or 3 or 5. Add that to the open bar at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia and I was having a good time for about 6 hours. Did I mention that I love my job, I do. Well that being said I was a bit tired after getting home at 2:30 am on Friday night/ Saturday morning. Sunday was also a bust for running due to the Nor'easter. So where did that leave me, well today.

I usually do 10k on Tuesday due to the catchy rhyming, but I did 10k today or 6.21 mile Monday. Its all I have, shoot me.

6.21 miles, 1:14:05, 11:56 pace, 1165 calories

Mile 1: 11:39

Mile 2: 11:53

Mile 3: 12:21

Mile 4: 12:08

Mile 5: 11:54

Mile 6: 11:48

Last .21: 11:27 pace

This is my fastest 10k to date, fastest to date. I like saying that. It is nice as I was a bit tired before I hit the roads and on my new 10k route there is a big ass hill right at mile 2.3 to mile 3.5. It just keeps going up and up. I need to work on hills so this is why I have been doing this route. But until tonight I have not been doing it without much success. I did not want to take 3 days off but it seems to have helped me out in terms of my running success.

In other news I am in a bit of geek happiness right now. I ordered and received my Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition hoodie. I am a H.P. Lovecraft fan and this hoodie celebrates his famous At the Mountains of Madness. Anyone else interested can find such Lovecraft goodies at Cthulu Lives . But really I hope that Cthulu doesn't really live.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Night Run

After a successful Monday and Tuesday, tonight seemed to be a good night to sneak in a quick run. It rained all day and the roads were still wet but the storm was gone and the temps were fine. So at 10:30 I went out for a quick run.

4.2 miles, 802 calories, 11:51 average pace
Mile 1: 11:54
Mile 2: 11:44
Mile 3: 11:59
Mile 4: 11:44
.2: 11:51 pace

This is was a fast run for me as of late. I have been running steadily in the 12:00 range but this was under the whole way, this is getting back on track for me.

This is my best week in a long time, I am at 14.71 miles with the weekend still to come. This is a low mile week in terms of long run so I think I am planning 6 miles on one day and maybe another 4 on the other. This will put me at a minimum of 20.71 miles for the week. That is a great week for me. With all the injuries I have been fighting I am very happy with this result.

Happy Running.

Eating Challenges

My job can be very challenging in terms of eating. I sit in an office all day and work behind a computer. This can lead to boredom and as a result boredom eating. I have experienced the result of this around my waist first hand. Knowing what I do I am now more careful about what I eat. Here is a painful admission:

Eating before I went on my new health outlook in March of this year:
Breakfast: Pastry, toast with butter, egg sandwich (usually with butter and bacon)
Snack: candy bar, soda or both
Lunch: Fast Food (MacDonald's, Chik Fil-a, Burger King, Pizza, etc.)
Afternoon: soda and chips
Dinner: Heavy and fatty - Hot dogs, burgers, foot long hoagies and so on. You get the point if it was bad for me then I ate it.

I didn't drink much water but did drink a lot of soft drinks.

The truth of this is that I just did not think about what I was eating. I just ate what I wanted. I didn't think about my exercise level or my caloric intake. The results were telling.

Eating Now:
(3 to 4 half liter bottles of water per day)

Breakfast: Yogurt and a banana
Snack: Carrots
Lunch: Sandwich (homemade) or Soup (homemade).. or something else about 400 calories (pork slices baked in cream of mushroom soup with rice, chicken and pasta or some other such meal made at home and reheated at work)
Afternoon Snack: Apple or Orange or other fruit
Dinner: Something reasonable -usually in the 600 to 700 calorie range

I may add an extra apple, celery with peanut butter, a cookie here or there and other small binges from time to time. But this is the usual.

In March of this year, I made some life changing decisions. First I started to run but I didn't mess with the diet until later. It was a little at a time. First, I cut out the fast food gradually. Initially, down to once a day and then over time once a week and now not at all. There is something addictive about the fat in fast food. I really believe that. Now if I don't have any I am fine. But if I have it once I want more and more of it. I don't like it any longer and that is for the best.

Now my problem is soft drinks. I do crave them. However, the same has been true with the soft drinks as was true with the fast food. If I have one I want more and more. Over the last month or so, I have been able to limit my consumption gradually. First, down to 2 to 3 per week and now down to one every 2 to 3 weeks. I find that I don't really need the caffeine. I will admit that I had caffeine withdrawals at first. I had headaches the first 3 weeks I was off that junk.

So now, I can look the other way with most things. Not always, but mostly. It is ok to cheat on a diet every now and then. But I used to make cheating my diet. Burgers, hoagies, cookies, soft drinks, pizza this was all normal fare for me. I can say that this is no longer the case. It is nice to know that once you start eating right that bad food no longer tastes good. This is a general statement, soft drinks still lure me. But I can still say no most times. I now think before I grab for something; this is probably the main reason I have dropped weight as the injuries this year have prevented running from being as big an impact as it would have otherwise been. I am sure my commitment to exercise will pay more dividends next year but this year I think my diet reformation was more important. Perhaps 2/3 to 1/3 is the correct ratio of impact.

Well that is my eating confession.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Know What Day It Is...

Today is that special time of week in my training routine .... it is 10k Tuesday. My run could not have come soon enough. I have been eating far less snacks and sweets as of late; however, today I caved in and then that led to a nutritional disaster. The extra junk calories were legion it seemed to me: the damage 1 mountain dew (12 oz), 1 small bag of chips, 1 payday candy bar and 1 cup cake. I don't know exactly how many extra calories it was but it felt like a lot. So tonight I was looking forward to the 10k just to feel normal after the massive sugar crash I experienced this afternoon. Wow, what an experience that was. I feel much better munching on carrots these days, because the sugar crash I get off of what I used to eat is enough to keep me off the junk. Plus, once I start it seems that I am in for more than I bargained for.

Well on to the results of tonight's jaunt:

6.36 miles, 1:20:32, 12:40 pace, 1057 calories

(10k portion was at 1:18 total time)

Mile1: 12:28
Mile 2: 12:47
Mile 3: 12:48
Mile 4: 12:35
Mile 5: 12:41
Mile 6: 12:30
Last .36 : 13:11 pace

Conditions: It was windy tonight and that really seemed to throw my pace off. I took a new path tonight and that took me up a pretty good incline early on. I felt I did better with the hills tonight that I normally do. So that is improvement. The pace wasn't exactly what I wanted but it will do for now. The miles are what count for me right now.

As an aside, as I write this the new Dawn of the Dead is on cable. Although, this is not as good as the 28 Days movies, funny the English do make a superior Zombie movie (Shaun of the Dead, 28 DaysLater, 28 Weeks Later). But this version is still prettygood. The Romero cameo is a nice touch. The tension in the survior group is really good. I am a fan of the genre.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Quick Out and Back

I gave myself a serious muscle pull on Saturday during my 9 mile jaunt. As a result, the rest of Saturday it hurt to walk and up down stairs. When Sunday came around I felt a bit better, today a bit better again. So when work ended tonight I decided that 4 miles was in my future. Well it turned into 4.15 miles.

4.15 miles, 769 calories, 12:14 average pace

Mile 1: 12:29
Mile 2: 12:12
Mile 3: 12:12
Mile 4: 11:57
Last .15 12:48 pace

Weather: nice temp. with some light rain. It really did feel good. I also did something I liked I put two miles back to back at the exact same pace. That was great. Huzzah. I have also learned that on these training runs that I can't really run three miles any longer the least I can do these days is 4 miles. I am sure I will do shorter distances when I get back to more dedicated speed training in the spring when the roads are less... treacherous. But for now I am going to just focus on base miles for the winter.

Good news: Down 5 pounds since Thanksgiving. Very nice! I was getting a bit frustrated with the weight loss thing. Tough to be the run to lose guy when you aren't really doing any losing. But I have gotten over the hump. So as you can see I am all smiles.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

8 on the 8th

Today was Nancy's virtual race of 8 on the 8th. The idea was for all of us blogger types to do our bit and report the results. My run was a bit tough on me. I have been fighting a cold but have still run as this seems to break up the congestion a bit. Then this morning I hyper extended my right calf about 500 meters (I slipped on some leaves) into the thing but I finished it and here are the results:

Mile 1: 12:02
Mile 2: 12:37
Mile 3: 12:39
Mile 4: 12:56
Mile 5: 12:53
Mile 6: 12:20
Mile 7: 12:59
Mile 8: 13:15

Total Time: 1:41:41 or a 12:42 pace.

It was not a good run for me. But we all have those. I ran an extra mile at the end at a 13:21 pace. Then I walked the last mile home, I could hardly walk but I made it home where I am now icing my calf. Owwww.
The end result was a 1532 calorie effort, not including the last mile walking. I hope I can stretch my calf out and get back on my feet. Congrats to Nancy on putting this together.

I hope everyone had fun out there.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Night of No Excuses

I had intended to come home and go for a run while my daughter was at her swim class. I thought that would be a great use of time. But alas when I came home my daughter did not feel up to class so I did not get to run at that time. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed. But things like this can happen.

Bear in mind that reasons for not doing something is merely an excuse in another wrapper. It is the same. We make time for the things that are important, period. This may sound harsh but a man of my ... expansive girth ... does not get that way in one day. That being said, I know what an excuse is because I have used plenty in my life.

Fast forward to 10 pm. I head out for the run (wearing my trail shoes for the heavier shoe, plus they are like 4 wheel drive so I figured they are better for the snow - who said I always had great logic anyway). I wanted to do this run yesterday but felt too sick and fatigued to do so. To make matters worse, it snowed today. Not much but enough to make the roads and sidewalks a bit crunchy. (frozen snow) This is not too bad in terms of footing but I had to be a little careful so I had to slow down.

Here is how it all played out:

10k, 1006 calories, 12:48 pace

Mile 1: 11:34

Mile 2: 12:27

Mile 3: 12:38

Mile 4: 13:07

Mile 5: 13:15

Mile 6: 13:33

.2 - 13:20 pace

The last few miles were a bit more icy than the first three. I felt I had to slow down to make sure that I had good footing. This was a tough run. The frozen snow really put an extra strain on my ankles and feet. When I got home I had a case of red belly and as I said already some sore ankles and feet. But it was worth it.

Rob's first rule of running: you will always feel better after a run than before. For me this is always true.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

10k Tuesday ... well not so much

I am sorry to say that I was not able to run last night as I usually do on Tuesday. I will have to make it up today. Last night other things took over my life.

1. I felt a little sick and had a small fever

2. It was really cold with the gusting wind

3. My daughter has some nightmares and was awake at the time that I usually run. So I had some parental duties to attend to. When she gets upset about scary things, she is usually easier to calm down when I talk to her.

4. #3 didn't end until 1am. So I went to bed instead.

Oh well there is today. I will cut out of work early to run while my daughter is at her swim class. It should all work out ... swimmingly. Sorry I could not help myself.

So lets hear it for 10k Wednesday. It doesn't seem to have the same ring. Oh well, its all I have.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nice Night for a Run

The runs later in the week have a tendency to get pushed aside due to life demands. I have a billable hour requirement and that forces me to pay very close attention to what I am doing in terms of work each week. As the week wears on I get more conscious of where I am in terms of hours and I tend to push near the end of the week (Thursday and Friday have a tendency to be 10 to 12 hour days sometimes more- the down side to the legal profession). But today I started work very early so I was able to put things to bed early, which meant that I got to go running. Huzzah (I think huzzah is starting to rub off on me, has more to than yeah).

4 miles: my goal was really just to get out there and do it. I did not have a time goal, just run. (I should do this more often)

4miles, 11:55 pace, 762 calories

Mile 1: 11:47

Mile 2: 12:08

Mile 3: 12:00

Mile 4: 11:45

I think this worked out. I just want to get my endurance back up again. I really fell off the wagon after the half marathon. I think I am getting into the swing of things now. Injuries can really suck.

Tonight was nice, not really cold just a bit crisp. Roads were clear and everyone gave me the same look as usual when I run late at night. What is this idiot up to. I have only ever run into another runner once in all the time that I run at night.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I've Been Tagged

I have been tagged, it is a sad time. But what to do. Well I guess I will play along. David at Toronto Runner has punched my number and here are the rules:

The Rules of the game:
Link to your tagger, and post these rules on your blog.
Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
Tag 5 people at the end of your post by their names and links to their blogs.
Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.
  1. I am well travelled: (for an American) I have lived in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas, Nevada and Pennsylvania in the States, I spent a summer in Tokyo and almost a year in the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War (Saudi Arabia and Iraq). I have visited or lived in 42 out of 50 states and visited 14 countries, one of which doesn't exist any longer (East Germany).
  2. I am of Scottish and Norwegian ancestry but I think of myself as an American. Strangely, most Americans I have met don't, they think of themselves as Italians, Irish and so forth.
  3. I am an education junkie. I like to learn something everyday. I read constantly and I do that to expand my knowledge even if it is only of myself.
  4. I am published. I was given the privilege to be listed as a co-author on a peer reviewed journal article on Japanese War Crimes during World War II. I worked with a professor in undergraduate who I helped put together the research on the article and she honored me greatly by listing me as a co-author. I also gained a lot of knowledge about some very disturbing events.
  5. I have been training in martial arts since I was 16, off and on. I have trained in the following arts Chinese Kenpo (I ran a school for a while in this art), Tae Kwon Do, Danzan Ryu Ju Jitsu, Tang Soo Do, Wah Lum Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Bok Fu White Tiger Kung Fu, Choy Li Fut Kung Fu and currently American Kenpo. I enjoy it quite a lot, I never feel better than when I am training.

I know I am supposed to tag 5 people but I will leave it up to those who want to. If you want to do this put a comment to this post that you are participating.

10k Tuesday, part the second

As I mentioned last week I was starting a tradition of 10k on Tuesday for the winter. So today I did a bit better than last week's version:

Ran 10k, time 1:15:27, calories 1161

Mile 1: 11:32
Mile 2: 12:01
Mile 3: 12:17
Mile 4: 11:58
Mile 5: 11:55
Mile 6: 13:00
last.21: 13:03

I am pretty happy with this. The last mile would have been a lot faster but I ran into a strong head wind. I really did not realize how much a head wind can slow you down. But I was putting out the same effort as before but I was being held back. Interesting stuff.

Good news: My heel which had been giving me soooo much trouble over the summer seems to be for the most part resolved. I can remember times this summer when I had to crawl up the stairs first thing in the morning. Now the most I get is a little nudge of pain. I am pleased with the progress. I don't even wince when walking stairs any more, it is just the odd step now and then that will give me a dull pain.

This was also run #2 with music. I think I like it. It is a nice change for now. I may get bored with it eventually, but during the winter this may be a necessity as it is hard to enjoy nature with the cold beating down on you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday 4 miler

Today I broke in my new MP3 player. I have been running for a year but this is the first time I went with music. I am of mixed review. So I loaded up some stuff to keep me upbeat while I ran, Linkin Park, Fuel, Matchbox 20, Shakira (because her hips don't lie, what more can you ask) and some Fergie. It did keep me up and going, I will give it that. I think that it would have really canned any intent on my part to want to quit. I will say that I did not really run any faster than usual, but the roads were a bit slick so I was trying to be careful, so I will hold off judgement until I have had it about a week or so.
Mile 1: 11:38
Mile 2: 12:20
Mile 3: 12:50 (I was not getting tired but rather there was a big hill in the middle of this course)
Mile 4: 12:05 (not really speeding up rather a big downhill for the first .3 of the mile)
Over all good, I finished and I got some music to listen to on the way. I will do some exploration of music over the next few weeks to see what works for me.
Have fun out there.

2007 Book List

This is a non-running post about my reading so far for the year. There is only a month left so I thought I would put down what I have done so far and then update it on January 1st with the full totals. I have two hours a day to read on my communte to work and here is what I have looked at.

30 Days of Night (Novelization)- Tim Lebbon
-- this is just a novel based on the movie. It is what you might call a popcorn read. There is nothing difficult about this. The down side is that like the movie, it is not very scary. It is more of an action movie with super-powered villians. Too bad really, there is promise in the concept. I am a fan of the genre but this missed the mark.

Angry White Pyjamas - Robert Twigger
-- I really liked this one. This is a travelogue about an Englishman living in Tokyo who decides, mostly on a lark, to study a year long intensive Aikido program. It is really good. I am sure Twigger took some liberties but it is an entertaining read.

Blood Curdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre- H.P. Lovecraft
-- I do like good horror and there is none better than Lovecraft. Lovecraft knows something that most seem to forget, it is not what you see that is frightening it is what you cannot see. Creepy and frightening, as is all his stuff. But it doesn't really translate well to screen.

Children of Hurin - J.R.R. Tolkien
-- Not the Tolkien people think of from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. This is a dark and grim tale. Based on some of Tolkien's notes, this book is dark and distrubing. As a teen I caught the fantasy bug and I still like the genre.

Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
-- Civil War tale on which the movie is based. It is a two part tale, part one is sort of Gone with the Wind-ish in how the farm is held together while the wounded soldier protagonist makes his way back home. It is good.

The DaVinci Code - Brown
-- I came to this late, I know. I don't usually like to get sucked into hype. But I read this and I have to say it was good, but annoying. The story is good, his writing style is annoying. If one more character was going to have a sudden recollection to move the plot I was going to pull my hair out. How does everyone suddenly remember something, that was annoying. I know everyone loved this book, and it had its good points, but didn't this writing style get on your nerves?

Empire Falls - Richard Russo
-- Story of a small town and what lies beneth the quaint surface. I think this is one of the top two or three I read this year. Russo is just a great writer. You don't realize how fast you are flying through the story and then you are done and sad it is over. A couple of parts seem a bit forced but really great.

The Farthest Shore- Ursula LeGuin
-- Part of LeGuin's Earth Sea Cycle. It is very well written and has a nice flow. This is well done fantasy.

The Fight - Norman Mailer
-- This is Mailer's account of the Rumble in the Jungle between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. This is a great story and is a must read for any boxing fan. Top notch.

Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
-- I can't really talk about it. Well fight club is a story about one man's disillusionment with material society and his reaction to it. A good read, just like the movie (mostly) only deeper.

Gates of Fire - Steven Pressfield

-- This is novelization of the Batle of Thermopylae. It is a decent read but really a popcorn novel. I read it before 300 came out. It was fine.

H.M.S. Suprise - Patrick O'Brian

-- 3rd book in the Aubrey/ Mauratin Series. This is a series of books focusing on the lives of a Naval Officer and his spy/ doctor friend during the Napoleanic era. Lots of high seas action with some humorous dialogue. They are good but not over taxing.

I Am Legend - Richard Matheson

-- With the Will Smith movie coming out later in the year, I thought I would look at this. I was not really familiar with Matheson before. This will be the third movie made of this book. He also wrote for the Twilight Zone, Terror at 20,000 feet a great episode with William Shatner is also one of his. He has also had Stir of Echoes and What Dreams May Come turned into films. I liked this short book, it will take all of a couple of sittings to get through this.

Illiad - Homer
-- The sack of Troy, the transgressions of Achilles, the Greek Warrior tradition in full view. It is great. I am a geek, who reads Homer for fun.

In the Name of Rome - Adrian Goldsworthy
-- History on the some of the more famous Roman generals and their particular achievements and flaws. It is very interesting to see how the politics of Rome hamstrung their own military. Interesting.

Kokoro - Natsume Soseki
-- The classic Japanese novel of a young man and his teacher. It is really good. I read this book every 4 years or so.

Living the Martial Way- Morgan Forrestt
-- I read this book every year. It is a sort of blue print for living your life as a Martial Artist. For me it is important. It is about integrity and honor. For me it is always worth my time.

Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
-- the classic tome of fantasy fiction. Outstanding in every sense. Very flowerly language, high action and characters that you like and respect. What is not to like.

Master and Commander - Patrick O'Brien

-- 1st book in the Aubrey/ Mauratin Series. This is a series of books focusing on the lives of a Naval Officer and his spy/ doctor friend during the Napoleanic era. Lots of high seas action with some humorous dialogue. They are good but not over taxing.

Odyessy - Homer

-- Reading Homer for fun, still a geek. The Fagles translation is really good.

The Painted Veil - W. Sommersett Maugham

-- Maugham doesn't get enough play today. He is really great. This is the story of a doctor who takes his unfaithful wife to an infected area of China in the 1920's. It is really a story of personal growth with a disturbing back drop. Disease is scary.

Phoenix Guards - Stephen Brust

-- this is a Three Musketeers rip off. It is a well done rip off set in more of a fantasy setting but still a rip off. All that said, it is really good and if you like that type of swashbuckling story then give it a try.

Post Captain - Patrick O'Brien
--2rd book in the Aubrey/ Mauratin Series. This is a series of books focusing on the lives of a Naval Officer and his spy/ doctor friend during the Napoleanic era. Lots of high seas action with some humorous dialogue. They are good but not over taxing.

The Razor's Edge - W. Sommersett Maugham
-- This is the story of a man looking for what is meaningful in post World War I Europe. It is a moving story and a bit on the philosophical bent. I don't think you can read this without examining your own beliefs. I really enjoyed it. This was in the top two or three for the year.

The Shipping News- Annie Proulx

-- Story of man who tries to find himself in NewFoundland after an abusive marriage. I liked this book a lot. A friend of mine read this at the same time but was not nearly as impressed as I was. Perhaps, I am bit off on this one. But I found it to be excellent.

Snow - Orhan Pamuk

-- The author won the Nobel Prize for literature, so I thought I would give him a try. The story is interesting but it is a hard read. This was just tough to get through, there is no flow. This may be due to translation but I would say I didn't like this one.

The Spartans - Paul Cartledge

-- A dry history of the Spartans. You can't get the time back once you invest it, don't do it.

Vampire Hunter D - Hideyuki Kikuchi

-- Entertaining quick read but the story is a bit like a comic book.

A War Like No Other- Victor David Hansen

-- An excellent and readable history of the Peloponesian War. This was a really well done history. The information is organized well and for a history it is very engaging. It is quite good.

So here is what I think this year:

Best books: Razor's Edge, Empire Falls, Shipping News, Angry White Pyjamas

Worst: Snow, The Spartans

What we have learned: Rob is a geek and reads Homer for fun, there is a lot of good work out there that most people (myself included) never hear about.

The eat-athon is now at a close

Thanksgiving seems to be a time of endless food. The good news is that it tastes really good, the bad news is that eating that much is not really good for you. My view point on this is that it is only one day. I don't eat that way normally only one day a year.

My preparations this year were as follows (I cook the thanksgiving feast at my house, I am pretty good at it).

1. modest turkey (12 pounds)
2. Stuffing - with raisins, apples, onions, celery (I like it a lot)
3. Sweet potatoes
4. string beans
5. cranberry sauce
6. snacking food before the 6pm dinner of cheese and chips with some apple cider (very nice)
7. Desert - blueberry pie (my daughter likes the blueberry pie) and chocolate pudding pie served with whipped cream.

It was all very good and I am glad I made the dinner, but I am equally glad it is over. So now back to the roads. I gained 1 pound over this food free for all. Not bad.

This week.
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: 10k Tuesday
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: Long - maybe 8 to 10 miles
Sunday - Rest

I think my 1 pound is history. I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I hope everyone had a great turkey day. I know that I did. I did a lot of cooking. I made a good turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans with a couple of pies. It was all very good, but I ate too much. That is ok as I did a little Turkey Trot in the morning. Here are the results.
Mile 1: 10:43
Mile 2: 11:59
Mile 3: 12:20
Mile 4: 12:15
Mile 5: 12:21
Total 59:38 = 11:55 pace.
It was a good time. I will do one again next year, it is nice to front load some calories so that I can feel free to eat a lot on Thanksgiving, it is a good plan. I ate a good bit but as I was down 3 pounds from the race it was fine. Have a good holiday everyone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hopefully the first of many...

What is this a new tradition in my running schedule. I hope to introduce on a regular basis....

10 K Tuesday

I have been a bit down on myself for not running as much as I want to. Well this is not exactly it. I have been running on a treadmill which is incredibly boring. This was not always true, I used to be able to do the treadmill no trouble, until I started running that is. After running streets and trails nothing else comes is as fulfilling. I found last night that my legs were actually sore after 4 miles. I mean come on. The treadmill caused my legs to fall a bit out of shape. Why, I think because there is no impact on the treadmill, well there is some but it is not the same. So I have gone back to what makes me happy.

Tonight was my first, I hope of many 10k Tuesdays.

How did things go, great thanks for asking. You see, I left the jacket at home and just went out with long sleeve top, pants and gloves (well shoes too). Here the results so that I might build upon them.

10 kilometers (6.2 miles) - 1:15:58 (1143 calories) - Pace Average 12:15

Mile 1: 12:00

Mile 2: 12:10

Mile 3: 11:56

Mile 4: 12:31

Mile 5: 12:30

Mile 6: 12:28

.2 : 11:52 pace

So in the end, I felt so much better tonight than I did last night. It was a nice night for a run. But I did notice as I have in the past that I was the only one running. Now Philadelphia is not the safest place in the world, but my neighborhood does not usually hit the headlines. But it was a nice quite evening for a run, not too cold, traffic was light ... it was good. As you can tell though the course goes down hill about mid way through mile 2 through mile 3 and then up mile 4 and mile 5. So I had to work the hills a bit. Over all a good pace.

The first 10k Tuesday is a success. (Very nice!!!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Head Scratching Moments

I went to the GNC on the ground floor of my building, I work on the 50th floor, for some energy gels and had a strange encounter with the merchant.

Me: I see you have some lose energy gels but do you have any boxes?

Merchant: No

Me: There aren't that many loose ones, when do you expect more in?

Merchant: They sell very fast, but we should get a box in sometime next week.

(me thinking, one box but he said they sell fast ... I am confused)

Me: Did you say that you will only get in one box next week.

Merchant: That is right, sir

See if I was a nutrition store, I would keep more of items that sold quickly on hand. Also, I know I am a rebel on this one, but I would order more than one box for something that I had very little of. Just me, I know I live on the edge but what can one do.

Well I bought 10 leaving 2 in the store, which were both vanilla with zero mg of caffeine; I need the caffeine. I think I am learning that for running supplies the Internet is my friend. I will order online for my future energy gel needs. Sigh, it would have been much better to be able to just pop down at lunch to get what I needed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cold Weather Running.

Tonight I went out running in the cold after work. I am not nearly as cold resistant as Bigfoot; however, I do have some cold weather running gear. That being said, I did not expect to overheat, but this is exactly what happened. The jacket was just too much. I think I have a lot to learn about winter running. There was a small drizzle tonight and it was pretty cool. So I took a running jacket, with pants, gloves and long sleeve top and hit the road. However, I could not get into a groove, I felt like I was fighting myself so after a mile and a half I took off the jacket. I felt much more comfortable and got through my 4 miles. It went something like this:

Mile 1: 12:25
Mile 2: 12:20
Mile 3: 12:22
Mile 4: 12:33

After a was done I hit the showers and the water was so cold, but that was from my body. I noticed I had a bad case of red belly. The cold from the elements really gave me what looked like a sun burn on my belly and chest. It took me about 15 minutes before I was normal. I have a lot to learn. I will get the hang of this stuff.

  • overheating
  • cold weather injury

I am sure I will find out other things to really keep an eye on as time goes on. But this is a learning experience so tonight will go up with them. In the end I felt good. A good 4 miles.

Philadelphia Marathon Thoughts

This weekend I watched the Philadelphia Marathon on television while I was doing some law-type work. You can tell that you are hooked on running when you will watch it on television. But there I was at 7:30 in the morning watching other people run. I still can't watch golf on television, feels like torture and I did golf regularly at one point in time, not well but I golfed.

Kenya's Timothy Psitet won the marathon with a time of 2:25:01. Pretty good I think. I am looking forward to my marathon experience next year. I was looking at the finish leg and was thinking of my time at the half marathon in September. I really wanted to be there. I am really excited about running next November. Congratulations to everyone who ran.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thinking about Charities?

As everyone knows, I am a veteran of the United States Army. As such, military matters mean a good deal to me. Everyone of them matters. Tonight on the news there was a story about a soldier running in the Philadelphia Marathon to raise money for charity.

His website:

His Blog:

Story in Washington Post:

The name of the movement is called Take Pride, the mission is to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and other military related charities. These soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan and have a lot to worry about in their day to day lives. However, these men have taken the time to worry about other soldiers who have been seriously wounded. I can't say enough about how moved I am.

It is easy to forget that Americans are in harms way every day; they are. The wars we fight overseas these days are done in such a way so that they do not interfere with everyday life here in the States. But we are at war. The soldiers fighting these wars do so without asking for anything in return. I know I care and I know a lot of other people out there care as well. So I am taking the money I would have spent on a registration fee for out virtual blogging run on the 8th of December and spending it on a T-shirt to help this project. I would urge everyone to do the same. We all give money to causes every year. I give money to various charities throughout the year, this will now be another.

So please buy a t-shirt for a very good cause, the good news is that it won't go to your butt or gut like chocolate for school fund raisers. These men and women may have been doing their duty; the least we can do is let them know we as Americans care and appreciate it. Check it out, please.

I have added links for your convenience.

On the Treadmill ... again

I mentioned before that I really do not like running on the treadmill. But with my heel being an issue that I want to resolve, I have to limit my days outside. So today, I went to the gym in the morning to do my 5 mile run on the hamster wheel. Well I don't have much to say beyond the fact that I did it. I hour = 5 miles = 12:00 pace. As others have noted my Garmin does not work so well on the treadmill. My actual pace being zero as I was in the same spot the entire time. I am being a grumpy gus about the the treadmill thing, I am sure I will be better about it as time goes on.

Tomorrow I will run on actual roads that will life my spirits about running. My goal for tomorrow is 7 miles. That will put me in good stead for the 5 miler on Thanksgiving and good training for the 8 on the 8th. Tomorrow is the Philadelphia Marathon that means I have exactly one year to get ready for the 2008 Philadelphia Marathon. I will get a training plan together shortly and let everyone know what my plans are.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ready for Winter?

Today at lunch I decided to gear up for winter. I purchased a pair of thermal running pants and gloves. I can make do with the rest of what I already have but the gloves and pants were a necessity.

I like Brooks running gear a little more than most. So I picked up some very yellow gloves, good for the night time running and some running pants that don't quite qualify as running tights. For a man of my size tights are not something for outside wear. Running tights should be for those with the body for it (a license should be required).

I would like to run through the winter to have enough of a base to run a marathon at the end of next year. This is a big goal but not something that is unachievable. I started running in March of this year and by next November that will make 21 months. I don't think that is pushing it. This year I have run a half marathon, a ten miler, an 8.4 miler and a 15k so I have experienced some longer runs. I think with good preparation I should be ready for next November. But first I will need to do some winter running. I will keep everyone updated on the progress through the cold weather running.

I will also be taking place in the 8 on 8th organized by Nancy
and also pimped by Vanilla. So for all the bloggers out there I will also be pimping the virtual run. I hope you will all do your 8 miles on the 8th. If I can do it than so can almost anyone. Lets get out there and make it a great race (well on our own courses by ourselves, hmmm). Well I am still going to do it. Look forward to hearing everyone's results on December 8.
Road Test:
3 miles
Mile 1: 12:35
Mile 2: 12:42
Mile 3: 12:40
This was a slow run for me, but I just wanted to see what I thought about the cold weather gear. There was a cold wind tonight and that made it feel colder than it was. But I felt that the pants were great at holding the heat in and I didn't feel cold in my legs at all. The gloves on the other hand were a little less efficient. At the end of the run my finger tips were a little cold. Nothing serious but just a bit chilled. End result: Pants: A; Gloves B+ -- still good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sick ... well almost

Over the past three days I have been fighting getting sick. Like most sane people, I don't really like being sick. It interferes with my schedule and my running, Nancy knows how that can happen. Yesterday at work I started to spike a small fever along with some chills for good measure. I have a system that will work overtime on this sort of thing so I had some fatigue as well. A nice combination really. So last night I laid about like a common ne'er do well. I like the word and don't get to use it as often as I like, mostly because it makes me sound like Dickens.

ne'er-do-well - n. an idle, worthless person; a person who is ineffectual
unsuccessful, or completely lacking in merit; good-for-nothing.

These are strong words to use against a sick person. So I tried to think of other words that might be more fitting, perhaps I was a miscreant. Another word with a bit of a Dickensian flair.

miscreant - n./ adj. - scoundrel, depraved, behaving badly, an evil doer, a villain

Sounds pretty harsh. I am sure that laying about on the couch is behaving badly in some circles but it does not seem to be villainous or smack of depravity. Maybe I went to far, was I flagitious. Another word not often used.

Flagitious - shamefully wicked, vile, scandalous,

I have been shamefully wicked before and perhaps scandalous depending upon who one speaks with. But I dare say that being a lay about does not quite rise to this level. I think I am looking for something else entirely. I believe what I was looking for was wastrel.

Wastrel: n. 1. a wasteful person; spendthrift.
2. Chiefly British.
a. refuse; waste.
b. a waif; abandoned child.
c. an idler or good-for-nothing

I was idling so 2(c) seems to fit splendidly. I was absolutely a good for nothing last night. I simply came home and laid about all night. Well I had muscle aches, a head ache, chills and fever so perhaps most will understand my slovenly behavior. In short I didn't run so I had to make up some sort of post. Well here it is I hope it entertained in some small way. Sorry if I made anyone's head hurt.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day

I don't usually give too many details about my life beyond running and exercise efforts on this blog. Today, I am going to break that trend. Today is Veteran's Day and as a Veteran I take this day pretty seriously. Additionally it is not just me.
  • My father was in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in the early 1960's

  • My step father served in the Korean War

  • My Uncle served on the Nimitz during the Vietnam War

  • Two other uncles served in the post Vietnam era in the Army

  • My Grandfather served in Alaska during World War II, he was one of seven brothers 6 served during World War II (3 died one at Normandy, one in Submarine service and one in the European theatre)

I come from a military family, it means something. I don't take things for granted in my life. During my service I served in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a Scout in the 2nd Armored Division. It is not my part to talk about the nobility of war or the honor of service. There may some truth to the second but not the first. In war there is only death and destruction, there is nothing else to read into it. Soldiers serve where ordered, it is no different today. However, today I want to talk about my friends. When I served I had the good fortune to be stationed with Sam and Steve. Although I am not related to these two men, they are my brothers. We served on Bradley Fighting Vehicles (pictured to the left). I was promoted to Sergeant during the War and Sam and Steve were Specialists.

During our time in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, we lived on these Bradleys for months. Not exactly plush accommodations. The best sleeping spot was on stacked boxes of 25 mm ammunition. The best food was luke warm soup sent my our friends at the Campbell's Soup Company. I don't know why they send all that soup to us, but I was grateful. Today, I still eat it even though it is not the healthiest you can find on the market. The desert was filled with nasties even when there was no combat (i.e. desert vipers and scorpions). Sometimes we would play volleyball, but this was before we were on the line. After that we would spend our time watching and feeling the payloads of B-52's carpet bombing miles away, the ground would shake. Sometimes British Tornados would whip over our position at incredibly low levels heading to drop some unpleasantness. In short we lived in some strange circumstances that at times were intense. This may have had something to do with the depth of the friendships we formed.

We were friends before we went to war and after we were friends for life. I can say that I feel fortunate to have such good friends. In life you are mainly on your own. We don't want to think this is true but it is a lot. Friends that last a life time are a rare thing in this world of diminishing relation to community. I feel fortunate to have friends like Sam and Steve. I know that no matter what happens I can depend on these guys. I know this because when it really mattered they were there for me. They have been there since and I hope that I have as well. We have become a family of sorts. The bonds that we made during this time, now more than 15 years ago, mean more to me than almost anything.

Sam and I talk almost every week, Steve less frequently. On Veteran's Day I call them both. It is special. I don't know if it was that we were friends and then shared a few near death experiences. I am not sure. But I know that they are my best friends and that will always be true. Sam and Steve, here is to you, take care my good friends. Also, here is to the guys who have served there since and to those that are still there. Take care.


Rob - formerly Sergeant Rob

---- Also, today I ran 5.5 miles on the treadmill at the gym. I didn't like it but I did it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Did I mention...

... that I really hate treadmills. That being said I went to the gym today rather than running the streets. It was raining today, I don't mind running in the rain but when it is freezing rain I am given pause. So I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill. I started lifting some weights so that I felt that I really did something. When I was done with the weights, I put in 5 miles on the treadmill. Or so it says. I guess the problem is that I am still standing in the same place at every point on whatever distance I ran. So in the end I got to sweat a lot and didn't really go anywhere or see a thing beyond Sports Center.

Tomorrow, roads (I hope)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Managing Pain

I have been running in pain since early summer. I hurt my foot in martial arts class by coming down hard on my heel and then I ran a lot. This created a nice plantar faciitis injury that I have sported for about 6 months. It just hasn't healed the way it should have. But that is my own fault. I have not given it a chance to get better. It has not bothered me to run at all so I have run. It is getting up in the morning and early day walking that is the trouble. I have on occasion had to crawl or hop up stairs to the bathroom in the morning. I have silently screamed as I first stepped out of bed in the morning. Although this is good for waking up, I can think of better ways.


Over the last month I have not run that much. It is really been one race and one training day per week. I have been a little under the weather so I have been taking it easy. At the same time I am a lawyer with a billable hour requirement. My monthly numbers are fine but for the year I want to get to a fairly good number. To do that I have to put in some hours. So for the past month I have been working a good deal. Now the interesting thing is that my ankle/ heel is finally healing. I should have known that extended rest was the key. I just wasn't letting myself do it. My ego was getting in the way. I wanted to run and compete with myself. I still do. You see last year I missed alot of time due to a runner's knee injury and I didn't want to go down again. So I ended up with a nagging injury that was manageable.

However today my foot feels better than it has in months. I know that is because I have been mostly off it for the past month. I think I need to do more of the same to get better. So I will follow what has been better - only two days a week on the roads. That is too bad for me because I would like to get out more. But I also need to heal so that I don't have to crawl up the stairs or wake up in pain from turning wrong.

Time to do the right thing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2008 Race Schedule

This is my intended race schedule for next year. I will add a few shorter races through the year and maybe a couple of trail runs in the spring. I hope to do a Marathon at the end of next year in the Philadelphia Marathon. Here is the list:

March 9, 2008 - Citizen's Bank Ceaser Rodney Half Marathon - Wilmington, DE (registered)

May 4, 2008 - Broad Street Run (10 Miler)

July, 2008 - Marsh Creek Raptor Run (5 Mile Trail Run)

October 5, 2008 - Army 10 Miler (register in April)

October 11, 2008 - Baltimore Marathon (Half Marathon) - registered

November 2008, Schuylkill River Loop Run (8.4 Miles)

November, 2008, Philadelphia Marathon

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Schuylkill River Loop Run - Post Race

Today, I ran the Schuylkill River Loop Run. (skoo kill) I didn't come up with the spelling so don't blame me. This is an 8.4 mile race around some of the nicest parts of Philadelphia for running. The start is at the Art Museum then run up 4 miles to the Falls Bridge and back down Kelly Drive past Boathouse Row to the finish.

Art Museum

Falls Bridge

Rower Statute

Kelly Drive

It is a nice course. This was part of the Philadelphia Distance Run and I liked that part of the course so much that when I found out about this race, I wanted to do it. There is lots of tree cover and on the back half there are lots of statues and family oriented space set aside. Additionally, there are usually rowers on the river. It is just a nice place to run. On to the nitty gritty.

Mile 1: 10:43
Mile 2: 11:02
Mile 3: 11:32
Mile 4: 12:02
Mile 5: 12:19
Mile 6: 12:18
Mile 7: 13:10
Mile 8: 13:44
Last .4: 13:28 pace
Total Time: 1:42:52

I think you can see a trend. I started well but then I dropped off. I hit a groove from miles 3 through 6 but miles 7 to the end was just tough on my body. I did not train as well as I should have but I made it to the end with a 12:20 pace. Good for me and below my expectations by a little bit. The other good news, I placed 3rd in my age group so I got a performance based medal. Huzzah!!! I am tired, I will take a nap now.

Nancy, I received the Viagra based pens and stuff. Thanks. I will use them with pride at my office. I am sure people will notice. Nancy sent me a couple of Viagra pens a mini mouse and $5 as I won our little bet on the first to break the 11:00 mark on three consecutive miles. Happy running everyone.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sneaking out for a Quick 4

With the Schuylkill Loop tomorrow, I thought a little tune up would be in order. I had a busy day on tap but was out the door this morning for a quick 4 miler. I haven't been running as much as I would like as of late. Life has its demands as we all know. But this morning here is how it went.

Mile 1: 12:30

Mile 2: 12:01

Mile 3: 12:07

Mile 4: 12:08

I was not looking for speed, I was only looking to find a groove and stick with it. The first mile was shaking cobwebs out of my system. Then after that I was looking for something I could sustain for 8.4 miles. That is the distance of the race tomorrow. For the half marathon I ran at a 12:40 pace. I would like to do better for this run. I have run a 5k at less than an 11:00 pace for the 3 miles. I think I would like to average between 12:15 and 12:30 for the race. I will set the pace at about 12:00 and see where that goes. I am still in awe over the fact that I can discuss these speeds. It may not sound like much to the average runner but for me it is fast. I started running back in March at 15:00 to 16:00 pace. However, over the last few weeks I have not been as diligent as usual in my running. I think it was my body telling me I needed a rest.

Tomorrow will be 8.4 miles around some of the prettiest running territory in Philadelphia. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 29, 2007

World Series... over?

It seems odd that the World Series is over. I am glad that my team put together a great 4 game outing but it seems odd for it to be over so quick. The final two games were as follows:

Game 3: Red Sox 10, Rockies 5

Game 4: Red Sox 4, Rockies 3

I will give the Rockies credit, they never gave up and gave it everything they had. However, in the end their pitching wasn't up to the task. I never really expected a sweep. But I am happy that my team is World Series Champs again. Well it is only 4 months until pitchers and catchers report to winter camp.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Near Death Experience

Friday night was wet, really wet. I was meeting the family at a local Sears before going out to dinner. The rain just kept coming down and it was dark early from the weather. I took the bus from the train station to Sears. I got off the Bus and crossed the street. It was wet and dark but not crazily so.

As I walked into the Sears parking lot, I looked for the traffic coming in and out of the parking lot. It was generally clear. I saw a mini van a bit off from where I was, about 200 yards. I moved off to the left to be out of its path. It approached and swerved toward me. I RAN to the left. It kept turning toward me. I was being chased by a mini-van, What the Hell!!!! I was trying to keep clear of both the front end and the front left tire as the thing kept pacing me as Ibacked up and to the left. I slapped the front and side of the mini van with a good deal of force while continuing to back pedal to the left and out of the way of the driver. She finally stopped.

My heart was racing. It was raining and dark but not so hard or heavy as to miss a person under full street lights in the middle of parking lot. The woman said, "You shouldn't have been walking in the middle of parking lot."

????, I guess walking in a parking lot is an offense that carries a sentence of being struck with a 2000 pound vehicle.

It takes a minute for me to process this

I say, "you are the dumbest person on the face of the planet, as well as being the worst driver I have ever seen"

She puzzles over this, before realizing that she should have just apologized. To her credit she didn't pursue it any further, she just drove off. But she never asked if I was ok. Society seems to have lost some of its concern for others. Where this woman should have been trying to find out if someone was hurt as a result of her actions instead she blamed me for walking in a parking lot. I suppose it is surprising to see people walk in parking lots, I mean of all the parking lots I have ever been in only every person who goes there walks into the store.

She actually tried to convince me that I was at fault for her almost hitting me with her car. She was going too fast and quite simply not paying attention. I spotted a cell phone in her hand as she rolled down the window of her mini-van.

I am not dead but it is not for lack of effort on the part of the mini-van driver. I was a little shaken for the remainder of the night. So how was everyone else's night?

Race Report, Lupus Loop 5k

Today, I ran the Lupus Loop 5k here is grand old Philadelphia. Last week the 5k I ran wan't the best organized event I had ever been to and I was starting to rethink the wisdom of the 5k in my training schedule. But I saw that the Lupus Loop 5k had over 800 finishers last year. I thought that a 5k that big has to be well organized and of course the cause is good. To be truthful I was a bit hearbroken at the race. There were more than one t-shirt from people in memory of deceased children, just sad.

The run organizers were great. This was nice. Lots of post race refreshments, efficient people helping out at registration, local radio station on hand to keep people pumped up and as I said before a good cause. I had a great time and was lucky not to park in the mud that others were stuck in post race.

As Nancy and I had a competition as to the 11:00 mile. The competition is to be the first to complete 3 miles where each mile is 11:00 or faster for each mile. The last 5k I ran I ran an exact 11:00 pace for the three miles. But I ran a very good mile 1 and a slightly less impressive mile 2 and 3. Today, I tried to really manage my pace.

The Miles

Mile 1: 11:00 exactly - I don't think I could have done this any better. I started fast and then backed off to conserve some energy for the remaining two miles. I did well kicking it up for the first .6 and then backing off for the next .25 before kicking up again.

Mile 2: 10:53 - This was a good mile we climbed the first .3 and then came down for most of the remaining mile. I was able to conserve some energy and rest while going faster than I usually do. I covered a stretch of about .35 where I was going about 9:40 pace.

Mile 3: 10:52 - This was the hardest part of the run. I usually run an 11:10 to 11:40 pace. So running at a pace that was 20 to 40 seconds faster was taking its toll on me. I started to slow and had to really concentrate on kicking it up to keep pace. This was hard as there was a hill near the half way mark that really was killing me. But I hung in there and finished at my goal. I then stopped to tie a shoe that came undone with .2 to go. I then walked the remaining .1.

What an adventure. I have to say thanks to Nancy, without out little deal I would not have taken the training as seriously. Thanks for pushing me over the top. Although it was fun to win, I really don't want anything, the satisfaction of breaking the 11:00 barrier was joy enough. One more goal achieved, running is great.

Friday, October 26, 2007

World Series, Game 2

Last night's game was a great one. This is what I think about when I think about October baseball. Two teams throwing great stuff and batting orders grinding out a few runs. A mistake here or there breaks the game. Last night was all about pitching which for two teams that score runs in bunches in unusual. Matt Holliday for Colorado is a machine, 4-4 when only one other person on the whole team got a hit, he is great. J.D. (formerly Nancy) Drew has been hot as anyone can be as of late was key in the win for the Red Sox. In short a great game that really could have gone either way. Good base running was the difference.

Final Score: Red Sox 2, Colorado 1
Series: Boston 2, Colorado 0

I expect the Rockies to win the next two games and the Red Sox to win Game 5 with Beckett on the mound. That is how I see the series playing out in Colorado.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nothing to worry about, Nancy

Nancy , also known as the cave girl, I have placed a picture of her for everyone's enjoyment, and I have a $5 wager on the first person to break the 11:00 barrier for three consecutive miles. We have lofty goals that is for sure. Tonight Nancy has nothing to worry about. I ran immediately after work tonight. Now I don't have a physically demanding job as a lawyer but I am usually intellectually spent at the end of each day. It will take me a couple of hours to get right after work. But tonight I set out for a run. That is how I roll.

The results are not outstanding, I have placed a small picture of how I felt below, Dohhh:

Mile 1: 12:10

Mile 2: 11:35

Mile 3: 11:45

Mile 4: 11:27

I was a bit tired and even though I got into a groove I felt like I needed a nap the whole time. Well the game is still on, Nancy. I saw by your latest post that you are still working on it as well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series, game 1

I don't pretend to be an expert on baseball. But I did grow up outside of Boston, so I am a fan. I have watched my team come back from some deep holes so I know it is possible to do. But, I am watching the game tonight thinking these teams are on two different levels. The Rockies simply look out classed. Their pitching is simply not good. It is a long series but if they are going to compete they are going to have to do better. The Red Sox batters are simply too good and patient. I have seen three straight bases loaded walks in the bottom of the 5th inning. A 34 minute inning for 7 runs, ugly.

Josh Beckett can't pitch every night so the one run performances will not be an every night occurrence. With that in mind I think this series will be done in 5 or 6 games at the longest. Sorry, Colorado this team is too much for your Rockies. It's midnight Cinderella, the ball is over. Colorado is a fun team with a lot of heart, but they are out classed in this series. Better luck next year.

Game 1: Boston 13 Colorado 1
Series: Boston 1, Colorado 0

Evening Run

I dislike running in complete darkness. I don't mind starting or finishing in it, I actually like dawn and dusk. But to know that I will see no sun on any part of my run gets me down. I think I would make for a bad Alaskan or at least the type that lives above the Arctic Circle. So I have not been too motivated for my morning runs as the sun hasn't been coming up until almost 7:00 am. So last night I began the nightly circuit. I got in to the office early then bolted at 4:00 to get home for a 5:15 run. Good plan, in the end I got out at 5:30, not bad.

Nuts and Bolts:

3 mile run

Mile 1: 11:10
Mile 2: 11:35
Mile 3: 11:45

I think I was hungry when I started the run and my energy was not what I would have liked. I got in a decent groove but I felt a bit off. It was nice to run in the sun again. But there were a couple of problems.

There were 2 dogs off their leashes running around with no owners in sight. They were in the woods calling the dogs on occasion. The dogs were chasing deer in the park. This created a real situation. Excited dogs can be problematic especially with no owners around. I was tensed up as I ran by the scene trying to remember by dog defense training I received a number of years ago when training for my black belt. Snarling dogs make me a bit uneasy. When I passed by I slowed a couple of times to warn folks walking in the opposite direction of the situation. So this may be why I didn't get my run in order.

Problem 2 was more of an environmental problem. I kept running into swarms of gnats. It would only be for a couple of seconds and then I would be past it. But I think I swallowed about 20. I can think of better (and I mean more enjoyable) ways to get my protein. Disgusting. This will go under problems with being a runner, swallowing bugs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hey 11:00 how you doing?

I have been flirting with a long term goal as of late. This is to run 3 miles where each mile is sub 11:00. The other day I finished my three miles at 11:00 pace combined. So I am close. But one mile was 10:15 and the others were over 11:00. But I am on the right track. I think that if I can keep up my training I should be able to get to that pace by the end of November.

Running goals:
  • 3 miles 11:00 or less for each mile
  • 5 miles 12:00 or less for each mile (did this one at the Philly Distance Run)
  • 5 miles 11:00 or less for each mile
  • 10 miles 12:00 or less for each mile
  • 1 mile 9:00 pace
  • 2 miles 9:45 pace or less for each mile
  • Run a marathon - any pace will be fine

That is what I am shooting for. I am close on the first one and the 10 mile one as well. I have broken the 13:00 and 12:00 thresholds and now I am flirting with 11:00, how you doin', it feels good.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Race Results 2007

May 6, 2007, Broad Street Run (10 miles) -2:26 COMPLETE (14:36 pace)
-- had a sprained ankle for this race, happened two days prior to the race.

June 24, 2007, Double Trouble 15 K Trail Run - 2:48, COMPLETE (18:02 minute pace)

July 22, 2007, Marsh Creek Raptor Run 5 Mile Trail Run -1:17, COMPLETE (15:24 pace)

September 16, 2007, Philadelphia Distance Run (13.1 miles) - 2:45, COMPLETE (12:36 pace)

October 14, 2007 - North East Philly 5 Mile Run -57:10 COMPLETE (11:26 pace)

October 21, 2007, Run for Life 5k - 34:56 COMPLETE (11:15 pace)

October 28, 2007, Lupus Loop 5k, 34:58 COMPLETE (11:15 pace)

November 4, 2007, Schuylkill River Loop Run (8.4 miles) -1:42:52 Complete (12:15 pace)

November 22, 2007, Fairmount Park 5 Mile Turkey Trot -59:38 (11:55 pace)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I finally ran a 5k

When I started this great running adventure, I really intended to do long distances and the 5k never really entered by thoughts. However, after I finished the half marathon in September, I don't really have the desire to go that far again this year but I still want to race. So I have been entering shorter races. Today, I entered the Run for Life 5k, it supports a pregnancy counseling center. The focus of the organization is to help people through faith based counseling. This is the right choice for some, so I don't mind helping them out with an entry fee. I will say that I also wouldn't mind helping out the other side as well, that is if someone chose to get an abortion. We all make choices in our life, even if I wouldn't make the same choices, we all have the right to choose (at least that is what the law provides).

So I ran my 5k, it was not bad really. I set out with a goal of 36 minutes. I can't be sure what the official time is but I think it was about 34:45. That is not too bad, it works out to about 11:11 pace. I think that is rough and I wouldn't bet my house on my math. But I will say that I was running hard for me. I am getting quicker. My first mile was about 10:20 and the remaining two about 11:20 or so. It worked pretty well. If I had been a little smarter on the last part of mile 2 I think I could have come in about 20 to 30 seconds sooner. But I didn't manage the hills as well as I could have. I am still learning this running stuff. It is a lot more complicated than just put on some shoes and run fast.

That is all I have for today. Have fun out there.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Finding Speed

I noticed during the Philadelphia Distance Run, that I can run faster than I had been. I believe that I just didn't think that I could run fast so I ran slow. I was running and exerting myself so this is not a big deal. But I was generally running between 12:30 and 13:30 pace before the run. Sometimes I would get about 12:20 but that was it. Since my sub 12:00 for the first 7 miles of the half marathon, I have been trying to recapture that speed. I have not been disappointed. Last week, I put in two miles sub 11:00 and 3 miles of sub 12:00 on my 5 mile race. I have generally been running about 11:30 since the race. Not bad.

Today's training run was still good, even though it was humid. I think that slowed me up a bit but I am happy.

Mile 1: 11:12
Mile 2: 12:01
Mile 3: 12:07
Total: 35:20

There were hills on the course I took today and I worked on grinding out the hills by shortening steps and essentially shifting down a gear like I would in a car. I think that worked. I was not over tired at the top. I am still learning about running and hills are where I need work, but I am getting better. I have a 5k this weekend so wish me luck, I am looking for under 36 minutes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Site Updated - New Links

I have added a couple of sites to my Links section that I have found helpful in finding local races. I never would have found the NorthEast Philadelphia 5 miler but for Fast Cat Productions. Additionally, helped me find some of the other local 5k's and the Schuylkill Loop run. These sites along with the Lin Mark Computer Sports site have helped me to scout out local races. I have added them for those in the area and Active is not local so it will be useful to everyone.

I need running

I have been going through some trying times as of late, I will term it as "family related stress" or FRS. Nothing like putting three letters together to make something sound very bad - oh he has FRS, so sad. I am trying to stay up beat about this and many will note that my posts are less frequent and much shorter as of late. But I felt the need today to do a bit of running affirmation. I am inspired by Non-Runner Nancy's latest post on her running efforts. To that end I thought I would do a little running affirmation time here.

1. Since I started running March it has become part of my life. It is something I schedule and something I look forward too. It is not I have to run tomorrow, it is I get to run tomorrow. I am not much of a jump up and down type, or I might be but my deluded serious self image prevents it. I jump up and down on the inside.

2. When I run a race, I get new clothes. I can always use a new t-shirt, excellent. Then I get to exercise with some great people. Because all runners are great people, everyone of us. For all the cyclist observations on runners being grim, I don't see it. Every time I talk to a runner they are approachable, engaging and helpful. In short runners are good people, which means that I am a good person too. See how I did that, I complimented a group and then added myself to the group, thereby complimenting myself. Neat huh?

3. In my life I collect a lot of stress. I have the aforementioned FRS and I also have "work related stress" also known as WRS. Now I will admit that I have far less WRS than FRS because I have an awesome job with great co-workers and partners with realistic world views. So I have less WRS as a result. However, I do collect some and that is added to the FRS. When I run, I can decompress that stress and just concentrate on running. Much like a Calgon commercial, my troubles are gone when I run, it is just me and the road/ trail. It is my zen moment as it were. I can forget about it all for as long as I go that day.

4. Tracking progress is key in all this. I know that when I ran my first race back in May I was really, really slow. I mean I was trucking along at my slow pace during the race and a bike medic pedaled next to me to see if I was o.k. I mean I weighed 280 so he probably had reason to keep an eye on me. I was pushing a 15:00 pace back then. This last weekend I did 11:26 pace over 5 miles. That is great for me. I can see the progress and I like that. It is not as easy in my martial arts practice to see as there is so much more to evaluate to see if you are making progress. Both are challenging just in different ways. I will never be fast but I will get faster. I would like to eventually do a half marathon at a 10:00 pace throughout, not too lofty.

5. As I said before, I run because I can. I almost hit 300 pounds, a scary thought really. I was almost at the point where I could not run, I mean really. So now when I get out there I think of that almost 300 pound guy. He chases me every day, I know he is out there waiting for me if I fail in my diligence. I can run so I do, to avoid my unhealthy self.

I still won't be as regular posting as I would like to be but I will be out there taking in the fall. The best time of the year for everything, especially running. There are lots of great local races coming up and I will do my best to be at as many as I can. Keep running, it makes you a great person.